Long Island Railroad - Newspaper Delivery

Newsday was delivered regularly on Babylon branch trains. Until checked baggage service was stopped (1967?), newspapers were carried in MU baggage cars at the head end eastbound when they were in service. You would see them on the rear end of a westbound train ONLY when they were deadheading back west.  Afterwards, papers were piled high in the vestibule of the first car.  

Newspaper bundles were at some stations full-stop (Patchogue) before papers were unloaded at, while at others they were tossed or thrown as were the rolled individual papers.  Journal-American Newspaper bundle ticket at left.

lirr210_train204_newspaper-baggage_Riverhead_viewNW_7-1-64 BradPhillips.jpg (108310 bytes)Riverhead was a BIG paper destination; half the baggage car was full of them.  LIRR #210 Train #204 newspaper baggage (and RPO) at Riverhead Station view NW 7/01/64 

The parlor behind the baggage is NH "Pine Tree State", a sleeper-buffet-lounge car which I rode uncounted times on Clark Johnson's rare mileage trips between 1998 and 2010.  It's still in service for charters, owned by the NRHS Piedmont Carolina's Chapter.  

LIRR210_train204_newspaper-baggage_Riverhead_viewW_7-1-64 BradPhillips.jpg (115174 bytes)LIRR #210 Train #204 newspaper baggage (and RPO) westbound approaching Riverhead Station view W 7/01/64. 



lirr217_train4_baggage-RPO_East-Hampton_viewW_8-1968_BradPhillips.jpg_wide.jpg (134548 bytes)The East Hampton shot is LIRR #217 pulling Montauk bound Train #4 in August 1968.  The parlor behind the baggage is NH "Pine Tree State", a sleeper-buffet-lounge car which I rode uncounted times on Clark Johnson's rare mileage trips between 1998 and 2010.  It's still in service for charters, owned by the NRHS Piedmont Carolina's Chapter.  Photos/Info: Brad Phillips


There were many stops where bundles of newspapers were unloaded. Unloading usually consisted of throwing them out the baggage door. I specifically recall some Hampton stations and Speonk, along with a few on the Main Line out East. The shop owner would later drive up and pick up his papers. I saw bundles tipped off moving trains at spots on the platform before the train stopped, but I don't know if they were ever tossed at stations where no stop was made. Both Newsday and the LI Press were delivered. I don't know about the City papers. I recall the the LI Press being loaded at Union Hall Street. I recall seeing piles of bundles lined up on the east end of that platform in the morning for loading onto East End trains.

Since commuters always left their papers on the trains, crew members would commonly drop one off at the towers and in early times, at the crossing shanties. It was common practice. A "perk" of the job. A fringe benefit that fostered inter-craft relations. Certain employees also provided a paper for a friend or railroad neighbor by tossing one off in a particular back yard each day. I recall two such Manorville and Amagansett LI Press "subscribers".

Newspapers were also a resalable commodity. The owner of several large newstands in Penn Station would employ freelance bums who would rummage arriving trains to collect the papers, bringing them upstairs where they would be added to the new ones to be resold. He'd pay the freelancers a nickle each for the 20 cent papers. It wasn't uncommon for a purchaser to find his crossword puzzle already completed. The same newstand had a secret air conditioned lounge behind his shop where certain employees could relax, watch TV and cool off.

Yardmasters and yard crews would often yell to the bums to "Stop' garbaging' the trains". They'd fail to get their two-foot tall bundle off on time, get brought down to the yard where they would have to be brought back up.   Info: LongIslandTool

I also remember some of the regular bar car attendants running off the train at a station stop to buy a handful of newspapers at a stationery store/deli adjacent to the depot and get back on again, reselling the newspapers at a profit to their regular riders.  Others bought the papers in advance and brought them onto the train with them at the start of their runs.

There were similar off-train runs like when they miscalculated and didn't load enough bags of ice.  They run out to the deli at a station stop and run back lugging two bags of ice, and this was all accomplished in the short duration of a station stop with no leaving late!!  

