model train set on track

The Longest Day – Continued

e*Train Issue: Mar 2002   |   Posted in:

by Bob Mintz

The last time we detrained, I left you with a thought as to what this signal was all about.

Since the parking lot of my train station is adjacent to the tracks, the signal is a reminder that the train may still be in the station to those who have just dropped off loved ones and are heading home across the tracks, to take care of their next “job”.

Jamaica Station is the “hub” of the morning and evening commute. Every train, except those that depart or go to Port Washington and some express trains that may bypass it, converges here.

When one gets to Jamaica, unless their train goes exactly to where they are headed, they must transfer for another train.

Diesel trains are prohibited from entering New York City proper, in other words, Penn Station. Only electrified equipment is permitted. The rest of New York City can be polluted, but the diesel fumes entering the tunnels would cause quite a problem. The latest GMC diesel electrics are divided into two categories, the single mode “400 series” and the dual mode “500 series.” Most of eastern Long Island has yet to be electrified. MUs (multiple units) dominate the fleet though, and the latest MU-7s should be delivered by next month.

Three different lines merge at Jamaica Station. Trains either heading to or departing from Penn Station New York, Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and Hunters Point in Long Island City, Queens, all come together for the “Dashing Dan” dance, as commuters transfer to another train to take them either to work or home.

So what happens when you arrive on Track 1 and your next train is located on Track 3?

Well, if you are in good enough shape, you run down the platform, up the stairs, cross the tracks and head back down and run towards an open door to hopefully find a place to stand or maybe even a place to sit.

Or, like the Army Corps of Engineers, you wait for the proper train to pull into the station to form a “train-bridge” as we show you here.

This all works except when commuters block the doors, and you have to punch your way through.

Just some of the fun and games you have as a commuter on the LIRR. And you thought you were a couch potato? You need to be a sprinter, track coach-(pun intended) analyzing the best route, and a blocker all in one. “MTA, going your way!”

I will leave you with the following thought: What is that mysterious material located on either side of this welded rail track located on concrete ties, and what is its’ function?