West Hempstead Branch


 lirr415westboundHempsteadAveWestHempstead.jpg (100597 bytes)
LIRR Alco S1 #415 westbound (View N) at Hempstead Ave., probably headed from Country Life Press West Hempstead  late 1950's Archive: Jim Gillin

The entire schedule and description of the event:  West Hempstead Branch Electrification 10/19/1926  Source: LIRR Information Bulletin -Vol. IV No.8 Dec, 1926
Archive: University of  Virginia

1st-MU-Train_Valley-Stream_via-WHemp-Hemp-Branches_Mineola-10-1926_Keller.jpg (86249 bytes)
1st MU train from Valley Stream via West Hempstead-Hempstead Branches
arriving Mineola 10/1926 Archive: Dave Keller

This is the first MU train from Valley Stream via the newly-electrified West Hempstead branch and previously-electrified Hempstead branch arriving westbound at Mineola in October 19, 1926.

The view is east and you can see the train coming off the old Hempstead branch and crossing over to the Main Line westbound track.  At the left of the lead car, you can just make out some flag bunting displayed from the windows of the commercial buildings behind the Mineola station.

Storage battery cars ran on the non-electrified W. Hempstead branch between June, 1913 and May, 1926. According to Emery's notes, the upper end of the branch was electrified in 1911 or 1912 from Country Life press to Franklin Ave. in Garden City to allow MU baggage cars access to the Doubleday plant.  The remained of the line from Franklin Ave. to Valley Stream was electrified and placed into service on 10/19/1926.  I don't know if this train ran that day or perhaps a day later. . . .

These MU thru-trains first appeared in the timetable of October, 1926 and the last year of this MU thru-service was indicated in the timetable of September, 1935. The line was just one manual block from "HC" to "VA" (later "VALLEY") until "WM" block limit was installed near West Hempstead in 1935. Research: Dave Keller

USGS-topographic-Nassau-1897.jpg (1139405 bytes)
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) 1897 Topographic Map - Nassau County, Oyster Bay Quadrangle

View the configuration from Valley Stream south to the Far Rockaway branch. What a weird sharp turn and the branch into the Rockaway Hunt Club south of Valley Stream at Woodmere. Note the two legs of the wye at Hempstead Crossing that later became four legs.  Also notice the old direction of tracks for Stewart's CRR of LI at Floral Park dead-ending and utilizing the LIRR's connection to Garden City and Hempstead.  Stewart's line used to cross the LIRR's Main Line via a trestle and then continued on to Garden City.  When the LIRR acquired the CRR of LI, that trestle was removed, the tracks were re-laid and a junction was made at Floral Park, then called Stewart Junction. Research: Dave Keller


 Built by the New York Bay Extension Railroad Co.: 1893, Merged with the LIRR:  1902
Storage battery cars operated 6/1913 to 5/1926

At Valley Stream, on the north side of the Montauk branch, on the New York Bay Extension (later known as the West Hempstead branch) a single track spur stub ended in a sheet metal building which had large garage-type doors on the east end and which closed across the track.  There was a platform along the north side of the track inside the shed.  The building held two (2) 4-wheel, storage battery cars.  Car #s 2 and 4 were assigned to the NY Bay Extension.  Car #s 1 and 3 were assigned to the Bushwick branch between Fresh Pond station and Bushwick station.  Car #s 1 and 2 were combine cars while #s 3 and 4 were straight coach.  They were equipped for multiple operation.  They operated in multiples on two trips during commission hour, otherwise they ran as a single unit, while the other would be recharged during lay-over.  They were known locally by the native residents as “the Dinky” and by Railroaders as “the Moxie Wagons.”


Country Life Press to Franklin Avenue, Garden City (to allow MU baggage cars access to the Doubleday plant): 1911 or 1912  Valley Stream to Franklin Ave.,  Garden City: 10/19/1926    Freight sidings: 1927-28

First year of through MU operations, Valley Stream to Mineola : timetable of 10/1926
Last year of through MU operations, Valley Stream to Mineola : timetable of 9/1935 (service suspended in 1935 due to the Public Service Commission demanding grade crossing eliminations between West Hempstead and Mineola .)

