LIRR Electric Heritage Page
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Updated:  19 Jan 2005, 23:10  ET
(Created 10 Dec 2001)
[Ref:  This is heritage.html   (URL )]

S. Berliner, III's

LIRR Electric Heritage Page

Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"
Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher



(and related Long Island railroad information) LIRR Keystone

[this page relates to my RAILROAD, LI Rail Road, and LI Railroads pages, et seq.;
you might wish to see them also.]

NOTE:  Page size is limited by HTML to some 30kB; thus, I've been forced to add this continuation page to fit the LIRR and related information and even other continuation pages, et seq.

There are two related topics here on these pages:
(1) The Long Island Rail Road and (2) Long Island railroad information.

There IS a difference!

The Long Island Rail Road is the official name of the oldest Class 1 railroad still operating under its original name and charter (since 1834 - the B&O; was older, having been chartered in 1827 and opened to traffic in 1830 but has been subsumed into CSX).  Although there were (and even are) some rolling stock and some official documents with the two words combined, the correct name of the LIRR has the two words separately:

"Long Island Rail Road"!

More on this name nonsense at LIRR Cont. Page 1.


This is an unsolicited courtesy page for author/historian Ron Ziel and for Long Island Rail Road and Pennsylvania Railroad aficionados and relates to Ron's book:

    "Electric Heritage of the Long Island Rail Road - 1905-1975",

Ron Ziel, with John Krause, Carstens Publications, Newton, 1986,
ISBN 911868-50-X; photo collection (b&w), extensively captioned.

With my copy of that book, Ron gave me a four-page Errata Sheet which I am reproducing here almost in its entirety.  When he prepared that sheet, he was quite upset about a large number of errors which occured throughout the book and was most concerned that his reputation as a careful recorder of railroad history, and especally that of the Long Island Rail Road, not be compromised.  Accordingly, inasmuch as those Errata Sheets did not accompany all copies of the book as issued, nor have survived in many cases where they did, I am reproducing the sheet here (I have taken small liberties with format and changed the text from first person to third person and the tense from present to past and made a very few editorial changes).

[Please note that the sheet was printed on medium-dark blue papaer and I could not scan the text; I have, therefore, transcribed it and Ron Ziel is in no way responsible for any errors of transcription or omission I may have committed.  Also, there is great coverage of LIRR electrification on Art Huneke's Art aRRt's aRRchives - SB,III]



In June, 1986, a book entitled ELECTRIC HERITAGE OF THE LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD was published by Carstens Publications, Inc., with Ron Ziel's name as co-author.  Ron wished to state publicly that the book, as published, bears no resemblance in content, design, layout, text, and captions, to Ron's original manuscript.  The result, in Ron's opinion and the opinions of other professional artists and designers (includng another who is also an LIRR historian) is a product deficient in the above categories.  More seriously, the book contains numerous factual errors [emphases mine - SB,III]; Ron was totally unaware of these, since he was never given the courtesy of seeing the rewritten amnuscript before publication.  To set the historical record straight (and to clear his own reputation), Ron presented these views and corrected the errors.

To Ron's dismay, the entire introductory historical text, outlining the background of why the LIRR electrified, its purchase by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the early electrification experiments, etc., was left out, so the book begins with photo captions.  Many readers felt that the lack of continuity was confusing and that therte is no logical sequence, either by chronology, or by equipment or location, to relate a coherent story.  One newspaper editor told Ron that the book "has no beginning, no end and nothing in between"!  The anecdotes by {the late} Richie Harrison are fone, but they should not have been enclosed at the expense of historical background and without the knowledge of Ron - the alleged author.  Ron's manuscript was submitted in a chronological sequence, by branchlines, butnthe alterations are so severe as to be unrecognizable.

As a life-long artist and designer, one of whose railway books won its publsiher as award for design excelence (Ron designe dthe whole book), it is Ron's opinion, and that of other professionals in the field, that the juxtatposition of white space and design elements, the over-size photo credit lines and the cartoons of debatable quality, may detract from the professionalism, and even from the purpose, of a book of this nature.  Incredibly, the editor had told Ron that the 122 photos Ron had selected for this 48-opage book were at least 10 too many, then - without informing RON - he raised that total to 140 - resulting in an average of almost three photos per page.  Roin feels that many of the photos are irrelevant and even inappropriate, such as people purchasing tickets at Penn Station and views of the PRR concourse and the brief visit of ex-New York Central locomotives to Sunnyside Yard.  As a result, real LIRR electric operations, suc as the LIRR storage battery cars, the early experiments, LIRR trolleys, and the electric shop locomotives, were either totally or almost totally ignored.

