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Port Washington Branch
Port Washington Branch train enters the Plandome station.
Owner Long Island Rail Road
Locale Queens and Nassau County, New York, USA
  • Woodside
  • Port Washington
Type Commuter rail
System Long Island Rail Road
Operator(s) Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Daily ridership46,808 (average weekday, 2006)
Ridership8,321,271 (annual ridership, 2022)
Opened1854 (as Flushing Railroad)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification750 V ( DC) Third rail
Route map
0.0 mi
0 km
Penn Station
NJ Transit Amtrak
Grand Central
3.7 mi
1.8 mi
3.1 mi
5 km
"7" train "7" express train
Elmhurst (closed)
Corona (closed)
West Flushing (closed)
6.7 mi
10.8 km
Mets–Willets Point
"7" train "7" express train
Zone 1
Zone 3
7.5 mi
12.1 km
Flushing–Main Street
"7" train "7" express train
8.4 mi
13.5 km
Murray Hill
9.2 mi
14.8 km
9.9 mi
15.9 km
10.8 mi
17.4 km
12.1 mi
19.5 km
12.7 mi
20.4 km
Little Neck
Zone 3
Zone 4
13.8 mi
22.2 km
Great Neck
15.4 mi
24.8 km
16.5 mi
26.6 km
18.1 mi
29.1 km
Port Washington

The Port Washington Branch is an electrified, mostly double-tracked rail line and service owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road in New York, in the United States. It branches north from the Main Line at the former Winfield Junction station, just east of the Woodside station in the New York City borough of Queens, and runs roughly parallel to Northern Boulevard past Mets-Willets Point ( Citi Field), Flushing, Murray Hill, Broadway, Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, and then crosses into Nassau County for stops in Great Neck, Manhasset, and Plandome before terminating at Port Washington. [2] [3]

The Port Washington Branch is the only LIRR branch to not serve Jamaica, a major LIRR transportation hub, as it branches off the Main Line at Winfield Junction, several miles northwest of Jamaica. Thus, passengers seeking to switch to other LIRR services without going into Manhattan must instead transfer at Woodside station.

Route description

The Port Washington station from the corner of Main Street and Haven Avenue in Port Washington.
Winfield Junction
Manhasset Viaduct, viewed from East Shore Road
Manhasset Viaduct, viewed from below

The line has two tracks from Woodside to Great Neck and one track from east of Great Neck past Manhasset and Plandome stations to Port Washington. This often causes slight delays during two-way rush hour operations. A second track cannot be added through Manhasset and Plandome due to the proximity of businesses to the narrow right-of-way in Manhasset, and the fact that the Manhasset Viaduct, which carries the line between Great Neck and Manhasset, has only one track. [4]

To reduce delays and provide consistent service along all portions of the line, most peak-hour trains are either local between Manhattan and Great Neck (making all stops) or express between Manhattan and Port Washington (making stops only at Bayside, Great Neck, Manhasset, Plandome station, and Port Washington, although several trains run nonstop between city terminals and Great Neck). [5]

Extra service is offered during the U.S. Open tennis tournament and for New York Mets home games, both of which are held in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park. These trains primarily pick up and discharge passengers at the Mets–Willets Point station between Woodside and Flushing Main Street; formerly a station used exclusively for events, Mets–Willets Point has been open full-time since April 2023. [6]

The route also runs over the Manhasset Viaduct, a high train trestle over the marshes at the southern end of Manhasset Bay. The bridge stands 81 feet (25 m) tall and runs 678 feet (207 m) across the bay, offering a view of the Manhasset Bay. Scenes from the Hearst-produced silent film serial " The Perils of Pauline" are said to have been shot on the trestle. [7]

There is only one grade crossing on the Port Washington Branch, located at Little Neck Parkway, at the west end of the Little Neck Station.


19th century

The Port Washington Branch was built by the Flushing Railroad, in 1854 from Hunters Point in Long Island City to Flushing, before the LIRR opened its line to Long Island City. It was the first non-LIRR line on Long Island. The company was reorganized in 1859 as the New York and Flushing Railroad, and established a subsidiary known as the North Shore Railroad to extend the line from Flushing to Great Neck in 1866.

Originally intending to run further east to Roslyn, Oyster Bay, and even Huntington, the NY&F's plans were thwarted by the LIRR who reached those destinations first, as well as poor service and competition with the 1868-established Flushing and North Side Railroad. In 1869, the New York State Legislature authorized the Flushing and North Side to buy the New York and Flushing east of the LIRR crossing at Winfield Station, while the segment between Hunters Point and Winfield was acquired by the South Side Railroad of Long Island until it was abandoned for passenger service east of what was to become the former Laurel Hill Station in 1875. Part of the right-of-way ran through what is today the Mount Zion Jewish Cemetery in Maspeth. [8]

By 1874, all branches of the Flushing and North Side Railroad, including the Main Line to Great Neck were incorporated into the Flushing, North Shore and Central Railroad, which included the Central Railroad of Long Island. Two years later, it would become part of the Long Island Rail Road, which closed the line east of Flushing in 1881 and reopened it a year later as subsidiary known as the Long Island City and Flushing Railroad. The LIC&F was merged with the LIRR on April 2, 1889. [9]

