Morris Park Station c.1910

DD1-341, 348-Morris Park Shops-Old Sign-Tichy Scheme-View NW-Jamaica-10-06-51 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (109278 bytes)
DD1 #341, 348 Morris Park Shops 
Old LIRR Sign Tichy Scheme View NW 
10/06/1951 (Faxon-Keller)



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Morris Park yard view NE 1964 Archive: Jay Bendersky

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Morris Park Yard c.1906 postcard 
Archive: Dave Morrison

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Entrance Sign Morris Park Shops 11/08/55 (Faxon-Keller)

      Morris Park Shops Photo: Steven Lynch c.1985

Named after the beautiful park built at the rear of the depot.  

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Morris Park Station c.1910 view E 
Archive: Dave Keller

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Morris Park Station 1912 with LIRR MP41 MU train eastbound at depot. Archive: Dave Keller

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Morris Park Station c.1939 
Archive: Art Huneke

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** Morris Park Station 10/18/1910
Archive: McEnery

Morris Park Station - Lefferts Boulevard
View NE 5/071934 (Sperr-Erlitz)
Note: Stacks at right are at Morris Park Shops.
Depot building is at far right behind greenery.

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View of the depot looking NE towards 120th St. crossing and the Morris Park Shops M of E 
office bldg. at 121st St. 5/07/1934

Percy Sperr photo, Dave Keller archive

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Crossing at 120th St. Atlantic Ave Morris Park close-up view NE 5/07/1934  Percy Sperr photo, Dave Keller archive

Crossing-120th St & Atlantic Ave-Morris Park-Queens (View NE) - 05-07-34 (Sperr-Keller) (2).jpg (168505 bytes)
This view is labeled as follows:

1.  Elevated crossing tower at 120th St. north of tracks
2.  Crossing shanty at 120th St. south of tracks
3.  Maintenance of Equipment (M of E) office bldg. at Morris  Park Shops
4.  2-car MU train
5.  Old wooden coaling tower at Morris Park Shops



** Morris Park Shops in distant left background. Elevated crossing shanty and shelter shed at left.  1886-era depot at right.  High–level, wooden platforms not yet installed.  Station stop out of service 11/1/39 and razed for grade elimination of Atlantic branch along Atlantic Avenue. This was one of the LIRR’s “rapid transit” stops which was discontinued as a result of the grade elimination project of 1939-1940. All research:  Dave Keller



Richmond Hill Station c.1905 View S
Station-Richmond Hill-c.1905.jpg (82585 bytes)
Emery_Richmond-Hill_pre-1924.jpg (327239 bytes)
Emery Richmond Hill - pre-1924 Archive: Dave Keller
Richmond Hill eastbound freight crossing Lefferts Blvd. 1971 Photo/Archive: Jim Mardiguian
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Richmond Hill Station colorized postcard - View E
at Hillside Ave. c.1905

Richmond Hill eastbound freight 1971
Photo/Archive: Jim Mardiguian
Richmond Hill elevated station, 7/27/2007
Photo/Archive: Kevin Wong


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Emery Richmond Hill - Composite: Forest Park Road to Jamaica Ave. pre-1924 and Jamaica Ave to "SHOPS" Station (1904-1906)

130th St., view NW 1950
Richmond Hill Storage Yard

While not exactly in the venue of Morris Park or its shops, this turntable was located directly across from Morris Park Shops and the Montauk branch embankment (see map on this page).  It was considered part of the Richmond Hill Storage Yard (visible in the background) and was located east of the yard and just west of the trainmen’s bldg / yardmaster’s office, north of the tracks.  It was used to turn observation cars for the parlor car trains or inspection trains, so the observation end could face the rear at all times. Research:  Dave Keller

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Richmond Hill car washer MP54 #4738 4/1968 Photo: George Basch
Archive: James Scullin

 S1-419, 415-Switchman's Shanty-Storage Yard-Richmond Hill-View E - 08-31-72  (Keller).jpg (130563 bytes)
LIRR S1 #419 (in Goodfellow scheme working the Receiving Yard) - LIRR S1 #415 (MTA scheme at left in the Advance Yard)  - Switchman's Shanty Richmond Hill Storage Yard  View E 8/31/72   Archive: Dave Keller

Notes: Trainmen's building  behind the shanty. Ex-Sheffield Farms Dairy owned by Sealtest Dairy Products in background. Just right of the tunnel you can see the roof of DUNTON tower with chimney. 

The Trainmen's building at the Richmond Hill Storage Yard is seen here in this photo (right) looking northeast on the north side of the Montauk branch embankment.  The building housed facilities for train crews awaiting their runs originating from the adjacent storage yard.  Men spent hours there eating their lunch, playing cards, napping, reading, yakking with each other and generally just killing time until they had to catch their trains.  The building had toilets, lockers, tables, benches and chairs.  In 1945 the tower was added atop to become the yardmaster's office to give him elevated visibility.  Directly east of this structure was the passenger-car-washing facility.  The Trainmen's building was demolished in recent years and was replaced with new passenger-car-washing facilities. (David Keller photo and archive) 

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LIRR C420 #227, #227 at View W, Richmond Hill 
10/31/87 Photo: Kevin Gulau

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Richmond Hill passenger yard view NE 
1950 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke

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Morris Park Trainmen's building Archive: Dave Keller

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Morris Park Shops - Passenger Car Washer c.1965 Photo: Steve Hoskins
 Emery map Morris Park Location #13 at exit of Advance Yard - 10/1958

Passenger Car Washer - Morris Park Advance Yard west end exit 1968

Richmond Hill Team Yard - View NE  1967 Photo: Edward Wheeler

The team yard, from north to south, consisted of a double-ended siding, eight (8) storage tracks and six (6) team tracks.  Most are gone in this image.  The freight appears to be on the siding track and one storage track is visible to the right of the train.  Curving off at the far right look likes two of the remaining team tracks.  The bare area in the center was the site of the remaining storage tracks.

All the tracks rose as can be seen in this image, so the yard throat could cross over 89th Ave. via a trestle/overpass.  Richmond Hill Shops would be left of the distant train, and Morris Park at the extreme distant right. Info: Dave Keller


Richmond Hill Team Yard - Lefferts Blvd to 89th Ave
View N - 2020 Google map

Richmond Hill Team Yard - Lefferts Blvd to 89th Ave
View N - 2020 Google aerial map

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E51sa #3 Morris Park Turntable c.1925
Archive: Dave Keller

(1) This photo shows the Semaphore signal bridge in the background which  displays the westward home signal for “R” (the tower that was located across from the Richmond Hill Storage Yard and which was taken out of service in 1928) and the eastward distant signal for “J” (the tower located on the west side of Jamaica station).  
Info: Dave Keller

Emery map - Metropolitan Ave to MP9 5/1959 Archive: Dave Keller


Richmond Hill Storage Yard - Morris Park Shops map - View N

Metro-North M1's share the stage with their LIRR sisters, and other equipment, at the Richmond Hill Bone Yard in March of 1985. Formally known as the Richmond Hill Team Yard, the Metro-North M1s are getting their 15-year rebuilds at the LIRR Morris Park Shops, right next door. Photo/Archive: Jay Bendersky

Tower-R-RichHillYd-1925.jpg (25093 bytes)
(2) This was “R” Interlocking Tower.  Morris Park  Shops to the left, Richmond Hill Storage Yard to the right, view looking northwest (LIRR west).  The signal bridge in the camelback shot above is located behind the photographer of this shot.  The pipe and covered conduit extending from the tower towards the feet of the photographer continue to the signal bridge to control its operation.  Photo: James V. Osborne, Archive: Dave Keller

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Richmond Hill Elevated Station 7/27/2007 Photo: Kevin Wong


