LIRR Turntables     

L1560-Greenport.jpg (66826 bytes)
LIRR RS-3 #1560 view N  Greenport 11/05/61
Photo: Steve Hoskins

LIRR TURNTABLES

Just how unique is the Oyster Bay turntable?  How many turntables were in operation on Long Island and how many turntables exist on Long Island today?

A 1924 LIRR document from the collection of retired LIRR Maintenance of Equipment Supervisor Carl Dimino indicates that the railroad categorized turntables by number.  The numbers ranged from 1 to 17 with six blanks, to wit:

Turntable # Location
1 Bay Ridge
2 ________
3 Greenport
4 Jamaica Yard
5 ________
6 Long Island City
7 Dutchkills
8 ________
9 Morris Park Shops
10 Oyster Bay
11 Patchogue
12 ________
13 Port Washington
14 Riverhead
15 ________
16 ________
17 Whitestone Landing

 

The five locations on the list that are blank are a mystery, however both Art Huneke and Dave Keller advise that at one time there were turntables at these locations: Flatbush Avenue Terminal, Islip, Port Jefferson, Rockaway Beach, Brighton Beach, Sag Harbor and Hempstead. One turntable was located by the remains of the brick turntable pit wall in Old Bethpage State Park

The oldest remains of a turntable on Long Island

bethpagettsign.jpg (127697 bytes)An article on Long Island turntables would not be complete if the old brick-wall turntable pit at Bethpage State Park were not mentioned.   This is one of the oldest surviving railroad structures on Long Island . This turntable pit wall was found in 1988 by the team of Arthur Lubitz, Arthur Huneke and the author, who were walking the right-of-way of the old Bethpage Spur.  The pit measurements indicate that the turntable would have been a 50 footer, short by modern standards but common at that time.  It was built circa 1873 when A. T. Stewart built the Bethpage Spur of his Central Railroad to haul bricks from the Bethpage brickyards to Garden City for construction of homes in that community.  The turntable was only in use until 1879 when passenger service was abandoned on the spur.  This turntable pit is truly a relic from the past.  A plaque was installed by NY State prior to the 2002 US Open Golf Tournament in Bethpage State Park . 

 

The turntable at Morris Park is still operational and is used on a regular basis by the LIRR.  The turntable at Greenport is under the auspices of the Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI) and is pretty much intact and pending full restoration.  At their Riverhead facility, RMLI has a turntable that they purchased in 2002 from the upstate Arcade and Attica Railroad.  This 85 foot turntable was built in 1915 and weighs 60 tons.  RMLI will have to dig a pit, build a round wall and install circular ring rail in order to get the turntable operational.  The goal is to have steam locomotive trips between Riverhead and Greenport using Locomotive #39 with the ability to turn the locomotive on the turntable at each of the terminals.  That will truly be an exciting Long Island tourist attraction.

Taking into consideration the foregoing, it is evident that there are presently no operational turntables viewable to the public on Long Island .  The Morris Park turntable lies within a secure LIRR shop facility, out of reach of the public eye.  The two RMLI turntables are not yet operational.  That means if the Oyster Bay turntable is put into operation in the near future, it will be the only railroad turntable viewable to the Long Island public. 2008

 

Railroad historians role in preserving turntable history

A noted railroad historian and author, Vincent F. Seyfried, has often said, "If it weren't for the larceny of its own employees, the Long Island Rail Road would have no history."  Sadly, he is probably correct, although the "larceny" word should be considered as being used in a hyperbolic sense.  It is widely known in railroad history circles that the LIRR does not have a historic archives and most of the railroad's history lies in a few libraries and museums as well as being scattered in the hands of private collectors and railroad historians.  To that end, a wealth of thanks should go to persons who helped in the creation of this turntable history, to name a few:

Carl Dimino, retired LIRR Maintenance of Equip. Supervisor who also provided the Oyster Bay Historical Society with the only known railroad station pre-1964 interior floor plan.
Robert M. Emery, the late LIRR Conductor
Arthur Huneke,  retired LIRR Train Director who has an outstanding LIRR history website at: http://arrts-arrchives.com/
Dave Keller, LIRR Historian and author of two LIRR pictorial history books. His fine website may be seen at: http://www.trainsarefun.com/lirrphotos/lirrphotos.htm

 

