LIRR Opens New High-Tech Train Wash


The LIRR officially open its new $25.5 million, state-of-the-art train wash facility located in the Village of Babylon. LIRR President Helena Williams was joined by elected and public officials for a demonstration and a dedication ceremony for the Railroad's new train wash.

The new facility is expected to clean the exterior of more than 320 train cars a day. Up until now, the LIRR's over 1,000-car electric fleet was cleaned at the LIRR's only other train wash at the entrance to its Ronkonkoma Train Yard.

LIRR President Williams said: "This new, state-of-the-art train wash will enable us to clean hundreds of cars each day, seven-days-a-week using methods -; such as solar power and waste-water recycling -; that will help protect the environment. Aside from the important aesthetic benefits that the wash provides, it also helps maintain the life of the train equipment and prevents corrosion. We are very grateful to Mayor Scordino and the Village of Babylon for their cooperation in the planning and construction of this project and to the Federal Transit Administration for the funds that made it possible."

The new train wash facility is located east of the Babylon LIRR Station, situated between the Babylon Village golf course and the LIRR tracks leading to the Babylon Train Yard. With the Babylon Branch being the busiest of the LIRR's 11 branches, the location of the new wash facility allows trains to be cycled through the wash just prior to being moved into the Babylon Yard for overnight storage. The train wash is fully automated and is activated upon the approach of a train.

The new facility consists of two buildings: A masonry equipment building (21' x 180'), which houses the controls, wash room, pumps, reclaim/recycle wash water, waste water treatment system and storage tanks for the train wash. The second structure is the train wash bay, a steel/corrugated siding structure (26' x 282') consisting of pre-cast track slab sections, concrete foundations, wash water collection system and the train wash equipment.

NYS Senator Owen H. Johnson said: "I am pleased that our new high tech railroad car wash in Babylon Village provides our residents with clean and properly maintained railroad cars. I applaud the use of green technology such as solar panels producing electricity to operate the facility and water treatment systems allowing for recycling and safe disposal into our sewer system. This is a fine example of government embracing new technologies that help both the commuter and the environment."

NYS Assemblyman Philip Boyle said: "Like everyone born and raised on Long Island, the LIRR plays a huge role in our lives as a conduit for transportation and commerce and this facility will enhance the rider experience for the generations to come."

"Green" features of the Train Wash

The design and construction of the new wash facility incorporated significant "green" elements -; making it a more environmentally-friendly operation. These features include:

  • The filtering, reconditioning and reusing of more than 70% of wash water.
  • A 35 kilo-watt solar power panel system mounted on the train wash bay roof helps operate the electrical lighting and auxiliary power for the train wash equipment building, saving the LIRR an estimated $6,700 a year on utility costs.
  • An oil-water separator to prevent oil and diesel fuel from entering the waste water system.
  • A process for pre-treating train wash waste water prior to release into the municipal sewer system for final treatment.
  • Storm water is collected, eliminating run-off into nearby Sumpwams and Geiger Creeks.
  • A new landscape buffer was built between the golf course and the train wash.
  • Area wetlands have been fenced to prevent damage and illicit dumping.

In planning and constructing the Train Wash, the LIRR worked closely with Mayor Scordino and officials from the adjacent E Conway Golf Course. Delivery and staging of materials and construction was scheduled so as not to interfere with events at the golf course. Where night work was required, it was performed on weekends. In completing the final landscaping, which included the planting of 35 trees, golf course officials were involved in the selection of tree species and the planting locations along the property line.

The new train wash facility -; which was financed with funds from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Federal Transit Administration -; replaced the previous wash on this site, which dated from the 1970's. As part of the project, the old train wash was demolished.

The building of the new facility started in August 2009 and was completed under budget and on time. The work was performed by Fortunato Sons Contracting Inc. based in Bohemia, NY. At peak times during construction, as many as 40-to-50 workers were on site. It is estimated that as many as 350 jobs overall were created for this project -; including those on-site as well as off-site.