LIRR Horse Race Track Service


Belmont Park Station Entrance to Trains south of Hempstead Turnpike 6/1949 - While hundreds of thousands of race fans passed through this gate since the park's opening in 1905, this is the ONLY image I've ever seen of it, so I gather it is quite rare! Uniformed railroad personnel in caps, white shirts, ties and one man with suspenders, are manning the gates while a patrolman stands at the left providing a police presence.  The MU trains are at the bumper blocks, awaiting THEIR gates to open for their trips westward.  (Ed Hermanns photo, Dave Keller data and archive)

 

LIRR143_Hicksville_Horse-Pullman-class-B74b_1947.jpg (88622 bytes)
LIRR #143 class B74b - Hicksville Horse Pullman  1947

PRR-B74b_horse-pullman.jpg (36727 bytes)
PRR B74b Horse Pullman

Chuck Blardone, the editor of The Keystone  PRR class B74a
the class designation for the PRR's 3-door-per-side horse carrier cars?  

They look like the LIRR's B60 baggage cars,
 but the LIRR's cars only had two doors
Info: Dave Keller

 

Belmont Park

ticket_Woodside-Belmont-Park.jpg (44795 bytes)It was always interesting selling tickets on race days (as I often did in Jamaica and Penn. Sta.) as you'd see all kinds of "characters."  The joke among the ticket clerks was (borne out in practice) that a true racing fan would only buy a one way ticket so as to have the most cash available at the track to play the "big one!"  Thus, many one way tickets to be sold to those going home…”  
Ticket/Info: Brad Phillips
Emery-Maps-Belmont Park-pre-1957 (Keller).jpg (351261 bytes)
Emery map - Belmont Park pre-1957 Archive: Dave Keller

 Emery-Maps-Queens Village-Belmont Park Jct-MP 13 to MP 14 (Keller).jpg (475144 bytes)
Emery map  - Queens Village to Belmont Park Junction MP13-14 
Archive: Dave Keller

belmont-double-winner-flyer_1970.jpg (132048 bytes)
"Be a Double Winner" LIRR flyer to Belmont 8/26-10/12/1970
Archive: Brad Phillips
MP41-with-3-wood-trailers_c.1910_Belmont-Park_Huenke.jpg (116961 bytes)
MP41 with 3 wood trailers c.1910 at Belmont Park Archive: Art Huenke
ticket_Belmont-Park-Penn-Station.jpg (82693 bytes)
ticket_Woodside-Belmont-Park_Bannard-era.jpg (88153 bytes)
Steam and MU Trains at Sta - Belmont Park-S. of Hempstead Tpke-View E-1905 (Keller).jpg (123016 bytes)
In this c. 1905 view looking east we see the original Belmont Park Race Track station with 4 steam-drawn trains and one electric MU train.  Opened in 1905, this station was built south of Hempstead Turnpike and served until newer station facilities were constructed north of Hempstead Turnpike in 1957 at which time this whole area was torn out. Note in this image that there is no electrification in the low-level platform, steam train area and a track fence separates it from the electrified tracks at the high level platform at the far right.  (Dave Keller data and archive)
Station-Belmont Park-S. of Hempstead Tpke-View E-08-12-19 (Keller).jpg (151575 bytes)
Now we fast forward a few years to August 12, 1919.  Looking in the same direction as the previous image we see some changes.  First, electrification has been added to all tracks.  We also see that the platform shelters that extended down the entire length of the platforms have been removed from the left three and only short, truncated platform shelters have been left standing.  Notice that these three platforms are still low level while the two at the far right are high level.  Those two still retain their full-length platform shelters.  Especially note how overgrown the two platforms at the left have become since the previous, 1905 image!  (Dave Keller data and archive)
MU Trains at Sta-Belmont Park S. of Hempstead Tpke-View E-06-49 (Hermanns-Keller).jpg (140892 bytes)
Looking from the same bluff in June, 1949 we have a full house!  An MU electric train is laid up at each track.  No more overgrowth at any of these platforms!  It appears that the three platforms at the left have had shorter covered segments added at the east end of the platforms.  The other platforms, which had full-length covers, have had those covers truncated to slightly longer lengths, with shorter ones added at their east ends as well.  (Ed Hermanns photo, Dave Keller data and archive)

