The Babylon Branch is a rail service operated by the Long Island Rail Road in the U.S. state of New York. The term refers to the trains serving Montauk Branch stations from Valley Stream east to Babylon; in other words, the Babylon Branch is a rail service rather than an actual track. The electrification of the Montauk Branch ends east of the Babylon station, so the Babylon Branch is mostly served by electric trains.
The west end of the "Babylon Branch" is the junction between the West Hempstead Branch and Montauk Branch (Valley Interlocking); St Albans, the only stop on the Montauk Branch west of Valley Stream, is shown in the West Hempstead Branch timetable. Trains that continue past the east end of the Babylon Branch are known as Montauk Branch trains; several of these use the Central Branch between Belmont Junction west of the Babylon station and a junction at Beth Interlocking on the Main Line southeast of the Bethpage Station, running to New York City via the Main Line. On weekends, Babylon Branch trains typically stop at Forest Hills and Kew Gardens in the eastbound direction as opposed to other Main Line trains that serve other branches.
The Babylon Branch portion of the Montauk Branch is completely grade separated with bridges over all intersecting roadways. Route 231 in between Babylon and the electrified yard, and the Meadowbrook Parkway in between Merrick and Freeport go over the tracks, with the tracks going under those roadways.
The South Side Railroad of Long Island in the 1860s built what was to become the Montauk Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The Babylon Branch as a separate operational entity began as the electrification of the Montauk Branch between Valley Stream and Babylon on May 20, 1925. Eventually, this would also include the former "Springfield Branch" which the Montauk Branch was relocated to northeast of Springfield Junction. The tracks were elevated from ground-level between 1950 and 1980. Elevation of the line sparked grass-roots efforts to preserve the previous versions of Wantagh and Lindendurst Stations, the former of which resulted in the creation of the Wantagh Railroad Museum. The last station to be elevated on the branch was Massapequa Park on December 13, 1980.
On December 30, 1968, the first revenue train of M1 cars departed Babylon for Penn Station. In anticipation, all stations that were still at grade level had their platforms converted from low-level to high-level (an increase of 4 feet) from late-1967 to late-1968 in time for when the fleet went into service. Stations that were still at-grade at the time were Lindenhurst, Copiague, Amityville, Massapequa Park, Bellmore, and Merrick. The former three's grade separation projects had just gotten underway a few months prior, while Massapequa Park was still at-grade and the latter two were being prepared for their projects. All stations that had been elevated were equipped with single high-level island platforms, except for Babylon, which had two platforms. The call for high-level platforms was due to the M1 lacking steps that the fleet they were replacing had, and to make travel times quicker by several minutes.
Work on grade separation began in 1970. The stretch of track between Amityville and Lindenhurst was grade-separated, with new high-level platforms on elevated viaducts, on August 7th, 1973. At the same time, the stretch of track through Bellmore and Merrick was grade-separated, which was completed on June 28th, 1975. Finally, beginning in 1977 the stretch of track through Massapequa Park was elevated and opened on December 13th, 1980.
Since the 1990s, many station houses along the branch have been rebuilt, including the entire platforms at Seaford from July 2008 to July 2009, Massapequa from late 2013 to mid 2015, and Wantagh from late 2016 to late 2018. Additionally, from July 2007 to April 10, 2011 the signals, switches, and gantries were replaced between Wantagh and Amityville, with color light signals replacing the old position-light signals installed during the elevation of that section in 1973, and work is underway is well into the closing stages of a pocket track East of the Massapequa station that will run in between the two running tracks, this was to be completed by Spring 2016, but is currently on hiatus. Plans for the future include the modernization of Babylon Interlocking, viaduct track replacement at certain stations, replacement of platforms, escalators, and elevators at Babylon. There is also the possibility of Massapequa Park, Amityville, Copiague, and Lindenhurst receiving elevators to make them ADA accessible. Those 5 stations are the only ones on the branch that are not ADA accessible.
|Date opened||Date renovated||Date closed||Connections / notes|
|3||Jamaica||10.8 (17.4)||1836||1912 - 1913
2001 - 2006
| LIRR; Atlantic, Belmont Park, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach,|
Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
NYC Subway: (at Sutphin Boulevard – Archer Avenue – JFK Airport)
NYCT Bus: Q20A, Q20B, Q24, Q30, Q31, Q43, Q44, Q54, Q56
MTA Bus: Q6, Q8, Q9, Q25, Q34, Q40, Q41, Q60, Q65
NICE Bus: n4
AirTrain JFK: Jamaica Station Route
|Atlantic Branch diverges|
|Union Hall Street||c. 1890||1976||Originally New York Avenue|
May 15, 1911
|Main Line diverges at Rockaway Junction|
|St. Albans||13.6 (21.9)||1898||1935||NYCT Bus: Q4|
|Springfield Gardens||1870s||1979||Originally Springfield|
|Atlantic Branch converges at Springfield Junction|
|Rosedale||15.8 (25.4)||1870||Served by Atlantic Branch trains|
Originally Foster's Meadow
|Queens / Nassau county line|
|Valley Stream||17.9 (28.8)||1869||Served by Atlantic Branch trains|
NICE Bus: n1, n2, n8
2015 - 2019
| LIRR: Long Beach Branch|
NICE Bus: n4, n25, n31, n32
Originally Pearsall's Corners, then Pearsall's
|7||Rockville Centre||21.1 (34.0)||1867||1881
2018 - 2019
|NICE Bus: n15, n16, Mercy Medical Shuttle|
| NICE Bus: n35|
Originally Baldwinsville, then Baldwins
|NICE Bus: n4, n19, n40, n41, n43, n88 (summer only)|
|Bellmore||27.4 (44.1)||1869||1968 - 1975|
1966 - 1967
2016 - 2018
|Seaford||29.5 (47.5)||1899||1966 - 1967
2007 - 2009
|NICE Bus: n54|
2013 - 2015
| NICE Bus: n54, n55, n80|
Originally South Oyster Bay
|Massapequa Park||30.8 (49.6)||1933||1966 - 1968
1977 - 1980
|NICE Bus: n54, n55, n80|
|Nassau / Suffolk county line|
|Suffolk County Transit: 1A, S1, S20, S33|
|Copiague||34.2 (55.0)||1902||1967 - 1973||Suffolk County Transit: S20, S31|
1968 - 1973
| Suffolk County Transit: S20|
Originally Wellwood, then Breslau
|Central Branch converges|
|Babylon||38.4 (61.8)||1867||1881 - 1964|| LIRR: Montauk Branch|
Suffolk County Transit: S20, S23, S25, S27, S29, S40, S42, S47 (summer only)
Montauk Branch trains transfer between diesel and electric
|10||Montauk Branch service continues east|
- MTA LIRR - LIRR Map
- LIRR Babylon Branch Timetable
- LIRR Grade Crossing Elimination Projects (TraisnAreFun.com)
- Burks, Edward C. (August 7, 1973). "L.I.R.R. to offer Smoother Ride Today". The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- Station pages linked from LIRR Stations Archived 2014-09-07 at the Wayback Machine
- "Rapid Transit Extension". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn, NY. 24 June 1890. p. 1.
- Long Island Railroad Station History (TrainsAreFun.com) Archived 2011-01-06 at the Wayback Machine
- Vincent F. Seyfried, The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History, Part One: South Side R.R. of L.I., © 1961
- Baldwinsville Station (Arrt's Arrchives)