The New York and Atlantic Railway (NY&A) (reporting mark NYA) is a short line railroad formed in 1997 to provide freight service over the tracks of the Long Island Rail Road, a public commuter rail agency which had decided to privatize its freight operations. NY&A operates exclusively on Long Island, New York and is connected to the mainland via the Hell Gate Bridge and a car float (the New York Cross Harbor Railroad) from Brooklyn to New Jersey. Lumber, building products, scrap metal, construction & demolition debris, bio-diesel fuel, food, beer, gravel, propane, chemicals, structural steel, plastics and recyclable cardboard/paper are NYA's main traffic. Occasionally, NYA transports utility poles and electrical transformers to the LIPA facility in Hicksville, which has its own spurs. NYA also moves municipal solid waste in sealed containers on COFC trains. Some NYA customers are located off-line, and make use of NYA's team tracks to receive or ship products. Team tracks are located in Bay Ridge, Hicksville, Huntington, Greenlawn, St. James, Islip, Richmond Hill, Maspeth, Speonk, Medford, Yaphank, Southold and elsewhere on the Long Island Rail Road lines which NYA serves. Most of NYA's customers have their own spurs, making the use of team tracks unnecessary. Some other occasional products shipped to Long Island via the NYA is bentonite and rock salt. The LIRR and the NYCTA both receive new passenger equipment via the NYA, and ship out old, retired equipment for scrapping by way of the NYA.
The NY&A officially took over Long Island Rail Road's freight operations on May 11, 1997. The initial franchise was for 20 years.
The NY&A has substantially different crewing agreements than the Long Island Railroad, allowing it more flexibility to match the needs of freight customers. NY&A has two crewbases, one in Jamaica, and another near the former LIRR station Pine Aire on the main line, between Deer Park and Brentwood. On a typical weekday, NY&A operates six crews.
The Railroad operates with former Long Island Railroad locomotives through a lease. These locomotives include ex-LIRR:
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On January 8, 2009 a New York And Atlantic Railway Train was derailed, east of the Deer Park station. Six cars went off track and one was flipped to its side. The freight train containing construction debris did not injure anyone. The accident caused commuter trains to be delayed for several hours. LIRR was unsure on how this derailment happened, and stated that the derailment could cause delays on January 9, 2009. However service was resumed with no further delays. As of September 15, 2009, the damaged switch at the west end of the siding where the derailment occurred has not been repaired. Apparently, the NYA and the LIRR cannot agree on repairing the switch and which line will pay for it. The LIRR further complicated things for the NYA by removing the crossover from the eastbound mainline track to the westbound mainline track, which is the track the damaged switch joins the siding with. That was how eastbound NYA trains would enter the siding.