Northport Spur

 

The ROW of what is now the Port Jefferson branch was built in stages from Hicksville to Syosset (1863), Northport Village (1868), Smithtown (1870), Port Jefferson (1873) and ultimately to Wading River in 1895. (The PJ to Wading River portion was abandoned 10/9/1938).

However, when the line was extended from Northport to Smithtown, they did not just keep extending the line eastward from Northport, but rather cut into the line from a point west and south of Northport. This left a short (approximately 2 mi.) spur from the PJ branch to Northport. The black line in the first map shows my guess of the ROW of this spur. The second map, which was contributed by Mark Kolodny, is a section from a USGS topographical map showing the Old Northport branch in its final years. "X" and "Y" mark the beginning and end of the spur. Mark says that the last service (I assume freight) on the spur was around 1978, although it was used for storage for some time after this. The line was torn up by 1985 at the latest.

The following pictures and commentary of the current status of the Northport Spur were also contributed by Mark Kolodny.

This looks toward the terminus of the line. I'm standing on Church Street with Rte. 25A to my right, out of the picture. View is toward Laurel Road (once known as the Trolley Road, but that's another story). The ROW passes immediately under my feet. I suspect the rails crossing the street here were simply paved over in the years since abandonment. The gated facility is one of at least 2 lumber yards the branch served in its final decades. Word is that a derailment at one of them spelled the end for the branch:

Arrows point to stacks of old rails at the "terminus-area" lumber yard.

 

 

The first grade crossing on the line as you head N/NW of the junction with the Pt. Jeff main. This view looks NW toward the intersection of Maplewood DR which parallels the ROW for a stretch and Laurel Hill Rd which the ROW crosses-though nothing remains of the actual crossing itself. Sometimes old passenger coaches were stored along the line here after freight service ended.


View across Laurel Hill looking S/SE down ROW in the direction of LIRR Pt. Jeff main. ROW has been disrupted in spots with berms, logs and ditches to discourage local incorrigibles from riding dirt bikes on it. I'm not sure how much of a success this has been.

 

Looking west on Laurel Hill over crossing. Entrance to Wilson Tech is just out of view at near right, Northport HS is beyond that. I seem to recall that some of the old-fashioned crossbucks that used to guard the crossings on Laurel Hill, Elwood and 25A (not sure if there ever were any at Church Street crossing) were in place for a while after the tracks were ripped. Some of the locals eventually made off with them as souvenirs.

ROW paralleling Maplewood.


 

Looking NW. To the right (not pictured) is where Maplewood veers off sharply, away from ROW.

 

 

Crossing at 25A (looking S/SW) detail:
You can see part of the fill in this overexposed shot. Back when the line was active a fuel facility with a couple large tanks stood along the ROW here. I don't think it was serviced by the LIRR as it did not have its own siding.


at the terminus: Latham Bros. lumberyard. Tracks ran past these sheds, stopping "at" Laurel Road. When this was the end of the branch from Hicksville (c.1868-c.1873) a small yard existed here with engine sheds plus water and coal facilities. I saw an old photo of them once.

Here are a couple of great pictures of the RDC cars on the Northport spur from the mid 1950's. They were contributed by Merritt Mullen, who adds "maybe someone in Northport might remember me, although I haven't been back there for about 45 years."

 

 

 

 

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