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Long Island station could add train traffic in Middle Village

Train cars filled with construction waste stunk up Middle Village for days two weeks ago near where a noisy idling station was recently moved. Photo by Robert Holden
TimesLedger Newspapers

A new train terminus in Long Island has the potential to increase traffic through Middle Village, and it opened just as residents got a little bit of relief from noise and pollution coming from the track behind their houses.

Ed Cataldo, who lives near the corner of 70th Street and Juniper Boulevard South, said that he read an article on longislandpress.com about the New York & Atlantic Railway station that was recently opened in Yaphank.

“Their terminal was supposedly with the consideration that it wouldn’t have any impact on local residents,” he said. “That’s not the case over here.”

The terminal will allow New York & Atlantic to ship all manner of freight from the Long Island town, which is about 50 miles east of Queens.

But just how much of an effect the terminus will have on Middle Village is unclear, according to Paul Victor, president of the railroad.

He likened freight shipping on Long Island to booking an international plane ticket from a secluded town: Usually, more than one company is involved.

Victor’s railroad just operates on tracks on Long Island. So if a company in Yaphank wanted to ship something to Chicago, it would have to transfer its freight to a larger carrier to get the whole way there.

Long Island customers generally have three routes to choose from, and they pick the company with the lowest price to take over the freight from Victor.

One of those companies is CSX, which picks up the New York & Atlantic trains in Middle Village.

“It’s a function of competitive bids,” Victor said. “We’re not controlling the routes.”

Therefore, it is impossible to predict how many more trains will be rolling through the residential Queens neighborhood, he said.

Cataldo wanted to know why he was not notified about the potential increase in traffic by local officials.

The office of City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) sent a letter to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in August regarding the station.

A portion of the board is responsible for conducting environmental impact studies with regard to railroads.

Crowley called on the board to assess the impact on the Middle Village location.

The the new terminus opened just as New York & Atlantic and CSX moved a noisy brake charging station from behind the houses of several Middle Village residents.

The station previously sats near the corner of 69th Place and Juniper Boulevard South, the location where CSX picks up freight from the Long Island tracks. An air hose at the station charges the brakes by forcing compressed air into them.

That station was recently moved several hundred feet to the southwest, according to residents, away from suffering homeowners and in the middle of a business and school.

“It has helped a lot,” said Anthony Pedalino, a resident who has been a vocal critic of the railroad’s operations. “But there is still a lot more to be done.”

Pedalino said the loud banging of cars when the trains operate in the middle of the night still shocks him awake at night.

He hopes to one day see sound barriers installed behind his house.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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