Speonk and Remsenburg: A History of Rail Service

East River, Speonk (July 11, 2014)
East River, Speonk (July 11, 2014)

In the town of Southampton, there are two hamlets known as Speonk and Remsenburg to the west of Westhampton village.  Each has its own United States Post Office and therefore zip code.  Sometimes the names are used jointly to describe the entire area.  However, Remsenburg is usually identified as the area along the bay and Speonk is to its north.  Although the communities were originally one area, a split occurred following the nineteenth century arrival of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR).  Like most communities on the island, the steel rail altered the Speonk landscape.  As a resort destination along the South Shore of Long Island, the local station was a stop on the renowned Cannon Ball express train to Montauk featuring luxurious endeavors in a parlor train car.  The following is a short history of the Speonk area and includes a chronicle of railroad service from its inception to subsequent improvements in East End travel.

Early Settlements

Speonk was the Indian name given to the neck of land where both modern-day Speonk and Remsenburg are located. The neck is bordered by Speonk River to the east, East River to the west, and Moriches Bay to the south.  The word can be translated as “high ground,” perhaps from the Mohegan spummunk meaning “on high,” or asp-yeuonk meaning “place lifted up.”[1]  The mostly-flat Remsenburg section has about three miles of shore front on the bay as well as Fish Creek, a large body of salt water between Cedar Lane and Basket Neck Lane that formerly was skirted by flats of salt meadow on its western boundary.  Named after Herrick Rogers, the two-acre Heck’s Pond was another body of water, lying between Remsen and Rogers Lanes.  Additionally, Remsenburg has fresh water below the land surface that can be accessed using shallow wells.[2]

As early as 1712 some meadows on the neck were leased to Southampton cattle owners who later built small houses for herders.[3]  More substantial settlement occurred about 1740 by people from Southampton and Bridgehampton who built farms and cleared wooded areas.  Some prominent names include Abraham Halsey, John and James Tuthill, Joseph Rogers, and the Phillips family whose name became a local road.  Abraham Halsey’s house was probably built about 1740.  The first record of private ownership on the neck was to Daniel Bower, who later conveyed it to Jeremiah Smith in 1754.  William Phillips bought the entire neck in 1757 and then bequeathed it to his sons at his death in 1776.  At their father’s request, the brothers built a road to the bay which became Basket Neck Lane.[4]

Rogers Family House (August 9, 2015)
Rogers Family House (August 9, 2015)

Some of the early homes have survived to the present day.  The oldest portion of the Halsey/Tuthill/Webb house was constructed about 1765 by Jonathan Halsey, a Revolutionary War patriot.  The Tuthill Family house also has an original portion, constructed in 1768, but a larger section was added in the mid-1800s.[5]

Other old homes include the Phillips-Tuthill house, on the west corner of South Country Road and Phillips Avenue.  Probably built in 1757, it later became the home of William Robinson.  Another home built in 1757 is the former Dayton house, on the east corner of South Country Road and Pheasant Lane.  Lastly, the Hulse/Rogers/Phillipson house was constructed circa 1810 and was once owned by a senior LIRR engineer, Edward W. Hulse.[6]

Tuttle-Halsey House (August 9, 2015)
Tuttle-Halsey House (August 9, 2015)
Hulse-Rogers-Philipson House (August 9, 2015)
Hulse-Rogers-Philipson House (August 9, 2015)

Coming of the Railroad

The story of modern Speonk and Remsenburg begins in the mid-nineteenth century.  By this time, farming and cordwood were the dominant industries, with both food and wood shipped to New York and Brooklyn on sloops that landed in Eastport.[7]  Later in the century, duck farms thrived along the shores.  There was a total of about fifteen duck farms, the largest being probably Mott Tuthills.  Most, if not all, were gone by 1900 except the farm of William C. Rogers which continued up to 1920.[8]

A mill and a church were also built.  Red Brick Mill was erected in 1859 at the north end of Mill Road and Montauk Highway.[9]  The first church, Presbyterian, was built and dedicated in 1854 on land donated by Elijah Phillips.[10]  A framed building was.  The congregation was later reorganized in 1887 under the jurisdiction of the Long Island Presbytery.[11]  The cornerstone of the present building was laid on April 18, 1896 at the corner of South County Road and Basket Neck Lane.[12]

The event that had the biggest impact on the community was the arrival of the railroad in 1869.  To rival the competing South Side Railroad, the LIRR constructed a branch to Sag Harbor off its Main Line at Manorville through the hamlet of Speonk.  On Monday December 20, 1869, a way station opened on the south side of the tracks east of the Philips Avenue crossing.  Depot building construction commenced in December and was completed in February 1870.  The structure was board and batten similar to other depots of the time period and cost about $1,000.  Victorian in design, it had brackets, or the heavy supports under the eaves, in the shape of staircase-like steps.  A freight house was also added east of the depot building.  A wooden platform connected the two and was train level at both buildings for easier boarding.[13]

Speonk Station
Historical Fact
Date
Station opened December 20, 1869 (timetable)
Depot building opened December 1869 – February 1870
Renamed Remsenburg Station Early-June 1897
Renamed Speonk Station July 12, 1897
Depot building destroyed by fire June 22, 1901
Depot building replaced Fall – November 1901
Station agency closed January 1959
Station agent reassigned February 11, 1959 (author’s analysis)
High-level concrete platform and ramp constructed (with an extended, saltbox-roofed east end canopy and large passenger waiting area shelter and information center made of steel and enamel painted red-brick, mint, and light beige) Late 1996 – Summer 1997 (author’s analysis)

Since the railroad brought vacationers to Speonk, many larger homes were converted to boarding houses.  Owned and operated by John W. Tuthill, the Ocean House was constructed in 1871.  In the 1908 season, room and board was $8 to $10 per week.  Typically, a stagecoach met guests at the railroad and brought them to the house.  One stage operator was Captain Jeremiah C. Rogers who constructed a home nearby in the 1860s.[14]  Another summer boarding house called Bay Side House opened in 1872.[15]

Capt Jeremiah Rogers House (August 9, 2015)
Capt Jeremiah Rogers House (August 9, 2015)

By this time, the population of the neck was about 200 with forty-five houses, a district school, and post office.  The church was now under the care of Methodist-Protestant in connection with the church at Eastport.[16]  Another building in the community at this time that is still standing today is the Remsenburg Academy on South Country Road.  Constructed in the early 1860s, it first served as an intermediate school for young gentlemen with its first term beginning December 19, 1864.  The school was run by John W. Tuthill, professor of mathematics, who formerly attended the Quaker Locust Valley Academy.  The school lasted only a short time and was closed in 1869.  Over the years, the building has been used as a residence and post office.  It is now owned by Southampton town and operated by the Remsenburg Academy group as a community resource for public meetings and events.[17]

Remsenburg Academy (August 9, 2015)
Remsenburg Academy (August 9, 2015)

