LIRR  Express/Baggage Houses

LIRR Express Service Chronology The Penny Post January 2020 Author: Bruce Mosher

Baggage house/Express House s were one structure. The freight house was a separate, independent structure. All stations that had agencies had baggage/Express House s.  Baggage was considered what riders carried . . i.e. suitcases, steamer trunks, etc. Express was like what UPS delivers today. Today's "Brown" was yesterday's "Green". Not all stations handled freight.  If they did not handle freight, they did not have a freight house.

Also, the baggage/Express House s were located at the extreme ends of the platforms, as the baggage/express/combine cars were located directly behind the tender of the locomotive or were the lead car behind the diesel and when the train made the station stop, these cars were able to be spotted exactly in front of the baggage/Express House s or elevated platforms.

The freight houses, while they COULD be near the depot as in the case of Patchogue (west of Railroad Ave, north of the tracks), they were usually located some distance away, where the team tracks were located.  Some freight houses were quite a distance away from the depot, as was Lynbrook, Babylon, Floral Park, Oakdale and Huntington for examples.

MU Train-Express House-Babylon-3-22-59.jpg (54065 bytes)
MU Train at Express House  Babylon 3/22/1959

The express business was handled by the LIRR's representative a.k.a. "Agent" at small stations, such as Medford, Central Islip, Ronkonkoma, Centre Moriches, Speonk, etc., etc.  These men were paid a little extra per hour for handling the express business. All LIRR agencies handled passenger's baggage.  Again, baggage defined as luggage, suitcases, steamer trunks, etc.

The express business at larger locations, such as Patchogue, Westhampton, etc. had their own express company representatives to handle the express as it was a full-time job at those locations with items coming in and being loaded on the trucks for town delivery and people coming in to ship stuff out. The express business was initially operated by the LIRR and by the private roads as well, such as the Flushing and North Side RR., South Side RR, etc.  (Dave Keller info)

The following was written by Mr. Reifschneider in 1925, prior to the advent of the 
American Railway Express and the Railway Express Agency:

The Long Island Railroad had always conducted its own express business under the name of the Long Island Express Company. In 1913, it surrendered this privilege to the Adams Express Company, which has recently been absorbed by the American Railway Express Company. This gave the Long Island advantages of through express service, which it had previously been impossible to obtain with the local express company. From Felix Reifschneider's LIRR history - 1925

Other structures were unique to the railroad architecture. Express House s were usually open platforms.  Later a roof was added but it was still an open, windswept platform.  Still later, walls and a sliding door were added and a conventional "box" structure was now in place at the eastern and western ends of the platforms albeit some structures were larger than others and some had larger westbound structures than they had eastbound, because more stuff was shipped off the island rather than on.

While many of these looked the same, there were those that were unique, such as at Patchogue, Huntington (which had a Dutch Colonial/gambrel roof to match the 1910 station), Speonk, Oyster Bay, to name but a few. Research: Dave Keller

freightBaysidemid1990s41stRoad Forgotten NYsite.jpg (27018 bytes)
Bayside, vacant, mid-1990's 
Photo: Kevin Walsh 
Goods were unloaded on the platform and onto an elevator within the building and unloaded on 41st Road.

Note: Bayside's freight house, for example, was at grade east of the station plaza where the team tracks were located.  Ditto for Lynbrook, Valley Stream, etc. Ditto for Lynbrook, Valley Stream, etc. Freight needed a means to be off-loaded which meant at structure at grade and nearby the team tracks.

The brick structure shown at Bayside with elevator accessing the sub-grade station platform was for lowering and raising customer's baggage to and from trains.  Perhaps express items as well.  Ditto for the elevator shaft visible for many years above the elevated Valley Stream station . . . used for baggage and some express.  
(Dave Keller info)  

Babylon_viewW_DepotSt1947.jpg (88785 bytes)
Eastbound Express House  at Babylon 1947 View W towards station facilities Photo/Archive: James Gillin
ExpressHouse-Bellmore-ViewW-1932.jpg (171605 bytes)
Bellmore Express House  view W 1932

