ROAD & RAIL BUS, Maspeth

by Kevin Walsh

In 1967 an experimental Road and Rail bus enters Long Island Rail Road tracks in Maspeth, Queens. These buses had an extra set of wheels that fit on rail tracks at the correct gauge and would enable the vehicles to travel on both roads and rail.

These tracks comprise the so-called “Montauk” LIRR branch that runs from Jamaica west to Long Island City. They still see freight use; most passenger service has exited the line.

You can see how the Road and Rail bus operated at the 6:10 mark of this collection of newsreels. It’s a shame the experiment apparently didn’t work out, at least around here.

Photo courtesy Dave Stork.



chris February 28, 2014 - 3:44 pm

Maybe what happened is that one dark night the bus was going down the tracks….
..except it was the wrong tracks

Andy March 1, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Was a good idea but such a combo rail-highway bus has never been mass produced, at least in North America. In December 1967 the Port Authority announced that a fleet of such buses would be used to connect mid-Manhattan and JFK Airport, but it never happened.

All railroads, including the LIRR, have service trucks that can operate on both roads and railroad tracks using retractable flanged railroad wheels. Such vehicles are standard in the rail industry and are called “hi-rail vehicles.”

TomfromNJ March 2, 2014 - 4:16 pm

If you watch the newsreel…just before the bus or rails is a nice looking airplane….never heard of it….was supposed to be the plane for every man…..from what I could find it eventually was damaged upon landing…cool newsreels.

Steve March 5, 2014 - 2:03 pm

Best part of the pic– the two Schwinn Stingray bikes! I had the one with smaller wheels, which was the more common. The large wheel version was not seen too often on the streets of Bayside and Bellerose.


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