Creation of Remsenburg and the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Named after the Remsen family, Remsenburg is currently bordered on the north by a line 500-feet south of and parallel to Montauk Highway.  The southern border is Moriches Bay, and the western is East River and the hamlet of Eastport.[18]  Remsenburg began on July 27, 1895 when its post office was established.  With John Leary as postmaster, the office was located in the front room of the Harold Tuthill house on the north side of South Country Road opposite the old Academy.  Its location changed several times over the years.  The present colonial building was constructed in the summer of 1969 and opened October 1 of that year.  It was designed by Albert W. Butt, Jr. and built on the Jayne property on the south side of South Country Road just east of the former Phillips property.[19]

Remsenburg Post Office (August 9, 2015)
Remsenburg Post Office (August 9, 2015)

The story of the split begins with the arrival of Dr. Charles Remsen of New York City in the 1880s.  Born in 1856, Dr. Remsen was a student at Princeton and later a graduate of the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1880.  When he came to Speonk, Dr. Remsen donated land for a new brick Presbyterian Church to replace the 1854 wooden building.  In recognition, a movement began to rename the area in his honor.  Many citizens and property owners at the time believed that the name Speonk stood in the way of progress.  In fact, an 1897 LIRR catalog called it “a place that certainly sounds like the call of a frog.”[20]

At first, advocates wanted Remsen but there already was a Remsen in upstate Oneida County.  Eventually, Remsenburg was selected.[21]  The name change started in earnest in February 1895 when the Reverend Minot Morgan, pastor of the local church, procured signatures for a petition asking for the change of name.  The following July the Reverend went to Washington and presented the petition to the Postmaster General.  It was later granted and Speonk became Remsenburg.[22]

The change was a local controversy.  In fact, the LIRR refused to change the station name.  Consequently, one resident group removed the station signage and replaced it with Remsenburg but the railroad put back the old name.  However, the railroad finally yielded in early-June 1897 under the general rule that each station should be named after the nearest post office.[23]  Nevertheless, it was only Remsenburg for a month and a few days.  A new post office was established and called by the name Speonk on July 9, 1897 confirming that northern Speonk was a different post office than Remsenburg, southern Speonk.[24]  A few days later on Monday, July 12 the railroad restored the old sign.  One local Suffolk newspaper proclaimed that “Speonkers out-generated Remsenburgers.”[25]

With the name restored, Speonk Station continued to serve residents and vacationers alike.  Upon the completion of the right-of-way to Montauk in 1895, Speonk was part of the Montauk Branch.  Sadly, the station experienced a calamitous event in 1901.  On Saturday, June 22, the depot building was struck by lightning and consequently destroyed by fire.[26]  Work on a replacement commenced in the fall and was completed in November.  The new building was eighteen-by-thirty feet, built entirely of wood, with elaborate scalloped roof brackets.  The waiting room featured a pot-belly stove.  The passenger platform by this time was at grade and extended from the depot building over Phillips Avenue several yards westward.[27]

Former LIRR Speonk Station second depot building, view northwest (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station second depot building, view northwest (July 11, 2014)

The station’s freight capacity was expanded between 1905 and 1910 when Speonk Terminal was built north of the tracks to the east of Phillips Avenue.  Complete with multiple sidings and a “Y” for turning and switching, the terminal was made possible by LIRR locomotive engineer Ira Tuthill who offered five acres of his land.  It was a great boon for Speonk and Remsenburg since all kinds of foods, wood, feathers, meat, and ducks were now more easily shipped by train.  Outgoing freight cars could be left on sidings and loaded with freight.  Incoming trains brought coal and duck feed.[28]

Modern Speonk and Remsenburg

By the end of the twentieth century, the combined population of the two hamlets was 1,965.[29]  Still, the area sustained a rural quality thanks to the efforts of the Remsenburg Association.  Established in June 1946, the Association’s goal is to maintain Remsenburg as a quiet community and to discourage new industry other than agriculture.  Another goal is to boost community pride and suitable social activities.  Originally, the organization was only twelve residents.  It grew to 500 by 1976.[30]

Incorporation has been discussed by the Association over the years.  The first time was in 1954 in order to adopt better zoning laws.  However, laws were later granted by the town of Southampton and incorporation was shelved.  It was however revived again in 1966.[31]

The Association has also played a role in affairs with the LIRR.  In light of bankruptcy, the railroad threatened to discontinue service on eastern Long Island in the early 1950s, in particular the Montauk Branch east of Patchogue.  The Association discussed the proposal at a general meeting on June 21, 1952 and a strong letter of protest was authorized and sent to the railroad.  In the end, the closure never came to fruition.[32]

Closure of the Speonk Station Agency

Over the years, changes in LIRR service affected Speonk Station.  Beginning in 1949, diesel-electric locomotives began to replace steam in non-electrified territory.  Initially, diesels shared the track-bed with steam engines and were primarily used in passenger operation on weekends when freight service was light and passenger service was heavy.[33]  By 1955, diesel replaced steam in all LIRR service.

Changes in freight delivery started in the mid-1950s.  First, in 1956 the LIRR worked out a cooperative plan with the Railway Express Agency to expedite delivery and pick-up of shipments in Suffolk through a network of truck routes radiating from Speonk.  The plan trucked express shipments to and from Riverhead and Greenport on the North Shore as well as Southampton, East Hampton, and Montauk on the South Shore.  For example, shipments to Riverhead previously arrived at 11:29 a.m. on the first morning train.  Under the new plan, a Riverhead shipment was delivered to Speonk about 6:00 a.m. and trucked to Riverhead, arriving by 9 or 9:30 a.m.[34]

More changes in freight led to the closure of the Speonk station agency and depot building.  Approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in December 1958, the LIRR instituted a “streamlining program” that eliminated agents and clerks at fifteen stations, including Speonk.[35]  Since passenger service was minimal, the railroad wanted to expand freight traffic.  Branch sales offices were established and manned by a new district manager in Riverhead.  It offered a closer liaison with the main freight manager at Jamaica headquarters.  Subsequently, personnel at all fifteen stations were reassigned on February 11, 1959 when district management went into effect.  The Speonk agency and waiting room were now closed.  Since that time the building has been a privately-owned café or diner.  While carload freight was available at Speonk Station for several years to come, less-than-carload was discontinued in early 1960.[36]

Rail Improvements

As a cost-effective measure, the LIRR instituted bus service on the Montauk Branch between Amityville and Montauk in 1963.  A stop was designated in Speonk at Montauk Highway (NY Route 27A) & Phillips Avenue.[37]  Since buses provided the bulk of service, some trains were discontinued.  By 1964, the weekday train timetable was as follows.  Rush-hour eastbound service to Speonk was provided from Hunterspoint Avenue in Long Island City by train number 38 at 4:48 p.m. (arriving at 7:01 p.m.), number 40 at 5:14 p.m. (arriving at 7:27 p.m.), and from Jamaica by number 42 at 6:06 p.m. (arriving at 7:57 p.m).  Rush-hour westbound service to Jamaica was provided by train number 31 at 5:25 a.m. (arriving at 7:17 a.m.), number 35 at 7:01 a.m. (arriving at 8:47 a.m. and terminating at Hunterspoint Avenue at 9:07 a.m.), and number 5 at 7:39 a.m. (arriving at 9:04 a.m.)  In the non-rush-hour, there were two roundtrips in the late-night and early morning hours to and from Jamaica as well as a midday single roundtrip, eastbound train number 4 at 10:11 a.m. and westbound number 9 at 3:13 p.m.  The remainder of weekday service was provided by six roundtrip buses to and from Amityville where electric train service was available to Manhattan.[38]

