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Far Rockaway Branch facts for kids

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Far Rockaway Branch
LIRR Train 2820 leaves Cedarhurst.jpg
Far Rockaway Branch train 2820 departing Cedarhurst Station.
Status Operational
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Locale Queens and Nassau County, New York, US
Termini Valley Stream
Far Rockaway
Stations 11
Type Commuter rail
System Long Island Rail Road
  Far Rockaway Branch
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Ridership 6,402,693 (annual ridership, 2018)
Opened 1869 (as part of South Side Railroad of Long Island)
Number of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 750 V (DC) third rail

The Far Rockaway Branch is an electrified rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The branch begins at Valley Interlocking, just east of Valley Stream station. From Valley Stream, the line heads south and southwest through southwestern Nassau County, ending at Far Rockaway in Queens, thus reentering New York City. LIRR maps and schedules indicate that the Far Rockaway Branch service continues west along the Atlantic Branch to Jamaica. This two-track branch provides all day service in both directions to the Atlantic Terminal (at Flatbush Avenue) in Brooklyn, with limited weekday peak service to/from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. During peak hours, express service may bypass Jamaica station.


Rockaway Branches
The Far Rockaway Branch initially extended west to Rockaway Park. In 1887, a connection was built to the Rockaway Beach Branch at Hammels, and the older Far Rockaway Branch was abandoned west of Hammels.
LIRR M7 7508 Far Rockaway
LIRR train at the existing terminus in Far Rockaway.

The South Side Railroad built the branch in 1869 under a subsidiary called the Far Rockaway Branch Railroad. While constructing it in summer 1869, the company installed about 700 feet (200 m) of tracks across William B. McManus's farmland near Lawrence. However, the transaction had not been completed, and McManus and some friends tore up the track the next night; after a legal battle, the company paid McManus. The same year, the South Side established a subsidiary named the Hempstead and Rockaway Railroad designed to connect the line to the up-and-coming Southern Hempstead Branch. The H&R was dissolved in 1871.

Due to the success of the branch, the South Side built the 200-foot (60 m) South Side Pavilion, a restaurant on the beach at what is today Beach 30th Street. With an additional subsidiary known as the Rockaway Railway (1871-1872; Not to be confused with the Rockaway Village Railroad), the line was extended west to the Seaside House (Beach 103rd Street) in 1872 and Neptune House (Beach 116th Street) in 1875. Along with the rest of the South Side Railroad, the Far Rockaway Branch was acquired by the Long Island Rail Road in 1876.

Two stations on the branch were built as Arverne (LIRR station), both of which were built by Remington Vernam. The first of which was in 1888 at Gaston Avenue (Beach 67th Street). It had a large tower, was shaped like a Victorian hotel and had a connection to the Ocean Electric Railway, as did much of the Rockaway Beach and Far Rockaway branches. Due to a quarrel between the LIRR and Vernam, another Arverne Station was built at Straiton Avenue in 1892. From then on, the original Arverne station was known as Arverne-Gaston Avenue (LIRR station) to distinguish it from the Arverne-Straiton Avenue (LIRR station).

Until 1950 trains from Penn Station could leave the Main Line at Whitepot Junction (40°43′31″N 73°51′39″W / 40.7254°N 73.8608°W / 40.7254; -73.8608) and head south past the Atlantic Branch connection at Woodhaven Junction (40°41′14″N 73°50′36″W / 40.6871°N 73.8433°W / 40.6871; -73.8433) to the Hammels Wye at 40°35′29″N 73°48′32″W / 40.5913°N 73.8088°W / 40.5913; -73.8088, turning right there to Rockaway Park or left to Valley Stream and Jamaica and maybe on to Penn Station. Frequent fires and maintenance problems, notably a May 23, 1950 fire between Broad Channel Station and The Raunt, led the LIRR to abandon the Queens portion of the route on October 3, 1955, which was acquired by the city to become the IND Rockaway Line, with service provided by the A train. Most Queens stations along the former Far Rockaway and Rockaway Beach Branches reopened as subway stations on June 28, 1956, the exception being Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue station, which was split between the NYCTA and LIRR on January 16, 1958.

Between the late 1960s and 1990s, various stations along the Far Rockaway Branch were given high-level platforms in order to accommodate modern M1, M3, and M7 railcars.

The Far Rockaway Branch has the distinction of containing the oldest surviving railroad station on Long Island, and the only existing building constructed by an LIRR predecessor, specifically Hewlett (LIRR station). In 2003, the LIRR closed that station replacing it with a new one diagonally across the railroad crossing on Franklin Avenue, however the original SSRLI Depot still remains intact to this day.


Zone Station Miles (km)
from NYP
Connections / notes
1 For continuing service to points west, see City Terminal Zone
3 Jamaica 11.2 (18.0) 1876 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR; Atlantic, Babylon, Belmont Park, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Oyster Bay,
Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "E" train "J" train"Z" train (at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport)
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56
Bus transport MTA Bus: Q6, Q8, Q9, Q25, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q60, Q65
Bus transport NICE Bus: n4
BSicon TRAM.svg AirTrain JFK: Jamaica Station Route
Jamaica-Beaver Street 1867 1913
Cedar Manor 1906 1959
Locust Manor 14.1 (22.7) 1869 Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q3 (to JFK Airport), Q85, QM21
Higbie Avenue 1908 1960
Laurelton 15.0 (24.1) 1907 Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q77, Q85
Rosedale 15.9 (25.6) 1870 Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q5, Q85, X63
Queens / Nassau county line
4 Valley Stream Handicapped/disabled access 17.6 (28.3) 1869 BSicon BAHN.svg LIRR: Long Beach and West Hempstead Branches
Bus transport NICE Bus: n1
Gibson Handicapped/disabled access 18.5 (29.8) 1928 Bus transport NICE Bus: n1
Hewlett Handicapped/disabled access 19.4 (31.2) 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: n1, n31, n32
Originally Cedar Grove, then Hewletts
Woodmere Handicapped/disabled access 20.0 (32.2) 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: n31, n32
Cedarhurst Handicapped/disabled access 20.9 (33.6) 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: n31, n32
Lawrence Handicapped/disabled access 21.7 (34.9) 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: n31, n32
Inwood Handicapped/disabled access 22.1 (35.6) 1905 Bus transport NICE Bus: n31, n32
Originally Westville
Nassau / Queens county line
Far Rockaway Handicapped/disabled access 22.7 (36.5) 1869 Bus transport NICE Bus: n31, n32, n33
Bus transport NYCT Bus: Q22, Q113, QM17
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Far Rockaway – Mott Avenue)
The following stations were part of the segment that was abandoned in 1955, many of them converted into subway stations on the IND Rockaway Line in 1956.
Wavecrest 1928 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Beach 25th Street)
South Side Pavilion 1955
Edgemere 1895 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Beach 36th Street)
Frank Avenue 1922 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Beach 44th Street)
Straiton Avenue 1892 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Beach 60th Street)
Originally Arverne - Straiton Avenue
Gaston Avenue 1888 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train (at Beach 67th Street)
Originally Arverne, then Arverne - Gaston Avenue
Eldert's Grove 1872 1887 Replaced by NYW&R-built Hammels (1880)
Holland's 1880 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train Rockaway Park Shuttle (at Beach 90th Street)
Sea Side House 1880 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train Rockaway Park Shuttle (at Beach 105th Street)
Originally Seaside
Neptune House 1882 1955 BSicon SUBWAY.svg NYC Subway: "A" train Rockaway Park Shuttle (at Rockaway Park – Beach 116th Street)
Originally Rockaway Beach, then Rockaway Park
Atlantic Park 1955

See also

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