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Oyster Bay LIRR Getting "Battery-Power" Trains

by Nolan Cleary

The Long Island Rail Road will soon be running battery-powered trains on the Oyster Bay line. The trains will replace the existing diesel-electric trains, and remove the need to electrify the line.

The concept of using battery-powered trains has been researched for decades. The trains will run on battery power where there is no track electrification - the entire route between the East Williston station and the Oyster Bay station.

Where there is track electrification, the trains will run on the track electricity, and the train's batteries will be recharged. If successful, the LIRR hopes to carry passengers from places such as Locust Valley and Oyster Bay all the way to Manhattan, without the need to change trains.

According to LIRR officials, train systems in Europe and Asia have successfully tested the idea, although the concept was first tested on a North American railroad. The Oyster Bay LIRR branch was chosen due to its short trip time and well established service.

"People have been talking about extending electrification to various segments of the railroad for generations," stated LIRR President Phillip Eng. "Embracing new technology might allow us to essentially electrify the entire railroad without the need for billions of dollars in massive capital investments. The MTA is already transforming the LIRR through East Side Access and Main Line Third Track; this is potentially a no less profound transformation for the rest of the railroad."

The LIRR is investigating possible charging stations in Oyster Bay. If the battery trains are successful, trains could smoothly without a transfer.

"We can reduce our diesel emissions as well as provide a much better coordinated electric system across the region," added Mitchell Pally, of the Long Island League of Conservation Voters.


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