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LIRR “Fishermen’s Special”, October 23,1949

Early liveries
(See Sayville: Main Street to the Tracks, Wells)



Candee Avenue Trolley, 1909

Suffolk Traction, Patchogue, Blue Point and Sayville

Bee Line Bus, 1930

Utility Line Bus, Bay Shore, about 1950

 Images: Top, left courtesy of Chris Bodkin/Queens Borough Public Library, Archives, Ron Ziel Collection – John Krause Photographs; right, both from collection of Sayville Library; center, left, Collection of Sayville Library; center right.

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Public  Transportation: Railroads


Long Island Railroad Train at East New York (Brooklyn) Station, 1865


Lakeland Station, 1860s



Sayville Railroad Station, built 1870



Jamaica Station, about 1870: Ground level, steam trains, wooden cars (platforms elevated 1913)

James Gordon Bennett”,
an engine typical of type used 1870s-1880s


  Long Island Railroad:   The Long Island Railroad, successor to the 10-mile long Brooklyn & Jamaica RR, was chartered by action of the New York State Legislature April 24, 1834.  Its initial marketing plan was to transport people from Brooklyn to Boston.  Most passengers travelled from New York to Massachusetts by sea because construction of a railroad along the lower Connecticut coast line with its many inlets and rivers had appeared to be difficult and costly; the LIRR planned to carry them from Brooklyn to Greenport, by ferryboat to Stonington, CT, and then on to Providence and Boston by the Old Colony Railroad, all in 16 hours.  Despite much laughing and criticism, the LIRR reached Greenport in 1844 and enjoyed about six years of good business before the New York and New Haven Railroad finally achieved what had been considered "impossible" and completed tracks through south-western Connecticut to New York; the LIRR reason for existence had ended. Nevertheless, even though original tracks were down the center of the Island, away from many more populated areas.

Passengers for Sayville had to take a train to Lakeland Station (at present Ocean Avenue, about one-half mile west of present Ronkonkoma Station, and seven miles north of  Sayville) and then a stage (carriage) to Sayville.  Nevertheless,  the Company had opened up the Island to greater population and tourism and many other local rail ventures were inaugurated.   One was the South Side Rail Road, incorporated March 23, 1860 and organized to build from Brooklyn to Islip.; on April 12, 1867, it was further authorized to continue to Easthampton.  Service to Sayville began on   December 11, 1868, negating further need (since 1844) to route all passengers and mail through the Lakeland Station (Ocean Avenue, about one-half mile west of present Ronkonkoma Station and seven miles north of Sayville) .  Initially, there were three trains daily, two passenger and one freight (except Sunday, none);  the cost of the about three hour ride from Sayville 50 miles to the Brooklyn Terminal was        $ 1.55; by 1872, there were nine in each direction (but still, no Sunday). Initially, tickets were sold in Woodhull Raynor’s Oakland House Hotel on the north side of the track; a Station house was soon constructed on the south side and opened in 1870 …The South Side Railroad became the Southern Railroad in September 1874 and, through receivership, was merged into the Long Island Railroad in June 1876; tracks were joined at Springfield and, thereafter, equipment was swapped between the two line.  By the end of the Century, there were still only nine trains each way, but run was down to one hour and thirty minutes, there was Sunday service, fare to Brooklyn was down to $ 1.50, and commutation tickets ranged from $ 7.80 to $ 19.14 depending upon number of months purchased (one to nine months).

Images: top,Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, LIRR, 1956; center, both from collection of the Sayville Library; bottom, both from LIRR 75th Anniversary Booklet, 1909

Sayville Railroad Freight House and Passenger Station, February 1928


New Sayville Station, opened July 31, 1906
Card postmarked July 24, 1908

Sayville Station, 1907


 Card postmarked 1908

Sayville Station, 1910
(Freight House, center distance) 

