LIRR Extra Clerk Anecdotes
by Brad Phillips

CLERK HANDBOOK

I remember getting one of these booklets while working Amityville beginning in 1963.

I love the section on personal appearance on page 4. Other than a few agents, I NEVER saw any ticket seller wearing a business suit. Many of the ties were pretty ratty and often drooping from an open collar, somewhat understandable in Summer, as most line stations were not air conditioned.

One day at Nassau Blvd., all my white shirts were at the cleaners so I wore a blue dress shirt. Of course, that’s the day the division super showed up on a surprise visit. All was in order at the station, but he firmly reminded me that white shirts were required. I can’t remember the fellow’s name, but he was a strict by-the-rules guy (with quite a reputation) and I was happy that all else at the station was OK and  I just got a warning. 

Interesting reference is made to train pickups of remittances which was prevalent in the early 60’s. 

Definitely fun reading!

 

 

1963 LIRR Clerk Handbook

JOB POSTINGS 

I worked school summers 1963 through 1968 and full time from 1969 through 1973 (with Navy leave 1970-72).  Most jobs were covering vacations for regular full time clerks but I did “own” several positions having bid them based on seniority.  Johnny Koster, the assignment clerk in Jamaica, would call me and assign my job.  If I didn’t like it, I could “bump” another clerk from a better job if I had seniority.  As I started very early each summer (something I learned after a late start in 1965), I “outranked” most of the other summer clerks and could get pretty much anything I wanted (from what was available). The postings 1963 through 1973 in chronological  order:

1963 - Amityville (old station), 1964 (temp. trailer), 1968 (temp. depot)  (lots of interline sales, mostly to Florida. In my “youth” I kept mixing up Philadelphia and Pittsburgh so had to be careful with the interline stuff.)
Amityville - Old Station and New Trailer - Fall 1963_BradPhillips.jpg (163340 bytes) Amityville Station and temporary trailer Fall 1963 Amityville-new EB Shelter - Summer 1964_BradPhillips.jpg (142739 bytes) Amityville - new eastbound Shelter - Summer 1964

1965 through 1969, 1973 - Jamaica ticket (I owned the ticket/toilet/scale/stockroom job for a time. Weekends in the summer were amazing; lines out the door all day.) 

Jamaica-Station-Extra-Ticket-Agent_Fall-1969_BradPhillips.jpg (75809 bytes)
Jamaica Station - Extra Ticket Clerk
Brad Phillips Fall 1969

Jamaica-Ticket-Window_1973_BradPhillips.jpg (255709 bytes)

LIRR - Jamaica Station Ticket Windows - 1973.JPG (104803 bytes)
Jamaica Station Ticket Windows - 1973

Oakdale ticket is an example of the new ticket paper replacing the old protected paper (replacements started in 1966). Note serial #000000.
Oakdale--ticket-1BH-form_BradPhillips.jpg (48796 bytes)
1965 - Jamaica info bureau (only 1 day, thank God)

1965 - Jamaica freight office (1 day only – boring. I don’t even remember exactly where this office was located.)

1965 - World’s Fair (when some passengers asked for the next train to Seaford, they really meant Seaford, Delaware on a PRR Delmarva special.)
LIRR - World's Fair Ticket Office - 9-18-65.JPG (107671 bytes)

Worlds-Fair--ticket-Brooklyn-via-Jamaica_form-1H_BradPhillips.jpg (40025 bytes)
The World’s Fair ticket is unusual as it documents the two changes required to get to Brooklyn. The World’s Fair ticket cases were huge with tickets to almost every LI destination.

1965 - Rosedale (really boring)
Rosedale Station_September 1965_BradPhillips.jpg (67158 bytes) Rosedale Station September 1965

1965, 1967 - Flatbush Avenue (main waiting room and track level) 
I always enjoyed selling at Flatbush.  Gene Maraz was the agent in 1965, a really nice guy.  He subsequently went to Jamaica where I worked for him many times in later years. The ticket window shot looks very much like the waiting room ticket office.  The track level office that I worked out of was actually modern, with large glass windows, etc.
Station-Flatbush_Ave-Bklyn-Waiting_Room-1979_(Huneke-Keller).jpg (93482 bytes)

 

 

 


Flatbush Ave Station, Brooklyn  Waiting Room 1979 (Huneke-Keller)

1965 - New Hyde Park (including freight work; check the freight sidings in the dark before opening for ticket sales.)

1965 - Merrick (lost a $10 weekly ticket to a slippery commuter during one of my first Monday rush hours; that NEVER happened again!)

