New York and Atlantic Railway
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The New York and Atlantic Railway (NY&A) (reporting mark NYA) is a short line railroad formed in 1997 to provide freight service over the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road, a public commuter rail agency which had decided to privatize its freight operations. An affiliate of the Anacostia and Pacific Company, NY&A operates exclusively on Long Island, New York and is connected to the mainland via CSX's line over the Hell Gate Bridge. It also interchanges with New York New Jersey Rail's car float at the 65th Street Yard and US Rail of New York in Yaphank, New York. Its primary freight yard is Fresh Pond Junction in Queens. The NY&A officially took over Long Island Rail Road's freight operations on May 11, 1997. The initial franchise was for 20 years.
Map of NY&A System
NY&A locomotive #159 pulls freight through Jamaica Railroad Station
|Locale||Long Island, New York|
|Dates of operation||1997–present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
NYA serves about 80 customers. Lumber, building products, scrap metal, construction & demolition debris, bio-diesel fuel, food, beer, gravel, propane, chemicals, structural steel, plastics and recyclable cardboard/paper are NYA's main traffic. Occasionally, NYA transports utility poles and electrical transformers to the LIPA facility in Hicksville, which has its own spurs. NYA also moves municipal solid waste in sealed containers on COFC trains. NYA serves Belmont Park, delivering boxcars, usually BNSF's, full of feed for the race track's horses. For occasions such as the Super Bowl or St. Patrick's Day, the NYA transports 30 rail cars of beer per week, with each car holding 3,500 cases.
Some NYA customers are located off-line, and make use of NYA's team tracks to receive or ship products. Team tracks are located in Bay Ridge, Hicksville, Huntington, Greenlawn, St. James, Islip, Richmond Hill, Maspeth, Speonk, Medford, Southold, and elsewhere on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) lines that NYA serves. Most of NYA's customers have their own spurs, making the use of team tracks unnecessary. A new 28 acre, privately funded transload facility in Yaphank, Brookhaven Rail Terminal, opened in 2011.
In 2014, work was underway to build a transload facility for vegetable oil, food products and construction material at NYA's Wheel Spur Yard along Newtown Creek near Long Island City. NYA expects the facility to support construction of the replacement Kosciuszko Bridge. The yard reopened in 2015.
Other products shipped to Long Island via the NYA include bentonite and rock salt. NYA carries nearly 1 million tons of gravel a year from Connecticut quarries. The LIRR and the New York City Transit Authority occasionally receive new rail cars, and ship out old, retired equipment for scrapping by way of the Bay Ridge Branch.
NYA moved 30,000 carloads in 2018, up from approximately 9,200 when it began operating in May 1997. The majority of its deliveries take place during the night, when fewer commuter trains are running.
About 15 percent of freight cars transported by the NYA are floated across New York Harbor from Jersey City to NYA's railyard in Sunset Park on the Brooklyn waterfront. The barge operation is managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, but the number of cars transferred to NYA by that method has been restricted by the use of only one aging barge that has a 14-car capacity. The Port Authority is adding two new barges, each with a capacity of 18 cars, and by 2023 the proposed cross-harbor tunnel is expected to transport 25,000 cars annually, up from 5,000 per year circa 2018.
NYA has about 60 employees, including eight train crews. The railroad has substantially different crewing agreements than the Long Island Rail Road, allowing it more flexibility to match the needs of freight customers. NYA has two crewbases, one in Glendale, Queens and another near the former LIRR station Pine Aire on the main line, between Deer Park and Brentwood. On a typical weekday, NYA operates six crews.
The NY&A operates fourteen locomotives.The roster, as of October 2017, includes the following:
|Number||Type||Manufacturer and dates||Notes|
|101, 105||EMD SW1001||EMD (1977)|
|151, 155-156, 159||EMD MP15AC||EMD (1977)|
|261, 268, 270-271, 402, 2200||EMD GP38-2||EMD (1977-1979)||402 leased from CIT Group, 2200 leased from GATX.|
|300-301||EMD 20B||Progress Rail (2016)|
March 15, 2015 - 1 car of a NYAR train derails while entering a siding in Wyandanch, New York
July 8, 2015 - A NYAR freight train smashes into a tractor trailer after the crossing gates were slowly going down in Maspeth, Queens, truck driver escaped with minor injuries
September 15, 2015 - 2 cars of a 16 car NYAR freight train derail, causing delays on the LIRR in Hicksville, New York
- Kilgannon, Corey (April 7, 2019). "The Pizza-and-Beer Train: New York City's Hidden Railroad". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "New York & Atlantic Railway Begins Long Island Rail Freight Service" (Press release). New York & Atlantic Railway Co. May 12, 1997. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- Kilgannon, Corey. (2019, April 7). The Pizza-and-Beer Train: New York City's Hidden Railroad. The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/07/nyregion/rail-freight-nyc.html
- Long Island’s other railroad looks to expand, David Winzelberg, Long Island Business News, June 1, 2018
- Chang, Sophia (September 27, 2011). "Yaphank Freight Terminal Opens". Newsday. Retrieved December 15, 2014.
- "NY&A gets OK to haul 286,000-lb. rail cars; Wheel Spur yard change" (PDF). Apex. No. 2. Spring 2014. p. 2.
- Wheelspur Rail Yard in LIC Back in Operation, Mitch Waxman, Brownstoner, April 16, 2015
- Kilgannon, Corey (January 31, 2007). "Mystery Freight Train Out of Queens? It May Soon Be a Familiar Sight". New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
- "New York & Atlantic". thedieselshop.us. October 14, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
- Skeats, William J. (Spring 2005). "The New York & Atlantic Railway". The Railroad Press. No. 65. p. 32.