LIRR Cannonball 
Non-stop express service direct from 
Penn Station to Westhampton Beach  May-September, 2013


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Cannonball eastbound at speed 60+ mph Amityville c.1963 Photo: Brad Phillips

Long Island Rail Road Parlor Cars
by Jack Deasy

New premium express non-stop "Cannonball East/West" direct from Penn Station to The Hamptons/Montauk and return with Hamptons Reserve Service.  Issue for May 29-September 2, 2013

This was the first time in LIRR history that the Cannonball departed from Penn station. Prior to this date on the timetable, the Cannonball had always departed from Hunterspoint Avenue. 

The first stop after Penn was Westhampton, it did not stop at Jamaica as in prior years.

I was on that 1st train from Penn in one of the 2 Hampton's Reserve cars. Reserve seating and waiter/waitress service at your seat. No standees in the 2 Hampton's Reserve cars.

The Cannonball was soon becoming too popular and crowded. One train had 1,800 passengers with 1200 seats! The LIRR had to limit the number of passengers on the Cannonball to twelve cars and two DM locomotives. This year was the 1st time since WWII that the LIRR did NOT run the Cannonball.  Archive: NRHS-LIST  Steve Quigley


The Cannonball and the Long Island Railroad
by Vincent Seyfried

Transcript of Lecture Delivered on Sunday November 29, 1998 at
The East Hampton Library. 159 Main Street, East Hampton, NY 11937
Click here for Lecture

Heavyweight Cannonball Era consists 1964 - 1968 Examples

Train 22, Friday 09/04/1964 


Train 22, Friday 08/19/1966
Train 22, Friday 08/30/1968 

[Note: "Line" numbers 234 thru 228 are lightweight cars.]

Source: "The Route of the Weekend Chief" by Mike Boland in the Autumn 1995 issue of  "The Keystone".  The numbers are reservation line numbers, not the actual car numbers. Above are three actual LIRR consists from the Heavyweight Cannonball Era: 1964 through 1968

Jamaica - HALL Tower Train #12 Advance Cannonball  7/20/1975 Photo/Archive: Richard Makse

PRR #120, owned then by George Pins, plus two others private cars bring up the rear of Train #12, The Advance Cannonball, on July 20, 1975. #12 
was Mr. Mac's train and personally greeted George and the other PV owners when the train was loading at Hunterspoint Avenue. Back then, in the decades before 9/11, 
Jamaica's roof was accessible by staff. Not so much today. And the landscape, in a much more crowded New York City, has lost the simplicity of the LIRR's. Richard Maske

It ran in advance of the Cannonball to carry the overflow of parlor car riders that didn't all fit on the Cannonball. 15 cars on the Cannonball,
all sleepers used in parlor service, and still not enough seats during the summer months! Info: Dave Keller


E51sa4 Cannonball Manorville Branch Eastport 1923 Archive: Dave Keller

First passing of the Cannonball over the newly completed railroad trestle overpass that eliminated the old grade crossing at Rt. 112 (Medford Avenue).
Brooklyn Eagle 9/18/1940

Advance Cannonball 16 C-Liner 2402
5 PRR parlors, 6 coaches eastbound at Hicksville 7/10/1953 Archive: Mike Boland

PA20-5 2007 and PRR Parlor Car "GLADE" near "B" Tower Bethpage 1957
J. P .Krzenski photo/Dave Keller archive

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FM 2002 Babylon 1957
Photo:  Jules  P. Krzenski

ALCO RS3 #'s 1553, 1552, coupled, are pulling 16 cars of all-parlor-car train #22 the "Cannonball" eastbound for Montauk through Merillon Ave., Garden City Park, NY. on June 29, 1962.  The open-end observation car "Jamaica" (1st) is bringing up the rear of this Friday-only train. (George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive)

Parlor-1stJamaica-17-CarCannonball-Mtk-7-62.jpg (58192 bytes)
Parlor JAMAICA 17 car Cannonball at Montauk 7/28/1962
Photo: George E. Votava 
Archive: Dave Keller

Cannonball Train 22 RS3s 1553-1552 6-car eastbound passing
New Hyde Park 6/29/1962
Archive: Mike Boland

Parlor-Setauket-Cannonball-Mtk-1962.jpg (41807 bytes)     
Parlor Setauket Cannonball at Montauk 1962
Collection: Dave Keller

RS3 #1552, #1551 All parlor Cannonball at Montauk 
7/28/1962 - Photo: George E. Votava  Archive: Mike Boland

Cannonball ALCO's RS3 #1556-1557 at Rego Park
7/01/1966  (Zahn-Boland)

Cannonball ALCO's RS3 #1556-1557 at Rego Park 
7/28/1966 (Zahn-Boland)

2038brightwaters_Steve hoskins.jpg (78615 bytes)
SETAUKET #2038 Brightwaters
c. 1962 Photo: Steve Hoskins

C-Liner #2403 Cannonball at Montauk - Parlors SETAUKET and JAMAICA (right), both with drumheads. Summer 1962 or 1963 (Krause-Morrison)

The "Cannonball" drumhead would be on the "SETAUKET" (car #2038). This observation car became the 2nd "Jamaica" (car #99).  Info: Dave Keller

Cannonball at Napeague Beach 7/1964
Photo: Ron Ziel

Cannonball C420 leased BAR - All sleeping cars out east in  early 1970's Archive: Mike Boland

