Nation: The 8:02 to History

Apart from its archaic title, the 343-mile Long Island Rail Road had never earned much claim to distinction. It will have next month. Then, after a score of years of financial troubles, the creeping, creaking L.I.R.R. will become the first major commuter line in the U.S. to come under state ownership.

The Long Island's owner, the Pennsylvania Railroad, last week happily accepted $10 million as a down payment for the $65 million sale to New York State's six-month-old Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Authority. Since emerging from post-bankruptcy reorganization in 1954, the 132-year-old L.I.R.R. had paid no dividends, raised fares seven times, won tax...