Railroad Sights of Long Island: Hicksville, Oyster Bay, and Wantagh

1. Long Island Railroad Origins: Defined by, and developed due to, the Long Island Railroad, the slender, nearly fish-profiled tract of land on the foundation referred to as Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to Fresh York, owes much of its existence to it. Earthly distances require approach, perambulate, and steadily intermodal […]

Railroad Sights of Long Island: Hicksville, Oyster Bay, and Wantagh

1. Long Island Railroad Origins:

Defined by, and developed due to, the Long Island Railroad, the slender, nearly fish-profiled tract of land on the foundation referred to as Paumanok by indigenous Indians and now bridge- and tunnel-appendaged to Fresh York, owes much of its existence to it.

Earthly distances require approach, perambulate, and steadily intermodal connections to traverse so that miles, as measurements, will even be lowered to hours and minutes. Untethered to the continental Untied States, and thus surrounded by water, Long Island itself sought solutions for the inhabitants which grew after the farmers had been attracted there by the promise of sprouting plants. Nonetheless no longer precise now.

“The century year of 1800 found out Long Island to be a largely rural pickle of distant villages situated along the shores,” per Robert C. Sturm in his e-book, “The Long Island Rail Street Company: A History, 1834-1965” (Long Island-Morning time Path Chapter, Nationwide Railway Ancient Society. 2014, p. 3). “The theory approach of transpiration and communication had been carriages and sailing vessels. The indisputable fact that gallop used to be boring, arduous, and steadily hazardous supposed that the frequent particular person infrequently, if ever, traveled extra than 20 miles from his or her fatherland.”

Integral to the seed that developed into the Long Island Railroad and finally resolved this bother used to be the ten-mile Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad Company, whose April 25, 1832 incorporation used to be envisioned as step one in a land-and-sea hyperlink to Boston, truly bypassing Long Island itself, nonetheless lowering the earlier customary, three-day horse-drawn coach and 16-hour all-steamer simple solutions to 11 hours.

The second section of the intermodal gallop grew to change into fact on April 24, 1834, when the Long Island Rail Street Company used to be chartered to feature from Brooklyn to Greenport on the North Fork. The third used to be the spoiled-sound ferry voyage to Stonington, Connecticut, whose hilly and river-interspersed southern shore otherwise eclipsed technological, note-laying capabilities, and the fourth used to be the continued and final rail hyperlink to Boston on the Norwich and Worcester.

Two years later, on April 18, or the very day that the Brooklyn and Jamaica used to be executed, the barren island began sprouting tracks, along with its plants, reaching Farmingdale in Suffolk County in 1841, Deer Park the next year, and Medford two years after that, and met the North Fork-originating, westward-laid rails by summer season, though an absence necessitated a non eternal, two-mile, heavy timber and strap iron topped insertion except the final piece used to be delivered from Britain.

Inaugurating carrier on July 27, 1844, the fledgling, steam-powered railroad precise now demonstrated its functionality, covering the 94 miles from Brooklyn to Greenport in three-and-a-half hours.

Nonetheless the bottom which supported it began to tumble apart after simplest just a few years of operation, for the reason that beforehand belief to be “no longer most likely” southern Connecticut rail route used to be conquered by 1850, taking away the need for the Long Island Railroad’s intermodal and inter-divulge motive and leaving it to advantage a sparsely populated farm community. Now, extra than ever, it needed to develop branches that will maybe maybe well cater to constructing cities, after its initial, spoiled-island line spurred their pattern.

On the unique time, tunnel-connected, beneath the East River, to The broad apple, the Long Island Railroad operates nine branches to 124 stations, covering extra than 700 miles of note, and is each North The United States’s busiest commuter railroad, feeding and fielding the day-to-day crew, and the oldest one restful running beneath its long-established title. In 2009, it favorite its 175th anniversary and 6 years later carried 87.6 million annual passengers.

Its effectively off history will even be gleaned via Long Island’s many railroad-connected sights.