Advance Cannonball eastbound at Floral Park 1969 Photo/Archive: Jim Mardiguian
Eastbound Cannonball C420 trio approaching Sayville in 1969
Photo/Archive: William H. Birkholz

Cannonball - New Hyde Park 7/1974
C420-223-Cannonball-PD-1972.jpg (51036 bytes)
C420 #223 Cannonball at PD 1972
Photo: Dave Keller

LIRR #207 Train #22 Cannonball at Hunterspoint Ave LI City 5/21/1965 Photo/Archive: Richard Makse

Only a single ALCO #027 AGP-20 (later class L-1) was required to power "The Cannonball" since it only carried 10 parlor cars. It gradually increased during May and June, finally reaching its typical high-season consist of 17 heavyweights. Sitting at Hunterspoint Avenue as its seated load begins boarding. On this day May 21, 1965, it had a 19 man crew:
Engineer & Fireman
Conductor, 2 brakemen and one collector
18 parlor car attendants
1 parlor car supervisor

Many of the customers had three or four cocktails at $1.25 a drink as the train made its first stop in Westhampton. The captains of industry in impeccable suits with Brooks Brothers shirts and Florsheim Imperials enjoyed a relaxing air-conditioned ride courtesy of George Pullman.  The Long Island Rail Road was still a part of the great Pennsylvania Railroad and the parlor cars always made a buck. Info: Richard Makse

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Nassau 1969 Photo: Rich Glueck
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Cannonball  with 17 heavyweights  Connetquot River, Oakdale

 Cannonball - Oakdale  7/1969 Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

Eastbound at Speonk for the Sunday westbound Cannonball
with two leased BAR units 1973 Photo/Archive: William H. Birkholz
LIRRParlorsC-Ball005.jpg (236410 bytes)
Two new MTA C420's 
Roslyn Road crossing c.1970
Photo:  Rich Glueck
Cannonball - West of Watermill - 7/1969
Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips
2038Setauket_13.jpg (56580 bytes)
The Cannonball, with 17 heavyweight cars behind a pair of Alco C420 locomotives, bound for Montauk on a Friday afternoon in the 1960s. The train is approaching Maitland's Curve. Parlor observation car LIRR 2038 SETAUKET carries the markers. Photo/Collection: Art Huneke
Cannonball - LIRR #225 Mineola 1968 Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

The "Cannonball" bombing through Mineola at what appears to be 70 mph.  The photo of a "Yellow Bird", still in pastel blue and  yellow, prior to MTA repaint in a darker shade of blue and deeper yellow. 

Note: The PRR cars being used as lightweight parlor's.   Richard Glueck

Advance Cannonball eastbound C420 #224, Tavern Lounge Observation car #2064 "Apaquogue" former Florida East Coast "Lake Okeechobee".  Summer 1972 East of Union Hall St. Station Photo/Archive: James Mardiguian

Advance Cannonball eastbound of PD Tower c.1990 Photo/Archive: William H. Birkholz

Patchogue c. 1980's view east 
Photo:  Mike Koehler

Cannonball departing Montauk c.1985
Photo/Archive: John Scala

 Patchogue 1980's by MP53 crossing Patchogue River view west Photo:  Mike Koehler 

LIRR Parlors passing JAY Tower 1968+ Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

LIRR Parlors passing JAY Tower 1968+ Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

LIRR #1560 at JAY Tower - 1968
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

The Summer of 1968-1969 was a transition year for East End LIRR parlor service. The heavyweight 28-1s were being retired and replaced by ANYTHING the LIRR could get their hands on: KCS, NH (PC) and PRR (PC) sleeping cars, which were used in parlor service.  The 28-1's and other heavyweights were retired in two groups, I believe, in 1968 and 1969.  In fact, the LIRR purchased a good number of sleeping cars from the PRR/PC and the NH(PC).

PRR cars were still in Tuscan Red with PENNSYLVANIA lettering, which the LIRR painted over with their own Tuscan Red, via a patch job, before all the cars were repainted, but not originally named in the 1970's.  That happened a little later and photos reveal the paint jobs to add a name over the old 20XX number.  NH cars were stainless steel and came in a variety of NH paint schemes with one or two actually painted in the PC scheme.  There were trains with 28-1 heavyweights and "new" "lightweight" cars in the same consist, but I believe this ended in 1969.   Mike Boland

LIRR #252 eastbound Cannonball at PD Tower c.1995
Photo/Archive: William H. Birkholz

LIRR Train #2798 "Cannonball" at Hunterspoint Ave., LI City 
9/02/2011 Photo/Archive: Marc Glucksman

On Friday, September 2, 2011, DM30AC 516 leads train 2798 (Cannonball) to the Hunterspoint Avenue Station in Long Island City, New York. Its signature drumhead logo is a unique feature amongst scheduled commuter trains in the metropolitan New York Area. In 2013, the service would operate out of New York Penn Station for the first time, and still does today.  Marc Glucksman

Cannonball Train #2798 eastbound JAY Tower 9/02/2022 Photo/Archive: Jason Baxter

Ritual of The Cannonball

The "Ritual of The Cannonball", Train #22 on July 18, 1969. Arriving in Jamaica, the conductor bails off and starts to walk to the end of Platform E.

"Wait for the pullup" to platform #22, running this day with 15 cars, you needed 66L at HALL to pull you nearly to the door of the tower.

