Trenton Cutoff

Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Schuylkill Valley
Posts: 809
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: Pottstown,Pa. on the Chester County side

Post by Schuylkill Valley »

Hi all,

I'm not sure on what happens when you type in a post and it doesn't save right, but if something like that happens. PM Otto or Mike their the ones that should know. they own this site. I just moderate this fourm and the PRR one. I have gotten a few PM's from a few people on here, that's why I wrote this post.

Thank you,
Len.

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. »

Thanks Len, I'll try this agian (only alittle at a time).

The cutoff ( now know as the Morrisville Line ) was built in 1892 to directly link the east/west main to the north/south main bypassing Philadelphia. It was linked to the NEC at Morrisville,Pa via a large "flyover bridge" at cp morris, at the north east end of the Morrisville yard. The yard was comprized of a full service engine and car maintainence facility, classification yard, a spur to the old Fairless Steel Works, and a 40 track hump yard. The hump yard was built to distribute east bound freight to points north and east of that local. At the time of my last visit (back in the mid 70's ) there were 38 tracks (on the hump) in use, and 2 permanently blue flagged. The yard was fully electrified.

A new stretch of ROW was built circa 1902 between Feasterville,Pa, and the north east part of Langhorne, Pa. This was done to improve the grade for the east bound heavy's............... stay tuned, more to follow.....

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Trenton cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. »

Hi folks,

Sorry for the long delay. Personal probs, and major computor probs have set me back quite a-bit.... Thanks to the admins, and mods for not closing this thread.... I have alot to add.

I'm in the process of recompiling all the data I lost reguarding this subject.

I will be posting more ( as time permits ) very soon..


Again my appolgies for the long absence......

Thank you all...

Jim

jgallaway81
Posts: 605
Joined: Sat Dec 23, 2006 3:00 pm
Location: Milepost PT236 on the Pittsburgh Line - Altoona, PA

Post by jgallaway81 »

Jim, take your time, I for one would be MOST interested in the data you have regarding this area...

As a conductor out of NS Harrisburg Consolidated Terminal, Morrisville and Oak Island were my two favorite destinations. In both cases, it was because of the Conrail Shared Assets yard personel.

Under NS, the route for trains was: Harrisburg Line to CP-Norris, SEPTA's line from CP-Island to FORD, the Morrisville Connecting Track to CP-King, and then the Morrisville Line to CP-MA.

As a former Pennsy yard, I looked for a way to integrate the yard into my expanding Freedom Central empire, and eventually created the Morrisville Industrial & Terminal Railroad (MITRail) or "Morrsiville Road". Yard switch power were custom-built twin 3-axle units that drew power overhead off of the cantenary energized by NJTransit's facility.
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RDG467
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:28 am

Trenton Cutoff Vignette

Post by RDG467 »

I remember seeing a WB light engine move stop at Guiseppe's Pizza in Willow Grove. The conductor hopped off w/his cell phone and cash, ran inside and came back out with a pizza and bag of food.

He hopped back on the lead unit and away they went!! Total time stopped was about 1.5 minutes..... Giuseppe's parking lot was at the edge of the ballast, so this was easy to accomplish!

This was at least 5 years ago, and possibly longer. Don't think I had my camera that day, either.

I used to be able to see this stretch of track from my house when I lived up the hill from there in '68-78. I could see from York Rd to just behind the PECO substation off of Fitzwatertown Rd., depending on which upstairs room I was in. I have some vague memories of PC black engines on merchandise freights, but no pix. I was only 2 when we moved in.....

We moved to a new house in '78 that was still within earshot of the tracks, and I was able to bike up along Moreland Road to take some pix. Still have a few of CR's electric freight ops around somewhere.

Schuylkill Valley
Posts: 809
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:38 pm
Location: Pottstown,Pa. on the Chester County side

Post by Schuylkill Valley »

that was a cool storie, keep them coming. I don't remember the trenon cut off to well. but I do remember seeing the PC black units on the Schuylkill Valley branch up there Spring City to Pottstown. And I saw the some of the bee lines on the Reading too.

Len.

RDG467
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:28 am

Post by RDG467 »

I wish I had more stories to tell. I mostly remember trains moving through at track speed (50 mph, at least).

The CSX stack trains used a locomotive on each end to make the swap at Abrams easier. I saw one of those about 2 years ago and don't know if they've changed their operating protocol on that pair yet. I also don't know if CSX used two crews per train or if the unit on the rear was radio-controlled. Unfortunately, it came thru at dusk, so there was no way I was getting a photo of this baby moving at 50 plus with my 35mm SLR!!!!

The biggest story on this line that I've heard of was the PRR derailment back in the mid-50's that took down the thru-truss bridge over the Reading's Bethlehem Branch at Ft. Washington. This is just west of the bridge over 309, which was recently replaced by a longer thru-girder bridge as part of the 309 widening project.

