licitysunnysideyardaerialview1936NYScollection.jpg (121202 bytes)
LI City Aerial View 1936
Archive: NYS Collection

1955 and LI City is busy indeed!

The current Long Island Rail Road East Side Access Project: Click: Track 17

Sunnyside Yard  Rendering 1904
sunnyside1.jpg (342939 bytes)

       In 1910 the Pennsylvania Railroad had completed its terminal in New York City, which was connected by tunnels to New Jersey, and under the East River to Long Island. At Sunnyside the large yard of the Pennsylvania Railroad was constructed. An agreement was made with that Railroad and the Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad Company whereby the cars of the Long Island Railroad would be carried through the tunnels under the East River into the Terminal at Seventh Avenue and Thirty-second Street, New York. Thus the Long Island Railroad acquired what successive administrations had striven for in vain, a terminal on Manhattan Island. In order to reach this terminal it was necessary to electrify from Jamaica to New York, which was accomplished in 1910, and the first train run into the Pennsylvania Station on September 10th of that year.  Felix E. Reifschneider's  1925 Long Island Rail Road History

Sunnyside-c.1910.jpg (2215916 bytes)
Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad , East River Division, Sunnyside Yard map from "Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers", hardcover edition 1910. Info: John Fusto

LI City Facilities Valuation Photo Collection c. 1919

LIC boiler house.jpg (52562 bytes)
LI City Boiler House  070/7/1919
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC canopy and station.jpg (49822 bytes)
LI City Canopy and Station 
c. late 1914-1920 
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC coal tower.jpg (44803 bytes)
LI City Coal Tower 07/07/1919
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC Express Stable entrance.jpg (73468 bytes)
LI City Express Stable Entrance 07/14/19 Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC ferry entrance.jpg (38035 bytes)
LI City Ferry Entrance 06/23/19
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC freight offices.jpg (50869 bytes)
LI City Freight Offices 07/14/19
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC ice house.jpg (63543 bytes)
LI City Ice House 06/24/19
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC pumphouse.jpg (44262 bytes)
LI City Pump House 06/23/19
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC shop office.jpg (36189 bytes)
LI City Shop Office c. 1918
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC trans and switch house.jpg (44570 bytes)
LI City Switch House 06/22/20
Collection: Dave Morrison
LIC wagon repair shop.jpg (48437 bytes)
LI City Wagon Repair Shop 
c. 1918 Collection: Dave Morrison
LICenginehouse.jpg (44393 bytes)
LI City Engine House valuation photo 1918 - LIRR
#2 E51sa 4-4-2
Collection: Dave Morrison

PRR Sunnyside Yard view W 1955 Photo/archive: Art Huneke
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Sunnyside Track Signals 4/15/1942
Office of Chief Engineer, Pennsylvania Railroad, May  20, 1946 Maps

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LI City Float Bridges 3 & 4 gone by the ‘40s new 5 & 6 active LI City
floats.jpg (56960 bytes)
LI City floats # 1-5 c.19xx?

licmap2v3.jpg (402631 bytes)
Arch St. Team Yard
 Degnon Terminal
Montauk Branch Cut-off
Wheelspur Yard
Dutch Kills Creek
Newtown Creek
licmap3v2.jpg (348201 bytes)
LIRR Yard A (North Yard)
PRR Offices
PRR Sunnyside Coach Yard (South Yard)


Plicmap4v2.jpg (321028 bytes)RR Sunnyside Coach Yard east area 
REA Express Terminal
licmap5v2.jpg (259228 bytes)
NY Conn. RR to Hell Gate
LIRR Main to Jamaica
Gosman Ave Yard

LIRR  Westbound Main
LIRR Eastbound Main

Here is a photo of an underjump/duckunder (see Yard A map above) located west of Sunnyside Yard and east of the East River tunnels. The location is a few hundred feet west of the bridge that carries Queens Boulevard and the NYCTA # 7 train over the railroad. The two tracks are used by equipment moves coming out of the west end yard at Sunnyside, en-route to Penn Station. They pass underneath a LIRR mainline track that is used by both LIRR and Amtrak trains heading west to Penn Station.

