July 2014 Union Strike

A tentative deal between the MTA and LIRR Unions to avert a July Strike has been reached. See this post for more information.

Wednesday, November 6

Interlocking Walkthrough: WANTAGH

It's interesting to think a project that's been ongoing for almost ten months is nearing the end, as after today there are only two more interlocking walkthroughs.  It won't be the end of our Wednesday series of posts, however, as we have three more interlocking previews and walkthroughs of the six (maybe eight) Amtrak interlockings around Penn Station.  And after that I have whole other ideas that will take us into the new year and beyond.

Anyways, one more quick housekeeping thing before we get started, if you subscribe to the site by RSS or E-mail, it seems there has been quite a lag on new posts being pushed to your respective feed readers or e-mail inboxes, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it.  Posts usually get published at 6:00am and the RSS feeds should be updated almost instantaneously, but that doesn't seem to be the case.  I have an e-mail in to Google and we'll see if we can get that straightened out.

But now let's turn to the topic at hand, our interlocking walkthrough of WANTAGH interlocking.  WANTAGH, located just east of Wantagh station, is a simple little interlocking on the Montauk Branch that serves a pretty big role during rush hours and off-peak trackwork programs.  This interlocking, along with the other Babylon Branch interlockings ROCKY, PORT, and AMTITYVILLE all provide for a very nice amount of flexibility along the branch.

Here's a bird's eye view of the location and here's a diagram of the interlocking:

Like ROCKY, PORT, and AMTITYVILLE, the main backbone of WANTAGH interlocking is a simple pair of crossovers.  Going from west to east there is a crossover from Montauk Branch 2 (the eastbound track) to Montauk Branch 1 (the westbound track) then from Montauk 1 back to Montauk 2.

Just like that this very small, but pretty well used interlocking is explained.  WANTAGH interlocking is used a good bit in the morning rush (not so much in the evening rush since they only really use one track).  It has also been used to switch trains during off-peak times a lot lately.  The LIRR has been single tracking the Montauk Branch between WANTAGH and AMITYVILLE pretty much nonstop during middays and weekends since they started work on the Massapequa Station platform renovation and the Massapequa pocket track.  Here trains go from the two tracks down to whichever track they're using.  (The Babylon Branch schedules are set up in a way that trains meet in certain locations like Wantagh that way if they have to single track they can do so with little hassle.

Up until a few years ago, WANTAGH interlocking sported the classic Pennsy position light signals, however, not too long ago the LIRR completely redid all of the signals at WANTAGH and AMITYVILLE interlockings and replaced them with tri-color light signals.
Looking east from the Wantagh Station platform.  (From The LIRR Today on Flickr)
A look at the newly installed gantires during the work
on WANTAGH interlocking
(Photo credit: Trains Are Fun.com)
And the LIRR is also currently in the process of replacing the switches here at WANTAGH interlocking.  It just so happened by chance that this interlocking walkthrough post landed smack dab in between the two weekends the LIRR is using to replace the switches at this interlocking.  I didn't plan it this way, but it's kinda interesting nonetheless. 

There is no tower on site here.  When the interlocking first went into service is was controlled from wither PORT or BABYLON towers.  When PORT was closed down, control over the interlocking was handed over to VALLEY tower, which retains control over the interlocking to this day.

This just about concludes this interlocking walkthrough.  Join us again next week when we take a look at WOOD interlocking, another interlocking which recently got new signals, in Queens.


  1. Did you ever post the "Tying it all together" post for the Jamaica area like you said in your June 26 Jay Interlocking post?

    1. Unfortunately, no. That's one of the many things on my long to-do list, unfortunately, I can't afford all that much time to posting on here and there is constantly new things popping up on the LIRR that divert my attention. It is coming one of these days, though!

    2. Splendid! I was more concerned that I had somehow missed as I am very interested in these subjects. Real life always comes first of course so I understand and I hope you don't feel I was trying to pressure you :)


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