Railroad Sights of Very long Island: Hicksville, Oyster Bay, and Wantagh

Defined by, and designed simply because of, the Long Island Railroad, the slender, just about fish-profiled tract of land originally termed Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to New York, owes significantly of its existence to it.

Earthly distances need means, speed, and in some cases intermodal connections to traverse so that miles, as measurements, can be decreased to hrs and minutes. Untethered to the continental Untied States, and as a result surrounded by h2o, Very long Island alone sought alternatives for the populace which grew immediately after the farmers were attracted there by the promise of sprouting crops. But not right away.

“The century 12 months of 1800 located Prolonged Island to be a largely rural area of remote villages situated alongside the shores,” in accordance to Robert C. Sturm in his e-book, “The Prolonged Island Rail Highway Corporation: A Background, 1834-1965” (Extensive Island-Dawn Path Chapter, Countrywide Railway Historic Society. 2014, p. 3). “The principle indicates of transpiration and communication were carriages and sailing vessels. The simple fact that travel was sluggish, arduous, and sometimes perilous meant that the normal particular person hardly ever, if ever, traveled even more than 20 miles from his or her put of beginning.”

Integral to the seed that advanced into the Extensive Island Railroad and eventually settled this predicament was the ten-mile Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad Company, whose April twenty five, 1832 incorporation was envisioned as the initial phase in a land-and-sea connection to Boston, basically bypassing Very long Island by itself, but minimizing the primitive, three-day horse-drawn mentor and 16-hour all-steamer strategies to 11 hrs.

The next segment of the intermodal journey became reality on April 24, 1834, when the Long Island Rail Highway Organization was chartered to function from Brooklyn to Greenport on the North Fork. The third was the cross-audio ferry voyage to Stonington, Connecticut, whose hilly and river-interspersed southern shore or else eclipsed technological, keep track of-laying capabilities, and the fourth was the continued and last rail url to Boston on the Norwich and Worcester.

Two several years later on, on April eighteen, or the pretty working day that the Brooklyn and Jamaica was concluded, the barren island commenced sprouting tracks, along with its crops, achieving Farmingdale in Suffolk County in 1841, Deer Park the following yr, and Medford two yrs immediately after that, and satisfied the North Fork-originating, westward-laid rails by summer, even though a shortage necessitated a short term, two-mile, hefty timber and strap iron topped insertion till the ultimate segment was delivered from Britain.

Inaugurating support on July 27, 1844, the fledgling, steam-powered railroad right away shown its functionality, covering the ninety four miles from Brooklyn to Greenport in three-and-a-50 percent hours.

But the floor which supported it began to crumble following only a couple of many years of operation, considering that the formerly deemed “not possible” southern Connecticut rail route was conquered by 1850, reducing the require for the Extended Island Railroad’s intermodal and inter-condition objective and leaving it to provide a sparsely populated farm community. Now, additional than at any time, it needed to expand branches that would cater to establishing cities, following its preliminary, cross-island line spurred their growth.

Right now, tunnel-linked, beneath the East River, to Manhattan, the Extensive Island Railroad operates nine branches to 124 stations, masking much more than seven-hundred miles of track, and is both North America’s busiest commuter railroad, feeding and fielding the day by day workforce, and the oldest just one nonetheless working below its primary identify. In 2009, it celebrated its 175th anniversary and six a long time later on carried 87.6 million annual travellers.
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Its loaded heritage can be gleaned through Extensive Island’s several railroad-relevant sights.

2. Hicksville and the John Bull Locomotive:

Positioned on the flat, barren, sixty,000-acre Hempstead Plains–the premier this kind of prairie in the japanese United States-Hicksville was initially claimed by Welsh settler, Robert Williams, in 1648. But, in spite of the promise of population, it remained just as virgin for one more two generations, right up until Valentine Hicks, a Jericho businessman, acquired the web-site and fashioned a land association to create a city on it in 1834.

Since the to start with 15 miles of keep track of had achieved the area three several years later, in March, its then terminus position transformed it into a destination or, in the reverse course, a gateway to Manhattan in the west, creating a tether to a major city.