1965 - Wantagh
LIRR - Wantagh Station - 1965.JPG (124644 bytes) Wantagh Station 1965

1965 - Massapequa Park
I was the first ticket clerk to be assigned to the “new” trailer ticket office in August of 1965. Before the trailer opened, tickets were only sold on Monday mornings from a small “closet” in the northwest corner of the westbound shelter.  The tickets, dater, etc. were kept in a travelling box at Massapequa which was picked up by the assigned extra early on Monday mornings, similar to several other Monday-only offices around the railroad (many of which I worked over the years). 

I was assigned effective on a Monday.  I picked up the ticket box and proceeded to sell tickets from the corner closet.  After closing down that day at about 10 am, per the official schedule, I started setting up the new ticket office in the trailer.  A major plus was air conditioning!

Being the enthusiastic guy that I am, I stayed late into the night getting everything set up to be able to start selling tickets the next day (Tuesday).  I must have worked until 7 or 8 that night but was ready to go at 6 am Tuesday. No visits by any officials on that Monday (Tom Merkel was agent stationed in Massapequa and the division super was …. Harold Remple (?? I can’t be sure of his name or the spelling)).

I opened to the surprise of many commuters at ~6 am Tuesday.  Later in the day, Mr. Remple, or whoever, stopped by to see how things were going and was surprised to see everything set up and tickets being sold.  In discussing how this happened, I mentioned my heroic (!!) efforts of the previous day.  I was young and naïve and didn’t even think of a) asking to work OT, or b) getting approval for said OT.  Happily, Mr. Remple was very pleased that things had proceeded well and authorized the time I worked as OT, which was a bonus for me as I had no intention of asking for payment.  I just enjoyed being able to set up the office.

About a week later, I was unceremoniously bumped from this nice, close to home, job and assigned to Southampton, which is a whole ‘nuther story.  (This guy followed me around the railroad bumping me from place to place, why I never did find out.)

BradGPhillips_Massapequa-Park_new-station_8-2-65.jpg (133488 bytes) 

 

 

 

 



(My only time ever opening late; got to the station one morning minus the office keys … oops!) 
 Brad G. Phillips - Massapequa Park -  New station 8/02/1965


1965 - Bay Shore (one Sunday evening a lady decided to step in front of a WB with scores of passengers on the platform; nasty.)

LIRR - Bay Shore Station.JPG (105432 bytes)

1965 - Patchogue (sold my one and only remains ticket; I decided to announce a train on the loudspeaker one night (‘cause I was bored, and new to the job) and was promptly, but nicely, educated in union protocol by a friendly trainman.)

1965 - Southampton (1 day; memorable sales: Pullman space to Chicago and a weekly from Speonk to Brooklyn.)

1965-1969, 1973 - Massapequa (I owned the relief job there for a time.)

1966 - Hicksville (Monday mornings were unbelievable – 4 ticket windows open, lines out the door for hours on end.)

1966 - Laurelton (even more boring than Rosedale)
LIRR - View East from Laurelton - August 1966.JPG (82569 bytes)

1966 - Long Beach (great in the summer, lots of pretty girls heading for the beach.)
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Long-Beach-strip--ticket-1BS-form_BradPhillips.jpg (37824 bytes)The Long Beach - Valley Stream ticket is unusual in that there were so many kids riding to “Green Acres” (the big shopping center in Valley Stream) that "strip tickets" (Form 1-BHS) were used to speed sales. There was never a dull moment at Long Beach in the summer with hordes of kids coming to the beach and hordes going to the shopping center!

 

 


St.Albans--ticket-L-1-H-form_BradPhillips.jpg (34258 bytes)
St. Albans ticket is an example of the new ticket paper replacing the old protected paper (replacements started in 1966). Note serial #000000.

 

 

 


1966 - Bellmore - Here’s a shot of Bellmore taken when I was working there to cover the regular guy’s vacation.
During slow times (almost all afternoons), I typed a position paper positing that there should be increased rail service from Philadelphia to South Jersey points vs. the steady decline that was taking place in the late 60’s.
 
Bellmore-Station_eastbound-train_1966_BradPhillips.jpg (129832 bytes) Bellmore Station View W 1966 LIRR - Bellmore Station - 1967.JPG (144789 bytes) Bellmore Station View E 1967

1967 - Woodmere

1967 - Rockville Centre
Valley-Stream-Rockville-Centre-ticket-1H-form_BradPhillips.jpg (42546 bytes)The Rockville Centre – Valley Stream ticket is unusual for the south shore as there was no “through” train. A change in Lynbrook was required. I never saw a similar ticket in any other station on the Babylon line.