2. Hicksville and the John Bull Locomotive:

Located on the flat, barren, 60,000-acre Hempstead Plains–the good such prairie in the jap United States-Hicksville used to be first claimed by Welsh settler, Robert Williams, in 1648. Nonetheless, despite the promise of inhabitants, it remained just as virgin for one more two centuries, except Valentine Hicks, a Jericho businessman, obtained the positioning and formed a land affiliation to set aside a city on it in 1834.

For the reason that first 15 miles of note had reached the divulge three years later, in March, its then terminus space remodeled it into a vacation pickle or, in the reverse direction, a gateway to The broad apple in the west, organising a tether to a significant city.

Not coincidentally, Hicks himself grew to change into a Long Island Railroad board member and its second president, whereas the self-discipline, finally situated on the crossroads of the Main Line and the Port Jefferson branch, developed into a hub.

Nonetheless financial alarm on the time of its inception ensured that it remained the terminus for four years, except the intermodal connection would possibly per chance maybe maybe well receive its momentum and ever eastward-laid note would possibly per chance maybe maybe well designate the bottom. Meanwhile, nevertheless, the railroad transported folks, who, in sedentary make, translated into inhabitants, and the as soon as barren farmland took root as a city constructed from shops, firms, residences, and hotels. Its “Hicksville” title, again no longer coincidentally, mirrored its Valentine Hicks founder.

The Long Island Railroad’s first locomotive, the “Ariel” and the 19th constructed by Matthias W. 1st earl baldwin of bewdley, used to be delivered in November of 1835 and, as antagonistic to for offering motive vitality for the inaugural Hicksville carrier, used to be employed for some twenty years.

“The long-established locomotives had been of simple construction, comprising a five-tube boiler mounted on a frame that moreover accommodated a two-cylinder engine,” wrote Sturm in “The Long Island Rail Street Company: A History, 1834-1965” (p. 10). “Hand-decrease pine, which used to be very with out bother harvested from the Pine Barrens, used to be the fuel. Water used to be carried on the gentle car, either in casks or (in) an iron tank. There had been no brakes; coasting to the self-discipline and at final ‘plugging’ the engine (running it in reverse) used to be the absolute top manner ragged to conclude the trains.”

Insignificant in dimension and earlier school in construction, it nonetheless made a significant impression. It lit the fire on the steam revolution, shrank distances, and served because the brink to the industrial generation.

Ordered by Robert Stevens, who needed propulsion for the Camden and Amboy Railroad he established, the very first such John Bull locomotive commenced its gallop as a bunch of crate-cradled aspects in Liverpool, England, in 1831, arriving on this aspect of the Atlantic from the Robert Stephenson and Company factory marked “one locomotive steam engine.” Assembly, unnecessary to advise, used to be required.

Nonetheless after it used to be, it inaugurated Fresh Jersey’s first rail carrier, as its title implies, between Camden and South Amboy two years later and plied tracks with it or different firms for 35 years. It used to be no longer retired except 1866, on the head of the Civil Battle.

It used to be finally operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, which took over the Camden and Amboy and later owned the Long Island Railroad.

That contains a 14.9-foot dimension and 6.3-foot width, the ten-ton engine, with a 0-4-0 wheel configuration, had a 4.11-foot wheel depraved and 4-foot, 8.5 bolt gauge. It used to be geared up with a 10.07-sq.-foot firebox and a 6.9-foot-lengthy boiler, which had a 2.6-foot diameter.

Energy used to be transmitted to the driving axles by approach of pistons mounted beneath the boiler between the two entrance wheels.

The initial ground-stage Hicksville Situation used to be served by several depots throughout its history, including the second, which opened in 1873 to interchange the first, consumed by fire nine years earlier; the third, which changed the second after it used to be moved to a non-public pickle in 1909; and the fourth, which used to be hasty employed between 1962 and 1965 whereas the tracks had been elevated. That $8.8 million project, which coated three miles, nonetheless fervent 11 miles of note, eradicated five grade crossings on the Main Line and two on the Port Jefferson branch, and required the extension and relocation of Newbridge Street beneath a viaduct.

