Feb 08 2016

Mystery Foto #6 Solved:A View From the Central Avenue/LIRR Railroad Bridge in Bethpage Updated: 2/13

Frank Femenias challenged you again to solve this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Identify this bridge and the orientation of the photo. Provide a rationale.

Central Avenue/LIRR Railroad Bridge in Bethpage. Train was heading west with the photograher looking east. Note the crossing sign and gatekeeper's outhouse on the lower right.

  • Estimate the date of the photo.

June 5, 1949

  • Bonus for train lovers: Identify the train

LIRR G-5 class ( 4-6-0 ) steam engine #25 (built 1928) pulling P54 Ping Pong Coaches (all built in the 1920s). More details are in the Comments section.

Congrats to Mike D, Joseph Oesterle, John, Greg O., Steve Lucas, Gary Hammond, Tim Ivers, Sam Berliner III, Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner) and Steve Beck (see Beck's Bethpage).

Kudos to Mike D, Steve, Greg O., John, Gary Hammond, and Art Kleiner for identifying the G5 steam locomotive.


Howard Kroplick


Beck's Bethpage (Submitted by Steve Beck)

1953 Aerial

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

Newsday, November 1949

Newsday, November 8, 1954

Then & Now: Crossing Sign at the Central Avenue/LIRR Railroad Bridge

Then: 1908 Construction Photos

Then: Completed Bridge-Unknown Dates

Then: June 5, 1949


Central Park Historical Society Marker: Central Avenue/LIRR Motor Parkway Bridge


Feb 05 2016 Mike D 7:56 AM

At Central Ave in Bethpage
Train heading west
Camera facing east
G-5s carrying a train from CI Hospital

Feb 05 2016 Joseph Oesterle 12:13 PM

Central Ave, Bethpage looking east.  Picture is before 1950, as that is the year the bridge was removed.

Feb 06 2016 John 4:18 PM

I will guess at this one….Looking east in Bethpage near where the 135 currently exists. Westbound local to Jamaica from Ronkonkoma with a first order (early) G5s, original hand fired low tender (dont know the class and dont care LOL!). Picture taken from the original Motor Parkway bridge . THere is a plaque that exists with a laser etched photo (by Mr. Mulqueen) at the original bridge abutment which is still partially extant. Anyone care to confirm???

Feb 06 2016 John 4:19 PM

PS’  “B” Tower and Bethpage State Parkway in the background.  JT

Feb 06 2016 John 4:29 PM

Sorry LIRR train .  Estimated date late 1930s to early 1940s PRR built class G5s Steam Locomotive built in early to mid 1920s.  Thanks

Feb 06 2016 Greg O. 5:10 PM

Great photo Frank!

Identify this bridge and the orientation of the photo. Provide a rationale.

On top of the Central Avenue/LIRR Railroad Bridge in Bethpage looking EAST. Easily identifiable, it’s the only bridge going over both a RR and a roadway. Confirmation can be found here;

Estimate the date of the photo.

June 5, 1949

Bonus for train lovers: Identify the train

LIRR G-5 class ( 4-6-0 ) steam engine #25 (built 1928) pulling a 70P82A tender and MP54C passenger cars.

Feb 06 2016 Steve Lucas 8:52 PM

I believe this photo was taken from the LIMP bridge that went over Central Avenue and the LIRR main line tracks in Bethpage. I think we are looking east due to some shadows that are on the north side of a few of the visable structures. I also think that might be the LIRR “B” tower off in the distance. The photo was taken in June of 1949 and shows LIRR train number 4227 heading westbound having recently departed from Central Islip State Hospital.

Feb 06 2016 John 11:57 PM

Photo of the original Central Avenue grade crossing in Bethpage over the mainline. This crossing has now been eliminated and the road passes under the tracks immediately next to the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway bridge. Photo is taken from the Vanderbilt Parkway bridge, facing southeast towards Bethpage interlocking.

Train appears to be a class G5s pulling a string of Ping Pong coaches.

Unsure of exact year, but the G5s was introduced in the mid 20’s, and the bridge was gone by 1953 according to aerial photos, so sometime in-between.