Turning an Engine at Oyster Bay
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 1.jpg (115394 bytes)
It's a cool March 14th, 1953 and FM CPA24-05 #2402 has just been cut off from its eastbound train at Oyster Bay and is now headed, with trainman riding the rear ladder, towards the turntable to be spun and headed in a westerly direction.  (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive and data)
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 1A.jpg (64802 bytes)
H
ere's a close-up showing the trainman in uniform and overcoat riding the rear ladder of the C-liner.
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 2.jpg (104959 bytes)
The C-liner has just passed the photographer in its jaunt to the turntable. (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive and data)
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 3.jpg (102099 bytes)
Already on the turntable, #2402 has b
egun to spin.  The hostler is operating the electric controls at the front end of the locomotive.  At the right, looking on, is G5s #38. (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive and data)
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 4.jpg (1212752 bytes)
#2402 has now spun about 90 degrees.  (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive and data)
CPA24-5-2402 on Turntable-Oyster Bay - 03-14-53 (Faxon-Keller) Seq 5.jpg (125048 bytes)
And now we're almost back to the turntable access track. Once lined up, the hostler will give the engineer the go-ahead and he will take #2402 off the turntable, head back west and couple onto his train.  (Will Faxon photo, Dave Keller archive and da
ta)

Turntables
Babylon
1888 Hyde Map Turntable: Collection: Stony Brook, NY
Bay Ridge
62nd St. and 8th Ave location left: 1924 razed 1928, right: current 2009 view
bayridgeturntablelocation2009.jpg (57478 bytes)

Creedmoor: Apparently, when the line was cut back to Creedmoor, a turntable had been installed.  In May, 1882 an accident occurred at the turntable. Research/Photo: Art Huneke

 

 

 

 

 


The "heavyweight" locomotive #32 mentioned in the above article was, in actuality, not so much a "heavyweight" but a 4-4-0 American-type built by Schenectady (ALCO) in April, 1873.  After the LIRR's renumbering of locomotives in 1898, #32 became #15 and another 4-4-0 American-type, this time a class D52 built the same year as the renumbering, was assigned #32.  I gather the pre-1898 #32 appeared to be a "heavyweight" to the reporter, in 1882, when he compared it to his memory of the "Aerial" or "Post Boy!" Research: Dave Keller

Dutch Kills
Greenport
LI City:  Had several turntables 
Locust Valley:  When it was the end of the line
Manhattan Beach
Morris Park Shops:
All LIRR observation cars were turned on the table just east of the Richmond Hill Storage Yard, and just west of the trainmen's building, on the north side of the Montauk branch embankment. Info: Dave Keller
Old Bethpage: For the Central RR of Long Island trains
Old Far Rockaway
Old Flatbush Avenue
Old Hempstead
HempsteadBlueprint1892.JPG (62714 bytes)
Hempstead Turntable blueprint 1892 Archive: Art Huneke

 

 

 

 

The Long Island's Hempstead branch terminated at Main St., Hempstead. (Main St. ran parallel with the LIRR's ROW)

The CRR of LI's Hempstead branch terminated at Fulton St., (Later Fulton Ave.) Hempstead, with terminal adjacent to the old Presbyterian Church. This line ran parallel one block over from the LIRR's ROW. When the LIRR acquired the CRR of LI, (1876) the Central's terminal facilities were much newer (1872) and of better construction (Stewart's
brick!) than the LIRR's (1839) so the LIRR abandoned and tore out THEIR terminal and took over the Central's terminal and used it instead. The Central's depot was replaced in 1913. The tracks were cut back to Columbia Street beginning in 1941 and the 1913 depot was moved back and relocated there in 1943.

Competition: The LIRR's branch from Mineola to Hempstead was constructed in 1839. The CRR of LI's branch to Hempstead was constructed in 1872. If anybody was looking for competition, it was A. T. Stewart, not the LIRR. They were there first . . . and for many years.  Research: Dave Keller

Old Jamaica:  Before the elimination
Oyster Bay
Patchogue:
South Side RR extension to Patchogue 1869, with turntable west of town ( west of River Ave), relocated by 1903 into main yard area by West Ave.
Port Jefferson:
  The turntable came out in 1922, the same year the wye was installed
Port Washington: The Port Washington Branch opened in 1898. Seven (7) years before the LIRR's first electrification revenue train ran between Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn and Rockaway Park in 1905. So, steam ran on the PW branch. There was a turntable at that location. North side of tracks, west of yard.
Richmond Hill Storage Yard: After the elimination
Riverhead
Rockaway Park:  The Port Washington Branch opened in 1898. Seven (7) years before the LIRR's first electrification       revenue train ran between Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn and Rockaway Park in 1905. So,  steam ran on the PW branch. There was a turntable at that location.
Sag Harbor
Whitestone Landing: 
Steam ran on the Whitestone Branch  in the early years before the days of  MUs and there was a turntable and enginehouse.

