HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS!

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

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Postby MACTRAXX » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:57 pm

BHL: There IS a brochure and other info-I have them on file in the LIRR Ephemera at NRHS National. For the January 2008 LIST Semaphore I mailed Pete Lenz a copy of the three-week interim schedule 12/28/87 to 1/17/88
and the full electrified schedule effective 1/18/88. I mailed a copy of the Newsday article dated 12/29/87 also. Along with a small write-up by me.
It will run in the January 2008 Semaphore. MACTRAXX
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Ronkonkoma Electrification Project Web Photo page

Postby nyandw » Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:28 pm

http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/Ronkonkoma/ronkelectrification.htm Dave Keller provides "eye candy" for all, wow! :-D

Best,
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Re: Hicksville-Ronkonkoma electrification...COMPLETED!

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Dec 27, 2012 7:20 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone: Twenty years ago tomorrow morning-on December 28,1987 the first electric trains ran on the Ronkonkoma Branch under a three-week interim schedule-two rush-hour trips in each direction and a 5th train that left KO W at about 8pm. That first train left Ronkonkoma at 6:40 am. I boarded at Central Islip at 6:46 am and I rode it to Wyandanch and then I got off and watched trains go thru until the second train got there at 8:51 am-I rode that train to PSNY and enroute I was interviewed by News 12 Long Island. When I got home that night I taped the segment on the first electric Ronkonkoma runs that included me-I still have it someplace stored along with other videotapes I have. Newsday on 12/29 did a 4-page article which included a cover pic at KO with the caption "ELECTRIFYING"-"LIRR begins all-electric Ronkonkoma Service;predicts 59-minutes to NYC" as the headline-which was actually wrong-the full service started on January 18,1988-I will leave that for another post in the coming weeks.

I feel that this is one of the most significant LIRR improvements of my lifetime-the ridership increased sharply in 1988-89 and it was considered a big success by many.

Retired LIRR Conductor asks who the crew was on that first run-according to the Newsday article the Conductor on that run was Benny Prince-and the engineer George Sponheiner-they were mentioned in that Newsday writeup on page 2 that included a rail buff named Bob Gayer-who traveled down from Groton,Connecticut to ride that inaugural run. He was having a commemorative brochure punched by Trainman Dennis Lebetz in a Newsday pic-which was of Engineer Sponheiner,Trainman Lebetz and Bob Gayer at the cab of M1 9274 which was the first EB run which left PSNY at 4:55 pm.

In closing-it is hard to believe 20 years have passed since Ronkonkoma electric service began on the LIRR! MACTRAXX


Everyone: Tomorrow morning 12/28/2012 will be the 25th anniversary of the first LIRR electric trains to Ronkonkoma...

January 18,2013 will be the 25th Anniversary date of full Ronkonkoma electrified service...

Does the LIRR plan to commemorate this event in any way?

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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby Doc Emmet Brown » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:19 pm

I was the Brakeman, Benny was the Conductor. I dont remember who the Engineer was in the Morning.
Believe it or not it was a Job off the extra list and I requested it as both Conductor and Brakeman.
Benny hit it as Conductor, I hit it as Brakeman, I wanted to be part of a bit of LIRR History.
Benny and I were both "west end men" that is we lived in Queens.
The Job reported in Jamaica and we took an electric equipment train to KO, turned in the yard and came west as the first electric passenger train.
I remember buffs asking us to sign their tickets and I did. I wish I could see one now if anyone wants to post it.
Lebetz must have been a collector since we were down to one brakeman by then.
Well I remember what I was doing 25 years ago anyway .
Damn I was only 34 and already had 15 years on the RR...Time flys.. its scary.
Last edited by Doc Emmet Brown on Fri Dec 28, 2012 4:48 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby nyandw » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:24 pm

Doc Emmet Brown wrote:I was the Brakeman, Benny was the Conductor, i had forgotten the Engineer was George Sponheiner.
I remember buffs asking us to sign their tickets and I did. I wish I could see one now if anyone wants to post it.


Yes, me too!
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby Amtrak7 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:54 pm

As I read the first post of this thread explaining the construction service changes, I can't help but imagine what the upcoming doubletracking will mean in terms of busing.

Well, its taken 25 years, but it appears the planners of the electrification will soon "have their cake and eat it too"!
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby LB » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:34 am

I remember photographing the project in 1987, then coming back a year later in 1988 to photograph the finished project. Railroad really should have double tracked at the time and electrify the Central Branch, but were constrained by funding (some existing tracks were leveraged by connecting sidings). They did put a new bridge over Ronkonkoma Ave as part of the project. The old one was pretty rickety, even back in the late 1960's. You could see slabs of asphalt move when you drove over it.

