Long Island Rail Road : Brooklyn to Far Rockaway
Aaron I. Philipson
The terminal at Brooklyn is
called Atlantic Terminal ( formerly Flatbush Avenue.)
It is underneath the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic
Avenues and adjacent to the subway 2-3-4-5 lines station which
is called Atlantic Avenue. It is over the B-Q stop also called
Atlantic Avenue and connected by underground walkway to the
D-M-N-R stop at Pacific Street.
The terminal comprises 6
tracks and 3 platforms. Tracks 1 and 2 can platform 10 cars, but
the first 2 cars are never opened because the gap is too large
between train and platform. Tracks 3 and 4 platform 8 cars with
BROOK Tower at the east end of the platform. Track 5 platforms 6
cars and Track 6 platforms 4 cars but can accommodate a 6 car
train. The west end of this platform is directly adjacent to the
uptown 2-3 subway platform.
Some relatives depths of
stations in the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street complex are as
- LIRR Station, 20 feet below street
- IRT Station, 20 feet below street
- BMT (B/Q) Station, 50 feet below
- BMT (D/M/N/R) Station, 40 feet below
Leaving the terminal the line
merges into two tracks which run beneath Atlantic Avenue. A
storage yard is in an open cut south of the right-of-way. It is
visible in two places, the switch out from the line and from an
opening due west of that point. The line emerges from the tunnel
just west of Nostrand Avenue and ascends to a viaduct in the
middle of Atlantic Avenue.
The Nostrand Avenue
station consists of two outside six car platforms with a
ticket office at the west end of the eastbound platform. The
line continues east in the middle of Atlantic Avenue on a steel
subway-like viaduct. The outsides of the trains hang over the
edges which creates an interesting sight from street level.
The line descends under
Atlantic Avenue and then re-emerges in an open-cut in the middle
of the lower level of the street at East New York
station. This station has 2 side platforms handling 10 car
trains, with a cross-under and ticket office beneath the tracks.
The Atlantic Avenue "L" subway station is directly above the
East New York Station.
Leaving East New York the line
re-enters the tunnel under Atlantic Avenue and continues east in
practically a straight shot to Jamaica. The Fulton Street subway
passes underneath. Trains attain speeds of 70 MPH along this
stretch which is quite impressive for an underground railway.
The line passes the abandoned station at Woodhaven Blvd. and the
cutouts to the old LIRR Rockaway branch are visible. This
section of track has been used to store equipment in severe
snowstorms in an attempt to keep the M1-M3's free of blowing and
he line emerges from the
tunnel just east of Lefferts Blvd. The Dunton diesel shops are
visible on the north side of the right-of-way. There is an
employee stop called Boldin's Landing (?). This
station can platform 2 cars each direction with a crossover at
the west end. Eastbound trains platform the first 2 cars and
westbound trains the last 2 cars. DUNTON Tower is on the north
side of the line and the Long Island City branch runs on an
embankment above it.
A one track siding goes off to
the south leading to the Johnson Avenue yard. The line passes
under the tracks leading to Penn Station and over the Van Wyck
Expressway as it approaches Jamaica Station. JAY
Tower is on the north side.
Far Rockaway trains usually
platform on Track 6 at Jamaica as this track provides a straight
shot to the Atlantic branch underjump which is located about 200
yards east of the station. HALL Tower, which controls movements
east of Jamaica station is on the south side. The branch crosses
under the mainline and heads southeast on a two track
embankment. The Far Rockaway line shares this right-of-way with
the Long Beach and West Hempstead branches, but the next three
stations are served only Far Rockaway trains (although, some
Long Beach trains do make these stops, especially on the
The next stop is Locust
Manor, two outside 8 car platforms. After Locust Manor
the branch curves east.
The next stop is
Laurelton, a center 8 car platform. There is a ticket
office at platform level in the middle of the station. Just east
of this station the Montauk branch rejoins the Atlantic branch.
Lynbrook, our first stop after
leaving the main line is unusual. It appears to be two islands
serving four tracks but in fact is two separate stations each
with an island and two tracks. this line uses the Western A
crossover is present on this embankment located station's
platforms and tracks. The line
runs on a 4 track embankment from this point to just east of the
The next stop is
Rosedale, a duplicate of the Laurelton station. There is
no access from the Montauk branch, the platform splits the two
southernmost tracks only.
The line continues on to
Valley Stream. A full set of switches is located west
of the station, allowing access from the Montauk to Atlantic
branches as well as "reverse platforming" at Valley Stream
station. Long Beach branch trains are allowed to continue into
the station at regular speed while Far Rockaway trains are given
a slow approach which they follow until they are in the station.
Valley Stream station is a center 8 car platform, similar to
Laurelton and Rosedale except the ticket office is at street
level. Again, their is no access to the Montauk branch tracks.
VALLEY Tower is located about 100 yards east of the station.
From Valley Stream, the line
turns south and descends to grade. There is a set of switches
which allow trains to access either side of Valley Stream
station. A pedestal position light signal governs this switch.
From this point there are no other signals except for ATC. If a
train has its speed control cut out, it must remain at this
signal until all other trains have cleared the block, which
extends to the end of the line at Far Rockaway.
The next station is
Gibson, 2 outside 10 car platforms with a crossover
pedestrian bridge at the south end. The line is running north
and south at this point. The station house is at the north end.
The ticket window has been closed for a few years, there is a
Ticket Vending Machine outside. I believe there is an apartment
in the upper portion of the station building.
The line continues south,
rising to cross over Peninsula Blvd., then returning to grade
where it will run to Far Rockaway. After crossing West Broadway
the line turns back toward New York City. From this point on,
eastbound trains will be traveling west and vice-versa. The next
stop is Hewlett. The old low level station is
visible along the curve with the station building at the west
end. The high level platforms begin across Franklin Avenue. The
eastbound platform is 8 cars long while the westbound can
platform 10 cars.
The next stop is
Woodmere, 2 outside 10 car platforms with the station
near the east end of the station. The line continues to
Cedarhurst. Right before the station was the old switch
off for the Laurelton-Cedarhurst cutoff. There are no visible
traces of this line (see Herbert George's book Change at
Ozone Park: A History and Description of the Long Island
Railroad Rockaway Branches for complete details.). The
Cedarhurst station is 2 outside 10 car platforms. There are
station houses on each side at the east end of the station. The
westbound station house is used by a taxi company.
The next station is
Lawrence, 2 outside 10 car platforms with the station
located at the west end of the Westbound side of the station.
This station. like Gibson has not been staffed for a few years.
There is a Ticket Vending Machine outside.
The next-to-last stop is
Inwood, 2 outside 4 car platforms. Most of the
station is located under NYS highway 878, also known as the
Nassau Expressway. There is no station house.
The branch crosses Doughty
Blvd. and then re-enters the borough of Queens. A 2 track
storage yard is located on the south side of the right-of-way.
The line is tracked in a double "Y" fashion which allows access
to the yard and to the 10 car center platform at Far
Rockaway station. The station ticket office is at the
west end of the platform at Nameoke Avenue. There is no visible
remnant of when the line continued on and connected to the
present "A" train terminal at Mott Avenue. It is a 5 minute walk
to the "A" train, though the neighborhood is not very safe. See
Herbert George's book for more information.
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Brooklyn to Far Rockaway