Creedmoor Branch

The Creedmoor Branch was the name of a short branch that the Long Island Rail Road gave to the right of way of tracks between its Floral Park station and Creedmoor State Hospital in Queens, New York. The branch existed from 1879 to 1966 finally being torn up and demapped in the early seventies.

History

The Creedmoor Branch was originally part of the Central Railroad of Long Island (CRRLI) built by wealthy Long Islander Alexander Turney Stewart who was the founder of Garden City. The railroad was built from a juncture with the Flushing and North Side Railroad, called Great Neck Junction, in Flushing all the way to Babylon. The railroad had a mixed use as a passenger branch and freight branch that most notably served Stewart's brickworks in Bethpage, which supplied building materials as Garden City was being developed. In 1876 the Central was acquired by Conrad Poppenhausen who absorbed the Central into the LIRR. The right of way between Flushing and Creedmoor was deemed redundant and abandoned in 1879, although it was not torn up until World War I. The Central between Floral Park and Babylon was placed into service as the LIRR's Central Branch. What was left between Floral Park, then called Hinsdale, and Creedmoor was deemed the Creedmoor Branch by the LIRR.

The branch originally served passengers for a few short years traveling to the Creedmoor Rifle Range, which predated the hospital. The branch was poorly situated, however, in that it had no direct connection into the LIRR's major hub Jamaica Station. Passengers traveling east from Jamaica to Creedmoor had to change at Floral Park then backtrack to Creedmoor. Eventually the branch was downgraded to a secondary track and was mostly used throughout the twentieth century as a freight branch, primarily serving Creedmoor State Hospital, which replaced the rifle range, with daily coal deliveries. The branch, however, was obviously important enough for the LIRR to undertake several grade grossing elimination projects along the line, most notably with the construction of a large steel trestle, built in the 1930s, to take the branch over Jamaica Avenue/Jericho Turnpike. The line was used for this nominal service until the late sixties when finally it was put out of service. The tracks were finally pulled up around 1973 with the trestle over Jamaica Avenue/Jericho Turnpike being dismantled in 1980. The right of way interestingly enough got absorbed by many of the homeowners who were given an opportunity to buy up the land that adjoined their properties.

Today there are few remains of the branch. A section of rail, that had been paved over, still exists on the Creedmoor property. Most notably the uniquely angled street pattern in the Glen Oaks area of Queens around Winchester Blvd, which was built around the branch, still exists today marking the path of the right of way. In addition, a section of the right-of-way between Jericho Turnpike and South Tulip Street is an all-handicapped parking space for Floral Park station that requires either a daily fee or a Village of Floral Park Resident/Non-Resident permit.


Sources



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