Port Washington Branch

Port Washington Branch
     Port Washington Branch

Port Washington Branch train enters the Flushing station.
Type Commuter rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Status Operational
Locale Queens and Nassau County, New York, USA
Stations 12
  Port Washington Branch
Daily ridership 46,808 (average weekday 2006)
Opened 1854 (as Flushing Railroad)
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification 750V (DC) Third rail
Route map
Continuation backward
Main Line (west)
Junction to left Track turning from right
Unknown BSicon "CPICAl" Unknown BSicon "CPICAr"
4.9 Woodside
Continuation forward Straight track
Main Line (east)
Unknown BSicon "eHST"
Elmhurst closed 1985
Unknown BSicon "eHST"
Corona closed 1963
Unknown BSicon "eHST"
West Flushing
Stop on track
8.6 Mets–Willets Point
Unknown BSicon "eABZlf" Unknown BSicon "exENDEl"
Whitestone Branch abandoned 1932
Unrestricted border on track
Zone 1
Zone 3
Station on track
9.5 Flushing Main Street
Stop on track
10.3 Murray Hill
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
11.1 Broadway
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
11.7 Auburndale
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
12.6 Bayside
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
13.9 Douglaston
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
14.5 Little Neck
Unrestricted border on track
Queens/Nassau County border
Zone 3
Zone 4
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
15.7 Great Neck
Bridge over water
Manhasset Viaduct
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
17.2 Manhasset
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
18.3 Plandome
Unknown BSicon "ACCe"
19.9 Port Washington

Distances shown in miles from Pennsylvania Station.

The Port Washington Branch is an electrified two-track rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. It branches north from the Main Line at Winfield Junction, just east of the Woodside station, and runs roughly parallel to Northern Boulevard past Mets-Willets Point (Citi Field), Flushing, Murray Hill, Broadway, Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, and then crosses into Nassau County for stops in Great Neck, Manhasset, and Plandome before terminating at Port Washington.[1][2]

The branch is the only LIRR service whose trains do not serve Jamaica, as it branches off the Main Line several miles west of that station.


Route description

Port Washington Station from the corner of Main Street and Haven Avenue in Port Washington, New York.

The line has two tracks from Woodside to Great Neck and one track from east of Great Neck past Manhasset and Plandome stations to Port Washington. This often causes slight delays during two-way rush hour operations. A second track cannot be added through Manhasset and Plandome due to the proximity of businesses to the narrow right-of-way in Manhasset, and the fact that the trestle between Great Neck and Manhasset (the Manhasset viaduct, constructed 1898) has only one track.[3]

To reduce delays on the heavily-used line, most peak-hour east-bound trains (weekday afternoons/evenings) are either local from Penn Station to Great Neck (making all stops in between the two) or express from Penn Station to Port Washington (making stops only at Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome, and Port Washington, although some trains make their first stop at Bayside). A mix of local and express peak-hour trains go west on weekday mornings.

Extra service is offered during the U.S. Open tennis tournament and for New York Mets home games, both of which are held in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. These trains stop at a special Mets–Willets Point station between Woodside and Flushing Main Street.

The route terminated in Great Neck until the building of a train trestle over the marshes at the southern end of Manhasset Bay. According to Manhasset's website, "in 1897, a contract was given to the Carnegie Steel Company and a subsidiary, the King Iron Company, undertook the job of constructing the bridge." The trestle bridge cost about $60,000, and the first train to cross it was on June 23, 1898.

The bridge stands 181 feet (55 m) tall and runs 678 feet (207 m) across the bay, offering a spectacular view of the Manhasset Bay. Scenes from the silent film serial "The Perils of Pauline" are said to have been shot on the trestle.[4]

Winfield Junction

There is only one grade crossing, Little Neck Parkway at Little Neck Station.


The Port Washington Branch was built by the Flushing Railroad, in 1854 from Hunters Point in Long Island City to Flushing, before the LIRR opened its line to Long Island City. It was first non-LIRR line on Long Island. The company was reorganized in 1859 as the New York and Flushing Railroad, and established a subsidiary known as the North Shore Railroad to extend the line from Flushing to Great Neck in 1866.

Originally intending to run further east to Roslyn, Oyster Bay, and even Huntington, the NY&F's plans were thwarted by the LIRR who reached those destination first, as well as poor service and competition with the 1868-established Flushing and North Side Railroad. In 1869, the New York State Legislature authorized the Flushing and North Side to buy the New York and Flushing east of the LIRR crossing at Winfield Station, while the segment between Hunters Point and Winfield was acquired by the South Side Railroad of Long Island until it was abandoned for passenger service east of what was to become the former Laurel Hill Station in 1875. Part of the right-of-way ran through what is today the Mount Zion Jewish Cemetery in Maspeth.[5]

By 1874, all branches of the Flushing and North Side Railroad, including the Main Line to Great Neck were incorporated into the Flushing, North Shore and Central Railroad, which included the Central Railroad of Long Island. Two years later, it would become part of the Long Island Rail Road, which closed the line east of Flushing in 1881 and reopened it a year later as subsidiary known as the Long Island City and Flushing Railroad. Despite a failed attempt to extend the line from Great Neck to Roslyn in 1882, wealthy Port Washington residents persuaded the LIRR to bring the terminus to their hometown in 1895. This required the construction of the Manhasset Viaduct over Manhasset Bay, which was built by an LIRR subsidiary called the Great Neck and Port Washington Railroad and completed on June 23, 1898. The LIC&F was merged with the LIRR a year later.

