Long Island Rail Road Track Names
LIRR Track Designations, Nicknames, Other...

General Definitions

Drill tracks connect with the ladder track, over which locomotives and cars move back and forth in switching.

Manure tracks were located all over Long Island from the 1920s and earlier. Believe it not, LI was a great producer of manure. so . . if you think LI has gone to $hit now . . . consider what it did back then to warrant sidings for the transport of the merchandise! Kings Park Hospital once had a manure track as part of the spur as seen on this Emery 1957 map as abandoned.  kingsparkhospitalemery1957.jpg (118939 bytes)  We also have:

"Back" Track - Located north of Main line #1 Brentwood locations 3-8

Contractor's Siding on the above map next to the passenger platform. From: Dave Keller archives

Scale tracks were a general term for tracks that had a scale to weigh consignments like coal or potatoes. (LI City and Patchogue)

LI City map 1986 - Track Scale location #4






Team tracks were a general term for tracks that customers shipped and/or received their LCL freight consignments. 

Cripple tracks for car(s) in need of repair labeled "bad order".

Connect tracks connect one major facility to another. Q Tower and Harold Sunnyside 

Ashpit tracks were tracks with pits below the rails into which the used contents of the locomotive's fireboxes were dumped. 

Garden tracks were a general term for the tracks radiating out from a turntable. 

Storage tracks are self-explanatory. 

Pocket tracks usually a siding to place a few cars temporarily; to spot them and remove them quickly.

Inspection tracks were tracks that had pits constructed between the rails and upon which locomotives were inspected. 

Coaling tracks were tracks upon which locomotives were coaled. 

Sand tracks/sidings were tracks upon which locomotives took on sand or sand was loaded into hoppers/gondolas for transport; Whitepot, in the 19th Century, for example

Boneyard tracks were a general term for the scrap line. 

RIP tracks: RIP (Repair In Place) tracks.

Dock tracks are tracks that extended out on a dock, i.e. Greenport, old Montauk, old Oyster Bay, Sag Harbor, etc. 

Hump tracks were tracks in marshalling yards that were raised and over which a car was released to coast down the respective storage track when making up consists. They were at first ridden down by a brakeman at the brake wheel and later, electric retarders were installed to brake the cars. Cars with fragile merchandise bore the sign "Do Not Hump" - a favorite to all railroad men with dirty minds!   Dave Keller

Lead tracks led somewhere. The main track accessing a turntable was a lead track. 

Ladder tracks are a series of turnouts providing access to any of several parallel yard tracks.

Ready tracks have locomotives available for service. (PRR Sunnyside Yard)  
sside_enginefacility.jpg (87631 bytes)
  Sunnyside Service Area c. 1980  Photo: Bob Redden
This photo shows: Wash Tracks, Ash Pits, Engine Repair, and Ready Tracks

Wash tracks have facilities to clean passenger/locomotive units  .wislip3.jpg (66544 bytes) West Islip

“Shoo-fly” track used as a temporary track; usually to route trains around ongoing construction, wreck, or natural disaster; i.e. washout, rock slide, etc. (See Rockville Centre below)


Cherry Lane track
Middle track as the track located in the center of the 3 yard tracks
Engine layup track used to store engines
North/South Dock tracks used on the docks
Pocket track used for passenger car loading/unloading


Fence track is the northernmost track just east of  PD Tower.    Click on map to view
School house track is the next one down east of  PD Tower.

Ringhouse track (siding) was the main siding south of the tracks in the old Patchogue yard, named after a retired LIRR conductor who started his service with the South Side Railroad! 

Patchogue-Yard-West-1940s.jpg (60329 bytes)
   View West c.1940's Photo: Frederick Weber  Collection: Dave Morrison Archive: Dave Keller

Scale Track was just south of Ringhouse followed by 3 Team Tracks south.  Dave Keller 

Emery_Patchogue_MP53-54_5-58.jpg (357539 bytes) Click on map to view





Rockville Centre

“Shoo-fly” track used as a temporary track; usually to route trains around ongoing construction, wreck, or natural disaster; i.e. washout, rock slide, etc.

Gauntlet track is a way of routing two parallel tracks without actually combining them into one single track (with turnouts, etc.) through a location where two parallel rights of way can't fit because of space restrictions; typically bridges or construction areas.       merrickroad-morrisave_emery.jpg (143161 bytes)                   merrickroad-morrisave_emery_gauntlet.jpg (190340 bytes)


Bob Emery Map: Prior to grade elimination

Dave Keller editing for the temp tracks.
The new elevated freight yard, freight house and team tracks went in south of the tracks just west of the Merrick Road overpass, hence the need to shift the tracks south towards Sunrise Highway. 
2/17/1950 collision location. 

