Long Island Rail Road Wrecks

August 28, 1865 - Jamaica Passenger Trains Head-on Collision
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LIRR crash 8/28/1865 Frank Leslie's  Illustrated News: Collision between the special, or Monday morning passenger westbound and the 8:00am eastbound, between Winfield and Jamaica. Archive: Michael Quartararo

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April 23, 1869 Broken Rail Derailment at Willow Tree (Rockaway Junction) Station

THE BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE: On Friday April 23, 1869 - A broken rail, on the eve of the railroad's 35th Anniversary, caused a serious derailment just east of Willow Tree station.   There were six deaths and fourteen were seriously injured. Archive: Art Huneke

Vincent Seyfried wrote
Archive: Art Huneke

February 3, 1875 Norwood Train Wreck

LIRR wreck 1875 Collection: Malverne Historical and Preservation Society

The week of January 31, 1875 opened dark and stormy over Long Island; wind-driven rain pounded down intermittently and swelled what were normally small rivulets into swollen streams. On the South Side Railroad there were two creek crossings, Pine Brook at the Norwood Station and Schodack Brook, just east of the Woodfield Depot.

At the Schodack Brook, the train embankment was about 9 feet high and there was a fifteen-inch pipe that carried the Brook under the track. In the first week of February 1875 the rainfall was too great for the pipe to handle all the rainwater and a lake, several feet deep, had formed because of the backup.

On Wednesday evening, February 3, 1875, after the last scheduled train pulled into Hempstead, the crew, instead of laying over, decided to go back to Valley Stream slowly to check on the storm damage which had been getting worse all day. The train with seven men aboard, pulled by locomotive "W. L. Wood", left the flooded Hempstead Depot at 8:00 p.m. to start their track inspection. Near Woodfield Station as they approached Schodack Brook, they noticed the large lake of water built up against the embankment. The train moved over the brook slowly but the Engine suddenly collapsed thru the roadbed and tumbled into the chilly water below. The boiler on the engine exploded as it hit the cold water and tore a hole in the embankment. Four members of the crew were killed instantly and the three others were severely injured. The force of the water had eroded the track bed and it couldn’t sustain the weight of the engine.   Research: The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of  L.I. by Vincent F. Seyfried 1961

December 21, 1880  Waverly (Holtsville) - Engine "Springfield" plow accident with LIRR #143

On December 21, 1880, the locomotive Springfield, while clearing huge snow drifts off the main line near Waverly, ran into the rear of a snowbound passenger train. The incredible result, recorded by the camera of C. W. Conklin of Jamaica, is shown above. Referred to as the "Great Snow Blockade" in contemporary accounts, this was one of the most amazing train wrecks of all time. Waverly has long been renamed Holtsville, but its long forgotten claim to immortality should rekindle pride in the little community. The Long Island Rail Road car #143 sits atop the locomotive "Springfield" doing snowplow duty near Waverly (now Holtsville) when it ran into the rear of a snowbound passenger train. The plow wedge at the front of the engine simply picked up the last car of the passenger train.  Info: "Steel Rails to the Sunrise" Photo: C. W. Conklin  Archive: William J.  Rugen collection, Queens Public Library Digital Archive

1891 Oyster Bay - LIRR #113 Explosion

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Archive: John Hammond

Engine 113 had been placed on this train as a replacement for engine 112 which had been damaged three months earlier in an overturn in Greenvale. 112 had been rounding a turn coming into the Greenvale station when the engineer spotted a horse with its foot stuck in the switch apparatus. 112 hit the horse which caused the switch to trip, the engine made it past the switch but the following cars did not; when the cars overturned they took 112 with them. Harry Coombes, the engineer and Simeon Jarvis, the fireman were both pinned under 112 and killed. Ironically Townsend Dickenson survived the 112 incident at Greenvale only to be killed in the explosion of 113 a few months later. 113 (a 4-4-0 ) was built by the Rogers Company and delivered in 1888. The day before the explosion 113 had been in the shop having its boiler washed out and the flues cleaned according to local news reports. 
Archives/Research: John Hammond

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I believe what’s shown in this shot is the crown sheet and steam dome. These pieces came to rest more than 150 feet from the locomotive. Archive: John Hammond
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Archive: John Hammond
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Archive: John Hammond

"Oyster Bay Remembered" by John E. Hammond, Historian, Town of Oyster Bay

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As per, Vincent Seyfried’s locomotive roster, 4-4-0 #113, a Rogers product from June/1888, was renumbered to #45 in the large 1898 LIRR locomotive renumbering program.  That would mean this exploded locomotive, only three years old at the time of the explosion was actually rebuilt, placed back into service and lived to be renumbered seven years later. Info: Dave Keller, LIRR Historian

June 20, 1893 LIRR train from Sheepshead Bay to Brooklyn derails
A LIRR train from Sheepshead Bay to Brooklyn derails in the tunnel under Ocean Parkway near Parkville; the cars, which are of the open streetcar type with people riding on the outside steps, rake the walls of the tunnel, killing 8 and injuring 20.  Railroad Gazette

August 26, 1893  Train returning to Long Island City from Manhattan Beach is rear-ended
A 6-car excursion train returning to Long Island City from Manhattan Beach is rear-ended by a train from Rockaway Beach in Laurel Hill (Maspeth) on a double curve in slight fog; the two rear cars of the Manhattan Beach train are completely cut in half, the fourth car telescoped, and the third car smashed; 16 killed and 70 injured; towerman Robert J. Knott in Tower No. 5 at Berlin is negligent in passing the Rockaway train into the block; Knott is a 23-year old former British sailor who has only been in the U.S. since May 15 and only on duty as a towerman for 7 days; coming after the Parkville wreck, this accident costs the LIRR its insurance policy.  Archive: NY Times

1895 Queens Collision LIRR #77 and #78
Locomotive #78 at the left suffered the most damage. The pilot beam with cow-catcher appears to have been torn off the locomotive and parts are setting on the ground behind the blurry men working. Of course, the collision may have caused the tender that got slammed to leak.  No signs of water, however.

This has occurred somewhere near a bridge overpass, judging by the "tell-tales" that are hanging on the post behind the locomotive at the right.

1895 Queens wreck Collection: Jacob F. Wieners, Jr., Queens Public Library  Archive: Chris Klug

1896 Valley Stream LIRR #51
LIRR 51, Valley Stream, NY 1896.jpg (27392 bytes) 4-4-0 Class Camelbacks D53a built 1889. No data on this wreck available at this time.



October 30, 1901 Post Ave., Westbury
This incident is considered the first accident between an automobile and a train in the United States. The accident occurred on October 30, 1910 at the Long Island Railroad crossing on Post Avenue in Westbury. The driver was Henri Fournier, a successful French race driver, and later a car dealer for Hotchkiss and Itala. The four passengers in the automobile with Fournier were: H. B. Fullerton, a special PR agent for the Long Island Railroad, A.G. Batchelder, J.H. Gerrie, a New York Herald reporter, and Arthur Lewis. Fournier and all the passengers survived the accident. The auto was a yellow 10-HP Mors touring automobile.

Westbury - Artist Peter Helck interpretation of  driver  Henri Fournier 1901 accident. The drawing is from an old Railroad magazine and the wreck photo from Westbury Historical Society collection.

Fournier's Locomobile Smashed NY Times 10/31/1901
Archive: Ray Muntz

1904 Sound Ave., Mattituck
The noon train was wrecked when the locomotive jumped the switch at the Sound Ave. crossing in Mattituck in 1904. The train turned over at the site of Henry P. Tuthill's buildings killing the engineer and the fireman. Photo is from the 75th anniversary issue of the Long Island Traveler -- Mattituck Watchman newspaper published on Sept. 19, 1946.  Carolyn Gillespie Markowitz

April 8, 1906 Greenlawn
Greenlawn wreck 4/08/1906 Archive: Carol Mills-Dave Morrison
Note: The damage to the front overhang of the depot's roof.  This is the original LIRR depot photographed by George Brainerd in 1878 as "Centerport."


June 12, 1909 Patchogue
Turnout derailment - Archive: Patchogue Library

July 10, 1909 Bay Shore 5th Ave., Bay Shore
Railroad wreck  Fifth Avenue, Bay Shore July 10, 1909 Anderson, M. J., photographer .jpg (70142 bytes)"A Long Island Railroad train of empty passenger coaches ran yesterday afternoon into a freight train a little west of Bay Shore. The rolling stock was badly damaged, but no one was hurt. ... The passenger train was westbound and was made up of empty coaches on their way to Long Island City in preparation for the Sunday rush to the country. The freight train was switching on a grade crossing, and the passenger train, traveling at great speed, struck it squarely in the middle." 
New York Times, 7/11/1909

January 7, 1912 LIRR Train Wreck at HEMPSTEAD

"Shortly before 11 o'clock, Sunday night, a milk train of wooden construction crashed into a steel car standing at the end of the track, telescoping the 1st wooden car about 20 feet, carried the bumper away and fence fronting the track, continuing across the street into the front porch of a building, reduced a taxicab to junk, also a telephone pole. The conductor (of the milk train), Henry Timerman of Woodhaven was instantly killed. Trainman John May of Woodhaven died on the morning of Friday January 11, 1912. Motorman Henry Webber was operating the train from the opposite end and was not injured. No passengers involved." 

If there was a motorman operating the milk train, then said train was being run by another steel MU car at the other end of the train. The article says the milk train was of wooden construction. THAT would have been something to have a photograph of: A train of wooden milk cars being operated by an MP41 electric motor!

lirr1912wreck3.jpg (52144 bytes)In the early days of LIRR electrification, it was not unusual to see a steel motor on each end of a passenger train, with wooden trailers sandwiched between. Therefore, why not on something as ordinary as a "milk run?" Only this was deadly and, judging by the force needed to crush the end of the MP41 and send it through the bumper and across the street that milk train was moving! Info: Dave Keller 


Hempstead Wreck NY Times 7/11/1912


lirr1912wreck.jpg (36396 bytes)MU after being pulled out of the building, displaying the crushed end. Archive: Dave Keller lirr1912wreck2.jpg (34375 bytes)Uncoupled train did not stop at station, crossed Fulton Avenue and crashed into O. L. Schwenke Land & Investment Co. Building. Police Officer and spectators on scene. Archive: Dave Keller

September 22, 1913 College Point Wreck - “ICC report courtesy of the Dave Keller Archive”

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Collision Trains #308 and #311 View NW 9/22/1913 (Win Boerckel-Dave Morrison)
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MU #1526 - Morris Park Shops yard after head-on collision 
at College Point 9/1913 Archive: Dave Keller

This photo was shot sometime after the 9/22/1913 collision after the car had been towed to Morris Park Shops for further disposition. The trains had their "cornfield meet" at 15 mph. Both motormen were killed.  Info: Dave Keller


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Whitestone Landing station photographed c.1925 looking northeast towards the yard and end of the Whitestone branch at the water’s edge. Visible at the far left along the platform is “staff” Cabin W which housed the staff as well as a railroad telephone to prevent any further collisions along that branch. (J. V. Osborne photo-Art Huneke archive)

This photo is historically significant in that this is the ONLY KNOWN photo ever taken of a staff cabin! Historical Data: Dave Keller

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Official LIRR explanation of the “staff” system ordered by the PSC to be placed in effect as a result of the deadly collision. In effect 10/21/1913 to 10/15/1926. Archive: Art Huneke 

April 15, 1918  Troop Train Wrecked Leaving Camp Upton east of C. Islip

On April 15, 1918 one of many L.I.R.R. troop trains left Camp Upton and was heading westbound along the Main Line under the control of engineer Tom Kelly when it derailed at speed just east of Foot’s Crossing (the present day crossing of the Veterans’ Memorial Highway over the L.I.R.R. east of Central Islip).


Operator Ayling told me he found out soon afterwards that the wreck was a result of sabotage. He mentioned to me that the train was full of soldiers heading towards New York City  and there were many, many injuries. It was later determined that there were 3 soldiers dead and 36 soldiers injured. He said at the time I spoke with him, that he never heard another thing about the wreck.  For some reason, the railroad men never got the true story and it was kept quiet at the time. For many years afterward he was afraid to let anyone know that he even had photos of the wreck, for fear that he was breaking some sort of security.  I managed to obtain the negatives from him before he passed away. 


Had this happened today, the media would have been pouring all over the site with helicopter coverage and high-powered zoom lenses and we’d all be watching it on television.


And . . .. had George Ayling known the real reason for the wreck, he’d have slept easy. 


I recently acquired the official ICC report on this wreck and, despite George’s facts, which were obviously typical railroad-man rumor and hearsay of the day, the derailment was a result of defective rails.  The reason George never photographed the locomotive, was that it and the first three cars were still on the tracks.  Chances are, it was uncoupled from the fourth car whose rear truck had derailed, and left the scene to make way for the wreck train.


I’ve scanned the first portion of the ICC report for anyone interested in reading it.  It gets extremely technical (i.e. boring) for us non-engineers so at that point I skipped to the very end and scanned the engineer’s summary and closing statement.  The report follows George Ayling’s photos of the wreck.  Info: Dave Keller

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Head-on view of derailed coach

Interior view of derailed coach
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Three coaches laying 
on their sides
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Two coaches laying on their sides with trainman walking at center of photo
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Two derailed coaches and torn-up tracks

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Railroad workers walking past three derailed coaches and torn-up tracks

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1921 Wreck of Cannonball west of Eastport 

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G54sa Camelback #16 west of Eastport 1921
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It is uncorroborated but supposedly the engineer of the locomotive was Forrest Jayne.  The story goes that he took the curve west of “PT” a “bit” too fast and the engine rolled over on her side derailing a number of head-end cars.  The above photos show the engine already righted and re-railed, although the firebox door is gaping wide open, the tender is still derailed and leaning and the wreck crane is working to clear up the mess of the jack-knifed American Railway Express cars.   James V. Osborne photos, Dave Keller info and archive.

December 31
, 1922 MT Tower, Mineola Freight Wreck

On December 31, 1922 a freight train derailed in front of the 1890-era brick "MT" tower at Mineola.  The block operator was seated at the chair visible in the upper left-hand corner of the structure.  At that time, there was a second floor back door and wooden connecting bridge between the tower and the 2nd floor of the LIRR's electric sub-station behind it.  You can make out the doorway and part of the wooden handrails just to the right of the operators chair.  The operator ran out the rear tower door and into the LIRR substation, probably saving his life. When the freight car was pulled out of the structure, the tower collapsed.  This image was probably shot the next day after the freight car was removed.  Either a lineman or the block operator has climbed the telegraph pole between the tower and the Mineola depot to keep communications open.  The current tower was built shortly thereafter and placed in service on April 25, 1923, retaining, for the time being, the call letters of "MT." (Joseph Burt photograph) Archive: Art Huneke Info: Dave Keller

1924 Rockaway Ave., Valley Stream Station

Valley Stream Station accident - View SW 1924 Archive: James Supple

July 30, 1924 Sunnyside Yard, Long Island City

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Eastbound passenger train derailment at Tower H
Collection: Courtesy of Arthur Huneke

August 8 (Friday 13th), 1926    Golden’s Pickle Works in Calverton

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E51sa camelback #2, spun around 90+ degrees, facing SW, and buried into Golden's Pickle Works - 8/14/26 (C. T. Jackson Collection, Dave Keller archive)
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Emery map of location indicating Pickle Works Wreck of 8/13/1926
Calverton MP69-70 10/1957 Archive: Dave Keller


Gloom taunted the August night in 1926, even before the train crashed. Torrential lightning and rainstorms had plagued New York since at least the day before. The train was running 17 minutes late. And, if the power of superstition be respected, it was Friday the 13th.

As the yuppies of the era headed to the East End for a summer weekend escape from the city, the Long Island Rail Road had its most deadly Suffolk County crash in history. The eastbound Shelter Island Express plowed into a pickle factory in Calverton.

Six people were killed, including two young children and their mother, in what soon became known as the Great Pickle Works Wreck.

Golden Pickle Works Wreck-Psgr Car in Bldg (3)-Calverton, NY - 8-13-26.jpg (59930 bytes)And one death was more horrific than the next. Hamilton Fish, a stockbroker and a member of an aristocratic New York family, was thrown from the posh parlor car into Golden's Pickle Works and trapped by twisted steel from the wreckage. Tons of salt from damaged barrels on an upper floor poured down on him like sand through an hourglass, smothering him as he yelled for help and struggled to push the salt away from his mouth.

Rescue workers couldn't cut away the steel quickly enough to get him out. Others managed to help another man in a similar position by cupping their hands above his mouth and catching the salt, which was used in the pickle brine, and tossing it aside as rescuers struggled to free him.

LIRR engineer William Squires, and fireman John Montgomery were in the lead engine, D16sb (4-4-0) #214 and both were pinned against the boiler in the locomotive’s cab, crushed by tons of coal that tumbled out of the coal tender as the engine fell to its side off the tracks, facing north. The steam pipes burst, hitting them with blasts of 600-degree superheated steam.

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LIRR D16sb #214 front/rear Calverton, NY 08/13/1926 Archive: Dave Keller
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LIRR Camelback E51sa #2 (burning off bell), close-up MOW acetylene/O2 bottles 08/13/1926 Archive: Dave Keller

The wreck happened at 6:08 p.m. Engine No. 214 was leading the two-engine Shelter Island Express to Greenport with more than 350 passengers. The express traveled only on Fridays, taking people to weekend holidays. Accounts say it was traveling from 40 to 70 mph when it jumped a switch leading to the pickle works. The first engine fell to its side, while the second flew toward the factory with the train behind it, news reports said.

LIRR engineer Charles T. Jackson’s claim to fame was being the surviving engineer of E51sa camelback #2, the second locomotive of that infamous, eastbound, double-headed “Shelter Island Express” that split a switch on Friday, August 13, 1926 (yes, Friday the 13th for the superstitious) and plowed into Golden’s Pickle Works, located trackside in Calverton. The fact that he and his fireman, Jim my Fitzgerald, survived the crash was a miracle

Golden Pickle Works Wreck-Wrecked Plant-Calverton, NY - 8-13-26.jpg (90587 bytes)Golden’s Pickle Works with giant pickle sign, trackside in Calverton, NY destroyed after being hit by derailed “Shelter Island Express” on 8/13/26 (Thomas R. Bayles photo, Dave Keller archive)



The engine crew of the lead locomotive, D16sb #214 died horribly as they were pinned against the scalding hot firewall. Charlie and his fireman Jim my Fitzgerald were thrown clear, but injured.  Charlie was flung from the cab through the cab's skylight which, luckily, was open to get some air and ventilation on that hot, humid, Long Island day in August, 1926.  Research: Dave Keller

Golden Pickle Works Wreck-Psgr Car in Bldg (2)-Calverton, NY - 8-13-26.jpg (46497 bytes)Golden Pickle Works Wreck: Passenger Car in building 08/13/1926 Archive: Dave Keller



The Pullman parlor car, which was called Easter Lily, was directly behind the second engine, and every passenger who died in the wreck had been seated in that luxury car, with its chairs that swiveled and a waiter who served drinks. There was a smoker car and five day coaches on the train as well.