Not removed from those elevated tracks is a full-sized, non-running reproduction of the John Bull locomotive named “Valentine’s Dream” and situated in Hicksville’s Kennedy Memorial Park. Constructed by Chamber of Commerce President James Pavone throughout a two-year duration and essentially based upon the authentic one from 1831, which ran on the Camden and Amboy Railroad, it served because the foundation for Matthias W. 1st earl baldwin of bewdley to get locomotives on this nation, one of which, unnecessary to claim, used to be the Long Island Rail Street’s first locomotive, “the Ariel,” whose image graces the city’s welcome indicators and banners.

Unveiled on May per chance presumably maybe presumably 17, 2008, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the central Long Island city, the “Valentine’s Dream” reproduction grew to change into Hicksville’s possess icon.

3. Oyster Bay Railroad Museum:

With no break in sight connected to Oyster Bay is President Theodore Roosevelt, who most steadily traveled by rail and ragged the self-discipline as his threshold to different aspects of the nation, since his Sagamore Hill dwelling used to be situated simplest a brief distance from it. Nonetheless the equally nearby, as it could maybe maybe well be named Oyster Bay Railroad Museum used to be no longer created for that motive. As a replacement, it began in 1990, when the volunteer Locomotive #35 Restoration Committee, beneath the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Parks Payment, cleaned and painted the deteriorating steam engine displayed in Mitchel Park.

Therefore integrated because the Company of Locomotive #35, the community sought funding for a full restoration and a pickle to showcase it, ensuing in the 2006-established no longer-for-profit group that planted its roots in Oyster Bay and obtained extra artifacts, railroad equipment, and rolling stock.

“The mission of the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is to heighten public awareness, working out, and appreciation of the railroad’s role in our heritage,” it self states, “and to get higher public working out of rail technology and its impression on Long Island lifestyles. (It) will rep, preserve, and clarify the railroad heritage of Long Island for future generations.”

For the time being divided into an indoor visitor heart and outside rolling stock display complicated, it aspects photos, artifacts, miniature railroad implements, a astronomical-scale Hudson locomotive and composed, with a 4-6-4 wheel configuration, and a model practice layout in the earlier customary, situated at 102 Audrey Avenue. Nonetheless much extra is to be viewed in the latter, a brief pressure away.

Right here, locomotive #35, cornerstone of and catalyst to the museum, and historically significant due to its participation in the 1955 “Close of Steam” ceremony in Hicksville, remains a sectioned, unassembled work-in-progress, and is beneath renovation on the Steam Operations Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama. Built in 1928 in the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Juniata, Pennsylvania, retailers for operation by its then-subsidiary Long Island Railroad, the engine, with a 4-6-0 wheel configuration, gave reliable, high day-to-day, extra than one-conclude carrier for 27 years earlier than passing the torch to diesel technology. It used to be the final steam locomotive to feature on Long Island.

There are several different totally restored and assembled engines and cars right here, nevertheless.

The first of those is of direction a pair of 25-ton switchers. Constructed in 1958 by Traditional Electrical, these two 150-hp mini-locomotives had been ragged to “change” and pass passenger and freight engines throughout the railroad’s Morris Park servicing and repair facility in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Constant with the museum, the affectionately referred to as “dinkies” had been “four-wheel, cabin-pushed, 25-ton diesel locomotives that toiled away in the advantage retailers of the Long Island Railroad from 1958 via the early-2000s.”

Not retired except 2006, engine #398 used to be purchased as some distance advantage as 1958 and #397 used to be obtained nearly three decades later, in 1987, from the Naporana Iron and Metal Company.

Another engine-this time of diesel technology-is moreover on display-no lower than in spirit, if no longer in full physical make.