Two other early-20th Century stations built on the Port Washington Branch were in Auburndale(1901) and Plandome(1909). Grade crossing elimination projects took place during the 1910's and 20's in Queens and Nassau County. These grade elimination projects included unique station reconstruction in places such as Murray Hill which had a station house built over the tracks and Great Neck which had an elaborate plaza built around it. In 1929, the station at Winfield Junction was eliminated, making Woodside Station the transfer point between Main Line and Port Washington Branch trains.

Despite the elimination of the Whitestone Branch in 1932, as well as Flushing Bridge Street station, Flushing station kept the name "Flushing-Main Street Station." A new station was built just in time for the 1939 New York World's Fair then reused for the United Nations, and then the 1964 New York World's Fair and simultaneously Shea Stadium, for which it would be renamed in 1966. This was the last station to be built on the line. By 1985 when Elmhurst station closed, Shea Stadium station would also become the westernmost station on the line before the junction of the Whitestone Branch and Main Line.

Station listing

Miles (kilometers)
to Penn Station
Connections/notes History
Pennsylvania Station Handicapped/disabled access
34th Street and Seventh Avenue, Midtown Manhattan
[1] 0 (0) Subway: 1 2 3 trains at 34th Street – Penn Station (Seventh Avenue)
A C E trains at 34th Street – Penn Station (Eighth Avenue)
Bus: M4, M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
61st Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside
[2] 5.1 (8.2) Subway: 7 <7> trains at Woodside – 61st Street
Bus (New York City Bus): Q32 (MTA Bus): Q18, Q53
Opened November 15, 1869 on north side of tracks west of 58th Street; closed 1914 and demolished 1916 (replaced with current structure during grade crossing elimination)
Opened July 1854 on southeast corner of 50th Avenue and 69th Street; moved to the junction in August 1876 to also serve the Main Line; closed 1929
Opened 1855 as Newtown; name changed to Elmhurst June 1897; closed 1985
Opened around March, 1853 as Fashion Race Course; Closed 1964
West Flushing
Opened September 1854 on north side of line and east side of 108th Street; later abandoned and name assigned to later Corona station
Mets–Willets Point (seasonal service)
Flushing Meadows Park, south of Roosevelt Avenue
[3] 8.6 (13.8) Subway: 7 <7> trains at Mets – Willets Point
Bus (New York City Bus): Q48
The New Citi Field baseball stadium opened for a game between the St. John's Red Storm and Georgetown Hoyas on March 29, 2009, as Shea Stadium has been demolished.
Flushing Main Street
Main Street and 41st Avenue, Flushing
[4] 9.5 (15.3) Subway: 7 <7> trains at Flushing – Main Street
Bus (New York City Bus): Q12, Q17, Q20, Q25, Q26, Q28, Q34, Q44, Q48, Q58
Bus (MTA Long Island Bus): N20, N21
Service began June 26, 1854
Murray Hill
150th Street and 41st Avenue, Flushing
[5] 10.3 (16.6) Bus (New York City Bus): Q15
162nd Street and Northern Boulevard, Flushing
[6] 11.1 (17.9) Bus (New York City Bus): Q12, Q13, Q28 Service began October 27, 1866, as Flushing - Broadway station. Elevated between 1912 and 1913.
192nd Street and Station Road, Auburndale
[7] 11.7 (18.8) Bus (New York City Bus): Q12, Q13, Q28, Q76
213th Street and 41st Avenue, Bayside
[8] 12.6 (20.3) Bus (New York City Bus): Q13, Q31
235th Street and 41st Avenue, Douglaston
[9] 13.9 (22.4) Originally Little Neck Station between 1866 and June 1870.
Little Neck
Little Neck Parkway and 39th Road, Little Neck
[10] 14.5 (23.3) Bus (New York City Bus): Q12
MTA Long Island Bus: N20, N21
Great Neck
Middle Neck Road and Station Plaza at Great Neck Road, Great Neck Plaza
[11] 15.7 (25.3) Bus (MTA Long Island Bus): N20, N21, N25, N57, N58 Service began on October 27, 1866, and served as the terminus of the line until 1898.
Manhasset Viaduct.
Plandome Road and Maple Place, Manhasset
[12] 17.2 (27.7) Built in 1899 a year after the construction of the Manhasset Viaduct.
Off Stonytown Road and Rockwood Road, Plandome
[13] 18.3 (29.5) Built in 1909, the last station to be built on the Port Washington Branch in Nassau County.
Port Washington
Main Street, between Haven Avenue and South Bayles Avenue, Port Washington
[14] 19.9 (32.0) Bus (MTA Long Island Bus): N23


External links

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