Calverton1.jpg (84567 bytes)This is the only picture I have ever seen of showing the 214 just as 
she came to rest after the wreck. Every shot I have seen, published 
or not, has shown her re-railed and waiting to be
towed back to Jamaica. Just beyond her pilot truck can be seen Engine 
No. 2 laying on her left side. Just beyond is Pullman parlor car 
"Easter Lily" projecting into the Golden Pickle Works building.

Calverton2.jpg (87791 bytes)Here's 2nd engine No. 2 rolled over on her left side. "Easter Lily" is 
just beyond her.




Calverton3.jpg (109425 bytes)This shows the combine which was just behind "Easter Lily" and the 
coach which followed the combine.




Calverton4.jpg (87435 bytes)This is the rear car of the train which stayed on the track. In the 
foreground is the defective switch which caused the wreck.




Pickle-Works-wreck_8-13-1926_BillMangahas.jpg (97523 bytes)Pickle Works wreck 8/13/1926 Archive: Bill Mangahas 

This shows 3 cars buried into the building. I believe the car at the left was the parlor car "Easter Lily" which was the lead car on the train, although I can't read any name on the car from the angle of the photos. The photo below shows the same car at the left still buried in the building, but the other two have been removed with the combine car just visible at the far right having been re-set on the tracks, thus this photo occurred prior.

The wreck occurred the evening of August 13, 1926 (Friday the 13th). The wreck crew and rescue vehicles would have been dispatched ASAP and probably worked during the night. The lead engine crew were killed. The second locomotive's engineer was thrown from the cab and badly injured but survived. His fireman got clear or was thrown clear of the wreck and was himself injured and survived (and quit the LIRR after he recovered). The ridership was light and several passengers were killed. Others were injured.  

The photo would have been taken the next day after word spread via the "bush telegraph," allowing all the gawkers to show up. Those onlookers wouldn't have been allowed to be there as the dead and injured were being removed from the wreckage on August 13th. The photo lighting shows bright sunlight with short shadows and therefore not taken on August 13th but probably the following day (August 14th). The photo below has no bright sun, so chances are it may have been taken either in the evening of that 2nd day (August 14th) or possibly sometime on the 3rd day (August 15th) which may have been overcast. Notice the crowd is gone. The excitement is over. Everyone's gone home for dinner and to talk about what they saw.

The others killed were Mrs. George A. Shuford of Biltmore, N.C., and her two children, George A. Jr., 3, and Dorothy, 1. The two children were crushed in the parlor car wreckage. Their mother was pinned beneath the car for more than six hours, but was awake.

"Patiently and without a whimper Mrs. Shuford lay in the rain until the workmen had cut her free,'' reported The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Workers cut through the steel around her with torches. Before she was extricated, she ate a sandwich and had coffee, The Eagle reported. But six hours after she reached Southampton Hospital, she was dead of internal burns suffered from inhaling steam. She had been assured her children were fine, The New York Times said, and still thought they were at the time of her death.

Shuford, an only child, had been with her parents in the parlor car. She had been visiting them for a couple of weeks. Her father, Charles A. Angell, was the head of a Brooklyn contracting firm and a well-known resident of Shelter Island. With Shuford as well was her maid, who also was pinned in the wreckage and had to have her left leg amputated to get her out.

Golden Pickle Works Wreck-Psgr Car in Bldg (1)-Calverton, NY - 8-13-26.jpg (54059 bytes)The aftermath of the wreck show the pickle works caved into itself, with the almost comical giant sign shaped like a big, green pickle, still hanging above the attic windows. ``Golden's'' it said on the pickle.


Golden Pickle Works LIRR Crane, #214 MOW Car, Camelback E51sa #2 tender Calverton, NY 08/13/1926 Archive: Dave Keller
There were various explanations for the wreck, from tampering with the track switch to its mechanical failure, said Vincent F. Seyfried, a Long Island Rail Road historian. ``Probably no one could really pin it down,'' he said. ``It's tough to reconstruct exactly what happened.''

The most popular theory is that the disaster was caused by a missing cotter pin on the switch. A switch facilitates the movement of the train from one track to another. A nut and bolt fasten the control rod to the switch. The cotter pin keeps the nut from unscrewing and falling off.

In this case, investigators said that the cotter pin had not been replaced, perhaps during maintenance. Investigators surmised that when the first engine passed by the split where the main track divided from a side track leading to the pickle factory, the vibration of the passing locomotive caused the nut to work loose. The second engine then jumped off the main track toward the factory.

About 300 rescuers worked by floodlights and flashlights and flashes of lightning to help the injured and to try to save the dying. The mud from the storms made their work slow and painstaking, newspapers reported.

The pickle factory was demolished and never reopened. The train locomotives, both more than 20 years old, were hauled to the scrap yard. There's no sign now that the wreck ever took place. And life goes on.

May 21, 1927 Woodhaven Passenger/Freight Collision

MP41-Collision with H6sb Switching Frt-Woodhaven-04-1925 (Keller) (1).jpg (87440 bytes)Collision of MP41 MU passenger cars and H6sb steam locomotive switching freight at Woodhaven in April, 1925. Lalance Grosjean Agateware Plant in the background. (Dave Keller archive)

MP41-Collision with H6sb Switching Frt-Woodhaven-04-1925 (Keller) (2).jpg (68598 bytes)Another view of the May 21, 1927 Woodhaven wreck with the tender missing. (Dave Keller archive)

March 28, 1928 LI City DD1 Collision at 48th Street, Woodside

LIRR-DD1 Electric & Train in Wreck at Entrance to East River Tunnels-LI CIty - 03-28-1928 (e-Bay).JPG (127692 bytes)DD1 electric locomotives #347 and #345 and Train #31 (SPK-NYK) in wreck at entrance to the East River tunnels in L. I. City on March 28, 1928 - View W (eBay scan)

July 1, 1928   MU at Beach Channel Swing Bridge Plunges into Channel

MPB54_HJ_7-21-1928_Emery-SUNY-Stony-Brook.jpg (69919 bytes)MPB54 1374 (?) (ACF, 8/1913) decided to take a drink on Saturday, 7/21/1928 at Beach Channel swing bridge (HJ Interlocking). View N. Train 1318, operating a "Loop" service from Flatbush Avenue to Far Rockaway & Valley Stream via the Bay did not stop at home signal 1 & 2 and the first car plunged into the channel. No one was killed in this accident but 16 men were injured. Apparently, there were no women in the first car because it was a smoking car. The motorman claimed he had left Flatbush Avenue feeling sick to his stomach, saw the stop-signal and open bridge but simply didn't stop. He was arrested afterwards while still in the hospital. Fortunately, the water was at or very near low tide at that moment and was only about 30' deep. This occurred at 8:21 am at the height of the rush hour. This is 1928 so the work week was still six days. Apparently, the railroad was tied up in knots for a few hours after this. The newspaper account stated that even Montauk trains were affected and that all Rockaway service was operated via Valley Stream until the wreck got cleared that afternoon. Archive: Emery-SUNY Stony Brook Research: Jeff Erlitz

November 15, 1928   Greenport Freight hits farm truck - Peconic Station
Westbound Greenport Freight hits farm truck killing four Volinski Brothers. R. Emery data

October 25, 1932   Wreck of the Cannonball East of Amagansett

Train #20, the “Cannonball” was making its regular trip eastbound to Montauk late in the season on October, 25, 1932.  Pulled by G5s (4-6-0) #50, the name train had dropped its last passenger off at Amagansett and the train crew all settled into the last car of the train for a quiet, dead-head ride to the end of the line at Montauk. Conductor Leo Hantz had his young son with him on the run and everyone was enjoying the ride, awaiting the end of the trip.

While rounding the curve near M.P. 114, just west of Montauk, the big G5s rolled over onto her side, burying engineer Frank Obremski in the right bank of the hillside.  Fireman Ed Koehler was thrown clear and climbed up the bank where we was found and rushed to Southampton hospital where he died of his injuries.  None of the train crew nor Leo’s son all riding in the last car were injured.

Wreck-Cannonball-G5s-50-Amagansett-10-25-32.jpg (151724 bytes)The first photo is of G5s #50, minus one of her domes, rolled over onto her side.  The second photo is of the passenger cars jackknifed.  It’s amazing that, miles from everywhere, on what is still a pretty deserted stretch of track, the quantity of gawkers that turned out to witness the disaster!Wreck-Cannonbal-Coaches-Amagansett-10-25-32l.jpg (101344 bytes) 







Form 19-PD-Identifying-G5s-50-Cannonball-Wreck-10-25-32.jpg (146078 bytes)The form 19 train order shown here was issued at PD tower on that very day and copied and made complete at 5:09 pm  by block operator Bruckner.  It identifies train #20, the “Cannonball” as being pulled by engine #50.

Photos, text, and train order are from the archive of:  Dave Keller

September 6, 1934   Wreck at Riverhead
NY TIMES: "RIVERHEAD, L.I., Sept. 6:  "The steam locomotive, coal tender and three passenger coaches of a Long Island Railroad train were overturned tonight when the train split an open switch as it was pulling into the Riverhead station here. Three persons were hurt, none seriously."

Riverhead Tank Car Crash - Patchogue Advance 9/07/1934

Riverhead - Passenger Train Derailment 
Suffolk County News
1-PRR-E3sd-917 in Wreck W. of Marcy Ave-Riverhead, NY (View N) - 09-06-34 (Keller).jpg (74069 bytes) There's excitement in Riverhead, NY the morning of September 7, 1934 as local spectators flock the area to view leased PRR E3sd #917 on its side and to witness the clean-up process after the derailment and wreck of the night before, west of Marcy Ave. This view is north towards Pulaski St. and provides a good shot of both the locomotive and the front pony wheel truck, torn from the engine. (Dave Keller archive)
PRR-E3sd-917 in Wreck W. of Marcy Ave-Riverhead, NY_viewN_1934_Keller.jpg (70240 bytes)

Another view at a slightly different angle, showing LIRR G53sd #145 at the left which has just arrived with the wreck cranes and work train. (Dave Keller Archive)

PRR-E3sd-917 in Wreck W. of Marcy Ave-Riverhead, NY_viewN_wreck-cranes_1934_Keller.jpg (90219 bytes)
The two wreck cranes are in the process of righting PRR E3sd #917. Again, this view is north towards Pulaski St. (Dave Keller Archive)
PRR-E3sd-917 Minus Cab & Wreck Crane W. of Marcy Ave-Riverhead, NY_viewNE_1934_Keller.jpg (75291 bytes)
The wreck cranes have righted PRR E3sd #917 but in the process the cab was lost. The view is NE towards St. Isidore's R.C. Church (note the landmark twin steeples in the right background). (Dave Keller archive)
5-Wreck Cranes Re-Railing Tender of PRR-E3sd-917 in Wreck W. of Marcy Ave-Riverhead, NY (View NW) - 09-06-34 (Keller).jpg (71995 bytes) The two wreck cranes are now in the process of re-railing the tender. The trucks have been set on the rails and the Pennsylvania Railroad tender is visible at the right behind the closest wreck crane. You can make out the stenciled "Pennsylvania" on the tender's side. Note the old, wooden combine car in use as a MOW (Maintenance-of-Way) crew car! The last of the wooden passenger cars still in revenue service were removed in 1927 and either sold to other railroads or put into LIRR MOW service. (Dave Keller Archive)

December 4, 1934  Vanderveer Park, Brooklyn - Bay Ridge Branch between LIRR Steam and New Haven (NYNH&H) Electric Engine  

H6sb-312-Wreck-Bklyn Ave.-Bay Ridge, NY -12-04-1934 (Harrison-Keller).JPG (194642 bytes) H6sb-312-After Collision with NH Elec Locos-Bklyn Ave., Bay Ridge, NY - 12-04-34 (Harrison-Keller) (2).jpg (94389 bytes)H6sb #312 after collision with NH Electric locomotives at Brooklyn Ave. overpass. 12/04/1934 (Harrison-Keller)

The late, retired LIRR engineer Richie Harrison always loved trains and was given a camera as a young boy. On December 4, 1934, he heard of a wreck that had just occurred on the LIRR's Bay Ridge branch near Brooklyn Avenue (the bridge in the background) in the old community of what was once known as Vanderveer Park, between a LIRR H6sb

(2-8-0) freight engine and New Haven Railroad electric engines, which pulled freight along the branch in conjunction with the LIRR. I don't know if there were any injuries. Young Richie grabbed his new camera and got himself down to the location of the wreck only to find the New Haven electric locomotives, the tender of the H6sb steam locomotive, and other work equipment involved had since been removed. LIRR locomotive #312 was still in place, coupled onto a short freight train, probably to be towed to the shops for repair, so Richie photographed it front and back, providing us a good view the crushed steel cab. After taking two photos, a cop came up to him and chased him off the site, saying he was supposed to be in school so why wasn't he. . . Richie was lucky that the cop didn't confiscate his camera, and it was most fortunate for us that he took his photos, as these are the only two images I've ever seen of that wreck. (Richard J. Harrison photos, Dave Keller archive and data)

January 22, 1935  Merrick Avenue, Merrick

Train vs. automobile at Merrick Avenue near Nagel Court on January 22nd, 1935.  It is unknown if the driver and other possible passengers were injured during this unfortunate event. Many curious onlookers can be seen in the windows of the train. 
Photo: The Long Island Press  Archive: Chris Klug

November 17, 1935    Wreck near Aquebogue train station

Photograph taken of the aftermath of a train accident east of Aquebogue train station on November 17, 1935. The locomotive involved was LIRR #44.  Photo: Rugen, William J. - Collection; Queens Public Library Digital Archive

Washout at Aquebogue Photo: NY Daily News
p.168 "Steel Rails to the Sunrise" Ron Ziel


Washout at Aquebogue p.168
"Steel Rails to the Sunrise" Ron Ziel

Long Island newspaper article - November 18, 1935
Train Leaves Track And Plows In Mud
The Sunday afternoon westbound train left the tracks about a mile east of Aquebogue at about 5:40pm. Due to
the extreme tide water across the rails, which had weakened the roadbed, the heavy locomotive was
more then it could stand.


                                 Emery Map Aquebogue MP77-78 wreck-11/17/1935  Archive: Dave Keller






Turns out, a bad storm that came through Saturday, the 16th into Sunday, the 17th brought some strong winds and quite a bit of rainfall. So much, that it flooded the area under the tracks, causing them to buckle when the locomotive happened upon the area. Locomotive number 44 carried five cars- four passenger and one baggage. Bumps and bruises for the passengers, but worse was the seven hour wait for another train to get the lucky survivors over to Riverhead depot. When the locomotive started to lean when it hit the faulty rail, the engineer and a fireman that was on board with him leaped out of the engine into the flooded area. The two suffered cuts and bruises and received treatment at a local farmhouse. Chris Klug



New York Times Train Wrecked at Aquebogue November 17, 1935


September 21, 1938    Wreck at Quogue

"The Hurricane of September 21, 1938 and the Long Island Rail Road Wreck at Fairy Dell** in Quogue, LI, NY" by Raymond Robinson, Jr.

Train #26, the evening mail train, left Pennsylvania Station NY at 4:7 pm, bound for Montauk.  It should have arrived at Speonk at 7:00 pm, but because some tress were down, it was a few minutes late.

The Conductor of this train was my father, Raymond G. Robinson.  He and the rest of the crew had rooms in Montauk, so they could take train #27 out in the morning.

On that day, the wind had been blowing out of the northeast.  It blew most of the water out of the bays and out to sea.  The eye of the storm passed over us and soon after, the wind change and came out of the southwest, causing the tidal-wave that washed out the roadbed from under the track.  The newspaper article stated that the wind had blown the train off the tracks, which, of course, was not true.

When the tidal-wave came rushing back, it washed out the fill and roadbed where the head waters of Quantuck Bay flowed under the tracks.  It left the rails and ties intact.  When train #26 came along, the engine and tender, a PRR K4s, made it across OK, but the mail car and two coaches left the rails.

My father was in the first coach, eating his lunch.  When the car laid over, his arm went through the window.  No one was seriously injured, so he moved all the passengers to the rear coach which was still upright.

In order to report the wreck, he had to walk back to the Westhampton station.  While there, he discovered his arm was cut, so someone took him to Dr. Keller (a local medical doctor) and they sewed up the wound under the light of a kerosene lamp.

It took several days to clear up the wreck and rebuild the roadbed.  I was told that they never found one of the trucks from the mail car, which was buried in the marsh.  Info: Ray Robinson, Jr.

(** Fairy Dell is approximately 600 feet west of the Old Country Road grade crossing, by the present-day Quogue Wildlife Refuge.)

November 12, 1941 Train Hits Truck - Mineola
Old Country Road, Mineola: A light truck carrying seven construction workers on their way home from work drove onto Mineola’s Old Country/Herricks Road crossing in the gathering darkness, directly into the path of a New York-bound steam express. The truck blew apart with the force of the impact. Six of its occupants were killed instantly; the seventh was carried moaning to Meadowbrook Hospital, where he died the next morning. A crowd of 2,000 milled about, gawking at the uncovered bodies. The watchman stationed at that crossing, who had been working an involuntary overtime shift, was charged with second-degree manslaughter for failing to lower the gates. He said, “I wish I could commit suicide.”

March 3, 1942 Train vs. Car - Peconic Station
This westward view shows the aftermath of Train vs. Car at Peconic Station on March 3, 1942.  Fortunately, the woman driving the car was not injured.  At this time, the agency is no longer in service as is evident by the boarded-up depot windows. 
Archive: Dave Keller

March 17, 1943 Passenger Derailment - Sayville
Five coaches from eastbound Passenger Train #8 derailed 150' east of Cherry Ave., Sayville. Twenty-seven injured, three seriously, with no fatalities. Wednesday morning, 10:50am. 3/17/1943 as reported by the Suffolk County News.
Photo: Louis Kreye

September 14, 1944 East of Syosset

The wreck was technically at Syosset as the derailment occurred east of the Syosset station, but west of “S” cabin, on the double track portion of the ROW and near an under-track drain culvert. North of the tracks were the sand pits that were excavated for the 1912-13 grade elimination project at Jamaica .

There was a heavy rainstorm and, due to the proximity of this excavation to the tracks, a washout occurred. Westbound train #647, pulled by PRR K4s #5406 derailed on September 14, 1944 as a result of this washout.  Dave Keller Historical Information



August 3, 1946 Head-on Passenger/Freight Collision west of Port Washington
Wreck_Port-Washington_8-3-1946_Newsday.jpg (87290 bytes)On Aug. 3, 1946, an LIRR passenger train collided head-on with a freight train in the yard area just west of the Port Washington station, killing two crewmen and injuring 27 passengers. The accident occurred shortly after the westbound passenger train left the station bound for Great Neck. Here, an LIRR employee views the east side of the wreck showing part of the passenger train. Photo Credit: Newsday / Herbert McCory

December 28, 1946 at Medford Ave, Medford
A truck with a bulldozer mounted on the trailer was too high for the clearance limitation of the Medford Ave. underpass on the night of December 28, 1946. The incident had knocked the bridge nearly two feet out of alignment. When K4s No. 3731 roared over the bridge sometime later, she was derailed, along with her tender and an express car.
Photo: Fred J. Weber Archive: Ron Ziel

February 16, 1947 Wreck at Kings Park All photos and info: Dave Keller unless otherwise noted

Emery_Kings-Park_MP43-44_9-1957.jpg (137479 bytes)It was approaching noon on Sunday, February 16, 1947 and train #4612 was being pulled eastbound towards Port Jefferson by leased Pennsylvania Railroad K4s (4-6-2) #5406.  The train was due to make a station stop at Kings Park at 12:08 pm then continue on to its final destination of Port Jefferson.  