MorrisParkShops1889.jpg (39430 bytes) 
Morris Park Shops 1889
Morris-Park-Engine-terminal_viewW_9-18-1911_JeffErlitz.jpg (118748 bytes)
View west of Dunton station, Morris Park engine terminal on 9/18/1911 prior to the Jamaica grade elimination project. Today, this is where the Atlantic Branch spreads from two to four tracks.   Archive/Info: Jeff Erlitz Note: Atlantic Ave. as the dirt road at far left.
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Morris Park Loco shop left - Steam shop right view E 1977 Photo/archive: Art Huneke
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 LIRR #400 GE 44 tonner Morris Park Shops 9/27/55

Morris Park Lunch Hour Concert - Saturday Evening Post
6/18/1960 Archive: Dave Morrison

Morris Park Loco shop 1905

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Morris Park Loco shop 9/1978
Photo/Archive: Art Huneke

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LIRR #2081 ex-EL Observation Car Morris Park Shop stall #10 view NE 7/07/1970

LIRR G5s (4-6-0) #21 at Morris Park Shops Coaling Tower 10/26/1935 Front pilot stenciled: NL thus labeled for New York, LIRR service as the  engines were built by the Pennsy for LIRR service. The Pennsy at the time owned the LIRR and the LIRR, as with ALL the lines the Pennsy owned, got their equipment stenciled accordingly along with every other locomotive in the entire PRR system. Research/Archive: Dave Keller 

Notice the "NO SMOKE" sign on the left posted for the benefit of the hostlers as heavy smoke under that structure would cause it to billow all over and choke everyone around. There may have also been concern about the corrosive effects of constant engine exhaust on the wooden coal structure. Info: Ron Zinn

Morris Park Shops - 19

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Emery map Morris Park - 89th Ave. to 130th St. 10/1958

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Morris Park Shops - May, 1946
Photo: Ewing Galloway Research: John Scala

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Emery Map MP9 to Sutphin Blvd, Jamaica  4/1959

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LIRR Glendale to Richmond Hill track profile map Collection: John Fusto

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G5s entering roundhouse at Morris Park Summer c.1940 
Archive: Dave Keller

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LIRR G53c #139 Morris Park Turntable 1929

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Morris Park turntable, roundhouse and shops 1950 view NW
Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke

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Morris Park turntable view NE 1950
Photo/Archive: Art Huneke


Note 1:  320 & 322.2, built by Baldwin. Retired 320 (11/23/1959), 322.2 (8/27/1958)
Note 2:  322.1, was built by the carshops of the LIRR. The carbody was sheathed with steel in March of 1927.
Information: Electric Locos page 68-69  Diesels of the Sunrise Trail  Author: John Scala

LIRR #320 - #322.2 at Morris Park 6/26/1955

On the transfer table at the Morris Park Shops in the 1950's.  #320, the small electric switcher, entered service at Morris Park Shops in 1927. In addition, there were TWO units numbered #322, the first one was built in 1912 and was also retired in 1927.  The 2nd one was built in 1927 and was retired in December, 1958.  Info: Dave Keller  

LIRR #320 1939  switching the  turntable/roundhouse

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LIRR A1 #320  Morris Park Shops Transfer Table c.1955

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LIRR #320 Morris Park Shops Transfer Table

  lirr320A-1_06-29-49jimgillin.jpg (88010 bytes)
LIRR A1 #320  Built by Baldwin Westinghouse 12/1926 
Photo: 06/29/49 Archive: Jim Gillin

MU T54A #898 on the Morris Park Shops transfer table. Electric Loco Class A-1 providing motive power. c.1938 Archive: Queens Public Library
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LIRR  #322 in Locomotive Shop 4/23/55 
 (William V. Faxon, Jr. photo, Dave Keller archive)

More A-1 Electric here:

lirr322_Morris-Park-yard-entrance.jpg (65353 bytes)
LIRR  #322 Morris Park yard throat/entrance.
Note: The chain-link fe
nce at the right separating the yard access tracks from the Atlantic branch tracks. Info: Dave Keller

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G5s #21 "wash down" Morris Park 10/26/1935

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G53sd #144 (4-6-0) with wedge plow at
Morris Park shops c.1935 Archive: Dave Keller

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LIRR #34 G5s "Richmond Hill Lead Track" Morris Park Shops view SE "DUNTON" tower and section shed on far left. 
Sheffield Farms in background.
8/26/39 Info/Archive: Dave Keller

Dinky_Transfer-Table_viewW-driveway_Emery-63_c.1976_ Frank Fiore.jpg (99497 bytes)
Dinky on the transfer table View W at the driveway 
Emery 1958 map spot #63 c.1976 Archive: Frank Fiore

 G5s #28 Morris Park turntable 2/1955
Photo: J.P. Krzenski  Archive: Dave Keller

GE 44 ton #400 Morris Park turntable 1957

Looking NE from the "new" (Fall, 1944) coaling tower at Morris Park Shops in Jamaica we see C51sa #258 in the left foreground and H10s #111 and a G5s in the right foreground.  A DD1 and several other engines are at the left of, and inside of, the roundhouse.  PRR-leased K4s #518 is being spun on the turntable and above the roundhouse can be seen a bunch of passenger cars in the Richmond Hill storage yard.  The year is 1949 (Willie Rosenberg photo, Dave Keller archive)

Morris Park turntable - View NE 11/1946
Photo: NY Daily News  Archive: Ron Zinn
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Morris Park Shops 3/31/1940 
Conveyor to wooden coaling tower in background Archive: Dave Keller
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LIRR #312 H-6sb View NE
c. 1946 Archive: Jim Gillin
lirr257_C51sa_Morris-Park_01-16-49_BillRugen-Huneke.JPG (85342 bytes)
LIRR #257 C51sa Morris Park 01/16/1949 
Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke
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Morris Park Yard c.1950s LIRR #400 
Photo: Sy Reich, Collection: Ray Jensen
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LIRR #403 VO660 Morris Park steam smoke washers removed view NW Spring 1946
lirr-141-G53sd_Morris-Park-turntable_1-16-49_Bill-Rugen.jpg (106500 bytes)
LIRR #141 G53sd 4-6-0 built 1917 by Brooks Morris Park turntable 01/16/1949 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke
lirr309-H6sb_Morris-Park_02-24-49_BillRugen-Huneke.JPG (103470 bytes)
LIRR #309 H6sb Morris Park 2/24/1949 
Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke
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LIRR #1 Morris Park Storage Yard View NE 5/15/1956 (Rugen-Huneke)

Note: North of the Shops/Turntable at 89th Ave just east of 121 St. The building in the right background used to be Keiner-Williams Stamping Co.; maker of milk cans.

H10s 111-Turntable Lead Track-Oil Cars-MPShops-11-1954 (Rugen-Huneke).JPG (84730 bytes)
LIRR #111 H10s on Turntable Lead Track, oil tank cars view SW 11/1954 (Rugen-Huneke) See location map below.  Info: Dave Keller Map: Steven Lynch
GE 25T-no.399-BLW DUAL POWER ELECTRIC-no.320_1958_Morris-Park_Huneke.jpg (93008 bytes)
New GE 25 ton switcher #399 and Baldwin battery and third rail switcher #320 switching in Morris Park Yard in 1958. I believe #320's batteries had died and #399 was doing the  work. Photo/Archive: Art Huneke
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GE 25T #398 Morris Park 2/1976 Photo: Art Huneke

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Morris Park Diesel Repair Shop 
Photo: Lamont Ward

Note: Spring switches indicated by '
.' above.

