Morris Park Station c.1910

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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

                                                               MORRIS PARK STATION

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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 10/18/1910
Archive: McEnery

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Morris Park Station c.1939 
Archive: Art Huneke

It was called Morris “Park” because there was a beautiful park built at the rear of the depot.  Research: Dave Keller


** 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. Info: Dave Keller


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Richmond Hill Station c.1905

S.S.R.R. Depot built: 0405/1869 as “Clarenceville” used as a chapel on Sundays beginning 7/25/1869

LIRR Renamed Richmond Hill 10/11/1871
Razed due to elimination grade crossing at Jamaica Ave: 1923-24
2nd elevated depot built: 1923-24
In service: 6/18/24 Closed: ?
Discontinued as station stop: 3/16/98 Research:  Dave Keller

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Morris Park Trainmen's building (Keller)

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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 (left) 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

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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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

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(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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Morris Park Shops 1889

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Morris Park Loco shop left - Steam shop right view E 1977 Photo/archive: Art Huneke

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

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 LIRR #400 GE 44 tonner Morris Park Shops 9/27/55

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 - 1952

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Emery map Morris Park - 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  04/1959

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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

LIRR #320 1939  switching the  turntable/roundhouse

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LIRR  #322 in Locomotive Shop 4/23/55 
 (William V. Faxon, Jr. photo, Dave Keller archive)

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

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LIRR #320 Morris Park Shops Transfer Table

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LIRR A1 #320  Built by Baldwin Westinghouse 12/26 Photo: 06/29/49 Archive: Jim Gillin

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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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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

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LIRR G53c #139 Morris Park Turntable 1929

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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

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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
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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
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LIRR #257 C51sa Morris Park 01/16/49 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke
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LIRR #309 H6sb Morris Park 2/24/49 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke

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LIRR #111 H10s on turntable lead track, oil tank cars
view SW 11/1954 (Rugen-Huneke)
See location map right,  Info: Dave Keller
Map: Steven Lynch

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LIRR #141 G53sd 4-6-0 built 1917 by Brooks Morris Park turntable 01/16/1949 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke


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


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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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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. 

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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

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Morris Park yard DUNTON view E 1954 Photo: Art Huneke
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Morris Park view N c.1976 Photo: Mario Craig

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Morris Park view E toward DUNTON Tower 1976

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 view E toward DUNTON Tower 4/05/99  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
Photo(s): 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. Archive: Jim Gillin,  Photo: LIRR,  Research: Dave Keller

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Morris Park Shops - 1973
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1973 Building Guide
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Air Compressors for Switch Motors Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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B&O Wagon Top Boxcar
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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Steam Plant front
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Coal chute detail
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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FA-1 in Roundhouse
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 10/31/87
Photo: Kevin Gulau

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

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

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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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LIRR #399 Yard Goat working the 
transfer table, prior MTA scheme

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LIRR  #399  
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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LIRR  #399 10/31/87 Repaint
Photo: Kevin Gulau

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East from Main Gate, right of the tank is the steam plant.
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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West towards Blacksmith Shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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09/1930 tank car near Blacksmith Shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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Big Hook
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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Ancient boxcar
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Unused passenger equipment
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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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
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Diesel traction motor
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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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)
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


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SW1001 in roundhouse
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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Diesel wheel storage
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87
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FA  unit being rebuilt
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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Supporting Loco Shop Walls
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87



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West toward Main Gate
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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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Turn Table Arch
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Alco S-1 #407 Photo: Steve Hoskins 

Car repair yard Photo: Steve Rothaug

Alco RS1 #463 Photo: Steve Hoskins

Photo: Steve Rothaug

Photo: Steve Rothaug

GP38-2 #250 Photo: Steve Hoskins 10/75
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LIRR W84-85 Sandite Alcohol cars 
View NE c.1980
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LIRR #160 MP15 view W 9/1980
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LIRR S1-2 Units #455-439
Morris Park Shops 
01/19/76 Archive: Dave Keller

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 Closeup
track visible westbound turntable lead
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Transfer Table
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

Wheel grinding shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug

Interior wheel grinding shop
Photo: Steve Rothaug 10/87

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 junker
Photo: Steve Rothaug

Morris Park Shops - 2000
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Morris Park Shops c.2006
Composite: Tim Darnell

East of the Coal Tower 1985
Photo: Steve Lynch
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LIRR Diner east of  Blacksmith's Shop Map location: #31 1980s+
Photo: Bob Anderson
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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. Original town/street location yet not known. 