Not coincidentally, Hicks himself turned a Extensive Island Railroad board member and its second president, even though the station, in the end positioned at the crossroads of the Primary Line and the Port Jefferson branch, progressed into a hub.

But economical worry at the time of its inception ensured that it remained the terminus for four several years, until eventually the intermodal link could get back its momentum and ever eastward-laid monitor could imprint the floor. In the meantime, even so, the railroad transported men and women, who, in sedentary variety, translated into populace, and the after barren farmland took root as a town comprised of suppliers, companies, residences, and motels. Its “Hicksville” identify, once again not coincidentally, reflected its Valentine Hicks founder.

The Long Island Railroad’s initial locomotive, the “Ariel” and the nineteenth produced by Matthias W. Baldwin, was shipped in November of 1835 and, aside from giving motive electricity for the inaugural Hicksville services, was utilized for some two many years.

“The initial locomotives had been of uncomplicated building, comprising a five-tube boiler mounted on a frame that also accommodated a two-cylinder motor,” wrote Sturm in “The Lengthy Island Rail Street Enterprise: A Record, 1834-1965” (p. 10). “Hand-reduce pine, which was conveniently harvested from the Pine Barrens, was the fuel. H2o was carried on the tender motor vehicle, both in casks or (in) an iron tank. There had been no brakes coasting to the station and last but not least ‘plugging’ the motor (working it in reverse) was the only approach applied to prevent the trains.”

Insignificant in sizing and primitive in construction, it even so built a important impression. It lit the hearth on the steam revolution, shrank distances, and served as the threshold to the industrial period.

Requested by Robert Stevens, who essential propulsion for the Camden and Amboy Railroad he established, the really very first this kind of John Bull locomotive commenced its journey as a assortment of crate-cradled sections in Liverpool, England, in 1831, arriving on this side of the Atlantic from the Robert Stephenson and Firm manufacturing facility marked “one locomotive steam engine.” Assembly, unnecessary to say, was required.

But immediately after it was, it inaugurated New Jersey’s initially rail service, as its name implies, between Camden and South Amboy two yrs later on and plied tracks with it or other organizations for 35 several years. It was not retired until finally 1866, at the close of the Civil War.

It was finally operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took about the Camden and Amboy and afterwards owned the Extensive Island Railroad.

Featuring a fourteen.nine-foot duration and six.three-foot width, the 10-ton engine, with a -4- wheel configuration, had a 4.11-foot wheel foundation and four-foot, 8.five inch gauge. It was outfitted with a ten.07-square-foot firebox and a six.9-foot-extended boiler, which experienced a 2.six-foot diameter.

Power was transmitted to the driving axles by indicates of pistons mounted under the boiler between the two entrance wheels.

The initial ground-amount Hicksville Station was served by numerous depots all over its record, which include the next, which opened in 1873 to switch the first, eaten by hearth 9 a long time before the third, which replaced the second after it was moved to a private spot in 1909 and the fourth, which was temporarily employed in between 1962 and 1965 whilst the tracks have been elevated. That $eight.8 million challenge, which included 3 miles, but included eleven miles of monitor, removed 5 quality crossings on the Major Line and two on the Port Jefferson department, and required the extension and relocation of Newbridge Road less than a viaduct.

Not considerably from those elevated tracks is a entire-sized, non-running replica of the John Bull locomotive named “Valentine’s Dream” and found in Hicksville’s Kennedy Memorial Park. Made by Chamber of Commerce President James Pavone for the duration of a two-yr period of time and centered on the initial one particular from 1831, which ran on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, it served as the inspiration for Matthias W. Baldwin to develop locomotives in this country, one particular of which, of system, was the Extensive Island Rail Road’s very first locomotive, “the Ariel,” whose graphic graces the town’s welcome symptoms and banners.

Unveiled on May well 17, 2008, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the central Lengthy Island city, the “Valentine’s Dream” reproduction became Hicksville’s own icon.