The leverman at HALL on the left met the conductor and delivered THE Friday order, one of the few typewritten orders on the LIRR. Prepared by a clerk in the Superintendent's office as soon as the engine dispatcher gave the engine numbers. Nearly the same words during the 60's, 70's and 80's. Fridays in the summer meant big-time manual block. The leverman has #18's order in his pocket and will await the arrival of the "East Ender".

A typical Form 19 order from May 1976, for example.

Form A card from May 28, 1976 at which
point Train #22 became #16.

One of Mr. Mac's (Walter F. McNamara, Director of Special Services) attendants stands at attention awaiting the connection from New York.

Jamaica Station Platform E

Non-stop express service direct from 
Penn Station to Westhampton



by Richard F. Makse

  Parlor and Club Cars  

Parlor MANHATTAN builder photo -1885
George E. Votava collection, Dave Keller archive  Note: A private car used by the president of the LIRR.

Pullman wooden Parlor Car #789 - 1902 Archive: Dave Keller

AMAGANSETT “rearmost, properly pointed” westbound Sunday evening from Greenport to Jamaica at Yaphank 8/15/1971 Photo/Archive: William H. Birkholz

Parlor #2017 Aquebogue - Richmond Hill storage yard 3/31/1962 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Observation #2082 Asharoken Rail and Sail Special Greenport 10/21/1979 Dave Keller archive

Parlor Asharoken interior 1974 
Photo/Archive: Dave Keller 

Parlor #2015 Cutchogue at Montauk
7/04/1963 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2022 Islip at Montauk 7/28/1962 (Votava-Keller)

Club Car #816 Jamaica  7/13/1958  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor 1st Jamaica at Montauk  7/1962  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2000 1st Jamaica Train #22  -Cannonball
at Merillon Ave 6/29/1962  (Votava-Keller)
Parlor-1stJamaica-Cannonball-Easthampton-9-62.jpg (62549 bytes)
Parlor 1st Jamaica Cannonball at Easthampton  9/1962 Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor #99 2nd JAMAICA - MTA scheme at storage yard
Richmond Hill 11/03/1973 George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive
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Ex-FEC  LAKE OKEECHOBEE on the rear of the Cannonball at Hunterspoint Ave 07/1969 Photo/Archive: Jim Gillin

 LAKE OKEECHOBEE ex-FEC 1969 Photo/Archive: Jim Mardiguian - The Cannonball with a string of PRR Pullmans and the FEC Lake Okeechobee bringing up the markers.

Cannonball Parlor observation Setauket at Jamaica 1960's Photo: Suzanne Boorsch

Parlor Massapequa  #2026 at Montauk  7/28/1962 
George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Parlor Massapequa  #2026  interior 4/24/1966 Archive: Dave  Keller

Parlor #2049 2nd Massapequa at Montauk
8/29/1970 (Votava-Keller)

 MORE Parlor Car Interiors


Parlor  Mattituck #2066  - Richmond Hill storage yard 11/03/1973 George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Parlor Merrick Cannonball at Patchogue 1/1972 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor #2030 Mineola at Montauk  7/28/1962 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor  Club #2033 Mohawk Stadium Yard, Philadelphia, PA 12/07/1963  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2011 2nd Montauk at Montauk
1963 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Moriches Train #4 - Patchogue 7/1971 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor #2019 Moriches at Montauk 7/28/1962

Parlor Napeague at Montauk 6/22/1975

Parlor #2039 Nesconset at Montauk 1969 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2031 Nissequogue Richmond Hill storage yard 2/12/1966 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Club #2036 Oneida at Montauk
1969 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2035 Onondaga Club at Montauk
1960 (Edwards-Keller)

Parlor Club #2035 Onondaga at Montauk
7/04/1963 (Votava-Keller)

Private Car #2002 3rd Oyster Bay at Oyster Bay 1/03/1959  (Votava-Keller)

Club Car Oyster Bay #2002 - Oyster Bay yard 1/03/1959


Parlor Patchogue #2020 at Montauk Yard 5/15/1966
Parlor #2013 Peconic at Montauk  
7/28/1962 (Votava-Keller)
Parlor #2053 2nd Peconic at Montauk 8/29/1970  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Poquott Shelter Island  Express - Greenport 8/1971 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor #2018 Quogue  - Richmond Hill storage yard  5/26/1968 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor #2018 Quogue  Weekend Chief  logo  5/26/1968 (Votava-Keller)
Parlor #2021 Ronkonkoma at Montauk 7/28/1962 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor 2nd Sagtikos  Train #3 Patchogue 7/1972 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor Salonga #2076 - Richmond Hill storage yard 7/1973 (Gibbs-Keller)

Parlor Club #2034 Seneca at Montauk-7-4-63
lirrcannonball.jpg (231127 bytes)
Parlor Observation #2038 SETAUKET - Cannonball -   c.1962

Parlor  2nd Setauket Shelter Island Express Greenport 8/1971  Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
Parlor Smithtown at Port Jefferson 9/02/1937
 George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Parlor Club Car Smithtown at Morris Park  5/1940 George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Parlor Club Car   #828 South Shore Patchogue 9/25/1938
George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Private Car #2003  4th South Shore - Speonk Yard 7/04/1963  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Teckawitha #2047 at Montauk 1965
George E. Votava photo, Dave Keller archive

