S. Berliner, III's Model Railroad Continuation Page 2 keywords = model rail train Z HO scale Ztrack Western Fruit Express WFEX Great Northern GN Pennsylvania Pennsy PRR Berlinerwerke Vest Pocket Long Island Degnon Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal BEDT Marion River Carry Adirondack

Updated:  23 Nov 2018; 23:20  ET
[Page converted 01 Sep 2012;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/mrr2.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/mrr2.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

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

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Model Railroad Continuation Page 2

Continuation of SB,III's MODEL RAILROADING Page
and continued on SB,III's MODEL RAILROADING Page 3, et seq.


You may wish to visit the NMRA Logo HUB DIVISION and the SUNRISE TRAIL DIVISION
  both of the

NOTE:  My pages were limited by AT&T, without warning, to 30kB!  Thus, I was forced to add this continuation page and separate pages to fit the lengthy Berlinerwerke saga in HO and Z scales.


[To conserve space, this index has been truncated by removing some detail links;
go to the pages indicated - they are each indexed fully.]

On the MAIN mrr page:

    Sunrise Trail Division (STD) of the
        Northeastern Region (NER) of the
        National Model Railroad Association (NMRA)
    Long Island - Sunrise Trail Chapter (LIST) of the
        National Railway Historical Society (NRHS)
    Long Island Live Steamers     and model railroading miscellany at the end.

On this page:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model:
Marion River Carry Railroad (now moved to its own page)
Degnon Terminal Railroad, plus
    Murrer's Sidings
    Kearney Sidings
    as well as (on an LIRR page):
  Blissville/Laurel Hill,
Blissville Sidings
Laurel Hill Sidings
    and Maspeth and Fresh Pond -
Maspeth Yard
Fresh Pond Yard

The Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Railroad segment was moved to its own separate page on 07 Sep 99.

New York & Atlantic Railway (now on its own page).

SHELF (SHELVES?) LAYOUT - Japanese Sand Mining operation (Tateyama).

On the succeeding page:

Model Railroading Miscellany
PRR/Wrong Island #007 Cabin Car
Garden Railway Scales
Making a Stacker from a Front End Loader
Berlinerwerke-ALCo RSD-1m
Model Railroading HELP!

On MRR Continuation Page 4:

Railroad Grades
Model Railroad Photography
More Model Railroad Miscellany, with
    Hobbytown of Boston (Bear Locomotive Co.).

On MRR Continuation Page 5:

    Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - continued
Atlas Terminal RR

On MRR Continuation Page 6:

    Life-Like ALCo DL-109.

On MRR Continuation Page 7:

Oyster Bay Marine Turntable
    (moved from RR Page 3 and greatly amplified 07 Jun 2004).
HOMABED® Roadbed.

On MRR Continuation Page 8:

    Model Railroading TIPS (21 Jan 2014).
        HO Car Weighting.

On the Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Page:

Great Northern/Western Fruit Express Reefers
    (moved to MRR page 4 from the main page 07 May 2001 and to this page 10 Nov 2004).

On Z-Scale (1:220) pages:

    Z-Scale Narrow Gauge (really)
    Scale and Gauge
    Scale Conversion Table
    Ztrack Magazine
    Z-Scale Miscellany
    Z-Scale Wiring Conventions
    Z-Scale Vehicles and Märklin Rubber Autos
    and much more on Page 2 and noted below.
    Sub-Z-Scale Page with
Half-Z Scale - 1:440 Tiny Trains and even 1:900 Tiniest Trains!

[To conserve space even further, the index for material on separate pages has been removed; see the main model RR page.

Visit the courtesy and official home pages listed in the index on the main MRR page.

You may also wish to jump to SB,III's RAILROAD Page.

MODEL RAILROADING - 2 (continuation)



(moved to it own page on 02 May 2002).




This material became too large for this page and was moved on 07 Sep 99 to its own separate page.

See also my BEDT in Z-scale (1:220) write-up on the Z-scale continuation page.

