LIRR RS-3 #1554 train #4210 6/01/1969 view west
Photo: Richard Makse
On June 7, 1968, I worked train #212 as parlor car attendant with Bob Emery our conductor. While 212 was always on time into Riverhead, it did frequently catch up with the preceding Ronkonkoma local. Bob Emery is walking to the T box to talk to the
operator. Info/ Photo: Richard Makse
I first met George DePiazzy at a
Boy Scouts of America function. I was a young, volunteer Assistant
Scoutmaster from Troop 80 in Holtsville, NY and George was an Assistant
Scoutmaster from a Bayport, NY Troop if I remember correctly.
We got to talking and I discovered he was a block operator for the
L.I.R.R. and assigned to the 1st trick (shift) at "SG" cabin,
which was located at the time on the north side of the tracks and just
west of 5th Avenue in Brentwood. I also discovered that he was the
father of two guys with whom I had gone to high school.
I asked if I might visit him sometime while he was on duty and take some
photos. He said O.K. I visited "SG" cabin and George
many times. I photographed inside the cabin (it had a table
block machine: no Armstrong levers), and out, and took shots of trains
getting orders, much as I did at "PD".
Other railroaders nicknamed George "Dippy", not because he was
stupid or ditzy, but because of the way they would pronounce his last
name: "Dippiazzy." It eventually got shortened to
"SG" cabin was a tiny block office made of block and faced
with brick, replacing the old, wooden cabin south of the tracks and east
of 5th Avenue. George used to work that old cabin in it's last
days, and described in great detail how much "fun" it
was having to use the old wooden outhouse, a common site all over Long
Island and the rest of the United States for that matter.
George used to work "BK" block station at Stony Brook.
Once, he was sitting at the block operator's desk with his headphones
on, talking to the dispatcher during a thunderstorm. A lightning
strike came through the phone lines and went into his ears and blew him
off the chair and across the room, slamming him against the depot wall.
He had no recollection of this event, but was aware of it because he was
told what happened after he had regained consciousness. The story was
confirmed to me by witnesses.
George was an avid and experienced outdoorsman: hunter, boater,
fisherman and camper. He made a great Boy Scout leader. He
and I attended an adult training weekend together in 1972.
On Memorial Day, 1977 he was out fishing with a friend when he noticed a
small boat in trouble. It was stormy weather and the boat appeared
to be sinking. He and his friend put their boat in the water and
went out to assist the vessel.. The people in the boat were
inexperienced, and in attempting to save them, George and his friend
banged their heads, lost consciousness and drowned. He was 48 years old.
When the main line was electrified through to Ronkonkoma and double
tracked around 1987, "SG" cabin was no longer needed and was
The first photo is of the old "SG" cabin c. 1925 looking west,
photographed by block operator James V. Osborne.
The second photo is of the "newer", relocated "SG"
cabin looking west in 1969, prior to my having met George. The
cabin was closed at the time I photographed it (it was only open for 1
trick, Monday through Friday, I believe) and the security shutters were
closed. "SG" block signals are visible in the distance.
The third photo is of operator George DePiazzy throwing the switch for
the long siding at "SG". I took this photo of George in 1972.
The fourth item is a memorial article from Newsday, dated 5/30/77 about
the men who died that day.
cabin c. 1925 looking west
J.V. Osborne Photo
In the distance you can make out the
Brentwood express house and see the track configuration matching
Emery’s map. The gondola car is on the team track on the west side of
You can see that they moved the newer
cabin quite a bit west and removed a LOT of track in the process,
including the team track.
Relocated “SG” cabin on the
west side of 5th Avenue
and north of the tracks. This cabin is just east of MP 40, view
west in 1969.
George DePiazzy throwing the switch for
the long siding at "SG"
Newsday Memorial Item 5/30/77
photographs from the archive of Dave Keller unless so noted.