LIRR399atMorrisPark.jpg (69557 bytes)
LIRR #399 Yard Goat working the 
transfer table, prior MTA scheme

Morris Park Manhole cover - Electric Railroaders Assoc. sponsored tour of Morris Park and Hillside Facility 8/06/2011

Morris Park Yardmaster Office 1990's Photo/Archive: Steve Torborg

Morris Park view NW 1990's Photo/Archive: Steve Torborg

Morris Park view W 1990's Photo/Archive: Steve Torborg

Coal Tower, Machine Shop view NW
c.1985 Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

Morris Park Shops - View W c.1985 Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

Atlantic Branch - DUNTON Tower View W c.1985 Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

Blacksmith Shop, Power House Atlantic Branch to Flatbush Ave. (FBA) tunnel portal
View W c.1985 12/26/2022
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

  FUEL DOCK Turntable Lead - Spring Switches  

Morris Park - West  spring switch (SS) #1
4/2020 Photo/Archive: Jason Baxter

Morris Park - West spring switch (SS) #1
View E - 4/2020 Photo/Archive: Jason Baxter

Morris Park - West spring switch (SS) #1
View W - 4/2020 Photo/Archive: Jason Baxter
Trains would arrive in Jamaica Storage Yard "upstairs" and a crew would bring them to Morris Park "downstairs" (see Emery map Morris Park - 10/1958) and they would be fueled, serviced and spun on the turntable. This switch (SS) is at the west exit of the Fuel Dock turntable lead (see maps below). The engine would come of the Table 'backwards' and trail through this switch which sprang back to its normal position which let the engines into the ready tracks facing eastbound (above) for their next run, fueled and ready. Info: Jason Baxter
The Patio

Morris Park north pits (the patio) tracks #11-#10 May 1969
Photo/Archive: Bill Mangahas

"Put it on the Patio" Place the locomotive on one of two tracks (nos. 10-11) off the turntable where the present Morris Park roundhouse ends (c.1970) consisting of a large concrete slab and pits between the rails where locomotives are washed.

"LOAD BOX" Tracks
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Morris Park Shops "load box" tracks 1986  Photos/Archive: Frank FioreFA-602-612-617_Morris-Park-load-box-tracks_FrankFiore.jpg (102758 bytes)
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Morris Park Shops map View S c.1978 Archive: Frank Fiore

The tracks are called the "load box" tracks (also load test or power test). These are immediately in front of a shack that housed the load box equipment (the resister banks and a powerful fan to cool the resistors. Locomotive generators are tested under load by the use of banks of resistor grids simulating the loads put on them without actually having to connect coaches. Depending on the locomotive equipment needing load testing, there were an arrangement of heavy jumper cables to connect to the locos to get the job done. Info: Frank Fiore

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Morris Park roundhouse/turntable View NE 1986 Photo/Archive: Frank Fiore


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Morris Park Shops "Load box"
Photo/Archive: Roger Edington
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Morris Park "load box" testing: Engine stacks on fire. Photo/Archive: Roger Edington
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Airborne chunks on fire. Photo/Archive: Roger Edington

Red lights and the screaming cooling fan would let you know to stay away from a operating load box. The stacks would load up with crankcase oil and when you load box the engine it would get hot and burn out all the accumulated oil in the stack. Sometimes the oil would ignite in the stack.

Chunks of hot oil ash would blow out the stack and get carried by the wind and start fires all over. There are stories of crews having to convert the P- units to locomotive when the GP-38 failed and since after a few days of running around as a P-unit they would get loaded up with oil in the stack. This would result in many fires along the ROW. I experienced this on a Huntington to Port Jefferson trip. On the return trip we had slow orders all the way back to Huntington due to firemen putting out fires. Roger Edington

Named after Al Boland who worked at Morris Park during the steam era. 

Boland's Landing - Emery map zoom  Archive: Dave Keller

Boland's Landing - Aerial view N 2008
Station-Morris Park Shops-Employee Platform-PNC 1702 - 08-75 (eBay).jpg (106274 bytes)

Ever since Morris Park Shops opened in the late 19th century, there has been an employee station stop at that location. "Shops" station was a very large, wooden, shelter-shed, originally located on the Montauk branch across from the Richmond Hill Storage Yard when the Montauk branch was at grade and lasted until the branch was elevated on an embankment (1911-12) . In later years, a small, metal platform was installed on the Atlantic branch. Employees wishing to get off the train here would have to advise the conductor in advance and stand in the vestibule of the lead car. The conductor would notify the motorman/engineer to make an employee station stop. Looking northwest in August, 1975, we see that platform here at the far right on the westbound side of the tracks. In the center is leased Precision National GP9 #1702. This station stop for employees was enlarged in later years and, sometime in the 1990s, named "Boland's Landing." (eBay image) Dave Keller research.

Bolands-Landing_viewE_6-6-2011.jpg (89995 bytes) Boland's Landing at Morris Park as an employee station stop. View east, with DUNTON Tower in the distance (left), and view west with the employee pedestrian walkover visible. June 6, 2011 Bolands-Landing-Morris-Park_viewW_6-06-2011.jpg (77619 bytes)

I did utilize both of them from when I came on in 1996. Best guess, and it's only that, is yes, people at one point early on probably walked across the Atlantic Branch tracks to get to the other side and someone probably said...Whoops, that ain't safe and had a formal platform built for the two cars...also, a wooden overpass has been there (west of both platforms, going north to south from Morris Park) since I joined, again, in 3/13/96...I used it many times.

One difference is that you used to flag eastbound trains coming out of the tunnel with a flashlight and all Engineers, as a courtesy, used to there are designated trains that make scheduled stops, although if one isn't scheduled to stop, you can still flag it and if the Hogger is in a good mood, he or she will stop, but trust me, if they are not, they will fly by with no conscience (truth be known, they are not "supposed" to stop and if they do, and they are late into Jamaica, they have to answer for it).  Info: Bob Myers

These platforms did not exist back in the early-mid 1970s when I utilized them on occasion. Back then they were short, metal platforms as the image above of PN #1702 indicates. The motorman/engineer had to spot the first set of double doors of the lead M1 at the small platform and the Conductor had to key the door open with his "dream" key and close it behind you. Sometimes I did it myself if the conductor was elsewhere on the train when we stopped, as I carried a key to be able to access the M1 cars with my bar cart. The longer, 2-car, staggered wooden platforms were constructed some years later. I don't have a date but it wasn't as early as 1973-75 . . . that's for sure.  Info: Dave Keller

Jamaica Storage Yard is numbered 1-17 South to North (no track 11). 1-8 are used by Transportation. Tracks 9-17 are considered MofE (Maintenance of Equipment) tracks.
Tracks 10-13 are for the locomotive shop. Tracks 14-17 are the Sheridan Shops for C3 coaches.

The Advance Yard is numbered 1,2,4,5,6 North to South. Tracks 1-2 are for MofE (Maintenance of Equipment) department. Tracks 4-5 are shared between MofE and Transportation. They are referred to as the "Transfer Tracks", 4 Transfer and 5 Transfer respectively. Track 6 is used by transportation is and referred to as the "Wash Track".  South of the Advance Yard is the  Receiving Yard numbered 1-8, South to North.    2021 Google map

Morris Park - View SW from the Sheridan Shops 12/2020 Photo/Archive: Mario Craig

Morris Park Wheel Truing - View E 2/25/2021 Photo: Jason Baxter


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Morris Park Yard view E toward DUNTON Tower 1950 Photo/Archive: Art Huneke

Those tracks alongside the embankment were the "newer" DD1 layup/storage tracks. They used to lay the units up along the Atlantic Ave. fence near the M of E building, power plant and blacksmith shop. They were also used to store the B3 electrics (electrics with overhead catenary) when they were taken out of service about the same time period. I would guess the B3s were towed there as there is no overhead juice in MP Shops. Info: Dave Keller 

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Morris Park Yard view E toward DUNTON Tower 1956 Photo: William J. Rugen Archive: Art Huneke

Morris Park 1956 view of the Morris Park Engine Terminal from the top of the old coaling tower in 1956. Just look at all of the varying paint schemes here! Note the three different "Tichy" paint schemes on the double-deckers sitting up on the Montauk Branch. Just to the left of the double-deckers is an MP70T in its as-delivered Tichy paint scheme of light gray body, off-white roof and round-ended blue window stripe. Jeff Erlitz

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Dunton Station under Construction View E 1/14/1914 (LIRR-Keller)
Note: The semaphore blades have not yet been attached.

lirr-1559-RS3_MUs_Morris-Park_signal-bridge-at-DUNTON_Emery-no.23-location_10-2-70.jpg (94568 bytes)
LIRR RS3 #1559 - MUs at DUNTON Tower signal bridge at Emery map location #23 10/02/1970

This view is looking east at the site of the former Dunton station.  The tracks adjacent to the Atlantic branch were used for storing passenger trains as seen in this image.  In the distance at the right was the location of Sheffield Farms. Part of the westbound high-level platform concrete can still be seen directly under the diesel at the left.
Info: Dave Keller

DD1-341, 348-Morris Park Shops-Old Sign-Tichy Scheme-View NW-Jamaica-10-06-51 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (104659 bytes)
DD1 #341, #348, in Tichy Scheme, at Morris Park old shop sign (c. 1920) View NW at Morris Park 10/06/1951 (Faxon-Keller)

Remaining DD1 electrics laying up alongside the depressed Atlantic Branch just before it hits the tunnel, about where the M of E building is in the background. 