Parlor Tuscarora Club Philadelphia Stadium Yard Philadelphia, PA 12/1963 (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Tuscarora Club Port Jefferson 1968

Parlor Tuscarora Club on "Ebb Tide" Patchogue - 1969  Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Parlor Tuscarora Club Train #4 Patchogue 6/1971  Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
Parlor #2057 Wickapogue - Montauk 9/07/1970  (Votava-Keller)

Parlor Wunneweta - Montauk 7/28/1974

Parlor  #2023 WYANDANCH at Riverhead Yard c.1963 Archive: Mike Boland
Parlor car workers in the early 1950's
LI Railroader Archive: Mike Boland

Manager of Special Services Walter F. McNamara parlor car workers
c.1960 Archive: Mike Boland

Parlor #2023 Wyandanch at Montauk  9/01/1962

BAILEY'S BEACH ex-NH Pullman sleeper Montauk c.1968 (Maywald-Boland)

MERRICK ex-NH Pullman sleeper Montauk c.1972 (Maywald-Boland)

CRESCENT BEACH ex-NH Pullman sleeper
Montauk c.1968 (Maywald-Boland)

RACE POINT ex-NH Pullman sleeper
 Montauk  c.1968 (Maywald-Boland)
Parlor ex-NH Rocky Neck Beach - Shelter Island Express Train #205 at BLS - Mattituck 8/10/1970 (Makse-Keller)

These cars are former New Haven “POINT” 500 number series 14 roomette 4 double bedroom sleeper that had Penn Central logos placed on the rectangular panels on the side of the car, replacing the New Haven logos. The seven POINT’s acquired by LIRR were 503, 506, 509, 512, 518, 520 and 525. Penn Central absorbed New Haven operations on 12/31/1968. These were leased to the LIRR in 1968.

After the demise of the LIRR parlor cars, the 'Hamptons Reserve' program was an effort to market that minimal accommodation to a crowd that was more
 accustomed to the luxury of traditional parlor car service.  It provides reserved seats, single serving gin bottles and crackers.

"Sunrise Fleet" - Push-Pull Parlor Cars

FA2 #607 All Parlor Car Push-Pull Train WB Over Mill Creek (Hashamomuck Pond) W. of Greenport - 1988 (eBay)) W. of Greenport - 1988

GP38-2 #275 pulls a parlor-car train east past PD tower in Patchogue on 1/7/1990. The lead car with the red stripe is the parlor. The cars behind it, with the blue stripe, are regular passenger cars. Dave Keller archive

Overall view of parlor car #2016 at Speonk, NY - c. 1989
(Tom Collins photo, Dave Keller archive)


MORE Push-Pull Parlor Cars

Push-pull Parlors were rebuilt former MU trailer cars converted to diesel-hauled push-pull service (Class PP72B).  The red stripe indicated it was later rebuilt into a parlor car.  Regular push-pull passenger cars had a blue stripe. The eleven red striped cars were originally built as 123 seat multiple unit (MU) motor trailer cars (Class MP72T). They now feature 42 parlor seats with a midcar service bar. Referred to as the "Sunrise Fleet." Unlike their predecessors, these cars were not named. The entire fleet of push-pull parlors debuted on the Memorial Day weekend of 1976, to Montauk, for the inauguration.
Info: Mike Boland/Dave Keller  

Parlor Car/Club Car Memos

LIRR Refreshment Service on trains memo from
Passenger Traffic Mgr. H.A. Weiss  5/12/1960 Archive: RMLI

LIRR Passenger Tariff - Special Club Cars 12/27/1962
General Passenger Agent  H.M. Throop Archive: RMLI

Cannonball Sunday Evening Dining Car Service  c.1965+  aboard
T54 #6508 that was a coach-bar car.  Archive: Brad Phillips

LIRR Weekend Chief TUSCARORA Club Dinner menu 1962-65 Archive: Mike Boland

Parlor Car/Club Car Premium Service
Historical Research: Derek Stadler

Throughout its history, the LIRR has provided premium service on select Montauk Branch trains at a special price.  Rolling stock featured luxurious amenities in a parlor or club car where some of the rich and famous hobnobbed on their summer trip to the East End.  Speonk Station was a stop on many of the premium trains from their inception to the end of the twentieth century.

In their heyday, parlor car consists included the following named-trains.  For eastbound service to Montauk in the summer of 1939, the weekday morning Hampton Express from Jamaica (train number 8) stopped in Speonk at 11:25 a.m.  It ran as number 10 on Saturdays, and as number 6 on Sundays, direct from New York’s Penn Station following a locomotive switch in Queens from electric to steam.  There were also two late afternoon trains daily.  The first was the Cannon Ball from Penn Station (number 20) with a stop in Speonk at 5:36 p.m.  The second was the South Shore Express from Penn Station (number 26) with a stop in Speonk at 6:18 p.m.  The Shinnecock Express from Penn Station (number 12) ran only on Saturdays, stopping in Speonk at 2:23 p.m.  Westbound from Montauk, the daily South Shore Express to Penn Station (train number 27) stopped in Speonk at 9:50 a.m.  In the afternoon the New York Express to Penn Station (number 5) stopped in Speonk at 3:57 p.m.  Lastly, there were two evening named-trains.  The daily Cannon Ball to New York (number 21) stopped in Speonk at 7:52 p.m. and the Hampton Express to Jamaica (number 9) stopped at 8:22 p.m.  On Saturday number 21 ran as number 11 to Jamaica.[52]