The huge locomotive and train was almost at Harrison Avenue , the first crossing west of the station when it derailed, dragging the train across Harrison Avenue and onto the State Hospital spur access siding and rolled off the tracks onto the north side of the main, burrowing itself into the ground in front of the village’s tall community water tower, sending rails and ties and wheels everywhere, jack-knifing passenger cars in the process.

   Emery map of Kings Park MP43-44 9/1957

The New York Daily News account at the time stated the train ran a stop signal, hit an open switch and derailed at 12:07 pm. Engineer Walter A. Samb, 51, of Miller Place admitted to investigators that he saw the signal several hundred feet before the switch but couldn’t brake in time.  He said he got a clear order at Greenlawn eleven minutes earlier.

The crew of the preceding Kings Park State Hospital train, #4608, which was scheduled to arrive at Kings Park at 11:12, having taken the siding just west of Harrison Avenue and then making its final stop at the state hospital north of Route 25A at 11:22 am, was being questioned to determine responsibility for the open switch.

The eleven-car train hit the switch at 40 miles-per-hour and derailed.  The momentum carried the locomotive and train 250 feet, coming to a stop in front of the trackside water tower for the community of Kings Park.  Six coaches were derailed, and the newspaper reported in the same article that 31, 48 or 50 were injured, 10 seriously, so I have no idea of the actual count.  The fortunate thing, though, was that there were no deaths.

The other crew members identified in the report were Conductor John H. Hastings, 46, of Port Jefferson and Fireman Alfred A. King of Easthampton.

This is an aerial view shortly after the wreck and was taken by a Daily News photographer.  The wreck train has not yet arrived on the scene.  The view is looking from the south side of the tracks, northwest and pretty much sums up the entire situation facing the wreck crew.  One upright car on the south siding (how did that get there?), locomotive and other cars on the Kings Park Hospital spur siding north of the main  and jack-knifed cars across all three tracks, with Harrison Avenue crossing in the background. (Win Boerckel- Dave Morrison)






2-Wreck-Train-4612-Kings-PK-2-16-47-3.jpg (312968 bytes)An elevated view from the Kings Park village water tower, also taken by a Daily News photographer. It is looking from the north side of the tracks southeast. 





Coaches-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View S) - 02-16-47  (De Biase-Keller) (1).jpg (81221 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive 



Coaches-Wreck-Kings Park, NY - 02-16-47 (De Biase-Keller) (1).jpg (78910 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive 
Coaches-Wreck-Kings Park, NY - 02-16-47 (De Biase-Keller) (2).jpg (80288 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive 
Coaches-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View E) - 02-16-47 (De Biase-Keller) (1).jpg (95170 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive
Coaches-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View E) - 02-16-47 (De Biase-Keller) (2).jpg (106615 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive

Wreck-Kings-Park_building_2-16-1947_Kings-Park-Heritage-Museum.jpg (63770 bytes)The water tower pump house view looking SW from the north side of the tracks. Archive: Kings Park Heritage Museum 




3-Wreck-Train-4612-Kings-Pk-2-16-47.jpg (45246 bytes)The wreck crane is being put into position by a G5s drafted for emergency wreck service.  The view is from the south side of the tracks looking west and two derailed cars are about to get the attention of the two work cranes:  this one in the photo and the one behind the photographer as is evidenced in the next photo.  Both coaches are off their trucks and, in the right foreground behind the men can be seen one of the heavy-duty trucks off the Kiesel tender.  



4-Wreck-Train-4612-Kings-Pk-2-16-47.jpg (46478 bytes)View from the south side of the tracks looking east, and shows both wreck cranes connected to the wrecked coach which is in mid-air, about to be swung back onto the re-railed trucks for transport back to Morris Park Shops.



5-PRR-K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings-Pk-2-16-47.jpg (47381 bytes)LIRR #5406 and the two cars looking from the south side of the tracks westward, towards the scene of the derailment.  The two passenger cars have been set back on their trucks and are awaiting a trip to Morris Park Shops.  The tender is missing, and the locomotive is yet to be righted.  Much of the mess has been cleared up and the coaches that didn’t derail had been removed previously from the site to allow for the clean up.  Judging by the previous aerial view, the tender is probably still sitting at a skew behind the cab of the locomotive and is not visible from this angle.  At the left you can see bonfires started in the frozen nearby field to keep the chill away from the wreck workers.  Now it’s time to begin work on the K4s!

6-PRR-K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings-Pk-2-16-47.jpg (70051 bytes)
LIRR #5406 looking from the north side of the tracks eastward.  It shows the damage done as the locomotive dug in and the rails are sticking up in the air.  A westbound passenger train is proceeding past the wreck on the main and in the distance can be seen the wreck train containing bunk and work cars for the men who will stay on the site for however long it will take to get the mess cleaned up and cleared away.


PRR K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View W - 02-16-47  (De Biase-Keller) (1).jpg (96414 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive 

PRR K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View NE) - 02-16-47  (De Biase-Keller).jpg (65529 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive

PRR K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings Park, NY (View W - 02-16-47  (De Biase-Keller) (2).jpg (102603 bytes) Photo by John De Biase for the N. Y. Daily News, Dave Keller archive

7-PRR-K4s-5406-Wreck-Kings-Pk-2-16-47.jpg (80086 bytes)LIRR #5406 looking from the south side of the tracks eastward.  It shows two wreck cranes, the one in the foreground belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad.  The one in the background is unidentifiable and may be that of the LIRR.  Both cranes are hooked up to the heavy locomotive and are about to hoist her up and onto the good trackage of the adjacent main.

8-Wreck-Cars-339-Train-4612-Kings-Pk-4-26-47-MPShops.jpg (44030 bytes)Two cars from the wreck in storage in the yard behind Morris Park Shops two months later, on April 26, 1947.  The car shown in its entirety appears to be #339. 


October 10, 1947  Wreck at Port Washington
Wreck-Port-Washington_10-14-1947_Newsday-HowardEdwards.jpg (91954 bytes)On Oct. 14, 1947, an LIRR train jumped the track after failing to come to a stop at the wooden guard bumper at Port Washington. The train grazed a woman standing on the platform, causing serious injuries. Photo Credit: Newsday/Howard Edwards

1950's Wreck at Dunton Yard, Jamaica

LIRR-wreck-coach_west-Dunton-Yard_Van-Wyck-Atlantic-Ave_viewS_c.early1950s.jpg (119998 bytes)

A coach in the "Tichy" (1949-55) paint scheme that has "escaped" from the Dunton yard shop area. The view is south over the Van Wyck expressway with the cross street Atlantic Avenue. The LIRR Main is north of this photo behind the photographer's location. The coach and autos in the photo place this as early 1950's. Info: Steven Lynch



Van-Wyck-crash_Dunton-Yard_site-2019.jpg (66081 bytes)
Current 2019 satellite view S of the location.
 Source: Google maps

February 17, 1950 Wreck at Rockville Centre
Wreck_Rockville-Centre_2-17-1950_Newsday.jpg (98432 bytes)On Feb. 17, 1950, two Long Island Rail Road trains collided head-on 200 yards west of the Banks Avenue crossing in Rockville Centre, killing about 30 people and injuring about 100. Here, a crushed car of one of the trains lies along the tracks the day after it was moved by a crane. Photo Credit: Newsday/ Howard Edwards  


Feb 17 1950 Both Engineers survived. 32 passengers died. LIRR trains #192 and #175 Archive: Art Huneke  


  Newsday front page: 02/18/1950

Wreck-Rockville Centre-View NW-1950.JPG (119441 bytes)On Feb. 17, 1950, 32 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in a head-on collision of two LIRR trains in Rockville Centre. As part of a grade crossing elimination program, a gauntlet track had been set up to route one train at a time over 2,000 feet of temporary tracks. As the eastbound train left the Rockville Centre station and headed into the gauntlet, a westbound train originating in Babylon slammed into it, mangling both trains. The conductor of the eastbound train claimed in court that he had blacked out before the crash, and was later acquitted of manslaughter. Here, spectators gather close to the scene as salvage crews begin removing wreckage on Feb. 18, 1950.  Photo Credit: AP/NewsdayRockville Centre view NW 02/18/1950 Photo: AP Archive: Art Huneke  



Wreck-Rockville Centre-View W-1950.JPG (124150 bytes)Rockville Centre view W 02/18/1950 Archive: Art Huneke  





merrickroad-morrisave_emery_gauntlet.jpg (228186 bytes)This map indicates the location of the accident. Rockville Centre - Robert Emery Map c.1950 Archive: Dave Keller




August 5, 1950 Huntington LIRR #642, Pass Train First-Class Eastbound

Wreck-LastInvolvingLIRRSteamLocos-G5s-29-untingtonNY08061950(F.Weber).jpg (106835 bytes)Last wreck between steam  locomotives on the LIRR - Freight versus passenger - G5s #29 on its side at right behind tender - Huntington, NY - 8/6/50 (Fred Weber photo, Dave Keller archive)

This accident occurred on that part of the railroad extending between Divide and Port Jefferson, N. Y., 32.5 miles. In the vicinity of the point of accident this is a single-track line, over which trains are operated by timetable, train orders and a manual-block system. At Huntington, 9.8 miles east of Divide, a siding 4,169 feet in length parallels the main track on the south. The west and east switches of this siding are, respectively, 3,343 feet west and 826 feet east of the station. An auxiliary track connects with the west end of the siding in the vicinity of the clearance point and parallels the main track westward. The accident occurred on the siding at a point 306 feet east of the west switch and 3,037 feet west of the station. Entry to the siding from the west is made through a No. 10 turnout, 180 feet in length. From the west the main track is tangent throughout a distance of 4,784 feet to the west switch of the siding and 2,733 feet eastwards. The grade for east-bound, trains is, successively, 0.4 percent descending 1,600 feet, level 600 feet, 0.3 percent ascending 2,800 feet, level 300 feet, and 0.5 percent descending 500 feet to the point of accident and 300 feet eastward.

The switch stand of the main-track switch is of the ground-throw, hand-operated, low-stand, type. It is located 6 feet 4-1/4 inches south of the center-line of the main track. The switch target is attached to a separate stand of the intermediate type, located on the north side of the main track, directly opposite the switch stand and 7 feet 11-1/4 inches from the center-line of the track. The switch stand and the target stand are so connected that when the switch is lined for main-track movements a V-shape white target with pointed ends, each of which is 13 inches long and 9 inches wide, and a green light are displayed in the direction of an approaching train. When the switch is lined for entry to the siding a two-lobe red target, 24 inches in length and 12 inches in width, and a red light are displayed at right angles to the track. The center of the target is 6 feet 2-1/4 inches above the level of the tops of the rails. It is provided with an oil-burning switch lamp, the top of which is 7 feet 4-1/4 inches above the level of the tops of the rails.

Extra 101 West, a west-bound freight train, consisted of engine 101, 20 cars and a caboose. This train departed from Port Jefferson at 6:51 a.m., entered the siding at Huntington and reported clear of the main track at 3:25 p.m. The engine was detached and switching was performed. Engine 101, headed west, with a cut of three cars coupled to the front end, stopped about 4:01 p.m., with the west end of the most westerly car of the cut of cars at a point 306 feet east of the west aiding-switch. About 10 minutes later the cut of cars was struck by No. 642.

No. 642, an east-bound first-class passenger train, consisted of engine 29 and six coaches. All cars were of steel construction. This train departed from Divide at 3:53 p.m., 2 minutes late, passed Block Station S, the last open office, 3.8 miles west of Huntington, at 4:03 p.m., 2 minutes late, and the moving at an estimated speed of 40 miles per hour it entered the siding at Huntington and struck the cars coupled to engine 101.

The three cars were derailed and engine 101 was moved eastward approximately 80 feet. The first and the third cars of the cut were demolished and the second car was badly damaged. Engine 101 was considerably damaged. No. 642 stopped with the front of the engine about 70 feet east of the point of accident. The engine was derailed and stopped on its right side south of the south rail of the siding. The tender was derailed but remained coupled to the engine and leaned to the south at an angle of about 20 degrees. The engine was considerably damaged and the tender was somewhat damaged. The first car was derailed and stopped in line with the siding. The first five cars were slightly damaged.

The swing brakeman of Extra 101 West, and the engineer, the fireman, the conductor and a ticket collector of No. 642 were injured. The weather was clear at the time of the accident, which occurred at 4:11 p.m.

During the 30-day period preceding the day of the accident, the average daily movement in the, vicinity of the point of accident was 26.8 trains.

Extra 101 West entered tile siding at Huntington at 3:26 p.m. The engine was detached from the train and switching was performed. About 4:01 p.m. the engine, coupled to the east end of a cut of three cars, entered the siding from the auxiliary track and stopped with the west end of the most westerly car 306 feet east of the siding switch. The conductor had instructed the other members of the crew that the main track would be used to perform switching after No. 642 arrived. Immediately before the accident occurred the engineer was in the cab of the engine and the fireman was on the ground south of the siding End in the immediate vicinity of the engine. The conductor and the swing brakeman were on the ground between the siding and the main track and in the vicinity of the west end of the cut of cars. The flagman was stationed east of his engine at a rail-highway grade-crossing to protect the movement of the engine during switching operations. The front brakeman was standing south of the main track and about 15 feet from the west siding-switch. The conductor said that as No. 642 was approaching the crossing he signaled to the front brakeman to move away from the switch. He said that the main-track switch was lined in normal position when No. 642 was about 500 feet west of the switch. When No. 642 was about 250 feet west of the switch the front brakeman lined the switch for entry to the siding. No. 642 entered the siding and the collision occurred a few seconds later. None of the other members of the crew of Extra 101 West saw the front brakeman operate the switch.

As No. 642 was approaching the west siding-switch at Huntington the speed was about 50 miles per hour. The engineer was maintaining a lookout ahead from his position in the cab of the engine and the fireman was attending the fire. The conductor was in the rear of the first car and other members of the train crew were at various locations in the cars of the train. The brakes of this train had been tested and had functioned properly when used en route. The engineer observed the engine and the cut of cars on the siding. Then No. 642 was about 750 feet west of the west siding-switch he closed the throttle preparatory to making the station stop at Huntington. He said that when the train was closely approaching the switch he saw a person proceed from an adjacent track to the switch and apparently operate it. The engineer then observed that the switch points were lined for entry to the siding. He immediately initiated an emergency application of the brakes. The fireman said that ten his engine was about 100 feet west of the switch he saw the red target indicating that the switch was lined for entry to the siding. The speed of the train had been reduced to about 40 miles per hour when the collision occurred.

The front brakeman was an inexperienced employee, and because of his inexperience he had been instructed by the conductor to operate switches only when specifically instructed to do so. He was aware that his train was into clear on the siding to meet No. 642. He said that after his engine with the cut of cars had stopped on the siding the conductor told him to station himself near the siding switch and to operate it when so instructed. When No. 642 was closely approaching the switch he saw the conductor signal to him and he said he thought it was a signal for him to open the main track switch. He said No. 642 was about 200 feet from the switch when he opened it. He did not observe the position of either the switch points or the switch target. Historical Data: Kyle V. Mullins

November 22, 1950 Collision at Richmond Hill west of Jamaica Station
Wreck_Richmond-Hill_11-22-1950_AP-Newsday.jpg (111267 bytes)On Nov. 22, 1950, a Hempstead-bound LIRR train became stalled a half-mile west of the Jamaica station, near Richmond Hill. Minutes later, a Babylon-bound train traveling at 65 miles per hour barreled into the rear of the halted train, which sat in the darkness. The crash killed at least 78 people and injured 400. Photo Credit: AP Archive: Newsday

"The People's Almanac" (Wallachinsky and Wallace, 1975, p. 564) gives the following very detailed description of what happened:

William W. Murphy, a 45-year veteran of railroading and just 4 years away from retirement, responded to the "restricted" signal on "C" tower 2 miles before the train's first scheduled stop at Jamaica. With the signal’s change to "approach," Murphy resumed his 30-mph speed. The next signal light on "J" (for Jamaica) tower showed "restricted" and again Murphy applied the air brakes. They grabbed and wouldn't release. Train 780 and its 12 cars carrying 1,000 homeward-bound passengers ground to a dead stop. Brakeman Bertram N. Biggam started to get the flares to put behind the stalled train.







Close behind on the same mainline track, Train 174 with 12 cars and 1,200 passengers thundered toward Jamaica. Motorman Benjamin J. Pokorny obeyed the signal at "C" tower and brought his train to a halt. When the signal changed, he accelerated to 15 mph. In back of him the "C" tower signal changed again back to "restricted," but ahead the signal on "J" tower flashed "approach." Train 174 resumed full speed. Too late Pokorny saw the stopped train ahead. In his last seconds of life he pulled the brake cord . . .

Neither train was equipped with an automatic repeater signal system, an electronic device mounted in the motorman's cab. Murphy and Pokorny had to rely on signal towers spaced at intervals along their route. Normally this signal-light system worked fine, but if a signal changed after a train had passed a tower, the system didn't work at all. Pokorny should have seen the taillights of the stalled train, if they were on. And that raised an unanswered question, for in a report by the Long Island Railroad to the Public Service Commission it was reported that within a 7-day period the taillights on 50 trains had been inoperative. . .

Passengers aboard Train 174 suffered their annoyance in silence. It wouldn't be the 1st time they had arrived home late. There was no warning of danger until the headlight of train 174 bathed the last car in its blinding glare. In seconds the two cars were fused together. The front car of Pokorny's train telescoped the rear of Murphy's train. Those not killed outright were overcome with fear. The trains were dark. Bedlam reigned inside the cars. People physically capable of moving couldn't because of the pileup of dead and injured bodies.

The noise of the collision was heard on 126th Street and Hillside Avenue. Soon help arrived, but it was an hour and 20 minutes before the last passenger was extricated from the bent and twisted cars. Amputations were performed on the spot and acetylene torches were used to free many trapped passengers. Priests administered last rites while doctors administered plasma. For hundreds of New Yorkers the tragedy turned Thanksgiving Day, 1950, into the blackest of black Thursdays. 


lirr-richmondhill_11-50.jpg (95690 bytes)On a stretch of track east of the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road Station, a night-time New York to Hempstead commuter train came to a stop because its brakes would not release. As its motorman began working on the problem, a brakeman got out of the rear car and stood on the tracks holding a red lantern to warn any approaching train of its presence. Because there was no automatic stopping mechanism on these tracks, the Railroad's operating rules required the brakeman to do this whenever his train was stopped under circumstances in which it might be overtaken by another train. The brakeman was obligated under those rules to "insure full protection" of his train, and if necessary to accomplish that, he was to display a lighted "fusee" or put down "torpedos".

