It’s My Turn
Craig Bachrow, a longtime Rockaway resident, is a former associate editor of The Wave.
If you could pinpoint the date where Rockaway grew from a summer resort to a year-round community, it was on June 28, 1956 when the first Rockaway-bound A train rolled across the Jamaica Bay trestle, with Mayor Robert F. Wagner at the controls.
I’ve been analyzing Rockaway’s A train service since my days at Cardozo Junior High School in Arverne. At that time, I didn’t fathom that the LIRR sped passengers to Manhattan in half the time of the A train. Forty minutes to Manhattan’s Penn Station (faster then that during Rockaway’s early days). Most of these questions raise fond memories of the past 50 years.
Transit Authority Chairman Charles Patterson first called Rockaway A train service “the Toonerville Trolley” for the service during weekend and late-night weeknights.
Here’s a few questions to test your knowledge of the A-train.
1) We know the A train as:
B-this and that.
2) What signage on the motorman’s car designated service?
3) Which station was the eastern terminus of the A train when it started on June 28, 1956?
4) Although the A train was always a 24-hour operation, unlike the LIRR, name the token booths in operation late-night on the line:
B-All but Rockaway Park,
Wave crest and Playland.
C-All but Rockaway Park and
During the winter of 1956-57, the conductor was responsible for the collection of tokens.
5) Far Rockaway’s new, spacious $878,000 station opened on January 16, 1958 (long after the start of A train service to the Rockaways). Its glass-enclosed, aquamarine lower level was warmly received by patrons.
What other stations on the IND Rockaway line are aquamarine in décor?
B-The former Howard Beach
D-All of the above.
6) When the A line opened to the Rockaways, why couldn’t trains operate at full speed?
A-not sufficient electricity
B-Management fears of trains
falling into Jamaica Bay.
C-Westinghouse, the electric
signal supplier, was on strike,
prompting the TA to install
D-Did not want to exceed the
posted speed limit of 25 miles
7) With the Grant Avenue station opening in 1956, what stations closed and were demolished?
A-Stations on the elevated
IND/ BMT Lefferts division west
of Hudson Street station and east
of Broadway East New York.
B-The Canarsie el.
C-Brooklyn Manor station.
8) When the A train to the Rockaways started on June 28, 1956, what was the 1955 one-way rail fare on the LIRR?
A-double the 30-cent Rockaway
B-$1.02 on a monthly ticket.
D-$1.75 per trip.
9) Name two Rockaway residents who were arrested for theft of service in protest of the double fare in the late 1960s.
A-Dan Schneider and
B-Sy Sheldon and
Geraldine D. Chapey.
C-Leon Locke and Lew Simon.
D-Howard Schwach and
Answers: 1)D 2)D 3)D 4)B 5)D 6)C 7)A 8)B 9)A.