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 Question?

Postby pennsy » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:12 pm

The IND of the NYC subway system probably is responsible for the Rockaways becoming a year round home instead of just a summer vacation home. The trains ran far more frequently, and had easy connections to the jobs in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby LongIslandTool » Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:25 pm

Oh yes, and the people of Rockaway also credit the IND Subway with their town becoming a slum.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby No Rule G For Me » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:42 am

Im sure tool remembers in the 70's there was a proposal to let the number 7 line run to Port Washington, and the people who lived in Great Neck and east went crazy for the same reason.. :wink:
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby railfaned » Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:51 am

LongIslandTool wrote:Triboro Coach Company operated the Woodside-Rockaway line as long back as the early '40's or late '30's. The company was owned by the Cooper family who also owned Green Bus and Jamaica Bus lines.


In the summer months, Triboro used to fill-up one bus, then pull another up to start loading up, as it was a really popular line. I guess NYC really wanted to put the LIRR out of Rockaway, as they granted all the bus franchises. Maybe the city or the bus company wanted the bridge to burn down for their own reasons, money, real estate or the rockaway branch itself. Since the bus line still exists, I guess they will never extend the subway up to whitepot. Thanks guys for the responses!!!
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby LongIslandTool » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:53 am

An entire book can be written on the abandonment of the Rockaway line.

Around 1910, the LIRR offered joint subway service there via the Chestnut Street Connection, running rapid transit trains from the Brooklyn Bridge every few minutes. Trolleys shared the tracks with steam trains and the LIRR's first MU's also served the branch.

Later years brought the daylight cars, unlit MP54 trailers that could handle the crowds. For decades the community lobbied for rapid transit. Through the 20's and 30's even a monorail was proposed.

But many changes were occurring. The trestle, built in 1880 was falling apart and an accelerated rate and the cost of repairing it was soaring. The Public Service Commission was denying every request for a fare increase beginning in 1914 or so. The Long Island Rail Road was flat out broke, and Rockaway wasn't helping, as ridership was dipping.

By the time the 1950's came around, much of the summer business was gone. Changing habits of vacationers -- the introduction of the automobile and of workplace vacation as well as the advent of air travel made vacation to far away places a reality for the working guy. The introduction of wide scale air conditioning made the need for escape to the beaches less pressing. Ninety year old summer housing had seen better days and was starting to show its age. Summer residents were replaced with year round poor renters and the Rockaway branch settled into serving as more of a commutter operation than the summer goldmine it had been in the 'teens and 'twenties.

When the final trestle fire occurred, talks had already been underway with the Transit Commission for two decades to cede the line to the NY Transit System. The elevated stations had been designed for subway fare collection in 1940. When the bridge finally burned down, we'll bet the LIRR receiver uttered "Thank God".

The removal of the Rockaway Branch by fire revealed a financial burden that the LIRR could not succeed in doing through the courts of Public Service Commission. They were finally free of a huge money-sucking entity.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby keyboardkat » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:29 pm

Couldn't have said it better, Tool, but just one correction. The joint BMT-LIRR rapid transit service ran from Chambers Street in Manhattan, via the Williamsburgh Bridge and the Broadway-Brooklyn line, to the Chestnut Street connection.

Even as late as the end of WWII, the PSC held fares to 1918 levels, and expected the LIRR to maintain decent service on that. This may have amounted to unconstitutional confiscation of private property. The PSC and its counterparts in other states was largely responsible for the physical deterioration of railroad passenger service and ultimate bankruptcy of the passenger roads. At least the State of New York showed some enlightened intelligence with the 1954 Railroad Redevelopment Act, which relieved the LIRR of taxation, allowed fares to rise to the breakeven point, financed the purchase of new rolling stock, and ushered in the railroad's glory days.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby LongIslandTool » Mon Dec 28, 2009 2:48 pm

Thanks for the Korrection, Kat. That must have been some trip for those crowded masses from Chambers Street to Rockaway Park.

The horrible part is that the NY Railroad Redevelopment Act grew out of the horrendous wrecks of 1950. Without the blood on their hands the state probably never would have provided that relief.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby pennsy » Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:09 pm

Anyone also remember waiting, really waiting, for the Rockaway train you needed at the Broad Channel station ? I even took the time to carry a pair of binoculars with me to watch the planes landing and taking off from JFK airport, then it was Idlewilde. Sometimes you could see the smile on the pilot's face.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby timz » Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:13 pm

keyboardkat wrote:Even as late as the end of WWII, the PSC held fares to 1918 levels
They held monthly-weekly ticket prices at the 1918 level. I'll check, but I think they allowed single-ride tickets to rise some.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby jhdeasy » Mon Jan 04, 2010 9:21 pm

LongIslandTool wrote:An entire book can be written on the abandonment of the Rockaway line.


Indeed, a book has been written on the railroad to the Rockaways. "Change at Ozone Park" by Herbert George, RAE Publishing, 1993. I was lucky enough to get a nice copy last year. Very well written, some maps, track diagrams, lots of photos with good informative captions, etc. A valued addition to my small library of railroad books.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby robertwa » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:50 am

Here's an aerial view of the Chestnut St. connection from 1924. I think it was finally torn down during WWII for the metal.
Image

Here's the connection with the BMT (Photo from the East NY Project)

Image

And here's the connection with the LIRR on Atlantic Ave (Ziel photo)

Image

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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby pennsy » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:40 am

Yup, that is how I remember it.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby keyboardkat » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:37 pm

So that's what it looked like. And of course, the BMT and LIRR had different third rail heights, so MU cars used for this service had the Boyd moveable third-rail shoe mounting, which was activated by a stationary cam mounted on a crosstie in line with the third rail, somewhere on the elevated structure between the LIRR and the BMT. I'd like to see a picture of that. I've seen a drawing of the moveable shoe mount.
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Re: Rockaway Question?

Postby LongIslandTool » Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:56 am

I believe Seyfried's Volume 5 has a photograph. He was around back then.
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Mile post on the Rockaway Beach line.

Postby BobLI » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:01 am

While looking out the window on the A train heading north bound (brooklyn bound) leaving North Conduit/Aqueduct, I spotted a LIRR milepost on the west side of the tracks a bit north of the Rockaway bound platform. It sure does look like a LIRR Milepost with the number 10 on it, judging by the distance from Ozone Park which was MP 9. Milepost looks 4 sided with a point on top.
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