Engine-Inspector's Office_Morris-Park- Shops_12-03-1957_Dave-Keller.jpg (95684 bytes)
Engine Inspector's Office Morris Park Shops zoom image 12/03/1957 Archive: Dave Keller

The "Car Inspector" was the supervisor of men who inspected the passenger cars, so the "Engine Inspector" was the supervisor of men who inspected the locomotives. This was his office, not the office of machinists and electricians. Machinists were their own trade (and union) as were electricians and had their own supervisors (Head Machinist / Chief Electrician) and departmental buildings out of which they worked.

I would venture to guess that the Engine Inspector came under the supervision of the Road Foreman of Engines (RFE)  Emery map Structure #56, "Engine Foreman's Office" next to the Oil Storage building south of the turntable. (Emery map Morris Park - 10/1958 above left)

Engine inspection dealt with checking logs kept by the engine crews of hours run and when scheduled maintenance was made, and probably involved more when they handled the leased Pennsy engines which were coming and going regularly between the PRR and the LIRR between 1900 and 1950. Also, physical inspections were made, as one can see by the proximity of #55 directly south of #53. #55 reads "inspection pits in track." There are indicated two "north pit" and two "south pit" tracks.

Also, #53's location adjacent to #52, the Engine Dispatcher's Office, was done on purpose to keep those locomotive functions in proximity to each other. The machinists were in the building indicated as #42, the large structure to the left of the turntable. Info: Dave Keller

Morris Park View E 1954 Archive: Art Huneke
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Morris Park yard DUNTON view E 1954 Photo: Art Huneke

Morris Park View E 1976

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Morris Park view E toward DUNTON Tower 1976

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ALCO FA #614  Morris Park
View N 1980

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Morris Park view N c.1985
Photo: Frank Fiore

1. Yardmaster's Office: Tower added 1945 to provide elevated visibility for Richmond Hill Storage Yard
2. Trainmen's Building: The building housed facilities for train crews awaiting their runs originating from the adjacent storage yard. Men spent hours there eating their lunch, playing cards, napping, reading, yakking with each other and generally just killing time until they had to catch their trains. The building had toilets, lockers, tables, benches and chairs. Info: Dave Keller
3. Car Washing Machine Control House: New 1942 - Controls and some storage for the 55 gallons drums of detergent. Info: Dick Maske
4. Dunton Tower: Formerly “MP” Tower. 1/20/1914.  Renamed: 4/23/37 Info: Dave Keller
5. Switchmen's Shanty: The LIRR position also referred to as "UB" Utility Brakeman, AKA Switch tender.
6. Wheel Truing Machine Shop
7. Engine Inspectors Office: Mechanics room for electricians, machinists and a supply room for special oils, repair parts, etc.

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Morris  Park Yard FA #602, #603 View E 1987 Photo/Archive: Richard Jahn

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Morris Park Yard view E toward DUNTON Tower 4/02/99  Photo/Archive: Mario Craig

8. Car Washer Building
9. Car Washer Sheds
10. Richmond Hill Receiving Yard: Advance Yard directly under #9 between car washer sheds.
11. Sheffield Farms
12. Yard Office
13. Oil House: The roof on the oil house is cut on an angle so that larger engines would clear it. 
14. Tar Walkway: leads right to the steps of the Westbound Boland's landing Platform.

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Morris Park yard aerial view E 2012

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Morris Park Yard 4/1977 
Photo: Tad Darnell

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Morris Park Yard c.1980+
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Morris Park Yard 2008
Photos: Bob Anderson

Sunday afternoon May 05, 2013 Shanty burned down

G53 (4-6-0) #144 lays up at Morris Park Shops alongside the fence separating the shops from the tracks of the Atlantic branch, visible in the foreground in this c. 1938 view. Behind the #144 is C51 (0-8-0) #251 and at the right is a freshly-painted G5s and tender.  To the left over the tracks is the smoke washer bridge. In the center background is the water tower for the shops and in the right background is the conveyor taking the coal to the old wooden coaling facility.    Dave Keller archive

Photo shot from the sanding tower. There are “Dashing Dan” logos on the locomotives, which were added in February, 1959, per the “Long Island Railroader” magazine but the p
aint jobs look extremely weathered, so this wouldn’t be 1959 or they’d look freshly out-shopped. 

#56 on the Emery map of MP Shops -
Engine Foreman's Office, photo center

#61 Oil House (roof sliced for engine clearance).
The Fairbanks-Morse units are still in service.  They were pulled in 1964 and replaced by the C420 units.  Not a C420 in sight in this view so they probably hadn’t yet arrived on the property; thus 1962-63. 
Photo: LIRR  Archive: Jim Gillin  Research: Dave Keller

Signal S88 an automatic leading to the Secondary tracks at the Morris Park Jamaica Receiving Yard. I'm standing next to Signal 16R signal at the east lead of the yard and the overpass with Mainline 2/4 is directly over my head. The track on the left is the ramp to the Lower Montauk. Photo/Archive: Jason Baxter

1958 Emery Map-Jamaica to MP9 zoom Jamaica East Receiving Yard location of Signal S88 Archive: Dave Keller

Alco RS1 #463 Photo: Steve Hoskins
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Morris Park Shops - 1973
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1973 Building Guide

Alco S-1 #407 Photo: Steve Hoskins

East of the Coal Tower 1985
Photo: Steve Lynch


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LIRR #398 Morris Park 12/70 
Archive: Bob Bender

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LIRR #398 Morris Park Wheel Shop 4/24/71 
Archive: Bob Bender

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GE 25 tonner  #398 c. 1970's
Photo: Steve Hoskins

L455-439S2MPshops01-19-76.jpg (90608 bytes)
LIRR S1-2 Units #455-439
Morris Park Shops 
01/19/76 Archive: Dave Keller


Photo: Steve Rothaug
        View E Photo: Steve Rothaug         View W Photo: Steve Hoskins 10/75

208 LIRR208-209_Morris-Park-Coal-Tower_viewNE_9-1975.jpg (122040 bytes)
LIRR #208 #209 Morris Park Coal Tower 
view NE 9/75
Morris Park Shops ERA Tour -  September 1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops LIRR #264 out-shopped 9/20/1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops #261, #227 in-shop 9/20/1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops roundhouse 9/20/1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops wheel-turning 9/20/1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops traction motor rebuild 9/20/1980

ERA tour Morris Park Shops M1 truck repair 9/20/1980



Photos/Archive: Bill Mangahas

ERA tour Morris Park Shops interior 9/20/1980

Morris Park Shops Tour -  October 1987

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B&O Wagon Top Boxcar
Photo: Steve Rothaug

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FA-1 in Roundhouse
Photo: Steve Rothaug

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Steam Plant front
Photo: Steve Rothaug
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Coal chute detail
Photo: Steve Rothaug
Big Hook.jpg (55533 bytes)
Big Hook Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Loco Yard Office Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Alco C420 #266 Photo: Steve Rothaug
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Yard Goat #397
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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LIRR  #397 10/31/1987
Photo: Kevin Gulau

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LIRR C420 #225 Morris Park 10/31/87 
Photo: Kevin Gulau

GE 25 tonner.jpg (48221 bytes)
LIRR  #399  Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/31/1987

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LIRR  #399 10/31/1987 Repaint Photo: Kevin Gulau

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West toward Main Gate
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/31/1987

The building on the left is the blacksmith shop and on the right is the
locomotive shop followed by the end of the first transfer table.

