The Brookaven Rail Terminal is a nearly 28 acre freight intermodal facility off the LIRR's Mainline in Yaphank. The facility, which opened in September 2011, was built with $40 million in private funds and is operated by U.S. Rail of New York, a new Class III Shortline railroad formed to operate the terminal.
Freight cars are delivered to the rail yard by New York & Atlantic Railway, which transports the cars from Fresh Pond Yard to Pineaire Yard on the Mainline, and then finally to the Brookhaven Rail terminal.
Goods are delivered to Fresh Pond Yard by CSX over the Hell Gate Bridge. After being sorted at Fresh Pond Yard, the cars bound for the Brookhaven Rail Terminal are sent out on run RS80/RS81 to Pineaire Yard. After their arrival they are later brought to the terminal on runs RS60/RS61 where they are handed off to USRNY.
|(Photo credit: brookhavenrailterminal.com)|
At the terminal the cars are sorted and their goods are unloaded onto trucks and sent out to their final destinations across Long Island.
Currently, the rail terminal primarily handles construction aggregate, flour, and biodiesel commodities. In March 2013 Home Depot signed a 3-year deal with BRT to have their lumber bound for their Long Island stores delivered to the terminal in Yaphank.
Ultimately, the terminal is projected to take 40,000 long haul trucks off Long Island roads and handle 1 million tons of freight a year by 2016. The terminal will hopefully take some stress off the limited number of ways off Long Island. While freight travel is by no means the most direct route, it can still be a viable option for many suppliers and distributors (especially if they are getting their goods from someplace east of the Hudson River).
Nevertheless, the Brookhaven Rail Terminal has a ton of potential. And the owners of the site are looking to act upon the potential. The owners of the new terminal are sitting on nearly 300 more acres of land that they can develop to greatly expand the yard if the need arises.
However, the expansion has run into some local opposition of late. Apparently, local residents are not happy about the rise in truck traffic in the immediate vicinity of the terminal. Below is a excerpt from a piece that appeared on News12.com earlier this week:
"A rail yard that aims to ease traffic by getting trucks off of Long Island's roads is planning to expand, but some neighbors don't think it's a great idea...
"The terminal is slated to expand to encompass an additional 300 acres, but some neighbors are skeptical of the benefits.
Civic leader Maryann Johnston says local truck traffic has increased three-fold, and adds that construction projects and additional traffic will only hurt the area's already poor ozone quality.
"Officials with the Brookhaven Rail Terminal say they have already started clearing the remaining land for more development. However, the larger, finalized terminal is still years away."
With any potential expansion for the greater good there is bound to be somebody who is opposed to it. And while truck traffic on the short stretches of roads in between the terminal and exit 66 on the LIE might have seen an uptick from the new terminal, the trucks are ultimately being taken away from some of the busiest and congested section of highways in the country.
By having shipments delivered directly to Long Island by rail suppliers are saving a good deal of time and money. Not only is it better for the environment, but the operators no longer have to pay substantial tolls every time they cross a bridge and they don't have to guzzle away gas while sitting in traffic on the LIE. And better yet--the rest of us don't have to deal with as many trucks on the roads as well!
Without a doubt, rail freight traffic on Long Island is anemic at best, but hopefully the Brookhaven Rail Terminal, and more sites like it, can eventually carry the bulk of traffic across the Hudson River, but for now it's one small step at a time.