Master Track Plan of southern Long Island City LIRR Yards - on a walking tour of the Degnon Terminal yard on 15 Sep 02, Bernie Ente provided a magnificent handout which included a LIRR Track Plan (undated, but apparently from 1978 or so) which included Degnon, Kearney, and Bliss yards/sidings.  For some strange reason, Murrer's is NOT included but I will revise the map shortly to either include it or indicate where it is/was; the full Murrer's track plan follows below).

LIC Track Plan

Southern LI City LIRR Master Track Plan (image from LIRR Track Plan ca. 1978 - courtesy B. Ente).
[Thumbnail image - click on the pictures for a very large image.]

The original from which I took this image was apparently a multi-generational xerocopy of one that had been highlighted (thus the tone on Dutch Kills and some streets) and had many "age-spots"; I took the liberty of doctoring this track plan slightly, both for improved legibility and clarity.  The customer's list for Degnon Terminal is cut short at number 20, P. A. Hunt, but the rest of the list appears on the detailed Degnon map which follows (however, only number 23 is missing and that is Gimbels with two tracks).




Degnon Terminal logo

See also my Long Island Rail Road pages.

PRR B-8 (0-6-0) #1109 on Degnon Terminal switch leads -
Skillman Ave. - L.I.City - 11/14/46 (W.J. Edwards photo):

{Photo b-8-11~1.jpg from and © David Keller}

DEGNON TERMINAL                            20 Nov 1991

                                 Updated:  23 Dec 1999, 00:00 EST

On 10 September 1989, the NRHS-LIST Chapter Caboose Hop literally dropped in on the Degnon Terminal in Long Island City.  Our somewhat weird train, pulled by MP15AC #??? {who knows?}, left Sunnyside Yard heading southwest up the Montauk Branch cutoff, switched over onto the inner track, and crossed the no-longer-used Degnon switch.  Once the switch was thrown, we backed down to street level at Skillman Avenue and 47th Avenue and continued to the end of the usable track at 31st Place.  There really wasn't very much to see there without leaving the yard area, which we could not do.  Vince Seyfried's slide show at the meeting on Friday, 16 November 1989, did much to fill in the details, especially with all his fabulous old and recent photos and catalog shots.  The maps accompanying this article will fill in the rest.  Of especial interest to the writer was the fact that he had been driven all over this area as a child by his father and then had done so on his own as a teen and ever since without ever realizing that it was the Degnon Terminal.  His first real job was only blocks away across Sunnyside Yard on Northern Boulevard during the summer of 1951.  Worse, he was on the Caboose Hop and didn't tie it all in, not even when we went over, and even stopped at, the Dutch Kill draw.  It wasn't 'til Vince showed the landmark American Chicle building and mentioned the magic names Newtown Creek, Dutch Kill, Skillman Avenue, Van Dam Street, Sunshine Bakery/IDCNY (Interior Design Center of New York), and such that it finally sank in.  The author remembers dodging freight cars sitting on sidings next to buildings in the area, especially those on the north side of Hunterspoint Avenue immediately west of Van Dam Street, well into the '60's or '70's.  The author drove all around the area on the evening of 19 November 1989 and noted that virtually all the features noted in Vince's presentation were still present or traceable.  The concrete and steel bridgework, which the author thinks came from the reconstruction of the upper level roadway approaches to the Queensborough Bridge, are {were in 1991} still blocking the 47th Avenue trackage between 28th and 29th Street.  A rather obvious feature was the curved siding entry into 3100 47th Avenue, the former S. Blickman-cum-Gimbels warehouse refashioned ca. 1990 into the modern entrance to The Gold Vault and many small businesses.  More surprising was the sight of a huge 50'{?}, 12-wheeled, fishbelly flat car (which looks very much like a U. S. Army car@) bracketed by two 2-axle diesel trucks (ALCo?), all wildly {psychedelically} decorated, on the remanent southern track in front of the building, just east of the entrance.  An interesting sidelight to the trip was that there were wet leaves on the rails and the MP15AC started slipping its wheels on the hard pull up out of the yard.  We actually had to split the consist and DOUBLE THE HILL (on Long Island)!  Shortly after the trip and since this article was started, the Degnon switch was removed and the track down to the area pulled up.