I took this photo on 9/21/2012 from the vestibule of my MOUNT VERNON. We were on the rear of Amtrak train 91, The Silver Star, headed from Sunnyside Yard to Penn Station, for a trip from New York to Washington. Info: Jack Deasy
LI City Float Bridges - LI City Station
lirrFloatDock-c.1963.jpg (42377 bytes)
LIRR #406 with Idler car c.1963

licityfloatdocks-carfloats.jpg (53013 bytes)
Car floats at docks 1&2
Archive: Henry Wagner

Hunter's Point 04/1998 -east
Float docks 1&2
Photo: Bruce Carlson

Float-Docks-LIC_c.1955+_bw.jpg (102579 bytes)
Float Docks LI City c.1955
lirr421_licity.jpg (101009 bytes)
LIRR #421 S1 LI City with Idler MOW car taking delivery of  Subway R32 cars. 11/1964

Float-Docks-LIC-Meitowax-zoom_c.1955+.jpg (86369 bytes)
Meitowax pilot house 
zoom c.1955
lirr32s-LiCityGerryLandaufoto11-64.jpg (60482 bytes)
Delivery Subway R32s 11/64  Photo: Gerry Landau
Archive: Art Huneke
carfloat20.jpg (13290 bytes)
LIRR carfloat #20 perhaps on its way to the North Shore Yard (LI City Floats)
licity c.1910.jpg (56921 bytes)
11th Street Crossing c. 1910 into North Shore Freight Yard LI City

Hunter's Point Ave Station
1969 Photo: Dave Keller

Crossing Tower 5th St. LI City 1971
 Photo: Dave Keller
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Car Washer Hunter's Point Ave View E 1969 
Photo: Dave Keller
FA2_610CarWashHntrsptAveLIC08-10-83.jpg (75959 bytes)
LIRR #610 Car Washer Hunter's Point Ave View E 08/10/1983 
Archive: Dave Keller
Montauk Branch Cut-off - Degnon Terminal
lirr462MontaukCutoff10-74_A.JosephDaly2.jpg (67651 bytes)
LIRR #462 on  Montauk Cutoff 10/1974 
Photo: Joe Daly

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LIRR #155-156 RF15 on Montauk Cutoff crossing 49th Ave View N 12/08/1977 Archive: Henry Wagner


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Montauk Branch Cut-off
LI City Borden Ave 02/18/2008
Photo: Joe Gregory

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Montauk Cut-off above the oncoming C420 View east at Hunters Point Ave Station platform Photo: Joe Daly 10/1974

View toward Degnon, American Chicle Co.
Photo: Steve Lynch c.1980
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Degnon Terminal
queenssubwayloftdegnon1922.jpg (261372 bytes)
Queens Subway Loft Bldg. 10/15/1922 NY Times
degnon.jpg (281447 bytes)
Degnon Terminal
Dutch Kills Area

Newtown Creek 1860 illustrating the vast flat marshy undeveloped area that became the Sunnyside LIRR yard complex

Newtown Creek over 125 years later - 1985 

Dutch Kills during construction
newtoncreek.jpg (45358 bytes)
Newtown Creek -  w from the Kosciusko Bridge
 Photo: Copyright  2000 Bernard Ente

Dutch Kills leading into Newtown Creek -  southwest 2001
dutchkill-bridge-cabin.jpg (63538 bytes)
Dutch Kills view from the Montauk Cutoff, 1960s. DB Cabin is visible, and what looks like a C420 on the Lower Montauk 
Archive: Henry Wagner


DB Cabin 05/16/1976 Archive: Henry Wagner

“DB Cabin Dutch Kills draw bridge 12/1970 (opened: 10/1915  north side of tracks - east of bridge) Collection: Dave Keller
Dutch-Kills-bridge_viewW_c.2010_HenryFSommers.jpg (124704 bytes)
Dutch Kills bridge 
view W c.2010 
Photo: Henry Sommers
LIRR Yard A (North Yard)

