Northport Traction Company
|Northport Traction Company|
A Northport Traction Co trolley down Main Street
in Northport, sometime between 1902 and 1909.
|Locale||Western Suffolk County, New York.|
|Operator(s)||Long Island Rail Road (1902-1924)|
|Line length||2.74 miles (4.41 km)|
|Track gauge||Broad gauge|
Northport Traction Company was a trolley service in the Town of Huntington in New York. It ran from 1902 to 1924 and served East Northport and Northport, New York. The company only had one line throughout its history which ran from Northport (LIRR station) to Northport Harbor. Unlike Huntington Railroad to the west, Northport Traction Company never expanded beyond either Northport or East Northport, and no record exists of any proposal to do so.
In 1868, the Hicksville and Syosset Railroad, a subsidiary of the Long Island Rail Road extended their line to Northport, Unlike the stations in Cold Spring Harbor, and Huntington which were bypassed after both towns had arguments with Oliver Charlick over the locations of those stations, Northport station was located directly in town at Laurel Street between what is today New York State Route 25A and Scudder Avenue. However, in 1873 the Smithtown and Port Jefferson Railroad opened from a mile south of Northport to Port Jefferson, which included another station called New Northport Station that was actually in East Northport. turning the old line into Northport into the Northport Branch, the result of another argument between Charlick and Northport.
Old Northport Station was abandoned on October 17, 1899, and the Northport Branch was used as a freight line throughout much of the 20th Century. After losing rail passenger service in downtown Northport, and seeking the same benefits of trolleys further west in Huntington, the Northport Traction Company was established by the LIRR on April 17, 1902. The line began at "Northport East Station" and ran along Larkfield Avenue to the fork in the road between Laurel Avenue and Vernon Valley Road, where it turned northwest down Laurel Avenue. Crossing Fort Salonga Road (now NY 25A), and the site of the Old Northport Station, it took a left turn down Main Street, where it continued west to the terminus of the street at Cherry (now Woodbine) Avenue. From there the line took one last south turn along Cherry Avenue before making a right turn into a car barn at Northport Harbor, near what is today Northport Memorial Park.
As with many trolley lines throughout the country, the use of the service began to decline at the end of World War I, due to the cost of the war and the rise in the use of automobiles. Therefore, the LIRR prepared to remove involvement with trolleys, and in 1924 the line was abandoned. Part of the HART H40 bus route uses the route of the former trolley line. The remnants of the line can still be found along some streets, especially Main Street, which is lined with buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.