Express House - Station view W c.1950
Archive: Emery SUNY Stony Brook
Sta-Exp-Bluepoint-1972.jpg (78659 bytes)
Bluepoint Station - Express House  
1972  Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
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Camp Upton Express House  1918
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Camp Upton Express House  1918
Cedarhurst-Frt-Exp Hse-1939 (SSRR ROW at right).JPG (284215 bytes)
Cedarhurst freight Express House  
1939 (SSRR ROW at right)
Sta-Central-Islip-FishersHotel-c1920.jpg (38115 bytes)
Central Islip express platform open to the elements and thievery c.1920. Older images of CI show an enclosed building, but sometime between 1895-1916 it was torn down and replaced with the open-air structure. George G. Ayling photo, Dave Keller archive
Sta-Central-Islip-NewExpHse-Snow-c1935.jpg (45021 bytes)
At Central Islip, there was an open express platform with roof at each end of the station platform. Both were later enclosed.  But . . . the freight house was located behind of and west of the depot at the team track, almost adjacent to Suffolk Avenue, quite a distance north of the Main.  

New enclosed Express House  view W Freight house in background and set back to allow contact with the team track. c.1935 George G. Ayling photo, Dave Keller archive
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Central Islip station, Express House  behind - Agent Frank Kelly c.1895
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Central Islip station, Express House  left c.1885
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Central Islip station, Express House  in rear - Agent Frank Kelly c.1910
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Central Islip Pole gates Carleton Ave c.1918
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Central Islip Pole gates Carleton Ave c.1918
Station-Central Islip-5-1954.jpg (138880 bytes)
Central Islip station, Express House  
 behind  5/1954


Station-DeerPark1908.jpeg (61350 bytes)
Deer Park, 1908 - The double-wide door in the background trackside was the express/baggage room in the depot. (Dave Keller archive)
Far Rockaway-Express House-East-1915.jpg (86212 bytes)
Far Rockaway (Mott Ave.) view E. 1915 
Adams Express House  in right rear background. (Dave Keller archive)
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Express House  Far Rockaway 1942 (Close-up)
ExpressHouse-FarRockaway-1942.jpg (38094 bytes)
Station Area-Exp Hse-Baggage Car-Eastbound-Farmingdale, NY - 10-6-48.jpg (93886 bytes)
Farmingdale Station Area Express House  view E 10/06/1948 Photo: F. Weber, Archive: Dave Morrison

There is an express car spotted in front of the freight house and an open Express House  is clearly visible in front of it along the westbound track.  Sign on the end of the freight house at the left begins to spell "Railway Express Agency" and  further down on the same track, a boxcar is spotted.  It  would appear that the REA occupied the west end of the structure and the freight department utilized the remainder of the building. Info: Dave Keller

ExpressHouse-GreatNeck-1934.jpg (82321 bytes)
Great Neck Express House  1934
Station-Exp House-Great River-West-1925.jpg (71345 bytes)
Great River station - Express House  view W 1925 (J.V. Osborne photo, Art Huneke archive)
ExpressHouse-HamptonBays-1940.JPG (86949 bytes)
Hampton Bays Express House  1940 The Express House  was the original Good Ground depot building, the name of the stop before it was changed to Hampton Bays. Info: Dave Keller
HicksvilleSta-ExpHse-WtrPlug7-31-37.jpg (44104 bytes)
Hicksville Station - Express House  at water plug 07/31/1937 Archive: Dave Keller
lirr111HicksvilleYardREA.jpg (115166 bytes)
Hicksville Yard REA/trucks background. LIRR #111 Archive: Art Huneke
Sta-ExpHse-WtrPlug-Hicksville-7-31-37.jpg (38465 bytes)
Hicksville station - Express House  water plug 7/31/1937
ExpressHouse-Huntington-1942.JPG (73731 bytes)
Huntington Express House  1942
Express Hse-Huntington-10-1918.jpg (133243 bytes)
Huntington eastbound Express House   located at the east end of the station platform (notice the low-level platform dipping in front of the structure where the platform ends. View NE .Note: Roof in the style of the 1910 station building. LIRR valuation photo 10/1918
Info: Dave Keller
HuntingtonStation-UN-BlockCrossover-8-28-51.jpg (87036 bytes)
Under construction westbound Express House  foreground and Huntington Station at "UN" block 
crossover 08/28/1951 View E

Notice it was too small and becoming ramshackle as you can see (right photo), so it was torn down and replaced with a cement block structure.
Info: Dave Keller

This concrete structure was built as an addition to the Express House  and not as a replacement to it. It appears that it's butted up against the west side, with the cement blocks tight against the track, allowing no loading platform. 

