Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation One-Seat Ride to JFK

Discussion of the past and present operations of the Long Island Rail Road.

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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby DogBert » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:10 am

One very important thing to come of this is the potential to stop the 'queensway' park conversion.

In a nutshell, the governor has given taxpayer money to a politically connected do-nothing group ('trust for public land') to come up with designs for a park along the length of the ROW (from the 'A' subway junction to White Pot jct). They want to make it into 'the high line of queens'.

This has obviously pissed off a lot of people in the affected area, many of whom have up to 3 hour commute times per day due to limited transit options. They want their tracks back. Traffic along the woodhaven blvd corridor has also become pretty intense at times, adding more pressure to an already bad situation.

The trail advocates are belligerently anti-rail, while the potential riders are fed up with commute times that are frankly ridiculous given the proximity of these neighborhoods to Manhattan.

Once the ROW is gone to park conversion, it will never come back. Even if nothing comes of this study, it's still better than letting 'trust for public land' destroy what many feel is a rail corridor with big potential.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby whitepot46 » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:51 am

I was aboard the last train to make the trip to Ozone Park on June 8, 1962. Two friends and I had planned on getting off at Parkside, but we stayed aboard to the end of the line when the champagne bottles were uncorked after coming through the Whitepot underjump. Now I hope that I will live long enough to ride the first train when the line is reactivated. The champagne is chilled and ready!
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Mar 24, 2016 9:19 pm

Whitepot and Everyone:

Does anyone remember a MTA plan from the 1970s that would have used the abandoned segment of the Rockaway
Branch from Rego Park to construct a direct LIRR rail link to Kennedy Airport?

I always wondered why this was not attempted - was it NIMBY opposition along the closed route that ended this
proposed one seat ride from Manhattan?

From what is noted NIMBYs and BANANAs are looking to oppose any revival of closed parts of the Rockaway
Branch - in favor of a rail trail type park.

A one seat ride would have been preferable to the at least two seat Airtrain service but after years of delay that
finally was constructed and built back in the 2000s and is definitely better than having no rail alternative to JFK.

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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby NIMBYkiller » Fri Mar 25, 2016 11:05 am

For the longest time, I was critical of Airtrain not providing a one seat ride, but it really is a better set up. There's movement between the terminals, to the rental cars, and to a major transportation hub all in one mode. When I went to Sweden, I took the express train from Stockholm Central to the airport, and realized this only works if the airport has only 1 or 2 central terminals and little movement between those terminals. Zurich is set up similarly, with 1 main terminal and then 1 satellite one. The rail station is at the main terminal, but if you're flying out of the satellite one (SWISS), then you have to take a tram. JFK is (as it currently stands), what, 6 non-connected terminals? A one seat ride set up is far more practical at an airport like Orlando International (1 central building for check in, security, passenger drop off/pick up, etc) or LaGuardia (1 stop for C/D and 1 stop for central). Airtrain running to Jamaica gives far more options than a service via the RBB ever would have, even with stops along the way. And again, JFK is just too big for it to have made sense logistically speaking.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby Head-end View » Sat Mar 26, 2016 7:26 pm

And as an added attraction, you have a spectacular view out the huge front window of the Airtrain. Don't forget your sunglasses!
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby DogBert » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:18 am

Completely disagree. Air train is useless if you live in NYC. The E or A trains connecting to it are not reliable, and crowded at all hours of the day and night. Carrying luggage on a crowded train will get you some sharp elbows and dirty looks these days. One shouldn't have to face being treated like an animal in a cattle car just to get to the airport. Besides, the last thing you want when you absolutely, have to make a flight is to gamble on the subway not taking a * on you. (LIRR to Jamaica? Probably just as bad. I avoid Penn like the plague - and it can take an hour just to get to Penn via subway).

The lack of a one seat ride is part of why the LIE, Van Wyck, and other roads are traffic filled nightmares, with resulting added air pollution.

