Written by Dagmar Fors Karppi Friday, 16 March 2012 00:00
LIRR commuters will be intrigued to hear what Dave Morrison of Plainview, a retired LIRR Oyster Bay Branch Manager and railroad historian has to say about the development of Jamaica station. His new book, Jamaica Station, published by the answers to how the site evolved. Mr. Morrison writes captions that tell the history of the station and its location.
The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum is sponsoring the talk and book signing by Mr. Morrison on March 22, at Christ Church, 60 East Main Street at 7 p.m. The event is free but donations are gratefully accepted. Mr. Morrision is an Oyster Bay Railroad Museum Station Committee member.
“Sometimes from the train you see a track ending or an archway and you wonder if that was part of something before. In this book, you see what this structure was. And riding the LIRR from a kid to adulthood and with those images are in your mind - this sort of competes this story.” said Tomas Baade of Port Jefferson, who rides the Port Jefferson branch of the LIRR which goes through Jamaica Station. “Today the dual mode trains go through Jamaica Station and onto Penn Station for a stop, but not to change. Before you had to get off and ‘change at Jamaica.’” he said fondly remembering the words, “you have heard all your life.”
Walter Karppi, former OBRM board member has read the book and said, “Noted author and railroad historian Mr. David D. Morrison has once again endeavored to illuminate an important facet of the Long Island Rail Road’s history. His latest work, “Jamaica Station,” published by Arcadia as part of their Images of the Rails series, covers a subject that is familiar to the thousands of commuters who ride this line on a daily basis.
“If any point could be described as the heart of the LIRR it would not be Manhattan’s world famous Pennsylvania Station, or Brooklyn’s spanking new Atlantic (Flatbush Avenue) Terminal or the Queens terminal located in Long Island City. Jamaica is where the line’s headquarters are located as well as the point that all branches, with the exception of the Port Washington line, must pass.
“This fascinating book traces the history of the area’s growth from a crossing of Indian trails to farmer’s dirt roads to a small but busy village. Jamaica’s growth spurted with the arrival of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad in 1836. This was just one of the many small lines that were eventually amalgamated into what later became the mighty Long Island Rail Road.
“The book is divided into eight logical sections covering such topics as the early years, planning and construction, structures, tracks, trains, and employees. Through the use of many previously unpublished and well-captioned photographs Mr. Morrison brings us on an informative journey of the station and its antecedents.
“Before the coming of the diesel locomotive the station was home to steam and electric locomotive and self propelled electric multiple unit trains. Over half a century ago there was an interesting operation where steam engines would be exchanged for electrics on trains outbound from the city and electrics for stem on inbound trains.
“Prior to the line’s complete dieselization steam engines would haul their trains from the outlying non-electrified lines of Oyster Bay, Greenport and Montauk to Jamaica where the locomotive would be uncoupled from its train and an electric engine would replace it to complete its journey to Penn Station. Outbound trains would reverse this operation. This was a well choreographed ballet that was performed by skilled workers in a matter of minutes and invisible to most passengers,” said Mr. Karppi in his review.
The book contains over 128 pages and over 200 historical images. Mr. Morrison will sign copies, and share his vast knowledge of the LIRR, and its impact on our region.
“Whether you are a history buff, rail enthusiast, or even if you’ve only ‘changed at Jamaica’, you’re in for a delightful and informative evening,” said Bill Bell, development director.
Refreshments will be provided. For more information please call 426-5556.