Card postmarked March 14, 1912

 “Depot” about 1920

The  Pennsylvania Railroad had, for many years, been trying to get a foothold in New York City to compete with the New York Central which had had a terminal there since the 1870s; its final link to do so was to buy the LIRR, which it did in 1900.  On December 3, 1902, the City Board of Aldermen approved plans for extending the Pennsylvania Railroad under the Hudson River to a new Station and then under the East River to connect with the Long Island.  Tunnel digging began in May 1904 but it was six more years before trains could operate in all directions. The new, magnificent Pennsylvania Station was opened on September 8, 1910 (and demolished in 1965)... in 1903, the Pennsylvania began to sell or lease scores of its new or second-hand locomotives, steam and diesel engines, to the LIRR, which it continued to do for the next 52 years...In 1905, the Road began to buy all-steel cars but it was 1927 before all wooden cars had been retired…also, in 1905, it had its first electrified line to Rockaway Beach but electrification did not reach Babylon until  May 21, 1925; although the LIRR then promised continuation to Patchogue “in a very short time”, alleviating necessity of transfer at Babylon, this is yet to happen... In August 1905, LIRR began construction of a new freight house  west  of the Sayville passenger station (the old freight house had been closer to Lincoln Avenue) but east of Greeley; it was to be 25 by 80 feet with 30 foot platforms and delivery sidings on both sides.  This was quickly followed by the building of a new Station which was begun close to Railroad Avenue but shifted during construction to its present location at the head of Green Avenue; Terry and Wood interests had substantial land bordering Green Avenue and wished to divert traffic to that street.  The Station opened on July 31, 1906; inside, it was “commodious, finished in chestnut stained moss green, heated by radiators under the seat, and equipped with electric lights, telephone and modern toilets”.

Images: Top, courtesy of Jack Heinlein; 2nd row left, courtesy of Neil Spare, Jr.,;
2nd and 3rd rows right courtesy of Chris Bodkin/Queens Borough Public Library, Archives, Ron Ziel Collection;
all others from collection of Sayville Library

Train crew (from right) Conductor with bowler hat, Trainman in high-button jacket, Policeman and two passengers , 1910


Crossing shanty (or cabin) protected gatemen, who lowered and raised gates as trains passed, from weather; they were phased out in 1950s

In 1930, a still hopeful Sayville real estate agent was advertising that “Electrification to Patchogue should greatly improve property values here”… At that time, the LIRR was also objecting to all new bus lines. Commutation fares had been frozen by the New York State Public Service Commission in 1918 and were static until 1947; monthly ”... commutation from Babylon to Penn Station remained at  $10.07...Despite heavy promotion by the Railroad of Long Island opportunities for residence, sports and recreation,  in 1935 it went into the red and, except for four years during WWII, remained there until 1949 when the Pennsy, tired of footing mounting losses, cut off support and LIRR   declared bankruptcy on March 2. Unfortunately, the Road was facing heavy competition from the automobile, it was burdened by antiquated rolling stock (most of which dated from the early-1900s) and it had had three serious accidents in 1949. No buyers could be found so the Bankruptcy was finally concluded in 1954 when New York State took over support of the LIRR through  its Railroad Redevelopment Corporation and the Railroad managed to acquire a variety of new cars, some air conditioned, and diesel locomotives from the Pennsylvania and other roads. 

Images: left, LIRR 75th Anniversary Booklet, 1909; right, Used with permission of R.R. Museum of Long Island, 2013

#401, First diesel used in road service, 1926

#7737, Baggage/Mail Car, built 1928

Station about 1930

“Y” block limit cabin (end of double track) east of  Lincoln Avenue,  1931

Freight House, west of Greeley Avenue
(built 1906), November 19, 1947

Card postmarked April 16, 1946

Coal driven steam locomotives were abandoned by the Railroad in October1955; on the Babylon-Patchogue shuttle service, it had introduced two-car Budd rail-diesel units which apparently were not successful because an order for 20 more was later cancelled.  Regular diesel engines replaced them either to Babylon or straight through to Jamaica….In 1965, the Railroad lost one of its major customers, the U.S. Postal Service; the last mail post office car ran from Speonk to Jamaica on June 18 and all mail on the Island is now carried by truck. The LIRR had carried the mail for 130 years.

