LIRR Freight Operations

On this page will be material about the LIRR's freight operations through the years.

To start with, here's an article, contributed by Nicholas Kalis about Freight sidings along Yard A in Sunnyside/LIC

 

LIRR Freight Sidings Along Yard A

By Carl A, Tony Fabrizi, Bill Myers, and Howard C. Waelder As told to Nicholas Kalis

Corrections are welcome. If you would circulate a copy of this guide to people you know which could prove helpful, it would be appreciated. Help is especially needed in filling in the many missing dates to this story.

Buildings are arranged from west to east. For purposes of organization and study, the buildings have been divided into groups characterized by the overpasses that separate them from other building groups. The first group extends from the west to the Westbound Queensboro Bridge Upper Roadway on the east. The second group consists of four buildings bound by the Westbound Queensboro Bridge Upper Roadway on its west to Queens Boulevard on the east.
The third group consists of those buildings lying between Queens Boulevard (Route 25) on its west to Honeywell on its east. The fourth group consists of those buildings with Honeywell Street on its west and Steinway Street (39th Street) on its east. The fifth and last group is bounded by 48th Street to the west and Woodside Avenue to the east (and south of Northern Boulevard).

Please send any corrections or amplifications to Nicholas Kalis, Suite 600, 1420 Spring Hill Road, McLean, Virginia 22102 Daytime 703 734-6800.

West to East

Thompson Avenue
1.
Eagle Electric Mfg. Co. Inc. Plant Number #8* 1930s+/- - Present
Description: five-story brick building with large industrial windows.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, according to Bill Myers
Questions: Does this building have an address?
* Identified by Bill Myers
Can any reader identify C.J. Slicken Co.?

2.
Citiwide Self Storage Present
Sternberger Warehouse 1950s - 1990s
Ludwig Bauman Furniture 1930s - mid 1950s
Description: Ten-Story Building; 45-55 Pearson Street, 20,000 Square Feet Floors - Rent Manufacturing Warehousing@ sign of the 1970s; Script@L B@ graced fascia in the 1960s. Identified as ASternberger Esbitco@ on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 9" on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966.

3.
Bickford=s 1966 - 19??
Description: Identified as ABickford=s@ on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966. Bickford=s was a restaurant chain in New York City.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 10" on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966. Not a co-tenant in the Mallon Building. I have photos of both but am not sure which is which.
Goods shipped out: ice cream
Goods received: A good guess would be milk.

4.
Peter A. Mallon 19__ - 19__
< Metropolitan Life Insurance Company - Printing Division 19 - 19__
< Eagle Plant Number 8 (According to comments and photo by Tony Fabrizi)
Description: Identified as APeter F. Mallon@ on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Sternberger but separated by Bickfords Inc.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 11" on page 1 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966


Queensboro Bridge Upper Roadway - Westbound
Queensboro Bridge Upper Roadway - Westbound

 

Four (4) buildings lie between the Queensboro Bridge Upper Roadway to the west and the Queens Boulevard to the east.

1.
Eagle Electric Plant # 7 19__ - 19__
Description: Building identified by sign that reads AFloors For Rent, 50,000 SQ FT Each Brown Harris Stevens Inc. OX 7-8800" and appears dark green in color. This identification was made by noted photographer, Bill Myers.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, but now out of service, partially torn up.
Question(s): Does any map show this building as served by a siding? If so, what is the spot number?

2.
Film Treat International August 2000*
American Steel Wool Manufacturing 19__ - 19__
Description: White 5-story brick building with red sign; appears on page 5 of Kinkaid book; has a separate tall square smoke stack to its west side and a one-story building painted white further to its west. Identified as AAmerican Steel Wool@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the west of Brenner Paper Corp. Photo supplied by Bill Myers.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 12" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966. But siding not in service today.
* Information provided by Bill Myers.

Was Brenner Paper Corp, spot 12a, Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 a separate building? Or was it a co-tenant with American Steel Wool?

3.
Box Car Outlet 1970s - 1990s
< CN Building /West Chemical Products/West Disinfectants
Description: one track siding goes through building; 5-story poured Concrete structure; arched roof parapet on its east side with truncated corner. Angled structure perhaps containing a conveyor belt connects building to a brick/poured concrete three-story building to its west side(Spot 13a). Identified as AWest Chemical Products@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the west of AWest Chemical Shipping Prod Spot 13b.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 13a" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966

4.
Closed
< Q.P.=s Market Place
West Chemical Products - Shipping Dept. 19__ -

Description: an attached two-story poured concrete/cinder block flat roof structure. Identified as AWest Chemical Shipping Prod@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of AWest Chemical Products@.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, Spot 13b" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations. . . June 1966

Queens Boulevard (Route 25)

Queens Boulevard (Route 25)

1.
Walworth Craftsmen, 1990s - Present
Magic Chef 1930s - 1970s
Description: 29-50 Northern Boulevard; appears in a black and white Ron Ziel photograph with its sign; has roof-top sign skeleton and single water tower; siding runs into building per Carl Fabrizi. 5-story poured concrete structure. Identified as AWestinghouse Corp.@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 immediately to the east of Queens Boulevard.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 14" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966
(Bill Myers writes that the current tenant is MTA but I thought the MTA was at former National Casket)