 

 



1967 - Baldwin

1968 - NY Penn (had the parlor car window on Friday; great fun.)
Parlor-Ticket_Jamaica-Patchogue_BradPhillips.jpg (87499 bytes)  Parlor Car Tickets  Parlor-Ticket_Jamaica-East-Hampton_BradPhillips.jpg (67312 bytes) 

 

 


My shifts at NYP were not just for parlor sales, but when the Friday rush started my window was converted to parlor only. Actually, NYP ticket and info was pretty routine and I don’t have any particular stories to relate. All the clerks were busy all the time so there was little personal interaction. The customer interactions were short; long lines all the time lead to quick sales. Ticket sellers referred customers to the info booth which was nice not to have to deal with schedules and all the other crazy questions. While in the bubble, things were pretty routine in nature (albeit with the crazy questions like how do I get to Rockaway Park or Coney Island, etc.!!). (I’m no subway expert so referred all that to the token booths!) 

Brooklyn (FBA), both upstairs and down, was pretty much the same except you gave out schedules and track info.

The crazy place was Jamaica! All kinds of characters, particularly related to the storage lockers which I handled for some time. LOTS of rude people from the neighborhood pushing into lines and blaming clerks to late trains, etc. Also the typical attempts to short change us during busy times. Race days at Belmont were interesting as the racing fan personality was unique. Clerks sold tickets and handled all the track and schedule info; funny during rush hour when you told some folks to use track 4 or 5 and they didn’t believe you thinking all their trains always left on tracks 6, 7 or 8! 

Of course, the late 60’s were the years of the flower children and crazy dress so you saw that everywhere you went.

1968 - NY Penn info bubble (2 days – couldn’t wait to get out.)
LIRR-Info-booth-Penn-Station_1-20-1972 (Newsday-Dick Yarwood).jpg (79441 bytes) Passengers wait at the LIRR information booth at Penn Station. 01/20/1972 (Newsday-Dick Yarwood)

 

 

 



1968 - Great Neck
Great-Neck-Station_westbound-train_1968_BradPhillips.jpg (127697 bytes) Great Neck Station westbound train 1968

1968 - Valley Stream

1968 - Malverne (Monday morning)
Malverne-ticket-1H-form_BradPhillips.jpg (78155 bytes)
Malverne tickets (sold in station) look like they were sold in Jamaica and NY Penn. Jamaica, FBA and NYP all used the small 1BH forms where the line stations used the large 1H form.

1968 - Lynbrook
Center-Avenue-ticket-1H-form_BradPhillips.jpg (41369 bytes)
Center Ave. Lynbrook ticket (sold in station) looks like it was sold in Jamaica and NY Penn. Jamaica, FBA and NYP all used the small 1BH forms where the line stations used the large 1H form.

1968 - East Rockaway (Monday morning)

1968 - Port Washington (over Christmas; killer commute from Amityville on the LIE in snow and ice.)
Port-Washington_Elmhurst_ticket-1H-form_BradPhillips.jpg (40600 bytes) 

 

Elmhurst is abandoned, of course, so that’s a nice “souvenir.”


1968 - Nostrand Avenue
LIRR - Nostrand Avenue Station - 1973.JPG (120471 bytes)

1968 - Nassau Blvd. (got dinged by a supervisor for wearing a blue vs. white dress shirt … sorry, sir!)
Nassau Blvd Station - Summer 1969_BradPhillips.jpg (126154 bytes) Nassau Blvd Station Summer 1969

1968 - Hempstead

1968 - Roslyn
LIRR - Roslyn Station - 1973.JPG (106927 bytes)
1969 - Bellaire (Monday morning)

1969 - Queens Village (almost missed opening time; difficult safe down a spiral staircase in the basement; opened less than 5 minutes 
before the first WB just barely getting all the commuters their weeklies. They were banging on the windows!)


"EXTRA" CLERK WORK

Most of these jobs were for 1 or 2 weeks covering vacations. A couple were for one day fill-ins. Many were repeats over time (e.g. Massapequa, Jamaica). The one job I really wanted to work was Pinelawn on Memorial Day. Couldn’t get it as it was routinely covered by the Farmingdale job. I’d say the worst jobs were Rosedale and Laurelton, both for the difficulty in getting there and the lack of business.