Images: top row, left from LIRR 75th Anniversary Booklet, 1909; right, used with permission of Railroad Museum of Long Island 2013;
center row, left and bottom row, right from collection of Sayville Library;
center row, right and bottom row, left courtesy of Chris Bodkin/Queens Borough Public Library, Archives,
Ron Ziel Collection (Y block) James V. Osborn Photograph  and (freight house) Frederick J. Weber Photograph


#299, 1st all aluminum double-decker car, built 1932 by Pennsy & Aluminum Company of America, used
later by  Long Island Railroad

#2924, 120-seat commuter coach for use with locomotive drawn trains, delivered June 1955, used until Fall 1999

New air-conditioned car with fluorescent lighting, rubber tile floors, specially designed seats, baggage racks, and coat hooks, 1956


#C-58, built for LIRR  in 1963, used into 1980s


Old Snow Blower, photo July 19668

In August 1966, under Governor Nelson Rockefeller, New York State bought the LIRR  from the Pennsylvania Railroad (which declared bankruptcy in 1970) for $ 65 million.  Since that time, it has been run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)… In 1997, the LIRR sold all of its freight operations to the New York & Atlantic Railway… In 1998, it began replacing its 1940s-1950s vintage diesels and parlor cars with new stock and also introduced bi-level coaches; a few of the diesels are dual-mode cars which can operate on diesel/electric lines into Pennsylvania Station. 

Images: Top, both, and both other left, used with permission of R.R. Museum of Long Island, 2013;
nter, right, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, LIRR, 1956; bottom, right, courtesy of Chris Bodkin/Queens Borough Public Library, Archives, Ron Ziel Collection

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Public  Transportation: Liveries and Trolleys


Gus Treadwell of Well’s Livery
(See Sayville: Main Street to Tracks) 



Another early livery



Still another



Railroad/Candee Avenue Streetcar, 1909



     1st day of operation, Patchogue, July 1,1911



 Trolley  & car traffic @ Blue Point Ave R.R. Trestle., May 2, 1913

The Wells Family was the oldest livery service in Sayville, established in the latter part of the 19th century by John C. Wells (1831-1893) on Railroad Avenue. (For more info, see Business: Main Street to the Tracks)  The second was John Newton (1854-1922) on Smith Street.  The liveries (sometimes referred to as a “stage”) acted as local taxis but could also carry passengers and freight long distances.

In the early 1900s, the usually horse-drawn vehicles were gradually replaced by auto taxis and electric or gas powered trolleys or buses. However, the era of the latter was short-lived.

In 1903, Joseph D. Robin, a New York banker, and James T. Wood of Sayville organized the South Shore Traction Company, intending to construct a  54-mile trolley line from Patchogue to Manhattan via the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge as well as a cross-island line from Sayville via Lake Ronkonkoma to Port Jefferson.  On April 1,  the Brookhaven Highway Commissioners and Patchogue Village Trustees approved a franchise permitting  the Company to lay trolley tracks from the Islip Town line in Blue Point to Carman’s River in Brookhaven; double tracks, but no side tracks, turntables or stations, were permitted within Village limits.  South Shore was to use electricity from the Patchogue Electric Light Company for underground or overhead power lines , but the franchise would be void if the Company if South Shore did not complete and operate an extended stretch from Bellport to Sayville railroad stations within two years.  Islip Town followed, granting a franchise across its lands on June 19 and the State Railroad Commission gave certificated approval of the line from Brookhaven to Jamaica on October 2, 1904… However, by late fall 1906, South Shore had done nothing and newcomers Suffolk Traction and Cross-Traction (i.e., across the Island) began fighting for franchises.   Spurred on by this, South Shore finally began laying tracks in northeast Sayville and Bayport on April 7, 1907, about the same time merging with Cross-Island.  In August, Patchogue Village, backed by the State Supreme Court, rejected renewal of the South Shore franchise .  Haggling between South Shore and Suffolk continued throughout 1908 with South Shore agreeing to lease to Suffolk Transit right  to operate part of its line in Town of Islip and Suffolk Traction agreeing to agreeing to abandon any further pursuit of a franchise in Islip.   Meanwhile, in June South Shore began considering a seasonal line within Sayville from the Railroad Station down Railroad Avenue, west on Main Street and then down Candee Avenue past some of the major summer hotels to the Bay.  On March 29, 1909 track laying began and two 64-passenger open cars began operation of  July 4th, making 15 round trips daily;  teams furnished by William Weeks were engaged to provide horsepower for the first year with electric cars anticipated thereafter. In February 1910, South Shore promised that overhead wires would be in place on the Candee Avenue Line by summer.  In November, the Company was waiting to test an Edison battery car.  Then, on December 30,1910, South Shore President Robin was arrested for $ 80,000 fraud; on January 13, 1913, the Court ordered sale of all assets of South Shore, including all franchises, steel rails and cut-outs; Arthur Nosworthy, local contractor, bought the Candee Avenue line for $ 6,300 and line to Islip town line in Blue Point for $6,250; he said that he intended to rip up the tracks but it was thought that he intended to sell them to Suffolk Traction, which it appears that he eventually did. (Original horsecars were sold to Suffolk Traction, one for use as snowplow.)