The push to revive East End rail service began in the 1970s.  The railroad was now under the auspices of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).  By this time, Speonk was considered the last commuting stop on the Montauk Branch with a total of fifty monthly commuting tickets sold.  To speed express weekday service, a new fare and scheduling structure based on commuter zones was authorized.  Trains now stopped primarily at stations in designated zones and bypassed others.[39]

The new setup shed a few minutes of travel time for Speonk commuters, barring if trains were on time.  By the summer of 1974, the schedule was as follows.  There were now four eastbound rush-hour trains.  Train number 16 to Montauk left Jamaica at 4:40 p.m. and stopped in Speonk at 6:27 p.m.  Number 42 departed Hunterspoint Avenue at 4:46 p.m. and arrived at 6:59 p.m.  Number 44 left Hunterspoint Avenue at 5:14 p.m. and arrived at 7:21 p.m.  Lastly, number 46 departed Jamaica at 6:14 p.m. and arrived at 8:04 p.m.  Westbound rush-hour service featured three morning trains.  Number 31 originated in Montauk and stopped in Speonk at 5:27 a.m., terminating in Jamaica at 7:14 a.m.  Number 33 left Speonk at 6:21 a.m. and terminated at Hunterspoint Avenue at 8:33 a.m.  Lastly, number 3 left Speonk at 7:03 a.m. and terminated in Jamaica at 8:50 a.m. (this was later changed in the fall to Hunterspoint Avenue).  In the non-rush-hour, the midday tandem was renumbered eastbound number 6 (stopping at 10:17 a.m.) and westbound number 11 (stopping at 2:54 p.m.).  Rounding out the schedule were two late-night westbound trains and one early morning eastbound.  LIRR bus service was limited to four roundtrips and one late-evening eastbound.[40]

LIRR Bi-Level C-3 Coach 4014 of train number 2712 to Speonk, Hunterspoint Avenue Station, view east (July 3, 2014)
LIRR Bi-Level C-3 Coach 4014 of train number 2712 to Speonk, Hunterspoint Avenue Station, view east (July 3, 2014)

Despite minor improvements more needed to be done to speed East End service since both the track-bed and rolling stock were antiquated.  The need for action became dire when a forty-five mile-per-hour speed restriction for the nine-mile right-of-way from Mastic-Shirley to Speonk was put in effect on April 30, 1974.  Some Speonk commuters described their daily ride in a Newsday article.  Robert Herbs cited that the worst part was the poor condition of the track-bed and added that train coaches had no springs.  Another commuter, Leonard Smith, commented: “a lot problems could be solved by preventative maintenance.”[41]

The first sign of improvement was when the LIRR unveiled an air-conditioned fleet of refurbished coaches on Monday, May 20, 1974 to be used exclusively for East End diesel-hauled service, officially designated as PS4D cars.  Since the manufacturing of diesel-hauled coaches was discontinued in the mid-1950s, PS4D cars were reconditioned post-World War II electric cars.  They were coupled to two diesel locomotives in the concept called “push-pull.”  One engine was for traction power and the other to generate electricity for lighting, heating, and air-conditioning.[42]

The second sign of improvement was the MTA’s proposed $50 million track and car rehabilitation program.  Announced by Chairman William Ronan on February 22, 1974 to a group of businessmen concerned about the area’s tourist business in light of the 1970s gas shortage, the proposal called for a major overhaul of the East End track-bed.  Ronan added that some money would also be used for new locomotives.[43]

While some local officials wanted a rehabilitated rail system, others did not.  Ridership dropped from 77.5 million in 1964 to 70 million in 1973 and there was little indication that the gas shortage would increase ridership.  While Central Suffolk’s population was on the rise, more than half the work force remained on the island and used cars.  After Ronan’s announcement, New York State Assembly Speaker Perry B. Duryea called on the MTA to obtain the services of an independent consulting engineer to determine whether the projected $300,000 per-mile cost estimate for rebuilding the entire track-bed to Montauk was realistic.  Instead, he recommended that additional scheduling changes could increase efficiency.  In particular, he suggested moving the Patchogue terminal to Speonk, eliminating the need for Montauk trains to stop at every station between Speonk and Babylon.  Shelter Island Town Supervisor Thomas L. Jernick believed that residents were better off with bus service.   Riverhead Town Supervisor John Leonard agreed, comparing the daily Ronkonkoma to Riverhead train to the “Toonerville Trolley.”[44]

In the end, Duryea announced that $4 million in state aid was granted to rebuild the track-bed to Speonk, with work to begin in the spring of 1975.  The money was made available by a legislative vote earlier in the year for $30 million towards statewide rail improvements.  State Transportation Commissioner Raymond T. Schuler added that the work between Mastic-Shirley and Speonk was “urgently needed” since it was last overhauled in 1913.[45]

Another statewide ballot toward $250 million in rail improvements included the Speonk to Montauk right-of-way.   Speed restrictions were now down to thirty miles-per-hour and the trip from Montauk to Manhattan took almost four hours, about ninety minutes longer than it did in 1920.  On Election Day 1974 the transportation bond was approved and a total of $46 million was set aside for the track-bed to Montauk as well as other LIRR improvements such as better freight connections in Queens and the rehabilitation of about twenty diesel-hauled coaches.[46]

Work on the entire forty-four mile right-of-way took several years.  The $10.6 million contract for the Speonk to Montauk right-of-way was finally awarded in early 1978 to the Minnesota firm Loram Construction and work began over the summer of 1978.[47]  On Monday, June 4, 1979, construction was ninety percent complete.  Trains were able to reach sixty-five miles-per-hour under new timetables, making the former one-hour-and-fifty-five minute ride from Speonk to Montauk twenty-seven minutes shorter.  In total, the run time from New York to Montauk was cut from four to three-and-a-half hours.  Upon completion, 52,000 hardwood rail ties were installed over new stone ballasts, thirty-five grade crossings were rebuilt with easily maintained rubber crossing panels, and switches and signals were overhauled.[48]

Ironically, the first two trains to run on June 4 arrived at their destinations late.  Train number 3 from Montauk to Jamaica, with a stop in Speonk at 2:54 a.m., was ten minutes late and number 5 from Montauk to Hunterspoint Avenue, with a stop in Speonk at 7:03 a.m., was seventeen minutes late.[49]