S2 #452 and N52 caboose #12 are backing up in Yard A, L.I. City, NY - Yard office is at the left.  
Brakeman is signaling the engineer.  View is looking SE - 2/22/54 (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive)

LICityYardAviewW1974.jpg (135704 bytes)

LIRR Yard A view W LI City 1974

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LI City Yard A view E - LIRR RS1  #461 03/1976

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LI City Yard A - BAR GP7s #72 #60 #62  view E 1976

ViewYardA_eastfromfloatdocks5-5-74.jpg (98176 bytes)
Entrance to Yard A, View E Pulaski  Bridge overpass 
Archive: Henry Wagner


Sunshine Biscuits Bldg.

S2-448-Sunnyside-LIC-8-13-66.jpg (86992 bytes)
LIRR #448 1966 in front of  Sunshine Biscuit
Archive: Dave Keller
LI447ExecutoneTimDarnell .jpg (76045 bytes)
LIRR #447 at Executone Systems
Photo: Tim Darnell

licityAmtrakS-Side-viewfromCityStorageBldg11-07KevinKatta.jpg (182743 bytes)
Amtrak Sunny Side view from City Storage Bldg 11/07 Photo: Kevin Katta

Yard A looking NE
c. 1980
 Photo: Steven Lynch

C54-Yard A.jpg (64068 bytes)
Yard A LIRR #C64 N22
Photo c. 1964+  Steve Hoskins

LICityArchSt-Salt-c.1986.jpg (80928 bytes)
Arch St. NY City rock salt  piles c.1986 as Citicorp Tower not yet built. 
Archive: Henry Wagner


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LIRR Yard A View N from Honeywell Ave ramp into yard c. 1980's 
Photo: B. Myers
H10s-GG1-DD1-Sanding Facilities-Engine Hse-Sunnyside-c.1955.jpg (60512 bytes)
H10s, GG1, DD1 at sanding facility  c.1955
Dave Keller Archive
PRR-Sanding-Facilities-Engine-House-Sunnyside-Yd-LIC-c1958.jpg (120311 bytes)
PRR Sunnyside Engine Sanding Facility  c.1958
Dave Keller Archive

PRR-Yard-GG1s_Sunnyside_viewE_1954.jpg (112029 bytes)
Sunnyside Engine Facility 1954

Sunnyside Engine Facility c. 1980 Photo: Bob Redden

PRR-GG1s-Sunnyside-Yd-LIC-c.1958.jpg (129298 bytes)
PRR GG1s Sunnyside c.1958

PRReastSunnysideyard1946.jpg (68246 bytes)
Location of  above photo
Map/Info: Steve Lynch

A "pig", "mule" or "barney" setup. (Note 1) The 2 rails between the running rails, are used by a railed pusher to shove dead locos into shop area w/o catenary overhead. No steam locos in Sunnyside what so ever. Info: K. F. Groh
Dave Keller Archive

sunnysideyard-pig.jpg (42356 bytes)

SunnysideYards2LICbmyers1980s.jpg (62953 bytes)
Sunnyside Engine Facility c. 1980's Photo: B. Myers 

Sand Facilities Amtrak, ex-PRR c.1980
Photo: Steven Lynch
lirr154-162HoneywellSt4-21-77.jpg (106923 bytes)
LIRR #154, #162 Honeywell St. 04/21/77 
Archive: Henry Wagner


lirr106HoneywellSt5-16-77.jpg (104778 bytes)
LIRR #106 Honeywell St. 05/16/77
Archive: Henry Wagner


S2-460-Idler-Car-Sunnyside-LIC-c1958.jpg (136220 bytes)
LIRR #460 Alco S-2 with Idler Car c.1958
Dave Keller Archive
ALCO_S1-418,S2-452_LICity_10-4-76_Goldstein-Keller.jpg (139641 bytes)
ALCO S1 #418, S2 #52 LI City 10/04/76
Photo: Goldstein Archive: Dave Keller

Sternberger Warehouse to the left, Peter Mallon/ Bickford's on the right.

