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Mar 13, 2012 6:13 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

LIRR Removes Some Surplus Materials From Hampton Bays Train Station

Mar 14, 2012 9:44 AM

The current condition of the Hampton Bays train station has some people wondering if it might be a more suitable destination for Sesame Street’s trash-loving Oscar the Grouch rather than commuters and hamlet residents.

Bruce King, the president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, said the Long Island Rail Road has a bad habit of storing many of its surplus materials from past projects—such as old metal rails and ties, as well as wooden ties—near the station rather than properly disposing of them. He also noted that garbage, like bottles and cans that people have strewn about the area, should be cleaned up by the LIRR.

Mr. King, who grew up in Hampton Bays, noted that some of the old metal rails that still litter the ground near the train station have been there since he was a child.

“Some railroad materials have been here from 25 years ago that are being covered by growth now,” Mr. King said. “They are under bushes and trees that have grown over and around them.”

He said he spoke to a representative of the LIRR regarding the debris last summer, when crews were in the area sharing their plan for a multimillion-dollar bridge restoration project now under way in the hamlet and was told that the offensive materials would be removed immediately. That never happened, Mr. King said, adding that the LIRR took no action until he started contacting local media outlets about the situation.

Earlier this month, LIRR crews removed one of several piles of unused materials from behind the station. But Mr. King said they did not touch several other piles, including a few that are not in plain sight, and did not clean up any of the litter in the area.

Salvatore Arena, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which oversees the LIRR, explained in a prepared statement that, due to limited storage facilities, the railroad must sometimes store its surplus rails and ties near train stations. He added that, in some cases, the materials are left nearby so they can be used for emergency repairs.

“Most of the rails stored on the LIRR’s property at Hampton Bays is meant to be re-used for emergency repairs on the eastern segment of the Montauk Branch,” the statement reads. “Some of the rail, however, is scrap, and will be removed in the near future.”

According to the statement, the concrete and wooden ties on-site will be removed, but two storage containers near the tracks will remain because they are being used to secure materials for the extensive bridge reconstruction project. That work is part of a $26.2 million reconstruction project announced in September that will focus on three railroad bridges—The North Road, Montauk Highway and Shinnecock Canal bridges. The renovations are expected to increase the life span of the railroad bridges by 35 to 40 years. Due to the construction, a section of North Road is now closed and ongoing work under the Montauk Highway bridge is causing minor traffic disruptions.

Valerie Scott, the owner of J. Ronald Scott Funeral Home on Ponquogue Avenue, which is within walking distance to the Hampton Bays train station, wishes that the MTA and LIRR could find a more secluded location for their unused materials.

“The stuff just sits there,” Ms. Scott said this week. “It would be nice if they could find someplace else rather than right smack in the middle of town to store it.”

Though she understands why some materials must be stored on-site, Ms. Scott said the MTA should come up with a better plan.

“It can’t be the nicest way for people to see Hampton Bays on the train when they can look out one window and see the beautiful work of the Beautification Association, and they look out the other window and see piles of gravel,” she said.

Mr. King agrees and wants the MTA to start taking responsibility for their station.

“This is something that they are responsible for and they should do without having to be reminded by citizens,” Mr. King said. “They are getting paid to do this.”

Even though the train station is not at the top of his group’s priority list, Mr. King said he does not understand why the MTA cannot be held responsible for maintaining its facilities. He noted that train passengers heading to Manhattan from the East End can catch glimpses of similar situations in western stations by simply looking out the window.

“That is money sitting there, they should pick it up and use it,” Mr. King added. “They should store it on their property, they have got plenty of property. Get them out of all of the little communities.”

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Nice work Mr King,may I also suggest that you keep an eye on the illegal dumping at the thrift shop as you enter Good Ground Cemetery,,this is an ongoing problem,having to pass that location as you enter Good Ground is very experiance and gives a bad impression to out of town people attending funerals.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Mar 16, 12 4:31 PM