By the way, what is that wooden bridge looking structure on the right side of the photo below?

http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirr/Ronkon ... 2-87-2.jpg
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby M1 9147 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:45 pm

The overpass on Ronkonkoma Avenue wasn't actually started until 1989, or so! It took a few years for the entire project to be done, and even when the new overpass was done, station modernization wasn't done because in 1993, additional side platforms were done, 1994 started the new parking garage, and 1996 started the new station building and shops! Of coarse don't forget the parking lots were added on the north side with the last one done a couple of years ago! If you see double tracking, I wouldn't be surprised if additional spaces may have to be added there due to increase in demand.
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby MattAmity90 » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:33 am

I really wish I was alive back then, I really do so that I could have witnessed this history.

Just think, we will all witness history when East Side Access opens at the end of the decade! Hopefully the entire Ronkonkoma Branch will be completely double-tracked in time for not only ESA, but the 30th Anniversary of the Hicksville-Ronkonkoma electrification.

By the way MACTRAXX, thanks for posting this as a topic. Also in the double-tracking topic, someone keep me updated on how that project has progressed.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2017 30 YEARS

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:25 pm

Everyone:

Ten years ago I posted this topic about what was then the 20th Anniversary of the completion of the
Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification - and with the 30th Anniversary of the first electrified service
being today (12/28/2017) the time was appropriate to revive and further discuss this interesting
LIRR historical subject...

The major recent change as most of us is already aware of is the construction of the second track
in three segments between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip; Central Islip and Brentwood; Deer Park
and Republic/NYS 110 which was really needed with the original electrification but not constructed
with the funding then available. As we know this electrification extension was a success literally
from day one with significant steady ridership a constant here...

If anyone has any memories and comments about the last 30 years - or are looking forward to the
future improvements especially when the full second track is complete please post and contribute...

I will thank all in advance and wish everyone a Happy New Year 2018!!!

MACTRAXX
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2017 30 YEARS

Postby MattAmity90 » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:03 am

MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone:

Ten years ago I posted this topic about what was then the 20th Anniversary of the completion of the
Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification - and with the 30th Anniversary of the first electrified service
being today (12/28/2017) the time was appropriate to revive and further discuss this interesting
LIRR historical subject...

The major recent change as most of us is already aware of is the construction of the second track
in three segments between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip; Central Islip and Brentwood; Deer Park
and Republic/NYS 110 which was really needed with the original electrification but not constructed
with the funding then available. As we know this electrification extension was a success literally
from day one with significant steady ridership a constant here...

If anyone has any memories and comments about the last 30 years - or are looking forward to the
future improvements especially when the full second track is complete please post and contribute...

I will thank all in advance and wish everyone a Happy New Year 2018!!!

MACTRAXX


So this subject has been officially renamed HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2017 30 YEARS?

I will make the first one by saying the following:

"Yesterday, we marked the 30th anniversary of the completion of the Long Island Rail Road's most recent electrification project. In 1985, we got the contract and green light to electrify a rail line known as the Greenport/Ronkonkoma Branch that extends from Hicksville at Divide Tower to the North Fork town of Greenport through Central Suffolk County, with electrification terminating at Ronkonkoma adjacent to MacArthur Airport. Before the project was completed electric service in Suffolk County was only available at six stations (Babylon, Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Huntington, and Cold Spring Harbor). Commuters relied on diesel trains with a switch to an electric at Hicksville to get to NYC, with their commutes taking 2 hours or more depending on where you boarded. After part of the project was completed on June 12th, 1987 the citizens of Bethpage and Farmingdale now had electric service with a linear siding for terminating trains East of the station. For the next year and a half, we brought electric service to the Suffolk County towns of Wyandanch, Deer Park (no the water doesn't come from there), Brentwood, Central Islip, and Ronkonkoma. In addition we added to the line by relocating some depots, double-tracking from West of Deer Park to just East of Brentwood by constructing JS and Brent Interlocking, then double-tracked Central Islip from East of Carleton Avenue to East of Lowell Avenue with two CI switch points, and of course Ronkonkoma with originally an island platform with two tracks and two staircases connecting an enclosed pedestrian bridge. The new Ronkonkoma Yard or KO for short became a staple with more than a dozen tracks for layup, and becoming just the second yard to a major branch to have a train-wash erected (Babylon was the first, which had its torn down and a new one opened in 2012). All of this was completed on December 28th, 1987 with the first revenue electric train making its voyage, with increasing electric service over the next week as 1987 clocked out and 1988 began. Thanks to the electrification of the branch, commuting times which were in upwards of over two hours and not necessarily comfortable or clean, was cut down to in between 80-90 minutes aboard the sleek, cozy, and clean Metropolitan M1 and M3 electric cars."