Note: A "fusee" is a type of flare which burns bright red for 10 - 15 minutes. It is very similar to the flares Highway Patrolmen put around the scene of a traffic accident. "Torpedos" are explosive caps fastened to the top of the rail and exploded by the pressure of a rolling wheel. They warn a motorman of danger ahead. A "brakeman" (also called a trainman") is the lowest ranking member of a train crew. His duties are to assist the conductor in anyway possible. Despite what the title suggests, a 1950 Long Island Rail Road brakeman was not responsible for the good working order of the train's brakes.

The brakeman soon heard the Hempstead train power up. He thought the braking problem was solved and that the train was about to get underway. So, he extinguished the lantern and reboarded the rear car. That was a mistake. It was not for the brakeman to guess when to return to the train. Under the Railroad's rules, he was to remain on the tracks until recalled by a specific signal from the train's whistle, and no such signal was ever given. In any case, the brakeman had guessed wrong. The brakes had still not released and the Hempstead train remained rooted to the ground. Now, however, it stood unprotected in the dark of night, with no rear warning lantern, fusee or torpedo to alert an oncoming train it was there. It was almost 6:30 PM - the middle of rush hour - when commuter traffic in that direction was four times heavier than during off-peak periods.

Probably seconds after the brakeman extinguished the warning lantern, a New York to Babylon train came around the bend about 4,600 feet back. At this point, the Babylon train received a "Go Slow" signal indicating congestion up ahead, so it reduced its speed to 15mph. However, as it passed through the Kew Gardens Station area, the motorman of the Babylon train caught sight of the next signal one half mile in the distance. That signal showed "All Clear". It never dawned on him that the All Clear signal was meant for the Hempstead train stalled in darkness only a third of a mile ahead. Since the Hempstead train no longer displayed a rear warning lantern, the motorman of the Babylon train did not see it was there. (Although the rear of the Hempstead train had two red lights called "marker lights", those lights were so small that they would not have been visible to him until too late.) Thinking the "All Clear" was meant for him, he increased speed. As the Babylon train left the Kew Gardens Station area and emerged from the Lefferts Boulevard overpass, it was traveling at about 35mph.

Meanwhile, on the Hempstead train, the brakeman had signaled his motorman that he was back onboard and that the train could proceed. The train did not move, The brakeman signaled again, and still the Hempstead train did not move. The brakeman was preparing to get back out on the tracks when the oncoming Babylon train struck from the rear. In the last seconds of his life, the motorman of the Babylon train had tried to apply his emergency brakes, but he succeeded only in slowing the Babylon train to about 30mph before impact. The force of the collision pushed the Hempstead train a distance of 75 feet, lifting its last car 15 feet into the air and splitting it lengthwise. The Babylon train had the superstructure of its first car sheared off to the floor and demolished. The rear brakeman was injured but survived. The collision left 78 dead and 363 injured. One witness described the dead as "packed like sardines in their own blood".

Press accounts in the aftermath of the collision had the Babylon train going 60 to 65mph at the time it hit. However, the Interstate Commerce Commission investigated the collision and found the speed at impact was about 30mph. Had the Babylon train been going 60mph or more, the resulting devastation would have been much worse and most likely other cars in the two trains would have separated or derailed. That did not happen. Only slight damage was suffered by the other cars all of which remained connected and on track.

The cause of the crash was officially determined to be disregard of the Go Slow signal by the deceased motorman of the Babylon train. He should have followed the Go Slow signal he had just passed rather than the All Clear signal a half mile ahead. However, the Interstate Commerce Commission's Report on the crash seemed to imply that the brakeman on the Hempstead train had not done all he could have to protect his train - a conclusion I find unavoidable given that the brakeman extinguished his warning lantern and returned to the train before being signaled to do so. It was a clear night, and the brakeman assumed at the time that no train would approach at more than 15mph. So he thought the risk of a casualty was remote. He miscalculated, just as the motorman of the Babylon train miscalculated.

The crash occurred only nine months after a head on collision between two Long Island Rail Road trains at Rockville Centre, NY killed 31 and injured 158. According to The Long Island Press newspaper, the two accidents caused the public to view to the Long Island Rail Road as unsafe and irresponsible. Queens District Attorney Charles P. Sullivan called it the "Death Valley Railroad." The disaster led to public demands for increased government scrutiny. Yet, blame for what happened that night extended beyond the Railroad's management to the very State Government that was called upon to take action.

Because the Long Island Rail Road was a monopoly, it was subject to regulation by the New York State Public Service Commission. The Commission had refused to allow the Railroad any rate increases for almost 30 years (1918 - 1947) despite the L.I.R.R.'s increased operating costs and resulting heavy losses. Furthermore, because people always had the option of taking their cars rather than the train, the Long Island Rail Road had to compete for the public's transportation dollars with the various New York State authorities that owned and operated the bridges, tunnels and highways. Unlike the Long Island Rail Road which was heavily taxed in all respects, those authorities paid no tax whatsoever on their real estate, assets or income. Moreover, bridges, tunnels and highways cost much less to maintain than a railroad. All of that left the Long Island Rail Road at a permanent competitive disadvantage, and every effort to level the playing field by providing badly needed subsidies for the Railroad was defeated in the State Legislature.

The result of that kind of transportation policy should not have been hard to foresee. By 1950, the Railroad was starved for cash and it's equipment was old and decrepit. The two cars involved in the crash were Class MP54A and had been built in 1910, more than 40 years earlier. Such cars were the rule, not the exception. One newspaper reporter cracked that if the Long Island Rail Road were a model train set, it would make a little boy cry to find it under his Christmas Tree. On the date of the collision, the Long Island Rail Road had already filed for bankruptcy reorganization and was operating under the supervision of two bankruptcy trustees. Two days after the crash, Governor Dewey told The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper that $50,000,000 was needed just to make the Long Island Rail Road, "reasonably safe and to insure something approaching satisfactory operation." That was money the perennially cash poor Railroad just did not have, and the State Government had mostly itself to blame for the situation.

In the aftermath of the crash, Automatic Speed Control (ASC) was installed on the tracks.(1) The Pennsylvania Railroad (which owned the Long Island Rail Road) agreed to terminate the L.I.R.R.s bankruptcy and begin a 12 year, 58 million dollar improvement program. The L.I.R.R. gained exemption from much of its tax burden and the freedom to charge realistic fares.

The point of impact for the collision was 1,960 feet east of the Kew Gardens Long Island Rail Road Station near 125th Street - one block west of the Metropolitan Avenue overpass. Although press accounts at the time described that area as Richmond Hill, neighborhood boundaries have long since changed. Today, the site of the collision is considered to be in Kew Gardens.
Joe DeMay  www.oldkewgardens.com

According to my ICC report of the wreck this is what was determined to have taken place:

The first eastbound train had not stalled but applied its brakes to stop for a signal and then could not release the brakes. A brakeman was sent out with a lantern but was recalled when the brakes released and he headed back. Then they froze again and when he went back out, saw the train bearing down on them and rushed back to his train, tossing the lantern on the tracks and running through the last car into the next to last car where, upon impact, he was flung into the ceiling of the car and knocked unconscious. He always attributed his survival to the durability of his trainman's cap per personal interview between the brakeman and the late retired conductor Jeff Skinner.

The second eastbound train had been stopped at the signal just west of the Kew Gardens station. The engineer then proceeded 3,516' to the point of impact just east of the Kew Gardens station, having increased his speed to 35 MPH. When he saw the stopped train ahead, he applied his brakes but there was insufficient distance to stop the train. When his train hit the first train, the force of the crash moved the first train 75' and telescoped into it. It was thought the engineer of the 2nd train assumed the train ahead of him had cleared the block so he picked up his speed when he should have proceeded with caution.  Info: Dave Keller

Note 1: Typically a railroad used DC track circuits for signaling. Consider that each rail is connected to one side of a 48 volt battery, with signal "blocks" being isolated from each other by insulated rail joints. At one end of each block is a battery, at the other end is an electromagnetic relay, or electric controlled switch that is activated by that battery. When a metal train axle shunts or bridges the two rails, it shorts out the battery causing the relay to de-energize or "drop". That relay is what activates the signal indications.

In third rail territory, both rails already contain one side of the 750 DC volt propulsion power, so to avoid its conflict, alternating current, instead of battery is used for signal "track" circuits. The LIRR uses 100 cycle AC for this. Where overhead AC catenary wires are installed, a different signal (track circuit) frequency is used in AC territory avoiding interference from that propulsion frequency.

The LIRR's speed control or cab signal system overlays another electric signal of different frequencies on the rails (or on wires between the rails) to activate the speed control system. Each cab signal indication or "aspect" is referenced from a different frequency. The magnetic current caused by this energy in the rails is "picked up" through induction by two "track receivers." which are wire coils under the engine's pilot. They are interpreted by the train's speed control system. Originally vibrating relays were used for this, now it's done electronically.

This system was designed by Westinghouse and installed after the 1950 wrecks through funding by the State of New York. When an engineman receives a cab signal indication (or speed indication) more restrictive than the speed at which he is operating, he receives a visible and audible warning. He must acknowledge the warning and reduce to the required speed. If he does not do this within a set time, the train stops automatically.

January 2, 1953  New Hyde Park Grade Crossing Collision

Wreck_New-Hyde-park_1-02-1953_Weber-Newsday.jpg (82439 bytes)On Jan. 2, 1953, an eastbound LIRR train collided with an oil tanker at the Covert Avenue crossing in New Hyde Park. The truck had become stuck on the tracks at the crossing, and the driver alerted fire officials immediately. Firefighters were en route to the scene when the collision occurred, but there were no injuries, partly due to the relatively light load of oil in the tanker. The truck's capacity was 3,300 gallons, but it was carrying only 100 gallons of oil at the time of the crash. Photo Credit: Newsday / Harvey Weber

February 4, 1954 New Hyde Park Freight Derailment

Wreck_New-Hyde-Park_freight-train_2-4-1954_Newsday.jpg (131202 bytes)On Feb. 4, 1954, a freight train derailed in New Hyde Park, but disaster was averted when the engineer of an eastbound LIRR passenger train slammed on the emergency brakes to avoid making contact with the freight train. None of the 98 passengers or crew were injured in the incident. Here, an aerial view of the derailed freight train. 
Photo Credit: Newsday/Cliff DeBear

March 3, 1954 Maspeth freight collided with a truck

Two truckmen were injured when a Long Island Rail Road switch engine hit a truck loaded with furniture at Grand Crossing in Maspeth, Queens. Contents of the truck were strewn along the track. John Rothanal, 53, of Middle Village, Queens, and Alfred Gobie, 45, of Bronx, were hospitalized.

1954 Old Country Road, Hicksville

LIRR wreck Old Country Rd. and Railroad Lane., Hicksville 1954 Archive: Steve Chernow

May 21, 1955 Woodbury Road, Hicksville


 Long Island Rail Road FM CPA24-4-5 #2404 and 25 ton bulldozer collide on Woodbury Road in Hicksville, NY. The engine of the train went about 200 feet to the middle of the road and derailed about six cars. 

December 31, 1959 Locust Ave, Glen Head

On New Year’s Eve 1959, a Chevy pickup truck belonging to a certain contractor decided to not heed the warning signs at the Locust Avenue grade crossing just south (railroad west) of the Glen Head station on the LIRR’s Oyster Bay Branch. Late morning Jamaica to Oyster Bay train #524, led by H16-44 1506 (Fairbanks-Morse, 10/1951, s/n 16L-410) was undoubtedly blasting out Rule 14L, to no avail. The train was probably already beginning to slow for the station stop and came to a halt just south of the station building. Jeff Erlitz




Photos: Susan Peltz - Gold Coast Historic Photographs collection, Gold Coast Public Library

April, 1961 "The Great People Poop Wreck"

On a night in April, 1961, in the early morning hours, a deluge  in excess of  2,000,000 gallons, of  human effluent, overwhelmed the railroad yard.   The concrete bowl of the tank scattered itself over the tracks.  A steel New Haven caboose simply bowled over, as did loaded refrigerator and hopper cars. 

Crew working directly in the "flood plain" guide a bucket over debris.  Note the cap of the sewerage tank fallen into the center of the "bowl".

Photos: Harry A. Glueck  Archive: Richard Glueck

MORE: Poop Wreck article originally appeared in: "The Keystone" Vol. 48 No. 3 Autumn 2015

A broader view of Bay Ridge Yard, featuring the blown-over freight cars, Long Island Baldwin 409, and caboose C35.

April 8, 1962 Grove Ave., East Patchogue Grade Crossing Collision

Westbound LIRR passenger train and pick-up truck at Grove Ave., East Patchogue on Sunday April 8, 1962.
The Long Island Adv
ance - 4/12/1962  Archive: New York State Historic Newspapers Project, and Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, Patchogue-Medford Library.  Research: Gary Lutz, Librarian


August 13, 1962 Collision at Woodside

On August 13, 1962, at Woodside, NY, there was a collision between a pile-driving crane and a passenger train on the Long Island Railroad, which resulted in t he death of one passenger, and in the injury of 31 passengers, 6 train-service employees and the crane operator. This accident was investigated in conjunction with representative s of the Public Service Commission of New York.
Wreck_Woodside_8-13-62_Newsday.jpg (108266 bytes)On Aug. 13, 1962, one person was killed and 17 were injured when a westbound LIRR passenger train collided with a 120-ton construction crane on the tracks near Woodside. The impact sliced away the side of the lead car of the train. Photo Credit: APO Archive: Newsday

WoodsideWreck8-15-62.jpg (111517 bytes)
Further NY Times Material

lirrWoodsideICCreportphoto.jpg (127365 bytes)
ICC Report #3962 The Long Island Railroad Company August 13, 1962 photos Archive: R. McEnery

woodside08-13-62WinInterlocking.jpg (86788 bytes)
ICC Report #3962 Long Island Railroad 
Company August 13, 1962 
WIN Interlocking Archive: R. McEnery

August 24, 1962 Grove Ave., East Patchogue Grade Crossing Collision

Eastbound LIRR passenger train and northbound auto at Grove Ave., East Patchogue on Friday August 24, 1962 at 7:35pm.
The Long Island Advance - 8/30/1962

Archive: New York State Historic Newspapers Project, and Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, Patchogue-Medford Library.  
Research: Gary Lutz, Librarian

September, 1962 Collision at Bay Ridge Yard

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Bay Ridge Yard 10/1962  
Photo: Ed Schleyer
NHvsLIRR447RGlueck.jpg (49312 bytes)
NH GP9 #1200 LIRR #447
Photo: Richard Glueck
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NH GP9 #1200 LIRR #447
Photo: Richard Glueck
NHvsLIRR447_3RGleuck3.jpg (43480 bytes)
NH GP9 #1200 LIRR #447
Photo: Richard Glueck
NHvsLIRR.jpg (86967 bytes)
Light tower on the right side of photo is next to Yardmasters office. Unreported to news media. No one hurt! Photo: Ed Schleyer
NHvsLIRR_2.jpg (77212 bytes)
At the scene: Bayridge Sept '62
Photo: Ed Schleyer

December 3, 1963 Brookhaven Derailment 

Wreck_Brookhaven_12-3-1963_Newsday.jpg (117520 bytes)On Dec 3, 1963, #31 from Speonk to Jamaica hit a broken rail near the former Brookhaven station (between Bellport and Mastic-Shirley) and derailed the last three cars. This aerial view was taken by a Newsday photographer, Cliff DeBear. There were some injuries, including a heart attack, but, fortunately, no deaths.









The next-to-last car of an LIRR trains lays on its side at Old Stump Road in Brookhaven after it derailed on Dec. 3, 1963. The last car can be seen in the background, completely on its side. Photo Credit: Newsday/Max Heine

c.1965 Vandalism derail Ocean Ave., Bay Ridge Branch

NH #302 and #306(?) wreck section house at Ocean Ave overpass Brooklyn View W Photo: Harry Glueck Archive: Richard Glueck

NH #302 at Ocean Ave overpass South Midwood, Brooklyn View E Photo: Harry Glueck
Archive: Richard Glueck

NH #302 vandal wreck boxcar at Ocean Ave overpass South Midwood, Brooklyn View W Photo: Harry Glueck Archive: Richard Glueck

Emery Map Bay Ridge Ocean Ave. overpass MP11.9 derail wreck location #5  Archive: Dave Keller

GE EL-C Electrics - Class EF-4 301-310 built 10/1956 Virginian Railway, N&W became NH 302, Class EF-4, in October 1963. It went as PC 4602, Class E-33, in 1969 and consigned Conrail 4602, Class E-33, in April 1976.

New Haven Railroad EF-4 electric locomotives # 306 & # 302 known as "bricks," among railfan's, as these locomotives received their own distinctive paint scheme. Thus, the accident between Oct 1963 and 1969. Research: Steven Lynch



March 12, 1966 Pine Aire Dr, Brentwood Wreck 

                        Accident occurred: 3/12/1966  Islip Bulletin 3/17/1966   Right: Suffolk County New 3/17/1966                                     

November 6, 1966 LIRR C420 Easthampton Wreck 

Composite of three Ed Schleyer photos taken November 7th, 1966

The East Hampton Star 11/10/1966 - LIRR Derailment November 6th, 1966

Easthampton_Wreck-location_ MP100-101.jpg (146133 bytes)Sunday Evening 7:05pm westbound from Montauk was the derailment time and Train 4013 was right on time. The Schenk Coal siding was just on the other side of the Osborne Lane crossing near the east end of the station. 4013 was the Winter variant of 4011; The Sundowner. 4011 was the parlor car only service on Sunday evenings to Hunterspoint Ave. 4013 ran on almost the same schedule a bit quicker because of the smaller Winter crowds, but with added stops at Speonk and Mastic-Shirley so the times from Patchogue to Jamaica were the same. Jeff Erlitz


 Emery Map- Easthampton MP100-101  Archive: Dave Keller

Ed Schleyer, was a contemporary of my father and a fireman. He was riding the Montauk to Jamaica train that was overturned by juveniles, east of Easthampton, in 1966. Ed relates this story and has provided these images. If you ever needed a rationale for operating C420's with the long hood first, this is it. Intro: Rich Glueck

I was working the Montauk Greenport relief job as one of the senior Firemen. The engineer and I worked 3 days to Montauk, 3 days to Greenport and 3 days off. This was not a monotonous job. In my short time as a fireman, I hit cars, trucks and the guy that trimmed me off the job, hit an airplane. The day of this incident, I ran the train to Montauk and The engineer Howard King brought it back, well almost all the way back. I’m not sure of the consist, I think (2) varnish on the west end and (5) coaches, not Pings, (1) engine #215. We left Montauk with probably (1) paying rider. The flag man had his son riding in the rear coach with him. I don’t know if we picked up any riders before Bridgehampton, but we had way to much running time - Montauk to Speonk. We were in “coast”, until the curve before Bridgehampton. Now I am sitting with my feet up on the front door frame. Going around a right hand curve, I can’t see the roadbed ahead and Howard says “we’re going in”. I can’t connect this phrase to anything but a “meet”. I looked over at Howard and the next thing you know, I’m head to head with him. I’m wedged in between the water cooler and the control stand, laying down and the engineers front window is broken and lots of mud and water are passing over our heads. Howard got hit in the face with the windshield, but other than being covered with mud we were OK. At the moment we were turning over, the thought that we were at the Water Mill curve went through my mind. We had derailed and were going into the Water Mill Pond. I knew by now (everything in slow motion) I’m gonna survive the derailment, but I’m gonna drown, I don’t know how to swim. The water from the water cooler was draining on my head and the mud was filling up the engineers side of the engine.