NOTE: This was based on, and has been updated from, an UNFINISHED text for an article which was to have been submitted to the NRHS-LIST Chapter's publication, the SEMAPHORE.

@ - That flat car does indeed bear a builder's plate, back up against the building, in the flange and above the outer journal (southeast) and it confirms my suspicion (certainty - they ARE kind of hard to mistake and I HAD worked at Aberdeen Proving Grounds):

USAX - 39128
MFR - P-SCM CO.   USA   1952

In "Classic Freight Cars", Vol. 6, Loaded Flats and Gondolas (Henry Maywald, H&M Productions, Flushing, NY, 1994, ISBN 1-882608-06-2), on page 53, there is an identical car (sans graffiti and psychedelics), #39126, captioned as being built in 1965 {??? - not very likely - rebuilt, maybe} and rated at 200,000 pounds capacity, 53' 3" long, Class FM, in the 39095 to 39199 series.

"P-SCM CO." is the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company and the USAX 39095-39199 series are lot 8062, fitted for passenger service (meaning train lines, NOT seating!).

I'll have to go back in there with the digital camera and a close-up lens (and avoid the BIG rat that lives there).

Now, the maps:

Degnon Terminal map - 1966 Degnon Terminal map - 1966

Degnon Terminal Track Plans (images from LIRR Track Plans - 1966 and 1978).
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for the full images.]

Elsewhere on my site (LIRR page 2 and LIRR Historical Society page) I mention that there was a notable feature at Degnon; the Gimbels (or was it American Chicle) building {it is now IDCNY} has (had) a freight elevator inside, in the southwest corner, where freight cars were positioned at the end of the spur inside the building and lifted to the floor on which the delivery or pickup was to be made!  With curtain wall construction and clear acetate windows, what a working feature this would be to model!

[08 Aug 2002 - many people, including noted local rail historians, have scoffed at the idea of a "freight CAR elevator", as opposed to just a "freightcar load elevator", but I know what I saw in action.  As it turns out, I was talking to Vincent Seyfried, well-known LIRR historian, but actually more of a Queens historian, on 02 Aug 2002, and he confirmed this as Gospel; there very much WAS such an elevator!]

Degnon Terminal was one of the world's first industrial parks (Bush Terminal and Chicago preceeded it, before 1900), a separate company incorporated in November 1905 by Queens political interests and was the site of, among many others, the American Chicle Company (Chiclets*) plant and the NY metro area Packard distribution point, and later Macys and Gimbels warehouses.  The LIRR absorbed the Degnon properties in September 1928 and all operations ceased about 1985 or so.

Kevin Walsh's "Forgotten New York" has a page with photos and info on the Degnon Terminal.

[Information on Degnon Terminal supplemented by write-up for 10 Sep 1989 NRHS-LIST fan trip
    and corrections supplied by Thomas Flagg, Industrial Archaeologist (20 May 99).]

(* - This info. has been up for quite some time yet I was only caught 04 Sep 2002 for mis-spelling "Chiclets" as "Chicklets"!)

The conductor on that 1989 trip wrote me on 24 Dec 2000 - see LIRR Page 2.

Interesting Note:  The Flushing Canal (per Bernie Ente, 18 Jun 1998):

"I read that in 1895 (long after the canal era) there was a proposal to connect Newtown Creek to Flushing Bay.  On an 1868 map, I can trace Maurice Creek, which feeds into the Maspeth Creek section of Newtown Creek.  Maurice Creek wanders northeast in the direction of the lakes at Flushing Meadow Park.

I can see how they could have easily connected Newtown Creek to Flushing Bay.  It would have cut Queens right in half.  I guess the idea was to have smaller vessels avoid Hell Gate on their trips from the East River to New England."

Well, if that had happened, Degnon Terminal would have had even greater access to deep-sea ships and might have been an even bigger factor in NYC commerce.