Feb 07 2016 Gary Hammond 9:06 AM

My guess is that it’s looking east off the top of the LIMP Central Ave. bridge in Central Park/Bethpage.  In the distance on the right is the LIRR Tower at Bethpage Junction.  The LIRR train is probably a G5S Steam Locomotive pulling P54 “Ping Pong” Coaches, all built in the 1920’s.  Time period: late 1920’s -40’s

Feb 07 2016 Tim Ivers 11:31 AM

Looking east from the LIMP overpass over Central Avenue, Bethpage in June of 1949.
Locomotive 25 is pulling train 4227.  The gatekeepers’ outhouse is at the lower right near the crossing sign.

Feb 07 2016 S. Berliner, III 3:28 PM

Wild guess - Central Avenue in Bethpage.  Where else did a LIMP bridge cross both a dual-track main line (the Central Branch) AND an at-grade road crossing?  If so, looking west.  But it doesn’t look right.  Passed this along to LIRR friends.  Can’t make out beans about loco or train.  Sam, III

Feb 08 2016 Art Kleiner 12:40 PM

Identify this bridge and the orientation of the photo. Provide a rationale.
Central Avenue bridge, Bethpage looking East.  Train is going west with the wooden diamond crossing sign on the south side, along with the outhouse. 

Estimate the date of the photo.  June, 1949

Bonus for train lovers: Identify the train: G5s #25.

Feb 08 2016 Howard Kroplick 10:58 PM

From Steve Beck:
First off, I love reading all the history and current stories from the site – great job.

Regarding the photo, I’m 99% sure this is the Central Avenue crossing in Bethpage, across from present day King Kullen HQ.

Ironically, when traffic is bad on Southern Parkway, my alternate route Westward to work takes me on Central Ave at this exact spot heading into Bethpage, passing by the southern approach of the very bridge from which the photo was taken.

My reasoning is:
• The shadow is on the left (north) side of the train, indicating a view looking easterly.
• There was a LIMP bridge over Central Ave and the LIRR that would yield this vantage point.
• The LIRR is 2 tracks at this location
• In the distance adjacent to the tracks, you can see a small railroad building on the right, which is still visible from Bethpage Parkway (my normal commute route)
• The RR tracks turn left in the far distance at Bethpage Junction – where the Hempstead line used to connect (west of Farmingdale)
• The telephone/signal wires are on the same side as they are today
• You can see an unimproved road on the S. side of the tracks.
• You can see a road in the upper left on the far side of the tracks running parallel to the tracks which is Central Ave, now Thone Dr east of the SOB Expressway
• The 1953 aerial from http://www.historicaerials.com shows this crossing oblique to the tracks and matches all the features mentioned above

See above images with text/arrows pointing out these items.

That was fun. 

Best Regards and keep up the good work !


Feb 09 2016 Brian D McCarthy 12:17 PM

Good mystery, Frank. I’ll make a point of visiting my old high school this coming weekend to snap some photos of the original Brentwood schoolhouse. Quite a scary accident with the 11 yr old. It could’ve been worse.

Feb 09 2016 frank femenias 1:47 PM

Wow! It’s getting tougher to stump the viewers. Lol. Art: I’m surprised the reinforced concrete gave way as it did for the child. Bridge was less than 50 years old. Perhaps due from constant vibration of passing trains below over the years. Are those LIMP concrete posts securing the tracks by Central Av? Not sure if I see the three spiral wires attached to them. Brian: Those photos would be great to see. Definitely another parkway exploration to venture!  Best wishes everyone.

Feb 11 2016 frank femenias 1:47 AM

I could be wrong, but to help clarify the 1954 incident of the boy on the Central Av bridge, the bridge had already been “removed” by 1950. That leaves the assumption that only the center of the bridge over the LIRR was removed, leaving the north and south abutments intact, perhaps to be removed at a later date. The boy, living on Norcross, had climbed the north embankment nearest his home, where it collapsed and fell below, but not over the center railroad tracks. Any thoughts on this is welcomed.

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