Off the charts adventurous trip on the LIRR!?!?!!?!

Discussion in 'Travelogues / Trip Reports' started by greatcats, May 22, 2019.

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  1. May 22, 2019 #1

    greatcats

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    I have just returned from a twelve day trip from my home in Arizona to the east coast, using new United Airlines service from Flagstaff, with two flights per day to Denver. No, I did not take Amtrak to the east coast, as that would have involved too much time and expense. I flew east to Newark and returned from Reagan National in Washington. As some you know, I go on cultural trips, mainly to attend concerts or church events. The piano recital at Carnegie Hall by the blind Japanese pianist, Nobu, was fabulous. A few days later, I decided to make a round trip on the Long Island Railroad to Montauk. I am originally from New Jersey and used to work for NJ Transit. But prior to this, I had only ridden the Long Island Railroad twice in my life, with my grandmother to the New York World's Fair in 1964 and a trip in 1970 to Mineola. Originally my idea for last week's day trip was to leave at 7:49 am and spend three plus hours in Montauk. But the weather was rainy and nasty, so I departed Penn Station at 11:01 am and returned on the same train. I do want to emphatically state that in spite of its rather spotty reputation over the years, I found the service to be quite good. All of the trains, including the change at Jamaica, were clean and operated on time. Granted, I was not riding at peak rush hour. The train crews were at least perfunctorily friendly and courteous. The equipment, other than some worn upholstery, was in fairly good condition and the rest rooms acceptable!
    I got off the high level platform at Montauk for a quick walk down to the station, which is closed except that it is used as an art gallery in the summer, with a ticket office. There is a large yard, which apparently is used for additional service on heavily patronized summer weekends for the benefit of the big money crowd. The station is about a mile north of the ocean, which I had originally intended to walk down to the town, but the weather was inhospitable. The return trip was fine, EXCEPT for a ROACH in my COACH!!!! ( That could happen anyplace. ) I arrived back at Penn on time at 6:21 pm. Not the most exciting train ride of my life, but I divide Long Island into three parts - the heavily urbanized west end, the anonymous could be anywhere suburbia, and the rural east end, with some attractive looking towns like Amagansett, with sand dunes and a few glimpses of the ocean.
    After visiting in New Jersey and going to my college alumni activities, I returned a rental car to Newark Airport and then took Train 147 to Washington, which is the train that goes to Roanoke. Fairly typical Northeast Corridor trip. These are reserved trains, but I think they should assign seats. I though if I aimed for the rear of the train it would be less full. Wrong. The helpful conductor, Daniel, directed me a couple of cars ahead where I found a vacant seat, but it is not a picnic trying to horse a couple of pieces of luggage through a crowded train. There must be a better way, Mr. Anderson. When I arrived in DC, I opted not for the Metro and waiting for a hotel shuttle, as I had a headache and it was hot, so took a cab, driven by a very gracious gentleman from Ghana named Cooby. But, I even made use late of the city buses that run on Wisconsin Avenue to downtown, and returned to the airport by Metro.
    In addition to a splendid choral concert at National Cathedral, I also visited the fairly new Museum of African American Culture on Constitution Ave., which is well worth a visit, although lunch in the cafe was poor and overpriced.
     
  2. May 23, 2019 #2

    Bob Dylan

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    Nice trip, too bad the weather wasn't better!
     
  3. May 24, 2019 #3

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    And for another different slice of LI, the North Fork has wineries and farms.
     
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  4. May 24, 2019 #4

    jis

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    North fork was my stomping grounds. I lived there for five years. Eastern Suffolk County is very nice but getting there by public transit is a different matter. It can be done by the diligent, but much more enjoyable by car.
     
  5. May 24, 2019 #5

    greatcats

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    Next time I have spare time when visiting New York.
     
  6. May 24, 2019 #6

    PVD

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    Sad but true. We (electrical trade/NYC) bought a rundown resort motel in Cutchogue and gut renovated it for use as an educational and conference center. Everyone drives.
     
  7. May 25, 2019 #7

    jis

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    Even West Suffolk County has some pleasant places. Just stay away from LIE, 347/454 and Rt 25. If you drive along Rt 25A (North Country Road) you will pass through some of the more pleasant quaint places, or be a stone's throw from them. Places like the Village of Head of the Harbor (north of the Town of Smithtown), Village of Stony Brook, Port Jefferson Harbor ( a bit of a tourist trap), Wading River, Wildwood State Park etc.

    Of these everything upto Port Jefferson is reachable by LIRR, a short to medium walk, or a quick ride on a Suffolk County Transit bus.

    The LIRR Stony Brook station is adjacent to the Stony Brook University campus, and you have to walk north from there to get to the Village of Stony Brook, which is right on the Sound coast. LIRR Port Jeff Station is in the village of Port Jefferson Station. Here also, you have to walk north and downhill for a mile or so to get to the Port Jefferson Harbor. At a lark you can take the ferry to Bridgeport, and take MNRR back to NY from there.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  8. May 25, 2019 #8

    greatcats

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    Thanks, Jishnu. That information will be filed for future reference. I will be back in New York briefly in early October, but not enough time for that kind of venture.
     