When we stopped moving, I killed the engine and started digging Howard out. We went out the front door and walked down the side of the engine to someplace that didn’t look like a one story drop to the ground. I left Howard there and went in the front door of the head parlor car and came into the passageway that the attendant room connected to. The attendant was sitting on the corridor wall trying to collect the little liquor bottles that had spilled into the corridor. I reached down and picked out two bottles of scotch, I figured that we needed a drink. The attendant started freaking out about how he was responsible for all of the beer and chips etc. I told him that every volunteer fireman from Montauk to Speonk was gonna be here in a few minutes and he better go get in the ambulance that was outside or face all of the volunteers that were gonna show up. He went out the end of the corridor that I had come in. I went the other way and came into the head car where the conductor was on the other end of the car. The offset door was now up above our heads and the conductor was convinced he was gonna die there because we couldn’t climb up to the door. I grabbed him by the hand and led him to the other end where the door was on the bottom. The conductor went on his way and I went up to see Howard on the main track. It seems my timing was bad when I offered him the bottle of scotch. It seems that (2) teenagers, arrested and released, stole tools from a section shed and went to the switch that was the entrance to a coal trestle. They smashed the lock and switch stand, opened the switch and waited for us to go up the siding, off the end and into the school. Needless to say the locomotive couldn’t make the 15 mph turnout at 40 mph. 

Before I could leave I had to go back into the locomotive. I had to make sure there wasn’t a flag stick in the “Dead Man” and I had to pick up all my fillets of flounder that I had caught from the docks where the submarines used to tie up. Five pounds of fish that would have really smelled bad by the time #215 got back to the shops. I got the fish and climbed back outside on the outside of the engine compartment. When I got there a little old lady was screaming and yelling at me “ look what you did to the fence around the school”. I interrupted her shouting to ask her if she liked fillet of flounder and would she like five lbs right now. She said yes and I threw five lb plastic bag at her and hit her in the chest, knocking her on her rear. She said “thank you” and the problem with the fence disappeared. By now all the buses and cabs in town were gone, being used to transport the crew to Patchogue, I didn’t have a way to get home. As I started to walk toward the next crossing, I see a LIRR Bronco coming toward me on the tracks. When he got to me he stopped and asked what I was doing there, I told him and his response was, what do I look like, some kind of Taxi, if you want to get home you better start hitchhiking right now because it’s getting dark. With that he drove off. I walked to the crossing and found an open store. I went in and used the phone to call my wife. I told her that no matter what she hears, I’m OK. I went back to the crossing, took one last look and stuck out my thumb. The first car that came along was a fisherman headed back home. He dropped me off at the entrance to Belmont Lake State Park and my house faced on the park. The next day I took my wife and son back out to Bridgehampton, where I took the pictures. 

1966 Maspeth Grade Crossing Collision 

Wreck_Maspeth_12-12-1966.jpg (103415 bytes)On Dec. 12, 1966, a truck driver was killed when his vehicle was struck by a diesel engine at a grade crossing in Maspeth. The engineer testified that it appeared the driver had stopped at the crossing and then surged forward, causing the collision. Photo Credit: UPI

October 18, 1967  LIRR RDC Wrecked - Blue Point Rd., Holtsville    Vignette on this day: Engineer “Patsy” Molese and the Budd Car by Dave Keller

On the morning of October 18, 1967, Patsy and his fireman, John Connelly were in the cab of BUDD RDC car #3101 in the two-car consist of train #204 headed eastbound for Greenport.  The fireman, a qualified engineer, was operating the controls.  He had just left the stop at Holtsville and was picking up speed.  He saw the whistle post advising him of the upcoming crossing of Blue Point Road just east of the station and pulled the cord to warn oncoming traffic of his approach.  In 1967, Blue Point Road did not yet have automatic flashing warning lights or gates.  It was basically an unprotected grade crossing, like so many others on the railroad, with only a crossing sign as warning.
Suddenly, appearing in front of him was a huge cement or gravel truck belonging to the contracting firm of Lizza Bros., Inc, who were involved in the construction of the Long Island Expressway being extended through Holtsville at that time.  The truck driver either didn’t hear the train’s whistle, or didn’t care and figured he’d make it across the tracks by speeding ahead of the oncoming train.  Vignette on this day: Engineer “Patsy” Molese and the Budd Car by Dave Keller

RDC 3101 Train 204 wreck at Blue Point Rd., Holtsville 10/18/1967 Holtsville-Farmingville Fire Dept on the scene.
Archive: John Jett

LIRRWreckedBuddCar-RGlueck.jpg (38008 bytes)Here’s a view of wrecked RDC1 #3101, taken on October 18, 1970 while it was stored out back of the Morris Park Shops in Queens .  The front of the car shows how the cab was cut away to extract the remains of Patrick Molese.  The unit was sold in December, 1971 to Sarnelli Bros. and scrapped at Corona Yard. (Photo by, and courtesy of, Richard Glueck)

lirrRDC Wrecked 1967.jpg (112150 bytes)LIRR RDC #3101 Wrecked 1967, sold in 12/1971 to Sarnelli Brothers and scrapped at the LIRR’s Corona Yard. 
Info: Dave Keller 6/2004

January 25, 1969  LIRR PASSENGER TRAIN # 4186  Tunnel 3 East River

LIRR # 4186, an eastbound 10-car electrically-propelled passenger train, left Pennsylvania Station at 9:46 p.m., with approximately 400 passengers aboard the first five cars. About 9:50 p.m., the train entered tunnel 3 of the East River Tunnels. About that time, a series of three or four loud reports resembling sounds of explosions were heard emanating from an electrical-equipment cabinet located inside the fourth car just behind the front vestibule. The cabinet door opened, permitting fire and smoke to come into the car. An unidentified passenger gave the engineer a stop signal by pulling on the communicating whistle-signal cord extending through the car. The engineer promptly applied the brakes, stopping the train with the last car 500 to 1,000 feet inside the tunnel.

The passengers in the fourth car evacuated that car by going back to unoccupied cars at the rear of the train. During this period, the conductor and ticket collector searched the train for a fire extinguisher and found one in the 9th car. The conductor, however, discovered it was not in working order after returning to the fourth car. By that time, the fire and smoke in the car had intensified, and fire damage to a brake valve had caused an emergency application of the train brakes.

The conductor then proceeded to a nearby tunnel telephone and, at 9:58 p.m., informed the power director about the situation. As a result, power to the third rail was shut off at 9:59 p.m., and car inspectors were dispatched to the tunnel from Pennsylvania Station with instructions to take whatever action was necessary to enable No. 4186 to move out of the tunnel. In addition, train No. 4890, which had left Pennsylvania Station at 9:50 p.m. and had been routed to tunnel 3, was instructed by a Penn Central trainmaster to push No. 4186 through the tunnel to Harold, L. I.

About 9:57 p.m., No. 4890 stopped behind No. 4186. Approximately two minutes later, the power director shut off power to the third rail, preventing No. 4890 from moving forward to a coupling with the disabled train. About 25 minutes later, after going back to an interlocking station outside the west portal, both train conductors succeeded in having power restored to the third rail.

Meanwhile, smoke conditions in the tunnel worsened and all the passengers on the rear cars of the disabled train were evacuated to No. 4890. All the passengers in the first three cars evacuated the train by going to the elevated walkways along the tunnel walls. The front brakeman led and/or directed them about 3,400 feet eastward to an air shaft, where they eventually ascended via an emergency exit to the street surface at 1st Avenue and 33rd Street, New York City. The passengers' progress to the air shaft was impeded because of the poor lighting and smoke conditions in the tunnel.

About 10:22 p.m., when power was restored to the third rail, No. 4890 coupled to the disabled train and made several unsuccessful attempts to move it. The car inspectors sent to the scene then advised the conductor and engineer of No. 4890 that they were unable to release the brakes of the disabled train. Upon hearing this, the conductor of No. 4890 had his train detached from the disabled train No. 4890 then returned to Pennsylvania Station and stopped on station track 20 at 10:44 p.m., at which time passengers evacuated from the disabled train were given first-aid treatment for smoke inhalation and/or taken to hospitals.

Ambulances, and city fire and police department forces, were not called before approximately 10:30 p.m., when a crew member of the disabled train walked back to a stationmaster's office in Pennsylvania Station and advised that medical assistance was urgently needed for about 200 passengers. Approximately 20 minutes later, rescue forces were also called to the emergency tunnel exit at 1st Avenue and 33rd Street, when passengers from the first three cars of the disabled train emerged to the street surface. Historical Data: Kyle V. Mullins
w members and 49 passengers of No. 4186 were injured by inhalation of smoke.

Late Spring, 1969  Babylon Yard M1 #9055 derailment

George Winter inspecting the M1 front truck. 

M1 G5s style pilot on #9055

Harry Glueck on the far right.
The M1 #9055 derailment, late Spring 1969, was one I attended with my father.  Nobody was supposed to take pictures of anything "bad" happening to the LIRR, but my father asked his boss if I could take pictures, provided they were for my own collection, and wouldn't wind up in Newsday.  The M1's had just arrived and weren't fitting in too well, due to growing pains and dissimilar equipment.  Then, in a new batch, two burned to the floors in a fire and the press went crazy over it.  Anyway, George Winter (in the shorts), my Father's peer agreed to allow the pictures based on my word of honor.  I kept them squirreled away for almost thirty years!  The M1's are still new equipment in my mind, even though they are now as rare as MP70's!  The M1's in this case, split a switch in Babylon Yard.  It was going to require a great deal of shuffling to get the commuters out the following morning, but as was the case more often than not, the LIRR came through.  These brand new MU cars went into the backshop and required some rebuilding.  Photos/Info: Richard Glueck 

June 23, 1969, East End of Pennsylvania Station

The accident occurred near the east end of Pennsylvania Station, on the four-track line over which Long Island Rail Road trains operate between Pennsylvania Station and Long Island. C interlocking is located between the west portals of the East River Tunnels and Pennsylvania Station. Its signals govern movements of LI Rail Road trains between the west end of tracks No. 3 and No. 4 of the four-track line and station tracks 14 to 21. The interlocking station is at the east end of platform No. 10, between Pennsylvania Station tracks 18 and 19.

The current of traffic on track No. 4 of the four-track line is westward. The collision occurred on this track, 612 feet east of C interlocking station and a few feet east of the home interlocking signal governing westbound movements from track No. 4 to station tracks 14 through 21.

Some time before the accident, passenger train equipment was placed on Pennsylvania Station track 21 for temporary storage. Anticipating that station forces would remove this equipment before arrival of passenger train No. 751, a Long Island Rail Road yardmaster instructed the C interlocking operator to route No. 751 to station track 21. However, due to station forces experiencing difficulty with its air brake system, the passenger train equipment still occupied track 21 when No. 751 neared the station.

No. 751, a westbound passenger train consisting of seven electrically-propelled passenger cars left Hempstead, L. I., at 2:09 p.m. When the train stopped at Woodside, the conductor, acting without authority but in accordance with what appears to be a common practice, went home after arranging for an off-duty employee, a ticket collector, to replace him for the remainder of the trip to Pennsylvania Station. The ticket collector had been a conductor at one time, but had been disqualified from working in that capacity since 1962 because of a physical condition. No. 751 left Woodside without the engineer knowing the regularly assigned conductor had left the train.

About 2:55 p.m., after proceeding through the East River Tunnels on track No. 4 and entering C interlocking, No. 751 began to enter Pennsylvania Station track 21 at slow speed. The engineer then saw that track 21 was occupied by passenger train equipment, and stopped his train with the front end about 170 feet short of that equipment and 160 feet from the track platform. The rear end stopped within C interlocking limits. After the train stopped, it waited for station forces to remove the equipment from the track ahead.

No. 159, a westbound Long Island Rail Road passenger train consisting of 8 electrically-propelled passenger cars, left Babylon, L. I. at 1:49 p.m. About 2:53 p.m., while moving on track No. 4, it entered the East River Tunnels and continued toward Pennsylvania Station, following No. 751 at an interval of about three minutes. Seven minutes later, No. 159 stopped on track No. 4 at the C interlocking home signal, which indicated Stop due to the rear end of No. 751 occupying its track circuit. The engineer saw No. 751 standing about 200-250 feet ahead, and waited for the home interlocking signal to display a proceed aspect.

Approximately five minutes after stopping short of the passenger train equipment occupying station track 21, the engineer of No. 751, in response to a request of three off-duty employees, began to move his train slowly forward toward the east end of the track platform, causing loud electrical arcing sounds at the locations of the third-rail contact shoes on the cars. As the train moved forward, the communicating whistle sounded two short blasts (when moving, a signal to stop) and the engineer stopped the train a few feet short of the platform. A few seconds later, according to his statements, the engineer heard the communicating whistle sound three short blasts (when standing, a signal to back up) and looked into the passenger compartment of the first car for the conductor, but did not see him. Assuming the conductor had obtained authority for the reverse movement and had gone to the rear of the last car to protect the reverse movement, the engineer started to back his train through C interlocking without stationing himself at the controls of the leading car in the direction of the reverse movement, as required by the carrier's rules. The engineer stated that on two separate occasions after starting the reverse movement, the communicating whistle sounded three short blasts (when moving, a signal to stop at the next station). He construed these whistle signals as being confirmations of the first signal to back up. The train continued its reverse movement through C interlocking and, about 3:05 p.m., backed onto track No. 4 of the four-track line. Immediately thereafter, while moving backward at about 10 m.p.h. it struck No. 159, which was standing on track No. 4 a few feet east of the home interlocking signal.

Statements of the three off-duty employees in the vestibule at the front of the train substantiate those made by the engineer of No. 751 relating to the communicating whistle signals sounded before the collision.

The off-duty ticket collector, who was acting as the train conductor, was in the vestibule at the rear of the first car when No. 751 began to move in reverse. He heard the communicating whistle signals received by the engineer and took no exception to the reverse movement.

The flagman of No. 751 was in the vestibule at the front of the 6th car while his train waited on Pennsylvania Station track 21 for station forces to remove passenger train equipment from the track ahead. When his train moved slowly forward toward the station platform, intermittent arcing noise occurred at the locations of the third rail contact shoes. (The investigation revealed it is common practice for LI Rail Road engineers to use arcing sound, instead of train horn sound as required by rule, when recalling a flagman out providing protection against following trains. This is accomplished by setting the train brakes, then applying and shutting off power the number of times specified for the horn signal prescribed for recalling flagmen). Upon hearing the arcing noise, the flagman pulled the communicating whistle cord twice (when stopped, a signal to proceed; when moving, a signal to stop), intending this as a signal that he was on the train and not out providing protection against following trains. Since the train was moving when this signal was sounded, the engineer construed it to be a stop signal and promptly stopped the train, a few feet from the track platform and the passenger-train equipment ahead.

Apparently realizing that he had unintentionally caused the train to stop, the flagman again pulled the communicating whistle cord to signal the engineer to proceed. However, instead of sounding two short whistle blasts, he apparently sounded three short blasts (when standing, a signal to back up), resulting in the engineer moving the train in reverse. The reverse movement startled the flagman, and he pulled the communicating-whistle cord with the intention of signalling the engineer to stop. Instead of sounding two short whistle blasts, it appears he again sounded three short blasts (when moving, a signal to stop at the next station), resulting in the engineer assuming this was a confirmation of the first signal to back up and continuing the reverse movement. The flagman then decided to go to the rear vestibule of the 6th car, apparently with the intention of operating the emergency brake valve or the communicating-whistle signal apparatus in that vestibule. While going through the car, he again pulled the communicating-whistle cord with the intention of sounding a Stop signal and with the same result as described above. A few seconds later, No. 751 backed onto track No. 4 and struck No. 159.

Approximately 175 passengers and employees of both trains sustained injuries, which were primarily of the abrasion, contusion, sprain, and neck-whiplash types. Most injuries were relatively minor in nature. Numerous injured passengers were transported to hospitals for first aid Best available information indicates that three passengers were injured seriously enough to require hospitalization. Historical Data: Kyle V. Mullins

June 23, 1969 LIRR PASSENGER TRAIN #850 FIRE at Elmhurst

No. 850, an eastbound passenger train consisting of seven electrically-propelled passenger cars, was scheduled to leave Pennsylvania Station at 4:39 p.m. It was delayed in leaving, however, because of a collision between LI Rail Road trains at the east end of the station at 3:05 p.m. During the delay, passengers continued to board No. 850 until all its seats and standing room in the aisles and vestibules were fully, occupied. About 1,100 passengers boarded the train, according to estimates.

No. 850 left Pennsylvania Station at 5:50 p.m., 1 hour 11 minutes late, and proceeded eastward through one of the East River Tunnels to Long Island. Shortly after it emerged from the tunnel, wind forces caused a thin piece of metal (3 1/2" x 24") to fly up from the wayside and to lodge on the south side of the rear truck of the 7th (last) car, between the third-rail contact shoe hanger and the truck equalizer. This created a short circuit and an electrical arc between the third-rail contact shoe assembly and the truck frame or a journal box, igniting the lubricating material in the journal box. Shortly after passing Harold, L. I., at 5:56 p.m., the flagman noticed smoke arising from underneath the rear of the 7th car and signaled the engineer to stop.

When the train stopped, the flagman and front brakeman examined the rear truck of the 7th car and saw that the lubricating material in the journal box of the rear wheel on the south side of the truck was on fire. After making an unsuccessful search for a fire extinguisher on the train, the front brakeman extinguished the fire by stuffing a wet cloth into the journal box. He then returned to the front of the train and informed the conductor that the 7th car had an overheated journal (hot box). Soon afterward, the train proceeded eastward without either the flagman or front brakeman having noticed the strip of thin metal lodged on the rear truck of the 7th car.

No. 850 passed Win interlocking station in the Elmhurst section of Long Island at 6:12 p.m., while moving at a speed of about 30 m.p.h. About that time, the flagman heard loud explosive-type sounds caused by electrical arcing at the location of the rear truck of the 7th car. He then saw smoke and flames rising from the truck, and signaled the engineer to stop. As the engineer reduced speed to stop at a wayside telephone a short distance ahead, a passenger pulled the cord of the emergency brake valve in a car, stopping the train before it reached the wayside telephone.

Panic immediately developed among passengers in the 7th car when smoke and fire from the rear truck were seen to be rising above the south side of the car. At that time, the flagman opened the door on the south side of the rear vestibule of the 7th car to permit passengers to escape. Not being able to proceed forward through the car because of its crowded condition, the flagman alighted from the rear vestibule, ran forward along the south side of the car to the front vestibule, and opened the south door of that vestibule. While attempting to open the trap door over the steps, he was thrown to the ground by passengers leaving the car in panic. In the meantime, ticket collectors in the fourth car alighted from the train, saw what was happening, and ran to the rear alongside the train, opening doors on the south side of vestibules in the cars.