To “ballyhoo [the] upgraded service,” the LIRR ran a special invitation-only train of five parlor cars to Montauk on June 8, 1979.  Politicians, reporters, and members of the MTA, including LIRR President Francis Gabreski, were taken on a tour of the new East End track-bed.  The rehabilitated track-bed allowed for a revived “Cannon Ball” express that took less than three hours to travel to Montauk from Jamaica, cutting more than forty minutes off the old timetable.  Gabreski extolled the railroad’s efforts to revitalize first-class reserved-seat parlor service on the South Fork, which at the time was running nearly at capacity.  By 1978, parlor cars were a fleet of eleven converted coaches featuring carpeting, movable seats, a bar, and air-conditioning.[50]

By this time, the East End train schedule was overhauled since LIRR bus was discontinued on the South Fork after the summer of 1976.  For the westbound morning rush-hour, in addition to the summer-only Monday morning train number 5, there were four other weekday westbound rush-hour trains from Speonk, an increase from the former three.  The first was number 33 to Babylon (departing at 4:30 a.m.), the next was number 35 to Jamaica (departing at at 5:25 a.m.), the next was number 37 to Hunterspoint Avenue (departing at 6:22 a.m.), and the last was number 39 to Jamaica (departing at 7:24 a.m.).  Number 31 was added to timetables on May 23, 1977, the equipment coming from train number 30 from Jamaica at 3:50 a.m.  For the afternoon rush-hour there were also four trains to Speonk.  The first was train number 16 to Montauk which left Hunterspoint Avenue at 4:30 p.m. and stopped in Speonk at 6:29 p.m.  The other three trains also left from Hunterspoint Avenue, number 42 at 4:46 p.m. (terminating in Speonk at 6:57 p.m.), number 44 at 5:14 p.m. (terminating at 7:25 p.m.), and number 46 at 5:57 p.m. (terminating at 8:08 p.m.).  Train number 46 formerly originated from Jamaica but was changed to Hunterspoint Avenue as of February 10, 1975.[51]

Premium Service

Throughout its history, the LIRR has provided premium service on select Montauk Branch trains at a special price.  Rolling stock featured luxurious amenities in a parlor or club car where some of the rich and famous hobnobbed on their summer trip to the East End.  Speonk Station was a stop on many of the premium trains from their inception to the end of the twentieth century.

In their heyday, parlor car consists included the following named-trains.  For eastbound service to Montauk in the summer of 1939, the weekday morning Hampton Express from Jamaica (train number 8) stopped in Speonk at 11:25 a.m.  It ran as number 10 on Saturdays, and as number 6 on Sundays, direct from New York’s Penn Station following a locomotive switch in Queens from electric to steam.  There were also two late afternoon trains daily.  The first was the Cannon Ball from Penn Station (number 20) with a stop in Speonk at 5:36 p.m.  The second was the South Shore Express from Penn Station (number 26) with a stop in Speonk at 6:18 p.m.  The Shinnecock Express from Penn Station (number 12) ran only on Saturdays, stopping in Speonk at 2:23 p.m.  Westbound from Montauk, the daily South Shore Express to Penn Station (train number 27) stopped in Speonk at 9:50 a.m.  In the afternoon the New York Express to Penn Station (number 5) stopped in Speonk at 3:57 p.m.  Lastly, there were two evening named-trains.  The daily Cannon Ball to New York (number 21) stopped in Speonk at 7:52 p.m. and the Hampton Express to Jamaica (number 9) stopped at 8:22 p.m.  On Saturday number 21 ran as number 11 to Jamaica.[52]

LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform, view west (July 11, 2014)
LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform, view west (July 11, 2014)

Parlor car service to Montauk was thoroughly revised in the summer of 1963, with some departures now leaving from Hunterspoint Avenue Station rather than Jamaica.  Direct service was longer provided to and from Manhattan after the discontinuation of electric locomotives in the early-1950s.  All passengers from Penn Station were now required to change to electric trains, typically at Jamaica Station, since smoke restrictions prohibited diesel trains from entering the East River tunnels.  The daily Cannon Ball from Jamaica (number 24) stopped in Speonk at 6:09 p.m., running express to Sayville Station then local to Montauk.  However, on Fridays the Cannon Ball ran express to the Hamptons from Jamaica.  The Advance Cannon Ball (number 16) departed Jamaica at 3:42 p.m. and ran express to Speonk, arriving at 4:57 p.m.  Two other named trains provided service to Speonk on late Friday evenings.  The East Ender (number 26) and the Weekender (number 28).  For the return ride on Sundays, the Ebb Tide (number 4007), the Twilighter (number 4015), and the Beachcomber (number 4017) serviced Speonk in the late afternoon and early evening.[53]

Following the MTA takeover in the mid-1960s, scheduling changes reduced parlor car service to Speonk.  By the summer of 1975, Speonk Station was no longer serviced by the Friday eastbound getaway trains and by 1980 parlor car service was restricted to westbound trains on Sundays and early Monday morning.   However, service gradually expanded and by the mid-1980s there were select eastbound parlor car trains stopping at Speonk.[54]

The final summer of parlor car service was 1999.  The following year Hamptons Reserve Service became the new premium, available only east of Speonk.  On the final timetable in the summer of 1999, the Friday train to Montauk (number 2716) leaving Jamaica at 6:17 p.m. featured parlor car service and arrived in Speonk at 7:55 p.m.  There were also two Sunday trains from Montauk with parlor cars that stopped in Speonk, number 8703 at 2:53 p.m. and number 8713 at 8:47 p.m.[55]

Club cars were also available for private use.  Beginning in the 1920s, cars were rented to commuter groups on several LIRR branches.  Riders paid two fares, one for the right to ride and one for the right to ride in luxury.  By the late-1950s, a private club car ran to and from Speonk for a $695 monthly rental fee.  It featured card tables, a porter, and a white-jacketed waiter serving cups of tea or glasses of ginger ale since there was no liquor license.[56]

Although there were four private club cars in the 1950s, there were only two by 1980.  One of these ran to and from Speonk and Hunterspoint Avenue.  By this time, the club cars were from the mid-1970s re-conditioned parlor car stock.  It featured red-and-black movable padded chairs, a toilet, and interior walls covered with carpet.  The monthly fee was now $958, except in summer when twenty percent was taken off the price since the cars were given up and used for East End parlor service on summer Friday evenings.  The group consisted of sixty members, each paying $200 per year, most of whom were stock brokers, investment bankers, and architects.[57]

Speonk-Bound Bar Cars

To satisfy commuter thirst for spirits, bar cars were added to LIRR trains.  On March 24, 1960, a bar car was added as the fourth car of train number 40 to Speonk which departed Hunterspoint Avenue at 5:14 p.m.  Initially, it was largely ignored and only attracted half the business of other bar cars.  However, business improved and the car drew a regular contingent.  By 1962, the new group of friends organized a Christmas party.  Each commuter contributed $3 in advance and the total was sent to Walter F. McNamara, manager of special services and unofficial vice-president in charge of booze.  While railroad cars hosted proms and other events in the past, this was the first Christmas party.  Commuters decorated the interior with tinsel and wreaths and hired a three-piece band that played the latest dance craze, the twist.  The tradition continued for several years.  By 1965, more than a hundred commuters paid $6 each for a Christmas party.[58]