This prior to the newly built structure to the high-level express platform , thus this is the old Express House  with the platform in front of it, but it's truncated by the newer block structure on its west side and in the front part of the photo.

I understand that the blocks were covered with clapboard siding, making it look like it's wood and a match to the existing structure. Info: Dave Keller

HuntingtonExpressHouseViewW.jpg (82015 bytes)
Huntington westbound Express House , located at the west end of the station.   Notice how the ground drops off at the right background?  That's the depressed level of New York Avenue passing under the tracks. View W Info: Dave Keller
Archive: Brad Phillips
Express House-H10s 113-Frt-St.James-1955.jpg (29884 bytes)
Producing a load of smoke, H10s #113 pulls a westbound freight past the freight/Express House at St. James on August 25, 1955 
(W. H. Higginbotham photo, Dave Keller archive)
lindenhurst.jpg (33573 bytes)
Lindenhurst station and freight/Express House 3/20/99 relocated after grade elimination project to Irmisch Park at South Broadway and South 3rd St. in Lindenhurst. Both structures, which were joined together c. 1940 and remodeled were separated and restored to original "as built" condition. Village of Lindenhurst museum site. (Photo: Bill Kessler)
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Lindenhurst Depot rear view

LI Express c.1890 Photo: Harold B. Fullerton Archive: Queens Public Library  Restoration: Chris Klug
Express House - LIC - 1919.jpeg (80156 bytes)
ex-LI Express House- American Railway Express Co.
LI City 1919
Express Stables - LIC - 1919.jpeg (99675 bytes)
LI Express stables LI City 1919 

LI Express House -   Hunters Point, LI City 1903
Archive: NY Public Lib

ex-LI Express House- American Railway Express Co., Hunters Point, LI City 1919 Archive: NY Public Library
Long-Beach-Baggage-House_ex-Express-Office_8-1966_Sturm-Fehn.jpg (83754 bytes)
Long Beach Baggage House - Ex-Express Office 8/1966 (Sturm-Fehn)
FreightExpressHouse-Mastic-c.1947.jpg (66607 bytes)
Mastic freight/express View W. Team track stubs out on the west side of structure. Depot in right background, c. 1947.
(Photo courtesy of Art Huneke)
ManhattanBeachExpressHouse.jpg (61640 bytes)
Manhattan Beach Express House 
Archive: Art Huneke 
ManhattanBeachExpressHouse2.jpg (57902 bytes)
Manhattan Beach Express House  3/4 view Archive: Art Huneke 
ManhattanBeachPass.jpg (135609 bytes)
Manhattan Beach Passenger depot  Express were perpendicular to each other as seen in the overall view looking south from the end of the covered platform. House Archive: Art Huneke
ManhattanBeachPassExpress.jpg (61510 bytes)
Manhattan Beach Express House , view looking W towards the beach. Express House  Archive: Art Huneke
ManhattanBeachPassEXpressHouse.jpg (75907 bytes)
Manhattan Beach side view of the Passenger depot building, view looking east.  The Express House  is off to the left.  Archive: Art Huneke 

ManhattanBeachCoasterExpressHouse.jpg (114578 bytes)
Manhattan Beach station and Express House  in distance through the entrance for the Manhattan Beach Coaster ride. 
Archive: Art Huneke

ExpressHouseManorville-c.1921.jpg (58331 bytes)
Manorville, c. 1921 LIRR valuation photo view is looking SE.  They were originally two separate buildings, but they were connected by closing in the spaces with the addition of walls and roof, providing more needed holding space than the original Express House  could provide.  The 2nd diamond crossing sign behind the structure was for warning of the crossing of the spur heading southeast towards Eastport.  (D. Keller info)
9-Station-Medford-Exp-House-Team-Track-Pass-Siding-East-4-1940.jpg (93708 bytes)
Medford Express House  Team Track passing siding View E 4/1940
13-Station-Top-Exp Hse-Bottom-Medford-Elevated-North-1960.jpg (60923 bytes)
Medford Station:  Top portion of the 1940 structure was the ticket office and waiting room.  Bottom portion was the express / freight house. view N 1960 (Thomas R. Bayles photo, Dave Keller archive)
14-Station-Exp Hse-Medford-Remains-Elevated Structure-1969.jpg (34458 bytes)
Express House  Medford remains elevated structure 1969
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Medford remains Express House  view NW 1969
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Medford remains Express House  view N 1969
Station -Express House-Montauk-1925 (Osborne-Huneke).jpg (40467 bytes)
Montauk station - Express House  1925  (J. V. Osborne photo, Art Huneke archive)
Express House-Oyster Bay - East-1952.jpg (28109 bytes)
Oyster Bay view E. 1952 (Dave Keller archive)

