Construction began for the Long Island Rail Road between Brooklyn and Jamaica, and points beyond, in 1836. The railroad ran down the center of Atlantic Avenue, a major route running from the waterfront into Jamaica. At first, all service was at grade level on the surface, but by the early 1900s, a series of tunnels and viaducts was completed that avoided conflicts with horse and wagon and later, automobile traffic.

One stretch of track on Atlantic Avenue was not placed underground or elevated for a long while: a stretch between Highland Park and Jamaica. This stretch remained adamantly at surface level until a tunnel was finally completed in 1942 that ran from the East New York station east to the Boland’s Landing workers’ platform in Richmond Hill. At that time, all passenger stations between East New York and Jamaica… except one, at Woodhaven.


This photo from Art Huneke’s Arrts Arrchives shows the grade-level Woodhaven station, probably in the 1930s.


This photo from Arrts Arrchives shows a connection from the Atlantic Avenue LIRR tracks to the north-south Rockaway LIRR branch.


In 1942, the new underground Woodhaven station opened. This station featured a transfer upstairs to the Rockaway Branch LIRR Woodhaven station. As Joe Brennan explains (this photo is taken from his page and originally was published by Art Huneke) after LIRR service to the Rockaways ended in 1950 after the Jamaica Bay trestle burned down, service to the station became more and more infrequent, and the underground Woodhaven station was closed in 1976.


The above-ground Woodhaven station seen here, meanwhile, was abandoned after 1962 when service ended on the LIRR Rockaway branch closed (as was the transfer to the underground Woodhaven station).








I’ve received an anonymous donation of recent photos taken at the underground Woodhaven LIRR station. Trains whistle past here at speeds of 60-80 MPH, and today riders are completely unaware of a closed station.


Original stairs, rails, and some original tilework is still in place.


Showing an underpass connecting the two platforms.


Along the Woodhaven station platform.


An interesting feature of the Woodhaven station is, as it was opened in 1942, it adhered to then-current designs, which meant that machine-Age IND-type signage and lettering was employed for station signage.


The East New York station at Van Sinderen Avenue was opened at the same time as the Woodhaven station and uses the same type of lettering, which appears in most IND subway stations that opened between 1933 and 1950.

It’s doubtful that Woodhaven, built to be a twin of sorts of the IND subway stations of the same era despite being a Long Island Rail Road station, will ever see passenger service again.



Categorized in: Forgotten Slices Subways & Trains Tagged with:

21 Responses to WOODHAVEN STATION, Woodhaven

  1. Owen says:

    Are there any possible sources that can connect this station and the underpass of the East New York station to architect Squire Vickers, who was responsible for the same design not 10 years earlier on the IND subways? His work generally included a crossunder tunnel and the same font of inlaid directional tiles.

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      Vickers did design the look and feel of the IND stations.

      • Owen says:

        Yes, and it’s well sourced and documented. Let me clarify. The question is if he designed these stations himself, with his hand, as well (stations which use almost exactly the same elements of his IND designs – directional tiles and crossunders), or if his designs were appropriated for this expansion whether he had input or not.

        • Owen says:

          My inclination is to believe they used his designs that were on file and did these without him. The thick extra tile border around “WOODHAVEN” is uncommon, along with the directional sign, which he’s never “double lined” before. The “AND” that’s forced in is a little sloppy too.

  2. Pedro says:

    Finally, brand new pictures of the abandoned Woodhaven LIRR station. Until now, the only pictures I’ve seen are the ones on Joe Brennan’s site and some youtube videos.

  3. Andy says:

    The Woodhaven Station, and the associated LIRR tunnel below Atlantic Avenue, were all part of a Robert Moses project to grade-separate the entire LIRR Rockaway Line in Queens and eliminate all street grade crossings. On the Rockaway peninsula, that mean raising the tracks onto the current viaduct that opened in 1941. The viaduct stations were deliberately built using rapid transit designs to expedite the conversion to subway operation and turnstile fare collection which occurred in 1956. Ironically, this was one Robert Moses project that benefited transit riders. Of course, private autos benefited from a much wider and faster Atlantic Avenue as well.

  4. Bill says:

    I had heard of a Woodhaven station, but this is the first time I’ve actually seen pictures of it.

  5. Wayne Whitehorne says:

    This station should be reopened once they convert the Atlantic Terminal branch to “scoot
    ” service.

  6. the original plan was for the IND to take over the atlantic branch from faltbush ave to Jamaica station.henceforth the ind type subway station at atlantic ave.

    • Larry says:

      I like that idea….Brooklyn service was always treated as a step-child anyways. When they put air conditioned trains on the Penn Sta service, they ran older trains to Flatbush Ave in the 50’s and 60’s,

    • Owen says:

      Interesting theory, Steve. Do you have any resources for further reading? It wouldn’t surprise me as takeover was the IND’s claim to fame. Though it confuses me a little why they’d want the Atlantic Avenue railroad when they were getting the Fulton St. subway just 2 blocks away.

      • not a theory,this is from the long island press circa 1937.the lirr wanted to abandon all train train service west of jamaica station and have the IND take it over.i,ve heard old time ind[t.a.] employee`s saying that the lirr was to come into the ind tracks around laffeyette ave thru a new tunnel.

      • joel frid says:

        Also, at the Roosevelt Avenue Station on the Queens Boulevard Line, the mezzanine level was a fully built station intended to be a terminal station that would have ran tracks to the Far Rockaway line. This was named the Winfield Spur and was part of the IND Second system. See Subway.org link: http://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/Station:_Roosevelt_Avenue_Terminal_Station_(Queens_Boulevard_Line)

        • Daniel Timothy Dey says:

          I thought that too once, but looking at a few maps I realized it was actually supposed to go to closer to the Myrtle Avenue Line, and then run on an extension of that which was supposed to run on Central Avenue then make a sharp turn on 98th Street near Forest Park before heading towards the Rockaways.


          It would’ve made more sense to have a direct route from Rego Park, and believe it or not, Robert Moses actually wanted to reuse the entire Rockaway Beach Branch for a subway line.

    • Daniel Timothy Dey says:

      Guess that also explains the New York Subway signs at Nostrand Avenue station, rather than Long Island Rail Road ones.

  7. Dismal Ted says:

    Track speed is 70 mph.

  8. prchristman says:

    I’d like to know how that anonymous person got into the station. As early as 1980, I’ve tried but could find absolutely no access. One former LIRR branch manager who of course could get in told me there was nothing to see there, but from these pictures I’d say there is. Thanks to that anonymous photographer for finally giving me a chance to see what’s down there. Even when the station was open, I unsuccessfully tried to stare out the window at what went speeding by and catch sight of something. The stairs leading up to the street and the outline of a WOODHAVEN tile sign on the wall were about it. I should have boarded one of the few trains that stopped there (until about 1976).

    • james s. gagliardi says:

      closest i got to that (boarding at a soon-to-be-closed city lirr station) was catching a train from union hall street to hempstead. but i do remember seeing the pocket schedules showing the few trains stopping at woodhaven.

  9. Glenn says:

    Your handling of this topic was very helpful. Sadly, Art Huneke handling of this topic along with Rockaway Brach is horrible. He fails to provide a comprehensive explanation of the photos he supplies(which really defeats the purpose of showing the photos). As for your site, I was hoping to read about the tunnel at Woodhaven which connected Rockaway Beach trains access to Atlantic Ave /Flatbush Ave station. I was wondering if there is a photo of that tunnel/incline.

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