LIRR Freight Yards

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      LI City -1955

The freight on Long  Island was complicated by the fact that there were several western terminals, so to make things easier, they split the freight operations into two divisions - West of Jay and the Island.

Anything bound for the Island went through Holban, so the yardmaster would block traffic off of the floats for Holban and then for the road freight crews out of Yard A and Pond. They once had a great deal of traffic just on the west end, with freight terminals at Bushwick, Degnon, Maspeth, etc., so that would more than keep the Yard A yardmaster busy, then having to worry about what was needed at Holban.
Although we are now blessed with organized travel and it is much easier to plan your trip on sites like rather than a series of frantic trips to and from train terminals, back then things were very complex and fast-moving. I believe at its heyday Yard A had two crews, one at either end of the yard just to block out the yard, and they kept the hump that was there busy.

"...Bliss was used by LIRR freight and had an engine terminal so that steam engines did not have to run reverse all the way to Morris Park. This was also gone by 1957. In my time, Bliss yard was used to store cars for Phelps Dodge, Van Iderstine and other customers between Greenpoint Ave and PD. Also cars for Murers sidings were stored here. Crews reported at Yard A and brought cars to Bliss before making up their trains for their respectful switching areas.
The afternoon Bliss job made up the train for the crew that switched Phelps Dodge..." JJ Earl

"...There was a yard alongside Borden Ave. known as the Wheelspur Yard where trains for Sunnyside were made up and stored until ready for the PRR crews. I'm not talking commuter trains here but the long haul DC and beyond with fifteen cars or more. Long Island crews made up these trains and took them to Sunnyside when they were needed. Old track diagrams show tracks extending out into Newtown Creek on piers, possibly taking shipments from boats to be loaded onto rail cars. (see map: Wheelspur Yard) This yard was gone by 1957 (when I hired on)..." JJ Earl

"...Back to Wheelspur. At the end of December  1941, after being hired as a fireman, I was sent to fire one of the steamers at the east end of the yard. Three Pennsy locomotives were used to heat yarded trains. These were right near the Montauk Cut-off and the two drawbridges. Hard to believe Sunnyside Yard ran out of room due to its size.

View east: Arch Street team yard lower left, Montauk Cut-off in center, PRR Sunnyside yard center top, Yard A (North Yard) LIRR top left of center.  Owner: Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) , Photographer: Jack E. Boucher April 1977 taken from helicopter.  Info and photo courtesy: Nick Kalis

Did you know at times these Pennsy trains were turned by pulling out of yard and shoving them east on the Montauk Branch past Bliss tower and then reversed to the Main Line cutoff to F tower and pulled up on leads far enough for GG-1s to get them on trains to head westbound. I know of at least one train that was handled as it had not gone around the loop which would have kept the Observation car on the rear ( This was the reason for the FANCY MOVE BY BLISS ).  As to Bliss Yard I never saw or knew of any passenger equipment laying over there. Maybe some cars that were being scraped were there..." Mark Smith  

There was once more passenger, traffic in and out of  LI City, so it was a spot to dump overflow from the yard or shopped equipment. It was also a place for a freight to leave part of his drag when working the freight in the area, a place to duck in the clear while waiting for a shot to get on the main, among other reasons...

Fresh Pond was there because of the interchange with freight from the NH off of the Hellgate, freight from the floats at Bay Ridge and also the lead to Bushwick.


Bay Ridge Yard
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West Side Yard
C Yard
Long Island City Yard
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Arch Street Yard
D Yard
E Yard
Johnson Ave Yard
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Hicksville Yard
Hillside Yard
Belmont Yard
Ronkonkoma Yard
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Greenport Yard
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Fresh Pond Yard
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*Blissville Yard
*Maspeth Yard
Storage Yard
Advance Yard
Receiving Yard
Morris Park Yard
Morris Park Boneyard
Holban Yard
Dunkirk Yard
Freeport Yard
Babylon Yard
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Speonk Yard
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Montauk Yard
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VD Yard
Far Rockaway Yard
Long Beach Yard
Shea Yard
Port Washington Yard
Port Jefferson Yard
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Oyster Bay Yard
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Hempstead Yard
West Hempstead Yard
*Freemont Yard
*Varick Ave Yard

* Rarely used by LIRR

Other places trains may be layed up (not considered yards though)
Great Neck

Research: Nick Kudreyko


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West Islip view west
c. 1980's
Photo: Steven Lynch

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Aerial view Babylon Yard 10/09/09 Photo: Dave Morrison


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View looking west c. 06-97 
Photo: B. Ente


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Bay Shore 1978
Photo: Steven Lynch



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Camp Upton 1918



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H10s Freight 1944


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 Roundhouse view East c.1906


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NYA RR West John St- 10/28/2010 
Photo: Al Castelli


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North Yard 1977
Photo: Tim Darnell


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Photo: Steven Lynch 1980

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March 8, 1904  148th St. Jamaica
Collection: R. Ziel


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View east from Empire State Building


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NYA 1997 View West
Photo: B. Ente

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03/29/1946 View West


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Photo: Steven Lynch c. 1980's 

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Morris Park Dec 29,1908
Collection: R. Ziel


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View East 1952
Collection: Dave Keller


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View West c. 1940's
Photo: Frederick Weber  Collection: Dave Keller





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Christmas Day 1998



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ROW Speonk

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Speonk view East 06/01/2006


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Connect track Q tower and Harold Sunnyside Yard 5-8-02
Photo: Steve Kay

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03/29/1946 View West
Sunnyside Engine Facility


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Varick Ave


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View West 2005

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