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East from Main Gate, right of the tank is the steam plant. Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/31/1987

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West towards Blacksmith Shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/31/1987

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09/1930 tank car near Blacksmith Shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug


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Ancient boxcar
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Unused passenger equipment Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/31/1987
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LIRR #262 GP 38-2  prime mover
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Detroit Diesel power pack
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
Diesel traction motor.jpg (39094 bytes)
Diesel traction motor Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
MP15-AC on turntable.jpg (52863 bytes)
MP15-AC on turntable
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Roundhouse and turntable
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
Turntable.jpg (36863 bytes)
Turntable Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Passenger car shop yard lead
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Turntable lead tracks
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Inside loco shop Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Interior of loco shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87


  Supporting Loco Shop Walls.jpg (72130 bytes)
Supporting Loco Shop Walls
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/1987

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SW1001 in roundhouse
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/1987

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Air Compressors for Switch Motors Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87


  Diesel wheel storage.jpg (58310 bytes)
Diesel wheel storage Photo: Steve Rothaug 1019/87

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FA  unit being rebuilt Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/1987

Car repair yard Photo: Steve Rothaug

TurnTable Arch.jpg (61911 bytes)
Turntable Arch
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/1987

Morris Shops Roundhouse
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Parts storage
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Original manhole cover
Photo: Steve Rothaug

1890's Loco Yard Office Close-up
track visible westbound turntable lead
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Transfer Table
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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Wheel Truing shop
Photos: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Interior Wheel Truing  shop

The building is called the Wheel Truing shop...or as we called it, the wheel truer. There were three wheel truing facilities on the railroad, located at West Side Yard, Morris Park and Hillside. Historical note: we did have a wheel GRINDING machine in the Round House which actually ground the wheels with 3 ft carborundum grinding wheels. That machine was used up until the mid 1970's, when it was replaced by the wheel truer. In the old wheel shop there were 2 wheel lathes that were also used until the mid 1970's. 

Turntable drive mechanism
Photo: Steve Rothaug

Photo: Steve Rothaug

Photo: Steve Rothaug

FA Truck Photo: Steve Rothaug

Alco FA2 #609 Photo: Steve Rothaug 

GP38-2 #257 freshly painted
Photo: Steve Rothaug 

Photo: Steve Rothaug

Alco FA1 #612  scrap
Photo: Steve Rothaug
lirr-Sandite-Alcohol_W84-85_Atlantic-Ave_Morris-Park_c.1980.jpg (135243 bytes)
LIRR W84-85 Sandite Alcohol cars 
View NE c.1980
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View NE c.1978 Photo: Steve Rothaug
   LIRR #160 MP15 view W 9/1980
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MP15ac #157 Wheel storage tracks MP shops view SE  c.1989 (Collins-Keller) 

Morris Park Shops - 2000
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Morris Park Shops c.2006
Composite: Tim Darnell
LIRRDiner-MorrisParkShopsBob Anderson.jpg (83234 bytes)
LIRR Diner east of  Blacksmith's Shop Map location: #31 1980s+
Photo: Bob Anderson
LIRR_L397_Diner_081289Al Castelli_MPark.jpg (53429 bytes)
LIRR #L397 at Diner 8/12/89
Photo: Al Castelli

Note: Morris Park Diner had Woodmere embossed into the sheet metal side by the entrance. Bernie’s Woodmere Diner" stood at 1122 Broadway, Woodmere, NY 

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Morris Park "Dashing Dan" Diner demolished 10/22/96 Photo: Ken Rodgers

The following is courtesy of: Debra Herenlip, whose father owned the diner and moved it to Morris Park:

“My father, Phil Herenlip purchased the “Dashing Dan Diner” in Woodmere(1) in the 60's. He then moved it to Morris Park, owned, and ran it till he passed away suddenly in November, 1969. Bobby, Whitey and Sam worked for him there and my mother owned and continued to run it for another 10 years.

It was "officially" known then as the Dashing Dan Diner. In our house growing up, we referred to it as "The Place" (don't ask me why, as I don't know)!

Given that my father was the original owner of the diner and he's the one who had the idea to move it there, he owned it beginning somewhere in the early 60's. About 3-4 years before he opened up the Diner, he owned and was already running the "Coffee Shop" which was housed in the LIRR Jamaica Station building (a mile or two away from the Morris Park) where all the Executives and administration employees worked. This Coffee Shop also only was opened Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch and catered to the LIRR employees.

Although the diner was nothing to look at, I loved it. It was warm and cozy and brought to life so much by the men who worked there and the men who worked in the Yard. Everybody knew one another so it always felt like a party when I was there. There were lots of shouting, cursing, laughing, friendly arguing, camaraderie, etc. I remember the day the Diner was moved to the Yard. We, my parents, brother and I, all drove to Woodmere and watched them miraculously load the Diner onto the moving truck. We then followed it in our car to the Yard where they placed it. It was a sunny day and all went well.

Any time my mother and I would visit my father in the diner, as we'd walk in, he'd yell out to everyone to "watch your language", because his wife and daughter were here. Everybody would laugh and abide by it 'till we left. Also, I remember the men who worked for him, named Whitey, Sam and Bobby. My brother, Steven, also worked there for a short time with Niberto.

I know he got to work very early in the morning. I want to say the hours of operation were somewhere around 5:00am to 3:30-4:00pm, Monday through Friday. Never open on weekends or evenings. The menu was obviously only Breakfast and Lunch, and nothing fancy with your standard breakfast foods and sandwiches, coffee, coffee cakes, soup, etc. Prices were low.” 

The Morris Park Diner was originally from Woodmere,  as that was embossed into the sheet metal side by the entrance.

It was a convenient place to get something to hold you over if you forgot your lunch. They made simple things good, in regards to getting sick from their food, let’s just say I wouldn’t order Lobster Newburg. It made being at work a little less uncomfortable. Aside from, Jamaica and Hillside there was no" in house" place to get food. Some people often run there own “Geedunk” and sold coffee/bagels. The railroad back then had a friendlier atmosphere. I believe that most of the old timers have retired and lost on newer employees is the idea that work doesn’t always have to be unpleasant. This hopefully will change. Many people will tell you this is just a job. This is true; however when you spend roughly half your life for thirty years somewhere why not try to make it a better environment Keeping it simple: Burgers, eggs, coffee, sandwich, etc. and all is well!

I don't recall when the diner (Gedunk in Navy terms) closed, but it was very roughly in the mid 90's. When it did close, it was offered to several M of E employees who wanted to put in on their property Upstate. The railroad even offered equipment to move it. Unfortunately the move never happened and the thing was scrapped.

Note: “Gedunk/geedunk” bar is the canteen or snack bar of a large vessel of the United States Navy said to be a vocal imitation of the sound made by an old gedunk vending machine.

As was said earlier, it was the Woodmere Diner. That name was embossed in large letters in the enamel metal siding; "Woodmere" on one side of the door and "Diner" on the other. Of course it was painted over with LIRR gray paint after arriving.

The food wasn't bad, though the hag who worked there was a chain smoker with a hacking cough, and yes, the Railroad and the Park were wonderful places to work back then.