I can only speak from what I've seen.  Bundled newspapers were taken off the train at Patchogue while the train made the station stop.  Individual rolled newspapers were tossed off for the block operator as the train left the station and proceeded eastbound to pick up orders at PD. No idea if the train stopped anywhere else for papers to be off-loaded, OR if papers were thrown off the moving train.  I do not recall seeing this anywhere else.  Info: Dave Keller

This certainly rings true, and I can attest to the gathering of used papers by trainmen.  That happened on many of the commuter trains I rode.  I'm sure they "cashed in" their lot as well.  I always wondered what those guys did with all the papers they picked up!  I frequently rode the "paper train" from Jamaica to Amityville and don't recall any offloading while moving.  In most cases, the butchers at each station knew exactly where the baggage car (or, later, vestibule) would stop and had their vehicles ready for a speedy pickup.  Info: Brad Phillips  

MP54-combine_MPBM54-Mail-Passenger-Baggage_Mineola_viewE_12-1-1950.jpg (100290 bytes)
The first car is a combine. The second car is one of three MPBM54 (Mail-Baggage-Passenger) cars the LIRR had. It had mail, baggage, and a  passenger section. Mineola Station view E 12/01/1950
RPO-Combine MU Car 1382-Jamaica, NY - 5-12-40.jpg (104998 bytes)
LIRR #1382 Combine MU Car - Mail/RPO, baggage, passenger at Jamaica 5/12/1940  Archive: Dave Keller


LIRR #1382-1384 MPBM54 Scrapped with cessation of mail service: Koehler roster

Baggage Car 7715-Train 4-Preparing Newspapers for Delivery-Patchogue-7-71 (1).jpg (127058 bytes)
Baggage car #7715 on Montauk bound train #4 Baggage man preparing to dump newspapers on platform 07/1971 
Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
BaggageCar7715-Train4-PreparingNewspapersDelivery-Patchogue-7-71_DaveKeller.jpg (64382 bytes)
Baggage car #7715 on Montauk bound train #4. The Conductor is walking up front to speak to engineer. Newspapers ready to be off-loaded on platform are visible in door of baggage car 07/1971 (second car is a lightweight parlor) The LIRR and MTA are still in transition as is evidenced by the conductor still wearing his "letter-carrier" gray uniform.
Photo/Archive: Dave Keller
C-420-226-PD-1971.jpg (52147 bytes)
C420 #226 pulling train #4 Montauk bound at PD getting orders.  Man standing in the rear door of the baggage car is about to toss a rolled-up newspaper off for the block operator - 1971 
Photo/Archive: Dave Keller

 FM-CPA20-5-2007-Deliver-Newsday-Mineola-1950.jpg (48841 bytes)
LIRR FM CPA20-5 #2007 Greenport train coming into Mineola station with the Newsday truck and papers at the left to be loaded on the baggage car. View W from trestle 1950  Archive: Dave Keller

C420 206 train 204 east N Ocean Ave 1969.jpg (57995 bytes)
C420 #206 pulling train #204 Greenport bound on the trestle over North Ocean Avenue east of Holtsville.  The baggage car carries newspapers and the rear door is open for the baggageman to get some air. 1969 Archive/photo: Dave Keller

Mattituck Station - Newspapers delivered
Summer, 1969 Photo/Archive/Info: John Schaub


The Greenport daily newspaper train. It had an Alco RS-3, a short string of fairly new air-conditioned passenger cars, and a B-60 baggage car
loaded at Mineola earlier in the morning filled with banded and bound NEWSDAY papers. Scheduled delivery to stations on the North Fork.

Train #9 (aka The Montauk Mail) heading west in Hillside. 7/1967 Photo/Archive: Jim Mardiguian


Until the early 1970's trains to Montauk, Greenport and Port Jefferson carried the Long Island newspaper "Newsday". Picking them up at Mineola.  This photograph shows eastbound Montauk Train no.6 with the necessary baggage car crossing Irish Lane in East Islip in 1972.   This was the last train to carry papers and the last regular use of baggage cars.  By 1974 the service had ended.  Photo/Archive/info: Art Huneke