model train set on track

The Longest Day

e*Train Issue: Mar 2002   |   Posted in:

by Bob Mintz

The “Morning Guy”, Conductor “Jimmy 3rd Rail”, Westbound Train #39, Babylon Station, 7:33 a.m.

September 11, 2001 will live forever in our hearts and minds, such as Pearl Harbor did a generation ago for some of us, or our parents/grandparents.

I was there. I do not wish for ANYONE to see what I saw firsthand.

My apartment building was literally across the street from the World Trade Centers. After sustaining damage due to flaming debris, fire, soot, projectiles, blown in windows, toxic materials, lack of electricity, water, gas, (and to a lesser extent telephone and cable) and an equivalent to two 2.9 “earthquakes,” it has been closed now for several months.

One of the first things that I did, with a NYS Trooper escort, was climb 22 stories in the dark, and try to retrieve my Lionel trains. After about a month of importing materials, wrapping and packing, the “collection” had a temporary home in a warehouse of a friend.

What to do about me?

I have spent the past 7 summers in a weekend timeshare in The Hamptons. It is almost as far away from Ground Zero as one can go in an easterly direction, about 40 miles from “The End” of Long Island, a.k.a. Montauk, New York. After suffering from a persistent cough due to smoke and God knows whatever else inhalation, I made the decision to relocate.

The problem is that we are talking about a 120 mile commute each way, translating into 2 ½ hours in each direction.

There was absolutely no second thought that I would be taking the Long Island Railroad versus driving on that parking lot called the Long Island Expressway.

Hey, I am supposed to like trains… No, let me rephrase that… I LOVE TRAINS!!!

Okay, so let’s put this LOVE to the supreme test. Two LIRR trains plus one NYC Subway ride for a total of 6 different trains per day.

New York City and vicinity has more trains than one can imagine.

If you doubt me, check out the following maps:

NYC Subway Map in .pdf Format

I am grateful to be alive, and I am trying to make the best out of a very bad situation. So far, after 5 months, I can report that I still LOVE trains. Plus, hopefully in the near future, I can once again be reunited with my collection, and even find a home to house them. I will be a willing tenant.

To tell you the truth in past 5 months, the train has been late a grand total of 3 times! So we are talking out of about 100 working days, and 6 trains a day, or 600 potential trips, the train has been delayed .5% of the time. Not a bad “On Time.” (Okay, so now you know that I am an accountant by trade).

I know that many of us like prototypical articles, as well as suggestions for modeling. I hope to do a weekly feature here on just that. I am making many train friends who actually work for the LIRR, so we will see articles by them in the near future too. I am learning many things and have totally expanded my preconceived notions of ovals to the more realistic point-to-point types of rail travel for our little models. The railroads use many tricks and adapt to different situations. I will give you pointers on this so you can learn and possibly model it yourself.

So please check back here from time to time to see my continuing adventures on the LIRR.

To give you some incentive to return, try to figure out what this signal is for. It is located on the corner of the Speonk train station, where I depart every morning at 6:48 a.m.

The “Night Guy”, Conductor Montauk Pete – Goin’ The Distance, Eastbound Train #2712, Hunterspoint Avenue Station, 4:30 p.m.