LIRR MAIN LINE
- Grant Recipient
- 752 Long Island Ave, Deer Park, NY
- 40.762179, -73.327542
Town of Babylon History Museum
On March 14, 1842 the first train on the Long Island Railroad line (LIRR) left Brooklyn, NY and reached Deer Park, NY. This rail line supported farms and businesses and spurred residential development on Long Island.
According to Long Island Rail Road History website, an unofficial LIRR web archives hosted by Bob Anderson, the original purpose of the LIRR was to create a continuous rail-ferry-rail connection from New York to Boston. The proposed route was to be via rail to Long Island’s North Fork, then by boat to Stonington, Connecticut, where it would continue by rail through Providence and to its terminus in Boston. At that time, engineers had considered it impossible to build a totally overland route through the hills of southern Connecticut. On April 18, 1836 the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad (B&J) was completed and immediately was leased by the LIRR, which started laying its own rails east from Jamaica.
Unfortunately, the needs of Long Island itself were ignored and the route chosen was through the vast, level, but mostly unpopulated plains of the center of Long Island, midway between the small, but thriving villages dotting the north and south shores. In 1837, tracks were laid eastward to Hicksville, followed by Farmingdale in 1841, and Deer Park in 1842; by 1844, they reached Medford. At about the same time, rails were also being laid westward from Greenport, and on July 27, 1844 the first three trains made the run from Brooklyn to Greenport in a then-amazing 3-1/2 hours.
Another significant date in the company’s history was September 2, 1910, when a group of special invitees were given a VIP ticket for the inaugural preview ride on the new LIRR route to Manhattan which ended at the brand new Pennsylvania Railroad Station designed by noted architects McKim, Mead and White LIRR service to Manhattan officially opened to the public on September 8, 1910. A photo in the collection of the Islip Historical Society shows a crowd waiting at a festooned station for the arrival of the celebratory train from Penn Station.