I asked Steve Lynch from the Trainsarefun website about the “Longhorns “ pictured above, and here was the reply:
M3 ex-9775 converted to #E775 alcohol/sandite car 2018. Photo/Archive: Jeff Erlitz
The LIRR currently uses two M-1 cars to "slime" the rails during falling leaf season. Modified M1's 9401 & 9591 (now E401 & 591) are utilized sandwiched between a pair of MP15's.They operate entirely at night and are serviced at Richmond Hill during the day.
There are also leaf crusher trains. These consist of two MP15's and gravel hoppers. They crush the leaves on the Oyster Bay , Pt. Jeff, Montauk, and Greenport branches. These trains are based at KO and Wellwood siding and operate at night."
Both sandites and leaf crushers have run on the branch simultaneously, and have been on the branch with both. Leaf crushers are operated on the branch to pulverize leaves that may be wedged in the circuits for the crossing gates. If leaves are not crushed, the potential for leaves to impede a circuit and crossing gates to stay up while a train goes through a crossing increases. All leaf crushers are run at the direction of the train dispatcher.Information courtesy: Ben Jankowski, Oyster Bay RR Museum
Paul, I hope that gives a little background. I learned something new too!
Thanks, Andy (and Steve). The last few years I was commuting, I road Metro North quite a bit and fondly remember “flat wheel season” My favorite incident was when we were pulling into the Valhalla stop and the train slid completely through and out of the station. It had to back in and they had to send out a diesel with sanding capability to go ahead of our train (I believe it was a set of M7’s). Ahhhh commuting!!!