Parlor car service to Montauk was thoroughly revised in the summer of 1963, with some departures now leaving from Hunterspoint Avenue Station rather than Jamaica.  Direct service was longer provided to and from Manhattan after the discontinuation of electric locomotives in the early-1950s.  All passengers from Penn Station were now required to change to electric trains, typically at Jamaica Station, since smoke restrictions prohibited diesel trains from entering the East River tunnels.  The daily Cannon Ball from Jamaica (number 24) stopped in Speonk at 6:09 p.m., running express to Sayville Station then local to Montauk.  However, on Fridays the Cannon Ball ran express to the Hamptons from Jamaica.  The Advance Cannon Ball (number 16) departed Jamaica at 3:42 p.m. and ran express to Speonk, arriving at 4:57 p.m.  Two other named trains provided service to Speonk on late Friday evenings.  The East Ender (number 26) and the Weekender (number 28).  For the return ride on Sundays, the Ebb Tide (number 4007), the Twilighter (number 4015), and the Beachcomber (number 4017) serviced Speonk in the late afternoon and early evening.[53]

The final summer of parlor car service was 1999.  The following year Hamptons Reserve Service became the new premium, available only east of Speonk.  On the final timetable in the summer of 1999, the Friday train to Montauk (number 2716) leaving Jamaica at 6:17 p.m. featured parlor car service and arrived in Speonk at 7:55 p.m.  There were also two Sunday trains from Montauk with parlor cars that stopped in Speonk, number 8703 at 2:53 p.m. and number 8713 at 8:47 p.m.[55]

Club cars were also available for private use.  Beginning in the 1920s, cars were rented to commuter groups on several LIRR branches.  Riders paid two fares, one for the right to ride and one for the right to ride in luxury.  By the late-1950s, a private club car ran to and from Speonk for a $695 monthly rental fee.  It featured card tables, a porter, and a white-jacketed waiter serving cups of tea or glasses of ginger ale since there was no liquor license.[56]

Although there were four private club cars in the 1950s, there were only two by 1980.  One of these ran to and from Speonk and Hunterspoint Avenue.  By this time, the club cars were from the mid-1970s re-conditioned parlor car stock.  It featured red-and-black movable padded chairs, a toilet, and interior walls covered with carpet.  The monthly fee was now $958, except in summer when twenty percent was taken off the price since the cars were given up and used for East End parlor service on summer Friday evenings.  The group consisted of sixty members, each paying $200 per year, most of whom were stock brokers, investment bankers, and architects.[57]

To satisfy commuter thirst for spirits, bar cars were added to LIRR trains.  On March 24, 1960, a bar car was added as the fourth car of train number 40 to Speonk which departed Hunterspoint Avenue at 5:14 p.m.  Initially, it was largely ignored and only attracted half the business of other bar cars.  However, business improved and the car drew a regular contingent.  By 1962, the new group of friends organized a Christmas party.  Each commuter contributed $3 in advance and the total was sent to Walter F. McNamara, manager of special services and unofficial vice-president in charge of booze.  While railroad cars hosted proms and other events in the past, this was the first Christmas party.  Commuters decorated the interior with tinsel and wreaths and hired a three-piece band that played the latest dance craze, the twist.  The tradition continued for several years.  By 1965, more than a hundred commuters paid $6 each for a Christmas party.[58]

Speonk Bound Bar Cars:  Although the Speonk bar car was crowded daily, the LIRR eliminated it in late March of 1971.  Officials claimed some regular commuters complained that they were paying for “someone else’s ride” since many crammed into the bar car where it was difficult for conductors to collect fares.  While bar sales provided more than $750,000 in profit, the railroad lost more than $10 million a year in passengers riding free, many of them who allegedly spent most of the time in the bar car.  In place of the car, stainless-steel rolling carts were installed in several coaches to serve morning coffee and food on the 6:18 a.m. train to Hunterspoint Avenue (number 33) and liquor and snacks on train number 40.  The change allowed the railroad to collect passenger fares since there was no room to crowd around carts.[59]

Passengers responded immediately, blasting the portable carts.  One major commuter complaint was that the carts came off the train at Babylon Station since it had the last raised platform at train level.  This left the remainder of the ride a “dry run.”  Within a week, the bar car was back.  The railroad retracted their former reason and claimed that several cars were taken off for much needed repairs.  Whether the result of passenger reaction or because the cars really needed to be serviced, riders were “set up” again.[60]

After the revival of the Speonk bar car, the MTA stated that it was not buying any more bar cars and the eighteen in service would not be replaced.  Nevertheless, as the 1970s and 1980s progressed, bar cars became very popular.  While some commuters read newspapers or books, others drank scotch or beer on the evening ride to Speonk.  John Swensen, a UPS driver from Sayville, held high regard for the LIRR’s alcohol service in a Newsday interview.  “I love this railroad,” he said “every night I ride the [bar] car…by the time I get to God’s Country, I’m happy again.”  He also commended the fees: “look at those prices, an ounce and a half of scotch for a $1.15…where else can you get that, but on the LIRR; this is the only place to drink, let me tell you.”   Lastly, he recommended that they never be discontinued: “it’s like a big party, people have a shot or two on the train, it takes away the frustration of the day…they get off at their station, they’re happy again…they give their wife a big kiss, everything is beautiful…if they ever cut out this car, you’d have a terrible mess out there.”[61]

