ABANDONED STATIONS of the Long Island Rail Road

by Kevin Walsh

The Long Island Rail Road has recently abandoned a number of stations In Queens and Nassau. Many of these stations are along the Montauk Branch between Jamaica and Long Island City. These unelectrified tracks are stilll used for freight and for express Jamaica-LIC service for a few runs during the week.

LIRR buff Robert Anderson has an excellent website about abandoned LIRR routes, which can be reached here.

The old Fresh Pond station was reached by an unmarked path at Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road which lead to a stairway which led to a clearing along the tracks, as well as a small tin shack. The Montauk branch is not electrified, so there’s no third-rail danger.

Fresh Pond Station was/is accessed by a meandering, garbage-strewn dirt/concrete path in back of a used car place. The sign announcing the station closure has been there since 1998, just in case. Till then, the station served about 5-10 passengers daily. This is pretty much the condition it was in when this station was actually open.

Staircase descended to “platform” for Long Island City-bound customers…while an overpass carried Jamaica-bound passengers over the tracks. The LIRR did provide Jamaica-bound customers with a small concession: a tin shack to shelter from the rain.

 

Glendale, along with Fresh Pond (above) were among stations along the Montauk Branch the LIRR closed rather than convert the platforms to accommodate new cars which started arriving in 1998.

 

(LEFT) Railroad sign on 73rd Street south of Edsall Avenue. Two passenger trains and a handful of freights traverse the tracks on a typical weekday in 2005.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glendale Station, looking south, October 3, 1906. The street crossing the RR is McComb Place, now known as 73rd St.

Christina Wilkinson: “Philip Knack’s florist shop is the building on the left. The building in the center is George Gundolff’s saloon and hotel. The building on the right was originally Christian Kirschmann’s saloon.”

Saloons, roadhouses and bars would cluster around railroad stations in the old days; today, there are 3 or 4 in Penn Station.

Glendale Station, 1982. You can see things are pretty much the same. The buildings have lost some ornamentation, and the crossing gates are now electronic. Photo: courtesy Christina.

 

Glendale Station, March 13, 2005, looking north

 

This sign of considerable age warns people about the dead end that is actually an entrance to All Faiths-Lutheran Cemetery.

 

Typical LIRR consist, MP15ac loco pulling P72 2900 series passenger cars constructed in the 1950s, at Glendale in the 1980s.

 

Till 1998 when the station closed, passengers waited at a clearing on the side of the tracks.

 

Till the early 2000s, this warehouse was all that remained of the old LIRR Bushwick Terminal, at Bushwick Place and Montrose Avenue. The building has been much altered since passenger service was discontinued in 1924.

The LIRR line to Bushwick diverges from the Montauk Branch at Bushwick Junction, near the old Fresh Pond station, and proceeds, through rubble-strewn railroad cuts and barbed-wire protected lots, to this point.

A few freight hauls are presently made on the line.

 

A nearby sign, long in disrepair, indicates that Bushwick is indeed a Long Island Railroad terminal.

 

Ancient, deteriorating staircase along the Bushwick Branch at Scott Avenue in Maspeth. Passenger service on this branch was discontinued way back in 1924.

 

View of Manhattan from the Scott Avenue overpass.

The tall building on the right is Citicorp’s 48-story building on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

Note that the walkway features so-called crescent moon light fixtures which haven’t worked for many years. [They were replaced in the late 2000s]

The walkway dates to 1952.

 

The so-called Evergreen Branch linked the LIRR with trackage just west of Wyckoff Avenue with the Bushwick branch in the vicinity of Varick Avenue. Most of these tracks have been pulled up, but traces remain, most notably tracks across Decatur Street, as well as this incongruous RR Crossing sign on Hancock Street. The sign still dutifully informs motorists that trains may be coming…although they haven’t come for decades.

Photo by Robert Andersen.

2005: they’ve finally caught up with the sign…it’s gone.

 

The East New York station, here at Van Sinderen and Atlantic Avenues, is the only passenger station still extant from the old Bay Ridge LIRR branch. Passenger service was cancelled here in 1924; the line ran at grade until 1914, so this cut only benefitted LIRR riders for 10 years. The line is currently used by the New York & Atlantic RR for strictly freight service.

2000 LIRR fantrip through East New York station in oldnyc.com 

 

Before the Woodside station was renovated from 1995-1998 it boasted a selection of very old signs.

 


Ancient sign at Auburndale. This may be an oroginal sign installed when the Auburndale station was elevated in 1929 (indicated by the date pressed in the concrete above it).

The Port Washington Branch, on which the Auburndale station is located, operated at grade until, beginning in 1913, stations were either depressed or elevated with the exception of the Little Neck station.

Summer 2001: sign has been removed.

 


Although the MTA relentlessly updates its signage in the quest for uniformity, this old plaque remains at the Broadway (Northern Blvd.) station on the Port Washington Branch. It has a twin brother at the other staircase.

The Broadway and Murray Hill stations bear the dates 1913, indicating that they were removed from grade in those years.

