Dateline: June 28,1956 - NYC Subway Service Now Extends into Rockaway Beach

The "A" Train - IND Service. Sitting at the newly refurbished Broad Channel Station, this south-bound express is headed for WaveCrest station on the evening of November 23, 1956. (Photo Distributed by Railroad Avenue Enterprises, Flanders, NJ, All Rights Reserved, NEG # PN-10677)

THE ROCKAWAY PENINSULA WELCOMES SUBWAY SERVICE

 
 

For nearly six years, there has been no railway transit service to most of the Rockaways. Service was disrupted in 1950 when the Jamaica Bay trestle and connecting bridges were damaged (beyond repair) by a major brush fire. This destroyed property was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road which had been running trains through the bay area and onto the peninsula for almost sixty years. The bankrupt railroad not having the financial ability to rebuild and to replace damaged track and ties, simply "gave up" on the beach service and closed up all operations to most of the Rockaways - with the sole exception of maintaining a terminal in the town of Far Rockaway - which is serviced by a completely different on-land route.

Realizing the value of rapid public transportation to and from the Rockaways, the City of New York purchased properties from the Long Island Rail Road in late 1951 and has been in the process of replacing the parts destroyed and planning to convert the service over to existing subway lines. Power stations have been developed and will connect to supply the necessary electricity to run the trains. The "new" overhead trestle (built between the years of 1941 and 1944) has been boarded up since the LIRR suspended operations in early 1950. The existing stations on the raised platform will be "spruced up" with a new coat of paint and ticket booths and turnstiles will be added to facilitate the flow of human traffic through the stations. Inasmuch as the concrete structure was originally built for a different type of service, most of the existing entrances and exits will remain closed off. When the structure was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road, conductors examined passenger tickets when trains were underway - a practice not possible on the new subway line - therefore in order to prevent "jumping", passengers will only be admitted into stations via one or two carefully monitored staircases.

To reinforce and to re-establish track work over the existing Jamaica Bay networks, several new "islands" have been created to carry the burden of a series of more modern and more dependable track sites. Both of the existing railroad stations on this part of the line have been rebuilt and/or enlarged to better handle passengers and the parking of individual motor cars as well as to provide access to taxicab service and small food and newspaper stands.

At the present time, there will be two service options: (1) WaveCrest and (2) Rockaway Park. The eastern terminus will (for the present time) be located on

Beach/Bay 25th Street in the area known as Wavecrest. Within a few years, a more permanent and much larger facility will be erected on Mott Avenue within the heart of the town of Far Rockaway. Land is currently being cleared upon which the new station will be constructed - and it is expected to be completed and in operation sometime around the beginning of 1958.

NEW MOTT AVENUE SUBWAY STATION OPENS JANUARY 16, 1958

A new station marking the eastern terminus of the IND subway line was officially opened today replacing the Wavecrest station as the "end of the line." According to The New York Times (of January 17, 1958) - "Charles L. Patterson, Chairman of the Transit Authority speaking to 300 residents and officials at a ceremony marking the opening of the new $78,000. terminal of the line at Far Rockaway" announced that this expenditure "...also marked the (final) completion of the $56 million dollar project" which extends subway service to the residents of the Rockaway peninsula. "The first train departed from the new terminal at 11:30 am and carried scores of railroading enthusiasts who regarded the trip as a memorable "first."

The land directly across from the new subway station which had been the location of the Long Island Rail Road for almost seventy years will be sold off by the financially troubled private rail road line which plans to move the Far Rockaway station to the north side of Nameoke Avenue - about three quarters of a mile from where the station is presently located. The new location directly behind the old Far Rockaway Ice House and slightly to the east ofHerbst Bros. Oldsmobile dealership will provide additional parking for commuters and should eliminate some of the congestion problems which have often been plaguing the main hub of the village community.

Since the New York City subway IND service began operation in 1956, the commutation fare has been leveled at thirty cents per trip - double the price of the other city areas. This higher rate is attributable to the costs of maintaining this particular branch of the IND line. Passengers who depart from the Rockaway peninsula are expected to deposit two tokens (at .15 each) into turnstiles and upon arriving in the Rockaways, departing passengers are required to supply an additional token to leave the subway stations. This higher fare is expected to be the fodder for great debate over the period of the next few years.