The shoo-fly track here was also a gauntlet track leading to the wreck. Steve Lynch


Feb 17 1950 Both Engineers survived. 32 passengers died. Photo provided by LIRRConductor
rvc1949ArtHuneke.jpg (86753 bytes)
RVC grade elimination project.
Info: Dave Keller
Collection: Art Huneke

rvc1949ArtHuneke3.jpg (72501 bytes)
RVC grade elimination elimination project gauntlet track. 1948-49 Ford and Studebaker at Nassau Ave grade crossing. In background: start of the Gauntlet track is Banks Ave.
Info: Dave Keller
Collection: Art Huneke


rvc1949ArtHunekeCENTRE.jpg (76902 bytes)

The temporary westbound station building (which also housed “CENTRE” temporary block station) and platforms, along with the westbound block signal which probably controlled the east entrance to the gauntlet track.  There appears to be a train order signal light on the mast as well.  The elimination is progressing in the background. 
Info: Dave Keller
Collection: Art Huneke

LI City Yard A which was part of North Shore Yard

The Stink was in Yard A which was part of  North Shore Yard.  
The Stink and the Big Middle were on the north side of the yard and could hold a sixty car train. 
Trains for haulers to Holban Yard were made up on the Big Middle and trains coming in off the cutoff were routed to the Stink. The Stink was so named for CN  (West) Disinfecting Co, which had a couple of industrial tracks leading from it. 

Shorter trains coming off the cutoff would reverse from the Stink and shove to one of the 8th Street leads--Wall, eastbound, Little Middle or the Run. Usually trains shoved onto the Run were a solid block of PRR and the Yardmaster at the floats had crews take cuts of cars from his end when a PRR float was ready for loading.  JJ Earl

North and south of the plug was in yard A, the funny thing there was no plug. The big middle was also in yard A.
That was probably a carryover from the days of steam. Back then there was most probably a water plug located there.  The plug came out by the early-mid 1950's but the name remained. D. Keller

The North Shore freight branch also had the following: 

Drill Track       Click on map to view.
Feeder track 
Float Lead tracks 
Interchange track (LIRR/PRR) 
Wall track 
Inside Lead track 
Long Ladder track 

Oyster Bay Yard   

Fence Track
Dock Track
Turntable Track
Ashpit Track
Engine Layup Tracks
Hole Track
Freight Track
Team Tracks

Hempstead Gardens had a "Long" track, once a 51 car capacity passing siding, and a Pocket track
Flatbush Avenue had Meat tracks.
Hunterspoint Ave. had Wash tracks and Loop tracks. 
Blissville Yard had a Side track. drawbridgetogreenpointave.jpg (217631 bytes)

Morris Park Shops: Wreck Train track to store the wreck crane and related work cars. 
Morris Park Shops: Pit tracks for sanding.
Patio track for a wash. Fuel dock lead for fueling.  A. Capone information

Jamaica had a Pocket track as well as a Change Engines track. 
Dunton Electric Car Shop had a Wheel Change track. 
Rockville Centre had a gauntlet track.  Dave Keller information.
Club Line was in Port Jeff straight out of the station east.
Shop Track: The shop track is 10A, which was added after the 1958 map, between 10 & 11 tracks Emery-Babylon/West Islip MP36-37


Bay Ridge Yard 
The wall was in Bay Ridge south of A bridge. There was a sewer plant located south on the other side of the wall. 

When a float was pulled, the crew would "Highball for the Wall" doubling onto cars placed there earlier. New Haven trains destined for Cedar Hill were made up on the wall with the hack at the river and the engines at Eighth Ave. 

When "Tying up" the engine was put into six lead pocket or behind the office or the Cripple track. The four set float bridges had names and the tracks leading to them were named for the bridge that they led to. There was 'A' bridge, Benny, Charlie and David and track number was always followed by the bridge name (Ex: load through 4 David) J. J. Earl  



Bay Ridge Yard-LIRR S2 #447-446 with off float car cuts. Post 1955 "Wall Track" at left Archive: Mike Boland

   Click on map to view.

LI City - Wheelspur Yard 

River Track in the Wheelspur Facility along Newtown Creek
LI-City_LIRR_Google-2018.jpg (88046 bytes)