On July 1, 1911, the first trolley  - a second-hand storage battery car -  appeared on Main Street in Patchogue and the next day commenced its regular service  between the “four corners” and the Post Office in Blue Point.  It could travel 52 miles without re-charging but occasionally its battery went dead and it had to be towed or pushed by another car.  The first through trolley from Patchogue to Sayville did not run until August 8, 1914. Thereafter, it left Patchogue on the hour beginning at 6 A.M.  and turned around in Sayville a half-hour later, last run at 11 P.M. The route from Patchogue was Merrick Road (now Montauk Highway), south on Blue Point Avenue, west on Railroad Street past Bayport Station, south on Oakwood to Middle Road, west to Sayville, north of Railroad Avenue to the Station Cars had seats for about 28 passengers; cost was five cents from Patchogue or Sayville to Bayport, ten cents all the way.

In June 1917, Alanson Still of Patchogue began a motor bus line between the two towns, followed in 1919 by Joseph Ferlazzo’s Reo bus (South Side Motor Bus Company) on the same path.

In September 1919, the Public Service Commission noted that the Sayville/Patchogue trolley had run at a deficit of $ 594 for the previous three months.  Both Ferlazzo Brothers and Still Bus Lines, each previously charging ten and fifteen cents, had matched the trolley price.  Suffolk Traction, unable to pay its bill for recharging its batteries at Patchogue Electric Light Company, discontinued its Patchogue/Sayville route on the night of October 10, left its cars on an abandoned track near the Lace Mill and tore up some of its tracks. Electric trolleys had a short life-span on Long Island.  Fifth Avenue Bus in Manhattan had introduced electric buses as early as 1898 and on July 13, 1907 had introduced gasoline-powered open-top double deckers.  Buses, which had more flexibility in route, could make hill tops easier and weren’t as hampered by snow were soon to replace many local rural trolley lines.  The Bellport to New York Trolley was never really completed.

Images: All top & middle row and bottom row, left from collection of the Sayville Library;
Bottom row right courtesy of Chris Bodkin/Queens Borough Public Library, Archives, William J. Rugen Collection

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Public  Transportation: Buses


Bus of the 1910s; unable to further identify
S & C but may have been active locally at time 



Suffolk County News, June 1, 1917


Utility Lines Bus en route Patchogue to Freeport (in Bay Shore) , about 1950


          Utility Lines Bus in Patchogue, 1961


Type used on Suffolk Bus Corp S40 run, 1973


Suffolk County Transit Bus

Suffolk Transit Bus,  2013

 About 1920, motor busses were replacing horse-drawn livery wagons and trolleys for mass transportation and local governments looked upon them as a new sources of revenue, instituting permit requirements and, in 1919 Islip required that bus lines get a franchise/license from the Town for any operation.  At that time, two had been serving the Sayville/Patchogue route, Alanson Still & Son and Ferlazzo Brothers.  In January 1920, both applied to the Town of Islip for the franchise .

Alanson S. (“Lance”) Still: One of old time stage (livery) drivers between Sayville and Patchogue, he founded one of first bus    lines in Suffolk County, running from Sayville to Patchogue beginning about June 1, 1917; locals described his bus as the “big red jitney”. In April 1920, Islip Town awarded him one of its new franchises for the Patchogue to West Sayville route with limited service continuing to Carleton Avenue, East Islip in morning and afternoon; in January 1921, Still extended his service from Sayville to West Sayville hourly and to East Islip twice daily, connectiung there with Swezey Bus Lines to Babylon. In June 1923, Brookhaven Town also gave  complementary franchises to Blue & White and Still for the  Patchogue to  Blue Point segment..  In July 1926, Frank Gordon of Blue & White bought Still out and any interest he still had in the bus companies, he later sold to Utility Line, for which he served as Patchogue Manager in the early 1930s.  He died April 8, 1942 at age 78.

