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For the American Railroad Journal and Mechanics' Magazine.

GENTLEMEN: The interest that has long been manifested on the part of the residents on the northerly side of the Island for the continuation of the Long Island Railroad on the east of Hicksville in this direction, has induced those gentlemen to have recently a survey of this route made by permission of the company, in consideration of the amount of aid proposed to be given by the residents on the northern route in the event of its continuation on this side of the Island, and my report and estimates on the cost of this route accompany this communication which are at your service for publication.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



I have the honor to state that the examinations and survey of this route, have been completed to the extent anticipated by your instructions, and that an approximate estimate of the probable cost of graduation and masonry, for a single track railway has been based upon the results of these examinations. As the accompanying drawings and papers will exhibit the details, I offer the following report as embodying my views on the feasibility of the route.

In conformity with your instructions, the survey of the northern route, has been made from Hicksville, the present terminus of the Long Island railroad, through Woodburry, Huntington, and Smithtown, terminating in the vicinity of the latter place, where it forms a junction with the present located southern route.

A due examination of the topographical features of this route was made, prior to the commencement of the surveys, the results of which led me to a conclusion on the necessity of approaching the following points, in the projection of the survey of the east of Hicksville, as constituting the only feasible route existing on the northerly side of the Island, without too near an approach to the main shore, and having in view a connection with the present south route, in the vicinity of Smithtown. Cross the turnpike near Mr. Hewlett's tavern, and after reaching Carle's point, continued to Ketcham's Hill and effect a crossing of the Smithtown branch on the north of Messrs. Blydendergh's Mills.

In accordance with this opinion the surveys that have been prosecuted, embrace for the most part one line with its modifications.

Commencing at Hicksville, a prolongation of the present located line was made, of 500 feet on the east of the depot, where a curve of an easy radius was introduced, to gain a course for the entrance of a valley, about half a mile on the south of Woodbury, and four miles distant from the point of departure, where another curve of considerable radius but of short length was made. The direction then given the line was Carle's Point, which passed the summit of this valley as favorably as a tangent would allow of, and crossed the Jericho and Smithtown turnpike about 1000 feet on the west of Carle's Point.

After reaching Carle's Point on this line a distance of six and a half miles

from Hicksville, a curve of a suitable radius was again made and prolonged into the course of Ketcham's Hill, a distance of four and a half miles from the latter place, when an offset of 200 feet south, was made in order to attain the lowest depression of these hills.

On reaching this point, the line was continued in the direction of the Smithtown branch, and crossed the turnpike one mile on the east of Commack, but on gaining the vicinity of the branch, an offset of 2200 feet on the north was found necessary in obtaining a crossing of the branch at the most favorable point for this line, the continuation of which would have passed on the south of the mills, and consequently come in contact with the mill pond and its branches.

The offset here made, terminated on the west of the branch, and after reaching the opposite side, a curve was made until I could gain for the continuation of the line, an east course, with a view of avoiding the mill pond and its auxiliary branches.

The prolongation of the course, here acquired by the curve on the east of he branch did not, however, wholly avoid the branches which flow into the mill pond. A circular bend of the swamp, a mile distant from the branch, flanks this line on the north, which is quite objectionable, because of the necessity of twice crossing the same swamp, and the line traversing a dividing ridge between some elevation above the general surface, on either side, an offset of 600 feet north on crossing this swamp was made, which, when connected, would entirely avoid it.

The same course was then preserved, crossing in advance another swamp of similar character but of less magnitude, until it reached the Smithtown and Islip road, due south of the Smithtown church in the vicinity of Esq. Hubb's, a distance of over two miles from the branch.

After which I gave the line a direct bearing, to gain an intersection with the southern route, in the vicinity of Mr. Carman Ferry's, crossing intermediately Beaver dam.

The distance from Hicksville on this line, is 20.70 miles, traversing a section of country varied in its topography, and encountering obstructions in the vicinity of West Hills, that render a portion of the line wholly impracticable, requiring a resort to gradients of 60 feet per mile, and the cost of graduation exceeding the limit of a reasonable expense. But the remaining portions of the line could be made subject to the limit of 40 feet, about seven miles of which, would require the maximum.

The second line has its commencement at Hicksville, and has been surveyed with an intention to avoid, as far as possible, the obstructions presented by the former line, to do so, it has been found necessary to adopt more curvature in the vicinity of Woodbury.

From Hicksville, the projection of this line has been made in the direction of the residence of Esq. Jones, for a distance of four miles, where a reverse curve, with an intervening tangent of 400 feet occurs, crossing the Cold Spring road twice, and turnpike directly in front of Mr. Hewlett's tavern, and continuing on the north of the turnpike, to a point one third of a mile on the east of the toll gate, where the line twice crosses a bend of the road, and intersects with the base line in its approach to Carle's Point, having intermediately two curves, one of which may be avoided in a location without an increase of expense.

From Carle's Point, the line pursues the course to Ketcham's Hill, and after reaching it, deflects to the south, but pursues a more easterly course than the former one, and crosses the turnpike at Gravelly Hill, and the branch on the north of Messrs. Blydenbergh's Mills, and at the same point with the base line, on a tangent of six and a half miles from Ketcham's

Hill, and after heading the branches of the Mill pond, the line deflects to the south of east, and crosses the base line near Esquire Hubb's, and continues to pursue a straight course with the exception of a slight offset to the southern route, crossing a bend of the swamp abreast of Smithtown, and the mouth of a valley near Mr. Hommediens, and ascending the ridge flanking this valley on the south, to Brush Plains, which the line traverses to the point of intersection on the 15th section of the 3d division of that route, being a distance of four and a half miles in advance of the branch.

