The following series of maps shows the growth of the LIRR through the years. Using an 1898 map of LI as a backround, the colored lines show the LIRR, and its competitors, as they existed as of that particular year. Click on the thumbnails to view the full size maps. Please let me know of any errors you may find.
The LIRR leases the just completed Brooklyn and Jamaica RR, and immediately begins building the Main Line east from Jamaica.
The Main Line is completed to Hicksville.
The LIRR builds its first branch off the Main Line, from Mineola to Hempstead.
The Main Line is extended to Farmingdale.
The Main Line is extended to Central Islip.
The Main Line is completed to its final terminus at Greenport. New York to Boston rail-ferry-rail service commences.
The Atlantic Ave. tunnel is built allowing trains to go all the way to the East River, replacing the horse-pulled cars previously used.
The LIRR's first competitor, the Flushing Railroad, builds its line from Hunter's Point to Flushing
The LIRR builds a branch from Hickville to Syosset. This line will eventually continue to Port Jefferson and Wading River.
Steam railroads are banned from the City of Brooklyn. The Atlantic Ave. line reverts to horsecars from the river to East NY. Portion from ENY to Jamaica taken over by Brooklyn, Central and Jamaica RR. In its place the LIRR bulds a line west through Woodside to Hunter's Point (Main Line).
The LIRR builds a branch north from Mineola to Glen Head. This line will eventually continue to Oyster Bay.
The North Shore RR, builds a line from Flushing to Great Neck. This line will eventually continue to Port Washington. It was leased and operated by the Flushing & NY RR (former Flushing RR),
Another competitor of the LIRR, the South Side RR of LI, is formed and builds a line from Jamaica to Babylon.
The LIRR extends the Port Jeff. line to Northport.
The South Side RR extends east from Babylon to Islip and west from Jamaica to Bushwick.
The LIRR extends the Oyster Bay line from Glen Head to Glen Cove.
Another competitor, The Flushing and North Side RR, bullds a line from Hunter's Point to Flushing.
The South Side extends from Islip to Patchogue, starts using steam dummies to replace horsecars from Bushwick to the East River, and builds a branch from Valley Stream to Far Rockaway
The South Side leases a new RR, from Valley Stream to Hempstead , built by the NY & Hempstead (Plains) RR.
The South Side extends the Rockaway line to Beach House.
The LIRR builds a branch from Manor(ville) to Sag Harbor. This line will eventually coninue to Montauk.
builds branch, NY&Rockaway RR, from Hillside to
Far Rockaway (later known as Cedarhurst Cutoff).
South Side extends from Beach House to Seaside House (Beach 103rd St.); acquires Flushing RR from Hunter's Point to Winfield and connects Fresh Pond and Haberman.
Central RR of LI builds Flushing to Farmingdale, Garden City to Hempstead and Bethpage Jct. to Bethpage
LIRR extends from Northport to Port Jefferson.
Central RR Extension Co. extends from Farmingdale to Babylon
LIRR builds the Newtown and Flushing RR, better known as the White Line (for the color of the cars) from Winfield to Flushing. This line ended up being the shortest lived of all the many RR's on Long Island, being abandoned in 1876 (although horse cars were later used until about 1880).
The Flushing & North Side completes its Woodside Branch,
officially the Flushing and Woodside RR, which used a more northern
route to get from Woodside to Flushing, following approximately
what is now Northern Blvd..
LIRR extends Oyster Bay line from Glen Cove to Locust Valley.
The South Side extends its Rockaway Line to Seaside House (Beach 116th St.)
The ROW of the former Flusing RR (later the NY&Flushing RR) from Haberman to Winfield is abandoned for passenger service - fright service continues for a couple of years before the tracks are torn up.
The three main competitors - the LIRR, the Flushing, North Shore and Central RR, and the South Side RR are all united under common ownership - the Poppenhusen Family, which previously owned the NS&C.
The White Line is abandoned for regular passenger service although it was connected with the Central branch for special trains to serve the Creedmoor Rifle Range.
The portion of the South Side's Bushwick line from Bushwick to the East River ferry is also abandoned.
A new RR, the NY, Bay Ridge and Jamaica RR Co. is formed from the "ashes" of the NY & Hempstead RR (which first started building a failed version of the Bay Ridge branch back in 1870 - but they did build the branch from Valley Stream to Hempstead, as noted in the 1870 map above), and completes the portion of the Bay Ridge branch from the Ferry at 65th St. to Bath Junction. They negotiate a lease with the Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island RR (today's West End Line of the NYC Subway System), to use their tracks to get to Coney Island.
The NY and Manhattan Beach Railway is formed by Austin Corbin, takes over the NYBR&J and completes the Bay Ridge line to East New York. They also build a line to Manhattan Beach
After an absence of 17 years, steam trains return to Brooklyn, but the line now only goes to Flatbush Ave.
The Glendale and East River RR (part of the NY & Manhattan Beach Ry) is formed and builds what is now the Evergreen branch from East NY to a terminal at the East river in Greenpoint.
The Kings County Central RR (also part of the NY&MBRy) is built from Parkville to Prospect Park. This line will close down later this same year, never to run again.
The Hempstead Branch of the old South Side RR (originally built by the NY and Hempstead Plains RR) is abandoned.
The New York, Woodhaven and Rockaway RR is built from Fresh Pond to Rockaway Beach
The New York and Long Beach RR is built from Lynbrook to Long Beach
More to come...