The camaraderie among riders carried over into time off the train.  By 1980, organized softball games were played between different bar cars.  In one of the first, the 5:14 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 44) beat the the 5:57 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 46) by the score of 12 to 4 in a game at Heckscher State Park.  Railroad personnel also participated.  E.G. Smalls, number 44’s bartender, played in the game and commented: “this is the hardest train on the LIRR…we party five days a week.”[62]  A short time later a softball league for LIRR riders was established and began play on April 12, 1981, with LIRR President Gabreski throwing out the first pitch.  The concept of a league came from Michael Vermeulen, an over-the-counter stock options trader, who rode train number 46.  Vermeulen said the idea was born out of the commuter’s worst enemy, boredom.  With softball advertisements in several train cars, a total of six teams were established.[63]

In all, commuters liked the friendly, hometown tavern atmosphere that took their minds off what they said was poor train service.  Willie Wilson, a former Pullman porter who was now manager of the LIRR beverage service system, said the cars kept families together.  He commented in a Newsday article: “the wife don’t have to wait for the husband…if the husband gets a drink on the train, he don’t stay in New York, and the wife has got him right there at the station when he gets off… it helps keep families together.”[64]  However, a state comptroller’s audit issued in January 1979 cited that bar cars lost money and called for their abolition.  In 1976, bar cars were $548,000 in the red and in 1977 the number was $255,000.  Although revenue increased sixteen percent in the first quarter of 1978, bar cars lost $120,000 in total for the year.  The audit also pointed out that if commuters drank just eighteen percent more the LIRR beverage service system would break even.[65]

Rather than drop bar cars, the railroad tried to make them more profitable.  One approach was to get rid of nonproductive bar cars.  One bar car removed was on the 4:46 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 42).  The railroad also reassigned bar carts to more profitable trains and closed two of its three sites for storing liquor and food.  To turn an even greater profit, prices were raised by ten to fifty cents an item in April 1981 to keep up with rising costs of supplies and labor.[66]

By 1981, the railroad managed to make a profit in beverage service.  With seven bar cars in service, including train number 44, and several bar carts system-wide, the profit was $33,423 in 1980 and $28,218 in 1979.[67]  However, by the late 1980s bar cars were phased out.  In the 1990s there was only one in service, the 5:44 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Port Jefferson (number 664).  It also was discontinued with the arrival of a new fleet of cars at the turn of the twenty-first century.[68]   Excerpt Courtesy of  Derek Stadler  Speonk and Remsenburg: A History of Rail Service

Parlor Car Timetables/Brochure

Parlor Car East Timetable - 1965  Archive: Paul Strubeck

Parlor Car East Timetable - 1966  Archive: Brad Phillips

Parlor Car East Timetable - 1967

LIRR Parlor Car Schedule westbound
5/24/1973 Archive: Jeff Erlitz

LIRR Parlor Car Schedule eastbound
5/24/1973 Archive: Jeff Erlitz

Sunrise Fleet 1976 Parlor Car East Travel Guide
Archive: Mike Boland
Parlor Car Menus


Special Services Department - Parlor Car Menu  c.1965 Archive: Ed Frye


"A Day in the Life" of a Special Services Attendant

Special Services Dept. Supply Requisition Form - Parlor #2050 MASTIC - Train #12 4/23/1975 Archive: Ed Frye

I retrieved this unique piece (onboard LIRR 2050) in the early-morning hours of November 23, 1975, when I photographed parlor Mastic in (retirement) storage at Montauk yard.  The form was folded in "thirds", and the attendant (thus) used the reverse side to itemize what his passengers ordered in the way of drinks and snacks enroute to their East End destinations... Ed Frye

Special Services Dept. Supply Requisition Form back - Parlor #2050 MASTIC - Train #12 4/23/1975 Archive: Ed Frye

     Bedroom "A": Southampton; unidentified drinks / peanuts
     Bedroom "B": unoccupied
     Bedroom "C": Southampton; 2 colas (?) / cheese & peanuts
     Bedroom "D": Montauk; Gin-and-Tonic. Westhampton: Bloody Mary
     Roomette 1: Quogue; no order
     Roomette 2: East Hampton; no order
     Roomette 3: East Hampton; no order
     Roomette 4: unoccupied
     Roomette 5: Quogue; Scotch
     Roomette 6: Bridgehampton; no order
     Roomette 7: Hampton Bays; no order
     Roomette 8: Montauk; no order
     Roomette 9: Bridgehampton; no order
     Roomette 10: Bridgehampton; Vodka Tonic
     Roomette 11: East Hampton; no order
     Roomette 12: Amagansett; Ginger Ale / peanuts
     Roomette 13: Southampton; no order
     Roomette 14: Easthampton; Bourbon-and-Soda

Parlor car operations (heavyweight as well as light weight), bar car operations and bar cart operations as well as the three (3) commissaries set up to stock these operations (Penn Station under a set of platform stairs, Richmond Hill Storage Yard and the east end of Jamaica station at street level next to the elevators) all fell under the jurisdiction of Special Services, offices of which were housed at the Richmond Hill Storage Yard.
Special Services Parlor Car drink list order card 1973-74 (above right): Archive: Dave Keller    MORE Special Services: CLICK HERE

