Just a few days after Bruce King, president of the Hampton Bays Civic Association, wrote a complaining of the MTA's failure to clean-up debris left over from projects of past at the Hampton Bays Train Station, the MTA started a clean-up effort. However, walking along the track on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that was a lot more to be done.
"It looks like they picked up some of it," said King as he pointed to spots on the south side of the track where piles of steel and railroad ties had sat for years untouched.
Then, he pointed to the blight that continued down the MTA's right-of-way. There were not only pieces of track — some 15 years-old — just rotting away, but piles of gravel and garbage strewn everywhere. Plastic bags hung from trees, candy wrappers, bottles, and glass lined the wooded buffer along the track. Old railroad ties are even starting to become part of the earth, partially covered by dirt and bush growing over them.
Pointing to the steal, King said, "This is worth a lot of money. Such waste."
While Bruce said he was pleased that some of the railroad left-overs were hauled away, he was saddened that when removing them, workers failed to pick up remnants of the piles and garbage that sat just steps away from an empty dumpster.
This is not the only station, said King, that looks like this. "Ride the train and look out the window," he said. "It's all along the track."
MTA spokesman Salvatore Arena, said that the Long Island Rail Road is "committed to maintaining a clean right of way for customers and communities." However, he said that due to a lack of storage facilities, some materials must be left on site — and much of what is left at the Hampton Bays station is "meant to be re-used for emergency repairs" on the Montauk line, including the stone ballast.
The storage containers will also be left on-site since they are housing materials for a two-year , he said.
Arena said that there are plans to take away concrete ties and wooden ties, as well as some of the steel on site, which he said will be recycled.
As to the trash, Arena said that because the LIRR is a large system, the LIRR must do clean-ups on a station by station basis through targeted clean-ups scheduled during times when trains aren't running for safety reasons.
"There are many parts of the right-of-way that are littered and over the past two years there has been a concerted effort to clean-up and remove materials," he said.