Just one manual block from “HC” to “VA” until “WM” block limit was installed in 1935.

Track connection at Country Life Press to the West Hempstead branch removed: August 19, 1960 per General Notice No. 7-5

Tracks cut back from Country Life Press to the west side of Franklin Avenue crossing (“5 Corners”):  August 19, 1960

Remaining racks north of West Hempstead station at Hempstead Ave. still in place in 1967 (Dave Keller visual evidence) and most probably all removed by c. 1969.


Blueprint_VALLEY-Interlocking-Sheet-6_Valley-Stream_ 12-15-45_DaveKeller.jpg (471592 bytes)
Blueprint - VALLEY Interlocking -  Sheet #6 at  VA VALLEY TOWER  6/22/33 Art Huneke revised 12/15/1945 Archive: Dave Keller
Emery_Valley-Stream_E.Merrick-Rd_1924.jpg (89934 bytes)
Emery map Valley Stream to 
East Merrick Road 1924 Archive: Dave Keller

The "Tigertown" reference on the maps was for this odd, long-existing shantytown through which the LIRR traversed on its way between Valley Stream, West Hempstead, CLP and Mineola.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle Jan., 4, 1903: Tigertown, Far and Away the Oldest Settlement on Long Island

  VA-TOWER-VALLEY_6-28-33_ArtHuneke.jpg (101368 bytes)
"VA", "VALLEY" Tower  Evaluation photo 6/28/33 Archive: Art Huneke

Junction of Far Rockaway and West Hempstead Branches with Montauk Branch. Built east of station and junction. In  service 6/27/33. Renamed: “VALLEY”  4/30/37
Info: Dave Keller

LIRR-1966-map21_Valley-Stream.jpg (88664 bytes)
LIRR 1966 map #21 Valley Stream

West Hempstead Branch Track profile map 1994

DD1 Freight eastbound Long Beach Branch tracks from VALLEY Tower, Valley Stream c.1940  Archive: Dave Keller


The view is looking WEST from VALLEY tower towards Valley Stream station. That tower in the distance AT the station is not a tower but the elevator shaft. The elevator was used to carry baggage to and from track level to and from street level. Sunrise Highway is at the far left of the photo.
The two tracks to the far right are the Montauk Branch #1 (westbound) and #2 (eastbound) tracks. They bypass the station altogether as Valley Stream is NOT a stop on the Montauk branch, but a stop on the Atlantic branch and Far Rockaway branch.

The track at the left side of the station platform WAS the Atlantic branch eastbound track #2. But is now the Long Beach branch track #2, as the Far Rockaway branch eastbound track #2 has branched off to Far Rock. The track curving off in the foreground to the left of the position light signal is the Far Rockaway branch westbound track #1, joining Atlantic branch westbound track #1. 

The eastbound Atlantic branch track #2 becomes the eastbound Long Beach branch track #2 AFTER the junction with the eastbound Far Rockaway branch track #2. Therefore, the DD1 is heading eastbound with a freight on the Long Beach branch tracks. A few feet previously, before it cleared the switch, it was running on Atlantic branch tracks. Had it been a freight bound for Babylon, it would have been heading eastbound on the far right of this photo running along eastbound Montauk branch track #2.

The track to the right of the station platform is the westbound Atlantic branch track #1, with westbound connecting track #1 from Far Rockaway. This WAS the Long Beach branch westbound track #1 from Lynbrook but once it clears the switch and junction from Far Rockaway, it becomes the Atlantic branch track #1 (westbound).

The tracks to West Hempstead are behind the tower and behind the photographer, with a bunch of crossover switches routing trains across 4 sets of tracks: 2 Long Beach branch tracks and 2 Montauk branch tracks. The West Hempstead branch then curves off behind the tower towards the NE.