Despite a failed attempt to extend the line from Great Neck to Roslyn in 1882, wealthy Port Washington residents persuaded the LIRR to bring the terminus to their hometown in 1895. This required the construction of the Manhasset Viaduct over the marshes at the southern end of Manhasset Bay, which was authorized by an LIRR subsidiary called the Great Neck and Port Washington Railroad (GN&PW). [10] According to Manhasset's website, "in 1897, a contract was given to the Carnegie Steel Company and a subsidiary, the King Iron Company, undertook the job of constructing the bridge." The trestle bridge cost about $60,000, and the first train to cross it was on June 23, 1898. The GN&PW was disestablished as a subsidiary in 1902, and that segment simply became part of the Port Washington Branch.

20th century

Two other early 20th-century stations built on the Port Washington Branch were in Auburndale (1901) and Plandome (1909). The branch was electrified from the main line to Winfield Junction by June 23, 1910, to Whitestone Junction onto the Whitestone Branch to Whitestone Landing Station by October 22, 1912, and to its terminus in Port Washington by October 21, 1913. [11] In 1910, the Public Service Commission approved the LIRR's application to eliminate grade crossings along the line. These projects were prerequisites for the extension of the line's second track to Great Neck and Whitestone and the electrification of the line. [12]: 21–22 

Grade crossing elimination projects took place during the 1910s and 1920s in Queens and Nassau County. These grade elimination projects included unique station reconstruction in places such as Murray Hill which had a station house built over the tracks and Great Neck which had an elaborate plaza built around it. In 1929, the station at Winfield Junction was eliminated, making Woodside Station the transfer point between Main Line and Port Washington Branch trains.

Despite the elimination of the Whitestone Branch in 1932, as well as Flushing Bridge Street station, Flushing station kept the name " Flushing-Main Street Station." A new station was built just in time for the 1939 New York World's Fair then reused for the United Nations, and then the 1964 New York World's Fair and simultaneously Shea Stadium, for which it would be renamed in 1966. This was the last station to be built on the line. By 1985, when Elmhurst station closed, Shea Stadium station would also become the westernmost station on the Port Washington Branch before the junction with the Main Line.

In January 1987, the station building at the Plandome station was burned to the ground by vandals. [13] [14] Following the fire, the station building was rebuilt as a more modern version of the original. [14] [15]

21st century

In conjunction with the East Side Access project, the MTA is working on two readiness projects that will increase capacity on the Port Washington Branch. The pocket track east of Great Neck station, located between the station and where the line becomes single-tracked, was extended eastward by 1,200 feet (370 m) to allow for storage of two trainsets. The construction of the pocket track was originally scheduled for completion in December 2018 at a total cost of $45.2 million. [16] However, the completion date was pushed back several times; [17]: 60  [18]: 59  construction of the extended pocket track would ultimately be completed in December 2022. [19] Additionally, the Port Washington Yard, next to Port Washington station, was planned to be expanded to store two more ten-car trains. As of 2017, construction was scheduled to begin in late 2020 or early 2021 at a cost of $500,000. [16] [20] However, this project met significant community opposition, primarily because of proposed reduction of parking spaces near the station. [21] As of September 2022, the MTA has not come to an agreement with the Town of North Hempstead, [17]: 65  resulting in the project being postponed indefinitely. [22] [18]: 61 

Alongside these construction projects, a new bridge was built at Colonial Road near Great Neck station; it opened in May 2016 and replaced a 114-year-old span. [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]


West of Woodside, all trips go on to terminate at Penn Station or Grand Central. [3]

Zone [28] Location Station name Miles (km)
from Long Island City [1]
Connections and notes
1 Woodside, Queens Woodside Disabled access 3.1 (5.0) 1869 [29] Long Island Rail Road: City Terminal Zone
New York City Subway: 7 and <7>​ (at 61st Street–Woodside)
New York City Bus: Q32
MTA Bus: Q18, Q53 SBS, Q70 SBS
Maspeth, Queens Winfield Junction 1854 1929
Elmhurst, Queens Elmhurst 1855 1985 Originally named Newtown
Corona, Queens
Corona 1853 1964 Originally named Fashion Race Course, then West Flushing
West Flushing 1854
Mets–Willets Point 6.7 (10.8) 1939 New York City Subway: 7 and <7>​ (at Mets–Willets Point)
New York City Bus: Q48
Originally named World's Fair, then United Nations, then World's Fair again, then Shea Stadium.
3 Flushing, Queens Flushing–Main Street Disabled access 7.5 (12.1) 1854 [29] New York City Subway: 7 and <7>​ (at Flushing–Main Street)
New York City Bus: Q12, Q13, Q15, Q15A, Q16, Q17, Q20A, Q20B, Q26, Q27, Q28, Q44 SBS, Q48, Q58
MTA Bus: Q19, Q25, Q34, Q50, Q65, Q66
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Originally named Flushing
Murray Hill Disabled access 8.4 (13.5) 1889 New York City Bus: Q12, Q15, Q15A
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Broadway Disabled access 9.2 (14.8) 1866 [29] New York City Bus: Q12, Q13, Q28
MTA Bus: QM3
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Originally named Flushing–Broadway
Auburndale, Queens Auburndale Disabled access 9.9 (15.9) 1901 New York City Bus: Q12, Q13, Q28, Q76
MTA Bus: QM3
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Bayside, Queens Bayside Disabled access 10.8 (17.4) 1886 [29] New York City Bus: Q12, Q13, Q28
MTA Bus: QM3
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Originally named Bay Side
Douglaston–Little Neck, Queens Douglaston Disabled access 12.1 (19.5) 1866 [29] New York City Bus: Q12
MTA Bus: QM3
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
Originally named Little Neck
Little Neck Disabled access 12.7 (20.4) 1870 [29] New York City Bus: Q12, Q36
MTA Bus: QM3
Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20x
4 Great Neck Great Neck Disabled access 13.8 (22.2) 1866 [29] Nassau Inter-County Express: n20G, n20H, n21, n25, n26, n57, n58
Originally named Brookdale
Manhasset Manhasset Disabled access 15.4 (24.8) 1899 Nassau Inter-County Express: n20H, n21, n20x
Plandome Plandome Disabled access 16.5 (26.6) 1909
Port Washington Port Washington Disabled access 18.1 (29.1) 1898 Nassau Inter-County Express: n23


