The Atlantic Ave. branch is the oldest line of the LIRR, having been built by the Brooklyn and Jamaica RR in 1836 and immediately leased to the LIRR. It was originally at street level in the middle of Atlantic Ave. From 1903-1905 the grade elimination was made with a tunnel from Flatbush Ave. to Bedford, then elevated to about Ralph Ave., tunnel again to East NY and elevated again to Shepherd Ave. In 1942, this last portion was depressed into a tunnel to Morris Park, from where it now runs on an enbankment to Jamaica. Here's an interesting list of all the stations that ever existed on the Atlantic Ave. line. (including rapid transit-only stops). Here's a copy of a rapid transit "Local Electric Train" ticket from 1935. These trains ran relatively frequently and made many stops from Flatbush Ave. to Queens (Village).
Flatbush Ave. - At Atlantic and Flatbush Aves. The current station was built in 1905 and originally there were tracks on two levels, the upper level for freight only. The first picture is from around 1930. The stairway on the far right goes up to the Fifth Ave. El. The second picture is at platform level taken in August, 2000. The third picture, probably from the 1940's, shows a trolley and bus in front of the terminal building. The Fourth is from the late 30's and was taken from under the Fifth Ave. El., which is partially visible overhead. The Fifth is an aerial view from 1924The remaining pictures were taken in December, 2006. The station is undergoing a complete rebuilding and is nearing completion. Note the brand new mall which has taken the place of the former station building.
Nostrand Ave. - At Atlantic and Nostrand Aves. Two side platforms with two tracks. Opened 1903 when this portion of the line was elevated. The picture is looking westbound. Note that this elevated portion of the LIRR's Atlantic branch is much, much stronger that any of the old elevated rapid transit lines, even those that were upgraded or built during the Dual Contracts period. This is because, when it was built around 1903, it was built to handle heavy freight trains pulled by steam locomotives which would continue to the upper freight level of Flatbush Ave. station.
East New York - At Atlantic and East New York Aves. Two side platforms with two tracks. Here are two pictures of the very eerie (and dreary) East New York station, both taken from the Atlantic Ave. service road. The first is looking west and shows the eastbound platform. The second is looking east towards the 6 track Atlantic Ave. station of the 14th St.-Canarsie line where a train of southbound R-42's (I know you Subway buffs will tell me that they're probably R-40M's) is just pulling into the station. The elevated line from Broadway Junction to Atlantic Ave. is argueably the most impressive in the entire NYC Subway System. There are still remnants of the Fulton St. El, which ran east along Fulton, then turned south to parallel the Canarsie line through Altantic Ave. station, which has 3 platforms, then turned east once again along Pitkin Ave. Unfortunately, much of the massive elevated structure is currently being torn down, and all that will remain is two tracks for the Canarsie line. Underneath all this, there still exists the remnants of the East NY station on the Bay Ridge line which is in a tunnel under both the Canarsie line and the LIRR Atlantic branch. The third and fourth pictures were taken prior to the grade elimination of around 1940 and are looking north from Snedicker Ave. The fifth picture, from the Brooklyn Public Library collection and contributed by Doug Diamond, shows the new (current) station being built. Here's the caption that went along with this picture from the Brooklyn Eagle: "Taking Shape-The complicated maze of construction work which has prevailed at the ENY station of the LIRR on Atlantic and East NY Avenues is rapidly taking shape. Eventually to be a five-level crossing where the Atlantic Avenue improvement intersects rapid transit lines and those of the NY Connecting Railway, as well as highways. Work has been done without interrupting traffic except on highways. Atlantic Avenue automobile traffic will be carried above the tracks of the railroad, which is to be depressed. East New York Avenue traffic will drop beneath the Long Island trains and the Atlantic Avenue roadway. Transit and freight lines will run as at present." The last 7 pictures were taken 4/1/2007.
Warwick St. - The first picture is from 1919 (Ron Ziel collection). The second was contributed by "Big John".
Autumn Ave. - Another Ziel picture from 1925
Union Course - This one is from 1939 (Ziel)
Woodhaven - This is looking east toward the station in 1918. That's the Rockaway line overpass in the backround.
Clarenceville - Clarenceville is the old name for Richmond Hill. I assume the station kept the old name so as to avoid confusion with the Richmond Hill station on the Montauk Branch. This photo is from 1925 (Ziel)
Morris Park - This one is 1932 (Ziel)
Dunton -fron 1925 (Ziel)
Boland's Landing - Like the Hillside Facility, this stop is for LIRR Employees only. It is located just east of the tunnel portal which heads towards East NY. It consists of 2 wooden outside platforms, offset from each other, each about 2 car lengths long. First is a recent picture looking westbound. The second is a little further west, but looking into the newly completed tunnel. This picture was also contributed by Doug.
Jamaica - (click here for pictures of the current renovation of Jamaica Station) The present station at Sutphin Blvd, opened on March 19, 1913, when the entire station was placed on a large embankment to eliminate all the grade crossings in the area. Prior to that, the station was located several blocks east of the present site and had been rebuilt in 1903. When the residents of Jamaica learned that the new station was not going to be in the "center of town" any longer, they appealed to the LIRR to add a station near the old site - thus the Union Hall St. station was built. Here's a postcard from 1928. The second picture was taken in Sept., 2000. The third and fourth pictures are from 1878. The fifth was taken shortly after the new station was built in 1913. The last picture shows how the church in the backround of picture 3 looks today (note the new addition to the rear of the church).
The Far Rockaway branch runs along the right-of-way of the South Side RR's line from Jamaica to Rockaway and was completed in 1869.
Jamaica - Beaver St. - site of the old South Side Jamaica station- just past the split from the Main Line. It was used until shortly after the present Jamaica was built in the 1910's.
