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A short history of the Long Island Rail Road

The Long Island Rail Road was created to carry passengers to and from Greenport, enabling swifter travel between New York and Boston.

The LIRR was chartered in 1834 with track laid east from the Brooklyn waterfront starting that year. By 1837, trains ran as far as Hicksville, and finally to Greenport in 1844.

Starting that year, passengers could take express trains from Brooklyn along the Island’s spine to the North Fork port and take a ferry to Stonington, Conn. There they would board another train for Boston.

The operation thrived for just four years before an all-rail route between New York and Boston was created along the Sound’s northern coastline.

That forced what became — and remains — the largest commuter railroad in North America to start serving Long Islanders instead of long-distance travelers.
 

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