3. Oyster Bay Railroad Museum:

Permanently involved with Oyster Bay is President Theodore Roosevelt, who frequently traveled by rail and made use of the station as his threshold to other components of the country, considering the fact that his Sagamore Hill property was situated only a quick length from it. But the similarly close by, properly named Oyster Bay Railroad Museum was not established for that reason. Alternatively, it started in 1990, when the volunteer Locomotive #35 Restoration Committee, below the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Parks Commission, cleaned and painted the deteriorating steam motor displayed in Mitchel Park.

Subsequently included as the Friends of Locomotive #35, the team sought funding for a comprehensive restoration and a place to showcase it, ensuing in the 2006-founded not-for-revenue firm that planted its roots in Oyster Bay and acquired extra artifacts, railroad tools, and rolling stock.

“The mission of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is to heighten community recognition, knowledge, and appreciation of the railroad’s position in our heritage,” it self states, “and to increase public comprehending of rail know-how and its impact on Extended Island everyday living. (It) will accumulate, maintain, and interpret the railroad heritage of Extensive Island for long run generations.”

Presently divided into an indoor visitor heart and out of doors rolling stock screen sophisticated, it attributes pictures, artifacts, modest railroad implements, a large-scale Hudson locomotive and tender, with a 4-6-4 wheel configuration, and a product coach format in the previous, found at 102 Audrey Avenue. But a great deal much more is to be found in the latter, a short generate absent.

Listed here, locomotive #35, cornerstone of and catalyst to the museum, and traditionally substantial because of its participation in the 1955 “Conclusion of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, stays a sectioned, unassembled work-in-progress, and is underneath renovation at the Steam Functions Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama. Designed in 1928 in the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Juniata, Pennsylvania, shops for operation by its then-subsidiary Prolonged Island Railroad, the engine, with a four-6- wheel configuration, gave trustworthy, large each day, many-cease support for 27 several years before passing the torch to diesel know-how. It was the very last steam locomotive to run on Extended Island.

There are various other entirely restored and assembled engines and automobiles listed here, on the other hand.

The first of these is in fact a pair of twenty five-ton switchers. Constructed in 1958 by Typical Electric, these two 150-hp mini-locomotives had been applied to “switch” and transfer passenger and freight engines all through the railroad’s Morris Park servicing and maintenance facility in Richmond Hill, Queens.

According to the museum, the affectionately referred to as “dinkies” ended up “four-wheel, cabin-driven, 25-ton diesel locomotives that toiled absent in the back stores of the Extended Island Railroad from 1958 as a result of the early-2000s.”

Not retired until eventually 2006, engine #398 was purchased as far back as 1958 and #397 was obtained nearly 3 many years afterwards, in 1987, from the Naporana Iron and Steel Enterprise.

A different motor-this time of diesel technology-is also on display screen-at minimum in spirit, if not in complete physical kind.

Crafted by the American Locomotive Corporation (Alco) in 1947 and designated FA-one (for “Freight A” unit), it was operated by the New Haven Railroad, which numbered it 0402, right up until it returned it in 1963 after an incident. Separating the cab from the motor, Alco offered the previous portion to the Lengthy Island Railroad for show at the 1964-1965 World’s Good, held in Flushing Meadows, whereafter it served as an interactive show for small children at the Tanglewood Day Damp in Malverne. The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum obtained it in 1999. The plaque commemorating its restoration is dated May well eight, 2010.

Despite the fact that the Extensive Island Railroad was never inceptionally envisioned as a commuter provider connecting its namesake inhabitants with the metropolises of New York and Brooklyn and, to a lesser diploma, to its have cities, it ultimately progressed into a person, reaching its correct reason. Towards that finish, steam- and, later on, diesel locomotive-pulled cars and trucks have been integral to the early morning and evening targeted visitors flows from and to the island through the East River tunnels. 1 of them is on display screen.

Created in 1923 by the American Automobile and Foundry Company and in the beginning appendaged to steam engines, the P54 coach, a lightweight framework that replaced the all-wooden and afterwards hybrid steel frame and wood system kinds which preceded it, is an expression of construction enhancement.

Numbered 7433, it was the to start with all-steel passenger car or truck. It was one particular of almost a thousand crafted for the Pennsylvania and Long Island railroads, and showcased direction-changeable, “wander over” seats, and, in the scenario of the museum’s illustration, overhead admirers mounted on their first ventilators.

