Thoughts On The Third Track


LIRRTrainI read the editorial “Eminent Domain And A Happy Meal” by Christy Hinko in the Mineola American, March 30-April 5. She had quite a lot to say about the controversial third track.
I have things to say myself which I have thought out for some time.
First though, I sat in front of my window reading my newspapers during a morning and evening rush hour observing the east-west trains going over the Roslyn Road overpass.
Beginning at 7 a.m. the times of westbound trains were 7:05, 7:07, 7:16, 7:28, 7:22, 7:24, 7:28, 7:30, 7:37, 7:41, 7:46, 7:51, 7:53, 8:01, 8:04, 8:11, 8:12, 8:17, 8:20, 8:28, 8:33, 8:49 and 9:21. Eastbound were 8:25, 8:37, 8:48, 8:52, 9:09, 9:13 and 9:16. The morning rush hour was over.

For the evening rush hour eastbound: 4:48, 4:59, 5:01, 5:06, 5:15, 5:21, 5:23, 5:26, 5:37, 5:43, 5:46, 5:50, 5:53, 5:55, 5:58, 6:00, 6:04, 6:11, 6:14, 6:16, 6:21, 6:24, 6:29, 6:33, 6:36, 6:41, 6:51, 7:00, 7:09, 7:16, 7:37, 7:39, 7:57, 8:00, 8:06, 8:21, 8:35 and 8:53.
Westbound: 4:35, 4:40, 4:44, 4:59, 5:04, 5:27, 5:31, 5:43, 5:54, 6:43, 6:48, 7:00, 7:11, 7:15, 7:23, 7:26, 7:35, 7:40, 7:51, 7:59, 8:09, 8:35 and 8:53.

Putting east and westbound together it was really busy but rolling smoothly. The LIRR really rolls!
During the morning rush, many more trains went west (24) and seven went east.
It seems that many trains were stored overnight at the east end of the lines.
During the evening rush, 38 went east and 23 went west. During the day trains must have been stored at or near Penn Station. Obviously there are cleaning and maintenance yards somewhere.

For the morning rush I watched about two and a half hours and four hours for the evening.
All the trains listed above pass through the Westbury grade crossings, one of which is School Street.
Add on a few more to and from the Oyster Bay line and that is what passes through the two Mineola grade crossings and the three in New Hyde Park.

This effort on my part demonstrates what motorists face especially in New Hyde Park when they need to get where they are going during their rush hour.
One excuse for a third track is to commute more passengers. The Oyster Bay line uses double decker cars. Of all those I saw mentioned above, only about 10 percent were double deckers. A double decker train would carry twice as many passengers. Having all the trains double decker would solve the supposed problem.

Not to go into it in detail now but School Street in Westbury, the tracks should tunnel under the roadway. I am not sure where the other crossing is. The two in Mineola should be closed. There is no room for another solution. It is only one block from Willis Avenue to Roslyn Road with the underpass. One block from Main Street to Mineola Blvd. with the overpass.
I have looked at all three in New Hyde Park. The streets are wide enough that the two center lanes can go under the tracks. The outer two are still local and end at the tracks and still there are the sidewalks.

The foregoing provides an actual description of the situation. I have also thought out the details for Mineola and New Hyde Park.
—Charles Samek

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