The Babylon Branch
officially begins, appropriately enough, with the
electrified portion of the South Shore line at Babylon. We will
board our imaginary M-1 train for our westbound journey here.
Babylon station is located in the
heart of Babylon Village, at the intersection of Carll and
Railroad Avenues. This is an elevated station, with three tracks
and two island platforms. The Babylon storage yard is about a
half-mile east. The platform canopies are arched and have
concrete roofs. There is a large waiting room, which was
rebuilt in 2001, finished in pink and grey marble with brushed
stainless steel accents and recessed lighting. The busy ticket
windows open before 6AM and remain open into the evening and are
also open on weekends .Just outside, recently-rebuilt
escalators, stairways and new handicapped elevators lead to and
from the platforms. There are also exits further west at
Carll Avenue and just east of the main waiting room. A
handicapped elevator is just behind the waiting room building.
Permit parking is available, and there are metered spaces in the
main lot, with daily-fee ($3.00) lots located to the west.
.Additional commuter parking lots are located to the west of the
station. Both Nassau and Suffolk county bus routes terminate
All stations between here and Lynbrook have
single island platforms.
Lindenhurst is next. Located at
Hoffman Ave. and Irmisch Avenue., just east of the old
ground-level station, it sits on a concrete viaduct. A modern
full-length canopy shades the platform. There is a waiting room,
but the ticket office is closed. A renovation begun in 2005 was
recently completed, with staircases being upgraded and in one
case replaced, and a new escalator added. New-old-fashioned
"cup" lights have been installed along the exterior of the
waiting room and (still-closed) ticket office (there has been
talk of re-opening this on a part-time basis) Parking is in two
lots on the north side of the tracks.
Next is Copiague.
The station is located north of Oak Street at Little Neck Road.
It is identical to Lindenhurst, having been built at the same
time and by the same builder. There is a small parking lot on
the south side of the station. Again, the ticket office is
closed, but there is a waiting room. A recent renovation has
been completed, with similar upgrades as found at the adjacent
Lindenhurst station. There is a slight curve to the tracks just
to the east.
Amityville station is next. Again,
identical construction to the stations at Lindenhurst and
Copiague. The station is located about two blocks west of Main
Street (Route 110), behind the village's main Fire House. Access
is via two side streets. Parking lots are on either side of the
tracks. About a half-mile to the west are crossover switches.
Massapequa Park station is next, as
we leave Suffolk County and enter Nassau. Just before the
station, we pass the busy Sunrise Mall on our right and the
smaller companion malls across Sunrise Highway on our left. A
bell tower graces the entrance to the station parking lot, which
sprawls along the north side of Sunrise Highway. The station
itself is located at Park Avenue and Sunrise Highway, and,
again, features the same architectural design and features as
the three previous stations.
The elevated structure
turns into an earthen embankment and lowers itself by about
fifteen feet. Soon, we find ourselves at Massapequa
station, located at the intersection of Broadway and Sunrise
Highway. Parking lots spread out to the east of the station, and
one can find commuters actually parking along the shoulders of
Sunrise Highway once the lots fill up. This station has retained
its original platform canopy, and features a wooden roof covered
with asphalt. Fluorescent light fixtures with grooved shades
peek out from under the canopy's eaves. The old-style roof
supports remain. The station waiting room is similar to
Babylon's inside, with an active ticket window. Mushroom lights,
common throughout LIRR stations, adorn the island platform.
There is a covered stairway at the west end with a quaint peaked
The concrete viaduct is replaced by earthen
embankments and short elevated structures between Massapequa and
Wantagh stations, with the tracks rising and falling gently
Seaford station is next. Located
between Jackson and Washington Avenues, just north of Sunrise
Highway, this elevated station features an austere design, with
bucket lights on tall poles illuminating the platform. The
platform canopy is simple, with steel I-beams supporting it. The
parking lot is attractive, with many trees shading it and grass
islands separating the areas.
Wantagh station is located north of
Sunrise Highway, which bows to the south, at Railroad Avenue and
Wantagh Avenue. It is similar to the Seaford station, with tall
light stanchions and a simple platform canopy. Parking
immediately adjacent to the station is limited - the main lot is
north and east, towards the Fire House.
station finds us returning to the Lindenhurst - Copiague -
Amityville school of design, with a concrete viaduct and
streamlined platform canopy. The station is at Bellmore Avenue
and Sunrise Highway and features a large parking lot along the
Next is Merrick,
which is a cousin to Bellmore, but features a shorter platform
canopy, with mushroom lights at the open east end. Located at
Merrick Avenue and Sunrise Highway, it also features a sizeable
parking lot along its south flank.
We then slow down
approaching the Freeport station due to a large
number of switches and turnouts for the Freeport layup yard. The
station itself is located in the heart of downtown, north of
Sunrise High way at Henry Street. It features early 1960s
design, with "Whiteway" fluorescent lights. There is a brick
waiting room structure at platform level, along with arched
sections between the canopy supports. The waiting room is
typical of the period - green brick inside and square lights set
flush with the ceiling. Buses to Jones Beach terminate here
during the summer. A number of parking lots spread out to the
south and east, and there are also local bus transfers.
Baldwin station is next. It is
similar to Massapequa station, except the platform canopy only
covers part of the platform. The mushroom lights are very
prominent. The station is just east of Grand Avenue, at Sunrise
Highway, in the center of town. A covered stairway leads from
the west end of the platform to Grand Avenue below. The elevated
structure is lower than that at Freeport.
Rockville Centre station, located
between Village and Clinton Avenues, comes next. This late-1950s
concrete station is similar to Babylon, and features the same
squared canopy with arches. Directly to the north is the
imposing St. Agnes Cathedral, seat of the Rockville Centre
Diocese, with its 150-foot-plus spires. There is metered parking
to the south and east, and Park Avenue, with its trendy
restaurants, is right nearby.
Normally, Babylon Branch
trains go straight to Jamaica from here. However, you will get
an occasional train to stop at Lynbrook station,
located at Atlantic Avenue just north of Sunrise Highway. This
station is the transfer point to the
Long Beach Branch. It has four tracks and two island
platforms, and is decked out smartly in shades of blue with
white accents. Aluminum-clad canopies shade the platforms,
bearing the same blue and white colors. The station sits on a
concrete elevated structure, and was raised in the 1950s.
We now proceed straight to
Jamaica to continue our trip.