The men on the front of the DD1 are the train crew. Probably the fireman and the freight conductor, OR . .. if the train is stopped, it could be the engineer and fireman. I can't tell if the train is stopped waiting for a westbound Far Rockaway train to clear the block or not . . . I don't see an engineer at the front window, so perhaps the train IS stopped and this is both enginemen looking at the photographer.

At Lynbrook, we lose the 2 southernmost tracks, with Long Beach track #2 (eastbound) curving south and Long Beach #1 (westbound) curving FROM the south (from Long Beach) to the west. . . like the way the Hempstead branch leaves the Main Line at Floral Park with the eastbound and westbound Main Line tracks continuing past the station on the north side. 

In this same manner as Floral Park, the Montauk branch tracks continue east towards Babylon, and, although Lynbrook is NOT a stop on the Montauk branch, the station has two island platforms, one between the two Long Beach tracks and one between the two Montauk Branch tracks. No idea why, unless the Lynbrook stop was /is made by the occasional Montauk /Babylon train.  Research: Dave Keller

LIRR - Far Rock MU at Valley - Jan 1971.JPG (174519 bytes)
Far Rockaway MU passing VALLEY Tower View E 01/1971 Photo: Brad Phillips

Far Rockaway train (from Jamaica) arrived at Valley Stream station to unload West Hempstead Branch passengers. and departs  eastbound passing Valley Tower)

LIRR - W Hemp Local From Yard to Station - Valley Steam - Jan 1971.JPG (140227 bytes)
West Hempstead 3 car MU shuttle, laid-up in the Valley Stream yard until departure of the Far Rock train,  moving westbound on the eastbound track passing Valley Tower with red markers on. View E 01/1971 
Photo/Info: Brad Phillips

Valley-Tower_M3-2018.jpg (88895 bytes)
VALLEY Tower - M3 window view 2018

WestHempstead_ Local-Valley-Stream_eastbound_01-1971_BradPhillips.jpg (143571 bytes)
MU shuttle at Valley Stream 
view W 01/1971 Photo: Brad Phillips

Photo above is of that same train now eastbound leaving the station and heading towards the crossover switches to access the West Hempstead Branch.  We're looking at the rear end of the train as no headlight lit.  The train is passing VALLEY tower in the process. Info: Dave Keller

Valley-Interlocking-brochure_10-24-25-2009.jpg (234261 bytes)
Valley Interlocking brochure 10/24/2009

Valley-Interlocking-brochure-reverse_10-24-25-2009.jpg (318133 bytes)
Valley Interlocking brochure reverse 10/24/2009

Valley-Interlocking- project-Map-MTA-2009.jpg (84063 bytes)
Valley Interlocking project Map MTA 2009



Emery_Valley-Stream_MP17_8-58-modified.jpg (267269 bytes)
Emery map Valley Stream to MP17 8/1958
Archive: Dave Keller

Westwood Station view NW 2/23/46
Photo: Fred Weber Archive: Dave Morrison

Westwood Station view SE 2/23/46
Photo: Fred Weber Archive: Dave Morrison

Westwood - View E  9/27/1973
Photo: George Povall  Archive: Dave Keller

View is looking east.  Depot was located on the railroad-north (west) side of the tracks.  This view shows a covered shelter of similar architecture on the opposite side of the tracks.  The shelter indicated in my station history below refers to the main depot and not this smaller shelter.  Main depot-now-shelter is at the left outside the image to the left of the photographer. Dave Keller

Westwood-Stationsign_12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (70802 bytes)
Westwood Station sign 12/26/03 
Photo: William Gilligan

Westwood Station pedestrian crossing view NW 12/26/03 
Photo: William Gilligan
Westwood-Station_viewN_12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (107497 bytes)
Westwood Station view N 12/26/03 
Photo: William Gilligan