While passengers were evacuating the train, the conductor ran ahead to the wayside telephone and requested assistance. This resulted in power to the third rail being shut off at 6:21 p.m., about 20 or 25 minutes after the train stopped. About 6:18 p.m., fire and police department forces from several nearby communities arrived at the scene.

Immediately after the train stopped, passengers in the last car began to break out windows and jump to the ground. When the vestibule doors were opened, passengers jumped to the ground from unopened trap doors above the steps.

Eleven passengers were known to be injured as a result of jumping from the 6th and 7th cars through windows and/or unopened trap doors. Six other passengers subsequently claimed injury. Most injuries were of minor nature, consisting primarily of lacerations, contusions, abrasions, and sprains. Two passengers were hospitalized, one for a fractured ankle, the other for a back injury. Historical Data: Kyle V. Mullins

March 20,1970 Wreck of the "Silver Streak"
On March 20,1970, the morning "Silver Streak" was westbound on track no. 2 to bypass other trains ahead of her. This train was an express to Hunterspoint Avenue. One of the cars picked the switch at the freight siding to Mason Mints, (LIRR 1966 location #29 map) which caused the cars to derail, shutting down service and requiring several cranes and wreck crews to clean up the mess. Pictured is Engine 454 working the west end of the cleanup, pulling the rerailed coaches west so the track can be rebuilt.  RMLI


Silver Streak wreck at Mason Mints siding 3/20/1970  Photo: Vincent Alvino Archive: RMLI

July 17, 1970 Riverhead Tank Car Crash
LIRR Gas Tank Car Fire Burns Out After 18 Hours

July 18— A 44,000-gallon railroad tank car of liquid propane gas that exploded here last night continued to burn until 4 P.M. today. Two passenger trains were delayed slightly, but service was back to normal by late afternoon.

The explosion occurred when the tank car overturned on Long Island Railroad tracks as it was being moved to a siding. The fire that followed the ex plosion destroyed two diesel engines, a box car laden with lumber and the tank car.

The police said that the tank car was being shunted into a siding at the Pyrofax Gas Corporation's yard near the Mill Road grade crossing at about 10 P.M. when the accident oc curred. The explosion was heard several miles away and the flames were visible for 10 miles.

Five members of the train crew and a fireman suffered first- and second-degree burns. Three men were hospitalized but were reported to he in fair condition. They are George Pack, 47 years old, of Babylon, the engineer; Richard Connor, 28, of Richmond Hill, a train fireman, and George Caffrey, 38, a River head volunteer fireman. Mr. Connor was released late this afternoon.

Riverhead_6-17-1970-wreck.jpg (109603 bytes)'It is a decision of two cases regarding the aforementioned incident. The crew performed a drop or flying switch where the engines are on the facing point end of a switch and are unable to shove the cars into the siding. The engineer will accelerate his engines and the entire train before reaching the switch, bunch the slack, the conductor will pull the pin, engineer will again accelerate past the switch points while a ground man lines the switch for the diverging route after the engines pass over the switch. The cars, now uncoupled from the engines, will roll into the siding at which point a brakeman will tie on a hand brake to stop the cars in the appropriate location.

In this incident, the Engineer recalls seeing a backup sign from the ground man after his engines cleared the switch, so he reversed direction and subsequently collided with the NATX 34440 tanker which eventually exploded, destroying one engine and seriously damaging the other. A container found in the cab which was analyzed by Suffolk PD was found to have a substance which amounted to 7% alcohol by volume. It could not be proven whether this was window washing fluid or an intoxicant used by the crew, so it was eventually discounted. One empty beer can was found in the lead unit and two unopened containers of beer were found in the trailing unit's icebox. All beer cans were not found to be damaged by fire so the crew's defense was that those containers were placed there well after the fire was extinguished, possibly by firemen. It was concluded that performing the flying switch wasn't the cause of the accident but rather the Engineer mistaking a hand signal by a ground man to reverse direction before the entire consist cleared the main track.'

August 21, 1970 Shelter Island Express Grade Crossing Collision 

"The Wreck of The Shelter Island Express" by John Deasy

One Friday evening long ago, on August 21, 1970 to be exact, I was a passenger onboard the Long Island Rail Road’s “Shelter Island Express”, traveling from Jamaica to Cutchogue, en-route from my summer job at Walter Dorwin Teague Associates at 437 Madison Avenue in Manhattan to a weekend at my family’s summer cabin in New Suffolk.  Unfortunately, I did not have my Kodak Instamatic camera with me, so I have no photos to document the results of the grade crossing collision and our subsequent derailment.  However, I do have some lasting memories of this event, more than four decades after it occurred. 

At that time, LIRR train 212 was a summer season Friday night express from Jamaica to Riverhead, making local stops from Riverhead to Greenport.  The railroad station at Greenport was just a short walk away from the ferry to Shelter Island, and reserved seat extra fare parlor car service was offered, which is the likely explanation why the train retained the name Shelter Island Express in the railroad’s marketing brochures.  Departure from Jamaica (customarily from track 8) was around 4:59 PM, reaching Riverhead around 6:30, and arriving at Greenport shortly before 7:15 PM.    

Mecox-Titusville_Montauk_7-07-74_EdFrye.jpg (61677 bytes)Our locomotive was Alco RS-3 number 1555, running long hood forward.  There were one or two parlor cars immediately behind the locomotive.  The first car may have been the former Baltimore and Ohio lightweight sleeper lounge observation which was often assigned to this train in the 1970s, running observation lounge forward.  I believe one was a former New Haven lightweight sleeping car.  They were followed by a pair of former Florida East Coast stainless steel streamliner coaches, trailed by a number of (two?) older P54 “Ping Pong” coaches on the rear.  The train was pretty full.  A bar for coach passengers was setup in one of the rear cars, and the attendant was doing a brisk business.  I had a plush reclining seat in one of the FEC cars, TITUSVILLE, where the air conditioning worked just as the Budd Company intended; it was comfortably cool and dry.  It was almost as good as a parlor car seat, but at a coach fare.   Titusville at Montauk 7/07/74 Photo/Archive: Ed Frye  

As we worked our way eastwards on the mainline, I made note of our progress.  Divide Tower at Hicksville, where the Port Jefferson branch diverges from the mainline, was always one of my landmarks.  After passing Ronkonkoma, we reduced our speed due to the poor track conditions found on the east end of the mainline.  Jointed rail, deteriorated wooden ties, minimal ballast and limited maintenance made for a rough bouncy ride.  I doubt our speed exceeded 30 MPH east of Ronkonkoma.  Even at that relatively slow pace, it was definitely not a smooth ride.

Suddenly, there was a bang and a lurch forward, and then we came to a stop.  It became very quiet.  After a while, we learned that we had hit a loaded tractor-trailer of freshly harvested potatoes, at a rural grade crossing in Manorville.  Either the truck driver failed to pay attention and did not hear the engineer blowing the horn signal as he approached the grade crossing, or his truck somehow got stuck on the grade crossing.

The locomotive had derailed and the long hood was pushed back.  The first parlor car may also have derailed.  It was obvious from one look that our train wasn’t going any further east tonight. 
I don’t recall any ambulances at the scene, so I doubt anyone was seriously injured.  I was not injured.  

Eventually we were allowed off the train.  The Special Service Attendant staffing the coach bar continued to sell his beverages, and I suspect the parlor car attendants did likewise.  There was money to be made from a thirsty captive audience!  We waited for some time, probably between one and two hours, for busses to rescue us and take us east along Route 25 to the stations from Riverhead to Greenport.  I think our train was due at Cutchogue a few minutes before 7 PM, but I suspect I eventually got to Cutchogue between 9 and 10 PM.  I had survived my first train accident and derailment with no injuries and an interesting story to tell.

L1555-Morris-Park_after-accident-8-21-70-Shelter-Island-Express_SteveHoskins.jpg (53685 bytes)Locomotive 1555 at Morris Park Shops, circa late 1970 or early 1971, awaiting repairs. Photo collection of Steve Hoskins  






Many years later, a friend with a good knowledge of LIRR history told me that the railroad rebuilt locomotive 1555 using the nose of a retired PRR Alco RS-3, with its distinctive small marker lights.  Some employees and railroad enthusiasts referred to the rebuilt locomotive 1555 as “Snake Eyes”, due to the small marker lights, or “Hungry Jack”, in reference to its demonstrated appetite for freshly harvested Suffolk County Long Island potatoes.   Mineola,1974  Photo/Archive: Tim Darnell


lirr_212_SG_block_6-07-1968_RichardMakse.jpg (96158 bytes)“Shelter Island Express”     Julian Tillis was engineer, Bob Emery conductor and I was the attendant on the early season (one parlor) version of the Shelter Island Express. Since it ran express from Jamaica to Riverhead, it always caught up with the preceding Ronkonkoma local before the latter cleared the SG-DK block. We were on-time in Riverhead. I frequently worked the SI Express since I got home early and the tips were better than the Montauks. Info: Richard Makse

LIRR train #212 at SG block [Brentwood] 6/07/1968 Photo/Archive: Richard Makse

 January 24, 1971 Pine Aire Pilgrim Hospital Switch Derailment

"Sabotage causes young trainman's death" 01/24/1971 Collection: Al Castelli

Pine Aire Pilgrim switch derailment of LIRR #201 Photos: 1/25/1971 Jim Mardiguian


The LIRR's wreck train and crew, under Wreckmaster Jimmy Van Time, worked through Sunday night, January 24 and Monday morning to rerail a seven car train after it was derailed by an open switch.

In addition to LIRR personnel, a small army of firemen from neighboring communities responded to the emergency remaining through the night until all passengers and injured had been removed from the wreckage. 

There was one fatality: ticket collector Donald J. Wheeler of North Babylon. LIRR police joined with Suffolk County authorities to pinpoint the cause of the derailment. Verdict: Unknown youths deliberately reversed the switch which caused the train to leave the tracks at the Pilgrim State Hospital spur. 

Long Island METRO LINES page 7 Photos: Art Huneke Collection: Al Castelli



This occurred at the location of the Pilgrim switch and hospital spur which, at that time, lead directly off the single-tracked Main Line.   As a result of a deadly, vandal-related derailment that occurred at this location on January 24, 1971, the old, stone, overgrade crossing of the former private road just to the west of here was solidly filled in and Pine Aire siding was installed.  Access to the Pilgrim switch was moved from its former, direct, Main Line location to a point along the new siding, to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening again.  (Dave Keller data)

In addition, as a result, all of the distant signals between PW and Ronkonkoma (12 of them, I think) were converted to eliminate their “caution” aspects for “restricting” aspects. Jeff Erlitz

1970's  New Hyde Park - New Hyde Park Rd Crossing Collision

New-Hyde-Park-Rd-Accident_1970's.jpg (342310 bytes)New Hyde Park Rd in the 1970's - A car went around gates. The article states '...the second major delay this week..." Might this be near the July 13, 1973 New Hyde Park Grade Crossing Collision when a mail truck was struck by a LIRR passenger train in New Hyde Park? - NEWSDAY photo

1970's  Massapequa Park - Park Blvd.  Crossing Collision

Massapequa-Park_Park-Blvd-Accident_1970's.jpg (90503 bytes) Park Blvd and Sunrise Hwy. - NEWSDAY photo

April 5, 1973  Chapel Ave., East Patchogue Grade Crossing Collision

Westbound LIRR passenger train and northbound auto at Chapel Ave.,  East Patchogue on Thursday April 5, 1973 at 7:30a.m.
The Long Island Advance
- 4/12/1973   Archive: New York State Historic Newspapers Project, and Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, Patchogue-Medford Library.  Research: Gary Lutz, Librarian

July 13, 1973  New Hyde Park Grade Crossing Collision

Wreck_New-Hyde-Park_7-13-1973.jpg (155024 bytes)On July 13, 1973, a mail truck was struck by an LIRR passenger train in New Hyde Park. There were conflicting reports as to how and why the truck driver drove through the safety gate, causing the collision with the Huntington-bound train. Five passengers sustained minor injuries, and the truck driver, who was charged with driving while intoxicated, was hospitalized with leg and hip fractures. Here, firefighters inspect the scene of the crash. Photo Credit: Newsday/Karen Wiles

February 15, 1974  Chapel Ave., East Patchogue Grade Crossing Collision

The Chapel Ave. grade crossing in East Patchogue vehicle accident occurred at 3:10pm Tuesday. One car was involved with the westbound passenger train. The driver, traveling north, was injured and taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital.
The crossing is protected by signs, one of which was eliminated by the ac
cident.   Archive: John Jett

 March 7, 1975  Chapel Ave., East Patchogue Grade Crossing Collision

The Chapel Ave. grade crossing in East Patchogue vehicle accident occurred at 9:20pm Friday 3/07/1975. One northbound car was involved with the westbound passenger train. The crossing has no gates or signs.
The Long Island Advance - 3/13/1975   Archive: New York State Historic Newspapers Project, and Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, Patchogue-Medford Library.  Research: Gary Lutz, Librarian

 August 18, 1976  GP38-2 at "AG" Amagansett derails

GP38-2 #250 runs aground at "AG" siding View W - Archive: Sheppard C. Webb

 Amagansett LIRR 1966 map

I was the third trick chief that night. A westbound from Montauk ran through the west switch at AG with the switch being in the reverse position. Why that was, I don't remember. This, of course, bent the switch points but had no effect on the westbound train. No 2 used to run from Jamaica to Montauk at 1:02 AM arriving at Montauk at 3:56 AM. Although we weren't supposed to know, the train oftentimes didn't stop at stations unless the crew signaled the engineer that there was actually a passenger that needed to detrain. When No 2 got to the west switch AG, it was moving much faster than it would have, if it had made the stop. When the train hit the bent points, that caused the derailment. I remember the wreck train we sent to assist derailed as well and an 80 ton wrecker going out by road wound up with a number of flat tires and was also delayed. Info: Train Dispatcher

May 26, 1977  Derail at Westhampton

Photograph taken of  LIRR diesel engine No. 615 and passenger cars after a derailment in Westhampton on May 26, 1977.  Photo: Ziel, Ron - Collection; Queens Public Library Digital Archive; Restored photo: Chris Klug

August 15, 1977  SW1001 #100 at Yardmaster's Office, LI City

SW1001 #100 Derailment at Yardmaster's Office, 53rd Ave. under the Pulaski Skyway, LI City  View W 8/15/1977
Archive: Dave Keller

March 14, 1982 Herricks Rd., Mineola Grade Crossing Collision

Wreck_Mineola_3-14-1982.jpg (118401 bytes)On March 14, 1982, nine teenagers were killed and another was critically injured when a van that went around a closed crossing gate and was struck by an eastbound LIRR passenger train at Herricks Rd., Mineola at 4:22 PM. Here, police and firefighters inspect the wreckage of the van. Photo Credit: UPI

August 24, 1984 LIRR Passenger Derailed at Babylon Station

On Aug. 24, 1984, a westbound LIRR train derailed as it switched tracks at the Babylon station, causing minor injuries to passengers aboard. One of the cars jumped the platform and struck a concrete pillar. Photo Credit: Newsday/Jim Cummins  Wreck_Babylon-Station_8-24-1984.jpg (75432 bytes)











Wreck_Babylon_8-24-1984_JimCummins.jpg (72211 bytes)A derailed westbound LIRR train sits in the Babylon station on Friday Augost 24, 1984. Photo Credit: Newsday/Jim Cummins









I was in the high tension dept at the time. After they pushed the wreck back west with a diesel boys from the Comm Dept and our gang ran cables from out truck bed winches over the car and drag/rolled it down the embankment into the parking lot northwest of the station where it was cut up by the fire department (they wanted the practice) and hauled away on flatbeds to the bone yard east of Shea stadium where it resides to this day. It was really cool and an incredible example of thinking outside the box by the guys in charge of removing it. Info: Neal Shovlin





Babylon derailment - NEWSDAY 5/30/1984 Archive: Dave Morrison

November 24, 1987 Freight Derailed in Deer Park

Wreck_Deer-Park-Freight_11-24-1987_Newday.jpg (107382 bytes)On Nov. 24, 1987, a freight train derailed west of the LIRR station in Deer Park when four freight cars left the track and crashed 25 feet down the embankment. No injuries were reported. Here, Patty Koliner of Copiague, the owner of a pet motel on Long Island Avenue in Deer Park, looks at the aftermath of the derailment, which occurred right in front of her business. Photo Credit: Newsday/Dick Kraus

August 26, 1988 LIRR Passenger Train Crash Huntington, NY

Wreck_Huntington_8-26-1988.jpg (109056 bytes)On Aug. 26, 1988, a westbound LIRR train derailed after it struck a flatbed trailer at the Park Avenue crossing in Huntington, injuring 18 people aboard. LIRR officials blamed the crash on the driver of the flatbed, which got stuck straddling the tracks. Photo Credit: Newsday/ Dick Kraus








Here, an aerial view of a derailed westbound LIRR train after it struck a flatbed trailer at the Park Avenue crossing in Huntington on Aug. 26, 1988. The derailment, which left 18 people injured, caused an estimated $2.5 million in damage to cars, engines, track, signals and a lumberyard adjacent to the tracks where one of the cars came to rest. Photo Credit: Newsday/ Cliff DeBear

















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LIRR  wreck from grade crossing accident in Huntington, NY. The Alco power pack  LIRR #606 was a total loss and eventually scrapped after being towed back  to Morris Park.  Photos are from Aug 28, 1988 by Al Castelli
A LIRR westbound passenger train crashed into a tractor-trailer stuck at a grade crossing in Huntington, NY, about 8 P.M. Thursday night, derailing five cars and the locomotive, tearing up hundreds of feet of track and scattering debris. Eighteen people were slightly injured in the collision, which occurred about a mile east of Huntington.. The impact of the crash about one mile east of the Huntington station was so great that it toppled the diesel engine, throwing one railroad car into a lumberyard and another into a parked train on another track.

May 2, 1989  Wyandanch Grade Crossing Crash

Wreck_Wyandanch_5-2-1989.jpg (99335 bytes)On May 2, 1989, an eastbound LIRR train collided with a car near the Wyandanch station at Straight Path and Long Island Avenue. A 24-year-old passenger in the vehicle was taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises. Photo Credit: Newsday/Dan Neville

January 6, 1990   Willis Ave., Mineola Grade Crossing Crash

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Mineola accident 1/16/1990 Newsday, page 19 Archive: Dave Morrison

There was a track circuit problem on Track 1 during the AM rush causing the trains to move slowly and bunch up together to the point that the crossing gates remained down; before the crossings could be protected. Train #2015, last stop Bethpage, came up Track 2 at MAS (maximum authorized speed) and struck the automobile whose driver had lost patience and operated around the downed gates. The accident happened at Willis Avenue and the car was dragged along by the train causing the engine block to be propelled into the building. The train stopped in Mineola station.