Built by the American Locomotive Company (Alco) in 1947 and designated FA-1 (for “Freight A” unit), it used to be operated by the Fresh Haven Railroad, which numbered it 0402, except it returned it in 1963 after an accident. Isolating the cab from the engine, Alco sold the earlier customary piece to the Long Island Railroad for display on the 1964-1965 World’s Perfect-attempting, held in Flushing Meadows, whereafter it served as an interactive display for young folks on the Tanglewood Day Damp in Malverne. The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum obtained it in 1999. The plaque commemorating its restoration is dated May per chance presumably maybe presumably 8, 2010.

Even supposing the Long Island Railroad used to be by no approach inceptionally envisioned as a commuter carrier connecting its namesake inhabitants with the metropolises of Fresh York and Brooklyn and, to a lesser stage, to its possess cities, it finally developed into one, reaching its factual motive. In direction of that conclude, steam- and, later, diesel locomotive-pulled cars had been integral to the morning and night visitors flows from and to the island via the East River tunnels. One amongst them is on display.

Constructed in 1923 by the American Automobile and Foundry Company and in the foundation appendaged to steam engines, the P54 coach, a gentle-weight structure that changed the all-wood and later hybrid steel frame and wood body ones which preceded it, is an expression of construction pattern.

Numbered 7433, it used to be the first all-steel passenger car. It used to be one of nearly a thousand constructed for the Pennsylvania and Long Island railroads, and featured direction-touchy, “stroll over” seats, and, in the case of the museum’s example, overhead followers mounted on their long-established ventilators.

For the reason that coach’s lowered weight subjected riders to a bouncing attain, it used to be most steadily dubbed a “Ping Pong” car. Draped in several liveries and retrofitted with extra standard lights, floor, seats, and bags racks, #7433 equipped a half-century of carrier and used to be no longer retired except 1974. It’s miles one of the most final of its kind to remain.

Other museum reveals consist of two divergent-generation and -motive cabooses, which, earlier than the 1950s, traveled from conclude to conclude via Long Island’s restful-abundant, potato- and cauliflower-sprouting farmland because the head themselves to elongated freight trains.

Built in February of 1927 by the American Automobile and Foundry Company at a $17,880 rate, caboose #12 consisted of blended self-discipline cloth construction, its frame, underbody, and vans made of steel, nonetheless its upper body the exhaust of wood, and stretched 29.4 feet in dimension and weighed in at 35,430 pounds.

“The conclude of the practice had many names: crummy, palace, shack, or caboose,” per the museum. “It used to be dwelling for the crew and an space of job, too. Bobbing along in the benefit of a string of freight cars, relish an exclamation level on the head of a sentence, the caboose spoke loud and likely, pronouncing, ‘I’m the head. The practice is entire.'”

As befitting all homes on wheels, it used to be outfitted with drowsing bunks, storage closets, a sink, a coal stove, and a lavatory, and used to be occupied by a conductor, who used to be accountable for a practice’s favorable shuffle and upon whose directive the engineer relied, and a brakeman, who ensured that the hose extending from the locomotive to the caboose itself maintained the required stage of air rigidity.

Long Island possess most steadily equipped “complementary,” note-aspect “browsing” for crews except some farmers robotically bundled freshly picked plants and made them accessible to them.

Serving all branches of the Long Island Railroad, caboose #12 used to be no longer retired except 1961, whereafter it served because the drowsing quarters of Shore Line Trolley Museum restorers in East Haven, Connecticut, and used to be at final obtained by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum in June of 2002. It possess restoration occurred between 2008 and 2009.

Its different caboose, #50, used to be constructed by the Worldwide Railway Automobile Company in 1958. Designated a Class N-22 unit, it used to be one of the most first all-steel ones to interchange the preceding wood ones. Even supposing practice visibility used to be either afforded by huge cupola or prolonged aspect bay window construct aspects, this one equipped neither, nonetheless nonetheless equipped reliable utilitarian carrier except its 1993 retirement.

A later, 2011 museum addition is the quarter-dimension electrical simulator, which appears an identical to the categorical car, and used to be employed to practice and certify engineers on M1 and M3 equipment.