Westwood-Station_viewE_12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (86092 bytes)
Westwood Station view E 12/26/03 
Photo: William Gilligan



Malverne Station postcard c.1915
Archive: Dave Morrison
Emery-Malverne_West-Hempstead-Branch_MP17-18_8-58.jpg (91999 bytes)
Emery map Malverne MP17-18 8/1958
Archive: Dave Keller

Malverne Station postcard zoom c.1937
Archive: Dave Morrison

Malverne crossing shanty 5/1943 (Weber-Morrison)

Malverne Station  5/1943 (Weber-Morrison)

Malverne Station 5/1943 (Weber-Morrison)

MU Car #1883 Malverne Station 2/20/1954
Archive: Dave Keller
MU-train_Malverne-Station-1954.jpg (58836 bytes)
MU train at West Hempstead Ave. Malverne Station
view N 1954  (Edwards-Keller)
Malverne_Fan-trip_c.1956_BradPhillips.jpg (57968 bytes)
Malverne LIRR fan trip c.1956
Archive: Brad Phillips
Malverne-Station_1966_Sturm-Fehn.jpg (85041 bytes)
Malverne Station 1966 (Sturm-Fehn)
WestHempstead_ Local-Malverne_eastbound_01-1971_BradPhillips.jpg (116405 bytes)
West Hempstead local Malverne view W 1/1971
Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips
WestHempstead_Local-near-Malverne_eastbound_01-1971_BradPhillips.jpg (115891 bytes)
West Hempstead local near Malverne view E  1/1971
Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips
WestHempstead_ Local-near-Malverne_westbound_01-1971_BradPhillips.jpg (196920 bytes)
West Hempstead local near Malverne view E  1/1971
Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

Coach ticket NY to Malverne Archive: Brad Phillips

Malverne-Station_01-1971_BradPhillips.jpg (210800 bytes)
Malverne Station 1/1971 
Photo/Archive: Brad Phillips

One day round trip ticket Malverne and Westwood 6/30/1972 Archive: Brad Phillips

LIRR-1966-map22_Malverne.jpg (96763 bytes)
LIRR 1966 map #22 Valley Stream to Malverne

Malverne Station 1973 (Huneke-Keller)
West-Hempstead-Ave_Malverne_10-73_viewN.jpg (79121 bytes)
West Hempstead Ave. Malverne Station view N
10/1973 Archive: Brad Phillips

Malverne Station 11/25/1976 (Madden-Keller)

Malverne Station  Christmas 2003

Malverne Station Christmas 2

Malverne Station MP 17.64 erected 1909 as the only “Old” station building left on the branch. (West Hempstead’s old building was demolished in 1959).
3/23/2023  - Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz
Malverne Station - View NE 3/23/2023
Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz
Emery-West-Hempstead-Branch_MP18-19_8-58.jpg (144747 bytes)
Emery map Lakeview  MP18-19 8/1958
Archive: Dave Keller
MU 2-Car Shuttle at Sta - Lakeview, NY (View NE) - c. 1935 (Keller).jpg (81834 bytes)
MU two-car shuttle makes a station stop at the old wooden Lakeview station.  This depot is of similar construction to the Hempstead Gardens station building on the same branch.

This c. 1935 view is looking NE and sports the Pennsylvania Railroad keystone-style station sign.  The image is wonderfully highlighted by winter's late-afternoon sunlight.  (Dave Keller archive)

Lakeview-Woodfield-Rd._1969_WilliamGilligan.jpg (196153 bytes)
Lakeview -  Woodfield Rd. 1969 Photo: William Gilligan
LIRR - WB W Hemp Local at Lakeview -  Jan 1971.JPG (87919 bytes)
Lakeview westbound local, West Hempstead Branch 1/1971
Lakeview-Woodfield-Rd._12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (156021 bytes)
Lakeview at Woodfield Rd. 12/26/2003
Photo/Archive:  William Gilligan

Lakeview Station at MP18.82 - View NE 3/23/2023 Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz

Emery-West-Hempstead-Branch_MP19-Chestnut-St._8-58.jpg (67123 bytes)
Emery map West Hempstead Branch MP19 to Chestnut St. 8/1958 Archive: Dave Keller

EmeryHempstead-Gardens-Fulton-St._1893-1926.jpg (83795 bytes)
Emery map Hempstead Gardens to Fulton St. 1893-1926
Archive: Dave Keller

Emery_Hempstead-Gardens-Fulton-St_1926-1935.jpg (274129 bytes)
Emery map Hempstead Gardens to Fulton St. 1926-1935
Archive: Dave Keller

EmeryW.HempBranch1935-59.jpg (270502 bytes)
Emery Map Hempstead Gardens to West  Hempstead Station 9/1935-1959 Archive: Dave Keller
EmeryW.HempBranch1959+.jpg (137767 bytes)
Emery Map Hempstead Gardens to West Hempstead Station 1959+ Archive: Dave Keller
Emery-West-Hempstead-Branch_MP19-Chestnut-St._8-58.jpg (67123 bytes)
Emery map MP19 to Chestnut St. 8-58
Archive: Dave Keller
Station-Hempstead Gdns-c. 1928.jpg (78064 bytes)
Hempstead Gardens station view N 
c. 1928
Hempstead-Gardens-Station_1953_WilliamGilligan.jpg (77104 bytes)
Hempstead Gardens Station 1953 Archive: William Gilligan
Hempstead-Gardens_10-66_Sturm-Fehn.jpg (133143 bytes)
Hempstead Gardens station: Shelter Shed 
View N 10/1966  (Sturm-Fehn)
Station-Hempstead Gdns-Shelter Shed-MU Dbl Dk 1330-01-01-72 (Keller).jpg (117676 bytes)
Hempstead Gardens station: Shelter Shed MU Double Decker #1330 View N 1/01/72  Archive: Dave Keller

Hempstead Gardens Station - View NE 3/23/2023
Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz

Looking northeast at Hempstead Gardens station, MP 19.53. This is actually in West Hempstead, which is a hamlet and “Census-Designated Place.” All of the platforms on this branch are four cars long except West Hempstead, which platforms six. As information, all trains operated on this branch, seven days a week, are eight cars long. The bumping block to the left of the main track is the end of the Long Siding from West Hempstead station, which you can see in the distance. The Long Siding can hold 18 cars and is never regularly used any more. Info: Jeff Erlitz


EmeryW.HempBranch1935-59.jpg (270502 bytes)
Emery Map West Hempstead Station 9/1935-1959
Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR-1966-map23_West_Hempstead-Station.jpg (34420 bytes)
LIRR 1966 map #23 West Hempstead

WestHempstead_viewS_1931.jpg (27195 bytes)
West Hempstead view S 1931, previous location was north of Hempstead Ave at location "M" on Emery map left. 

WestHempstead_viewS_c.1952.jpg (71677 bytes)
West Hempstead view S c.1952 The OLD station building fronting Hempstead Ave

West-Hempstead_viewS_12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (102459 bytes)
West Hempstead view S 12/26/03 
Photo: William Gilligan

West-Hempstead-Station_viewS_12-26-03_WilliamGilligan.jpg (53807 bytes)
West Hempstead Station view S 12/26/03 Photo: William Gilligan

YardWestHempstead02-20-54.jpg (73937 bytes)
 West Hempstead Yard with passenger cars  in the yard. Note: One yard track with access switch has been removed 02/20/1954 Info/Archive: Dave Keller

lirr1206_MB62WestHempstead07071953.jpg (154112 bytes)
MU MB62 REA car #1206 at old express house West Hempstead 7/7/53 (Gillin-Keller)

West Hempstead Station -MU #1694 2 car shuttle 1955
Rolf H. Schneider photo, Dave Keller archive

West Hempstead Yard - Nassau Mutual Fuel Co. View N aerial c.1930 Archive: Richard Eikov

StationandYardWestHempstead02-20-54.jpg (55377 bytes)
West Hempstead Station and Yard  02/20/1954 with the freight conductor checking bills

View N towards the old depot.  You can see its angle away from the tracks and can just make out the covered walkway platform leading from the rear of the depot to the covered station platform.