SW1001_100_IdlerCarFrt_SunnysideLIC-04-11-77Keller.jpg (144080 bytes)
LIRR SW1001 #100 with Idler 4/11/77 Dave Keller archive

lirr100HoneywellSt5-21-77.jpg (93789 bytes)
LIRR #100  Honeywell St. 05/21/77
Archive: Henry Wagner

lirr162-154HoneywellSt4-21-77.jpg (104309 bytes)
LIRR #162, #154  Honeywell  St. 05/21/77
Archive: Henry Wagner
lirrC420-4unitlashup-LICity08-12-81.jpg (128641 bytes)
C420 #229 lead on 4 Unit  LI City 08/12/1981
Archive: Dave Keller
licity1922NYScollection.jpg (52664 bytes)
Queen's Blvd. (Diagonal St.) view NE 1922 NYS Collection
licity1934NYScollection .jpg (72435 bytes)
Harold Ave view NE 1934  NYS Collection

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Sunnyside Yard 04/1946

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Sunnyside Yard c.1953

PRR-R Tower-W of Harold Ave-Sunnyside Yd-LICity-View W-09-05-60 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (138713 bytes)
PRR R Tower west of Harold Ave Sunnyside View W 09/05/60 (Faxon-Keller)

Yard-Sunnyside - View NE Towards R Tower and Harold Ave. - US ARMY Trench Warfare Training - 1919 (Reuters-AMC).jpg (135266 bytes)
Sunnyside view NE towards R Tower and Harold Ave.  US ARMY Trench Warfare Training - 1919 (Reuters-AMC)



Queen's Blvd. view NE LIRR main in back c.1980 Photo: Steve Lynch

Harold Ave  view NW driveway to REA c.1980
Photo: Steve Lynch 

National Carbine c.1915

Brett Bldg. c. 1915
yarda-circus-train-caboose.jpg (85008 bytes)
Yard A - Circus Train
Archive: Henry Wagner
yarda-freight.jpg (104314 bytes)
Yard A freight view NE
Archive: Henry Wagner

Note 1:

This looks like a “Barney”arrangement.  A small car, the barney,  would run on those two inner rails, pulled by cables which you can see in the middle of the track.  When up on the level with the normal track, it would stick up high enough to engage the coupler of an engine, which it could them move along the track.  When not in use, it would be rolled down into the pit so as to clear normal movements.  This sort of thing was used to push hoppers up into the car dumpers that used to exist at Jersey City and Weehawken , and also was used at CNJ’s Ashley inclined plane, pushing car up the mountain from Wilkes Barre. 

I wasn’t aware that such a thing had existed at Sunnyside.   Probably was originally put in when there was only 3rd rail, and DD-1 and L-5 locomotives.  You wouldn’t want 3rd rail around a maintenance pit.  That whole engine house was designed to work on a production line basis, engines moving through in one direction only.  Using a steam switcher would have been a nuisance as it would have had to run around using another track.  The barney avoided that and was probably electric powered, thus in keeping with the modern standards PRR had in mind in the whole Penn Station complex.  Commentary: Henry Raudenbush  07/09/2008

Sunnyside Yard  Rendering C. 1956 by Robert Wegner
Trains Magazine
sunnysideyard1956.jpg (292325 bytes)

Harold-Interlocking_10-02-2014.jpg (105290 bytes)
Harold Interlocking 10/02/2014

LI City Station Area - Hunters Point Ave Station

lirr228HPA_EVE.jpg (64730 bytes)
LIRR #228 pulling in to Hunters Point Station from LI City yard for the evening rush. c. 1976   Photo: A. J. Daly
lirr228pullinginHPA_AJDaly.jpg (49225 bytes)
LIRR #228 Hunters Point Station arriving from LI City yard for the evening rush. 
c. 1976   Photo: A. J. Daly
lirr228pullingoutHPA_AJDaly.jpg (59503 bytes)
LIRR #228 Hunters Point Station departing eastbound. c. 1976   Photo: A. J. Daly