A Pronounce of Fresh York contract, on the side of the Long Island Railroad’s fresh owner, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), used to be signed for 770 M1 electrified passenger coaches (numbers 9001 to 9770). Branded “Metropolitans” themselves and constructed between 1968 and 1973, they changed the mix of out of date equipment remnants from the Pennsylvania Railroad regime, as antagonistic to the 1950s-generation, diesel-hauled Pullman Long-established ones, which themselves had been numbered 2700 to 2900.

The workhorse of the electrified immediate, the M1 cars weren’t retired except the early-21st century, after they had been changed by the highest-notch M7s.

Contrasting the damaged-down with the fresh, the museum’s turntable, of persevering with girder construct, used to be the second to had been ragged on the Oyster Bay Situation and, along with the wye and the loop, served as one of three solutions of reorienting a locomotive for its return day out.

“The turntable on the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is of direction the second at this pickle,” per the museum. “The LIRR reached Oyster Bay in 1889, having been prolonged from Locust Valley. That turntable had been at that pickle since 1869 and, after 20 years, it used to be moved with growth of the carrier to Oyster Bay.”

It used to be no longer the absolute top early-railroad remnants as soon as right here, nevertheless.

“A four-stall engine dwelling used to be in-constructed 1889 and used to be situated southeast of the turntable,” it continued. “In 1904, the damaged-down turntable used to be eradicated and a brand fresh 70-foot-lengthy one used to be set up in north of the engine dwelling. It used to be on the foundation powered by a pneumatic motor… In 1932, it used to be electrified and operated beneath that vitality supply except taken out of carrier sometime in the 1970s.”

Beyond the fence is the Oyster Bay yard, cradling bi-stage commuter cars, and past them is the railroad self-discipline depot, image of every the past and the future.

Designed by architect Bradford Lee Gilbert in the Tudor revival vogue, it used to be executed in the spring of 1889 to cater to the note extension from Locust Valley to Oyster Bay, nonetheless therefore expanded in anticipation of elevated gallop spurred by Theodore Roosevelt’s 1901 election as US president. A rail fanatic himself, he most steadily coated the brief distance from his Sagamore Hill dwelling to the self-discipline and commenced his gallop to Washington, D.C., amongst different destinations.

Subjected to changes throughout its history, it misplaced its canopies throughout the 1940s, just a few of its doors and windows by brick-plugging throughout the 1960s, and used to be at final closed in 1999, after a 110-year utilization, when it used to be changed by a brand fresh platform to the west to conform to essentially the most standard bi-stage passenger cars.

Owned, along with the plaza, by the City of Oyster Bay, it used to be subleased and is currently managed by the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and is each an Oyster Bay Landmark and is listed on the Nationwide Register of Ancient Areas.

Its plaque reads, “Oyster Bay Railroad Situation. Home practice self-discipline of Theodore Roosevelt, President t of the US, 1901-1909. July 2005 placed on the Nationwide Register of Ancient Areas. Plaque backed by Theodore Roosevelt Association and Oyster Bay Ancient Society.”

Now beneath renovation, this will likely finally change the museum’s Audrey Avenue facility and dwelling each reveals and a visitor heart, and would possibly per chance be linked, via a brief strolling direction, via Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park to the surface rolling stock and turntable display yard.

4. Wantagh Railroad Situation Museum:

First and main encompassing Wantagh, Seaford, and the southern piece of Levittown, the divulge, settled by Captain John Searman, Robert Jackson, and their households in 1644, used to be one of the most earliest to had been claimed by the English in jap Nassau County. On the foundation identified as Jerusalem, it used to be one of many biblically named cities, along with Jericho and Bethpage.

A aloof village except the Searman, Jackson, and Birdsall households serving George Washington’s military occupied Jerusalem itself throughout the Revolutionary Battle, it harnessed the match as a post-war catalyst to development in 1783.

Facilitated by the arrival of the railroad extra than a century later, in 1867, its southern piece attracted substantial pattern and used to be renamed Ridgewood in clarify to reveal apart it from its long-established roots in the north. Nonetheless that distinction used to be extra cemented simplest 24 years later when it adopted the display Wantagh designation, since confusion with the identically named Queens city used to be frequent. Chosen to honor Wyandance, the astronomical sachem of the Montauk Indians, it retains its title to the display day.