OBayExpressHouseEmerySW.jpg (83880 bytes)
Oyster Bay Express House  view SW 
Photo: R. Emery <1961
Collection: SUNY Stony Brook

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Patchogue Express House  and Station c. 1900


pd1947fredweber_morrison.jpg (97943 bytes)
Patchogue "PD" and Baggage House 1947 view E Photo: F. Weber, Archive: Dave Keller
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Patchogue Train Orders pickup Baggage House
c. 1955 view W
1962pat-watertowergone-brickfreighthouse-expresshouse-supervisor'soffice.jpg (70207 bytes)
 Patchogue view W  Supervisor's office, brick freight house, Express House  1962
Photo: Art Huneke
Station-Pinelawn-c.1920.jpg (69070 bytes)
Pinelawn, c. 1920s Double doors in use to access the express/baggage room.
 (Dave Keller archive)
StationPinelawn1970.jpg (52340 bytes)
Pinelawn, 1970 Double-wide door to the express/baggage room had been closed in after express service ended. 
 (Dave Keller archive)
H10sNo.111atWaterSpout- ExpressHse-Riverhead-c.1952.jpg (64879 bytes)
H10s #111 westbound at water spout - Riverhead  - c. 1952.  Eastbound Express House  at right, freight house with boxcar spotted, at left across tracks.
(Dave Keller archive)
ExpressHouse-Riverhead-1952.jpg (52777 bytes)
Riverhead Express House 
Station-RockyPoint-c.1930.jpg (55900 bytes)
Rocky Point station with built-in Express House  c. 1930 (Dave Keller archive)

Freight-ExpressHouse-Rosedale-c. 1935.jpg (135976 bytes)
Freight-Express House  Rosedale 
c. 1935 Archive: Dave Keller Photo source unknown