Also, Turntables at:
Farmingdale: Opened c. 1842. That means it could have been a year earlier, perhaps. Conjecture only.  Would make sense if the end of track.

Fire Place (Carmen's River): There were various points along the way that were temporary ends of the line as construction was underway along the next section of ROW. Conjecture only.  Would make sense if the end of track.

Hicksville: Temporary end of the line in 1837. Conjecture only.  Would make sense if the end of track.

Note from Dave Keller: "... P.S. Better write this down. After I turn off my marker lights and leave for the big engine house, nobody will remember this stuff and urban legend will develop such as "all trains were backed up into Jamaica in steam days" or some such trash . . . "   Research: Dave Keller 

Greenport

 

greenportaerial2011.jpg (144995 bytes)
Aerial View 2011

greenport_roundhouse.jpg (203149 bytes)
Greenport yard and turntable view East
c. 1900+
Collection: Dave Morrison

FM-2002-Turntable-Greenport-2-22-64.jpg (77852 bytes)
LIRR FM#2002  02/22/1964
Photo: Robert B. Dunnet 
Archive: Dave Keller

lirr210-C420_Greenport-turntable_4-27-66_ JimGillin.jpg (95796 bytes)
LIRR C420 #210 Greenport turntable 4/27/66 Photo/Archive: Jim Gillin

 

turntablegport.jpg (51687 bytes)
06-05-55 Fantrip
Collection: Art Huneke

06-05-55fantriparthuenke.jpg (42528 bytes)
06-05-55 Fantrip
Collection: Art Huneke


175th Anniversary Fantrip 07/25/09
Photo: Al Castelli

 

Grnptt12-15-04.jpg (79168 bytes)
12-15-2004

greenporttable2006.jpg (121566 bytes)
Boy Scout Tony Breese, working on his Eagle Scout project, along with his entire troop, have cleaned and restored the Greenport turntable pit. After days of cleaning and landscaping the pit, yards and yards of GeoTex were spread and several inches of bluestone have been put down across the entire crater!  2006

greenporttable7-25-09NeilFeldman.jpg (89611 bytes)
175th Anniversary Fantrip 07/25/09
Photo: Neil Feldman
greenportvr2.jpg (129326 bytes)
1.  Turntable 2. Freight House 3. Current Platform 4. Museum - ex. Pass Station
2006
lirr1556greenport_TimDarnell.jpg (48497 bytes)
LIRR #1556 c. early 1970's
Info/Collection: Tim Darnell

OBAytable02-02-08-LI9627.jpg (28291 bytes)
02/02/2008 Photo: Joe Sam

parlorsetauketonturntabra3.jpg (30483 bytes)
Railfan Extra on "Setauket" turntable  4/68
Archive: Dave Keller

greenport-table.jpg (59335 bytes)
Greenport Fan Trip  5/17/1970 The six "previously owned" lightweight passenger cars in the photo were recent acquisitions from B&O, FEC, NH, PRR and UP, for parlor car service. Locomotive 224 would have been turned on the turntable for the westward trip back to Jamaica or Long Island City. Info: Rich Glueck

Patchogue
turntable1940.jpg (19397 bytes)
E7s Atlantic (4-4-2) 1940
on the turntable
lirr110_patchoguebuilt1916.jpg (36429 bytes)
LIRR #110 Built 1916
 ex-PRR 8610 Photo: c. 1928+
Oyster Bay 
additional articles/photos
G5s-50-Turntable-Oyster Bay-10-1954 (Huneke).JPG (97408 bytes)
LIRR G5s #50 Oyster Bay turntable 10/1954 Photo: Art Huneke
oysterbayaerial2011.jpg (160575 bytes)
Aerial View 2011
lirr464_Oyster-Bay-turntable_c.Fall1964+.jpg (80790 bytes)
LIRR RS-1 #464 Oyster Bay turntable c. Dec. 1964+

 

RS1-462-TTable-OBay-1950.jpg (106146 bytes)
RS1 #462 -1950
J. P. Sommer photo, Dave Keller archive
turntableOB.jpg (28173 bytes)
Photo: Friends of Loco #35, Inc.
turntableOBsouth.jpg (118559 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable - view south
Turntable-Oyster Bay-1952-1.jpg (72249 bytes)
1952 Photo: J. P. Sommer  Archive: Dave Keller 
Turntable-Oyster Bay-1952-2.jpg (78210 bytes)
1952 Photo: J. P. Sommer  Archive: Dave Keller
Turntable-Oyster Bay-1952-3.jpg (73482 bytes)
1952 Photo: J. P. Sommer  Archive: Dave Keller
ObayAlco211Turntable04-02-65_2.jpg (57068 bytes)
Alco #211 04/02/1965
Obayturntable04-02-65.jpg (51970 bytes)
Photo 04/02/1965
Obayturntable04-02-65-2.jpg (61554 bytes)
Photo 04/02/1965
ObayAlco211Turntable04-02-65.jpg (54632 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable Alco C420 #211  04-02-1965  Photos: Pat Scopelliti