Integral to its pattern used to be the Wantagh Railroad Situation. Constructed in 1865 at an $800 rate and situated on Railroad Avenue, the on the foundation-designated Ridgewood Situation featured an enclosed impress space of job, in which Emma Whitmore served as its first female employee, a telegraph space of job, a passenger waiting room, a baggage room, and open east and west ends. Heated by a potbelly stove in its heart, it sports activities one similar to its long-established currently.

The platform consisted of wood planks.

Resulting from it used to be slated for demolition in 1966 when the road-stage tracks had been elevated to diminish vehicular visitors congestion, it used to be obtained by the prior-year established Wantagh Preservation Society and relocated to the display Wantagh Avenue self-discipline.

Restored to its 1904 appearance, it used to be opened as a public museum on May per chance presumably maybe presumably 16, 1982 and presents a look into flip-of-the-century lifestyles via classic photos and display cases that characteristic memorabilia from the divulge’s past.

Trains restful await passengers outside. A minimal of one car does. Acknowledged by and the very image which brings the Wantagh Situation to railroad lifestyles, is the red-liveried, note-supported passenger coach, “Jamaica.”

Manufactured by the American Automobile and Foundry Corporation in 1912 for the Long Island Railroad’s Long Island Parlor Automobile Company subsidiary, the 80-ton coach, measuring 80 feet lengthy by 14 feet high, on the foundation accommodated 26 passengers, nonetheless used to be subjected to a extra than one-utility history Redesignated “The Montauk” for Long Island Railroad industry exhaust in 1925, as an instance, it used to be therefore rebuilt simplest five years later as an observation car, incorporating staterooms, a galley, a eating room, butler’s quarters, and open decks.

As a vogue of then-top-notch technology, it featured its possess vitality generator, used to be heated by coal stoves and pipe-circulating, baseboard-hidden sizzling water, and cooled by a fan that blew air over two 300-pound ice blocks, guaranteeing early aircon throughout its weekend gallop suspensions in Montauk.

Eight years after its 1941 return to guardian company Pennsylvania Railroad for modernization, it used to be repurchased for the sum of $26,434 and operated except 1957 because the “Jamaica,” as soon as extra reclassified as a passenger coach in 1962 and serving Long Island Railroad particular practice routes.

Retired six years later and donated to the Wantagh Preservation Society, it spent one more four years in storage at Grumman’s Bethpage plant, earlier than being moved to its display pickle on October 25, 1972. It used to be rededicated in 1996.

On the unique time, it sits on long-established, hand-hewn ties and 80-pound rails, and aspects its long-established, hand-applied pin stripping in its interior.

Handiest just a few feet away is one more hark to Wantagh’s past: its post space of job. As soon as serving the agricultural city, which used to be then mostly populated by farmers, the limited, ten- by twelve-foot wood structure across from the railroad depot used to be in-constructed 1907 and served because the divulge’s initial post space of job, situated on the nook of Wantagh and Railroad avenues. Operated by a single particular person, who sorted the mail into slots, it witnessed the upward thrust of postage from a earlier school two to a most standard 49 cents for a two-ounce letter. Gertrude Ballem used to be the final particular person to work in it.

Collectively, the railroad self-discipline, the passenger coach, and the post space of job, maintained by the Wantagh Preservation Society, offer glimpses into early 20th-century Wantagh lifestyles.

The society itself, chartered by the Fresh York Pronounce Board of Regents as a nonprofit academic company, used to be founded in 1965 for the motive of saving the self-discipline’s Victorian architecture when plans for the elevated note crossing referred to as for its elimination, and Nassau County therefore equipped the display self-discipline at Wantagh and Emeric avenues for it.

In August of 1983, the self-discipline and the railroad car had been placed on the Pronounce and Nationwide Register of Ancient Areas.

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