"B" Tower is in shambles! Please read...

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"B" Tower is in shambles! Please read...

Postby emfinite » Sun May 16, 2004 4:57 pm

Hi all,

I recently started riding my bike again to "B" Tower right next to Beth Interlocking between Bethpage and Farmingdale. About three weeks ago, the tower was broken into (the piece of plywood that blocked the doorway was kicked down) and the insides were trashed. Chairs, air conditioners, papers, lights, glass, tables and everything imaginable were thrown out of the windows. There are fresh cans of empty spray paint all around and there is also fresh graffiti on all facades of the building.

Does the railroad take any notice to this at all? The fence adjacent to the bicycle path, that runs to Bethpage State Park, was cut through maybe 5 years ago and it has been the same ever since. Kids go there at night to do drugs and drink as evident by the dozens and dozens of broken 40 oz. bottles and Budweiser cans all over the lot.

I usually hear an incident once a month where a train calls into 204 reporting kids on the tracks monkeying around. Last summer, a group of kids put a long metal stretch ladder across the switch for the Central branch and an eastbound Speonk train hit it and it got stuck between the engine and the first car tearing apart MU hoses and brake lines.

I would really like to help do something about this and maybe volunteer some of my time to build some new fence, paint the building, or just clean up the area. I hate seeing it like this, it's just getting worse and worse.

Would the railroad do an "Adopt-a-Tower" thing if we got a large enough group of people to come and fix it up? It's only to their benefit, so I don't see why not. We are all a knowledgable group of people here and I think most of us would be more then willing to lend a bit of free time to help preserve this beautiful spot. There's no reason in the railroad's eyes to keep the tower standing and it's not like they will ever be using it again. But there are railfans who care! Why not let a bunch of people who share an interest in railroading it take care of it and maintain it?

If anyone feels the same way as me, please share your opinions. Next time I ride up to the tower, I will take a few photos to illustrate my point of the tower being in shambles.

Thanks,
Joe
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Postby LI Loco » Sun May 16, 2004 9:52 pm

Sad to read about B Tower being neglected, when it deserves to be preserved. Supposedly, Robert Moses had state park commission architects design the structure because he was unhappy with the standard PRR facility the LIRR planned to erect on the site, which happens to be within the boundaries of Bethpage State Park.
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Postby CLiner2005 » Mon May 17, 2004 12:18 am

Joe:

Makes you wonder about a hot button topic of late - railroad security. I agree with you, occurences like this need to be addressed immediately and forcibly. If this - and other - property is not secured and cleaned-up, it will continue to be trashed. Being away from the area, is the "tagging" of railroad property on L.I. confined to abandoned/unused facilities or does it also include active facilities such as stations etc? Seems like the railroad is quite vulnerable. At least the railfans are being watched. :wink:
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Postby Dave Keller » Mon May 17, 2004 9:31 am

The path of the soon to be constructed Bethpage State Parkway would have gone right through the old wooden tower location, so the old tower was razed and the current one built further east.

The story of the architecture being handled by the State Park Commission sounds legit. Just look at that building! Nothing to compare with on the LIRR. Looks like something that could be found on the old NYW&B in Westchester!

Here she is in happier days sporting Keystone-shaped call letter sign and semaphore arms on the signal bridge! PRR K4s #5406 is whipping westbound.

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Postby JoeLIRR » Mon May 17, 2004 9:37 am

UMMM, why do they have to watch us, when is seems like there more vandles that seem to rarely get hasssled, but the we here it when taking a pic. :wink:

Joe:
if i get some free time this summer I defffenitly agree with an "adopt a tower/ (railroad facility)" program i think ti will be a winner.. im pple can adopt a strech on highway i think can posibily adopt a strech of live/abandon ROW. "B" will be looking better thn when new when we get done w/her.

i got some spare lumber bhind my garage that can be used to do a temp job on the fence

tho nothing will STOP "determined" vandles.
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Postby SeldenJrFireman » Mon May 17, 2004 1:58 pm

I like the idea Joe. We all seem to have a place that we roam. You have the B tower area and farmingdale covered, Bad Neighbor has part of the south shore and the rest hang out in their respective places. Vandelism like this can be stopped if the LIRR came to an agreement with a group of us that we will provide a look-out over some areas in exchange for taking pictures unhassled. If you do get the OK to fix the tower, Let me know and I'll help.
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Postby emfinite » Mon May 17, 2004 2:48 pm

Guys, I will type up a letter and mail it to the railroad suggesting that a group of people, very interested in railroading and the history of this railroad, would like to preserve and help maintain the physical appearence of the tower and surrounding area. I'll see what type of response I get, if any, and we can move from there. If you are interested in helping, please let me know.