Although the Speonk bar car was crowded daily, the LIRR eliminated it in late March of 1971.  Officials claimed some regular commuters complained that they were paying for “someone else’s ride” since many crammed into the bar car where it was difficult for conductors to collect fares.  While bar sales provided more than $750,000 in profit, the railroad lost more than $10 million a year in passengers riding free, many of them who allegedly spent most of the time in the bar car.  In place of the car, stainless-steel rolling carts were installed in several coaches to serve morning coffee and food on the 6:18 a.m. train to Hunterspoint Avenue (number 33) and liquor and snacks on train number 40.  The change allowed the railroad to collect passenger fares since there was no room to crowd around carts.[59]

Passengers responded immediately, blasting the portable carts.  One major commuter complaint was that the carts came off the train at Babylon Station since it had the last raised platform at train level.  This left the remainder of the ride a “dry run.”  Within a week, the bar car was back.  The railroad retracted their former reason and claimed that several cars were taken off for much needed repairs.  Whether the result of passenger reaction or because the cars really needed to be serviced, riders were “set up” again.[60]

After the revival of the Speonk bar car, the MTA stated that it was not buying any more bar cars and the eighteen in service would not be replaced.  Nevertheless, as the 1970s and 1980s progressed, bar cars became very popular.  While some commuters read newspapers or books, others drank scotch or beer on the evening ride to Speonk.  John Swensen, a UPS driver from Sayville, held high regard for the LIRR’s alcohol service in a Newsday interview.  “I love this railroad,” he said “every night I ride the [bar] car…by the time I get to God’s Country, I’m happy again.”  He also commended the fees: “look at those prices, an ounce and a half of scotch for a $1.15…where else can you get that, but on the LIRR; this is the only place to drink, let me tell you.”   Lastly, he recommended that they never be discontinued: “it’s like a big party, people have a shot or two on the train, it takes away the frustration of the day…they get off at their station, they’re happy again…they give their wife a big kiss, everything is beautiful…if they ever cut out this car, you’d have a terrible mess out there.”[61]

The camaraderie among riders carried over into time off the train.  By 1980, organized softball games were played between different bar cars.  In one of the first, the 5:14 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 44) beat the the 5:57 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 46) by the score of 12 to 4 in a game at Heckscher State Park.  Railroad personnel also participated.  E.G. Smalls, number 44’s bartender, played in the game and commented: “this is the hardest train on the LIRR…we party five days a week.”[62]  A short time later a softball league for LIRR riders was established and began play on April 12, 1981, with LIRR President Gabreski throwing out the first pitch.  The concept of a league came from Michael Vermeulen, an over-the-counter stock options trader, who rode train number 46.  Vermeulen said the idea was born out of the commuter’s worst enemy, boredom.  With softball advertisements in several train cars, a total of six teams were established.[63]

In all, commuters liked the friendly, hometown tavern atmosphere that took their minds off what they said was poor train service.  Willie Wilson, a former Pullman porter who was now manager of the LIRR beverage service system, said the cars kept families together.  He commented in a Newsday article: “the wife don’t have to wait for the husband…if the husband gets a drink on the train, he don’t stay in New York, and the wife has got him right there at the station when he gets off… it helps keep families together.”[64]  However, a state comptroller’s audit issued in January 1979 cited that bar cars lost money and called for their abolition.  In 1976, bar cars were $548,000 in the red and in 1977 the number was $255,000.  Although revenue increased sixteen percent in the first quarter of 1978, bar cars lost $120,000 in total for the year.  The audit also pointed out that if commuters drank just eighteen percent more the LIRR beverage service system would break even.[65]

Rather than drop bar cars, the railroad tried to make them more profitable.  One approach was to get rid of nonproductive bar cars.  One bar car removed was on the 4:46 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Speonk (number 42).  The railroad also reassigned bar carts to more profitable trains and closed two of its three sites for storing liquor and food.  To turn an even greater profit, prices were raised by ten to fifty cents an item in April 1981 to keep up with rising costs of supplies and labor.[66]

By 1981, the railroad managed to make a profit in beverage service.  With seven bar cars in service, including train number 44, and several bar carts system-wide, the profit was $33,423 in 1980 and $28,218 in 1979.[67]  However, by the late 1980s bar cars were phased out.  In the 1990s there was only one in service, the 5:44 p.m. Hunterspoint Avenue train to Port Jefferson (number 664).  It also was discontinued with the arrival of a new fleet of cars at the turn of the twenty-first century.[68]

Station Improvements at the End of the Twentieth Century

In the late twentieth century significant improvements were made to provide a one-seat ride to New York from non-electrified territory.  Together with a new fleet of bi-level coaches, the railroad introduced locomotives that were “dual-mode” with the ability to switch from diesel power to third-rail locomotion and therefore run to Manhattan.  Since the new coaches had no steps, raised platforms were needed at stations with low-level platforms at grade, including Speonk.

Work on a high-level platform included a major renovation of the entire facility since the station was a terminus and departure point for many trains.  Similar projects took place in Port Jefferson, Oyster Bay, and Long Island City.  Total cost at all four sites was $78 million.  At Speonk, the platform was relocated to the west side of Phillips Avenue because the railroad wanted to make modifications that allowed locomotives to hook up to AC power eliminating the need to idle for hours at a time.  The new set up also provided space to reconfigure track switches eliminating the need to move trains multiple times to put a specific car on a designated track.  The extra space also allowed room for new cleaning equipment so that cars could be cleaned more efficiently.  Prior to the undertaking a “preparatory” project, which was completed in November 1996 at the cost of $300,000, removed and replaced some 12,000 cubic yards of fuel-contaminated soil and ballast from railroad beds in the yard.  Yard improvements eliminated future fuel and other environmental problems by placing drip pans under the tracks so that spills could be easily cleaned.  The entire Speonk project cost was approximately $10 million.  Upon completion in the spring of 1999, the railroad added eight new tracks to the old yard.[69]

LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform and passenger shelter, view west (July 11, 2014)
LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform and passenger shelter, view west (July 11, 2014)

Construction of the $300,000 elevated platform commenced in late 1996 and was completed at the start of summer 1997.  The structure was built on the south side of the tracks a few yards west of Phillips Avenue.  In service today, it begins at the west end of the former low-level concrete platform and extends westward.  It features a large, saltbox-roofed passenger waiting area shelter and information center with an extended east end canopy and wheelchair accessible ramp.  The four-and-a-half car-long platform was of “optimum length” according to LIRR spokesman Mike Charles in 1997.  While fewer than 100 commuters boarded the six westbound trains, typically about 400 to 500 people came out to Speonk on a busy Friday summer evening.[70]

LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform passenger shelter, view west (July 11, 2014)
LIRR Speonk Station, high-level platform passenger shelter, view west (July 11, 2014)

Prior to the station upgrade, the commuter parking lot was located on the east side of Phillips Avenue adjacent to the former depot building.  The lot was expanded in 1992 to hold an additional eighty cars.  The project was part of an MTA-approved $8.9 million plan approved in late-1989 to increase parking facilities at seven LIRR stations.[71]  However, the railroad’s decision to construct the new platform on the west side of Phillips Avenue adjacent to the west end of the low-level platform now forced riders to park in the old east side lot and cross Phillips Avenue.  In lieu, the railroad purchased undeveloped land south of the new platform for a 220-car lot.  Construction was undertaken in 2000.[72]

LIRR Speonk Station, Phillips Avenue crossing, view east (July 11, 2014)
LIRR Speonk Station, Phillips Avenue crossing (Speonk Terminal in background), view east (July 11, 2014)

Landscaping the new station was first discussed following the announcement of the new diesel fleet.  In anticipation of increased ridership and to promote public transportation within the town, Southampton applied for and was awarded a $624,000 grant from the New York State Department of Transportation in early 1996.  It was the first time the town received funding through the Federal Enhancements Program, which was authorized under the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Act (ISTEA) of 1991.  With the money, the town wanted to install bike racks, sidewalks, and bike paths at all stations as well as furnish a better landscape.  The improvements would be done in concert with the railroad and intended to make stations more attractive and easier to use.  A special focus was placed on pedestrians and cyclists to encourage more people to use public transportation.  In the end, the proposal was incorporated into a report on the town’s transportation needs prepared by the consulting firm of Abeles Phillips Preiss & Shapiro, Inc. of New York.  It included the concept of “intermodal” transportation in which people use different means of transportation, such as bicycles and trains, to get from one point to another.  At Speonk Station, a bicycle lane was envisioned along Phillips Avenue to provide access from the station to Montauk Highway and the village’s business district.[73]

While the town first agreed to proceed with plans in July of 1997, they were not formalized until almost a year later and made public by the Town Planning and Development Administrator Robert Duffy in April 1998.  Work at Speonk was not undertaken until 1999, following the construction of the new platform.  It did not include the original design for greater bike access.  It did however include new landscaping and sidewalks along Phillips Avenue to create a “gateway” to the railroad plaza.  At the former station low-level platform adjacent to the old depot building on the east side of Phillips Avenue, a small community green was also added.[74]

LIRR Speonk Station, community green, view east (July 11, 2014)
LIRR Speonk Station, community green, view east (July 11, 2014)

In total, the sum of $150,000 was used to beautify Speonk Station.  It provided a natural screening and buffering zone of trees and bushes between the Hampton Villa Condominiums and the right-of-way.  A sidewalk connection was also constructed between the parking lot and the condominiums.  Screening was also set up adjacent to the cafe along the former low-level platform.  The LIRR and the town worked together on the detailed construction plans which were reviewed by the Speonk-Remsenburg Civic Association.  Upon completion, the railroad entered into a maintenance agreement with the town to ensure that the landscape was maintained.[75]

The former depot building is in business to this day as the Trackside Café.  At the time of the platform relocation it was the Snack Shack.  Serving many of the locals in the Speonk area, the cafe’s walls are filled with photographs of old trains.[76]

Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building interior, Trackside Cafe (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building interior, Trackside Cafe (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building, Trackside Cafe, view east (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building, Trackside Cafe, view east (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building, Trackside Cafe, view northeast (July 11, 2014)
Former LIRR Speonk Station depot building, Trackside Cafe, view northeast (July 11, 2014)

Arrival of the New Fleet

By the early-1990s, additional rush-hour trains were added for a total of five in each direction.  All trains were renumbered from their 1970s and 1980s designations.  The morning schedule featured four trains to Babylon departing Speonk at 4:30 a.m. (train number 2731), 5:05 a.m. (number 2733), 6:10 a.m. (number 2737), and 7:27 a.m. (number 2739).  The fifth train was number 2703 from Montauk to Hunterspoint Avenue, stopping in Speonk at 6:51 a.m.  Train number 2733 was the former train number 7 whose run time was cut by twenty-three minutes as of May 13, 1985 following a major eight-week construction project at Penn Station that allowed for a Babylon connection to run express to New York.  The afternoon and evening rush-hour included two trains that departed Hunterspoint Avenue, one arrived in Speonk at 6:30 p.m. (number 2712) and the other at 7:23 p.m. (number 2714).  Another train ran from Jamaica arrived in Speonk at 7:55 p.m. (number 2716).  The remaining two evening trains ran after 6:00 p.m. from Babylon (numbers 2736 and 2738), both with connections from New York.[77]

Prior to modifications at Speonk Station, another westbound train was added.  By the summer of 1995, train number 2735, which formerly originated at Mastic-Shirley Station, now began its run in Speonk at 5:30 a.m.[78]  Therefore, upon the arrival of the new fleet there were five eastbound rush-hour trains and six westbound.

LIRR EMD DE30AC number 400 of train number 8736 to Speonk, Jamaica Station, view southwest (January 19, 2014)
LIRR EMD DE30AC number 400 of train number 8736 to Speonk, Jamaica Station, view southwest (January 19, 2014)

The new diesel fleet, as well other improvements system-wide, cost approximately $412 million.  The effort replaced equipment that was over fifty years old and already-renovated in the 1970s.  Any further reconditioning was ruled out.  The new bi-level coaches featured larger bathrooms, wider aisles, and bigger seats with more legroom.  The locomotive stock consisted of both diesel-only and dual-mode engines built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division.  The first new consist to run to and from Speonk was hauled by diesel locomotives.  Service began on October 23, 1998.  Over the next year the entire fleet was slowly phased in.[79]

The moment of truth was on Monday November 15, 1999 when the first train from Speonk arrived at Penn Station, albeit three minutes late.  The long-awaited dual-mode locomotives now made it possible for Speonk commuters to ride into Manhattan without changing trains.  While trip length didn’t change significantly, passengers no longer waited on platforms for another train.[80]

Although it was envisioned that dual-mode would replace the need to “change at Jamaica,” to this day there is only one-round trip commuter train to and from New York and Speonk and one early morning westbound.   Formerly terminating in Babylon, train number 2737 leaves Speonk at 6:21 a.m. and arrives in New York at 8:23 a.m.  Train number 2734, which formerly departed Hunterspoint Avenue at 5:17 p.m., now leaves from Penn Station at 5:09 p.m. and arrives in Speonk at 7:13 p.m. Additionally, morning train number 2733 departs Speonk at 5:08 a.m. and arrives in New York at 7:02 a.m.  This train formerly terminated in Babylon but was extended to Penn Station by 2008.[81]  Although the roundtrip train benefits many commuters, it proved bad news for some who commuted into and out of Long Island City since one Hunterspoint Avenue train was rerouted.  While LIRR President Tom Prendergast said in a Newsday interview that he expected some riders to be inconvenienced, he insisted more riders benefited since the majority want to go to Penn Station.[82]

