Long Island Rail Road Celebrates 175 years

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Photo Courtesy Juliet Kaye
Photo Courtesy Juliet Kaye

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), the oldest railroad in the country still operating under its original name, turned 175 years old on April 24.

At an anniversary celebration at the Jamaica LIRR Atrium, the railroad’s president, Helena Williams (left), dedicated the day to the 6,800 LIRR employees who operate more than 7,000 trains a day. Williams was joined by elected officials, MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger (second from right) and MTA Executive Director and CEO Elliot Sander (right).

The system carries 87.4 million riders between Manhattan and Montauk every year at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour – nearly seven times as fast as the trains traveled back in 1834 when the railroad was chartered.

The LIRR chose Jamaica for its new railroad headquarters in 1913 and plans are underway to modernize the old switching system at the station to allow trains to maintain their speeds instead of having to lapse into the infamously slow “Jamaica crawl,” as it has become known.

 -Noah Rosenberg