OLDNYC.COM--> Virtual Tour --> Park Lane South to Jamaica Avenue Picture Gallery #1

Another old utility tower that has fallen on to the ROW.  This tower cracked in two places: at base of the tower where the tower once was mounted to the cement foundation, and at the middle portion of the tower.

Factories once lined some portions of the Rockaway Beach ROW.  According to old maps, this factory was once the "Frank Medico Pipe Company".  I don't know if this company still resides in this particular building.

Many of the factories along the ROW had freight sidings along the factories' property line and the railroad ROW.  The Frank Medico Pipe Company's rail freight siding still has several remnants of tracks and ties, as well as this old "stop horse" that prevented railroad cars from continuing down the embankment if the engineer overshot the siding.

Another view of the Frank Medico Pipe Company, looking north.  Notice the old smokestack in the far-right corner of the picture.  Yes, New York City once was home to a lot of industrial concerns.  Many of these companies transported their freight by rail.  The advent of the trucking industry, new roads and highways caused a trickle of commercial rail freight in NYC.

The following question was recently posed by an oldnyc.com reader: "Can you tell me what kind of trains used the Rockaway Bech Branch during the late 1940's to early 1960's? Where passenger trains just used or where freight trains utilized as well?"

Oldnyc.com LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch special contributor James Guthrie has an answer for this particular question.  He shares it with us here: "The passenger trains were mostly standard LIRR MU consists. That means a mix of everything they had -- from 1910-era clerestory roof MP54s, to later round roofed MP54s and to the more modern -- Double Deckers and even the 1955 Pullman-Standard cars with air conditioning. Although the branch did not have any baggage carrying trains after the trestle burned, the Ozone Park MU trains often sported combines, since the LIRR had an abundance of control cars with baggage sections and used them everywhere.

Several fan trips operated down the line over the latter years, including one with all-double-deckers, another with all-MP54s, and two with a pair of LIRR Budd Rail Diesel Cars. I rode one such MU trip in late 1961, sponsored by the Electric Railroaders Association.

Freight disappeared in 1956 when the sidings north of Glendale Junction were realigned to connect with the Montauk Branch instead of the Rockaway Beach Branch. There had been a few other sidings -- a ribbon factory near Brooklyn Manor, and a team track and lumber yard at Ozone Park.

Heavy through freight (until the late 1940s) consisted of solid trains of meat reefers. They were "hot" items -- coming off the New Haven at Fresh Pond, where a DD-1 electric locomotive would take the cars (delivered by the NH with an electric locomotive), head down to Glendale Junction, then go south (eastbound) on the Rockaway Branch to Ozone Park; there the trains would reverse and head for the packing plants located the Flatbush Avenue. Empties would come back the same way, although the trains would head north of Glendale Junction, then back down the northeast connecting track to the Montauk Branch -- then head west back to Fresh Pond.

It is a little-known fact that the Montauk Branch was electrified from the Union Turnpike Bridge, through Glendale Station and to the switch leading up the ramp to the Bay Ridge Line, under the NY Connecting truss bridge.

It appears that about one engine length under the Truss at Fresh Pond actually had both 3rd rail and catenary for this operation; there was also catenary on the southern-most tracks heading east at Fresh Pond -- essentially the other leg of the wye. It is my understanding that this connection was not used, because speed was if the essence for the Flatbush Avenue Meat trains. The interchange was direct which is why the New Haven brought the cars down the hill in the first place.

This was something of a historical operation -- as it was one of two places in the entire U.S. that electrified 'steam" railroads performed an all-electric interchange (the other was between the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific and the Milwaukee Road in Montana)."

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