Long Island Rail Road HELP

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

Moderator: Liquidcamphor

Long Island Rail Road HELP

Postby MBTA Railfan » Sun Apr 18, 2004 10:01 am


I am refining a trip to New England and I want to take a day to check out the Long Island RR. Right now I am slated to spend 3 days in Mystic Ct and I am looking at taking a ferry over to Long Island and then going from there.

I read Hicksville is good but I am looking for suggestions.

I want to see the EMU's and the Bi levels

Currently our plan is this.

Taking the ferry to Orient Point from New London, driving to the Greenport station Catching the 1141 inbound. I kow I have to change trains and eventually get off at Hicksville. Then spend an hour or two there and return the same way.

Any ideas suggestions? Is Hicksville station a safe area? Any other advice.

Thanks in advance!

MBTA Railfan

Postby Nasadowsk » Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:24 am

Hicksville is a safe place, IMHO. Just don't act like a tourist :) It's quite busy, and always cops and other people around.

From Greenport, you'll take a DD to Ronkonkoma and change to an EMU train. Might be M-1/3 cars, or the new M-7s. Hicksville isn't a bad place to get off, though it's an elevated station, thus the platform area's the only real viewing spot.

Mineola is ground level, and in a nicer (and very safe) area. There's plenty of delis and other places to eat within walking distance. There's also the overhead bridge over the tracks (you might be able to see off it, I haven't tried in a long time), and a number of grade crossings. You'll see a mix of frequent electric, and diesel action, and possibly a freight, depending on the day/time.

If you arrive durring the rush hour, expect to see LOTS of trains. Weekdays, you'll see a few an hour durring the day.

The stationhouse is nice (and open - snag a schedule there - not all Ronkonkoma trains stop there, though I think off peak they do).

You could go all the way to Jamacia, but it's a ratty area (still, but much safer than years ago), and the station itself is a mess now because of the rebuild. You'll see more trains than you can imagine there, though.

I always liked Mineola, though.

Other hints:

As always, stay off the tracks!

If you hear the tracks 'clicking' a bit, it means there's probbably an electric comming in a minute or two.

The electrics may arc a bit as they leave the station eastbound and go through Nassau interlocking. This is normal.

Some trains don't stop at Mineola, so stand back at the platform.

The track is straight in both directions, so you'll be able to see trains comming long before they arrive, but you might get surprised by an Oyster Bay train. Despite the third rail, you'll only see diesels comming around the curve at Nassau.

There's always passenger traffic at Mineola - it's quite busy.

Don't buy you ticket on the train unless you're loaded with money.

Ronkonkoma offers nothing but views of parking lots. Change trains there.
Posts: 3881
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:45 pm

Postby emfinite » Sun Apr 18, 2004 11:37 am

Mineola would be my pick for railfanning. If you come on a Saturday, you may be able to see the New York & Atlantic freight train on the main line (working between Ronkonkoma and Mineola).

Word of advice - If you see any MTA police in the area and if you are photographing trains, put the camera away for the time being or change spots. The MTA police can be pretty strict about it and I would hate it if they ruined your trip.

If you need to know any good photographic locations, email me (emfinite_at_optonline.net) and I'll let you know a few of my favorite spots.

Good luck with everything & may your trains be on time!

Posts: 979
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:25 pm
Location: Crew Dispatcher's Discretion

Postby MBTA Railfan » Sun Apr 18, 2004 1:06 pm

Thank You all for the advice!!!!!

I am now leaning that way and I am still working out the details of the trip. I plan on carrying my copy of the rules permitting photos and also I have EmergencyServices ID plus I am always low key in my photography. My G/F also goes with me and shoots too.

As said I am working out the details and now considering checking out of Mystic early and just staying on Long Island that night then continuing on my trip.

Any good hotels nearby?

And I am also open for any other ideas.

MBTA Railfan

Postby MBTA Railfan » Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:07 pm

Well an update..

First looking through these forums I have to say you all so far are the best resource for LIRR info I have come across.

My plans have changed now what we plan to do is take the ferry to orient point and drive across Long Island all day long stopping at stations here and there egtting shots.

Mineola is certainly on my list, any others that I can park at resonably will be appreciated.

Thanks again

MBTA Railfan

Postby emfinite » Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:20 pm

Fresh Pond is a good spot to pass too (not necessarily for photographs). You can check out from the front gate what is going on in the yard. You might want to take a trip up and down the Lower Montauk branch looking for freight action if you are going on a weekday or Saturday, but you should definitely get a map of the area first. A little trip out to manual block territory wouldn't hurt either if that is your thing. You could definitely make a day out of railfanning on Long Island.