LI City Station Area - Hunters Point Yard

R.F.DrahlmanSteel-left_lirr601_LiCity1970sRailfanSpecial.jpg (62465 bytes)
R. F. Drahlman Steel at left LIRR #601 1970's Railfan Special

L261-Long Island City.jpg (109970 bytes)
LIRR #261  LICity

227C420, 259GP38, 228C420, 267GP38,PassengerYard-LIC-2-9-78.jpg (148535 bytes)
C420 #227, GP38 #259, C420 #228, GP38 #267 and trains in passenger yard- L. I. City, NY - 2/9/78 Wm. Madden photo, Dave Keller archive

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LI City 9/21/04 
Chris & Amy Cate

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LIRR #228 01-31-79

L263-Long Island City2.jpg (90998 bytes)
LIRR #263  LICity

licityhunterspointyard.jpg (79814 bytes)
Satellite view of this area

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LI City 1989

hunterspointaerial2011.jpg (170264 bytes)
LI City Aerial View 2011

licitypowerhouse10-31-25.jpg (49441 bytes)
LI City PRR Power House 10/31/1925 
view east from 2nd Ave

Built in 1905, as part of an enormous expansion and electrification project of the Long Island Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad, which culminated with the completion of New York City’s Penn Station in 1910. 

First planned as two separate power stations in Jamaica, Queens and West Side Manhattan, the project was relocated to Long Island City, as this location was central to Manhattan and Brooklyn. This original power station used steam turbines, powered by burning coal, to boil water for steam. By the time Penn Station was opened, it was providing 32,500 kW of energy to tunnels into the station.

LI City - Borden Ave
LI-City_Borden-Ave_viewW_1955_Huneke.jpg (52934 bytes)
1. LI City Borden Ave view W 1955 Photo: Art Huneke
SW1001-No. 100-Derailment at Yardmaster's-Office-LIC-View W-08-15-77 (Keller).jpg (112091 bytes)
2. SW1001 #100 Derailment at "newer" 
Yardmaster's Office view W 08/15/1977 (Keller)
LICityWestboundtoLICPassYard-NE.jpg (64486 bytes)
3. LI City Westbound to LI City Passenger Yard view NE

Emery-Map-Montauk-LIC-113paragonlocation.jpg (396473 bytes)
Emery map of 09/1958 showing the location of the
water tower view 
(arrow #1), derailment view (arrow #2), and C420 westbound passenger train (arrow #3) which are posted to the left of this map.  Emery Map Archive:  Dave Keller

lirr1504-H16-44_westbound-pass-train_09-1963_Huneke.jpg (147175 bytes)3. FM H16-44 #1504 westbound train Borden Ave view NE 9/1963 
Photo: Art Huneke



lirr405-S1_switching PRR Coach Past Water Tank-LICity - 1954 (Keller).jpg (116647 bytes)
LIRR #405 S1 switching PRR coach past water tank 
LI City 1954 Archive: Dave Keller

Water-Tank_LI-City_Borden-Ave_1954(Keller).jpg (52821 bytes)
Water Tank - LI City Borden Ave 1954 
Archive: Dave Keller

lirr407-S1_switching PRR Coaches-LICity - 1954 (Keller).jpg (90644 bytes)
LIRR #407 S1 switching PRR coaches LI City 
1954 Archive: Dave Keller

The water tank is Emery map location #5; above. This was the Pullman Storage Yard 1939-1955 leading into Wheelspur Yard just to the east and the photos from 1954 were prior to the removal of this storage area and water tank.


Dutch Kills - Texas Oil, Kearny

licmap2v3.jpg (425851 bytes)
 Dutch Kills Creek Area, c.1946 

Texas Oil Co. refinery located at Review Ave and 
29th St. just east of Dutch Kills Creek

Texas Oil Co. c.1952

Texas Oil Co. c.1952

Texas Oil Co. View SW toward Greenpoint tanks. 