Here's my redraw of the 1978 LIRR map with some improvements, but still not good:

Degnon Terminal Map - 2002/3
[Map by and © 2003 - S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.]
(NOT to scale)

{respelled Thomson Avenue correctly - NOT Thompson!}

Trying to get the buildings straight in my own mind, let alone on this page, I drove back and forth one evening, making a sketch map and double checking it, and it STILL doesn't tally:

Degnon Terminal Sketch - 2000
[Sketch by and © 2000 - S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved.]
(NOT to scale)

but at least it gives some more details per the text.

29-10 Thomson Avenue was the Sunshine Biscuit garage (11 on the '66 track map), between 28th and 29th, a short buidling that never reached south to Thomson; the building with the elevator (today's IDCNY main building) is between 29th and 30th, as the street number indicates.  That's the old Sunshine main building (17) - BINGO!  31st Place no longer goes north of 47th Avenue; La Guardia Community College takes up both blocks between 31st and Van Dam Streets.  Across 47th Avenue from the college is a former Gimbel Bros. building (17), which still has the angled track going in to an angled dock (no longer in use) and the psychedelically-decorated old 12-wheel Army flat and the two 4-wheel diesel trucks isolated on a dead siding across 47th Avenue in front of 31-02 (now marked 3100 - formerly Gimbels) and ending at 31st Place.

Degnon Terminal was basically between (on a north-south axis) Thomson Avenue (Sunnyside Yard) and Hunter's Point Avenue.

Now, alongside (below or south of) Degnon were two other yards, each eminently suited for vest-pocket railroad modeling of densely packed industrial areas, and also, like Degnon Terminal, areas I have driven around in extensively without ever realizing what they were, known variously as:

Murrer's Sidings or the Third Street Sidings, located east of the LIRR Main and west of Dutch Kills between Hunter's Point Avenue and Borden Avenue and

Kearney Terminal or Kearney Yard or Kearney Sidings, located east of Dutch Kills and west of Van Dam Street between Borden Avenue and the Montauk Branch/Blissville Yard/Newtown Creek.

Here's a little info. about each (I've scanned in the 1966 LIRR track maps but they're kinda hard to read):

A series of old slides turned up in August 2012, taken in and around Degnon Terminal before the switch up on the Montauk Cutoff was removed are now posted on my LIRR Page 10 at Long Island City Trip.   new.gif (01 Sep 2012)

Murrer's Sidings

Known variously as Murrer's Sidings or the Third Street Sidings, this was (these were) a series of sidings located between Hunter's Point Avenue and Borden Avenue.  Access was from an east-facing turnout on Track 2 immediately west of (or partially under) the 21st Street foot bridge.  Three turnouts on the lead led to Bloomingdale's warehouse between 23rd and 25th Streets and between Hunter's Point and 50th Avenues, to a group of industries on the south side of 51st Avenue north of Borden Avenue between 21st and 23rd Streets, and to many industries along both sides of 51st Avenue between 23rd Street and 27th Street/Dutch Kills (basically on either side of the elevated Montauk Cut-Off).

To be precise, the 1966 LIRR Track Map title reads "THIRD STREET (Murrers) SIDINGS".

Why Third Street?  I asked Vince Seyfried, the noted Queens and LIRR historian and he graciously sent me the full skinny:

When Hunter's Point was laid out in 1853, the numbering ran from 1st Street northward.  That old 3rd Street is now 51st Avenue; 1st Street itself became subsumed by the Long Island City terminal, and the old 2nd Street is now Borden Avenue.  Note that the old streets ran east-west.  In 1915, New York City renumbered the area on the Philadelphia system, from a new north-south 1st Street along the East River out easterly to the Nassau County line at 272nd Street.  From north to south, east-west streets became avenues, starting on the East River with 1st Avenue down to the Rockaways with 165th Avenue in Howard Beach (adapted)

Murrer (3rd St.) Sidings map - 1966
Murrer (Third Street) Sidings Track Plans (image from LIRR Track Plans - 1966).
[Click on plan for larger image.]

