The LIRR has a lot of exciting junctions and since most of them are transit accessible I have been gradually checking them off my to do list. Previously I had visited Valley Stream, Mineola, Babylon and Hicksville leaving QUEENS interlocking on the main line between Floral Park and Queens village as one of the last major junction points to document. Seeing as how QUEENS interlocking stretched between three stations I was faced with the prospect of paying pricey LIRR fares to jump the short distance between stations (something that would also put me at the mercy of the LIRR's schedule). Fortunately, after checking Google Maps, I discovered that it would be reasonable to simply take the train to Floral Park and then walk to Bellrose and then Queens Village.
After wrapping up at Queens Village I transferred to an E train at Jamaica and killed what time I had left on the (7) Extension to Hudson Yards. You can find the complete set of photos here.
I caught a main line express train out to Floral Park after riding MNRR in from Ossining. Here LIRR M7 #7642 departs Floral Park for points east.
Floral Park represents the point where Hempstead Line trains depart the
Main Line right of way. While both Main and Hempstead Line trains can
serve Floral Park, it is primarily a Hempstead Line station. Here an
outbound Hempstead Line train pulls into the 'C' platform with LIRR M7
#7620 through the extended limits of QUEENS interlocking.
Main Line Port Jeff or Oyster Bay train speeding towards the Bellrose
station on the Main Line with DE30 #411 pushing from behind.
Longer Penn Station bound Main Line train bracketed by DM30's #416 and #514.
It was only around 9am so there were still a good number of commuters
making their way into the city from Floral Park. Here an inbound M7
train led by #7831 arrives from the Hempstead Branch.
Another inbound DE train led by C3 cab car #5008.
Here in this video we see two LIRR MU trains led by M7 #7030 and M7 #7302 negotiate the 80mph high speed crossovers at QUEENS interlocking . The Belmont section of QUEENS interlocking is designed to fallow a 4 track main line with center express tracks to merge into two parallel 2-track lines. The line on the left goes to Hempstead, while the Main Line on the right continues on to Mineola, Hicksville and beyond. Because the line speed is the same as the turnouts, trains are able to diverge under Clear signal indications.
Fire alarm pull box in Floral Park. ALERT KEVIN WALSH!
Bellrose's signature feature is the 4-track position light gantryleaver
at the west end of the station. These signals were installed when
QUEENS was rebuilt between 2005 and 2007. Here we see LIRR M7 #7408
taking the 22W signal. It will soon stop a short distance away at the
12W signal to wait for a slot to cross over to the westbound local
This traffic was in the form of a Main Line train led by LIRR M7 #7178 which would not stop at Bellrose or Floral Park.
Here we see the parallel high speed ladders in the east end of QUEENS
interlocking. Before the rebuild this section has consisted of three 80
mph equilateral turnouts to rearrange traffic from American 4-track
local/express layout to the British 2+2 track local/express layout.
There are currently no interlocking appliances between the Bellrose
signal bridge and the signal bridge shown here, however there were
during the rebuild process and more could be installed to expand
capacity. Past the twin position light cantilever signals is the older
western section of QUEENS with traditional Medium Speed crossovers.
Also, just visible, is QUEENS tower itself.
Looks like another headway interval has passed as Hempstead bound LIRR
M7 trainset with #7382 pulls into Bellrose. As for myself, its time to
walk to Queens Village.
Here is a montage of LIRR trains taking various PRR position light signal indications at QUEENS interlocking.
In the first clip an outbound train of M7 MU's passes an inbound train of M7's at Floral Park, just as the outbound train knocks the Approach Medium indication on the 42W signal. The 42W is fleeted and changes to a Stop and Proceed. Later that same train takes another Approach Medium on the 22W signal bridge while an inbound diesel hauled train powered by DM30 #510 takes the Clear indication on the 23W.
Next an inbound Hempstead train departs the Bellrose station on an Approach indication displayed on the 22W, stopping short of the 12W at Stop. This later changes up Approach Medium in response to the route being lined to the inbound local track past the 2W, displaying Medium Clear.
Finally an inbound Main Line MU train passes the 23W signal displaying Clear and makes a high speed diverging movement to the center express track.
Rear of QUEENS tower as seen from a parking lot. While the tower's US&S Model 14 interlocking machine was retired with the rebuild, the tower itself is still manned, controlling the local and remote interlockings via a point and click computer display.
Queens Village LIRR station.
QUEENS tower as seen from the Queens Village platform. Note the Medium speed trailing point ladder.
In this video an eastbound LIRR ballast regulator rockets past the 1W home signal at QUEENS interlocking while an inbound diesel express train, hauled by DE30 #423 and led by C3 cab car #5005, makes the high speed diverging move into the center express tracks at QUEENS interlocking.
I finally got some relief from the M7 monotony when an inbound train of Budd M3'sblasts past on the local track at the Queens Village platform. Meanwhile the next inbound Hempstead train, that I was looking to catch, waits dutifully for the express to clear. When the switch throws the local completes the medium speed route in front of QUEENS tower to then platform at the station.
Lead unit on my train back to Jamaica was LIRR M7 #7251.
Here we see some MoW crews fixing up HALL interlocking east of Jamaica.
Because of the re-signaling efforts on the Queens Blvd line I wanted to
take some photos of the remaining classic interlocking towers. Usually
this results if someone getting irate and yelling at me, but this tower
operator seems to have Failed a Spot Check.
Two R62 trainsets side-by-side at Hudson Yards. Unfortunately this gave
me a false sense of security. After shooting my first pair of videos,
it took me over an hour of waiting for another R62 set with a railfan
window to show up show.
Apparently, while I was taking these photos some sort of Comic Book
convention was going on in the convention center. Cosplayers riding the
subway in non-subway appropriate attire was one big tipoff, but this
photo contains a more subliminal reminder ;-) Can you spot it?
Killing time waiting for an R62 by people watching at Times Square (7). Bah, R142's...what a way to ruin a perfectly good subway line.
Desperately killing time by comparing the escalator to the ADA funicular at Hudson Yards. The funicular is slow to the point of being useless. #WasteOfMoney
Ahhh, that's more like it. Even had a clean window.
Changing of the guard at Grand Central.
Tune in next time when I show you the videos taken both on the Hudson Line and to/From Hudson Yards.