Posts: 979
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:25 pm
Location: Crew Dispatcher's Discretion

Postby NIMBYkiller » Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:20 pm

Since you are taking your own copy of the rules, I wont have to tell you to not just give in when a cop says photography is illegal, cuz you know it's not.

Mineola is definately a place you may want to spend some extra time at. My favorite spot there is at the pedestrian crossing on the other side of the tracks from the Nassau Tower. Be sure to stay behind the gates when they come down though, cuz sparks fly like mad when electrics roll through. Watch for anything flying around underneath the trains. Had a close call yesterday with a big piece of cardboard caught bouncing around under the train(luckily it was just cardboard).

Another good vantage point would be the staircases for the pedestrian walkway over the tracks.

Some other stations that may be worth a visit:

Hicksville(sometimes an idling Port Jeff train waiting for connections)

Jamaica(rail madness. All lines except for the Port Washington roll through here. Plus, Airtrain is there too).

Woodside(all lines except for Atlantic Av and LIC trains via lower montauk).

Hunterspoint Av(right at the tunnel entrance. You'll see Amtrak, Acela, New Jersey Transit, LIRR NYP bound and LIRR LIC bound trains. If you go onto street level, you can see the 7 line trains comming in and out of their tunnel).

Babylon may offer some action. Electrics come in fairly frequently, and every few hours are the montauk trains that are diesel

If I were you, I'd drive to Babylon for some pictures, then drive to Mineola and park there(do you need a permit to park there?) and then just take the train around from there. Just double check with the schedules and all.
Posts: 1397
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:24 pm
Location: Port Washington

Postby emfinite » Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:05 pm

On the subject of Jamaica... You'll see many unusual movements including work trains, rail/tie trains, and equipment moves (dead engines, broken cars, etc). I was there today and saw the rail train parked east of the station and saw MP15 #170 dragging a dead DE30 #400 up over into Dunton. There is also lots of construction where you may see some MP15s dragging cars around the platforms.

Posts: 979
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:25 pm
Location: Crew Dispatcher's Discretion

Don't forget Valley Railroad in Essex, CT

Postby scopelliti » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:27 am

Don't forget to visit the Valley Railroad in Essex CT (just down the road from Mystic). One neat thing they offer is "Your hand on the throttle" - a one hour class on steam locomotive operation followed by each (of four students to a class) student taking one hour in a real steam engine (I got the Mikado when I took the course a year ago). Just you, the instructor and a fireman. Quite neat. :D See http://www.valleyrr.com/
User avatar
Posts: 526
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:35 pm
Location: Big Flats, NY

Photo shots

Postby bingdude » Mon Apr 19, 2004 2:07 pm

You will see a good deal of everything if you drive and stop.

Out on the East, LIRR is a rural RR, with manual block rules.

If you can get to Patchogue and meet an Eastbound, you can see the block operator hand the forms to the train crew the old fashioned way (with a loop).

Mineola is good to see for the amount of traffic, and some full speed run-bys (track speed is FRA Max).

If you are around Jamaica on Saturday or Sunday, the Perini Construction crew (and their PERX flat cars). LIRR assigns some MP-15s for this; they sit in the station while the new station roof parts are lifted from the PERXs.

Springtime is also tie/rail replacement time, and the LIRR has its own rail train, which someone on this list can tell you where to find.

Ronkonkoma station is just a bigger version of your Riverside Green Line station, but you can get a glimpse of the MU yard by driving just East of the station.

There is more than enough to see. Be safe and enjoy it.
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 4:40 pm
Location: Hastings on Hudson NY

Postby LIengineerBob » Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:33 pm

Hey Joe....Don't forget about the PROTECT ENGINES if hes in Jamaica at the right time!!!
User avatar
Posts: 435
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 2:22 pm

Postby JoeLIRR » Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:39 am

what time do the project sw1001's come through Jamaca. Do they have a set time or is it at radom.

LIengineerBob, do u operate the project engines

(to bad project herold will not spread to some other equpt) maby an MP15
It would be nice for a change to get away from the blue and yellow :wink:

Postby emfinite » Tue Apr 20, 2004 12:32 pm


How could I forget?!

If you are in Jamaica on a weekday, hang out on the last platform by tracks 9 & 10 around 9:30-10:15am and you will see the Harold protect engines come back from the morning shift. The engines will make a reverse move into Dunton. The engineer will change ends so there is a good minute or two for a photo.

You will have to wake up really early to see them depart Jamaica in the early AM. Between 5:45 and 6:00am the engines will come into the station on track 6 and switch over to the main-line to get to Harold.

Posts: 979
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:25 pm
Location: Crew Dispatcher's Discretion

Return to Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: nyandw and 7 guests