 

MU trains at Platform - Belmont Park - c. 1937.jpg (111734 bytes)
Two freshly-painted lead cars of MU electric trains are laying up at the low level platforms at Belmont Park in this 
c. 1937 view.  (Dave Keller data and archive)

DD1 343 on Dbl Hdr and Train at Belmont Park - c. 1937.jpg (103342 bytes)
This is a c.1937 close-up of the "double-doubleheader" at the Belmont Park station.  Note the unusual supports for the third rail safety boards.  (Dave Keller data and archive)

DD1-Dbl-Hdg-Train-White Flags-Approaching Sta-Belmont Park-c. 1937.jpg (117812 bytes)
An unusual sight that was temporarily popular during the 1939-40 NY World's Fair service was a train pulled by a double A-B set of DD1 electric locomotives.  Here a special "double-doubleheader" is pulling a special race train into the Belmont Park station c. 1937.  The lead locomotive is flying white flags.  The bluff in the left background is the location of the photographers of the 1905, 1919 and 1949 images of the station facilities posted on this page. (Dave Keller data and archive)

Blueprint-Belmont Park Station S. of Hempstead Tpke (Huneke).JPG (270900 bytes)
The old Belmont Park racetrack station was south of Hempstead Turnpike 
Archive: Art Huneke 
MU Train-Belmont Park-View S from Hempstead Tpke-1950 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (72766 bytes)
An MU electric train is heading eastbound into the Belmont Park station facilities.  The tracks curved to the left and opened up into the terminal area south of Hempstead Turnpike.  This 1950 view is looking south from the Hempstead Turnpike overpass.
(W. J. Edwards photo, Dave Keller data and archive)

MU Train-Belmont Park-View N from Hempstead Tpke-1950 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (35955 bytes)
MU train Belmont Park view N from Hempstead Tpke 1950 (Edwards-Keller)

MU Dbl Deck Car and Train at Sta-Belmont Park-N of Hempstead Tpke - 05-71 (Keller).jpg (87074 bytes)
In 1957, the LIRR constructed a new terminal and track layout adjacent to the park and north of Hempstead Turnpike.  All the old 1905 facilities were torn down and the tracks were all removed.  This view from May, 1971, shows the "new" station facility with covered crosswalk connecting the various platforms.  An MU double deck car in charcoal gray and orange colors is at the head end of the train in the center while all the other cars are in the new MTA "platinum mist" color scheme.  Note that the "new" platforms were all low level.  This created a problem when M1 trains began service to the park.  Temporary short stepped platforms were constructed and lined up along the low levels, and cars would need to be spotted carefully  to allow passengers to detrain or to climb aboard.  (Dave Keller data and archive)

MU Dbl Deck Car and Train at Sta-Belmont Park-N of Hempstead Tpke - 09-71 (Keller).jpg (107492 bytes)
MU double deck car and train is laying up at the newer Belmont Park station.  North of Hempstead Turnpike 9/1971

Not a lot of activity going on. There might be a rain delay in today's race... unless the horses are mudders... sounds like we're going to re-enact an old Abbott and Costello comedy routine...

Costello: "What has your mudder got to do with horses?"
Abbott:   "My mudder IS a horse..."
Costello:  "You oughta be ashamed of yourself, putting your mudder in a horse race... " 

Ah, good times, good times!  But, I digress. (Dave Keller data and archive)

MU Dbl Dk - Belmont Park - 1976.JPG (90531 bytes)
MU Doubledecker - Belmont Park - 1976
Archive: Dave Keller

The "new" Belmont Park racetrack station was north of Hempstead Tpke.

