Great Neck is a station in the village of Great Neck Plaza, on the Port Washington Branch of the Long Island Rail Road. It is the first station on the branch (heading from Manhattan) in Nassau County. The station is at Middle Neck Road and Station Plaza at Great Neck Road, 0.25 miles (0.40 km) north of Northern Boulevard, and is 15.9 miles (25.6 km) from Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. From this point on, the line becomes single track to Port Washington.
Great Neck was originally the terminus of the New York and Flushing Railroad when it was built in 1866 by a subsidiary called the North Shore Railroad, and called Brookdale Station. The NY&F was acquired by the Flushing and North Side Railroad in 1869, and the name was changed to Great Neck in 1872. The F&NS was consolidated into the Flushing, North Shore and Central Railroad in 1874 through a merger with the Central Railroad of Long Island, only to be leased in 1876 by the LIRR.
Though Great Neck station served as a terminal station for much of the 19th Century, it was never intended to stay this way. An attempt to extend the line east from the station toward Roslyn failed in 1882. Thirteen years later, wealthy Port Washington residents persuaded the LIRR to bring the terminus to their hometown. This required the construction of the Manhasset Viaduct over the marshes at the southern end of Manhasset Bay, which was authorized by an LIRR subsidiary called the Great Neck and Port Washington Railroad. On June 23, 1898, the first LIRR train passed through Great Neck to cross the Manhasset Viaduct, Long Island’s highest railroad bridge to extend the line through Manhasset, Plandome and Port Washington. In 1924, the station was closed and moved to its current location on February 26, 1925, as a grade crossing elimination project brought the tracks below ground by June 8, 1934. Elevators are on both sides. The wall along the southeastern platform has an aluminum sculpture by artist David Saunders that was installed in 2001.
This station was referenced in The Great Gatsby as “West Egg”.
During non-rush hours, Port Washington Branch trains generally run every 30 minutes in both directions. During rush hours, when express service is provided, Great Neck is an express station. Local trains terminate here during rush hours. Terminating trains depart east on Track 2 and return via crossovers to Track 1. Trains run every two hours or so overnight.
The station has two high-level side platforms, each 10 cars long. The north platform next to Track 1, is generally used by westbound or Manhattan-bound trains. The south platform next to Track 2, is generally used by eastbound or Port Washington-bound trains. The branch has two tracks here. Track 2 extends approximately one-train length beyond the station before merging with Track 1. The MTA has proposed extending Track 2 to provide space for turning a second train. This track would allow expansion of service along the Port Washington Branch and the ability to add service to East Side Access and Grand Central Terminal.
Media related to Great Neck (LIRR station) at Wikimedia Commons