Written 10/15/98

12 comments

tom March 30, 2012 - 4:21 pm

great stuff as usual- they should bring a couple of these stations back to life!

Reply
Ewdard Heidenrich January 4, 2014 - 1:59 pm

Yes. Great pictures. I remember the manned crossing gates at the Glendale Station. Many times I was the only passenger getting on or off at Glendale.

Reply
Paul Christman August 13, 2014 - 8:17 am

I had a thing for the five stations along the oddly named Montauk branch in Queens (Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman, and Penny Bridge). In 1997, I attended the MTA’s abandonment public hearing in Glendale. Not surprisingly, the MTA cited under-usage of the stations as the reason to halt service. With the way the trains were scheduled and the locations of Haberman and Penny Bridge in particular, few passengers could be expected use the stations. A situation of the LIRR’s own making? A few non-MTA speakers argued for light rail service, and decent scheduling might have given Richmond Hill, Glendale, and Fresh Pond an outside chance to survive. But the stops are gone, and I’m one of a very small handful who misses them. In their day, trains would stop at these stations somewhat regularly (in 1902, the date of a timetable I own). At least the three easternmost stops had station buildings until the 1920s, and some photos show at least a portion of the line was briefly electrified (don’t ask me why it came and went so fast).

Reply
Harry Hassler January 30, 2015 - 9:00 pm

Can anyone tell me the location of Atlantic Park station (1875 to 1877) on the LIRR Far Rockaway branch?

Reply
BigshtFoil9267 November 11, 2019 - 5:59 pm

I wish I knew. Do you have any info on the station? I’m making a Wikipedia article that will hopefully be accepted to be a real article and I’m hoping you have any info.

Reply
Herb S. August 30, 2017 - 2:14 pm

What LIRR station was underground between Jamaica & East New York stations. It is around Altantic Ave & Woodhaven Blvd.

Reply
MaxJenius March 13, 2018 - 1:35 pm

That would be the Woodhaven Junction Station. The LIRR closed the station back around 1973-76. It was no longer needed since the Rockaway branch no longer provided service and ridership was at an all-time low. They removed the entranceways on the streetlevel a few years later. The only way to see the station now is on a passing train in either direction but as of late the lights in the station have been dimmed or turned completely off so you would only see shadows of it. And since the trains move thru it very quickly you have to keep your eyes open or you’ll surely miss it.

Reply
John Petsche May 1, 2018 - 9:15 am

My friends and I hung out at the Fresh Pond station back in the 70’s. The pictures bring back great memories.

Reply
Lou August 19, 2018 - 5:39 pm

My grandmother( mom’s mom) has a brownstone on Hancock St, where you took that picture. That’s Hancock street between Wyckoff and Irving Avenue. I remember as a young kid in the late 80s, early 90s , when the rails were still in the street, but not the tracks themselves. The picture is facing towards those metal gates, which is a parking lot. To the left, or across the street, is an old car junk parts place. It’s been there as long as I can remember. I’ve always been fascinated with those tracks! I used to imagine trains passing by, because the concept of railroad tracks in the middle of a street always intrigued me (like all of us train buffs). My sister just told me that, when my mother and the family moved to Hancock in the late 60s, the tracks were still in use. Pretty cool 🙂

When I was growing up , you could still walk through the path, down a few blocks (in the direction of the parking lot) block by block. The next block over was Jefferson Street. Now in 2018, the parking lot on Hancock is still there, but a block over on Jefferson, the track path has been replaced with small apartments. Eventually from what I heard, the parking lot on Hancock will be demolished as well and turned into apartments.

Last side note! If I’m not mistaken, at that particular point of the Bklyn/ Queens border, the border was Wyckoff Ave. If you traveled back towards Irving Ave Knickerbocker Ave, that was the Bushwick side. Towards Wyckoff and beyond is the Ridgewood side. But to me, the official border, WAS the train tracks.

Reply
Fred Rust October 26, 2018 - 12:46 am

There are a few other defunct LIRR stations: Union Hall is only about 1/2 mile east of Jamaica, the platforms are only accessible from trains on the furthest right tracks (northernmost westbound track, southernmost eastbound track). Even after it was closed, I remember a Montana-branch train letting off some yard workers there in the 1970s.
Out in Suffolk County on the Montauk Line Bayport and Bluepoint were stops after Patchouge, and Center Moriches was a stop before Speonk. Out east Quogue and Southampton College we’re stops – I just checked online and saw that Southhampton college was reopened for temporary use this past summer (2018) during the US Open at Shinecock Hills.
And The Port Jefferson branch used to continue to Wading River.

Reply
Gary Eisenberg April 3, 2019 - 9:58 am

Seatauket was da coolest

Reply
ceya March 17, 2021 - 9:46 pm

Union hall should have never been closed in late 1977.

J train stops 168,160 aka Parson blvd , Sutphin Blvd, Queens Blvd and Metropolitan.
Lirr stops like Union Hall, Springfield Blvd all closed .This caused South Jamaica to rely heavily on buses and E,F IND line.

Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.