Texas Oil Co. at Review Ave. c.1952

Photos above of  Texas Oil:  Available from: Queenspix.com

Texas Oil: 2 track siding, PRR, Office of Chief Eng. 05/20/1946
Texas Oil: 1 track siding Emery map, 11/14/1960 
Texaco: 1 track siding 3 car capacity 06/1966, LIRR map
Texaco: gone 1978, Degnon Terminal map

Wheelspur Yard     Wheelspur-Yard-west-end_7-25-2015.jpg (92994 bytes)   West end of Wheelspur Yard  7/25/2015

Wheelspur Yard, LIC.jpg (93531 bytes)
Wheelspur Yard -1904
Collection: Art Huneke 

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Wheelspur Yard blueprint  c.1910 
Collection: Art Huneke 

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LI City Coal Tower 07/07/1919
Collection: Dave Morrison

LI City detail of Hunter's Point and Newton Creek area. Circa 1946-1954  as the Pulaski Bridge is under construction on this map.

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Coaling Tower LI City early 1900's
 view W

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Coaling Tower LI City early 1921
 view W

PRR H9s 3532, 474-WheelspurYd-LIC-1950.jpg (130473 bytes)
Wheelspur Yard - c.1948
Collection: Dave KellerLooking NE towards “M” cabin and drawbridge. (Cabin at right background, Dutch Kills at far right, not visible in this shot.) 

Two Pennsy H9s locomotives laying up (there were usually a total of 3, one is behind the engine at the right and not visible) to supply the yard with steam heat. Headlights have been removed. In the center of the view are the coaling gondola and derrick to feed the tenders. 

In 1950 the H9’s were replaced by three Pennsy L1s (2-8-2) locomotives, so this shot precedes 1950. The yard was torn up in 1959. Info: Dave Keller

WheelspurYardArtHuneke.jpg (55782 bytes)|
Montauk cutoff drawbridge at “M” cabin, looking west. Photo:  Art Huneke 1955

As a point of reference, the photographer of this Wheelspur photo (left) would have been standing approximately in front of the first or second string of passenger cars above. Info: Dave Keller

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Coaling Tower LI City early 1900's
 view E

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Coaling Tower LI City early 1900's
 view SW

      Phelps-Dodge Copper Refining and Chemical Production Plant 1920-1983

Phelps-Dodge 06/06/1951 Aerial view Archive: Phil Goldstein

The Laurel Hill copper refinery was built in 1905 by the Nichols Refining Company for electrolytic refining of  'blister' copper.  Most of the copper was done for Phelps-Dodge Company, and came from it's smelters in Arizona.  In 1928, Nichols built another refinery near El Paso, Texas.  In 1930 Phelps-Dodge acquired both refineries.  After P-D acquisition, the Laurel Hill refinery processed scrap copper from the eastern US, and blister copper from the southwest, and possibly some from South America.  P-D closed the Laurel Hill facility in 1984.

An electrolytic copper refinery would take 'blister' copper (95-99% pure copper), and by an electro-chemical process produce 99.99% pure copper (electrical grade) cathodes.  The waste 'sludge' from this process would be mostly gold, silver and/or other precious metals. This would be treated at a precious metal refinery, often on-site at the copper refinery.
The end products at Laurel Hill would have included copper cathodes (sheets), and copper 'wirebar' (a 265-pound bar that would be melted and drawn into wire).

A photo taken in the 1950 or 60's shows standard gauge 40' boxcars with cast copper anodes being unloaded, and the anodes being placed on narrow gauge 8 wheel flatcars, appx 30 anodes on the narrow gauge rack type car. Since each anode weighs appx. 600-750 pounds,  I'd assume some type of mechanical motive power was in use.

Plymouth Locomotive Works ( a 'critter' locomotive builder in Ohio) did build at least three 21" gauge locomotives for P-D at Laurel Hill:

All were Plymouth model "RGT" with Hercules gas engines.   a 5-ton in 1959,  a 6-1/2 ton in 1959, and  a 6-1/2 ton in 1960.
I've never seen pictures of these, they probably were built open, without traditional cabs.  These would be about the size of a tractor.  There may well have been additional locomotives.