The building was a MOW section house used to store material and shelter employees between assignments. My recollection, which may not be correct, is that the building was damaged by the fire, but remained in service. I specifically recall that Ed Wheeler was the Section D train dispatcher and Marian Carbone was the operator at Nassau. Bob Alley, Jr., now retired, was the engineer. Bill Jeffries responded to the scene. Account compliments of: Ray Kenny

May 11, 1992   Bellport Station

Per Newsweek "A Long Island Rail Road train on May 11, 1992, rammed a truck stuck on the tracks in at the Bellport Station in East Patchogue with a load of 21 tons of concrete drainage vaults, injuring 16 people and delaying 1,800 commuters."

Wreck at Bellport Station  5/11/1992
Archive: Moshe Arzooan

March 10, 1993   Bellerose Freight Derailment 

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Bellerose Freight Derailment Newsday 03/11/1993
"Nine of the 15 cars on the eastbound freight train derailed at about 11:45 a.m." said Michael Charles, a LIRR spokesman.

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Bellerose Freight Derailment 3/10/1993  - Archive: Scott Niagara 

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                      Bellerose Freight Derailment Newsday 03/12/1993

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Bellerose Freight Derailment 3/11/1993 - Archive: Scott Niagara

December 16, 1995  Westbury - Covert Ave Grade Crossing Crash

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"Death at the Crossroads"  Sunday NEWSDAY front page of Covert Ave., New Hyde Park suicide crash of 12/16/1995

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All material courtesy of William Gilligan

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September 15, 1996  North Lindenhurst Grade Crossing Crash

Wreck_North-Lindenhurst_9-15-1996.jpg (76359 bytes)On Sept. 15, 1996, an eastbound LIRR train derailed after it collided with a vehicle at the Wellwood Avenue crossing in North Lindenhurst. The driver of the vehicle was killed. Here, emergency personnel at the scene hours after the fatal crash. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

November 8, 1996  Derailment near the Great Neck Station

On Nov. 8, 1996, a westbound LIRR train derailed near the Great Neck station. The incident was deemed weather-related. Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

c. 1/1998  FL9 Morris Park Turntable 

  FL9 #301 dropped the front truck in the Morris Park turntable after the belly tank bottomed on the end of the rail on 19 track.
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

April 9, 1998  Speonk Yard 

Wreck-Speonk-Yard_LIRR-165_4-9-1998_ScottNiagara.jpg (112266 bytes)Speonk Yard, 4/09/1998 mid reconstruction into the modern configuration. Archive: Scott Niagara

March 17, 1999  Glen Street Station - Truck Wreck at Elm St. Crossing 

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Wreck at Elm Ave crossing near Glen St. Station involving LIRR FA #607 westbound and a lowboy truck. 3/17/1999 Archive: Gregory Nelson

By Kieran Crowely  March 18, 1999 | 5:00am

I just took one look and jumped for my life. I hadn’t realized how big and powerful . . . it was.” DRIVER COLIN CAMPBELL

A truck driver miraculously escaped death yesterday when a Long Island Rail Road train rammed into his tractor-trailer on a grade crossing in Glen Cove, L.I. “I just took one look and jumped for my life,” said driver Colin Campbell, 52, of Merrick, L.I. “I hadn’t realized how big and powerful a train it was until I looked out and saw it coming.”

The train, on the Oyster Bay line, was heading into the city with 75 passengers aboard at 9:48 a.m. when the collision occurred at the Elm Avenue crossing, 200 feet east of the Glen Cove station. The crash came barely a day after a tragic Illinois crossing accident in which an Amtrak train plowed into a truck on the tracks and derailed, killing 11 and injuring scores of others.
NOTE:  This is the LIRR Glen Street Station located in Glen Cove, not the Glen Cove Station. 

Things turned out differently in Glen Cove. The train did not derail and nobody was seriously hurt. “He’s lucky to be alive,” a woman who answered the door at Campbell’s house in Merrick told The Post. The accident still caused a mess and disrupted service on the Oyster Bay line.

Campbell’s truck was carrying a huge backhoe that toppled over during the accident. Eyewitnesses said the truck appeared to have stalled or been stuck on the tracks when the crash occurred on the crossing, which is at the top of a hilly street. The train whistle blew loudly and the brakes screeched as Campbell and witnesses looked on helplessly.

Bob Basile had parked his truck near the crossing, but moved it just before the crash. “I heard someone yell, ‘There’s a truck stuck on the railroad tracks. Call the cops,'” said the 43-year-old construction worker. “It was a loud bang. I saw the machine flipping over. It was a lot of rumbling. It was very scary. I’m still shaking – after reading [about the Amtrak crash] this morning.

Basile said Campbell told him he was “stuck on the track” and “didn’t see no gates” at the crossing indicating a train was coming. But, LIRR spokesman Tom Kelly said the gate and flashing lights at the crossing were working before the crash occurred. Kelly said the LIRR is investigating whether the truck was overweight and required a permit to cross the tracks. He said there was no record that the owner, LaFata Construction Corp. of Massapequa, L.I., had requested one.

Campbell has at least one driving problem in his past. He was convicted of driving while impaired in 1984, said Glen Cove Mayor Tom Suozzi. But a LaFata executive defended Campbell.
“He’s an excellent driver,” said Dorothy LaFata. “He was moving an excavator from one site to another. He’s too good a driver to have stalled on the tracks.”

Campbell was treated and released at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. He was given medication for a sore back. 

The Glen Street incident appears to have resulted in lowboy crossing signs installed warning of this hazard. 
Oyster Bay, west of station c.2000  Photo/Archive: Steven Lynch: 

January 24, 2001  Greenlawn Passenger Train Derailment 

On Jan. 24, 2001, an LIRR train with about 110 people aboard derailed just east of the Stony Hollow Road overpass in Greenlawn. Here, firefighters help passengers get off of the train. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

August 6, 2001  Greenlawn Passenger Train Derailment 

Wreck_Amityville_8-6-2001.jpg (91897 bytes)On Aug. 6, 2001, an eastbound LIRR train on the Babylon line derailed on the County Line Road bridge near the Amityville station after a train car struck an object and an electrical fire erupted on the third rail. Photo Credit: Newsday/Joe Turner

August 13, 2001  Syosset Passenger Train Derailment 

On Aug. 13, 2001, an LIRR passenger train derailed just east of South Woods Road near the Syosset station. Photo Credit: Newsday/Michael E. Ach

February 17, 2003  Port Washington Station Derailment 

Wreck_Port-Washington-Station_2-17-2003.jpg (76245 bytes)On Feb. 17, 2003, an LIRR employee looks at a train that derailed at the Port Washington station. Photo Credit: Newsday/Michael E. Ach

March 11, 2004  LIRR #160 Runaway Bushwick Branch

lirr160bushwickbranchaccident03-10-2004.jpg (42505 bytes)On March 11, 2004, about 2:18p.m.. the crew of a LIRR train, assigned to reposition equipment in various locations, left a locomotive (LIRR #160) unattended with only its air brakes applied. The locomotive was left on a descending grade in the Fresh Pond yard of the New York & Atlantic Railway (NYAR) in Queens , NY . The locomotive rolled away and traveled through the yard and onto the Bushwick Branch of the NYAR, where it passed over seven passive grade crossings and struck numerous vehicles before coming to a stop. Four occupants of three struck vehicles were seriously injures. A fire occurred when the engine came to a stop, after its collision with the last two vehicles. The LIRR estimated equipment damages of $83,000, the NYAR estimated minimal damages.  National Transportation Safety Board 

March 11, 2004: A driverless, out-of-control LIRR locomotive roared through several crossings near the Queens-Brooklyn border yesterday, hitting five vehicles and injuring four people, two of them critically.

The engine plowed through the cars as they crossed the tracks at three spots along the little-used Bushwick branch, leaving behind a path of destruction and burning debris, officials said.

The engine traveled nearly 1 1/2 miles after it came loose from two other locomotives at around 2:10 p.m. and meandered down the freight line during an engine change at the Fresh Pond Yard behind Rentar Plaza Shopping Center in Middle Village , officials said.

Mayor Bloomberg said the cause is under investigation. "Either the brakes weren't set or they failed," he said. "We don't have an answer as to why." Bloomberg said the crew working at the yards will be interviewed by police and tested for alcohol and drugs as part of the investigation. "The thing we should remember here is that we were lucky," said Bloomberg, who toured the crash site with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state agency that oversees the LIRR. "This could have been a much worse tragedy. Thank God it was not."

The runaway engine - traveling about 10 to 15 mph - hit a white car at an ungated crossing at 54th Street and Flushing Avenue in Maspeth at 2:11 p.m., leaving two men critically injured. They were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and listed last night in critical condition after undergoing surgery.

Demetrius Cuffie, 37, suffered several broken bones in his upper body and Jason Kusinitz, 33, suffered head and internal injuries and had to have his spleen removed. "We're all very nervous and concerned," said Kusinitz's brother Ian. "It doesn't make sense." Andrew Wigler, Kusinitz's lawyer, said the family "had no understanding" of how the accident could have occurred. "It would seem that there should have been multiple safeguards in place to prevent a happening of this sort."

Cuffie and Kusinitz are co-workers at a car-rental agency in Maspeth. Kusinitz's brother David is a cop assigned to the 109th Precinct in Queens . Witnesses said they saw the locomotive slam into the car, debris flying into the air as the engine rammed it.

"The car was like an accordion," said witness Lisa DaVino, 27. "It sounded like a bomb had gone off." Vincent Grauso, 21, who also saw the accident, said the locomotive hit the car with such force, it appeared to melt before his eyes. "It was pretty gory. The car was mangled from top to bottom," he said. "The men weren't moving at all. It was really awful."

The black and white locomotive then barreled into two other cars on Woodward Avenue at 2:14 p.m., injuring two others. Meir Mahlab, 72, a retired rabbi, and Sister Ave Clark, 59, a nun with the Amityville Dominican Order on Long Island were also taken to Elmhurst in stable condition. Mahlab's wife, Linda, said he was unable to tell her the details of the crash. "He just said, 'My spine, my spine,' " she said. "He's in a lot of pain, he could hardly talk."

Seconds after that impact, the locomotive hit two trucks owned by the New York and Atlantic Railway a few blocks away, over the Brooklyn border near Onderdonk Avenue . The impact sparked a minor fire near some tanks containing acetylene and oxygen, fire officials said. "I heard a big bang," said witness Xavier Zevallos, a warehouse manager who was working nearby. "All I could see was smoke and fire down the tracks."

One of the trucks was parked on the tracks because workers were doing repairs when the locomotive bore down on them, officials said. The engine came to a halt moments later, just a few blocks away at the end of the line when part of the truck got wedged under it, officials said. The Fire Department said no one was injured in that crash. Firefighters had the blaze under control at 3:08 p.m., officials said.

The locomotive was still running when FDNY Lt. William Pickett, who was at the scene to help those injured in the crash, jumped aboard. "The truck was still burning," he said. "That's when I climbed into the back of the train and into the engineer's compartment and applied the brake."

Residents of the area near the last crash said trains usually come through the crossing very slowly, its horn blowing, and often with a crew member standing outside. There are no gates, lights or bells at the crossing, but there are warning yellow signs.
Alex Ginsburg, Doug Montero and Clemente Lisi
Courtesy of: New York Post

By Nicholas Hirshon 
DAILY NEWS Writer  Wednesday, December 5th 2007, 4:00 AM 

WRECK 03/04/2004

Scattered wreckage was tossed after a LIRR locomotive smashed into cars and trucks in Ridgewood in March 2004.

Nearly four years after a runaway train incident injured four people, freight railroad tracks through Queens and Brooklyn are set to undergo a year-long series of safety changes. A new state report unveiled last week includes a policy requiring trains to stop and wait for crews to flag them through crossings along the seldom-used Long Island Rail Road branch where the out-of-control locomotive accident occurred in Ridgewood in March 2004. 

The order also calls for more X-shaped signage - known as crossbucks - as well as yield signs and pavement markings at crossings throughout the two boroughs. 

Skip Carrier, a state Transportation Department spokesman, said the long-awaited changes were the result of a "full, thorough hearing process." But locals affected by the 2004 accident wondered why officials didn't push for any crossing gates. 

"I'm afraid what they're doing there is just putting up new signs - and to me, signs at that area don't mean anything," said Sister Ave Clark, 63, who was hurt when the train hit her car at 15 mph. 

Because the crew failed to secure the unmanned freight train, the 120-ton locomotive chugged without warning along tracks leased by the LIRR to New York and Atlantic Railway. That was moments after the train crashed at 55th St. into a car carrying Jason Kusinitz, now 36, who was put in a medically induced coma and still undergoes mental and physical therapy. 

His older brother, Adam, panned the state hearings into the incident as a "dog and pony show." Residents at a July meeting asked for crossing gates, but transportation officials rejected the request. "I don't see how they can come up with any logical explanation to not have gate crossings," Adam Kusinitz said. "If something was manned or unmanned coming down the tracks, the gate would prevent another tragedy." 

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, who supports more signage along the tracks, is still "not certain that's enough" to make them safe, her spokesman Dan Andrews said. The 20-page report also asks for the city and state to mull the installation of overhead LED lights at two crossings: Morgan and Metropolitan Aves. in Brooklyn and 56th St. and Flushing Ave. West in Queens. If officials agree to install LED lights, they must be operational within a year. If not, the overhead signs will include flashing red lights instead.

Long Island Rail Road track in Ridgewood to undergo safety changes

Courtesy of New York Post

03-11-2004lirr-crash.jpg (44357 bytes)March 11, 2004 -- A driverless, out-of-control LIRR locomotive roared through several crossings near the Queens-Brooklyn border yesterday, hitting five vehicles and injuring four people, two of them critically.

The engine plowed through the cars as they crossed the tracks at three spots along the little-used Bushwick branch, leaving behind a path of destruction and burning debris, officials said.

The engine traveled nearly 1 1/2 miles after it came loose from two other locomotives at around 2:10 p.m. and meandered down the freight line during an engine change at the Fresh Pond Yard behind Rentar Plaza Shopping Center in Middle Village , officials said.

Mayor Bloomberg said the cause is under investigation. "Either the brakes weren't set or they failed," he said. "We don't have an answer as to why." Bloomberg said the crew working at the yards will be interviewed by police and tested for alcohol and drugs as part of the investigation. "The thing we should remember here is that we were lucky," said Bloomberg, who toured the crash site with officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state agency that oversees the LIRR. "This could have been a much worse tragedy. Thank God it was not."

The runaway engine - traveling about 10 to 15 mph - hit a white car at an ungated crossing at 54th Street and Flushing Avenue in Maspeth at 2:11 p.m., leaving two men critically injured. They were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and listed last night in critical condition after undergoing surgery.

Demetrius Cuffie, 37, suffered several broken bones in his upper body and Jason Kusinitz, 33, suffered head and internal injuries and had to have his spleen removed. "We're all very nervous and concerned," said Kusinitz's brother Ian. "It doesn't make sense."

Andrew Wigler, Kusinitz's lawyer, said the family "had no understanding" of how the accident could have occurred. "It would seem that there should have been multiple safeguards in place to prevent a happening of this sort."

Cuffie and Kusinitz are co-workers at a car-rental agency in Maspeth. Kusinitz's brother David is a cop assigned to the 109th Precinct in Queens .

Witnesses said they saw the locomotive slam into the car, debris flying into the air as the engine rammed it. "The car was like an accordion," said witness Lisa DaVino, 27. "It sounded like a bomb had gone off."

Vincent Grauso, 21, who also saw the accident, said the locomotive hit the car with such force, it appeared to melt before his eyes. "It was pretty gory. The car was mangled from top to bottom," he said. "The men weren't moving at all. It was really awful."

The black and white locomotive then barreled into two other cars on Woodward Avenue at 2:14 p.m., injuring two others.

Meir Mahlab, 72, a retired rabbi, and Sister Ave Clark, 59, a nun with the Amityville Dominican Order on Long Island were also taken to Elmhurst in stable condition.

Mahlab's wife, Linda, said he was unable to tell her the details of the crash. "He just said, 'My spine, my spine,' " she said. "He's in a lot of pain, he could hardly talk."

Seconds after that impact, the locomotive hit two trucks owned by the New York and Atlantic Railway a few blocks away, over the Brooklyn border near Onderdonk Avenue .

The impact sparked a minor fire near some tanks containing acetylene and oxygen, fire officials said. "I heard a big bang," said witness Xavier Zevallos, a warehouse manager who was working nearby. "All I could see was smoke and fire down the tracks."

One of the trucks was parked on the tracks because workers were doing repairs when the locomotive bore down on them, officials said. The engine came to a halt moments later, just a few blocks away at the end of the line when part of the truck got wedged under it, officials said.

The Fire Department said no one was injured in that crash. Firefighters had the blaze under control at 3:08 p.m., officials said.   

April 12, 2004 LI City Derailment
On April 12, 2004, workers and investigators at the scene after an LIRR train derailed near the Long Island City Passenger Yard in Queens. Photo Credit: Jason DeCrow

July 6, 2006  Empty Car Derailed
On July 6, 2006, an empty LIRR car derailed outside a tunnel leading to Penn Station. The car, with no passengers, came off the tracks around 2:30 a.m. and caused delays of up to 30 minutes on parts of the LIRR system. Photo Credit: AP/Aaron Jackson

January 8, 2008 Edgewood Freight Derailment
Wreck_Edgewood-Freight_1-8-2008.jpg (89955 bytes)On Jan. 8, 2008, a freight train derailed on the westbound tracks at Pine Aire Drive in Edgewood, dumping construction material out of the train. No injuries were reported. Photo Credit: James Carbone


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LIRR Train # 714 (9:35am Flatbush Ave-Hempstead) and LIRR Train #1618 (9:34am NYPenn-Huntington). 

The last two cars of the 9:35am AM FBA train derailed when arriving at Jamaica. Cars # 7627-28 The two trains collided between tracks 7 and 8. They collided with unoccupied cars of the 9:34am NYP train. Cars #7773-74
LIRR indicates the Huntington train was already in the station and the Hempstead train was just pulling in and didn't cross over the tracks onto track 8 properly, when the derailment occurred. The rear 2 cars derailed and collided with the Huntington train on track 7. WWOR TV reports 20 minor injuries.

November 23, 2008 Eastbound Passenger Train Derailment at Jamaica 
Wreck_Jamaica-Station_11-24-2008.jpg (85892 bytes)On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees look at an eastbound passenger train that derailed at the Jamaica station a day earlier. The rear three cars derailed, with one car jackknifing over three separate tracks, the railroad said. No passengers were injured. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert
Wreck_Jamaica-Station-platform-view_1-24-2008.jpg (63562 bytes)On Nov. 24, 2008, LIRR employees work to remove a jackknifed car at the Jamaica station. The rear three cars of an eastbound train derailed a day earlier, with one car jackknifing over three separate tracks, the railroad said. No passengers were injured. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

May 2, 2009  Carleton Avenue, Central Islip - 1 dead.

February 14, 2009  Robbins Lane, Syosset. - 1 dead.