Train #18 to Montauk

During the Summer of 1978, "I made it my mission" to cover Train #18, the Friday night eastbound run to Montauk featuring the last three "survivors" of ex-intercity cars running in LIRR parlor car service...Aquebogue, Tuckahoe, and Asharoken (marshaled in that exact order, "west" to "east").  I recovered from Tuckahoe, once a barbershop/lounge, this brochure showcasing the LIRR's "Sunrise Fleet" of P72-converted parlor cars. The NRHS Tri-State Chapter, in their Block Line publication (now entitled Railspace Magazine),  published my accounts of Number 18 that summer.  Ed Frye

Parlor Cars East Timetable - 1978  Archive: Ed Frye


Train #18, led by LIRR #275, eastbound approaching a grade crossing in Center Moriches. 7/21/1978 Photo/Archive Ed Frye

Train #18 equipment Tuckahoe (left) and Asharoken laying-over at Montauk. 7/29/1978. Photo/Archive Ed Frye

The eastbound cars trailing Aquebogue, Tuckahoe, and Asharoken were all "standard-fare" P-72 coaches; a bar-generator car may have been "sandwiched" in between them. There were no "power packs" in the lineup. Montauk. 7/29/1978. Photo/Archive Ed Frye

Brass tag (inspection/servicing) attached to an overhead steam heat regulator beneath Tuckahoe. One time ex-UP in Los Angeles, CA
10/1966 Photo/Archive Ed Frye

Outside swing hanger, disc brake with Canton “I” beam equalizer trucks identical to the trucks under my private car MOUNT VERNON (former UP “PACIFIC ISLAND”). Disc brake equipped lightweight passenger cars were a rarity on LIRR. Info: John Deasy

Minimum Parlor Car Ticket Requirements

The conductor's/trainman's fare card for minimum parlor car ticket requirements, effective March 30, 1972. All of the heavyweight cars were gone and replaced with lightweights EXCEPT for P74EL #2037, the Onteora (formerly Tuscarora Club). Archive: Jeff Erlitz

This document is guidance to Conductors and Trainmen as to what charges (coach fare + parlor car seat charge) must be collected from passengers occupying parlor space. It is also something they could show to passengers in case they had any questions about what charges are applicable.

It covers the accommodations available for sale in the lightweight parlor fleet in the 1968-1975 era, plus the heavyweight 2037 TUSCARORA CLUB.
Seats in the lounge found in former B&O, EL, FEC, PRR and UP cars.
Swivel Chairs found only in 2037 TUSCARORA CLUB.
Open Sections found in former NH cars.
Roomettes found in former KCS and NH cars.
Double Bedrooms found in former B&O, KCS, NH and PRR cars) required payment of 2 coach fares + 2 parlor seat charges.
Compartments found only in former PRR ‘IMPERIAL” 4-4-2 sleepers) required payment of 4 coach fares + 4 parlor car seat charges.
Drawing Rooms found only in former PRR ‘IMPERIAL” 4-4-2 sleepers) required payment of 4 coach fares + 4 parlor car seat charges.

The larger private rooms are more expensive, as you would expect.

Some passengers would have bought their ticket in advance from a station ticket agent, while others would pay a cash fare on the train. I think the majority reserved their parlor seat in advance, but I’m sure there were some walk-ups who asked the train crew if there were any unsold parlor car space available for occupancy. Info: Jack Deasy
Long Island Rail Road Parlor Cars



Cannonball Drumhead - 1962

Cannonball Drumhead - 1968

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Drumhead c.1985
Photo: Art Huneke

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Drumhead c.1985
Photo: Art Huneke

Cannonball-logo-zoom_GP-38_Greenport_7-23-94.jpg (19857 bytes)
GP-38 #259 at Greenport zoom 7/23/1994 
Archive: Carol Mills

LIRR 170th Anniversary drumheads Sunner 2004

Two locomotives are assigned to the Cannonball as this
is the longest C3 train that the LIRR runs - now 12 cars - since it has been operated through from Penn Station or previously from Hunterspoint Avenue (east on Friday, west on Sunday evenings)

Each DM/DE 30 got a drumhead sign placed on the front end. What made the 2004 signs interesting is that both were different instead of an identical pair placed on both DM/DE 30 units.  Info: Mike McEnaney

Reserved-seat service on the first 3 cars of the Cannonball during the summer,  includes bar and snack cart service. c.2010

Non-stop express service direct from 
Penn Station to Westhampton Beach  May-September, 2013

//Cannonball drumhead Speonk 2004 zoom (Colllins-Keller)
Jamica05-25-07cannonballdrumhead.jpg (79382 bytes)
Jamaica 5/25/2005

"Reverse Cannonball" LIRR #502 Train #8717 westbound at Sayville
7/21/2019 Photo/Archive: Neil Feldman

lirr514_PennStation_Cannonball_4-18-2013 (1).jpg (89753 bytes)
LIRR #514 at Penn Station 4/18/2013

The LIRR is announcing plans for the first non-stop express service direct from Penn Station to Westhampton Beach this summer. The ride will take 94 minutes. 

LIRR's Cannonball train returns for summer service
Our express train to the Hamptons and Montauk is back.
Long Island Rail Road  May 25, 2023

Ditch the traffic on your trips Out East this summer — our popular express train to the Hamptons is back!