Both responses indicate use of rubber tired tractors to move the in-plant cars.  This is very probable too, as most(if not all) of the narrow gauge track would have been imbedded in pavement, or the floors of the buildings.

This style of narrow-gauge tramway was very common in older industrial plants and in other copper refineries.  Anaconda's refinery in New Jersey had 30"gauge, US Metals in New Jersey had 24"gauge, the ASARCO refinery in Baltimore had a 21.5"gauge Outside Flange tramway.  The current P-D refinery near El Paso still has 30"gauge in use.  By the 1960's plants were being built without the trams, using overhead cranes, trucks and large forklifts to do the job.

laurelhill.jpg (100077 bytes)
Laurel Hill Chemical Works 1881 
G.H. Nichols Proprietors later Nichols Copper Co. prior to Phelps Dodge 1930s

phelpsdodgerefinery.jpg (10474 bytes)
View NE  Laurel Hill Works at full build-out, circa 1933 (courtesy Allied Signal Archives)
deadmanscurve.jpg (41411 bytes)
"Dead Man's Curve", so named because of the many workers who were killed by oncoming trains while crossing the tracks to and from work at the "Laurel Hill Works"

View west of  46th St./ Clifton Avenue crossing, site of the old Laurel Hill station. Clifton Ave crossing closed 1918 

Employees crossing the tracks to get to work got hit by westbounds not making the station stop or, after the station was discontinued, not preparing to make ANY stop!

Nichols Copper Co. started out making sulfuric acid from the sulfur in copper ore. The acid-making side of the business later became Allied Chemical, now merged into Allied-Signal.
MP2 Phelps_Dodge_emery1958.jpg (107336 bytes)
Phelps-Dodge Emery map MP2 10/1958
laurelhill1966map.jpg (73030 bytes)
Laurel Hill - Bliss LIRR Maps 1966 Phelps- Dodge location
phelpsdodgetopo1995.jpg (101113 bytes)
1995 US topographic map

Phelps-Dodge cars were stored in Bliss yard where the afternoon Bliss job would bring new cars in from Yard A and make up the afternoon train, following the drill order, for the Laurel Hill job. 

"...Bliss was used by LIRR freight and had an engine terminal so that steam engines did not have to run reverse all the way to Morris Park. This was also gone by 1957. In my time, Bliss yard was used to store cars for Phelps Dodge, Van Iderstine and other customers between Greenpoint Ave and PD. Also cars for Murers sidings were stored here. Crews reported at Yard A and brought cars to Bliss before making up their trains for their respectful switching areas.
The afternoon Bliss job made up the train for the crew that switched Phelps Dodge..." JJ Earl

Laurel Hill job went to work at Yard A and usually went right to Laurel Hill siding to gather all westbounds ordered out from Phelps Dodge and several other sidings in the area. These westbounds were taken to Yard A and the crew would return to Bliss, put the engine in the west end of it’s train in the yard. The conductor rode on the rear (lead) car, using a back-up hose so that he had control of the air brake. 

The move was made with hand signals. In the dark these were made using an electric lantern. 
When all was ready, the crew shoved the train the mile to Laurel Hill switch and the first customer was Phelps Dodge. 

Phelps Dodge had four tracks, all on a downgrade toward Newtown Creek and great care had to be taken that these heavy copper cars did not get away while shoving in. The usual drill called for about fifteen to twenty cars in and the same number out every night. Author: JJ Earl

phelpsdodgecopperrefineryclosed_ahuneke.jpg (42972 bytes)
Phelps-Dodge closed
Collection: Art Huneke

pdodgebente2000.jpg (99075 bytes)
Phelps-Dodge  2000
Photo: Bernie Ente


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Phelps-Dodge Nichols Siding 1974
View west  Photo: Richard F. Makse

Location: The private grade crossing into the Phelps Dodge copper refinery. Nichols Siding, named after the Nichols Copper Co In the 50's and 60's. 