May 17, 2011  Deer Park - 1 dead. The May 17th, 2011 incident was at Executive Drive when a bakery truck driver tried to go around the gates. That hit was so hard, the train launched the truck 10 feet in the air. Executive Drive has to be the most hazardous on the Ronkonkoma Branch even when there is no train involved. Several 18-wheelers have gotten stuck on the barriers/tracks, the signals have almost been pulverized, train/vehicle collisions etc. Matthew Kobel

August 8, 2011 Great Neck - Two Train Collision
Wreck_Great-Neck_two-trains_8-8-2011.jpg (96600 bytes)Officials stand on the platform at the Great Neck LIRR station where two eastbound trains collided and derailed on August 8, 2011. A slow-moving eastbound train with no passengers "bumped" a stationary train also with no passengers at Great Neck about 7 a.m. No one was hurt. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

June 11, 2012  Near Route 111, Islip - 1 dead.

October 10, 2012  LI City Derailment
Wreck_LI-City_10-10-2012.jpg (84220 bytes)On Oct. 10, 2012 Police stand near a disabled LIRR passenger sitting on the tracks after it derailed in Long Island City. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

January 22, 2013  2nd Street in Brentwood - 2 dead

May 10, 2013   Near Brentwood - 1 dead.

June 4, 2013  Two Work Trains Collide in Westbury
Wreck_Westbury-MOW-collision_6-4-2013_Newsday.jpg (148135 bytes)On June 4, 2013, two LIRR work trains collided in Westbury, injuring five employees and causing one of the trains to derail. Here, rescue workers use a stretcher to remove one of the injured workers from the crash scene. 
Photo Credit: Joseph C. Sperber Archive: Newsday

June 17, 2013  Eastbound Train from NY PENN Derailment
Wreck_NY-Penn_6-17-2013_Newsday.jpg (100633 bytes)A 10-car Hempstead-bound train derailed just after leaving the Penn Station platform on track 14 on June 17, 2013. The accident caused massive rush hour delays, and forced the evacuation of about 800 people from the train. There were no injuries. Photo Credit: Newsday/Craig Ruttle

March 10, 2014 A Metro-North Railroad electrician is fatally struck by a northbound train near milepost 3.2 at Control Point 3 interlocking in Manhattan. The electrician was one of three employees attempting to re-energize tracks that had been out of service for maintenance.

February 3, 2015  Six people are killed after a Metro-North commuter train strikes a sport utility vehicle in Valhalla that was stopped on the tracks.

March 30, 2015  Wyandanch Turnout Derailment at  MP34.5

The freight car damaged in the incident is property of the New York and Atlantic Railway and was carrying a full load of lumber when it derailed on a passing siding just west of 18th St. at MP34.5. The derailed car came to rest on its side and in a location that made it impossible to re-rail without first off-loading the lumber. LIRR workers cut away security fencing made of high-gauge steel, enabling NY&A to bring in the machinery needed to remove the lumber Monday night.

The LIRR then assisted NY&A in removing the damaged freight car, cutting it into pieces rather than trying to re-rail it, and discovered the full extent of the damage done to its communications infrastructure. The derailed car had knocked down a utility pole, sliced through wires and cables and crushed signal machinery. 

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NYA RS80 Wyandanch view NE 3/30/2015 
Photo: James Carbone
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NYA RS80 Wyandanch view E 3/30/2015 
Photo: James Carbone
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Wyandanch view SW 3/30/2015 2000 gallons of diesel fuel, derailed cut fuel tank, large fuel spill 500+ gallons diesel on the ground.

May 12, 2015   Eight passengers are killed and more than 200 others transported to area hospitals after a Northbound Amtrak train derails near Philadelphia, Pa

July 17, 2015  Eastbound/Westbound Passenger Trains Collide at HALL Interlocking
Jamaica-accident_HALL-interlocking_train 1730-viewW_7-18-15.jpg (49564 bytes)

Two LIRR trains collided with each other east of Jamaica Friday night. Around 6:00p on Friday night, the lead car of an eastbound Huntington train collided with the leading locomotive of a westbound Montauk train in HALL interlocking just east of Jamaica.  Newsday articles: 7/18-19/2015

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September 15, 2015  Derailed freight car in Westbury
Wreck_Westbury-freight -car-derailed_9-15-2015_Newsday.jpg (153857 bytes)On Sept. 15, 2015, repair crews work on clearing a derailed freight car from the LIRR tracks in Westbury. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp Archive: Newsday

HICKSVILLE (WABC) -- By Kristin Thorne Tuesday, September 15, 2015 8:20PM
Two cars out of a 16-car freight train derailed west of Hicksville on Tuesday, officials tell Eyewitness News. The freight train is operated by New York and Atlantic. No injuries were reported. It is unclear what caused the cars carrying construction materials to derail. One track was taken out of service. Emergency crews planned to bring in a crane to remove the train from the tracks, then inspect the 100 foot section of track that was damaged.

Normal Long Island Rail Road service has resumed westbound. Service was suspended due to a freight train derailment west of Hicksville. Even though service has resumed, LIRR customers were advised that some residual delays were possible. [West of Wantagh Pkwy overpass, MP23: Steven Lynch]

YA train configured with power at the west end, loaded construction debris cars at the head, followed by empty aggregate hoppers, followed by about 5 more loaded C/D cars. The last two cars were on the ground, with the first upright and still attached to the end of the train, and the last tipped northwards off it's trucks, with the trucks right in the vicinity of Divide 1-21 crossover. LIRR had an almost inconceivably high number of people on the ground. Very quick response. Dave Barraza

March 22, 2016: Elijahs Lane in Mattituck - 1 dead.

October 8, 2016  New Hyde Park eastbound collision with MOW Train
Wreck_New-Hyde-Park_Passenger-MOW-collision_10-8-2016.jpg (117141 bytes)On Oct. 8, 2016, an eastbound Huntington train derailed just east of New Hyde Park after it struck a work train that errantly veered onto the same track. Officials said the accident, which injured 33 people, was caused by a track switch left in the wrong position. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp Archive: Newsday

November 6, 2016  Eastbound Passenger Train crash in Central Islip 
Eastbound from Penn, NY crash with auto west of Carlton Ave., Central Islip  11/06/2016

January 4, 2017  Atlantic Terminal (Flatbush) Passenger Train crash into Bumping Block
On Jan. 4, 2017, more than 100 people were injured when a Brooklyn-bound LIRR train crashed through a bumping block at the end of the tracks at Atlantic Terminal. 
Photo Credit: AP/Aaron D. Neufeld

January 9, 2017  A motorist from Holtsville is killed when she swerves her car around a down crossing gate arm as a non-passenger Long Island Rail Road train approaches near Brentwood. - 1 dead

September 18, 2017  Deer Park Crash with Truck that drove around Crossing Gates

Deer-Park_truck-crash_9-18-2017.jpg (134930 bytes)New York Post: Man killed after driving into path of speeding LIRR train 

A 94-year-old man was killed when he drove around a road barrier and flashing lights into the path of a Long Island Rail Road train on Monday afternoon, sources say.

The LIRR train was coming from Penn Station and headed east toward Ronkonkoma when it crashed into the truck on the tracks at Deer Park at about 12:45 p.m, said MTA spokesman Aaron Donovan.

The crash caused the truck to go up in flames, said sources. The train was able to continue on its journey after a delay of about two hours. No one on the train was injured in the crash.

March, 3, 2018  Northport - 1 dead.

February 26, 2019  Westbury - School Street Passenger Train Crash
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Westbury - Aerial view W 2/26/2019 Archive: Newsday


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Westbury - Vehicle crash remains 2/26/2019 
Photo: Edmund J. Coppa/NY Post 
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Westbury - View W 2/26/2019 Archive: Newsday

It appears to be significant damage to the east end of Platform A at Westbury. The derailed M7 cars were 7425-7426.

Vehicle hit by LIRR trains was driving away from previous crash, witness told police
By Newsday Staff Updated February 27, 2019 8:09 PM

This story was reported by John Asbury, Robert Brodsky, Alfonso A. Castillo, Matthew Chayes, Stefanie Dazio, Deon J. Hampton, Antonio Planas, David M. Schwartz and Rachel Uda. It was written by Brodsky and Castillo.

The driver of a vehicle that caused a horrific Long Island Rail Road crash Tuesday evening, killing all three occupants, had fled the scene of a crash seconds before attempting to go around a railroad gate in Westbury and colliding with two trains, a witness told law enforcement at the scene. The vehicle, heading south on School Street around 7:20 p.m., had just been in a minor auto accident before fleeing the scene and being struck by a slow-moving eastbound train, Ryder said. The car then “spun out” and was hit again by a westbound train moving at “full” speed, Ryder said, relaying information from the driver of the other vehicle involved in the auto accident. "The witness said that individual was involved in an accident and then went around the gate,” Ryder said.

The vehicle was struck first by eastbound LIRR train No. 1260, carrying about 200 passengers, which left Penn Station at 6:35 p.m., with a final destination in Hicksville. Only seconds after the collision, the same vehicle was struck by westbound LIRR train No. 2605 carrying about 800 passengers, which left Ronkonkoma at 6:36 p.m. heading for Penn Station.

The vehicle was “sandwiched” between the trains and erupted into a fireball, killing its occupants, Ryder said. After the collision, the westbound train derailed and traveled about 800 feet before crashing into the concrete platform at the Westbury station, sending chunks of concrete into the air.

How the crash unfolded:

Eastbound 6:35 p.m. train leaves Penn Station with a final destination of Hicksville.
Westbound 6:36 p.m. train leaves Ronkonkoma.
About 7:20 p.m., vehicle is involved in minor car accident on School Street, a witness tells police.
Moments later, vehicle heads south to the School Street crossing, east of the Westbury train station, and goes around gate and flashing lights
Eastbound train leaving Westbury station hits vehicle in crossing, pushing it into path of oncoming westbound train
Seconds later westbound train hits vehicle
Vehicle trapped between trains, bursts into flames
Westbound train derails and crashes into concrete platform on north side of station.

On board the train: 'Everything came to a stop'
Newsday's Craig Schneider tells what it was like to be on the LIRR train that crashed.

When the train hit the car, it snapped me back to reality. I had boarded the train at the Farmingdale station to go home to Manhattan. I wasn't paying much attention to anything. I took a seat in the third or fourth car back from the front of the train. I felt the impact. The train car started wobbling, then rocking.

It’s probably nothing serious, I thought. The impact felt like, maybe, the engineer had hit the brakes too hard. The flames flaring up outside changed my mind. A young woman sitting across from me screamed when she saw the fire only a few feet away from her window. The train veered to the right. I thought the train was going out of control, that we had derailed. I tucked my head down toward my knees, the way a flight attendant tells you to do in a plane crash. The train was still grinding its way along, slowing. It was dark outside, so I couldn’t see much. I was judging things pretty much by sense and sound.  Then everything came to a stop. Silence. It was me and maybe two or three dozen people in the train car. A mom with two little kids. Two 20-something women. A woman dressed like she was coming from work. Some folks had suitcases. Nobody said anything for what seemed like a long time. I looked at the guy across from me, who I found out later was the husband of the woman who screamed. He looked at me and raised his eyebrows as if to say, "What just happened?" After the train hit the car, it rammed into a concrete platform at the station. I didn’t even know where we were. All of a sudden, an LIRR guy came hurrying into our car. He had a cellphone in his hand. He was staring at it, as if waiting for a call or waiting for his call to go through. “Don’t go anywhere,” he told us as he rushed up the aisle. I looked out the door, that somehow somebody had opened, and saw chunks of concrete from the platform on a grassy embankment. I thought how hard it was going to be to get people down that steep embankment. The people in my car started huddling together, trying to figure out what happened and what to do next. I could see the fire trucks and ambulances pulling up to the street. They kept coming and coming. I called my wife to tell her what happened, and that I was OK.

Emergency workers came rushing through our car, asking over and over and again whether anyone was hurt. The mother was in her seat, holding her two kids in her arms. They started whimpering. The emergency workers propped up a ladder to the door of the train car. Somebody said something about getting the kids out first, and the mom nervously handed her two kids, one by one, to the emergency workers who eased them down the ladder. I was supposed to go next down the ladder, but I wanted to stay on the train so I could take photos and talk to people. I told the first responders that, and a cop had a few choice words for me: “I’m sick of your [expletive]. Get down the ladder.”

It must have been a half-dozen steps or so. When I finally stepped on the ground, it was nothing but red-and-white flashing lights and earsplitting sirens. It was, of course, freezing cold outside, the kind of cold that bites into your bones and doesn’t let go for a long time. I felt bad for all the passengers standing in the cold, waiting for some way to get home. The authorities crammed about 30 of us into an indoor taxi stand. I took an Uber all the way into the city. And when I came through the door, I hugged my wife.

May 8, 2019  Farmingdale - Tractor-trailer at Merrits Rd. 
Farmingdale-Merrits-Ave_tractor-trailer+5-8-2019_Bill Mangahas.jpg (115878 bytes)At 5:40 PM Wednesday an M7 hit a tractor-trailer, destroyed a gate at the Merrits Rd. crossing in Farmingdale.
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

May 25, 2019  Speonk - Cannonball and a LIRR MOW train
Wreck-Speonk_no.511-Cannonball_5-25-2019.jpg (170847 bytes)3:16am Cannonball engine #511 sideswiped a LIRR MOW train, with a large fuel spill and derailment of both trains, during a passing maneuver.

The unofficial story is: the Cannonball and the eastbound were to perform a see-saw move at the Speonk passing siding.  The Cannonball was 14 units long, the siding holds 13. After its Speonk stop, the Eastbound was given a highball signal and moved out catching the trailing locomotive of the Cannonball.  Claims of new technology failures are being reported, (i.e. the new computerized signal system screwed up with the wrong aspect.)

The engineer of the Cannonball, not realizing his trailing unit was on the ground took HIS highball and dragged the sideways loco close to half a mile west, fouling the grade crossing before losing an air hose and going into emergency. Initial estimates of over one million dollars damage have been overheard! 

In the early hours of Saturday morning over Memorial Day Weekend in 2019, train 8700 (the 1:09a train from Jamaica to Montauk) carrying 32 passengers collided with a non-passenger equipment train 5785 (the equipment of the Cannonball train, returning empty from Montauk back to Jamaica), causing both trains to derail. No injuries were reported, but the incident destroyed hundreds of feet of track, caused significant damage to both trains, and resulted in significant service impacts for nearly 48 hours over the course of a busy holiday weekend.

Train 5785 was the return equipment of the Cannonball from the prior night, the railroad's longest scheduled passenger train at 14 units long (2 locomotives and 12 C-3 cars). It was waiting on the SK Freight Track siding just east of Speonk station for train 8700 to pass—but given that the siding is only 13 cars long, the rear locomotive fouled the siding's east switch. A report issued by the Federal Railroad Administration following the derailment pointed towards a loss of shunt on a track circuit as the primary cause of the incident. This falsely gave train 8700 a clear signal, and as it accelerated out of Speonk station, it collided with the east locomotive dangling off the end of the siding, causing portions of both trains to derail. 12/19/2023 08:30:00 PM by The LIRR Today

      Further details emerge via the NY Post 10/27/2019                    Speonk Accident NY Post 11/03/2019 Archive: Dave Morrison

June 14, 2019  Mastic - Jeep and a LIRR Non-passenger train
LIRR Train Crashes Into Jeep; Service Impacted
By Lisa Finn, Patch Staff   Jun 14, 2019 8:27 pm ET | Updated Jun 14, 2019 9:42 pm ET

MASTIC, NY - A Long Island Rail Road train slammed into a Jeep in Mastic Friday night. Suffolk County Police said Mastic Road in Mastic was closed in both directions between Mastic Boulevard and Patchogue Avenue after the report of a crash.

According to a LIRR media representative, train service on the LIRR Montauk Branch was temporarily suspended east of Mastic Shirley after a non-passenger train struck an unauthorized vehicle on the tracks east of the station.



Photo: Fully Involved Media Group LLC


August 19, 2019  East Rockaway - Car and LIRR empty passenger train
A car had been struck by a Westbound LIRR train and pushed 100 yards down the track with an occupant trapped inside the vehicle. It happened after 3:30 p.m. at the down crossing gates at Forest and Rocklyn avenues in East Rockaway.

The train did not have any passengers on board and witnesses say it was traveling at a slow speed.




Rocklyn Avenue, East Rockaway 8/19/2019 Photo:  Eat Rockaway Fire Department

November 22, 2019  Jamaica Station - Eastbound passenger train derailment

Reported to be a broken rail as of 11/23/2019. Jamaica train derailment 11/23/2019 Source: Newsday

June 17, 2021  Cold Spring Harbor - NY&A Freight and TC82 Geometry Car Collision

TC82 Geometry inspection car collision with rear of NY&A freight on 6/17/2021. Occurred on Track 1 westbound at Rogue's Path underpass, Cold Spring Harbor. Source: Newsday 7/03/2021






Rogues Path underpass, Cold Spring Harbor collision on Track 1 - View E 6/17/2021







NY&A #300 RS40 freight returning from DUKE was rear ended at Cold Spring Harbor by LIRR TC82 Geometry inspection car. Here, we see the train crew at the head end discussing their next plan of action - thankfully everyone was okay, and the scene was cleaned up around 7:30 in the evening.  6/17/2021 Photo/Archive: Joe Stroppel

January 29, 2022  Farmingdale Village - Passenger Train Car Collision
At 09:50AM, January 29, 2022, the Farmingdale Fire Department responded to a passenger train vs. car on Melville Rd and S. Front St. in Farmingdale. Two occupants of the auto got stuck on the tracks. When the gates came down a bystander got them out of the vehicle before it was struck by LIRR passenger train #8012.

August 3, 2023  Jamaica - 13 Hurt Passenger Train Derailment

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Crews are working to restore full service to the Long Island Rail Road ahead of Friday's morning commute after more than a dozen were people were injured when all eight cars of a train derailed in Queens on Thursday morning.  The FDNY said train 722 departed Grand Central and was heading toward Hempstead when it derailed east of Jamaica Station at 175th Street and 95th Avenue after 11 a.m.  There were 13 minor injuries. Nine of those injuries were minor, two were considered moderate and two were considered more serious.  Photo: MTA

Photo: nycsubwayfromabove.com

September 7, 2023  Jamaica -  MOW 2 Car Derailment
QUEENS VILLAGE, New York (WABC) -- LIRR crews completed the re-railing of two cars that had derailed on a work train Thursday, September 7, 2023 11:20PM.

The derailment caused major delays and cancellations during the afternoon commute as only two of the four tracks were available.  The train derailed between Queens Village and the Elmont-UBS Arena stations. The 16-car train was coming out of a yard when it derailed just after 10 a.m.  Seven percent of normal LIRR eastbound service (11 of the 159 trains) was canceled Thursday afternoon and the eastbound service that was operating ran with 15 to 20 minute delays.

Westbound service was significantly curtailed also. There was hourly service only (one train an hour) on the Ronkonkoma, Port Jefferson, Hempstead and Oyster Bay branches.  The repairs were completed around 8 p.m. and regular off-peak service resumed and continued through the night.  Customers were told to expect a full schedule Friday morning, however some trains may experience delays due to ongoing repair work.  No passengers were on board and no injuries were reported. WABC

The MOW derailment of empty dump gondolas, an ex-MNCR and LIRR, occurred at Queens Interlocking, Hillside on the crossover from MT1 to MT2.  Taylor Alan Peterson