The distance on this line from Hicksville is 2191 miles, and on the southern route, 21:45 miles, making a difference of 0.46 miles against this


The increase of distance to the termination of the first division, properly chargeable to this second line, is 800 feet over the former one, and the dif ference of the two lines to their points of intersection with the south route, is equal to 121 miles.

The surface of the plains of Oyster Bay, traversed by this line on the east of Hicksville, favors very much the construction of the road, the undulations of which, are but trifling-the approaching grade, however, to Woodbury, amounts to 30-09 feet per mile, but becomes less for a short distance in advance, when it descends quite rapidly in the direction of Carle's point, the line traversing a number of spurs in the progress of its descent to the valley, which is more undulating than the plains, in its rear it does not, however, present any obstructions to the adoption of easy grades, until the vicinity of Ketcham's hi!l is encountered, the passage of which, requires the maximum rate of 40 feet, as in the descent from West Hills to Carle's Point, a plane of a mile in length on either side, is here necessary to overcome this elevation which, is the greatest attained on the whole line, being 265.43 feet above tide at Brooklyn, and 119:43 above Hicksville, a distance of 11.10 miles through the vicinity of Woodbury, will constitute the summit when graded.

The surface of the ground in advance of this former point is favorable to the adjustment of easy grades, having a descent towards the Branch in the direction of which it soon becomes depressed from the level of Hicksville, without again attaining the same elevation. The two last miles in approaching the branch require the application of the minimum rates of inclination, and is the most formidable section on the whole line, descending rapidly in the vicinity of the branch which is but a few feet above tide, and has an average width of 900 feet at this point, and apparently affords no better point of crossing, having the same descent in the same distance, and requiring an increased length of embankment.

The average cutting necessary in the descent, is about 22 feet, for a mile, and the average embankment, about 37 feet. In the ascent from the branch a grade line of 23.76 feet per mile, is all that is required, and falls belov this for some distance in advance, until the ascent to Brush plains require 39-91 feet per mile, for over a mile and a half, this, however, is susceptable of much improvement in a location, by pursuing the course of a branch ravine which favors the direction of the line, a few hundred feet on the north, and the cutting may be somewhat diminished in the descent to the branch on a final location.

Exclusive of the curvature necessary at the points of diverging, there is required about 8000 feet of curved line, varying in radius from 2000 to 4000 feet, and divided into seven curves, about seven-eights of which quantity is located on the first division, extending to Ketcham's hill, and principally in the vicinity of West hills, and on the former line there is about

3500 feet of curved line of similar radius, and about an equal quantity on each division.

In the crossing of the branch near Smithtown, there will be required a bridge of not less than 200 feet span, and the foot of the embankment to be protected by a retaining wall, it may, however, be passed on wood work, and the cost somewhat diminished by this mode, if hereafter considered necessary, and the estimate for masonry has anticipated the cost of procuring rock of a suitable quality from the opposite shore. That required in culverts and drains, can be procured on the Island, suitable for rubble work.

The embankments on the first division will have a predominance, and on the second division, the excavation considerably.

The quantity of curved line that has been introduced on the first division in the vicinity of West Hills is only what is required by the occupancy of the same ground. But in my opinion a reduction of that quantity can be made much in favor of the character of the road, and without a material cost beyond the present route by diverging from Hicksville on a tangent, and crossing the turnpike on a curve, and continued in the rear of Mr. Hewlett's tavern, and intersect line No. two of this survey, at the bend of the turnpike on the east of the toll gate, and from thence become common to line No. two with but a slight deviation the entire route, or else attempt to gain Carle's point on a tangent, by the curve proposed at the first crossing of the turnpike. To encounter the ridge anticipated by the latter line, would be attended with a considerable expense, yet might be considered practicable in view of the continuation of the main line on this route, with these exceptions, subject to future survey. I have no hesitation in recommending the route as practicable within the limit of 40 feet for grades, and that the estimate will cover the cost of road formation.

The estimate for fencing, anticipates that portion which cannot be dispensed with, but if continued the entire route, it will be subject to an increase, and the estimate of graduation embraces a road way proper of fourteen feet in excavations, and fifteen feet in embankments, being the minimum width for a single track railway.

Annexed is a table of grades adopted on this route, the maximum rate being fixed at 40 feet per mile, and they will not suffer in comparison with a number of our railroads.

In conclusion, I but perform a pleasing duty in tendering, through you, my acknowledgements for the attentions and assistance of the gentlemen composing your committee.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

EDWARD SHOTWELL, Civil Engineer.

Huntington, December 10th, 1839.


Estimate of cost of graduation. First division extends to Ketcham's

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2,160 00

64,425 00
15,195 00

Second division extends to southern route, 10.81 miles.

Clearing and grubbing,


Masonry in bridge and culvert,

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Add for engineering and superintendance, 10 per ct., 16,713 95

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Feet. Feet.

13.2025 00
16.15 15.30
30.09 42.18
00.00 00.00

3 7400 ascent
400 level
5 4185 ascent 26.40 20.92


171.00 Oyster Bay Plains.



228.48 Cold Spring road.
249.40 Turnpike.

612115 descent 39.91 91.58 157.821 Carle's Point.

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24 2100 descent 31.68 12.60 109.80 Brush Plains.

Recapitulation of Grades.

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