Ron wished also to state that he believed little if any of the fault rests with Carstens Publications; he believed that this was all done in the editing, prior to Cartsens' involvemnent.  Despite the shortcomings of this book, it is still worth the price (especially if the reader has this errata sheet [and assuming you can find a copy]!).  When Ron heard that an LIRR trainman stated that "Ziel struck out on this book", he knew that he had to release the truth.

{Page 2}

Actual mistakes are listed in sequence.  In addition, at least 20 of the photo credits are wrong.  Had Ron been shown the galley proofs, he believed that all of these mistakes would have been rectified.

[As previously noted, I have taken small liberties with Ron's format.  Also,
some then-timely comments may no longer apply; I have NOT checked them - SB,III]

Page 1:  dedication:  Huneke (not Hunke).  One author's name should not appear under a dedication.  Both mistakes are insulting to A. H.

Page 2:  Second caption:  "car devoted to test equipment" is totally false.  This car was built as double-boom crane No. 202 in 1901 and coverted to reacher-compressor car when LIRR purchased the locomotive in 1916, to span third-rail gaps.  Such a car was unnecessary when engine was in PRR Penn Station service.

Page 3:  "in conjunction with (BRT) ... ", etc.  Both connections prior to electrification.  Flatbush Avenue one was opened in 1899 and closed in 1904 - the year before electrification.  Chestnut Street opened in 1898 and wasn't electrified until 1906.

Page 3 (bottom):  "newly built ... Shops".  The Springfield Sheds were built in the 1890s.  All MP-41s@ were retired by 1950 - not '57.

Page 4 (text):  Atlantic branch terminal in Brooklyn "busiest on-line terminal".  Jamaica has, since at least a century, been the busiest.  "concentration of railroad plant ... unmatched ... ".  Again, it doesn't compare to Jamaica's interlockings.  Ambiguous and confusing.  Which Rapid Transit line?  There were two.  Also two branch connections.

Page 4 (right caption):  "longer cars were restricted ... in tunnels ... "  Wrong; there were restrictions only on some terminal tracks at Flatbush Avenue.  Larger cars, including heavyweight parlors operated to the terminal as late as 1961 (photo of them was omitted by editor).

Page 4 (bottom left):  Guardrail arrangement lasted "until the 1970s.." is false; the same system is still in use!

Page 6 (upper left):  "1914 East New York Station was on the surface.."  Well, it still is!

Page 6 (upper right):  "close relationship between (LI and BRT)".  They were bitter enemies and 1898 agreements only began the thaw.  LIRR terminus at Broadway Ferry, not Williamsburgh Bridge.  "Four-track Atlantic Branch narrowed.."  It was two tracks at this point, with short outside freight tracks, serving local industries.

Page 6 (lower left):  DD-1@ is westbound, towards Brooklyn.

Page 7 (upper left):  "double-track railroad" was four tracks over much of the line (as in photo).  The major problem with Atlantic Branch at grade was the many grade crossings, blocking cross traffic.

Page 7 (upper right):  MP-75@ "Zip Cars" were built in 1963 - not '53.  "Ballast clogging" still exists, long after steam is gone; caused by grease, drainage, pollution, etc.!  1975 32 years after tunnel open.

Page 8 (upper right):  " ... low ceilings ... unusable ... ", etc.  Penn Station and Tunnels would not have been built - by law - if not for electrification!

Page 9 (top):  Cannon Ball had baggage-club Pullman Tues.-Fri., so "Monday" is probably wrong.  Hunterspoint "served only by diesel-drawn trains.."  An M-1 electric train (No. 1617 from Huntington) terminates at Hunterspoint.  [A long coast? - SB,III]

Page 9 (bottom):  Not Yard A; it is 8th Street Yard.  "Yard A ... virtually abandoned."  Wow!  Yard A is now the ONLY classification yard on LIRR and is very busy!

Page 10 (top left):  " ... DD-1-hauled through trains."  They were dead-head trains to/from Penn Station, layed up between rush hours.

Page 10 (bottom left):  "Sunnyside Yard" wrong.  Should read Yard A.  Both Main Line and Montauk cut-offs were entirely electrified; third rail removed c. 1951, with retirement of DD-1s in freight service.

{Page 3}

Page 10 (text):  "North Shore Freight Yard" wrong; it's Yard A.  Sunnyside has no "freight section" - it is 100% passenger.  Montauk Cut-Off was electrified, not "has been'.  (This sentence {is an} example of incoherence Ron would never have written).  The lines "little used now ... "; all LIRR freight now goes over Montauk Cut-Off to Yard A for clasification, so it is heavily used now!

[Ron is actually wrong on this; Sunnyside DID have freight, but it was non-revenue for the PRR's Pullman service facility (food, linens, bedding, etc.) - SB,III]

Page 12 (lower):  Sunday Train No. 7 (not No. 5).