Belmont-Park-Transfer-ticket_7-13-1986_BradPhillips.jpg (69562 bytes)
Belmont Park transfer ticket 7/13/1986 Archive: Brad Phillips

Belmont Park - NRHS Excursion 10/13/1963
NRHS Excursion_10-13-63_Belmont Park Overview.jpg (80636 bytes)
NRHS Excursion 10/13/1963 Belmont Park Overview  Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

Belmont Park Station Platforms_10-13-63.jpg (78462 bytes)
Belmont Park Station Platforms 10/13/1963 Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

NRHS Excursion_10-13-63_Belmont Park.jpg (77819 bytes)
NRHS Excursion 10/13/1963 Belmont Park  Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips
NRHS Excursion_10-13-63_West Leg of Belmont Park Wye.jpg (84640 bytes)
NRHS Excursion 10/13/1963 West Leg of Belmont Park Wye  Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

The view of the cars on the west leg of the Belmont Park wye was just south of the junction with the Main Line east of QUEENS Tower Info: Dave Keller

Belmont Park Station End of Track_10-13-63.jpg (71837 bytes)
Belmont Park Station End of Track View east 10/13/1963 Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

LIRR Token-Belmont Park-Obverse.jpeg (37954 bytes)    LIRR Token-Belmont Park-Reverse.jpg (41952 bytes)
When the LIRR stopped selling actual tickets for fares into and out of Belmont Park, metal tokens were used in their stead.  There were two styles used.  The earlier style, depicted above, showed Dashing Dan on the one side with the park name on the other.  This style was later replaced by the MTA's "M" logo.  When I sold them back in the summer of 1972, both styles were concurrently in use.  A ticket window was specially designated at Penn Station and I spent my entire 8-hour day just selling tokens to Belmont Park.  Riders purchased tickets to Jamaica from various locations, and then tokens-only were collected on the non-stop run from Jamaica into the park.  (Dave Keller data and archive)
LIRR Token-Belmont-Park-MTA-Obverse.JPG (27290 bytes)   LIRR Token-Belmont-Park-MTA-Reverse.JPG (20777 bytes)
LIRR token Belmont Park "MTA"
Archive: Dave Keller
lirr-logo_racing-dashing-dan-sportsman.jpg (28859 bytes)
LIRR Dashing Dan "Racing Sportsman" logo c. 1966 
Belmont-Fall-Meeting-Special-Promotional-Admission-Ticket-Grandstand-Only_ 8-26_10-12-1974.jpg (61766 bytes)
NYRA -  Belmont Fall Meeting Special Promotional Admission 50¢
Grandstand Only Ticket Valid 8/26/74 thru 10/12/1974
Note:
Belmont Stakes held June 8, 1974. "Little Current" won.

I've experienced my share of characters purchasing tokens to Belmont.  Yes . . many diehards only purchased one way fares.  Many had to find alternate transportation home when they lost their shirts at the track.  Other specifically asked for both way tokens . . they said: "I need to be able to get home when I've lost all my money!"  Dave Keller

Roosevelt Raceway

Another popular race track on Long Island is Roosevelt Raceway.  It was serviced by the LIRR with trains operating along the Hempstead branch, then continuing on the Central branch 
after leaving Garden City station.  Trains made the station stop at Meadowbrook/Roosevelt Raceway and buses took racing aficionados to the track. 
MU Train-Roosevelt Raceway-On Layup Track-Meadowbrook-1953 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (97382 bytes)
This is the lay-up track east of the Meadowbrook/Roosevelt Raceway station, looking west in 1953.   It is east of the station, which is visible in the distance.  I believe this was the site of the earlier Meadowbrook station pre c. 1939.  (W. J. Edwards photo, Dave Keller data and archive)

Emery-Maps-Meadowbrook-Roosevelt Raceway (Keller).jpg (177758 bytes)
Emery map Meadowbrook-Roosevelt Raceway 6/1958 Archive: Dave Keller

