I recently came across some snaps taken during the Dawn of Forgotten New York in 1999 — in particular, from a fan trip from September 1999 employing LIRR MP-72 cars, which were hauled by diesel engines on unelectrified parts of the Long Island Rail Road, which were mostly “out east” — past Ronkonkoma or Hicksville. The LIRR was converting to new double decked units that could be pulled by an engine but were also equipped to take power from third rail, which meant they could enter Penn Station. I had already scanned these photos in 1999, but at a very small size when dial up modems were used to access the internet. Recently I rescanned them bigger and turned up the color saturation to emphasize detail.
This particular trip plied relatively closer trackways in Queens and Nassau Counties and even included a jaunt on the Port Washington branch, which has had a third rail for many decades. Here, the trainset pauses at what was then known as the Shea Stadium platform. I believe the station was opened in 1964 when the World’s Fair opened; I do not know if there was an LIRR stop here for the 1939-40 Fair (remind me at email@example.com).
Forgotten Fan/subway historian Andy Sparberg:
The LIRR had a station at the 1939-40 World’s Fair that was slightly west of the current station. As you noted the current station was constructed for the 1964-65 Fair. The platform in the photo has not changed since then. Originally there were also two additional island platforms and four tracks south of the current station, much of which are still there. Those four tracks were used to turn shuttle trains operating between the Fair and Penn Station. The two south platforms were accessible through turnstiles that were activated when passengers used a special token (50 cents) used instead of paper tickets on the Penn-World’s Fair shuttle trains. Arriving passengers paid when leaving the train; departing passengers paid before descending to the platform level.
[The LIRR cars] were built in 1955-56 as electric MU cars. When the M1 electric cars were placed in service (1969-73) the MP72s were converted for use as diesel-hauled cars and remained so until retired in 2000. The Port Washington Branch has had third rail since 1910, when Penn Station opened.
Plenty has changed here beside the name. Station lighting now is of the bright white LED persuasion, and the Corona Yards in the rear are no longer bristling with red-coated R-33/R-36 “redbird” units, as today R-188 units are employed on the Flushing Line #7 train. Most R-62 units, which replaced the redbirds beginning in 2003, have themselves been phased out.
The ever dependable Art Hunkele has a page devoted to the 1939-1940 Fair LIRR station.