Page 14 (lower right):  Total fabrication.  Yard E built to standard clearances in 1913 (five years after first MP-54s).  Was that gigantic K-4s@ steam locomotive in the photo actually built to MP-41/subway car clearances?  The track was removed to enable connection to be made between westbound Atlantic Branch and No. 5 station track.

Page 15 (upper left):  "so-called Dunton Shops".  That is the official name of the shop complex which does running repairs to M.U.s.  Several other substations fed by those transmission lines.

Page 15 (upper right):  "late-morning rush-hour" is a contradiction; by late morning, rush-hour is long gone, as the few people in photo illustrate!  Hempstead Branch tracks split off at Bellerose, not at Queens (the switches are controlled by Queens Tower).

Page 15 (lower right):  MP 11 at Holban Yard, 1½ miles east of Jamaica.

Page 17 (upper right):  Third car is 1953-built MP-70T (one of 20), which are mentioned nowhere in the book.

Page 18 (upper left):  Beach interlocking was WD in 1932.

Page 18 (upper right):  Draw was called HJ in 1935.

Page 18 (bottom):  "Why else the three tracks?"  Here's why: The true purpose of the third (center) track was to allow LIRR trains to operate around Ocean Electric trolleys which shared the outside tracks with LIRR local trains.

Page 19 (lower left):  Salisbury Plains station lasted until 1985; its existance having nothing to do with golf club for over 40 years.

[Ron is sort of wrong here; the station was Abilities Inc.'s paint shop ca. 1970-80 and then lay derelict until razed ca. 2004 - SB,III]

Page 19 (upper right):  First LIRR electrification included Main Line to Queens Village and Belmont Park, in 1905.
[Lots about this on Art Huneke's aRRt's aRRchives - SB,III]

Page 20 (cartoon):  Credit line three times the size of punch line.

Page 21 (top):  West hempstead train in 1973 (last use of pre-M-1 M.U. cars).  Just past Valley Tower, train middle of interlocking.

Page 21 (bottom):  Montauk Branch electrified only as far as Babylon, 1925.

Page 22 (2nd caption):  Unorthodox means unusual.  Train is running north (west in timetable operation).  No explanation of "E.D.T." (end double track).  Photo taken 1959 - not 1966.

Page 24 (bottom):  Improbable that location is West Islip.  DD-1 "probably using reacher car ... ".  Reacher car used constantly when coupled to DD-1.

Page 25 (caption):  Contradictory and confusing "purple prose".

Page 25 (text, 2nd paragraph):  Turbine cars never were M-1s.  What does "Hunterspoint Avenue Shortcut" have to do with "M.U. trains in third rail service?"  Hunterspoint is almost entirely diesel service.

Page 26 (top caption):  All PRR and LIRR locomotives had both the high classification lamps and pilot-mounted markers, which were reduced to just the pilot markers on freight power in mid-1930s, passenger by 1942.

Page 26 (bottom):  South Brooklyn Railway, a freight freight subsidiary of BRT/BMT/NYCTA, still operates in freight service at this writing (August, 1986).

Page 27 (upper right):  New Lots Avenue (not New Lott Avenue).

Page 28 (top):  Height and width (not length and width).

Page 29 (top right):  Roller bearing axle was necessary for Automatic Speed Control operation.  Even steam locomotive tenders had one roller

{Page 4}

bearing axle after 1952, on account of ASC.

Page 30 (lower left):  Cras built 1937 (not 1939).

Page 31 (top caption):  Push-Pull trains are diesel-drawn trains.

Page 32 (upper right):  Wooden M.U. control-trailer car No. 829 was also a club car - the reason it remained in service until 1924.

Page 32 (lower right):  Air pumps, compressors are the same thing; M-1 cars also share motor-alternators.

Page 33 (lower left):  Caption raises more questions than answers; no explanation of GT-1.  Gas turbines are NOT "jet engines".

Page 35 (lower right):  "unexpected, temporary demands ... ".  Such demands were well-anticipated, that is why LIRR had 4 (not 2) portable electrical substations!

Page 36 (lower left):  No. 340 is on Atlantic Branch - not receiving yard.

Page 37 (upper left):  Car is not a PRR R-50.

Page 39 (top caption):  Perhaps the most critical mistake of all!  The electro-pneumatic brakes were installed years before the this early-1950s photo.  On account of two disastrous MP-54 wrecks which killed over 120 passengers in 1950, the LIRR was court-ordered to install Automatic Speed Control on all power units (including steam and diesel engines).  This worker is installing ASC (as the original caption on the back of this official LIRR photo clearly stated).

Page 42 (upper right):  Mail cars - Oyster Bay (not port Jefferson).