MU Train-Roosevelt Raceway-at Sta-Meadowbrook-View W-1953 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (81769 bytes)
This is the low-level platform at  Meadowbrook/Roosevelt Raceway looking west in 1953.  Around 1939, this station stop replaced the earlier Meadowbrook station which was further east.  This station stop was discontinued in 1961.  (W. J. Edwards photo, Dave Keller data and archive)

Station-Meadowbrook-Roosevelt Raceway-Sign-10-21-61 (Faxon-Keller).jpg (67313 bytes)
Meadowbrook Station - Roosevelt Raceway Sign 10/21/61 (Faxon-Keller)

MU Train-Roosevelt Raceway-E at Franklin Ave.-Garden City-View SE-1956 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (92897 bytes)
In this 1956 view looking southeast, we see a race track-bound MU electric train after it's just passed "GARDEN" cabin and Franklin Ave.  The tracks curving to the right continue on to Country Life Press and Hempstead.  In the right background is a freight train on the southeast leg of the wye at what was once known as Hempstead Crossing.  (Dave Keller data and archive)
ticket_Meadowbrook-Penn-Station.jpg (53639 bytes)
Ticket - Penn Station to Meadowbrook round trip Archive: Brad Phillips
ticket_Penn-Station-Meadowbrook.jpg (33141 bytes)
Ticket - Penn Station to Meadowbrook Archive: Brad Phillips
ticket_Jamaica-Roosevlet-Raceway.jpg (38286 bytes)
Ticket - Jamaica to Roosevelt Raceway Archive: Brad Phillips

Jamaica Racetrack

metro jockey club.jpg (52505 bytes)
Metropolitan Jockey Club - sample ticket pre-1955 Archive: Brad Phillips

ticket_Locust-Manor-Jamaica.jpg (27315 bytes)
Ticket - Locust Manor to Jamaica
 Archive: Brad Phillips

Jamaica Race Course was an horse racing facility operated by the Metropolitan Jockey Club in Jamaica, New York. The 1 mile (1.6 km) track opened on 4/27/1903. In 1955, the Greater New York Association took over management of Jamaica Race Course along with Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park, and Saratoga Race Course and renovations to Aqueduct in South Ozone Park. ticket_Penn-Station-Locust-Manor.jpg (61807 bytes)
Ticket - NY City Penn Station to Locust Manor Archive: Brad Phillips
Station-Jamaica-Race-Track_MU-Race-Train_Locust-Manor_1944.jpg (103485 bytes)
MU train at  NY - View East - 1944

Station-Jamaica- Racetrack-Locust Manor-viewSE_1946.jpg (49304 bytes)
Jamaica Race Track station Locust Manor
view SE 1946

Station-Locust-Manor-Jamaica-Racetrack-MU-West--c1936-2.jpg (121374 bytes)
There were two distinctly different station platforms at Locust Manor when the tracks were at grade.  West of the Baisley Blvd./Locust Ave. crossing was the low-level station platform, along with depot building and contiguous wooden shelter shed for the Locust Manor station stop.  East of the crossing was the high-level wooden platform erected for race trains servicing Jamaica Racetrack.  In this c. 1936 wintry view looking northeast, we see the old station building and shelter shed in the foreground, the crossing of Baisley Blvd./Locust Ave. beyond and in the distance, an MU electric train stopped at the covered, high-level, Jamaica Racetrack platform. This was all removed in 1959 as a result of the grade elimination project at Locust Manor.   (Dave Keller archive and data)
Station-Jamaica Racetrack-Grade Elimination-Locust Manor-View W-1958 (Edwards-Keller).jpg (89549 bytes)
Looking west from the newly-elevated tracks of the grade elimination project at Locust Manor in 1958, we see the grandstand of the old Jamaica Racetrack at the far left. In the center of the image can be seen the old, high-level, wooden platform to service race trains and the double tracks of the old right of way that is soon to be eliminated.  In 1947, the high level, covered platform was lengthened to accommodate two 10-car race trains.  It appears the platform shelter was removed sometime during the eleven-year period prior to this photo.  The station stop was discontinued on January 28, 1959 when the new elevated tracks and Locust Manor station (in the distance) were placed in service.  (W. J. Edwards photo, Dave Keller data and archive)
Emery-Maps-Locust Manor-Jamaica Racetrack-pre-1937 (Keller).jpg (297527 bytes)
Emery Map Locust Manor pre-1937
Archive: Dave Keller