New Fleet a Nuisance to Speonkers

Following the arrival of the new diesel fleet the LIRR was threatened with subpoenas from the Suffolk County Legislature.  The action followed complaints from residents living near the right-of-way who were disturbed by the volume of train whistles.  New horn whistles consisted of a cluster of five horn bells with frequencies differing from older locomotives and producing a sound with more shrill.  In the end, the railroad finally conceded and installed “an acceptable modification to the [whistles] while still meeting the decibel standard required by federal regulators.”  Whistles were also moved from the middle of each locomotive’s roof to above the windshield “so that less sound [was] directed upward and outward to areas adjacent to the tracks.”  The “retrofitting” for all forty-six new locomotives was finished in early 2000.[83]

Other Speonkers complained about noise from the new train yard at Speonk Terminal.  Vibrations from parked trains literally shook some houses according to nearby residents.  Although the railroad installed a series of electrical receptacles to plug locomotives into, residents complained that they were not utilized and trains were left running all night.  Railroad representatives told members of the Speonk-Remsenburg Civic Association at a February 17, 2000 meeting that they would continue efforts to reduce noise.  As a noise barrier, the railroad constructed a 730-foot long berm along the right-of-way.  Six to eight-foot tall trees were also planted along the berm to reduce noise. Work was completed in the fall of 2000.[84]

Next page: Tip of the North Fork: History of Rail Service to Greenport and Surrounding Territory

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[1] William Wallace Tooker, The Indian Place-names on Long Island and Islands adjacent with their Probable Significations (Port Washington, N.Y. : I.J. Friedman, 1962), 248.

[2] Charles J. McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y. (Southampton, N.Y. : Long Island East, Inc., 1976), 6; Richard M. Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County with a Historical Outline of Long Island (Port Washington, NY: Ira J. Friedman Inc., 1962), 311.

[3] Ibid., 23.

[4] Ibid., 18; Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island: the History of Every Community on Long Island in Stories and Photographs (Melville, NY: Newsday, 1999), 143.

[5] Westhampton Beach Historical Society, Walking Tour of Historic Remsenburg (Remsenburg, NY: Westhampton Beach Historical Society, 2015).

[6] Westhampton Beach Historical Society, Walking Tour of Historic Remsenburg; McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 19.

[7] McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 23.

[8] Ibid., 27.

[9] Ibid., 23.

[10] Ibid., 19.

[11] Ibid., 31.

[12] Ibid.,9.

[13] Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, vol. 3, Age of Expansion (Garden City, NY: Seyfried, 1984), 194; “News,” Suffolk County News (Sayville), July 28, 1901, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk; Box 2, Book 7, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries; Ron Ziel and Richard Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island (Bridgehampton, NY Sunrise Special Ltd., 1988), 4.

[14] Westhampton Beach Historical Society, Walking Tour of Historic Remsenburg.

[15] Bayles, Historical and Descriptive Sketches of Suffolk County, 311-312.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Westhampton Beach Historical Society, Walking Tour of Historic Remsenburg.

[18] McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 5.

[19] Ibid., 43-44.

[20] Ibid., 12-14.

[21] Ibid., 9.

[22] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 143.

[23] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 143.

[24] McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 13.

[25] “Speonkers Claim Victory,” Suffolk County News (Sayville), July 16, 1897, http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/titles/places/new_york/suffolk.

[26] “News.”

[27] “New Speonk Station,” Brooklyn Eagle Online, November 10, 1901, http://bklyn.newspapers.com/title_1890/the_brooklyn_daily_eagle; Box 2, Book 7, Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection; Ziel and Wettereau, Victorian Railroad Stations of Long Island, 47.

[28] McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 27.

[29] Staff of Long Island, Our Story, Home Town Long Island, 143.

[30] McDermott, History of Remsenburg, N.Y., 57.

[31] Ibid., 59-60.

[32] Ibid., 59.

[33] “Diesels Quiet Iron Horse’s ‘Chug Chug’ on Long Island,” Newsday (1940-1986), July 14, 1949, http://www.proquest.com.

[34] “Santa to be Helped by the Railway Express,” Long Island Traveler – Mattituck Watchman, October 25, 1956.

[35] Alex Dorozynski, “LIRR Unveils Major Streamlining Program,” Patchogue Advance, August 14, 1958, http://live-brary.com/historic-newspapers.

[36] “LIRR Plans Campaign to Get Freight on Rails,” Patchogue Advance, February 5, 1959, http://live-brary.com/historic-newspapers; “LIRR Wants to Cut SC LCL Freight Service,” Patchogue Advance, August 27, 1959, http://live-brary.com/historic-newspapers; “LIRR Authorized to Modify Part-Carload Freight Service,” Patchogue Advance, February 4, 1960, http://live-brary.com/historic-newspapers.

[37] “PSC Schedules Hearing on LIRR Bus Petition,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 9, 1963, http://www.proquest.com.

[38] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Effective May 17, 1964, Main Line Road ‘n’ Rail Timetable, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1964).

[39] Martin Flusser, Jr., “LIRR Tries to Divide and Conquer Inequities,” Newsday (1940-1986), January 7, 1972, http://www.proquest.com; George Vecsey, “To LIRR Faithful, 2-Hour Ride from Speonk is a Way of Life,” New York Times (1923-Current file), February 1, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[40] Ibid.; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 20, 1974, Babylon Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1974); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective October 7, 1974, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1974).

[41] Christopher M. Cook, “MTA Plans to Smooth LIRR’s East End Grind,” Newsday (1940-1986), February 25, 1974, http://www.proquest.com; “Duryea Pressing MTA for more Speed on LIRR,” Long Island Traveler-Watchman (Mattituck), May 23, 1974, http://live-brary.com/historic-newspapers.

[42] “Duryea Pressing MTA for more Speed on LIRR.”

[43] Christopher M. Cook, “MTA Plans to Smooth LIRR’s East End Grind,” Newsday (1940-1986), February 25, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[44] Ibid.; Vecsey, “To LIRR Faithful, 2-Hour Ride from Speonk is a Way of Life”; “Town Supervisor Favors Bus Service to East End,” Newsday (1940-1986), October 3, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[45] Tom Morris, “$4 Million to Aid East End Rails,” Newsday (1940-1986), August 23, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[46] Ibid.; Tom Morris, “LIRR Rail Upgrading to be Put on Timetable,” Newsday (1940-1986), November 7, 1974, http://www.proquest.com.

[47] “Repairs Set for LIRR’s South Fork Tracks,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 23, 1978, http://www.proquest.com.

[48] Tom Morris, “A Better Ride to Montauk,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 31, 1979, http://www.proquest.com.

[49] “2 Trains Run Late on New Track Link,” Newsday (1940-1986), June 5, 1979, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1980).

[50] Sidney C. Schaer, “To Montauk in Style,” Newsday (1940-1986), June 8, 1979, http://www.proquest.com.