"In the last ten years from the beginning of 2008 to today, we have seen clear changes as usual when it comes to the LIRR tacking on another year of service. Most notably was in 2015 when we got the green light and approval to finally double-track the rest of the branch from West of Ronkonkoma to East of Farmingdale, something that should have been completed maybe 15-20 years ago. As I'm typing this right now, work is in progress to ensure we are one day closer to that day in which bottlenecks that occurred between Ronkonkoma and Central Islip, Central Islip and Brentwood, Deer Park and Farmingdale are delays of the past with a continuous STRAIGHT LINE. We have already laid down the second track from Ronkonkoma to Central Islip or Phase I, with Phase II currently underway. We reached another milestone recently when the NTC laid the second track from Central Islip to Brentwood, along with converting 11 grade crossings from one to two tracks. In the end, I am going to say that the LIRR's second-busiest branch will be just like a 1970's version of the Babylon Branch."

MattAmity90
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby newkirk » Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:58 pm

All photos April 30, 1987 - First image written on slide as "first MU train from bethpage"
Image

Train is standing still.

Image

"B" tower before graffiti

Image

Image

Image
Bill Mangahas (AKA Newkirk Images LLC)
Train to Rockaway Park now boarding on Track 22
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby MattAmity90 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:07 pm

So electric service began at Bethpage on April 30th, 1987 with electric service reaching Farmingdale on June 12th, 1987? I also noticed that the first MU from Bethpage to Penn Station was an M3 (Doors Slide Left to Right) but I don't know the number of the car aside from it ranges from 9771-9944. It also looks like they used the Central Branch track as a linear track or sometimes the Eastbound track to the East of BETH Interlocking.

Milestones of Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification Project:

1985: Project is approved, and gets underway.
April 30th, 1987: Electric service begins at Bethpage.
June 12th, 1987: Electric service begins at Farmingdale.
December 28th, 1987: Project is completed with select electric service increasing by the day. Electric service now begins at Ronkonkoma, Central Islip, Brentwood, Deer Park, Wyandanch, and Pinelawn.
January 1st, 1988: The increase in electric service is completed, and people start responding in droves to its maximum with electric service taken over 80% of service.
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.
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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2017 30 YEARS

Postby MACTRAXX » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:37 am

BM: Let me start off 2018 on this frigidly cold New Year's Day by chiming in on your first day
Bethpage pictures from 4/30/1987:
1: M3 with destination sign in use. The pictured car would then be no more then two years old
(built during 1985-86) with its as-delivered blue stripe.
2: M3 at MP29 just west of the Merritts Road grade crossing - which was the temporary end of
the electrified segment until electrification was extended months later to Farmingdale.
3,4,5: Yellow front M1 at the THEN-OCCUPIED B Tower. There was about 1000 feet of third rail
that was placed on the beginning of the Central Branch as a tail track section for Bethpage MU
trains to change ends keeping the two Main Line tracks clear when necessary.

MA90: The LIRR issued a three week interim timetable for the period between December 28,1987
and January 17,1988. The initial service was two Ronkonkoma AM and PM Peak electric trains
along with a 8pm westbound to Penn Station weekdays for a total of five revenue electric runs.

Full electric service to Ronkonkoma began on January 18, 1988.

This topic previously notes on page 1 when service began - you did not check back before posting
incorrect information concerning the start of the Ronkonkoma electrified service.

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Re: HICKSVILLE-RONKONKOMA ELECTRIFICATION 1987-2007 20 YEARS

Postby MattAmity90 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:23 pm

Sorry about that, I got caught up in the moment, because when I joined the forum back in 2012 I was here for the 25th Anniversary. I hope you liked the summary despite the fact I forgot to add an "8" to the 1988 date. :-D
This station is Babylon, this is the train to Penn Station. Stopping at: Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Massapequa, Seaford, Wantagh, Bellmore, Merrick, Freeport, Baldwin, Rockville Centre, Lynbrook, Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Woodside, Penn Station.
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