Except for the jobs which I owned (few), I had to submit a time slip each day. I’d stamp the back with the station dater and keep a copy for “proof” that I worked all these places. I still have those stacks of time slips (a stack for each year), and all my paystubs. (Don’t ask.)

As I recall, over a 5 year period I worked the Monday shift at Malvern (Lynbrook), East Rockaway (Lynbrook), Mass. Park (Massapequa), and Bellaire (Queens Village, I think).

Back in 1965, if I needed a car I borrowed my Dad’s. As I was to be in Southampton for who-knows-how-long I couldn’t use his auto. So, I reserved a room (by telephone) in a rooming house nearby (can you see that today?!) and, living in Amityville, took the convenient Road-n-Rail bus to Southampton. The agent met me the next morning; I don’t remember his name but it was NOT Jim Osborne.

I was there two hours that first morning and Johnny Koster calls me up and tells me I’ve been bumped!! By the same guy that just bumped me out of Massapequa Park! What is it with this guy? I don’t remember his name.  So …. I had to pick up keys to sell at Rosedale the next morning at 6 am. Holy Molly! Fortunately, a (VERY) good friend drove all the way out to Southampton and picked me up. After we visited the rooming house to explain my abrupt departure, I treated him to a nice dinner on the way home.

My one big sale while in SH was a Pullman ticket from NY to Chicago. And …. I mistakenly kept the accommodations stub along with the agent’s stub so had to chase the guy down, on foot, over my lunch hour, at his home, to return his passage ticket. Fortunately, he was very understanding. What a day that was!

Making this list really brought back a LOT of memories. Man, I’m really getting old (or.. I’m getting REALLY old)! Info: Brad Phillips

 MY FIRST "LONG DISTANCE" TRIP

Wyandanch was the origin station of my first “long distance” trip on the LIRR as a small kid traveling alone. For a birthday present my Folks funded (a $10 bill, big money circa 1960) a day-long excursion as follows:

a. Dad drives me from our home in Amityville to Wyandanch station in the early morning
b. I ride to Greenport on the morning train
c. Lunch in town
d. Ride the afternoon departure to Westbury (train skipped Hicksville, for some reason)
e. Ride from Westbury to Babylon via Central Branch
f.  Ride Babylon back home to Amityville

The Amityville agent developed this itinerary for me as I was a little too young to figure it all out. When told of this adventure and the cost, my frugal grandmother muttered “What a waste of good money!”*  For me, it was a wonderful experience and was the beginning of my “rare mileage” obsession which possesses me to this day (i.e., ride every mile of track possible).
*Note: $10 (1960) = $83 (2017)

MY FIRST RIDE ON THE RDC SCOOT

RDC-At-PD-BaggHse-Patchogue-4-6-63.jpg (64086 bytes)I remember my first ride on the RDC scoot from Babylon to Patchogue in April, 1960. I had just assumed that the Patchogue train would be a RS-3 with a couple of pings but, viola, there were those neat looking silver RDC’s. Having previously only ridden the jerky and noisy MU’s, the smooth acceleration and ride quality of the Budd’s really impressed me. I spent some time at Patchogue getting a bite to eat and checking out a hobby store which had a large (G scale ?) model of a LIRR P-72. (See below left) 

The old station was going strong and I searched out the nooks and crannies as it was so similar to Amityville. Then RDC’s back to Babylon and home on the jerky MU’s. Another fun trip for a kid (I had to save up the $$ to pay for this one)!

RDC at PD Tower, Baggage House Patchogue 4/06/1963 Archive: Dave Keller

P-72-model_4-1962_BradPhillips.jpg (34951 bytes) P-72 model 4/1962 at Patchogue Hobby Store

"BUDD" TRIPS

One day back in my early teens, traveling with my Mom from NY to Amityville, we encountered a very friendly trainman, “Budd” (he had a tie clip from the Budd company, hence his nickname amongst his coworkers), who cordially invited me and a friend to ride with him on some of his scheduled trips. (I think the invite came about due to the charms of my Mom rather than the innocence and interest of a young boy!)

Anyway, my friend Steve and I wound up taking several day-long jaunts with Budd (no ticket required). One of the fun things he let us do was flip the seats (wow, big stuff for young guys!) at terminals. He also showed us how the automatic doors on the MP-54’s were operated for high level platform stops. As I recall we rode the Babylon, Hempstead, and Port Washington branches with him.

For the life of me I can’t remember Budd’s full name which is a disappointment. I was much too young to have started to take notes of my trips. Brad Phillips