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We took a couple of rides on the LIRR’s Babylon Branch. Our main trip was on 18 July 2009, a bright sunny day. We boarded our local train in Babylon and took that train to Forest Hills. On the return trip our train also stopped at St. Albans, a station officially listed as being on the West Hempstead Branch. I think the train had 10 cars, and we decided to sit in the very last car hoping it would be less crowded than many of the others. Crowds were no problem, but when the conductor stopped to take our tickets he informed us that due to track work, only the first door on the first car would open at Forest Hills. We decided to begin our trek forward when we stopped for the 2-minute break at Jamaica. We made it almost half way through the train before we started moving again, and had to experience the excitement of passing between cars on a moving train. At every other set of doors, we’d pass between sets of MU coaches rather than just through them, catching a breath of fresh air and sunshine as we watched the tracks whiz by beneath our feet. Luckily another woman also had to make the journey forward at the same time so there was someone to help hold the doors while the kids stepped between the cars.
Our second trip was really for the purpose of taking a ride on the Central Branch. We once again began by taking a Babylon Branch train from Babylon, riding as far as Jamaica. While getting on at the first stop allowed us to spread out into facing seats, the train quickly filled to the point where every seat was taken. The children did very well sitting next to strangers on a crowded train though. At Jamaica we switched to a Montauk bound train which followed the Main Line out through Hicksville then cut down the Central Branch to Babylon where we ended our journey.
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Copyright 2011 by Robert Mortell