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New York & Atlantic Railway Begins Long Island Rail Freight Service

LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y., May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Long Island gained a new 263-mile railroad Monday, May 12, when New York & Atlantic Railway Co. (NYA) train No. 100 pulled out of Fresh Pond, N.Y. at 5 a.m., traveling down the Montauk branch of the Long Island Rail Road.

No. 100 was the first of six trains that will be operated each weekday over the NYA, which took over the Long Island's freight operations May 11 under a 20-year concession from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, owner of the LIRR.

At the throttle was George Leist, 66, who has more than 40 years of railroad experience with the Grand Trunk Western Railroad. The conductor was Robert Ake, 48, a 20-year rail veteran formerly with the Florida East Coast and the Association of American Railroads Test Center at Pueblo, Colo.

The railroad is beginning operations with experienced railroad personnel provided by Transportation Certification Services, Naperville, Ill. "Safety is paramount," stressed NYA President George Stern. NYA has initiated an extensive training program for its locomotive engineers and conductors who will perform permanent operations once they meet all applicable Long Island Rail Road requirements. These employees will be represented by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the United Transportation Union.

Stern's goal is to reverse what has been a 25-year decline in Long Island rail freight traffic. "We have been meeting with customers and they are telling us about numerous opportunities for new business. By offering improved service, timely connections and more competitive rates, the New York & Atlantic should be able to increase its share of the freight transportation market. Moving more freight by rail also reduces highway congestion and pollution."

In 1996, the railroad handled about 11,000 carloads including aggregates, chemicals, food, iron and steel, lumber and building materials, paper products, and scrap.

The New York & Atlantic, based in Long Island City (in the borough of Queens, N.Y), serves most of Long Island. Its main line extends eastward 90 miles from Long Island City and nearby Fresh Pond (where NYA connects with Conrail and the Providence and Worcester railroads), to Southold, via Farmingdale. Other lines serve Bridgehampton, on the Montauk branch, and Port Jefferson. NYA also has branch lines to Bushwick and to Bush Junction (where NYA connects with the New York Cross Harbor Railroad). NYA's service is coordinated with Conrail to expedite shipments connecting with main-line trains. NYA will not operate the Hempsted Branch and the Central Extension, pending further environmental review.

NYA has nine locomotives and 125 70-ton open-top hoppers used in aggregate service. Other freight cars are supplied by Conrail and other connecting railroads. Most of the railroad's 27 employees are based at Long Island City and Farmingdale.

NYA has established a centralized Customer Service Center with toll-free phone numbers for customer convenience when placing car orders, billing and tracing shipments, and coordinating payments.

Stern, who was born in Woodside, Long Island and is a graduate of Columbia University's School of Engineering, has more than 32 years of rail experience with both Class I and regional railroads. Other management personnel include Joseph D. Pileckas, director of marketing; Stephen C. Sanders, general superintendent; and Thomas R. Kremer, director of revenue and car hire accounting.

The New York & Atlantic is an affiliate of Anacostia & Pacific Company, Inc., a New York and Chicago-based transportation management and investment firm. Larry McCaffrey, managing director of Anacostia & Pacific, said, "We are very pleased to commence operations at the New York & Atlantic and are very grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have helped with the formation and start-up of the new railroad, particularly the extensive cooperation received from the Long Island Rail Road senior management. We believe the opportunities to grow the business are substantial."

Since 1985, APCI has participated in the formation and management of seven new regional and short-line railroad companies in the United States, and has led two international privatizations in Argentina and Chile. Its current U.S. railroad affiliates include the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, the Chicago SouthShore & South Bend Railroad, and Pacific Harbor Lines -- a new venture serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., expected to start this summer.

SOURCE New York & Atlantic Railway Co.
 -0- 5/12/97


/CONTACT: George Stern, President of New York & Atlantic Railway Co., 718-433-3750/

CO: New York & Atlantic Railway Co. ST: New York IN: TRN SU: PDT

KG-MR -- MNM019 -- 1363 05/12/97 15:01 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 12, 1997
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