  9. May 25, 2019 #9

    Bradenmeridian

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    Actually, to my amazement, North Shore service has improved immensely just in the last year. There are now four Greenport trains each way on weekends, instead of just the two that have existed for decades. Also, they have opened some "deadhead" trains (first time I used that expression - hope I got it right) to passengers, so now there are some trains to Greenport at ungodly early hours, which sometimes is just what you need. East of Ronkonkoma, I think 45 is the max, so the train saunters along, but from the upper level the views of the vineyards, the nurseries, the Pine Barrens, and Peconic Bay are marvelous.

    Additionally, LIRR is just finishing up double-tracking out to Ronkonkoma, resulting in better scheduling, fewer delays, and the trains even climb up to the 79 mph limit between local stations!
     
  10. May 25, 2019 #10

    jis

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    On the Greenport line, Riverhead can be an interesting stop. It has an interesting rail museum with a collection of LIRR artifacts and cars. Greenport is a nice place to visit, and one can take a very short ferry ride to an island and walk around there. There are several reasonable eateries close to the Greenport station.

    The Greenport Line is more appropriately called the North Fork service rather than the North Shore service, since that line does not get anywhere close to the North Shore except in its extreme east end for a few miles. The line that runs close to the North Shore is the Port Jeff Line which at one time ran all the way to Wading River, before it was truncated to Port Jeff Station.
     
  11. May 25, 2019 #11

    greatcats

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    Thanks for the NorthFork information. Future bucket list.
     
  12. Jun 29, 2019 #12

    dogbert617

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    Is the North Fork section of Long Island you refer to, along the LIRR Ronkonkoma line that goes to Greenport? I've always suspected either the Greenport line, or the one that goes to Montauk(sorry I can't remember the name of it, I'm tired as f now) would both be interesting to ride on, to their respective eastern ends.
     
  13. Jun 29, 2019 #13

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    Greenport is North Fork, Montauk is South Fork. The 2 paths traverse very different types of communities.....
     
  14. Jun 30, 2019 #14

    jis

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    The North Fork section to Greenport is indeed the east end of the Main Line to Ronkonkoma. It is diesel infrequent service east of Ronkonkoma. The actual line runs down the middle of the island to Riverhead and then goes onto the North Fork to Greenport. Even on the North Fork it remains close to the South shore of the North Fork. The ride on this line upto Riverhead is pretty mundane straight shot with some nice views of vineyards, and the old Calverton Air Force facility. east of Riverhead it is a more interesting ride with view of the sea and marshlands.

    The South Shore Line to Babylon continues as a diesel line beyond Babylon through Speonk onto the Hamptons on the South Fork and ends at Montauk. The eastern end beyond Speonk is an interesting ride through quaint Hamptons villages.

    There is a third line that enters Suffolk County, and that is the North Shore Line to Port Jefferson. This line is an interesting twisty turny line through what used to be terminal moraine of Ice Age Glaciers, east of Huntington (more so east of Greenlawn). From Northport onward it is within a mile or two of the North Shore of Long Island skirting the Long Island Sound.

    There are two other LIRR Lines that get to the North Shore, but both in Nassau County. They are the Port Washington Line and the Oyster Bay Line, both interesting rides near their end, again due to the hilly contours ending near the North Shore.
     
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  15. Jul 27, 2019 #15

    AFS1970

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    Other than some quick trips in Nassau County I haven't been on the LIRR in a while. I had a big misadventure at Stony Brook a few years back when I realized I took the wrong train line out to where I was going and the hotel shuttle would not come get me. After calling friends for a ride, I found out the hotel shuttle was running to and from the SUNY campus all weekend for the event I was at and I could have just walked over the hill and picked it up.
     
  16. Jul 27, 2019 #16

    jis

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    Stony Brook had the campus shuttle come by the station back in my days there. On weekends it was less frequent, but it was still there. These days there is a hotel on campus (which was not there back then) which is not really that far from the station, walking distance wise, provided you know which way to walk. Back then I used to routinely walk from/to the station to/from what was then call Stage XII Quad (now called Eleanor Roosevelt Quad), not that long a walk either. Stage XII was where I lived for the five years that I went to school at Stony Brook.
     
  17. Jul 27, 2019 #17

    PVD

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    The Educational and Cultural Trust Fund of my trade bought a run down summer resort motel on the LI Sound in Cutchogue, gut renovated it and added a conference and educational building. We use it for critical thinking courses, and other educational sessions coupled with r&r. Replaced a property we used to have in Southampton that we sold, part of that land is now the Sebonack Golf Course. There is a LIRR stop in town, but I've always driven so I can stop at vineyards on the way home. Near where Leo Szilard met with Einstein in 1939 to pen the famous letter to FDR. Einstein in shorts, sandals, and a tee shirt, walking on the beach or on his small boat (the ***** confiscated the large one he had in Europe) is a side of him we often don't think about.
     
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  18. Jul 27, 2019 #18

    jis

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    Southampton of course has a station on the Montauk Line, but Cutchogue, on the Greenport Line lost its station sometime in the '60s. The closest station is Mattituck with a 1.5 car length high platform, I suppose. The other one, Peconic, closed in 1970.
     
  19. Jul 27, 2019 #19

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    Often go to eat at a bistro on "Depot Ln" since it runs up to Duck Pond where we are, on the Sound
     
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