Rockaway Beach Branch - Historical Operations

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

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Rockaway Beach Branch - Historical Operations

Postby Retroboy » Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:03 pm

is the old row still owned by the Lirr? or is it now a lipa/keyspan type of thing?
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Postby GP38 » Wed Sep 15, 2004 11:20 pm

In the 50's the LIRR sold the ROW to the NYC Transit Authority. Originally, they were going to take over the entire ROW, but since limited funds were available, they only did it from the Liberty El, however did own the whole ROW.
Of course eventually, the MTA took over both the LIRR and the NYCTA. IINM, I think I remember hearing that currently the City of New York or NY State owns the ROW, not LIPA or something like that.
An interesting note is that since the subway was to take over the entire Rockaway ROW, the line was never "officially" abandoned when the LIRR stopped operations in 1962. That is why the tracks and third rail were never pulled up. It was never "officially" abandoned, just put "out of service".
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Postby jayrmli » Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:48 am

Originally, when the line was sold to the City of New York, the plan was to run the subway all the way to White Pot and connect with the Queens Boulevard subway line. However, due to the cost of the project, the line was cut in to the elevated Liberty Avenue Line in Ozone Park instead.

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Postby NIMBYkiller » Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:37 pm

Wow....so the line's not even abandonned. Oh boy. I can't wait til they use this against the NIMBYs should they try to re-open it for some sorta rail use.

I still think LIRR would do best with the line, but subway on it really is lookin like a smarter idea.
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Postby Dave Keller » Thu Sep 16, 2004 1:46 pm

I understand the ROW has been severed in several locations by housing projects and the wooden trestle over the Montauk branch near the old Glendale Junction was burned and destroyed about 35 years ago.

Is the underjump at Whitepot Junction still there or has it been filled in to keep "bad stuff" from happening under the bridge?

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Postby krispy » Thu Sep 16, 2004 4:23 pm

If you don't already know about it, snoop around the libraries for a copy of Herbert George's Change at Ozone Park, which is an excellent book about that branch. See also oldnyc.com for a present day glimpse. Other things may be found with a good googling.

The line from the TA to Whitepot Jct. was railbanked by the MTA for use for the Airtrain up until the late '90s when local opposition in a select neighborhood, politics and economics intervened to create what is seen today (JFK to Jamaica). The original intent was to use the Rockaway Beach from Aquaduct to Whitepot and then create a new r.o.w. to LGA and then possibly to Manhattan. The law that created the surcharge that airports used to hit you with mandated that the funds be used in a certain time and unfortunately it did not come to pass.

It's an impressive tribute to the ambition of the LIRR in the twenties and thirties, to have a elevated 2/4 track r.o.w. only to abandon it less than 3 decades later...
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Postby Frank » Thu Sep 16, 2004 7:37 pm

Is there any chance of the Rockaway ROW being reactivated as an elevated subway line?
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:42 pm

It wouldn't really need to be elevated. Any section that crosses streets I'm pretty sure already is elevated, and the at grade parts don't cross anything but grass.
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Interesting note

Postby dukeoq » Thu Sep 16, 2004 8:48 pm

This may be what would be called Urban Legand, but I had heard that shortly after the Ozone Secondary had been oficially put out of service in 1962 a work train was dispatched to Ozone Park to work from there to Whitepot Jct to pull up rails.
They didn't get too far before TA police came and arrested the conductor for trespassing and whatever else they could charge him with for messing with NYCTA property.
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Postby UpperHarlemLine4ever » Fri Sep 17, 2004 1:26 am

Just a little note about aparment buildings on the right of way. These buildings built parking lots on the right of way without the consent of the MTA. It is very similar to what happened in Bronxville on Metro North. The original right-of-way there was suppose to be four tracks and was graded as such by the New York Central. Unfortunately, they never built four tracks, only two. As the years went by, homeowners back yards encroached on to the railroad's property. This stayed this way for many years until recently Metro North decided to install a third track. All the homeowners along the right of way lost large sections of their back yards which they didn't own in the first place. It is the same situation on the Rockaway Branch. NIMBY's won that battle but the war's not over yet.
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Rockaway Branch connection to the IND

Postby BMT » Fri Sep 17, 2004 8:00 am

So, now I know why there's a start of a turn-out in the tunnel wall between 63rd Drive and 67th Ave. on the Queens Blvd. IND line that I notice whenever I'm on the R or V trains (locals).
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Postby mkm4 » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:11 am

Dave Keller wrote:Is the underjump at Whitepot Junction still there or has it been filled in to keep "bad stuff" from happening under the bridge?

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The openings are filled in but the tunnel is still there.
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Fri Sep 17, 2004 2:36 pm

Don't the openings just have a wooden board over them?

Oh, and the whole encroachment thing, it also happened in NJ with the M&E. Fortunately, M&E won.
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Postby JoeLIRR » Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:25 pm

I beleve the underjump is still accessable from the south side of the ROW, I herd that the underjump was filled in on the north side w/ a concrete wall. how ever with today technology, it would not be that difficuly of a project to re errect the rockaway beach branch for either NYCT/LIRR use and or maby go as far as a joint line used by LIRR and the NYCTA.

all in all this is NY and NIMBYS most likely will win w/this one. besides, it will not happen in out life time, tho I would like to see otherwise.
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Website for LIRR Rockaway Branch

Postby Tony Tantillo » Fri Sep 17, 2004 11:29 pm

Here iare two websites that have a fairly recent "tours" of the old right of way.

http://www.oldnyc.com/rockaway/contents/rockaway.html

http://www.forgotten-ny.com/SUBWAYS/Rockaway%20Line/rockline.html
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