St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

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St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Silverliner II » Thu Jan 24, 2019 2:13 am

So here's a question.

I've been looking through my set of LIRR schedules, and the map, and noticed something interesting. Why is it that St. Albans station is listed in the West Hempstead branch schedule, is color coded on the system map as a West Hempstead branch stop (blue)... yet no West Hempstead trains appear to stop there?
After a rough scan, and cross-referencing, it appears that all the trains that stop there (as were the two I rode a few years back as well) are Babylon branch trains and train numbers.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Thu Jan 24, 2019 11:35 am

When the Zone Scheduling was introduced in the 1970's, along with color coded branches and timetables, St. Albans and Springfield Gardens were served by a few West Hempstead trains.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:45 pm

S: I will second K&K and mention the LIRR branch timetables began issue with the May 20, 1974
schedule change. I believe both St. Albans and Springfield Gardens (closed 1980; later demolished)
were placed in the West Hempstead TT instead of the Babylon Branch was for exposure with the
limited service offered to both stations during the second half of the 1970s. It made sense to keep
St. Albans in the West Hempstead Branch Timetable since only six stations are covered by this TT.

1-The Babylon Branch Timetable originally covered all stations from Rockville Centre to Patchogue.
The West Hempstead Branch TT would have only five other stations. Including the limited service
at both St. Albans and Springfield Gardens would total seven as compared to the Babylon Branch
timetable initially covering 21 stations. The Babylon Branch Timetable now covers all stations from
Rockville Centre to Babylon. All service at Lynbrook is in the Long Beach Branch Timetable and all
service at Valley Stream is in the Far Rockaway Branch timetable. In 1978 all Babylon-Patchogue
service (Bay Shore through Patchogue) began to be covered in the Eastern Long Island timetable.
Three intermediate Atlantic Branch stations-Locust Manor, Laurelton and Rosedale-are covered in
the Far Rockaway timetable fully.

2-St. Albans main reason for being is the nearby (just W of the station) St. Albans Naval Hospital.
The LIRR has increased service over time to what is offered today: 19 east, 18 west weekdays and
9 trains each way on weekends. In the current schedule four AM Peak trains from WH stop at St.
Albans: #903 at 7:13; #905 at 7:36; #907 at 7:57 and #909 at 8:48. #907 runs to Penn Station
with the other three trains operating to Atlantic Terminal. All eastbound trains are Babylon Branch
service along with all weekend St. Albans service.

3-Routing through West Hempstead Branch trains is easier via the Babylon/Montauk Branch than
the Atlantic Branch routing via Valley Stream because of having to cross over multiple tracks at
Valley Interlocking. Three eastbound through WH trains do stop at Valley Stream weekdays.

Mileage from Long Island City:
Jamaica 9.0
St. Albans 11.8
Springfield Gardens was at 13.0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Albans,_Queens
An overview of the St. Albans section of Queens.

This should all offer insight as to why St. Albans is covered by the West Hempstead Branch TT.

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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Thu Jan 24, 2019 4:20 pm

Just for the sake of historical record, the fellow who placed those stations on the West Hempstead timetable was Art Peterson, who coordinated the printing and design of public timetables. They were printed by Terwilliger Printing in Suffolk County. Today, the railroad prints some of them in their own facility at Hillside.

The "pocket timetables" were produced by TDI, Inc.at no cost to the Railroad. They were printed by a private firm in Lynbrook.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:47 pm

K&K: Thanks for the historical insight concerning LIRR Branch public timetables.

Not to go too off topic I will ask:
1-Was Mr. Peterson behind the color coding that came about with the original design of the LIRR branch timetables in 1974? Was there any specific reason for the choice of colors for each branch?

2-When major changes were made such as the split up of the Eastern Long Island timetable in 1983
creating the Montauk Branch Timetable and including the Greenport service in the Ronkonkoma Br.
timetable was it basically Mr. Peterson's call?
Was it his idea to introduce teal later as the Montauk Branch TT color to replace black?

The LIRR Branch timetables will have now been in use for 45 years this May - this longevity speaks
for itself in these well designed - and very collectible - timetables.

3-The TDI timetables from the "Dashing Dan" and before days of the 50s and 60s were issued four
times per year and were color coded by season: Winter-blue; Spring-brown; Summer-green and
Fall-red. Beginning with the Winter 1968 issues (until May 1975) all TDI timetables were printed
in blue and M-Long Island replaced Dashing Dan. Was there any reason why the TDI timetables
were not Branch line color coded until one year after the Branch timetables were introduced?

Getting back to the topic about St. Albans Station: Placing St. Albans in the West Hempstead TT
was and is a good move since it has been always included in this TT from day one in May 1974.
I do not feel that St. Albans has any kind of identity crisis in this manner. I previously mentioned
instances of stations being included in more than one Branch TT - with little or no problems.