If anyone has historical shots around "B" Tower and Beth Interlocking that may aid in the physical restoration, please post your photographs. Dave, thanks for that one you've already posted. Your photographs are what keeps LIRR history alive.

Thanks,
Joe
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Postby Dave Keller » Mon May 17, 2004 2:59 pm

If you are able to get the railroad to donate the tower to you, and agree to leave it where it is you have a whole avenue open ahead of you:

After you aethestically restore the tower, (I'm sure structurally it is still fine) use it as a vantage point from which to photograph the LIRR in that area!

Think of the terrific shots one could get from those large, upper side windows! Also, weather would be no problem. You could photograph in the rain, in the cold, winter weather, etc. and be indoors while doing so.

Also, there would be no danger of a photographer being on or near the rails. Sort of like some of those viewing platforms installed by various railroads across the nation for photographers.

With the interior staircase, you just need to install a security door with alarm and provide access to only those members of the tower restoration group and/or railfan/historical society and their guests!

You will just have to fence in the tower area so the fence is sufficiently far enough away from the structure to eliminate defacing and to discourage throwing of rocks, etc.

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Postby 9C1LT1 » Mon May 17, 2004 4:30 pm

Excellent Idea Joe!!! I have an e-mail of someone on the LIRR who could I think could probably help you. Just let me know if you want it. Next Saturday with clear weather, I'm there!!!

-Barry
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Postby emfinite » Mon May 17, 2004 9:15 pm

I'll most definitely be there if the weather is nice and also providing the stone train runs like we talked about. If you want, take the train to Farmingdale and I'll come get you at the station. I'll drive over to the bike path and we can walk the rest of the way to the tower. Drop me an email Barry...
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Postby CLiner2005 » Mon May 17, 2004 11:39 pm

If it comes to pass that a deal can be worked-out with LIRR management that will make "B" Tower available as a restoration project, I will be more than willing to make a donation to assist in this venture. Distance prevents me from contributing physical participation in this very interesting idea - therefore my offer to assist with a modest financial gift.

I recall passing "B" Tower many, many times when all train movements were either steam or diesel powered - and the tower was active.

Just a thought - if a positive response is received from LIRR, perhaps RMLI, NRHS (Sunrise Trail & Twin Forks Chapters) might want to become involved.

I'll be looking forward to see where this goes. Thanks for your efforts.
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Postby Jersey_Mike » Tue May 18, 2004 1:15 am

I was under the impression that B tower was in use by the Bethpage police department.

About three weeks ago, the tower was broken into (the piece of plywood that blocked the doorway was kicked down) and the insides were trashed. Chairs, air conditioners, papers, lights, glass, tables and everything imaginable were thrown out of the windows. There are fresh cans of empty spray paint all around and there is also fresh graffiti on all facades of the building.


Did you get any interrior photographs when the tower was open?
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Postby Lupo 10 » Tue May 18, 2004 8:15 am

Cliner, you beat me to it.

Joe, I think you may stand a better chance with the MTA if you were backed by one of the established groups. RMLI, Twin Forks, Sunrise Trail and Friends of Locomotive 35 should be used as your window into the MTA. All the groups already have working relationships with the railroad and liability insurance and other legalities are already covered. Rather than approach the MTA as a group of railfans I think you should approach one of these groups first.

I for one think its a great idea. I can't speak for Twin Forks right now(which I represent on these boards) but I will certainly bring it up to them and see if there's interest.

I will say this...if none of the groups are interested I would sincerely doubt its because they think its a bad idea. It would be because they already have too many projects in queue. But you should approach them first and foremost.

You already have contacts at RMLI (Jay and Don are probably reading this) and you can go to Steve Torborg at Friends of 35 and Ben Young at Sunrise Trail.
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Postby NIMBYkiller » Tue May 18, 2004 10:10 am

Hey Joe, count me in as far as renovating it. Like others said, that would be the primo railfan hangout. Hell, we could get a lock and give everyone who wants to railfan there a key so they can go in at any time.
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Postby emfinite » Tue May 18, 2004 12:42 pm

Guys,

Thank you all for your help so far. I am glad that you all are being so supportive. Joe, I got your email today and I will send a response soon. Bobby, I got your email, too and just sent a response.

I'm not so much looking at this to be a 'railfan hangout', because I am quite skeptical about the railroad letting us do that (it is their turf and they do pay taxes, right?), but my initial thought was to just renovate it and restore the appearance it to what it looked like when it was still in use. Sure, the railfan hangout is a great idea and when we get things going, we will include that possibility in our letter to the MTA, but I say for now just concentrate on restoration. I also understand that things like this take a long while to get approved. Everyone should be patient with it. I introduced the idea fairly quickly and people jumped on it even quicker, but it will definitely take a while.

Thanks,
Joe
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