Emery-Maps-Locust Manor-Jamaica Racetrack-post-1937 (Keller).jpg (119248 bytes)
Emery Map Locust Manor post 1937
Archive: Dave Keller

Emery-Maps-Locust Manor-pre-1959 (Keller).jpg (252806 bytes)
Emery Map Locust Manor pre-1959
Archive: Dave Keller

Union Course

Union Course was a nationally famous racetrack, opened in 1821, situated in the area now bounded by 78th Street, 82nd Street, Jamaica Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn.

It was located north of the Atlantic branch tracks and station stop. Union Course station also appeared on early timetables as "Race Course."

Emery-Maps-Union Course (Keller).jpg (296327 bytes)
Emery map Union Course - 78th St. to 87th St. pre-1942 Archive: Dave Keller

Station-Union Course-View E-10-26-39 (Keller).jpg (85909 bytes)
It was a very popular race track and the LIRR provided service opening a station along Atlantic Avenue either in 1836 or 1837 and named for the race track.  Also known as "Race Track", the station stop was one of the very earliest on the system. The LIRR made this stop part of their rapid transit service, effective April 28, 1905.  The platforms were widened in 1911.  In 1925, a wooden bridge was built over the tracks eliminating the grade crossing of Rockaway Avenue.  Stairs from both westbound and eastbound station platforms led up to this bridge, which was used as a pedestrian crossover.  This view of the Union Course station facilities is viewed eastward from that pedestrian crossover on October 26, 1939, five days before the stop was placed out of service on November 1, 1939 per general order #1204. It, along with all the other Atlantic branch rapid transit station stops, was razed shortly thereafter for the Atlantic Avenue Improvement Project of 1939-40 when the tracks were placed under the Avenue and rapid transit service ceased.  (Dave Keller data and archive)

Union-Course_1873_Huneke.jpg (322844 bytes)
Union Race Course - Beer's Atlas 1873 Archive: Art Huneke

 

Aqueduct
Emery-Map-Aqueduct-pre-1940 (Keller).jpg (172064 bytes)
Emery Map Aqueduct pre-1940 station with low level platforms, for racetrack service only and a regular, low-level platform station stop at N. Conduit Blvd.
Archive: Dave Keller

ticket_Penn-Station-Aqueduct.jpg (40963 bytes)
Ticket - NY Penn Station to Aqueduct
  Archive: Brad Phillips

Emery-Map-Aqueduct-post-1940 (Keller).jpg (192701 bytes)
Emery Map Aqueduct post-1940 shows the new, high level platform station extending from N. Conduit Blvd. all the way north to the racetrack so that both stops could be consolidated into one station structure. Archive: Dave Keller

MP54_Aqueduct-Race-trains_laid-up_Howard-Beach_6-1955_(Rugen-Huneke).jpg (108695 bytes)
MP54s Aqueduct Race trains laid up at 
Howard Beach 6/1955 (Rugen-Huneke
)

MU_Train_at_Sta-Aqueduct-View_NE-1949_Edwards-Keller.jpg (94878 bytes)
It's race day in 1949 and an MU electric train heading northbound (railroad westbound) is making the station stop at Aqueduct.  Note the color scheme of the last car:  Tuscan Red with bright aluminum-painted roof.  View is northeast.  (W. J. Edwards photo, Dave Keller archive and data)

Transfer Tickets

ticket_Jamaica_race-train-transfer.jpg (95355 bytes) ticket_Jamaica_race-train-transfer_6-14-1969.jpg (51641 bytes)