Farmingdale 3rd rail activation sign  6/13/1987 Photo/Archive: William Gilligan, Capt. US Navy, Ret.

Farmingdale-Ronkonkoma electrification third rail notice 1/1988 Archive: Bill Mangahas
Ronkonkoma Electrification Project
completed December 28th, 1987

The Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification project began with the June 8, 1985 schedule change.
Electric service to Bethpage began on April 30th and Farmingdale on June 22, 1987. A limited interim electric service to Ronkonkoma began on December 28, 1987 with January 18, 1988 being when full electric service to Ronkonkoma began. Research: Dave Keller

Timeline of Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification Project - 1985-1987:

Late 1984-1985: Contracts are awarded and the electrification project gets the green light.
April 30th, 1987: Electric service begins at Bethpage.
June 13th, 1987: Third rail is activated on June 13th at 12:10 AM.
June 22nd, 1987: Electric service begins at Farmingdale.
Summer-Winter 1987: Electrification project continues in Suffolk County to Ronkonkoma.
December 14th, 1987: Test Run - Officials on board
December 28th, 1987: First revenue electric service begins with the project completed at Ronkonkoma.
December 28th, 1987-January 17th, 1988: Interim electric service for 3 weeks, with diesel and electric both in service.
January 18th, 1988-PRESENT DAY: Electric service goes from interim to full-time 7 days a week. Commuters respond in droves (including some Port Jeff Branch customers in diesel territory)
August 2015: Double-Track project breaks ground, a project that will add a second electrified track from Ronkonkoma to Farmingdale.
August 2016: NTC lays the second track at a mile a day for the 4-mile stretch from West of Ronkonkoma to East of Deer Park for Phase I, with prep work underway for Phase II.
December 2017: NTC lays the second track from Peters Blvd. crossing to East of Brentwood. NTC also begins work West of Deer Park (not sure how far it went now). All grade crossings East of Farmingdale have been converted from one to two track crossings. Crucial work begins with Pinelawn having the decorative awning razed.
January 2018: All weekends will not see train service, what they will do I don't know. Matthew Kobel

Brochure/Timetables effective during the Project

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Brochure issued during the start of the electrification 
program effective June 17, 1985 Archive: John Volpi
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Inside portion of timetable effective January 18, 1988, indicating the start of full electric train service.
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Timetable issued during the electrification program, effective 
May 18 and June 22, 1987

First Day Electrified Service to Farmingdale   6/22/1987
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

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Timetable issued to mark the completion of the electrification program, effective January 18, 1988 and a revised schedule effective March 14, 1988.

Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification First Test Run - 12/14/1987
Prior to the first revenue run of the Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification Project on December 28th, 1987, a test/trial
ran utilizing M3 #9826 on the head end with Management/Officials on board.

M3 First Test Run eastbound at Brentwood
12/14/1987 Photo/Archive: Ed Hand
Note: Officials on board

M3 First Test Run eastbound at Ronkonkoma Ave. 12/14/1987
Photo/Archive: Ed Hand

M3 First Test Run arrival at Ronkonkoma Station (KO) - view NW 12/14/1987
Photo/Archive: Ed Hand

"...Twenty years ago-Tomorrow morning December 28th, 1987 - The first electric trains ran from and back to Ronkonkoma signaling the completion of the Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification running on a three week interim schedule. There were two rush hour runs scheduled in each rush hour also a WB run leaving KO at around 8pm was an electric run also. The first run left KO at 6:40 am-I boarded to ride at Central Islip at 6:46 and rode that train to Wyandanch were I got off and waited for the second train and watched trains go thru there until 8:51 am when I boarded the second train to Penn Station, NY. En-route, I was interviewed by a reporter for News 12 Long Island and when I got home that night I taped the report on the first KO electric runs-I still have the videotape stored in my home someplace.

NEWSDAY on December 29th did a good write-up on those first day runs-with a cover picture at KO with the word ELECTRIFYING. I consider the Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification one of the most significant LIRR improvements of my lifetime; certainly of the 80s for sure. It was completed on time and in budget and was successful right from the start of service-the branch ridership grew enormously from 1988 on. In closing it is hard to believe it has been twenty years since Ronkonkoma Branch electric service started!..."   Mike McEnaney

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New Electric Yard Ronkonkoma 12/1987
Photos/Archive/Info: Dave Keller

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New Electric Yard Ronkonkoma 12/1987
Photos/Archive/Info: Dave Keller

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Photos of the newly opened electric yard at  Ronkonkoma – filled with diesel-hauled equipment!  
A sight you’ll never see again. 