Spent a lot of shekels there on breakfast. After you made your order, Joe would scream "Seaboard!". Order to go, I guess. He later was an employee of the railroad at the fourth floor in-house food service (Ron Toms) in the main building at Jamaica.

"We never heard it called Dashing Dan’s; more like “The Roach Coach”. There was Joe, Jim and George. George got a railroad job after it closed as a coach cleaner. Jim cooked, while, Joe took orders and served. There were a couple of others, but they were the main workers. I ate there many times and learned diner lingo there as follows:

A "Chinaman" was an egg on a roll "Whisky down" was rye toast "Seaboard" was to go. I can still hear Joe barking: "3 CHINAMAN SEABOARD, 2 SUNNY HASH, WHISKY DOWN!!"

It was gruff, it was grimy and fast and when the steam whistle blew in the shops at 7:30, 11:30, and 3:30 it was the hub of activity. The Pea soup with ham and Navy bean and meat loaf were some of my favorites.

When they tore it down I took home two stool stands and 3 seats. I spent 9 months of my first 18 months in Morris Park hostling (1974-1975). Seeing Morris Park slow to a backwater was watching the end of an era. It was quite the place, a world unto itself and something to be missed.”  Info: John Ettorre LIRR 1974-2004

Note 1: "Bernie’s Woodmere Diner" stood at 1122 Broadway. This is just west of the Trinity Church on Broadway and was the site of a Friendly's restaurant and now a doctor’s office (converted).
We found this in the 1967 reverse directory.”  Info: Woodmere Research Library/Gary Farkash

“The Dashing Dan Diner is definitely an O'Mahoney diner built by the Jerry O'Mahoney Corporation of Elizabeth , NJ as evidenced by the curved stainless steel trim pieces on the end and back windows. This is a Monarch style that was built around the 1939/1940 NY Worlds Fair.” Info: Gary Farkash

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LIRR Morris Park Manhole Cover 10/28/1989 Photo: Al Castelli
MorrisPark102889entrancesignAlCastelli.jpg (87265 bytes)
Photo: Al Castelli 10/28/1989
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LIRR #460 Alco S-2 c.1963+
morrisparkremainingbuildings.jpg (106573 bytes)
The hi-lighted buildings in BLUE are the only buildings still standing in Morris Park. Info: Mike DeFantis The Long Island Rail Road Fellowship: Association of Retired and Former Long Island Rail Road Employees
mp1973buildings.jpg (75928 bytes)
1973 Building Guide
MorrisPark08-16-08 backshop_machineandlocoshopJoeTischner.jpg (64728 bytes)
Morris Park 08/16/2008 Machine and Loco Shop Photo: Joe Tischner
MorrisPark08-16-08 backshopJoeTischner.jpg (68097 bytes)
Morris Park Machine Shop View S Location 9 on 1973 map above 08/16/2008
Photo: Joe Tischner
Image16.jpg (44072 bytes)
Image17.jpg (46686 bytes) Image19.jpg (52852 bytes) Image21.jpg (53047 bytes)
Image11.jpg (57272 bytes) Image15.jpg (45350 bytes) exMPshops10-09-2008leftofturntableRAnderson.jpg (69783 bytes)
Ex-Loco Shop 10/09/08 turntable to left
Photo: Bob Anderson
Note: Morris Park Demolition photos courtesy: Mike Scholz  09/11/2008
LIRR Electrician/Car Mover - Richmond Hill/Diesel Ops  unless otherwise credited

Morris Park yard Dunton view E 1954 Photo/archive: Art Huneke
Receiving-Advance Yards Under Construction-View E. From 130th St. - Morris Park Shops-Jamaica - 08-16-1911 (Huneke).jpg (125359 bytes)
Receiving-Advance yards under Construction View E. from 130th St. Morris Park Shops/Jamaica 08/16/1911 Archive: Art Huneke

Train-RF-7_Richmond-Hill_9-02-77.jpg (86998 bytes)
Train #RF-7 Jamaica Receiving Yard 9/22/1977, west of the station and east of Richmond Hill, view NE towards Jamaica station. The embankment at the right is the Montauk Branch with the Atlantic branch tracks visible to the far right of the embankment with the signal bridge. 

The elevated tracks at th
e left are the Jamaica Advance Yard where they sit awaiting the go-ahead into Jamaica station to pick up passengers. The wash rack is just to the left of the MTA painted units with the long rooftop of the old mail handling facility further back. Research: Dave Keller

M1_Train-Old_Mail_Dock-Advance_Yard-Jamaica_NY_- 09-02-78_(Madden-Keller).jpg (149248 bytes)
M1 at abandoned USPS mail platform, Advance Yard view W 09/02/78 Photo: Madden Archive: Keller

SheffieldFarms.jpg (79096 bytes)
Location #5: Leased PRR K4s #5387 lays up at the east end of Morris Park Shops yard in the Dunton/Jamaica area along with several other of her contemporaries. The view is looking east towards "DUNTON" tower (renamed on 4/23/37) roof of which is just visible in the center background and Sheffield Farms, the huge milk plant located between the LIRR's Atlantic branch tracks and Atlantic Avenue. Archive: RMLI  Info: Dave Keller

Tower-MP-Dunton-1925.jpg (34770 bytes)
"MP" Tower  renamed "Dunton" 04/23/37
1925 Photo: James V. Osborne Archive/Info: Dave Keller

G5s-26-DuntonTwr-c1938.jpg (42830 bytes)
LIRR G5s #26 Dunton Tower c.1938
Archive: Dave Keller

mparkskyviewN.jpg (213135 bytes)
Morris Park east to Dunton Tower - View North 2008, lower right corner former location of Sheffield Farms Dairy

Sheffield Farms Mik Cars.jpg (91604 bytes)
The Sheffield Farms cars are a publicity photo of cars built for Sheffield by General American Refrigerator Car Company in 1928 Source:  Carstens Publications

DD1 352-Sheffield Farms Milk Cars-Receiving Yd-Jamaica-c. 1937.jpg (73228 bytes)
DD1 #352 Sheffield Farms Milk Cars Receiving Yd Jamaica c.1937 Archive: Dave Keller

sheffielddiary.jpg (32925 bytes)
Location #1: Looking east from Morris Park Shops, Aug. 26, 1939. "Dunton" tower at far left. Signal bridge beyond is at Dunton station (square, brick waiting room visible at west end of high level platforms). Plant and stack in background is Sheffield Farms. Archive: Dave Keller

Tower-Dunton-MorrisParkShops-c1938.jpg (54853 bytes)
Location #2: Dunton Tower east of Morris Park Shops c.1938 The building west of DUNTON tower is a Track Department section shed for Sub 1 ( Engineering Subsection 1). It contained repair materials, track tools, a stove and lunch table. Emery 1958 map of MPS. Archive: Dave Keller

G5s_30andcrew_ReceivingYard.jpg (45262 bytes)
Location #3: LIRR G5s #30 and her crew in the Receiving Yard, with Sheffield Farms in the right background along the Atlantic branch.  Embankment carries the Montauk branch tracks. View SE. Archive: Dave Keller
table MPark 2008.jpg (93057 bytes)
Location #4:  Morris Park Turntable area 2008
morrispark-viewE_archiveJohnDziobko.jpg (111640 bytes)
#5 Dunton Tower Sheffield Farms Plant view E Archive: John Dziobko
RS3-1551-P74A-7502 and MTK Train on MTK Br Embankment -Dunton- View NE-04-21-62 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (106825 bytes)
RS3 #1551 pulling P74A #7502 and Montauk train eastbound along the Montauk branch embankment near "DUNTON" tower - Jamaica, NY - 4/21/62 (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive)
Tower-Dunton-1967_Keller.jpg (180838 bytes)
DUNTON Tower view NW 1967 Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

Note: The handrails and guardrails for stairway to 130th Ave. on east side of DUNTON tower.

lirr1758.jpg (38417 bytes)
Location #6: LIRR #1758 MP54 Richmond Hill Storage Yard. Probably late 1920's or early 1930's from the Richmond Hill Storage yard looking southeast towards the Montauk branch embankment and the Sheffield Farms Dairy plant along Atlantic Avenue and Roof of “MP” tower (later “DUNTON”) at right background. Research: Dave Keller 

View NW at Dunton Tower
12/25/2008 Photo: Bob Anderson
Dunton-Weber03081943.jpg (102438 bytes)
Dunton Tower View E of Morris Park Shops 03/08/1943 Photo: Fred Weber  Archive: Ron Zinn

West Side Freight: Milk Plants

Sheffield Farms opened a plant adjoining its company's headquarters at 524 W. 57th St. in 1938. Here is a quote from the article on the new plant in the June 22, 1938 The American Produce Review.