Because the coach’s diminished fat subjected riders to a bouncing impact, it was frequently dubbed a “Ping Pong” vehicle. Draped in numerous liveries and retrofitted with a lot more modern-day lighting, flooring, seats, and luggage racks, #7433 delivered a 50 %-century of provider and was not retired until finally 1974. It is one particular of the very last of its kind to keep on being.

Other museum reveals contain two divergent-period and -function cabooses, which, just before the 1950s, traveled from end to conclusion via Long Island’s still-abundant, potato- and cauliflower-sprouting farmland as the finish by themselves to elongated freight trains.

Developed in February of 1927 by the American Car or truck and Foundry Business at a $17,880 price tag, caboose #twelve consisted of blended content building, its frame, underbody, and vehicles made of metal, but its higher human body employing wood, and stretched 29.four ft in duration and weighed in at 35,430 pounds.

“The conclusion of the train experienced numerous names: crummy, palace, shack, or caboose,” according to the museum. “It was residence for the crew and an place of work, way too. Bobbing together at the rear of a string of freight automobiles, like an exclamation position at the conclude of a sentence, the caboose spoke loud and distinct, declaring, ‘I am the end. The prepare is complete.'”

As befitting all properties on wheels, it was outfitted with sleeping bunks, storage closets, a sink, a coal stove, and a rest room, and was occupied by a conductor, who was accountable for a train’s protected movement and on whose directive the engineer relied, and a brakeman, who ensured that the hose extending from the locomotive to the caboose alone maintained the expected level of air strain.

Very long Island create generally delivered “complementary,” track-aspect “shopping” for crews right until some farmers routinely bundled freshly picked crops and manufactured them available to them.

Serving all branches of the Long Island Railroad, caboose #twelve was not retired until 1961, whereafter it served as the sleeping quarters of Shore Line Trolley Museum restorers in East Haven, Connecticut, and was at last obtained by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in June of 2002. It very own restoration transpired among 2008 and 2009.

Its other caboose, #fifty, was manufactured by the Global Railway Auto Organization in 1958. Designated a Class N-22 device, it was one particular of the 1st all-steel types to replace the previous wooden kinds. Though educate visibility was possibly afforded by tall cupola or prolonged facet bay window style functions, this one available neither, but even so offered faithful utilitarian services right until its 1993 retirement.

A later, 2011 museum addition is the quarter-size electric simulator, which seems similar to the genuine vehicle, and was used to teach and certify engineers on M1 and M3 products.

A Condition of New York deal, in conjunction with the Long Island Railroad’s new owner, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was signed for 770 M1 electrified passenger coaches (figures 9001 to 9770). Branded “Metropolitans” by themselves and designed among 1968 and 1973, they replaced the combination of outdated tools remnants from the Pennsylvania Railroad routine, other than the 1950s-period, diesel-hauled Pullman Regular ones, which themselves were numbered 2700 to 2900.

The workhorse of the electrified fleet, the M1 vehicles had been not retired until the early-21st century, when they had been replaced by the state-of-the-art M7s.

Contrasting the old with the new, the museum’s turntable, of constant girder style, was the next to have been utilized at the Oyster Bay Station and, alongside with the wye and the loop, served as a single of 3 methods of reorienting a locomotive for its return vacation.

“The turntable at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is essentially the second at this place,” according to the museum. “The LIRR reached Oyster Bay in 1889, owning been extended from Locust Valley. That turntable experienced been at that location due to the fact 1869 and, soon after twenty a long time, it was moved with enlargement of the service to Oyster Bay.”

It was not the only early-railroad remnants as soon as below, however.

“A 4-stall motor household was developed in 1889 and was located southeast of the turntable,” it continued. “In 1904, the old turntable was taken out and a new 70-foot-very long a person was installed north of the engine dwelling. It was initially run by a pneumatic motor… In 1932, it was electrified and operated beneath that electricity resource until finally taken out of company someday in the seventies.”

Beyond the fence is the Oyster Bay lawn, cradling bi-degree commuter autos, and further than them is the railroad station depot, symbol of both the past and the future.