Kearney Sidings

Known variously as Kearney Terminal or Kearney Yard or Kearney Sidings, this was (these were) a series of sidings located east of Dutch Kills and west of Van Dam Street and north and south of Borden Avenue between Hunter's Point Avenue and the Montauk Branch/Blissville Yard/Newtown Creek.  Access was from three east-facing turnouts on the Montauk Cut-Off leading onto 29th, 30th, and 31st Streets at Review Avenue.  Only the middle one led north over Borden Avenue to split east to 31st Street and west to Dutch Kills, all south of Hunter's Point Avenue.  A spur from the third led southeast along the westbound track of the Montauk Branch to 35th Street (opposite the Blissville Yard turnout over on the eastbound track of the Cut-Off).
To be precise, the 1966 LIRR Track Map title reads "KEARNEY SIDINGS".

Kearney Sidings map - 1966
Kearney Sidings Track Plans (image from LIRR Track Plans - 1966).
[Click on plan for larger image.]

Continuing easterly, we then come to Blissville and Laurel Hill sidings (and Maspeth and Fresh Pond yards).  Since these are of limited interest to me, I wrote them up on their own LIRR Page section, et seq.

Bernie Ente led a walking tour of the Degnon area, featuring retired LIRR railroader J. J. Earle, who worked these yards in the '60s, out of yard A in Sunnyside.  The question was raised - why "Kearney"?  It seems to me there was a "Kearney Steel" once; possibly that's the source of the name.

For another Vest Pocket Railroad You Can Model, see the Atlas Terminal RR on the new Vest Pocket Railroads You Can Model - continued page.

Also, I've put some additional information on all three yards (Degnon, Murrer's, and Kearney on that page.

I must now add the New York & Atlantic Railway, itself, as a vest pocket railroad you can model; their former-LIRR Fresh Pond yard and the NYCRR interchange are a gem and more will follow here.  Why?  Because:

BIG NEWS!  Word is (May 1999) that the NY&AR may put back the Degnon switch (on the Montauk Cutoff above Skillman Avenue between 47th Avenue and Austell Place) and resume service!

They may also open the long-inactive nearby Kearney Terminal!

Further, the NY&AR has opened its 65th Street Yard, a blessing for rail-marine aficionados and modelers!

PRR/Wrong Island #007 Caboose moved to Continuation Page 3.

SHELF (SHELVES?) LAYOUT - Japanese Sand Mining operation

I received three simply staggering images (~4Mb!) from Japan; they were so big that I had to reduce them to save storage memory but here they are in reduced format (still huge); this is the "country traffic ministry Tateyama sand arrestation track" (no less!):

Tateyama Sand 1 Tateyama Sand 3
(Japanese Tateyama photos received 07 Jun 02 - no further provenance)
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for the full, huge (217 and 367Kb) images.]

This operation is in Toyama Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan (west), and is on the high slopes of the Japanese backbone; Japan is a long, narrow, mountainous country and the streams run fast, making silting a major flood control problem, thus this federal sand control operation with it's diminutive 2' narrow gauge railroad on 3000 meters (<2 mi.) of track with forty (40) switchbacks(!):

Tateyama Sand 2
(Japanese Tateyama photo received 07 Jun 02 - no further provenance)
[Thumbnail image - click on the picture for the full, huge (434Kb) image.]

Then, the next day, in came a plan and a closeup of the loco, an SKW; it's virtually identical to a Plymouth and there are Plymouth models in almost all scales just begging to be doctored slighly to match this one:

Tateyama Sand 4 Tateyama Sand 5
(photos received 08 Jun 02 - no further provenance)
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for the full (105 and 168Kb) images.]

Grosste Eisenbahnmodelleaustellung - I was in East Berlin on 27 Sep 1987 and fell into an enormous model RR exhibit - coverage has been moved to MRR page 5.

Continued on Model Railroading Page 3

If you like model railroading nonsense (and good tips), take a gander at Jim Wells' incredible

[The AW NUTS Magazine site of the A.W. N.U.T.S. Garden Railway Society is no longer available.]

You may wish to visit the Model Railroad page, et seq.

of this series of Model Railroad pages.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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