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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Jo24Sam » Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:46 pm

Most westbound travelers DO NOT need to know which branch they are on as all trains go west towards the western terminals. An eastbound traveler DOES need to know when they leave Penn or Brooklyn. A novice traveler will see that their station is on the West Hempstead Branch time table, yet ZERO West Hempstead eastbound stop at St Albans.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Silverliner II » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:12 pm

Jo24Sam wrote:Most westbound travelers DO NOT need to know which branch they are on as all trains go west towards the western terminals. An eastbound traveler DOES need to know when they leave Penn or Brooklyn. A novice traveler will see that their station is on the West Hempstead Branch time table, yet ZERO West Hempstead eastbound stop at St Albans.


That's what threw me off when I was going to Amityville and the train stopped at St. Albans.

Thank you everybody for the historical information behind everything involved. I guess my big thing is that... why not simply have all the actual West Hempstead trains stop there, instead of mainly Babylon trains. I can imagine having to hand a traveler a West Hempstead schedule and telling them "but be sure to board a Babylon train or you won't get there..."

I did not realize a similar situation exists with regards to all the service at Valley Stream and Lynbrook as well...

MACTRAXX wrote:I do not feel that St. Albans has any kind of identity crisis in this manner. I previously mentioned
instances of stations being included in more than one Branch TT - with little or no problems.

MACTRAXX

I only meant identity crisis in the context of being served mainly by one line, but only being shown in another line's schedule, as opposed to it being shown in both schedules, and only the actual trains stopping there being shown in each line's respective schedule, as you mention with regard to stations being included in more than one branch TT, which is done as a norm everywhere else anyway.
"*BEEEEEP!!!* Three-Three! Three! No Alarms!"
(announcement from CN hotbox/dragging equipment detector, Milepost 33, track #3, Oakville Subdivision)
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Thu Jan 24, 2019 9:32 pm

Mac, I'll try to answer your historic questions to the best of my memory.

1 -- I don't believe Art Peterson chose the branch colors; he was too far down the chain of command to make that decision. He worked for a gentleman named Don Eislie, who was technically responsible for this type of work though the color coding arrangement was probably at least approved at a higher level. It possibly came from the MTA or from a design consultant who was hired at the time to create a unified graphics standard for the MTA railroads. Another fellow involved in the early MTA timetable design was Robert LaRosa. Both fellows worked in the Operations and Service Planning Department, with several other railroaders whose names are familiar today.

The color coded branches were part of the zone fare and scheduling scheme which was developed by that department. I believe Bob Sturm was one of the developers of these schedules which were designed to distribute loading, facilitate fare collection and permit 80MPH schedule speeds from the M-1 equipment.

2 -- Again, the decision to split or combine timetables would have been bantered about the department. I'm not sure where the ideas originated, but they would filter down or up the chain of command and Art Peterson would be stuck with the implementation and making the ideas work on paper and see them through the printing process.

3 -- Prior to the mid-1970's Public Relations representative Don Malone did a lot of design work for the railroad. You can see his cartoons and drawings on all sorts of ads and posters from the 1960's - 1970's era. He was a talented artist and so he was tasked with anything needing this skill. He had some input into timetable design during that early MTA and late LIRR era.

The TDI timetables were originally printed in a single color, going back many years. Terminal Display Advertising Corp. had an arrangement with the railroad to supply and deliver the timetables free of charge in exchange for their selling the advertising and keeping the revenue. When the Railroad began color coding the branches, TDI's agreement did not account for the cost of ink color changes and press wash-up between color changes, and they asked the railroad to pay the added cost. It took several years before the railroad relented and agreed to the $1000 + color ink charges. Only then were the pocket timetables printed in different branch colors. That's difficult to imagine in an age with $20 million consultant contracts, but at the time the railroad had little money and everything was done to economize spending.

I hope this gives some insight into the public timetable production from those early MTA years.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:37 pm

S: What makes the St. Albans branch identification situation interesting is just how far west on the
Babylon/Montauk Branch that St. Albans is from the actual beginning point of the West Hempstead
Branch at Valley Interlocking (16.2 to 11.8 miles from LIC - 4.2 miles) which is just 4/10 of a mile
shorter than the actual distance of the entire WH Branch from Valley to WH at 4.6 miles.

LIRR Branch timetables showing service at Lynbrook and Valley Stream do have notes mentioning
where complete service information can be found. Lynbrook service is shown in both the Babylon
and Long Beach Branch Timetable - the LB timetable shows all Lynbrook service. Valley Stream is
listed in the West Hempstead (for WH shuttle trains and through trains W/a VS stop), Long Beach
and Far Rockaway Branch timetables with the FR timetable showing all VS service.