Page 43 (lower left):  Wire train (not wire trained).

Page 46 (top):  Trains did not run through from Brooklyn end of the Williamsburgh Bridge.

Page 47:  Water tower in photo belongs to Jamaica Water Supply Co.; LIRR has its own water tower at Morris Park.

Page 48:  No caption for two of the three photos.

Page 48 (Acknowledgements, bottom of page):  Art Huneke, Robert M. Emery omitted.  Most embarassing is that Charles Feyh, who generously gave - without any request for payment - the Irving Solomon photos, was not mentioned.  Even so mundane a thing as the acknowledgments was not shown to me!

Inside Back Cover Map:  This 1970s-era map is totally irrelevant and has produced the most reader complaints.  Being diagrammatic, it has no sense of scale or location.  It omits almost 20% of LIRR electrification history (i.e.: Whitestone Branch, Creedmoor Branch, Manhattan Beach Branch, Bay Ridge Branch).  It shows no differentiation between electrified and non-electrified trackage.  The map I planned to use not only showed all of these things, I even planned a different symbol along the Bay Ridge Branch - to indicate overhead catenary.  It also has mistakes in the accompanying text:  Grumman (not Grumann); Rockaway Beach Branch not abandoned, now part of Subway System.  Holban Yard is east of Jamaica (not west).  New Lots Avenue (not New Lott).  The Central Extension still runs to east end of Mitchell Field [sic - Ron's error - Mitchel has only one "l"]; third rail once extended past Salisbury to Meadowbrook Hospital [now Nassau County Medical Center].

After reading this, the reader of ELECTRIC HERITAGE OF THE LIRR can understand Ron's dismay and chagrin at these unnecessary mistakes and other problems.  Perhaps, someday in the future [wrote Ron in 1986], he will do another LIRR electric book.  Meanwhile, for those interested in seeing LIRR books conceived, organized, designed, and written by Ron, he referred to STEEL RAILS TO THE SUNRISE* and LONG ISLAND HERITAGE, THE G-5**, as well as the [then-]forthcoming THE PENNSY ERA ON LONG ISLAND***.  Ron then offered more copies of this letter if one would send him an SSAE at his old Bridgehampton address or "make copies and distibute them at will" [as I just have - SB,III].

The Errata Sheet was dated August 14th 1986.

At this writing (19 Mar 2005), Ron is packing up to move to Tucson, Arizona, where he will wed his long-time friend Helen Foster (widow of his late co-author on STEEL RAILS, George H. Foster, who had passed away ca. 14 Jan 2002); I hope you join me in wishing the happy couple well.  His address there will then be:

Ron Ziel

Sunrise Special Ltd. Publishing
10020 East Domenic Lane
Tucson, Arizona  85730


Since penning this errata, Ron did, indeed, publish his Pennsy Era book and it and some of his other major works are noted on my LIRR Bibliography but I'll repeat the listings here (in chronological order):

*   - "Steel Rails to the Sunrise - The Long Island Railroad",

Ron Ziel and George H. Foster, Duell, Sloan and Pearce,
New York, 1965, LoC 65-17166; a major history, profusely
illustrated (b&w) and heavily captioned
(newer edition now available).

**  - "Long Island Heritage, the G-5 1924-1955"@

Ron Ziel, Railroad Heritage Press, New York, NY, January 1979,
ISBN: 0931584051, Carstens Publications (Railroad Heritage Series)

*** - "The Pennsy Era on Long Island", Ron Ziel,

Sunrise Special Ltd., Bridgehampton, 1984,
LoC RM222.2H63, ISBN 0-312-39564-7; photo collection (many in color).

    "Victorian Railroad Stations of L.I.", Ron Ziel, Sunrise Special,

Bridgehampton, New York, Amereon Ltd., ca. 1988, ISBN 0-34880406-6,
and December 1993, LoC 00050630, ISBN 0848804066.
[See Victorian Stations Still Standing on Long Island.]

    "The Long Island Rail Road in Early Photographs", Ron Ziel,

Dover Publications, Mineola, 1990, ISBN 0-486-26301-0; photo collection (b&w),
extensively captioned.

    "American Locomotives in Historic Photographs - 1858 to 1949",

Ron Ziel, Dover Publications, New York, 1993, ISBN 0-486-27393-8

@ - just to twit Ron Ziel a bit, the Pennsylvania Railroad NEVER used hyphens in its steam locomotive designations, so the "G-5" was actually a "G5", the "DD-1" was actually a "DD1", the "K-4S" was actually a "K4S", etc.!

note-rt - [I am not at all a proficient typist nor a good proof-reader of my own output,
so there may well be errors; please let me know if any slipped through. - SB,III]

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