  1. ^ a b Long Island Rail Road (May 14, 2012). "TIMETABLE No. 4" (PDF). p. III; VI. Retrieved August 4, 2022.
  2. ^ "MTA Railroads Map". New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 16, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "LIRR Port Washington Branch Timetable". New York: Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 23, 2023.
  4. ^ Image of single track across Manhasset Viaduct
  5. ^ "Changes to LIRR Port Washington Branch service in 2023" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  6. ^ "MTA Long Island Rail Road Announces Around-the-Clock Service to Mets–Willets Point Beginning Monday, April 24" (Press release). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 21, 2023. Retrieved September 18, 2023.
  7. ^ Sloan, Allan King (October 2005). "The Manhasset Viaduct". King Bridge Company. Archived from the original on March 3, 2006.
  8. ^ 1924 Long Island Railroad Corporate Blueprint (Arrt's Arrchives)
  9. ^ "Corporate Succession Long Island Railroad".
  10. ^ Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. NY-81, " Long Island Railroad, Manhasset Bridge, Manhasset Shore Road Vicinity, Flower Hill, Nassau County, NY", 1 photo, 1 data page, 1 photo caption page
  11. ^ "LIRR Branch Notes".
  12. ^ "The Long Island Railroad Twenty-Ninth Annual Report For The Year Ending December 31st, 1910". Report of ..., Trustee[S] of the Property of the Debtor, for the Year Ended ...1949-1953. Long Island Railroad Company. 1911.
  13. ^ Goldberg, Nicholas (January 4, 1987). "Fire Guts Historic Station". Newsday. ProQuest  285440103.
  14. ^ a b "Port Washington Branch". Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  15. ^ Goldberg, Nicholas (February 26, 1988). "After Fire, Plandome, LIRR Still Haggling". Newsday. ProQuest  277892413.
  16. ^ a b "MTA Long Island Rail Road Committee Meeting" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 2017. p. 35. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 5, 2018. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  17. ^ a b Joint Metro-North and Long Island Committees Meeting. (Report). November 2020. Archived from the original on October 13, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  18. ^ a b Joint Metro-North and Long Island Committees Meeting. (Report). November 2021. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  19. ^ Sweet, Jacqueline (December 6, 2022). "MTA Finishes Great Neck Pocket Track In Advance Of Grand Central Open". Patch. Great Neck, NY. Retrieved January 14, 2024.
  20. ^ "L60601YL Port Washington Yard Reconfiguration". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
  21. ^ Castillo, Alfonso A. (November 29, 2015). "Outta space: Few places to park at LIRR lots". Newsday. Archived from the original on June 15, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  22. ^ Kaplan, Anna M. (September 28, 2022). "Important LIRR Commuter Update: Express Trains Have Been Saved". Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  23. ^ Kreitzman, Wendy Karpel (November 19, 2010). "MTA Announces Second Pocket Track Proposed for LIRR in Great Neck". Great Neck Record. Archived from the original on December 9, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "MTA LIRR Proposed Colonial Road Improvement Project". MTA Long Island Rail Road. March 23, 2011. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  25. ^ "MTA LIRR - Colonial Road Improvement Project". Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  26. ^ Zambuto, Sam; Arena, Salvatore (March 28, 2011). "LIRR Opens Info Center at Great Neck Station for Proposed Colonial Road Improvement Project". MTA Long Island Rail Road. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 18, 2011.
  27. ^ "The Completion of Colonial Road Bridge". Great Neck Record. July 23, 2016. Archived from the original on October 17, 2021. Retrieved June 14, 2022.
  28. ^ "New Fares — Effective April 21, 2019". Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part Two: The Flushing, North Shore & Central Railroad, © 1963

External links

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