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

My father, Phil Herenlip, purchased the "Dashing Dan Diner" in Woodmere in the 60's and had it moved to Morris Park. He owned and ran it until he passed away suddenly in November, 1969. After that,  mother ownedand 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. 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. Your standard breakfast foods and sandwiches, coffee, coffee cakes, soup, etc. Prices were low.  Courtesy of:  Debra Herenlip

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, WHISKEY 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. Something to be missed.  Info: John Ettorre LIRR 1974-2004

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LIRR Morris Park Manhole Cover 10/28/1989 Photo: Al Castelli
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Photo: Al Castelli 10/28/1989
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LIRR #460 Alco S-2 c.1963+
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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
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1973 Building Guide
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Morris Park 08/16/2008 Machine and Loco Shop Photo: Joe Tischner
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Morris Park Machine Shop View S Location 9 on 1973 map above 08/16/2008
Photo: Joe Tischner
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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
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Receiving-Advance yards under Construction View E. from 130th St. Morris Park Shops/Jamaica 08/16/1911 Archive: Art Huneke

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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

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M1 at abandoned USPS mail platform, Advance Yard view W 09/02/78 Photo: Madden Archive: Keller

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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

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"MP" Tower  renamed "Dunton" 04/23/37
1925 Photo: James V. Osborne Archive/Info: Dave Keller

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LIRR G5s #26 Dunton Tower c.1938
Archive: Dave Keller

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Morris Park east to Dunton Tower - View North 2008, lower right corner former location of Sheffield Farms Dairy

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The Sheffield Farms cars are a publicity photo of cars built for Sheffield by General American Refrigerator Car Company in 1928 Source:  Carstens Publications

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DD1 #352 Sheffield Farms Milk Cars Receiving Yd Jamaica c.1937 Archive: Dave Keller

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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

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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

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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
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Location #4:  Morris Park Turntable area 2008
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#5 Dunton Tower Sheffield Farms Plant view E Archive: John Dziobko
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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)
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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.

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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 

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Bolands Landing at Dunton Tower
View NE 12/25/2008 Photo: Bob Anderson
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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."

LIRR to remove contaminants from soil at 7 sites
Updated March 4, 2015 8:26 PM By EMILY C. DOOLEY 
LIRR workers mark and prepare an area for
LIRR workers mark and prepare an area for excavation to determine and address levels of mercury at the 
Babylon Yard Substation in January 2004. Photo Credit: LIRR

The Long Island Rail Road will excavate more than 4,750 tons of contaminated soil at seven substations in Queens and Nassau County this year and into early 2016 to remove mercury, lead and other toxins. The work is part of an $11 million capital plan program the LIRR started in 2010 to clean up 20 sites from Shea Stadium to Babylon.  

The contamination dates back to the early 1930s through 1951, when the LIRR used tubs of mercury at substations to help convert alternating current into direct current to power locomotive and passenger cars.

The rectifiers that converted the power were removed in the 1980s and replaced, but the contamination remained. The new cleanup was prompted when a worker saw mercury beads in the corner of a building in the late 1990s, said Andrew Wilson, LIRR director of the Department of Program Management.

"It was just poor housekeeping," Wilson said of the contamination. The LIRR conducted environmental investigations between 1999 and 2000 and agreed in the 2000s with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to enter a voluntary cleanup program.

Remediation consists mainly of soil excavation. "Mercury doesn't like to travel too far," Wilson said.  The element occurs naturally, and most common exposures come from eating contaminated fish or shellfish. High exposures can damage the nervous system, brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"It's a dangerous chemical, but it can be remediated," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, based in Farmingdale.  

Ten sites have already been cleaned up. On deck are substations at Shea Stadium, Kew Gardens, Port Washington, Manhasset, Valley Stream, Island Park and Hempstead.

The DEC comment period on the plans in Hempstead, Island Park, Valley Stream and Manhasset have ended. Once DEC approves a work plan, the LIRR can begin. Each site should take about four weeks to remediate, Wilson said.

Prior investigations found varying levels of contaminants. At Hempstead a hot spot showed 17.6 milligrams per kilogram of mercury, while the industrial safety standard is 5.7 milligrams per kilogram.

When the work is completed by early 2016, an estimated 3,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil will be removed. That amount is equivalent to about 2,065 Toyota 4Runners.

By 2018 the final three sites in Bayside, Cedar Manor and Far Rockaway should be completed, Wilson said. Groundwater contamination has not been found at any of the sites, and rail traffic should not be affected.

The sites are all fenced off or at right-of-ways not open to public, LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said.  

"Most of these LIRR sites have very limited access due to the nature of the site activities," DEC said. "The cleanups are consistent with industrial or commercial use of these properties, with consideration of the surrounding land use." The contaminated soil will be trucked away to a permitted off-site facility in tarp-covered trucks, and equipment will be decontaminated.

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. M of E  Gangforeman 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.