Ferlazzo Brothers:   Established by Joseph Ferlazzo about 1919, running between Patchogue nd Sayville. In April 1920, Islip Town denied line franchise but Ferlazzo continued service “until PSC approved or disapproved of  Town Board action”.  In April 1921, Town awarded a second franchise for  route to Ferlazzo and  third to the new Blue & White. In June  1923, Frank Gordon (Blue & White) challenged Islip  Town  giving charter to Ferlazzo Brothers on basis that one of its partners had not received final citizenship papers; however, Ferlazzo retained franchise..In March 1924, Blue & White and Alanson Still bought all of the shares (but not the busses) of Ferlazzo for $ 12,000.

Blue and White (Wilmot Ritchie and Frank Gordon), headquartered in Sayville. In May 1921, applied for and received the third franchise for West Sayville to/from Patchogue.  In May 1922 applied for franchise to operate from Sayville through Bohemia to Ronkonkoma.  John Wells, Sayville taxi owner, protested.  Heretofore, bus lines had only operated over “east/west  routes” but franchise was approved…In June 1923, the Town of Brookhaven became active requiring franchises and gave approval for Blue & White and Alanson Still to operate from Patchogue to Blue Point (Town’s  western boundary)…In July 1926, B&W bought out Still Bus Co and its franchise for Patchogue/West Sayville service effective September 1st and extended its own route to connect with Swezey Line which reportedly made daily trips  to New York.  In March 1929, B&W stockholders voted to dispose of shares and equipment and its Operation was taken over by William L. Mantha as Trustee…In November 1929, Bee Line Company of Rockville Center out bid two other bus companies and purchased assets of B& W, at auction   in Riverhead for $ 10,000; it planned to have them operated by its subsidiary, Utility Lines.

Swezey Bus Line :  Frederick R. Swezey (brother-in-law of Frank Gordon of B&W) had been operating a bus line between Babylon and East Islip since about1920. In April 1929 (possibly because of the apparent demise of Blue & White), he applied for a franchise for the East Islip/eastern boundary of Islip Town or Blue Point/Patchogue route. LIRR objected. Swezey  received approval from Town of Brookhaven but not Islip. (However, Islip did give Swezey permission to extend his east bound route north to Central Islip.)

Utility Lines:  Initially, Utility continued B & W routes utilizing the equipment on hand; rolling stock had been improved after the PSC had recently condemned some of it and two of its six buses had been acquired in the past year.  In January 1930 the new Company applied  to Islip Town for B&W franchise from Carleton Avenue to Brookhaven line, running alternately via the North (Montauk Highway) or South (Middle Road) between Sayville and Blue Point for its Utility Line subsidiary; it would connect at Babylon with the Bee Line to New York (Utility and several others owned Bee Line.) At this point, a contract dated April 1, 1929 was also shown to the Town  which called for sale of equipment and assets of B&W to Swezey for $ 5,000. Town said that it was invalid for the franchise which could only be sold with Town approval; it then gave the franchise to Utility.Utility extended the line to Freeport with connections to Jamaica and New York.  

On January 15, 1973, the Metropolitan Suburban Bus Authority was organized to take over routes run by private operators in Nassau County including Utility Bus operations which had been controlled from Rockville Center.  Suffolk County then contracted with MSBA to run the Babylon-Patchogue segment of the Freeport-Patchogue route and Suffolk Bus of Bay Shore assumed the daily operations.

In 1981, Suffolk decided to follow the Nassau County path and took over all routes run by private operators.  Suffolk Bus has continued to operate the S40 Patchogue-Babylon line ever since.  Currently (2013) two other routes also provide service to or through Sayville: S54 Patchogue via Broadway Avenue, Sayville to Walt Whitman Mall; S57 Sayville, via MacArthur Airport to Smith Haven Mall,; and  S59 Sayville via Bohemia, Holbrook and Ronkonkoma to Smith Haven Mall.  

Images: Top , collection of Sayville Library; center left, courtesy of Bay Shore Historical Society;
center right, collection of Bustalk; bottom courtesy of Suffolk Bus Corp.

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