Long Island Rail Road pictorial record of steam to diesel LIRR by Kramer Soft Co

Long Island Rail Road pictorial record of steam to diesel LIRR by Kramer Soft Co

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Long Island Rail Road pictorial record of steam to diesel LIRR by Kramer Soft Co
 
Long Island Railroad A pictorial record of the steam to diesel transition east of Jamaica By Frederick Kramer 94 Pages  
FOR NEW YORKERS, the jaunty and seemingly ambiguous phrase "out on the Island" makes a singular and well understood reference. Neither Staten nor Coney, not Liberty nor Ellis is the island. That term, by common consent, is reserved for Long Island, the great and historic front doorstep of America.
One hundred and eighteen miles long and from twelve to twenty-three miles wide, the land is shaped like a fish, its mouth hooked by Manhattan. It is incredibly varied and not like any other part of New York state. The Island's topographical potpourri blends plains and marshes, cliffs and bays, and reaches eastward in endless pines and sand dunes.
The east and west of it divide roughly into thirds. The western third, containing Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County, was the Dutch part back in the 1600's. The eastern two-thirds is now Suffolk County, once the land of Indians and Englishmen.
Curiously, this one-third, two-thirds division roughly approximated the electrified and non-electrified portions of the Long Island Rail Road. The rambling eastern end was steam-only territory. Operations there were atypical, having little in common with the transit-like procession that emerged from the East River tunnels each rush hour.
But those multiple-unit electric cars making trip after trip, day after day dominate the Long Island's activities. Truly a road for modest distance commuting, the Long Island has been America's most efficient people hauler for decades. For the last generation, daily passenger count has hovered around a quarter of a million, one-fourth of all commuter service in the country.
But that busy scene is really the last chapter in a long and illustrious history. The beginnings go back to the age of sailing ships when the pace of commerce was slow and people, perforce, dealt directly with the natural forces that beset them. Since then, the sweep of events has worked its magic and left us with a most unusual railroad story.
Here was a transportation enterprise that tried several times to take advantage of the waters that surrounded its island isolation by opening combination land and sea routes. Here was a property of many firsts, some important enough to become the railroading standards of today. One such first occurred just as the development of the steam locomotive was approaching its zenith, for it was the Long Island Rail Road that bought the first diesel unit intended for rugged, over-the-road service.
Here is that story, briefly told in text and caption from the enjoyable vantage point of those who like to watch the trains. To them, long-haul passenger service held much greater fascination than the electric commuter scene. There was less matter-of-fact, grim determination and more emotion as steam locomotives came and went. The excitement in that greater distance, but subordinate part of Long Island's operations, is conveyed pictorially in this book.
Freight service, too, was incidental, for this was the only Class I railroad in the nation that generated less revenue from freight than from passengers - and by a wide margin. That uniqueness gives special meaning to the freight trains pictured here.
These photographs go back a generation to the decade following World War II. Their theme leaves aside the commonplace electric cars and focuses on the steam-to-diesel transition that occurred in the area east of Jamaica. Most are from the camera of John Krause, a lifetime resident of Long Island and a railroad photographer for most of his years. That happy combination of residence and leisurely pursuit now gives us a backward glance at Long Island's Steam Finale.

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