The lead to Phelps-Dodge is the track to the left of the train. This landmark industrial site on Newtown Creek, was long the LIRR's best freight customer and was so important as to justify its own freight clerk and station designation ("Laurel Hill"), a job that worked in one of the myriad ancient brick buildings of the complex until the early 60's. Phelps-Dodge, a company with ancient roots in NYC and a supply link to copper mines off the SP and the Tucson, Cornelia and Gila Bend in far away Arizona, signaled to the world why the ancient and fragrant colonial waterway of Newtown Creek represented the greatness of New York at the inland port of Maspeth.  Info: Richard F. Makse

LI City Float Docks LI City to Jamaica Map 1952
LI City North Shore Yard float docks 1-71 Photos: Dave Keller
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Tug "Garden City" working the floats c.1953-56

The Paragon Oil truck has a Mack B-63 tractor doing the pulling - it looks fairly new. Mack introduced the "B" series in 1953.  Info: Joe Hagen

Mack “B” unit at my shop in Rocky Point on LI and it was a ’56.  They used it as a “yard dog". Info: Dave Keller

LI City Float Docks 1-71
Photo: Dave Keller

Click on map to enlarge

LI Rail Road Emery Maps 1959
Click on maps/photos to enlarge

Float Lead Yard
Emery Map 1

Arch Street Transfer
Westbound Classification (8th Street) Yard   Emery Map 2

Thomson St to Queens Blvd. 
Yard A Emery Map 3

Yard A Hump - Eastbound Classification Yard    Emery Map 4

Yard A Hump to Harold Ave Yard  Emery Map 5

Gosman Yard - US Postal Center 
 Emery Map 6

Looking  East-NE: Sunnyside passenger yard  upper left, freight team track platforms lower left, Montauk Cut-off tracks centerview, and Executone Telephone Systems (ex-Sunshine Biscuits bakery 1956) upper center.

Photo: Nick Kalis Collection

Montauk Branch Cut-Off   The Montauk Freight Cut-Off was opened in 1910. From the time of the leasing of the old South Side Railroad in 1876 by the Long Island Railroad, most of the traffic from the Island of Manhattan and Long Island City was carried in steam trains over the Montauk Division through Richmond Hill.

But in 1910, with the opening of the East River tunnels, practically all the passenger traffic from Manhattan was carried in electric trains over the Main Line. This made it impossible to route freight trains from the old North Side yards over the Main Line, as had been formerly done, as it would interfere with passenger train operation. Accordingly, this elevated freight connection, known as the Montauk Freight Cut-Off, was built from the North Side yards to a connection with the Montauk Division at Dutch Kills Creek, a distance of over two miles. 

Felix E. Reifschneider's 1925 Long Island Rail Road History


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Present day Montauk Cutoff view from the Citiwide Self-Storage Bldg, 9th Floor  Photo: Kevin Katta, November, 2007

YARD A Photo Tour

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1.  LIRR Yard A Office  Note: 3rd rail (1910) which was taken out in 1951

2.  Both views east c.1934+

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Yard A view west American Steel Wool Co. behind 
Yard Office.

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MOW car painting yard, view west, Yard Office rear 08/21/1977 
Archive: Dave Keller

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LIRR #156 with Float Reacher car view SW

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LIRR #458 with High and Wide Special Train, Yard Office view east 10/06/1967


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3. On right: PRR  Sunnyside yard Commissary

4. Yard A east -Boiler house and Honeywell Ave in background

8.  Sunnyside service Area
c. 1980  Photo: Bob Redden

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5. Honeywell Ave
view west into Yard A switchmen cabin and floodlight tower

8a. A line up of GG1s ready to go 1971 Photo: Bill Myers

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6. Honeywell Ave Overpass looking east toward  LIRR Hump lead


9.  Yard A - Ore Jennies tunnel rock blast loads to be delivered to Prima Rock, Holtsville  photo: 4-96
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7. Right:  PRR sand towers, washers and inspection pits

10.  Hunter's Point at the Queen's Midtown Tunnel (Long Island Expressway Tolls)  07-15-03  Photo: Copyright 2003  Bernard Ente