Station-Exp Hse-Roslyn-4-26-53.jpg (102905 bytes)
Roslyn station and westbound open-air Express House  4/26/53 View NE
Express House-Roslyn-c. 1937 (Winslow).jpg (137452 bytes)
Roslyn Express House  c.1937 (Winslow)
WaterTower-ExpHse-FrHse-Ronkonkoma1915.jpg (38282 bytes)
Ronkonkoma looking east from the Ronkonkoma Ave. overpass.  The water tank is at the right, the eastbound Express House  is at the left and in the left background, beyond the Express House , is the freight house. - 1915 (Thomas R. Bayles photo/Dave Keller archive and info)
SagHarbrExpHse-1968.jpg (60062 bytes)
Sag Harbor Express House  1968
sag harbor.jpg (46669 bytes)
Former 1900-era Express House  at Sag Harbor shown on 1/24/2006 years after move to private location at 11 Spring Street and recent renovation for business use.  
Photo: Bill Kessler
Cabin-Y-Temp-Lincoln Ave-Mtk Hwy Grade Elim.-1930-Closeup.jpg (91047 bytes)
Temporary "Y" cabin during the Montauk Highway Grade Crossing Elimination at Sayville - Express House  in background - 1930
(Art Huneke archive / Dave Keller info)
ALCO RS1-462-Train-Express House-Sea Cliff-8-24-52  (Hermanns).jpg (103807 bytes)
ALCO RS1 #462 Express House  
Sea Cliff 8/24/1952
Express House-Sea Cliff-8-24-52 (Hermanns).jpg (81672 bytes)
Express House  Sea Cliff 8/24/1952 (Hermanns)
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G5s #30 approaching Sea Cliff 
Station-Exp Hse-Setauket-1952.jpg (111632 bytes)
Setauket station and attached Express House  1952 View NW.  Note the ramp from the Express House  door to track and car level.
Station-Shoreham-D56 Eastbound-1912.jpg (72794 bytes)
Shoreham station looking west with eastbound train approaching.  Elevated, uncovered westbound express platform at end of station platform and freight house in background, west of North Country Road crossing - 1912 (Thomas R. Bayles photo/ Dave Keller archive and info)  
Express-FreightHouse-left-Southampton_viewE-c.1925JamesV.Osborne.jpg (58927 bytes)
Express-Freight House on left -
Southampton view E c.1925 (JamesV.Osborne)
StonyBrookDepot-Frt-Hse-c.1930.jpg (61641 bytes)
Stony Brook station with bare, uncovered, elevated westbound express platform and freight house in background - View looking west, c. 1930 (James V. Osborne photo, Dave Keller archive and info
PRR REA Reefer 2951-REA Whse-Sunnyside-1937.jpg (93319 bytes)
REA reefers in front of the main REA complex in Sunnyside, Long Island City 1937  (Dave Keller archive)
ValleyStreamExpressHse-ex-freighthouse-until1955.jpg (48750 bytes)
R. Emery Valley Stream 8/1958  map MP15-16 Note  #11: "Freight house until 1955."
After 1955, it obviously served as the Express House  and the house track was renamed "exp hse" track.
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Old Autocar express trucks of the Adams Express Co. at the platform.  Note their wooden spoke wheels and solid rubber tires. 1915  Photo: Thomas R. Bayles Archive: Dave Keller
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Station Express House closed snow Central Islip c.1920
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Station Express House 
Cutchogue c.1905
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Station Express House  
Glen Head c.1870
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Station Express House  
Huntington 6/09/1907
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Station Express House Kings Park 1/1966
Station--Exp-Hse-K-Mattituck-1958.jpg (50225 bytes)
Station Express House Mattituck 
at "K" 1958
Station-Exp-Hse-Lynbrook- PTTower-c. 1910.jpg (303360 bytes)
Station Express House Lynbrook  PT Tower c.1910
Station-Exp-Hse-New-Hyde-Park-1918.jpg (470190 bytes)
Station Express House 
New Hyde Park 1918
Station-Exp-Hse-Quogue-1909.jpg (97713 bytes)
Station Express House Quogue 1909
Station-Exp-Hse-Rosedale-1936.jpg (139603 bytes)
Station Express House  Rosedale 1936
..jpg (40797 bytes)
Station Express House  Roslyn 1937
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Station Express House Medford 1/1940
Station-Exp-Hse-Stony Brook - c. 1905.jpg (76809 bytes)
Station Express House Stony Brook c.1905
Station-Lindenhurst-Exp Hse-1905.jpg (122541 bytes)
Station Lindenhurst Express House  1905
Station-Mattituck-Exp-Hse-K Block Signal- c. 1921.jpg (61897 bytes)
Station Express House Mattituck K Block Signal c.1921
Station-Mattituck-Exp-Hse-Water Tower- c. 1905.jpg (76662 bytes)
Station Mattituck Express House water tower c.1905
Station-Open-Exp-Hse-CentralIslip-c1918.jpg (150872 bytes)
Station open Express House 
Central Islip c.1918
Station-Northport-Exp-Hse-Northport Traction-c. 1910.jpg (56431 bytes)
Station Express House Northport/Northport Traction c.1910
Station-ShelterShed-Crossover Entrance-Express Hse-Farmingdale- 11-21-48.jpg (68215 bytes)
Station Express House shelter shed crossover entrance Farmingdale 11/21/48
Station-Exp-Hse-Shoreham - 6-26-18.jpg (127987 bytes)
Station Express House Shoreham 6/26/1918
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Station Express House Huntington UN Block Crossover  8/28/1951
Station-Exp-Hse-Seaford - c. 1910.jpg (38225 bytes)
Station Express House Seaford c.1910
Station-Exp-Hse-Shoreham-D56 Eastbound-1912.jpg (68752 bytes)
Station Express House Shoreham D56 Eastbound 1912
Station-Long Island City-Yard-Express Hse-Platforms-c. 1912.jpg (104269 bytes)
Station Long Island City yard Express House Platforms c.1912