The Flushing and North Side RR, eventually headed by Conrad Poppenhusen, was incorporated in 1869, but its beginnings can be traced back to February 24, 1864 with the formation of the Woodside and Flushing Railroad.
The W&F was formed in an attempt to break the monopoly of the NY & Flushing RR, which had fallen into a state of disrepair and whose quality of service had deteriorated during the years of the Civil War. One of the (silent) partners in the W&F was Oliver Charlick, then President of the LIRR, and it was intended that the line would run along LIRR tracks from Hunter's Point to Woodside, where it would branch off and then run parallel to Jackson Ave. to Flushing. This would provide a more direct route than the NY&F's.
Although work was begun on the project in 1864, not much progress was made over the next three years because of legal problems in securing the right-of-way. Then, in the spring of 1867, just when it looked like all the legal obstacles had been hurdled, Charlick announced that the LIRR had purchased the NY & Flushing RR and would no longer support the construction of the Woodside and Flushing, since they felt that the W&F would end up being a direct competitor to the LIRR. Charlick's intention was to revitalize the NY&F and to run a profitable service to Flushing without competition. (Another reason was to stop the fledgling South Side Railroad from gaining access to the East River under a possible agreement with the NY&F.)
Rather than just abandoning their road, however, in 1868 the directors and stockholders of the W&F RR elected a new president - Elizur B. Hinsdale - and, on April 3, 1868, reorganized the company as the Flushing and North Side RR. The charter of the new road authorized building a line from Hunter's Point through Flushing and on to Roslyn, with a line branching off at Flushing to College Point and Whitestone.
When Charlick and the LIRR saw that the Woodside and Flushing line's route was not dead after all and that the cost of rehabilitating the NY & Flushing would be extremely expensive, he decided to sell the NY&F (including its subsidiary North Shore RR extension to Great Neck) to the new Flushing & North Side RR. The sale was completed on August 11, 1868.
The F&NS immediately took over the operation of the NY&F; however it was their intent to dispose of the portion from Hunter's Point to Winfield via Maspeth and quickly build a new line from Winfield to Hunter's Point through Woodside to Winfield which would run parallel to, and immediately north of, the LIRR ROW. Construction of the Whitestone line was also given a high priority. However, the completion of the Woodside and Flushing's original ROW was temporarily put on the back-burner - in fact this line would not finally open for service until April 27, 1874!
In April, 1869 Conrad Poppenheusen became president of the NS&F and, under his leadership, both the Hunter's Point to Winfield and the Whitestone lines opened by that November.
In December, 1871, Poppenhusen made an agreement
with A.T. Stewart, head of the Central RR of LI whereby: i) the
Stewart line would connect with the F&NS in Flushing, ii)
Stewart agreed to build a double track line from Hyde Park to
Farmingdale, iii) Poppenhusen would build a double track line
from Flushing to Hyde Park, and iv) double track the F&NS
existing line from Flushing to Long Island City (Hunter's Point).
Eventually, by 1876, Poppenhusen would also control the Central
RR, the South Side RR and the LIRR itself.
Here are four pictures of an 1872 advertisement for the Flushing and North Side, including references to the Central RR. The first two are pictures of the Hinsdale (Floral Park) and Creedmoor (National Rifle Range) depots and a map (note that the "Flushing Village RR" shown on the map was never actually built. This line was proposed by Poppenhusen in order to force Charlick's LIRR White Line to use a more roundabout route to Flushing.) The second two list the major stations, with descriptions of the surrounding areas. In the first, note the proposed extension to Port Jefferson. As it turned out this never materialized, since the LIRR, under Oliver Charlick had already begun building their own ROW to Port Jeff.
In July, 1874 the North Side and its various subsidiaries were all consolidated into the Flushing, North Shore and Central RR.
In September of 1874, the South Side RR became a subsidiary and was renamed the Southern Railroad Co. of LI.
Many other expansions were proposed in 1874 and 1875, such as to Port Washington, Roslyn, Glen Cove and even as far east as Northport; however none of these materialized. Fierce competition and fare wars with the LIRR, cut deeply onto revenues. All the railroads were losing money. Finally, in 1876 all the railroads were consolidated into the LIRR under the ownership of Poppenhusen. This was made possible chiefly due to the death of Charlick in 1875. His successor as president of the LIRR was William Havemeyer, who was much more eager to bargain with the Poppenhusens.
Stations (some of these are older Flushing RR and NY & Flushing RR stations that were taken over by the Flushing and North Side):
Hunter's Point - Originally at the East River in 1854. New station at 51st Ave. and 2nd St. in 1869. Expanded for use by the Central RR in 1872. Taken over by LIRR for Brighton Beach service in 1878.
Penny Bridge - 1854 at Laurel hill Blvd. opposite Meeker Ave. Abandoned 1869 when the route was changed.
Maspeth - 1855 at 58th. St and 54th Dr. Abandoned 1858
Woodside - Opened 1869, when the route changed. West of 58th St.
Grinnell - 1874 - this was the only station on the northern branch from Woodside to Flushing at Junction Blvd. and 35th Ave.
Winfield - 1854 at 69th St. and 50th Ave.
Newtown (Elmhurst) - 1855
Fashion Race Course (then West Flushing when the West Flushing station at 108th St. below was abandoned, then Corona) - 1855 at National Ave. (102nd St.)
West Flushing - 1854 at 108th St.
Main St. - at the present site
Broadway - 1866 on the south side of Northern Blvd.
Bay Side - 1866 on east side of Bell Blvd.
Douglaston - 1866 west of Douglaston Pkwy.
Little Neck - 1870 east of Little Neck Pkwy.
Great Neck - 1866 east side of Little Neck Road
Whitestone Branch: (service ended 2/15/1932)
Bridge St. - 1869 just north of Northern Blvd.
College Point - 1869 at 18th Ave. and 127th St.
Whitestone - 1869 at 14th Rd. and 150th St.
(Malba and Whitestone Landing stations were added much later after the F&NS was assimilated into the LIRR)
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