At the left is the old freight yard and at the right is the old LIRR electric sub-station.  A freight is at the platform and an MU electric two-car shuttle at the station is at the other side of the platform up by the depot. Info/Archive: Dave Keller

LIRR - West Hempstead LH-262.jpg (37839 bytes)
Ticket West Hempstead -Hempstead Gardens 02/23/1962 Archive: Brad Phillips
LIRR - West Hempstead LH-262 Reverse001.jpg (35039 bytes)

MP54C cab end at night - West Hempstead Station 1970 Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck

There are always a lot of choices for lunch in West Hempstead. White Castle and Wendy's are favorites, and it's a good bet that the crew of the RF-48 was having lunch at one of those places on this day in May, 1985. The 223 has already picked up its empty at Bakers Siding, and is ready to go west once the crew returns and they get their paperwork.
Photo/Archive: Jay Bendersky

MP54C at night - West Hempstead Station 1970
Photo/Archive: Richard Glueck
DD1-358-Frt-Brkman walking xing-W. Hemp Br-9-28-47.jpg (130382 bytes)
DD1 #358 Freight Brakeman flagging the Cathedral Avenue crossing - West Hempstead  view NE 9/28/47 
Photo:  Ed Hermanns Archive: Dave Keller

Cathedral-Ave-Hempstead_ex-LIRR-ROW-West-Hempstead-Mineola_viewN-2014.jpg (100572 bytes)
Ex-LIRR ROW of West Hempstead Branch, Cathedral Ave., West Hempstead to Mineola view NE 2014 Archive: Google Maps

Despite the sad deterioration of my negative depicting something very rarely photographed, this photo depicts what freight service had to contend with along the W. Hempstead branch:  A brakeman had to manually walk ahead of the train at each crossing and protect that crossing until the engine passed.

The LIRR was allowed this with freight service but was NOT allowed it with passenger service.  The powers-that-be wanted the grade crossings eliminated if the LIRR wished to continue Mineola-Country Life Press-West Hempstead-Valley Stream passenger service and as it was the 1930s and the height of the depression and some grade eliminations were already underway (Springfield Gardens, St. Albans, Rockville Centre, etc.), the money just wasn't readily available to do this so passenger service ceased between W. Hempstead and Country Life Press.  Freight service lasted several more decades until the connection at CLP was removed, the tracks cut back and the branch stubbed out on the south side of Hempstead Ave. at the W. Hempstead station. 
Research: Dave Keller  

West-Hempstead_County-Line-Press.jpg (101326 bytes)Ex-LIRR ROW of West Hempstead Branch, West Hempstead Station to Country Life Press 2014 Archive: Google Map


Emery-Fulton-St.-to Franklin-Ave_10-1926_9-1935.jpg (203653 bytes)
Emery map Fulton St. to Franklin Ave, West Hempstead - 10/26 to 9/35 Archive: Dave Keller
Emery-Fulton-St.-to Franklin-Ave_7-1958.jpg (153244 bytes)
Emery map Fulton St. to Franklin Ave, West Hempstead - 07/1958 Archive: Dave Keller
Emery_Franklin-Ave.-Country-Life-Press-Station_1937.jpg (156433 bytes)
Emery map Franklin Ave, to Country Life Press
 (CLP) Station 1937 Archive: Dave Keller
Country-Life_Press-razed-ROW_12-1964_BradPhillips.jpg (85702 bytes)
Country Life Press razed ROW view towards West Hempstead 12/1964 Photo: Brad Phillips
Note: For track continuation from County Line Press (CLP) Station to Mineola CLICK HERE