[51] “LIRR Reports Many Changes in Timetables,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 4, 1977, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 24, 1976, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1976); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 23, 1977, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1977); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective February 10, 1975, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1975); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island.

[52] Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 13, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, In Effect 2:00 a.m. June 25, 1939 Daylight Saving Time, Condensed Time Table to the Hampton and Montauk, and Riverhead and Stations to Greenport, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1939).

[53] “LIRR to Start Summer Run to East End,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 23, 1963, http://www.proquest.com; Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Timetables, Effective May 19, 1963, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1963), Montauk Branch.

[54] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 19, 1975, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1975);  MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective October 13, 1986, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1986.).

[55] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 24, 1999 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 1999); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Montauk Branch Timetable effective May 22, 2000 (New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2000).

[56] Jane Gerard, “LIRR Riders Pay to Commute in Private,” Newsday (1940-1986), November 12, 1957, http://www.proquest.com.

[57] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road; Noel Rubinton, “Riding in Style on the LIRR,” Newsday (1940-1986), September 11, 1980, http://www.proquest.com.

[58] Long Island Rail Road, Schedule in Effect September 11, 1961, Long Island Rail Road, Time Tables (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1961), Montauk Branch; “2nd Bar Car Has No Chasers,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 25, 1960, http://www.proquest.com; Robert Mayer, “Merry Gentlemen Ride the LIRR in Style,” Newsday (1940-1986), December 20, 1962, http://www.proquest.com; Linda Charlton, “Deck the 5:14, Christmas Doesn’t Stop Until Montauk,” Newsday (1940-1986), December 17, 1965, http://www.proquest.com.

[59] “Speonk Run Loses Bar Car,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 23, 1971, http://www.proquest.com; Robert M. Emery Long Island Rail Road Collection, Box 14, Special Collections, Stony Brook University Libraries, Long Island Rail Road Timetables, Effective May 25, 1970, by Long Island Rail Road (New York: Long Island Rail Road, 1970).

[60] Tom Incantalupo, “Unwetted Whistles Blast LIRR Bars,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 29, 1971, http://www.proquest.com; “LIRR Sets Up Riders Again,” Newsday (1940-1986), March 30, 1971, http://www.proquest.com.

[61] Ibid.; Vecsey, “To LIRR Faithful, 2-Hour Ride from Speonk is a Way of Life.”

[62] Richard C. Firstman, “Gang on the 5:09 Derails Doldrums,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 26, 1980, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road.

[63] Noel Rubinton, “Spring Training for LIRR Riders,” Newsday (1940-1986), February 22, 1981, http://www.proquest.com.

[64] Noel Rubinton, “Train Bar Tab Getting Stiffer,” Newsday (1940-1986), April 7, 1981, http://www.proquest.com.

[65] Irvin Molotsky, “L.I.R.R. Drops Plans to Cut Off Bar Service to its Drinking Dans,” Newsday (1940-1986), May 10, 1979, http://www.proquest.com.

[66] Tom Demoretcky, “A Carload of Reasons for Keeping LIRR ‘Wet’,” Newsday (1940-1986), January 19, 1979, http://www.proquest.com; Molotsky, “L.I.R.R. Drops Plans to Cut Off Bar Service to its Drinking Dans”; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 12, 1980, Eastern Long Island, The Long Island Rail Road.

[67] Rubinton, “Train Bar Tab Getting Stiffer.”

[68] Jeffrey P. Berlind, “Taking a Stand on the LIRR,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), December 1, 1989, http://www.proquest.com; Sylvia Adcock, “No cabooze? LIRR may ban, limit alcohol,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), August 3, 1995, http://www.proquest.co; Martin C. Evans and Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, “Good Times Roll on the Rails,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), December 21, 1996, http://www.proquest.com.

[69] Albert S. Coppola, “Major Renovations Slated at LIRR Station in Speonk,” Southampton Press, January 23, 1997, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/1997-1/97012338.htm; Mitchell Freedman, “New Look, Same Spirit at Speonk,” Newsday (East End edition), February 9, 1997, http://www.proquest.com; Bill Sutton, “Noise from Train Station Keeps Speonk Neighbors Up All Night,” Southampton Press, January 20, 2000, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/000120/news/news42.htm.

[70] Coppola, “Major Renovations Slated at LIRR Station in Speonk”; Douglas P. Love, “Town Agrees to Go Ahead with Station Improvements,” Southampton Press, July 10, 1997, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/1997-3/97071024.htm; Freedman, “New Look, Same Spirit at Speonk.”

[71] Bill Bleyer, “Adding LIRR Parking,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), November 26, 1989, http://www.proquest.com; Bill Bleyer, “Plan to Boost Parking at 7 Stations,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), November 15, 1989, http://www.proquest.com.

[72] Bill Sutton, “LIRR Promises Improvements to Speonk Train Station,” Southampton Press, February 24, 2000, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/000224/news/news30.htm; Colin Grey, “Trains Stations to be Renovated,” Southampton Press, April 30, 1998, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/1998-2/98043020.htm.

[73] Douglas P. Love, “First Even/Town Wins Grant to Beautify Train Station,” Southampton Press, May 30, 1996, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/1996-2/96053023.htm.

[74] Love, “Town Agrees to Go Ahead with Station Improvements”; Grey, “Trains Stations to be Renovated.”

[75] Frances Graham, “By Moriches Bay,” Southampton Press, January 28, 1999, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/01-28-99/news49.htm.

[76] Freedman, “New Look, Same Spirit at Speonk.”

[77] Bill Bleyer, “LIRR to Add Seats, Ease Shortage,” Newsday (1940-1986), April 20, 1985, http://www.proquest.com; MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective March 3, 1986, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1986); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 27, 1993, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1993).

[78] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective June 5, 1995, Patchogue & Speonk Service, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1995); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective May 27, 1993, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road.

[79] Sylvia Adcock, “New LIRR Cars Out of Service,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), October 28, 1998, http://www.proquest.com.

[80] Hugo Kugiya, “A First for LIRR Speonk-to-Penn on a Dual-Mode Train,” Newsday (Nassau and Suffolk edition), November 16, 1999, http://www.proquest.com.

[81] MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective September 13, 1999, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1999); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective November 15, 1999, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 1999); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective November 10 – December 14, 2008, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 2008); MTA Long Island Rail Road, Effective December 14, 2015 – March 6, 2016, Montauk Branch, The Long Island Rail Road (New York: The Long Island Rail Road, 2015).

[82] Kugiya, “A First for LIRR Speonk-to-Penn on a Dual-Mode Train.”

[83] Karl Grossman, “LIRR Agrees to Turn Down the Volume,” Southampton Press, November 25, 1999, http://archive.southamptonpress.com/shpress/991125/news/news09.htm.

[84] Sutton, “LIRR Promises Improvements to Speonk Train Station.”

 

Next page: Tip of the North Fork: History of Rail Service to Greenport and Surrounding Territory

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