We decided to go to the Tall Ships festival in Greenport a couple of weeks ago, and I found a deal the LIRR was running where the cost of a round-trip train ticket & admission to the ships cost $10.50, whereas buying the admission ticket alone cost around $15. Plus, this way we could park in Riverhead and not have to worry about parking in Greenport during a fair. Seemed like a great idea.
We boarded the train in Riverhead at 12:15. It was double-decker train with 2 cars and a diesel engine at either end. From Riverhead, the stops are Mattituck, Southold, Greenport. The trip is about 23 miles and was supposed to take about 40 minutes. We pulled out of Southold station doing about 1 mile per hour. This is not an exaggeration; the conductor was walking alongside the train faster than we were moving. This was rather tedious. After a couple of minutes of this, we came to a dead stop, and sat there for several more minutes. Then we started moving again – backwards.
Apparently we were being shunted onto a piece of side track, pictured below:
We then sat on this piece of side track at a dead stop for about 45 minutes. When someone finally advised us what was going on, we were told that, basically, the LIRR had screwed up. Our train had 2 cars, but there was already a train at Greenport with 5 cars. There’s only a single track between Southold and Greenport, and the 5-car train was too long to let us platform at Greenport, so we had to sit on the side track waiting for the other train to come back west. For whatever reason, it was late leaving Greenport and so we were stuck. At least we had air conditioning. However, the train that was supposed to get to Greenport at 12:55 actually pulled in around 2:45, so we missed a big chunk of the Tall Ships (the last train back left Greenport at 6:11, and that one left on the dot).
As we left the train we ran into the engineer, and I said to him, “well that was fun!” and he said, “we told ’em it wasn’t going to work, but they never listen to us…”