The abandoned LIRR Bogies

June 7th, 2006 by

Way back in the day (ok, pre 1997), the LIRR didn't just run passenger trains. They had a freight division that handled all of the rail freight traffic on Long Island.

Traffic had dwindled over the decades, and in the early 90's the MTA (LIRR's owners) were looking at means to either make it more profitable or to sell it off or close it down.

One attempted they made at making the freight business more profitable was to buy up a bunch of these obscure 'bogie' cars. These cars aren't even train cars - they are little wells whereby a truck trailer can be placed in one with the trailer acting as the body of the rail car, connecting to another bogie at the other end. The LIRR did this because traditional 'intermodal' cars are all too tall to fit under the overpasses and bridges of Long Island. With the bogies, the trailers lay lower and could easily pass.

In any case, a few customers tried out the bogie concept, but in the end it didn't last all that long, and the service was abandoned. The bogies were problematic and prone to derailment, while competing with truckers simply driving the trailers from NJ to Long Island proved impossible at the time.

A few years later, LIRR leased out the freight operations to the NY&A, who thus far has no use or desire to use these bogie cars. Thus they sit in a siding in LIC, rusting in the afternoon sun. While they're not that interesting to photograph, their story is odd and compelling enough to warrant a post. At a time when freight traffic on Long Island was dwindling, the LIRR at least attempted to innovate and compete.

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  • About The Author

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe

    Bad Guy Joe knows more about the NYC underground than anyone else on or below the surface of this planet. He has spent nearly 30 years sneaking into NYC’s more forbidden locations. When not underground, he’s probably bitching about politicians or building something digital.

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