Views are looking west in December, 1987. I don’t have an actual date indicated, however the 3rd rail was activated on, I believe, Dec. 12th and I probably shot these the same day as I shot the electrified activation warning sign.  (Photos shot through the chain-link fence.)

 Photos/Archive/Info: Dave Keller


Electrification at the Station and Old Yard Area

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New station construction underway.  New ties at right.  Old yard at left.  Temporary pedestrian crossing in foreground connecting old platform with new parking lots on south side of track.  View looking east:  May, 1987

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Ditto:  different angle, closer view. View looking east:  May, 1987



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New station pedestrian crossover under construction.  Old diesel coaches in old yard in background. View looking northeast:  May, 1987

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Close-up of new station pedestrian crossover and platforms under construction.  View looking east:  May, 1987

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Ditto – different angle
View looking east:  May, 1987

Ronkonkoma-Electrification-5-87-f.jpg (80811 bytes) New station platforms under construction.  Relocated “KO” block limit signal at right.  Train at old depot in background.  View looking west:  May, 1987
Ronkonkoma-Electrification-6-87-g.jpg (70129 bytes) New station platforms and pedestrian crossover under construction.  Diesel trains laying up in old yard at left.  View looking northeast:  June, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-h.jpg (54196 bytes) New station platforms and pedestrian crossover completed.  Temporary ticket office / waiting room in trailer in foreground.  View looking northeast:  December, 1987
Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-i.jpg (60416 bytes) Overall view of new station platforms, pedestrian crossover and temporary ticket office / waiting room.  View looking northeast:  December, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-j.jpg (74378 bytes) Equipment laid up alongside old wye.  East leg of wye torn up in foreground.  View looking northwest:  December, 1987.
Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-k.jpg (69628 bytes) East leg of wye torn up.  view looking southeast:  December, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-l.jpg (78115 bytes) Old yard torn up.  View looking east:  December, 1987
Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-m.jpg (78911 bytes) Old yard torn up.  New station and platforms at left.  View looking west:  December, 1987 Ronkonkoma-Electrification-12-87-n.jpg (74106 bytes) Ditto.  Taken further back. View looking west:  December, 1987
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New tracks, new crossover and lay-up track.  View looking west from the old Ronkonkoma Ave. trestle:  December, 1987


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New station, pedestrian crossover and platforms.  View looking west:  December, 1987.



Electric Yard east of the new Station area under construction

Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-5-87-1.jpg (72754 bytes) Electric yard under construction. View looking east:  May, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-5-87-2.jpg (65978 bytes)

Ditto.  View looking west. May, 1987

Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-5-87-3.jpg (80266 bytes) New electric yard and electric sub-station under construction.  View looking west along the main track from the Knickerbocker Ave. grade crossing:  May, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-6-87-4.jpg (81347 bytes)

New electric yard under construction.  New tracks and ties freshly ballasted.  View looking west:  June, 1987.  


Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-12-87-5.jpg (85918 bytes) New electric yard in service with diesel-hauled trains laying up.  View looking east:  December, 1987. Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-12-87-6.jpg (75881 bytes)

New electric yard.  View looking west:  December, 1987.


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New electric yard and electric sub-station.  View looking west along the main track from the Knickerbocker Ave. grade crossing:  December, 1987.

Ronkonkoma-Electric-Yard-12-87-8.jpg (71052 bytes) New signal bridge with position light signals.  View looking east towards the new electric yard:  December, 1987

“KO”  Ronkonkoma - Block Office originally in ticket office.  Out of  Service:  1916. Relocated to “KO” Cabin east of depot.  Block office moved back into station ticket office with closing of  “KO” Cabin:  10/30/34.  ? Lever table machine converted to position light signals: 12/9/54.  Renamed  “RONKONKOMA”  06/1961.  “KO” block limit signal located on block signal mast in service:  7/1/81.  Replaced with block limit signals and relocated    628' east of former location in service:  11/13/87.  Out of  Service: 12/14/87. 

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KO  M1 set entering yard 1988 Photo: Joe Sam
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M1s and new  M3et in the yard 1988 Photo: Joe Sam
Other Related Items
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Temporary Bus Service: Station sign used to direct commuters and riders to substitute bus service during electrification project. 
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Coffee Mug Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification Project 12/1987



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RonkElectServiceCover01-18-88backflap.jpg (22867 bytes)

Hicksville-Ronkonkoma Electrification Cover & Back Flap  01/18/1988  
Archive: Steven Lynch 

All photos, timetables, and info courtesy of: Dave Keller Archives
Except as noted