The Long Island Rail Road’s Cannonball will make its seasonal return on Friday, May 26. It departs Penn Station at 4:07 p.m. and runs express to Westhampton, followed by Southampton, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, and Montauk.

The train will run every Friday through Labor Day Weekend. It’ll also run Monday, July 3, for those getting away for the July 4 holiday.

Please note that the Cannonball does not stop at Jamaica. Customers traveling from Grand Central can take the 4:25 p.m. Ronkonkoma train and transfer at Jamaica for the 4:48 p.m. train to Montauk. If you’re transferring from Metro-North, consider using the Combo Ticket.

If you’re getting an earlier start to your weekend, consider taking the Friday-only 1:15 p.m. train from Hunterspoint Avenue to Montauk, stopping at Jamaica at 1:33 p.m. Take the 1:08 p.m. train from Penn Station or the 1:02 p.m. train from Grand Central to connect with this train.

We also offer extra service on the Montauk Branch throughout the day on Friday and on weekends. For the return trip on Sunday, we recommend leaving later in the evening to avoid large crowds.

If you’re bringing luggage, please stow it in the overhead racks or place it on the floor, do not block aisles or put it on the seats. Bicycles are not allowed on the Cannonball or on peak trains.

Customers are strongly advised to buy tickets in advance. You can buy them in the TrainTime app, or at ticket machines and offices in Penn Station. If you already have a monthly or weekly ticket, you can use it by paying an additional surcharge to the conductor.

Use the TrainTime app to plan your trip or chat with our customer service representatives, who are available daily between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  MTA

2023 Season Cannonball Drumhead

Deep below Manhattan on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, DM30AC 502 takes the first Cannonball, Train #16, of the season out of Penn Station, with a full load of travelers bound for the Hamptons and Montauk. (5/26/23)  Photo/Archive: Thomas Farmer

First run Cannonball Train #16 passing Woodhaven Blvd 5/26/2023 Photo/Archive: Caleb Fossum

Memorial Day weekend  featuring today's Cannonball making its first seasonal eastward express run, 5/26/2023, from Penn Station for the 2023 Summer Season: (New) Train #16
4:07 PM - Leaves Penn Station
5:41 PM - Westhampton
6:03 PM - Southampton
6:13 PM - Bridgehampton
6:25 PM - East Hampton
6:48 PM - Montauk

The Cannonball is one of the longest diesel train that the LIRR operates - 12 C3 cars with two DM30 locomotives on either end - requiring 6+6 double stops at intermediate stations.  Mike McEnaney

The Trains of Summer
Seasonal passenger services bring people to their happy places
Ellis Simon May 31, 2023

Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. It is also when The Cannonball, the Long Island Rail Road’s seasonal Fridays-only express train from Penn Station to the Hamptons and Montauk returns to the rails. The train makes the 117-mile run in two hours and 41 minutes, stopping only in Westhampton, Southampton, Bridgehampton, and East Hampton before reaching Montauk.

The Cannonball is enormously popular with New Yorkers, especially singles, looking to get away from the city for a weekend of socializing, catching a few rays, and distressing. It runs 12 cars long and is powered by 3,000 horsepower DM-30AC locomotives at both ends.

In fact, it may be too popular. Due to its length, it must make two stops at each station. Even with 1,500 seats it frequently is so overcrowded that the Federal Railroad Administration has investigated complaints in prior years. Although the situation eased during the COVID pandemic, Cannonball ridership could climb again now that restrictions have been lifted.

Riders who want to avoid The Cannonball’s mob scene can choose from one of six other trains running to the East End on summer Fridays. Alternatively, the well-heeled can pay an additional $20 fare for a reserved seat in one of the train’s last two cars, where they can avail themselves of full bar service.

Between 1957 and 1972 the LIRR acquired approximately 75 second-hand parlor cars, sleeping cars, club cars, lounge cars, and observation cars that were made surplus by the decline in rail travel.

The Cannonball, which dates to 1899, was an all parlor-car train in the 1960s and 1970s. Between 1957 and 1972 the LIRR acquired approximately 75 second-hand parlor cars, sleeping cars, club cars, lounge cars, and observation cars that were made surplus by the decline in rail travel. They ran on the Cannonball and other LIRR summer-only name trains such as the Sundowner and Weekender. Today, The Cannonball’s Hamptons Reserve cars are the last vestige of the LIRR’s once vast first class service.

The LIRR serves other beach destinations besides the Hamptons. It runs a weekends-only express between Penn Station and Long Beach, where the station is just six blocks from the Ocean Beach Park. It also has extra trains to Freeport where passengers can board buses to Jones Beach State Park. In addition, it offers packages to Fire Island via its stations in Bay Shore, Sayville, and Patchogue.

The LIRR's Name Train. The 12 cars of the "Cannonball", now numbered Train 16, are the consist of the longest coach train on the MTA LIRR. And at $30.50 (if purchased on the Train Time app) It is also the most expensive! In 2013, the service would operate out of New York Penn Station for the first time since the inauguration of the "Cannon Ball Express" in 1899. DM30ACs 517 and 520 carried the drumhead with the unique logo on Friday, August 11, 2023, bracketing the C3 coaches and enabling the train to efficiently change ends and return from Montauk. The train is seen passing through Southampton, New York, about 25 miles from its final destination.  River Rail Photo Marc Glucksman 8/11/2023