lirr208_C420_turntable-Oyster-Bay_4-1968.jpg (121618 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable Alco C420 #208 04/68 Photo: Unknown
lirr207_OBayTimDarnell.jpg (50613 bytes)
LIRR # 207 c. early 1970's 
Info/Collection: Tim Darnell

OysterBayRRMuseum7-11-09SteveRothaug.jpg (67482 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable  07/11/09
Photo: Steve Rothaug

OBaytable1-8-2008_dmorrison.jpg (74603 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable  01/08/2008
Photo: Dave Morrison

OBayuseum8_8_09SRothaug.jpg (56410 bytes)
Oyster Bay Turntable  08/08/09
Photo: Steve Rothaug

Morris Park
Mparkturntablepostcard.jpg (74102 bytes)
Morris Park Yard c. 1906 postcard
Collection: Dave Morrison
lirr141-G53sd_4-6-0_built-1917-Brooks_Morris-Park-Turntable_01-16-1949_Rugen-Huneke.jpg (105358 bytes)
LIRR #141 G53sd 4-6-0 built 1917 by Brooks Morris Park turntable 01/16/1949 Photo: Bill Rugen Archive: Art Huneke
FM-CPA20-5-2006-on-Turntable-Snow-MPShops-c1955.jpg (51143 bytes)
LIRR FM CPA20-5 #2006 c.1955
Collection:  Dave Keller
lirr398-105-611-601-617-618_MorrisParkTurntable_1979_Huneke.jpg (345341 bytes)
LIRR #398, 105, 611, 601, 617, 618 view NE 1979 Photo: Art Huneke
L258-Morris Park.jpg (158140 bytes)
LIRR #258 c. 1970's
Photo: Steve Hoskins
LIRRL619102889.jpg (64259 bytes)
LIRR #619 10-28-89
Photo: Albert Castelli
LIRR-154_Morris-Park_10-31-1985_ArtHuneke.jpg (126254 bytes)
LIRR #154 Morris Park 10/31/1985 Photo: Art Huneke
LIRR-L222-060687.jpg (69800 bytes)
LIRR C420 #222
Tour 06-06-87
Photo: Albert Castelli
notsoprettyroundhouse.jpg (85132 bytes)
Morris Park Roundhouse
Photo: Steve Hoskins
turntableleadtrack.jpg (69434 bytes)
Turntable Lead Track
Photo: Steve Hoskins
MPS-Turntable.jpg (127427 bytes)
Fan Trip c. 1970's
L398-MorrisPark.jpg (115191 bytes)
LIRR #398 c. 1970's
Photo: Steve Hoskins
Riding transfer table.jpg (76256 bytes)
LIRR #399 on Transfer Table c. 1970's
Photo: Steve Hoskins
L208-TT-MPShops-1966.jpg (145272 bytes)
LIRR #208 1966
Collection:  Dave Keller
09-17-06morrisparktable.jpg (62461 bytes)
Morris Park received a new 
center casting today  09-17-06
Photo: Joe Tischner
MorrisPark09-17-06.jpg (60353 bytes)
Center casting upclose  09-17-06
Photo: Joe Tischner
Bethpage  - CRR of LI
bethpagettsign.jpg (127697 bytes)
Historic Site Maker  09-01-06
Photo: Pat Masterson
StewartlinettDMorrison.jpg (62035 bytes)
Central Railroad of LI
Turntable remains
Collection: Dave Morrision
StewartlinepitDMorrison.jpg (97400 bytes)
Central Railroad of LI
Turntable wall remains
Collection: Dave Morrision
LI City - Wheelspur Yard
Coaling-Tower_LI-City_early-1900s_viewW.JPG (108547 bytes)
 Wheelspur Yard, LI City - Turntable, Coaling Tower
early 1900s view W
LIC Turntable - 1921.jpg (77702 bytes)
Wheelspur Yard, LI City - Turntable, Coaling Tower
1921 view W L
IRR Valuation Collection: Dave Morrison
Jamaica, NY
4-4-0_46turntableperhapsWashingtonStJamaica.jpg (78330 bytes)
LIRR 4-4-0 Atlantic #46 on  turntable perhaps Washington St., Jamaica, NY