NYC needs more transit options. Even if the rock branch never connects to JFK, the commuters in those neighborhoods want their right of way to be transit. There are only a handful (50 people, tops) who actually want the tracks to be made into a park. The park plan is being lead by a politically connected crony running a do-nothing nonprofit. He doesn't even live in the area. Most people who live next to the tracks definitely do not want the park. The local community board recommended a busway (which is dumb since it wouldn't really help commute times- but it shows how anti-park they are)
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby workextra » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:32 pm

DB, a busway? Are they for freak? The overall with of the route would need winding and guard rails installed to prevent a bus from rolling off into their yards.
Also no bus will be able to clear at any speed greater then 20mph any of the bridges on the abandoned section.
I have a friend who lives a few houses north of metropolitan avenue adjacent to the ROW.
Some neighbors have enlarged yards because of it. Hidden in this green urban jungle are the PRR power poles and a load of poison ivy. There is no remains of what was the old parkside station which today would require the costly replacement and raising of the 1908 span over metropolitan avenue.

Truthfully and it's been beaten here before. The rockaway beach Branch is LIRR and historically has been. The subway was installed there in an era when it was not practical to invest in the LIRRs return there due to the cost of rebuilding the bridge over Jamaica bay.


Returning LIRR to the rockaway park will have profound benifits of those commuters with a direct connection to the sort train, Atlantic branch fornservce to Brooklyn and points east. As well as their expressway to New York with the "rock" not tying into the main line till the Win curve.

A creative adjustment could also result in service via the lower Montauk then swing onto the rock for service east or west.
This creates a bypass to the mainline between Jay and Win. and would get them out of jams.

I'm for full conversion to LIRR-'no fact the distance between far rock and Mott avenue could be spanned with NO problems. Start the new grade at the crossing by Inwood. And go up from there. You'll be above the building (old yard) without major problems. Simply build through it. And make the connection. Re name Mott avenue into its rightful "Far Rockaway"
And both routes run to rock park. Therefore creating another larger LIRR yard for EMU storage.

There will be ney Sayers but this is the most effective and streamlined and non half assesd way to do it.

Look at a map, there's no reason not to do it this way. Saves LIRR aggravation too.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby NIMBYkiller » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:03 pm

If airtrain is useless if you live in NYC, then it's useless all together unless your going between terminals or to the rental car facilities. The set up now gives you the most options, especially in your "if the subway takes a $h!t on you" scenario. As it stands, you get the option of the E and every single non-PW Branch LIRR train out of NYP (except for the handful of trains that skip Jamaica) to get there. I'm sure that's a hell of a lot more service than a dedicated train would run. Soon you'll get the same out of GCT, and you've also got the option of the Atlantic Branch. And if none of those do it for you, you've got the A. And if your destination is Long Island, well, just about every non-PW branch train stops at Jamaica so you've got the best selection possible there as well. If it were a single dedicated service, the moment that dedicated service goes poop, there's no other option. Any connections to LI would have to be made at Woodside which has far less service. And there's still the problem of movement within the airport.

As for LIRR being restored on the Rockaway Beach Branch, the biggest problem I see is that much of the Rockaways can't afford whatever the LIRR fare would likely be. The Rockaways is this crummy catch-22. Subway ridership isn't all that high and the subway is a long slow ride, even as express under Fulton St. LIRR would be far faster and I'd imagine offer headways more in line with the ridership numbers, but the price point would be too high. As I understand it, before the subway came, Rockaway was more of a resort community. It wasn't until the subway came that a lot of the projects went up and the area became poorer, no? Then again...Hempstead isn't the most wealthy area. What's ridership out of there? I know a lot of people take the N6 to the subway because of the price point, so I'm sure there's validity to what I'm pointing out.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby SwingMan » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:11 am

Except the Hempstead Branch goes through Garden City, and the Far Rockaway through Five Towns. Without those places and the people who live in them these branches would be expendable. They create operational limitations (i.e. Queens Interlocking). Rockaway Beach and those communities will never be able to drum up support for anything more than what they have been handed.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby workextra » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:05 pm

The LIRR reaquiaition of the rockaway beach branch and re connection to Mott avenue (far rockway) would have its up's and down. And yes price points is a whol different topic. You have the rockaway park , Howard beach, Brooklyn manor and parkside, and Rego park areas that would also be supporting the faster more direct service not just the rockaways.
Remember the branch was 4 tracks from Ozone to Hamalton beach. Where it went to 2 track for the bridge.

