We are now on-board the A subway train. If you recall from the previous photos of the Liberty Avenue IND A and Rockaway Beach Branch interchange, the IND A's trestle hovers high-above the old LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch. In this picture here, we are overlooking the former Rockaway Beach Branch ROW. Although the picture is a little blurry due to the fact that the subway train was moving while the photo was being taken, one can see the OZONE signal tower (the spider is hanging on the left), the four-lane track configuration, quite a bit of track bed ballast, rails, ties, and the third rail. Trees and bushes grow along the ROW, which is located above-grade. One can also see some kind of garbage on the tracks. This picture captures what lies above the above-grade Rockaway Beach Branch ROW from 97th Avenue to Rockaway Avenue. When the line was active, formal LIRR track layout in this area was as follows, from left to right, Tracks 4, 2, 1 and 3. The outer tracks 4 and 3 served as lay-up tracks to Ozone Park station for Aqueduct trains. In this area, Tracks 2 and 1 (the express tracks) were used as storage tracks for empty trains.
Jim Guthrie, oldnyc.com content contributor adds: "Except for short
layovers for Aqueduct service, the LIRR turned all Hamilton Beach (and
later Ozone Park) trains back to NYP. Thus one could ride out on the line
and if asking nicely of the conductor, get a ride back right up until the
end. The only exception was the last day of service, where the conductor
and trainman were really pissed at the huge crowd, and threw everyone off
the train, shut the doors -- and left."
A view of the World Trade Center in Manhattan from the A train, right before the turn-off point to the Rockaway Beach section of the A-train's ROW. It's about fifteen to twenty miles to downtown Manhattan from this point. Visibility was quite good during the photo session.
As the A train rounds the turn and begins to merge to the former LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch, one can see the IND A Leffert's Boulevard-bound A elevated trestle in the background of the photograph. In the foreground is the remnants of the Rockaway Beach Branch. At this location, the ROW is littered with a lot of trash and subway equipment.
A Manhattan-bound A train from Leffert's Boulevard passes in the background. The foreground view of the Rockaway Beach Branch shows that this area is a little cleaner than the previous location. The abandoned ROW still has tracks and ties in this area.
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