The rail spur that will eventually lead into the Enterprise Park at
Calverton was connected to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line over
The rail spur that will eventually lead into the Enterprise Park at Calverton was connected to the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line over the weekend, and the switch that will be used to switch trains onto that spur also was constructed.
New Jersey-based Railroad Construction Company has now cleared much of the brush and trees that had grown over the dormant rail spur, and they have laid new track part of the way down Connecticut Avenue.
The EPCAL rail spur was once used to bring materials into the Grumman Corporation, but has been unused and disconnected for more than 20 years.
Riverhead Town recently received grants to restore that spur, with the goal of bringing freight rail into the industrial park at EPCAL, and removing trucks from the highways. Town officials believe this will encourage more businesses to locate at EPCAL.
The $5.5 million rail spur project received a $4.8 million grant from the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (commonly called the stimulus money), along with a $650,000 Empire State Development grant and a $75,000 state sustainable transportation grant.
The LIRR shut down its Main Line tracks heading to Riverhead Saturday night in order to allow the connection to be made, according to Riverhead Town Engineer Ken Testa.
“So as of next week, there may be rail cars actually traveling on this to bring in ballast,” said Mr. Testa, referring to the rocks upon which the track is laid.
The spur branches off the LIRR’s Main Line, heads north along Connecticut Avenue, crosses River Road and then heads into the EPCAL industrial park adjacent to Eastern Wholesale Fence and Metro Biofuel, both of which plan to use it once it’s built.
Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter said the town plans to seek additional grant money to built another switch inside EPCAL, so the spur will better serve other businesses in the industrial park.
The New York Department of Transportation is requiring that a grade crossing, with gates and flashing lights, be installed where the trains will cross over River Road. Mr. Testa said that crossing is being manufactured and won’t be ready for about a month. The DOT initially planned to allow a passive crossing, in which the trains would stop and look to see if cars were coming on River Road, but later changed its mind.