Cedar Manor - see below under Higbie Ave.
Locust Manor - At Farmers Blvd. and Bedell St., across from Rochdale Village. On an embankment. Two side platforms and two tracks. Original station was called Locust Ave. at Baisley Blvd. Name changed to Locust Manor in 1929. The present station was built after the grade elimination in the 1950's. The first picture is from February, 1999. The rest were taken 3/11/2007.
Higbie Ave. - The following was
contributed by Charles G. "Cedar Manor and Higbie Avenue
were closed sometime between September 2, 1958 and September 12,
1960. The current Locust Manor station appears to be at the same
location as the prior station -- Mile 13.6 in all timetables I
have from 1953-60. For points of reference, Jamaica is at mile
11.3, Cedar Manor was at 12.8, Locust Manor 13.6, Higbie Avenue
14.6, Laurelton 15.1 and Rosedale 16.0. So the demise of Higbie
Avenue likely had at least something to do with its proximity
to Laurelton as well as the perceived need for a station near
Rochdale Village. As far as ridership went, one can make some
inferences from the schedules. In 1953, all of the Atlantic Branch
stations saw fairly frequent peak hour service. Off peak, Cedar
Manor and Locust Manor were local stations for West Hempstead
branch trains. Higbie, Laurelton and Rosedale were stops for the
Far Rockaway (actually Rockaway Park, then) locals. (For those
who really groove on Southeastern Queens service in the 50's,
Springfield Gardens and St. Albans were served by Long Beach locals).
By 1958, service to both Cedar Manor and Locust Manor had almost
entirely evaporated. Eastbound, Cedar Manor had just 2 trains
a day on weekdays and Locust Manor just 8. Weekends, Cedar Manor
was closed. Locust Manor got 3 eastbound trains on Saturday and
only 1 on Sunday. Westbound service was similar. Higbie Avenue
continued to have service on par with Laurelton and Rosedale.
Per the 1960 schedule, once Higbie and Cedar Manor closed, Locust
Manor essentially took on the schedule of the old Higbie Avenue
-- local stop on Far Rockaway trains, frequent service. One other
note that I can't really explain. Both Laurelton and Rosedale
had frequent reverse commute service throughout the 50's (every
20 minutes, as opposed to every 90 minutes off peak). What was
going on in that area that (apparently) was bringing in workers
Laurelton - 225 St. and 145 Rd. Center platform with two tracks. On an embankment. Original station was built in 1907, but was torn down in the 1950's because of the grade crossing elimination, when the present station was built. Here's a picture looking south from street level. The first picture is from February, 1999. The rest were taken 3/11/2007.
For the following stations, the pictures with the small thumbnails are from 1999, while those with the larger thumbnails are from November and December, 2006.
Rosedale - At Francis Lewis Blvd., just north of Sunrise Highway at Conduit Ave. - Center Platform for the two Far Rockaway/Long Beach tracks, plus two tracks for the Babylon/Montauk branch. On an embankment. The original station was called Foster's Meadow and opened in 1871 at Red Hook Blvd. In May, 1889, the name was changed to Still Stream when a new depot was erected, and finally to Rosedale in June 1892. The depot was demolished in 1936 as part of the grade elimination. I assume the present station was built shortly afterwards. The station has been recently renovated, as can be seen in the more recent pictures from November, 2006. Note what I assume is a temporary waiting room in the last three pictures.
Valley Stream - At S. Franklin Ave. just north of Sunrise Highway. Center platform for the two Far Rockaway/Long Beach tracks plus two tracks for the Babylon/Montauk branch. On an embankment. This was an original station of the South Side RR and opened in June, 1869. The original building was torn down in 1933 as part of the grade elimination. I assume the present station was built shortly afterwards. Valley Tower controls the movement of trains either i) off to the Far Rockaway tracks to the right; ii) the West Hempstead branch whose one track branches off to the left just out of sight of the second picture; iii) the two Babylon tracks or iv) the Long Beach branch.
Gibson - At Munro and Gibson Blvds. in Valley Stream. Two side platforms with two tracks.
Hewlett - Between Broadway and West Broadway at Franklin Ave. Two side platforms with two tracks. One of the original stations of the South Side's Rockaway branch. The present building is the original one from 1870 and must be one of the oldest still around.
Woodmere - At Woodmere Blvd. and Cedar La. Two side platforms with two tracks. Called Wood's Station in 1869, then Woodsburgh. Changed to Woodmere in 1897. The present building was built in 1902.
Cedarhurst - At Cedarhurst Blvd. Opened in 1869 as part of the SSRR's Rockaway branch. Two side platforms with two tracks. Depot built 1872, but moved to Far Rockaway in 1881. A new depot was built in 1913. There are two buildings, on on each side of the tracks. The last 5 photos are of the building on the Far Rockaway-bound side.
Lawrence - At Lawrence and Bayview Aves. Two side platforms with two tracks. Opened in 1869 as part of the SSRR's Rockaway branch. The present building dates from 1905. The first picture is from the parking lot; the second is the interior of the station building.
Inwood - Between the Nassau Expressway (Rte. 878) and Doughty Ave. at Redfern Ave. Two side platforms with two tracks. Originally Westville; changed to Inwood in 1889. A shed was built in 1911 but demolished in 1956. As you can see from the pictures, there is no station building. It seems to be in the middle of nowhere!
Far Rockaway - At Redfern Ave. and Hassock St. Center Platform and two tracks, with several storage tracks. Thanks to Gary Doster, we have the following information: This ground station was built in 1958 to replace the LIRR's elevated structure. In 1955 the railroad cut its elevated line from the continuation to Rockaway Beach after sale of the Rockaway Beach Branch to the NYCTA. The Far Rockaway branch terminal remained this way until 1958, when the present building was built.
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