K&K: Thanks for the reply about LIRR Branch and TDI timetables.
The next time I am at RMLI Riverhead I am going to take a further look at the LIRR Branch and TDI timetables that they have in their collection especially those from the first five years of the Branch
timetable issues 1974-1978 along with the TDI timetables from the same years. I am especially
interested in what they have for the West Hempstead Branch from back then...

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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Kelly&Kelly » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:54 pm

The St. Albans stops were added to Babylon trains for hospital employees to commute to the VA Hospital from the Montauk Branch. At the time, they were virtually the only people using the station.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Backshophoss » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:49 am

There was a time while the West Hempstead branch was allowed to rust on the weekends(NO train service).
St Albans was the only station that had a connection to a local bus route to West Hempstead.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:22 am

Backshophoss wrote:There was a time while the West Hempstead branch was allowed to rust on the weekends(NO train service).
St Albans was the only station that had a connection to a local bus route to West Hempstead.

BSH: 1-Yes...There was no weekend service to West Hempstead for a time in recent years.
Weekend West Hempstead service is a Valley Stream-WH shuttle train operating every two hours.

2-St. Albans - being that it is in the Borough of Queens - is served by the Q4 NYC Transit bus route
from Jamaica. This bus ends at the NYC/Nassau County boundary at 235 Street/Linden Boulevard.

West Hempstead - in Nassau County - is served by NICE Bus (Nassau Inter County Express)
route N6 operating between Jamaica and Hempstead. The N6 is the busiest bus route in the NICE
system with 24 hour service and limited stop 6X runs between the two terminals. The Hempstead
Bus Terminal is adjacent to the Hempstead LIRR Station.

For the record NICE Bus routes N31/32 runs between Hempstead and Far Rockaway paralleling
both the West Hempstead and Far Rockaway Branches by way of Lynbrook which is the closest
bus route(s) to these stations. For further Nassau County bus information: http://www.nicebus.com

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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby BAR » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:00 am

The St. Albans Navy Hospital used to receive steam coal at a siding on the west side of the St. Albans station.

St. Albans was the starting point of my first solo train trip. In 1949 I travelled from St. Albans to Wantagh to visit a friend. It was a bid deal to me even though only 14.8 miles.

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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Teutobergerwald » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:52 pm

The elevated spur for the St. Albans V.A. Hospital is still visible, from Baisley Blvd., looking north as one drives west on Baisley Blvd.
Searching for the eagles of the XVII,XVIII & XIX Legions in Germania.
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Re: St. Albans - The Identity Crisis Station?

Postby Union Tpke » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:36 am

MACTRAXX wrote:S: I will second K&K and mention the LIRR branch timetables began issue with the May 20, 1974
schedule change. I believe both St. Albans and Springfield Gardens (closed 1980; later demolished)
were placed in the West Hempstead TT instead of the Babylon Branch was for exposure with the
limited service offered to both stations during the second half of the 1970s. It made sense to keep
St. Albans in the West Hempstead Branch Timetable since only six stations are covered by this TT.

1-The Babylon Branch Timetable originally covered all stations from Rockville Centre to Patchogue.
The West Hempstead Branch TT would have only five other stations. Including the limited service
at both St. Albans and Springfield Gardens would total seven as compared to the Babylon Branch
timetable initially covering 21 stations. The Babylon Branch Timetable now covers all stations from
Rockville Centre to Babylon. All service at Lynbrook is in the Long Beach Branch Timetable and all
service at Valley Stream is in the Far Rockaway Branch timetable. In 1978 all Babylon-Patchogue
service (Bay Shore through Patchogue) began to be covered in the Eastern Long Island timetable.
Three intermediate Atlantic Branch stations-Locust Manor, Laurelton and Rosedale-are covered in
the Far Rockaway timetable fully.

2-St. Albans main reason for being is the nearby (just W of the station) St. Albans Naval Hospital.
The LIRR has increased service over time to what is offered today: 19 east, 18 west weekdays and
9 trains each way on weekends. In the current schedule four AM Peak trains from WH stop at St.
Albans: #903 at 7:13; #905 at 7:36; #907 at 7:57 and #909 at 8:48. #907 runs to Penn Station
with the other three trains operating to Atlantic Terminal. All eastbound trains are Babylon Branch
service along with all weekend St. Albans service.

3-Routing through West Hempstead Branch trains is easier via the Babylon/Montauk Branch than
the Atlantic Branch routing via Valley Stream because of having to cross over multiple tracks at
Valley Interlocking. Three eastbound through WH trains do stop at Valley Stream weekdays.

Mileage from Long Island City:
Jamaica 9.0
St. Albans 11.8
Springfield Gardens was at 13.0

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Albans,_Queens
An overview of the St. Albans section of Queens.

This should all offer insight as to why St. Albans is covered by the West Hempstead Branch TT.

MACTRAXX


Thanks for the informative posts. I had wondered about this for some time.
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