"The new plant, adjoining the company's headquarters at 524 West 57th St., spans the tracks of the New York Central which run below street level from the 60th St. yards to 35th St. between Tenth and Eleventh Aves. The tracks were laid in a cut a year ago, removing the railroad from Eleventh Ave."

"Relocation of the railroad enabled the company to build on this site and obtain the long sought rail terminal within the plant. First, however, the dairy and the railroad made an unusual real estate deal by which the railroad maintains a right of way through the plant and the dairy owns the air rights above the tracks."

"The new plant is the only milk plant in Manhattan and the second in New York City to have a railroad siding on plant property. The other plant, also built by Sheffield Farms, is in Jamaica. It was opened a year ago. The rail head in the plant saves the time and expense involved in hauling milk from railroad yards in tank trucks."

A point of view: The Truth behind the many Shops that are now demolished in Morris Park, Richmond Hill, New York
by Mike DeFantis Retired L.I.R.R. MOE  Gang Foreman 1971 to 1999

From growing up across the street near Atlantic Avenue and playing on the baseball field for the Richmond Hill Saxons "B" team at Smokey Park as a youth to running the night shift at the Engine House in Morris Park as an adult, I've seen it all firsthand so it seems looking back. Living on 95th Ave. and 127th street in Richmond Hill in 1955 then moving up a few blocks to 101st ave in later years, I first saw a glimpse at the age of nine the Long Island Rail yards across Atlantic Ave when seen from the parks handball courts. One would find out very quickly when trying to theorize the reason the park was nicknamed Smokey Park. On June 27th 2008 the park has been renamed to The Phil Rizzuto Park, after the New York Yankee Hall of Famer. Rizzuto also attended Richmond Hill High school while still in his youth just like my older brother did, the only exception is Rizzuto graduated.

The old neighborhood has changed on my last visit cruising the old neighborhood, just like most of the neighborhoods in New York City that have all changed the ethnicity to something different then we were part of the fabric of our own community. Predominately Indian now, the local stores reflect the culture change. From the time that this park opened in 1938, it has been known locally as Smokey Oval Park. In 1987, The NYC Parks Department officially named it Smokey Oval. The name refers to the park’s location, across from a Long Island Railroad terminus which once made it a landing area of soot and ash from the railway smoke. It is also inspired by the oval-shaped mound at the front of the park. Before the park was constructed, 126th Street and 94th Avenue ran through the parkland in the typical grid pattern. These roadways were closed off to provide for a large open recreational area. In 1944, a strip of the playground’s land, approximately 40 feet long, was deducted from the original acreage by local law to allow for the widening of Atlantic Avenue.

The Shops in Morris Park: I feel today in thinking why nothing has been done yet to my knowledge is that just because "they" demolished the shops and they built new ones located east of Jamaica Station at the former Gertz Warehouse location near Holban Yards that this would hopefully all go away as far as what’s in the soil, and who remembers how it got there.

However the history that is still fresh in my thoughts some fifteen years in my own retirement as my railroading begins as I started in March of 1971 as it surely feels like it was only yesterday when I saw firsthand what I will now state. I have no reason to make up anything in this story, especially those who have passed on since we first crossed paths as our employment caused our paths to cross in our individual own railroad carriers. 

Those like me who remember what we saw and it’s all factual, realize that in many cases the health issues that followed factually had to have killed employees in years following employment. The slow deaths had reasons as to why the various diseases hit, but no one ever looked into this to my knowledge in investigating the history of working in what many believe today were in fact unhealthy shops. They were because in today's standards they would be defined as being extremely hazardous. The other point would be why overspend by a few hundred millions dollars in building new Maintenance and overhaul Complex, then after the grand opening in July of 1991 they demolished those that were vacated?

Could it be that the Federal Government and the State Government pressured the MTA\LIRR officials, you better start thinking about providing a better healthier work environment for your employees, or else?.

In my opinion if the LIRR was in any other business other than providing transportation for over 250,000 commuters daily, they would have been shut down in a heartbeat, no question in my mind. So the work around was to get funding and build new shops, it took a few years but they did it. The demolishing of most of the Morris Parks buildings and the Dunton Shop were bulldozed, but they forget what is still in the soil.

There is a small story behind who went ahead in having the many buildings demolished without the higher ups approving the demolishing projects, and he was set free in his employment once they investigated. You cannot resurrect the buildings but the foundations are fresh in many retiree’s minds in who worked in those buildings for most of their thirty or more years of employment. Photos will resurrect anyone's thoughts in what those buildings housed especially if you worked in them like myself and the thousands of others that did.

 Asbestos was a huge problem in our daily work even though the product was no longer being used heading into the 1980's. We actually used work gloves that were made of Asbestos, and used them for years when handling hot metal parts. I had once years ago kept a list of people who had passed on since I started keeping records for a web site that I once ran and recall those former coworkers that I remembered as far back as 1971. Sadly that data is all gone when the system failed that kept those records. As I progressed in keeping the list and the years slowly passed it was unbelievable in how big the list I was looking at was getting. I knew most of those who were on it, it was astounding.

  Back in those days just about everyone smoked, and if lung cancer hit and when seeking monetary recourse in suing the L.I.R.R., the first question would be on the other side of the table; ”have you ever smoked?, and what about you Mom and Dad? Oh here is one, how about Grandma when she was giving you a bath?” it was a joke in trying to dissuade the accuser that are you sure you didn't get this dreadful disease elsewhere?

All they had to do was to put a doubt in the plaintiffs head, and the cases were settled enough to take your bride on a small cruise around the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. Some might have gotten a few dollars more in the settlements as they headed to Wally World in Orlando for that dream vacation.

To my knowledge no one ever won a major multi-million dollar suit against the L.I.R.R. for lung cancer or any other health issues that could be directed as the cause as the result of you working in an unhealthy work environment. And if they did they surely kept it quite. I recall that a couple of Machinist sued, it was in the newspapers, I knew one of them and they were awarded a few million each, and after the railroad appealed, they got enough for a cup of coffee and that was it. It was years of litigation, and “they” out waited the accusers. That signals to the next accusers that were lining up; “Don’t try it fella! Here’s the proof!”

However many settled for ten thousand to twenty thousand that it would have cost in legal fees just for the L.I.R.R. to defend the cases. Most all took what was offered and the attorneys representing also pressured you too and took their cut first more like a third of the settlement. All who eventually stood their ground and fought for the pennies offered had to sign confidential agreements and couldn't talk about it after reaching these agreements. Most of those must be all dead now, but I do recall those who spoke about their individual cases one on one, and there were plenty.

  I knew of a many former coworkers who died from pancreatic cancers, lung cancers and skin cancers. The shops I worked in were heavily contaminated from just about every form of product from cleaning fluids to toxic chemicals that are banned in today’s working industrial world. The air we breathed was also filled with airborne impurities. To prove my point simply blow your nose after leaving the property and see visually what your handkerchief is holding, and compare it today many years after you retired, a big difference I would say. 