2.
Abandoned Present
Astoria Lumber 1950 - 1985*
*Source of these dates: Carl Fabrizi
Description: Marked by Peaked Roof; no windows facing yard. Served by a siding in 1966. Identified as AAstoria Lumber@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 and in map titled "North Shore Freight Branch" immediately to the east of Westinghouse.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 15" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966

3.
Walco Toys, 29-76 Northern Boulevard or MTA, 29-70 Northern Boulevard*
National Casket 1950s - 1980s
Description: Today, the building has been altered according to Bill Myers. Large Water Tank on roof on legs; 6-story poured concrete. Identified as ANational Casket@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Astoria Lumber. No mention in "North Shore Freight Branch" map.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 16" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966
* Suggested by Bill Myers

4.
TAG Apple Factory Called Applebaum on back of building Present
Louis Sherry Ice Cream 19__ - 19__
Description: Located on Northern Boulevard. Identified as ALouis Sherry@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of both Web Offset and National Casket. Ice cream ad appears on tower.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 17a@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations. . . June 1966

Between Shur Guard and Louis Sherry lies the Universal Building. Do any of our readers know whether the Universal Building was served by the LIRR?

5.
Shur Guard (per Bill Myers) Present
Speed Queen 1966

Leck Industries - 1960s*
Standard Plumbing 19__ - 19__
Description: Served by a siding in 1966. Identified as ASpeed Queen@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Louis Sherry.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 18" on page 2 of Maps of Freight . . . June 1966. Vincent Seyfried reported has a photo of Standard Plumbing C showing Northern Boulevard in foregroundC taken from 39th Avenue BMT Subway - Elevated station.
*Source: Track Plan titled "North Shore Freight Branch"

Honeywell Avenue

Honeywell Avenue

Five (5) Buildings

1.
Center Building per Bill Myers
Roto Broil 1966
Description: According to Bill Myers, located at corner of Northern Boulevard and Honeywell. Identified as ASpot 19a@ on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Honeywell Avenue and in front of Extrin Foods. According to Carl Fabrizi, the Roto Broil building is visible from Yard A.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes

 

2.
Center Building, New York Department of Human Resources Present
Seggerman Slocum Co. 1966
Description: Identified as ASpot 20" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Roto Broil/Extrin Foods. According to Tony Fabrizi, Seggerman Slocum Co. is not the two-story brick building to the left of Lighthouse with a CLOROX sign on the building behind it.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes
Question: Can any of our readers identify Seggerman Slocum Co. in a photograph or mention what type of business it carried out?

3.
One Stop Service NY, Inc. Present
Kohler Building (NY Assn for the Blind) 1966
Description: Identified as ASpot 21" on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of Seggerman Slocum Co. According to Carl Fabrizi, the Skilcraft sign appear on the side of the building between 1945 - 1965. His photo dates building sign as 1930s.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes

4.
Storage USA Present
Lighthouse Industries 19__ - 19__
Description: Identified as ASpot 22 " on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966
Served by LIRR siding: Yes

5.
Standard Motor Products Present

The Karpin Building 1966 - 19__
Light Corrugated Boxes 1930 - 1945

Description: Poured Concrete and brick. Appears on track plan Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of the Lighthouse Building. ALight Corrugated Boxes@ is identified in photographs.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, identified as spot 23 on page 2 of Maps of Freight Stations. According to Bill Myers, it had a siding well into the 1970s with two tracks or more.

 

39th Street (Steinway)



48th Street
Four (4) Buildings

1.
Edwards Supermarket, parking lot Present
Gallo Wine Distributers 19__ - 19__
Republic Steel 1966
Description: Gallo was torn down to make way for parking lot of Edwards. A track plan of the 1960s and Howie Waelder confirms Gallo siding inside their building. Identified as Republic Steel & Perkins Trucking on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 2" on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations. . . June 1966.

2.
Edwards Supermarket Present
General Electric. 19__ - 19__
Description: General Electric building was torn down. Track plan of the 1960s seems to indicate that a track entered this building. According to Waelder the track held some 12 freight cars. Waelder told me that Gallo and General Electric were separate buildings. This is where Waelder accidentally did some $12,000 of damage. Appears on track plan Identified on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966.
Served by LIRR siding: Yes,ASpot 3" on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966. 7-car track capacity.

3.
Home Depot Present
Ronzoni Foods 1930? - Present?
Description: Ronzoni was torn down. Distinctive sign facing tracks identifies this building. Color photo shows the words "Ronzoni" were in red. My only source of information on this building is a photograph lent to me by Carl Fabrizi. Identified as (7-car track capacity) on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 to the east of General Electric
Served by LIRR siding: Yes, ASpot 4"on page 3 of Maps of Freight Stations . . . June 1966. Siding no longer exists.

4. Johnson Wax 19 -
Description: End of track in 1965. Identified as Spot 5 in 1966 map.

Woodside Avenue


Acknowledgments

This research project would not be possible without the kind assistance of Thomas Flagg.

 

References

Long Island Railroad Calendar, 1998 and various years

James Kinkaid, Penn Central Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment

Maps of Freight Stations and Private Sidings June 1966 Reprint, comb bound.

 

About the Authors

Bill Myers is a noted railroad photographer. Tony Fabrizi is an avid fan of the architecture of Long Island City. His love affair with the structures of this area had led him to model many of these buildings in 1:87 scale. Tony resides in Suffolk County. While many of the buildings in this article are long gone, Nick Kalis seeks to tell their story through an HO scale layout he is currently building in his basement.

 

Revised September 30, 2000