Created by architect Bradford Lee Gilbert in the Tudor revival design and style, it was accomplished in the spring of 1889 to cater to the monitor extension from Locust Valley to Oyster Bay, but subsequently expanded in anticipation of elevated travel spurred by Theodore Roosevelt’s 1901 election as US president. A rail enthusiast himself, he regularly protected the small length from his Sagamore Hill property to the station and commenced his journey to Washington, D.C., amid other locations.

Subjected to modifications through its heritage, it missing its canopies throughout the 1940s, some of its doorways and home windows by brick-plugging through the sixties, and was eventually closed in 1999, right after a 110-year utilization, when it was changed by a new platform to the west to conform to the most recent bi-amount passenger cars.

Owned, along with the plaza, by the Town of Oyster Bay, it was subleased and is at this time managed by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and is both an Oyster Bay Landmark and is mentioned on the Countrywide Sign up of Historic Destinations.

Its plaque reads, “Oyster Bay Railroad Station. House practice station of Theodore Roosevelt, President t of the United States, 1901-1909. July 2005 put on the Nationwide Sign-up of Historic Areas. Plaque sponsored by Theodore Roosevelt Association and Oyster Bay Historical Modern society.”

Now underneath renovation, it will sooner or later exchange the museum’s Audrey Avenue facility and household both equally exhibits and a customer center, and will be joined, by way of a short walking route, through Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to the outside rolling stock and turntable screen garden.

4. Wantagh Railroad Station Museum:

At first encompassing Wantagh, Seaford, and the southern part of Levittown, the location, settled by Captain John Searman, Robert Jackson, and their people in 1644, was 1 of the earliest to have been claimed by the English in eastern Nassau County. In the beginning recognized as Jerusalem, it was 1 of lots of biblically named cities, along with Jericho and Bethpage.

A silent village right up until the Searman, Jackson, and Birdsall family members serving George Washington’s army occupied Jerusalem alone during the Groundbreaking War, it harnessed the celebration as a publish-conflict catalyst to growth in 1783.

Facilitated by the arrival of the railroad a lot more than a century later on, in 1867, its southern part captivated sizeable development and was renamed Ridgewood in get to distinguish it from its unique roots in the north. But that difference was further more cemented only 24 decades later when it adopted the present Wantagh designation, due to the fact confusion with the identically named Queens town was frequent. Preferred to honor Wyandance, the grand sachem of the Montauk Indians, it retains its name to the current day.

Integral to its advancement was the Wantagh Railroad Station. Built in 1865 at an $800 price tag and positioned on Railroad Avenue, the at first-designated Ridgewood Station showcased an enclosed ticket office environment, in which Emma Whitmore served as its initial feminine employee, a telegraph office, a passenger waiting around space, a baggage area, and open east and west finishes. Heated by a potbelly stove in its middle, it sports just one pretty identical to its first these days.

The platform consisted of picket planks.

Simply because it was slated for demolition in 1966 when the road-stage tracks were being elevated to decrease vehicular visitors congestion, it was obtained by the prior-year established Wantagh Preservation Society and relocated to the current Wantagh Avenue web-site.

Restored to its 1904 visual appearance, it was opened as a community museum on Might 16, 1982 and provides a glance into convert-of-the-century daily life by vintage pictures and display instances that feature memorabilia from the area’s previous.

Trains even now await travellers outside the house. At minimum 1 automobile does. Discovered by and the very symbol which brings the Wantagh Station to railroad everyday living, is the pink-liveried, observe-supported passenger coach, “Jamaica.”

Produced by the American Motor vehicle and Foundry Corporation in 1912 for the Prolonged Island Railroad’s Very long Island Parlor Motor vehicle Corporation subsidiary, the eighty-ton mentor, measuring eighty ft lengthy by 14 feet higher, originally accommodated 26 travellers, but was subjected to a a number of-application heritage Redesignated “The Montauk” for Lengthy Island Railroad business enterprise use in 1925, for case in point, it was subsequently rebuilt only 5 years afterwards as an observation automobile, incorporating staterooms, a galley, a eating room, butler’s quarters, and open decks.

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