The ceiling and floors in all the shops had dust particles which were filled with asbestos when the former rolling stock in years prior were being worked on. Even though Asbestos was phased out, it lined our radiators and shop heating pipes in the winter, and lay dormant on crane overpasses and running rails throughout all the shops. The open air swirling when the doors were opened in the extreme summer conditions moved the particles in every way imaginable, falling on your lunch and drink as you digested your food as the percentages had to be great that this was happening all the time. With reference to The Electric Car Shop and the Car Shops etc., we had no lunchroom. The Diesel Shop did have one behind the Round House nicked named the Welfare Building. The back wall of the lunchroom had eight foot high skids of batteries stacked.

  From earlier years when asbestos lined and were used extensively in the wiring and insulations of the running rail stock those particles were still in those shops long after they were put into the scrap yards. What about the brake shoes used in the early years? The shops were never abated, they were painted once that I recall, and I feel sorry now for what the hired painters inhaled. So they were simply demolished a few years after the 1991 move to Hillside. On just about every work day in the course of my own responsibilities in cleaning the shop was to have the laborers empty all the garbage containers in the shop and the locker room balcony and broom sweep the floors. Can you imagine this fact that our locker room was open aired above the shop floor of the Armature Room and your street clothes were dangling on a hook or hangar in your vented locker? You don’t think that any of those particles found their way home? One would visually see afterwards the shops was much cleaner than when we found it at the beginning of the shift, and a big difference one would see when we locked up and went home at 11:30pm. I did this for seventeen years before the shops closed in July of 1991. But what we failed to realize then is that the broom sweeping the shop floors raised more airborne particles that we didn't realize we were contaminating the very air we were all breathing and the food we were eating a lunchtime. Was that stupid or what?

 One would also wonder in those many residents individual homes that lived along 121st street off Atlantic Ave with back yards backed up to the Rail yards and shops in Morris Park. In how those residents survived and how they fared health wise overall. It had to effect those equally in causing health issues that otherwise if they didn't live near the shop atmosphere that we all lived in for our eight hours tour. Another unhealthy fact, the second floor Battery shop had a ventilation fans running 24/7/365. The exhaust fans were evacuating the battery gases from the batteries being charged. The gases were directed and vented to the backyards of the NYC Fire department building near the main gate entrance and to the yards and those houses which backed up to the shop building, less than twenty feet away. The fireman at various times barbequed on the grills in the back of the firehouse, what were they ingesting, simply mind numbing just in thought but that’s a fact.

The Morris Park Diesels Shop lay-up tracks along Atlantic Avenue that has been used for over a hundred years as every type of locomotive engines from coal fired to electric to diesel sit idle in some cases 24/7 until they are assigned job assignments were tested around 1995 or 1996, I seen it firsthand working the Engine House Desk.

The L.I.R.R. hired an outside company to test the soil in the yard. I believe the EPA mandated it, if it was on the local or federal level I do not know. They bore down in multiple locations places in the yard to get core samples, they did this mostly at night as to not upset the day workers in asking "what was going on". The rigs looked like equipment towers used for drilling for a water wells, they were tall as I recall.

  The Morris Park Yard the findings came back when they completed these test and it was so bad that the area should be designated as a Super Fund site and that federal funds were most likely needed to fix this mess. The contaminates which have accumulated for over a hundred years which included coal ash, oil and diesel by products including fuel, glycol and various leaks on from every type of equipment you can imagine had filtered into the soil so deep it was leaching into the water table below the yard. The fix and the cost estimates then were to erect towers and bulldoze the soil into the towers and the soil would be burnt in high heat chambers thus burning off contaminates in the soil and then the soil would then be reintroduced back into the yard relatively safe. Well that was the plan......

  The cost estimates then as I recall was roughly forty million, however that would only cover the top ten feet or so of top soil, so do the math in today's world monetarily and at what depth you had to dig to rectify the contamination you would have to recalculate these initial estimates. The core samples report came back as being contaminated down to nearly forty feet in some areas of the yard. To my knowledge nothing was ever done to this date to rectify the soil and contaminates in the yard. The other areas of interests is where once the shops once stood are most likely are sitting at equal or worse levels of soil contamination.

For the years I worked in Morris Park starting in 1971 I had witnessed some amazing cases of simply dumping fluids and liquids into the soil that lined the transfer tables in the Car Shop and Electric Car. From flushing acid tanks weekly on the third floor Airbrake Shop with a drain pipe running down the exterior of the building walls directly into the soil in the transfer pit to dumping Air Condition refrigerants directly into the pits in evacuating A\C units being worked on. In later years they recovered the refrigerant but not in the early 70's as the procedures were changed in later years. How about openly spray painting coach cars interior and exterior to locomotives in open aired environments. The painter wore his protection a simple particle mask, that could be used as a mister coffee filter, and it was and they were, but what about everyone else? Boy was this stupid.

 The Fuel lines that ran from Upper Richmond Hill yard down into Morris Park and the Fuel Dock had leaks. The buried holding tank in itself up in Richmond Hill probably and must have been installed in the early 20's was also leaking. After the New Richmond Hill shop was built they removed and replaced the leaky system. The old Oil House in Morris Park near the turn table was leveled and the oil tank platform was used to house the new Fuel Tanks and the delivery system. Need we forget the ground soil in all of the above items could be and should be considered contaminated?

   The Blast House that once stood and was near and part of the Paint Shop when they stopped sandblasting the Cars, they migrated the procedures into spraying Naval Gel type acid to remove layers of paint off the Coach Car body's and Diesel Locomotives bringing them down to the appearance of shiny raw metal. Once the acid completed its job, it bubbled the paint, they simply water hosed off the acid and it ran directly into the soil off the transfer pits. In later years they installed containment containers, and once filled a phone call was made and a truck would come in and pump out the filled tanks. It was odd seeing it because we had to back the Tractor Trailer Semi onto the transfer table and move it down and line him up near the Paint Shop. Prior to this the damage had to have been done.

Regardless the damage has been done and who knows if one day they will address this ecological mess. I'll take it one step further it was and it still is an ecological disaster just sitting idle, god only know what impact it has already taken because it actually did happen those many years ago. At any case it will take millions and possibly billions of dollars to rectify what took many years of work to accomplish starting in 1889.  How stupid were we across the board and at every level of management, and you could only imagine who will they place the blame on? It could be defined in how much it will cost to fix.....long after what was initially done.

 What Newspapers and other media reporting the story fail to realize when they go after people who apply for disability with regards to the so called L.I.R.R. Pension Scams which broke in 2008 by the New York Times is that many that were lumped unfairly into the overall scam had factually had health issues, the ones that are in jail today obviously were too stupid to get caught. I have no respect for those idiots who basically bragged about what they were getting and flaunted it openly. The doctors that signed off knew exactly what they were doing for the almighty dollar.

As the years progressed all of those who were rejected by the Rail Road Retirement Board in Chicago re-applied for Disability, and all those since who have retired since the story broke in 2008, a good percentage, more like 99.9% of those who applied or reapplied received a disability annuity from the Chicago railroad board. So it took hundreds of man hours and millions of dollars to prosecute, it ruined many people’s lives unjustly who were lumped into this witch hunt, and it proved what? Less we forget those that survived working in the unhealthiest working environments and those that fill grave yards way too early, it’s sad, really sad.

The five or so that are serving time in prison are simply the scape goats you would think as the story is all but dead now, as the Federal Attorney made a name for himself....and ironically one only has to look at the current Social Security Disability that this country is facing. Its hundreds of billions upon billions of waste, and yet no one is going after those people with equal justices... It’s a crime in all of the above issues, no one will ever be held accountable for allowing it to happen most of those in this story are no longer walking god’s green earth. So I guess I'm lucky so far in that I can still walk on it but remember those who aren't. They were fabulous people that I will never forget, I miss every one of them today as I write this short story.

What I believe in how I survived so far as far as my own health issues, is I was always in and out of the Shops. I walked outside quite often in the course of an eight hour tour in every type of weather condition and maybe just maybe the fresh air helped save me in my way of thinking.