With 261 signaling you restor 3 tracks in that area , and you can run your rockaway flyers during the rush hours, as well as the locals.. based on today's servcje style the need for a change at ozone park is not necessary.
But rather locals to Hamalton beach then flyers to rockaway park.

The rockaway beach branch until you reach Hammals is all in zone 1. So the fare is not that much higher for those commuters.

At Hammals, if you go rockaway park, it's zone 1 and far rock it's done 3, with far rock being zone 3. (City terminal)

And a special rockaway pinsular ticket validly all day between the short stops (city ticket)
All those stations are turnstile equipped and Should remain that way. It relieves the LIRR from. Loosing fares there.
Tickets sold to New York could have resident pricing options as well.
All those stations would have automated fare collection. Beginning with wood haven junction/woodhaven. The remaining stations remains LIRR ticket punching.
There are options here. Political crimes will prevent them from being fully realized.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby YamaOfParadise » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:38 pm

If the roadbed was 4 tracks Ozone Park <-> Hamilton Beach, what about keeping the Subway up until Howard Beach/JFK? The subway could serve Aqueduct North/Conduit Ave, with both subway and LIRR serving Howard Beach/JFK and maybe Aqueduct Racetrack.

Regardless, I don't know how the spur to Rockaway Park would fit into LIRR re-activation of the subway portions of the Rockaway Beach Branch. It's already a shuttle service for the subway, so I don't know it'd fit into the LIRR again.

I also wonder how much it would actually cost to un-convert the subway portions; I imagine it would be a pittance compared to the disused portions (or the re-connection of the Far Rockaway Branch).
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:36 pm

This exercise reminds me of one gentleman (I use the word loosely) who would materialize at every LIRR public hearing toting armloads of tubes containing maps.

Without regard to the meeting's subject matter, he would use his three minutes to address the distinguished panel about his "proposed extensions of the Long Island Rail Road". He would unroll a giant road map of Long Island and point to countless red and blue crayon lines drawn from and to virtually everywhere.

His presentation would be punctuated by his reaching into his jacket pocket to pull out a handful of lint-entrained lunch meat to munch while presenting.

Oh yes, those were the days.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby Jeff Smith » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:46 pm

I think that skepticism is warranted. I'd just add "I report, you decide". The exercises can be fun, provided we remember they are exercises. These are proposals, nothing more, nothing less, until they get funded. Until then, they are enrichment opportunities for connected consultants.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby workextra » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:03 pm

I've said it before that we have beaten this topic silly over the years.
I'm a supporter for full LIRR re activation due to the fact that it creates more jobs and more work for LIRR.
Compared to the 60 era the branch today would provide a superior service under LIRR then NYCT.
There's ample room and capacity for such service.

Some trains direct to Brooklyn others through to New York. But either way the line can provide faster express service for a little more per ride then the subway.
Though the MTA has done a great job interesting subway mentality at the LIRR. The LIRR still provides a better and smoother, and at times faster ride then the NYCT.
Under the LIRR service from white pot JCT Hamalton Beach would have a minimum 70mph MAS.
With full restoration I don't see why we can't keep it at such right over the bridge until it needs to be slowed down.
The curves at HAMMALS are good for 40mph, not restricted speed. The problem with this will be the design of the bridge NYCT built for subway service and weather or not this bridge can be re engineered for LIRR service .


Out of the following the rockway brand branch is the most likely to be intertained to full reactivation.
A) Whitestone- a necessity either as the No queens extension or as LIRR.
B) CRRLI. Possibly including it's Jamaica bypass"'through northern queens. (Highly doubt this
C) Nassau- West Hempstead connection.
D) MR-PT.
E) Wading River Extension
The above losted projects stand less of a chance then seeing the former rockway beach branch brought back into LIRR

Keep in mind ESA will likely be a century behind time before any of this happens.
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Re: Rockaway Beach Line Reactivation

Postby DogBert » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:04 am

There is the possibility of connecting it to the queens blvd. subway (small provisions were made for it), but this would really add a lot of cost (and probably some building demolition). That subway route is pretty overtaxed as it is at the moment so logistically it wouldn't be a good choice.

The connection to the Atlantic ave branch is still down there - all that is needed is kicking out the school bus lot, removing the fill, and re-installing switches.
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