Dale Woodland has a few photos of this 'derailment', and I think there may be more at the Phila. Chapter of the PRRT&HS website. Both lines were OOS for about a week to finish the clean-up.

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

TRento Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. »

I recall several stories from the eastern end of the cutoff.. One is of a derailment / explosion in the Morrisville hump yard back in the early 70's (I think). The retarder operator at the hump told me this story around 1976 or so.
During a routine hump operation, a Flamable material tank was humped solo but without a dropper to man the breaks. The car (for reasons unknown at that time) ran through the retarders unimpeded, and slammed the make up, and exploded. This occured almost dead center of the hump yard (which was a 40 trk yard). The yard at the time was fairly empty, so there was little damage to other freight cars, but alot of track damage..

Jim

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Trento Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. »

PRR completed eletrificaton of its whole system by the start of WW2. In about the late 50's there aging fleet of old electrics (p5's I think) were pretty well beat, and they needed to find a new and more powerfull unit. They checked out the E33's that another road was using, then approached GE with a request for a more powerful unit that the 33.

http://www.answers.com/topic/prr-e44

Of the hundreds of trains I've seen on the cutoff. 99.999 % were pulled by E44's.. Only on very rare occasion would I see a GG1. The only diesel units were switchers pulling MOW equipment.

It was that way all the way up to the conrail days. Conrail did away with all its electrics by the mid 80's

Jim

jfrey40535
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:43 pm
Location: Phila

Post by jfrey40535 »

I remember Conrail taking the wires down in the late 80's, and then the second track in the early 90's. Considering the line could have had great passenger potential, it was sad to see that stuff go.

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2nd trick op
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Location: Nescopeck, PA ..... NS Sunbury Line MP 715

Not Passengers, but Diverted Freight

Post by 2nd trick op »

jfrey40535 wote:
I remember Conrail taking the wires down in the late 80's, and then the second track in the early 90's. Considering the line could have had great passenger potential, it was sad to see that stuff go.
Actually, I'd be thinking more in terms of diverting freight traffic from the current NS routing via the former East Penn/Reading. With the new energy realities likely here to stay, I think we'll finally see some action on restoring commuter service between the Lehigh Valley and the New York Metro area, and extension to Reading and, possibly Harrisburg, is a natural.

Over the long run, you'ld also have to develop a link between Morrisville/Trenton and the former Royal Blue line to Oak Island. But in the post-petroleum era, a lot of things that weren't thought of as feasible will enter the realm of possibility.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)

RDGTRANSMUSEUM
Posts: 356
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:34 pm
Location: reading,pa

Post by RDGTRANSMUSEUM »

When I hired in 1990 on conrail as a Brakeman,one of my early trips on the road was Mail 44. The Engineer had me take over the train south of Reading and run all the way to Morrisville. The wanted me to run up to Oak island,but I did not like the Amtrak part (LSL's, 25 MPH)so the engineer took over. The sparce signals on the trenton line were weird to say the least,esp. at 50 mph! .....Just my two cents about the area.
visit us at : readingtransportationmuseum.org

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. »

Here's a few questions to ponder:

Why did conrail or NS rip up the the track on the original row of the cut off ?
I am under the impression that the state of Pa does not charge taxes to RR's on theyr'e abandened row, track or not..
I can understand the cantenary being taken down from active row to alow room for double stacks.
The original row is now just used by Phila electric co as a row. I have no knowledge of facts to support any of the following, and i'm hopeing someone does.
I have heard rumors to the effect that PECO swung a deal with NS stating that if NS cleaned the old row of anything that could be used by the RR in the future, PECO would purchase that part of the row that it used for its HV lines.
Now with that rumor in mind (and if PECO does indeed own that piece of row) makes me think that if the plans for passenger traffic on the cutoff start to come to a head again, PECO holds a strong postion in the matter.

As I said this is just speculation,

Makes we wonder. I wish I had the time to research this myself.

Anybody that may have some insight on this, please chime in, good, bad, or indifferent. No arguments from this end.....

Thanks,

Jim

D&H557

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by D&H557 »

So cool to find a post on the cutoff. I have always lived close to the cuttoff. I remeber living close enough, you could hear the trains climbing from malvern. I only caught a train on there once in awhile. There was a time when i caught mail trains on there, that cut over to the mainline in Downingtown. They had an issue somewhere, and had then routed over to the cutoff, i was in my glory catching them under the wires, by my house. I take my kids to whitford train station to see some septa and amtrak stuff, and i still stare up at the bridge, and wish i could relive those days. as you can see, the old bridge survives!!
[image] Image[image/]

Big Bri
Posts: 977
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:52 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Big Bri »

D&H557,
You know that your picture is of the P&T Branch "Jump-over" Bridge? Correct? Technically not the Trenton Cut-off,but part of the PRR Low-Grade that included the A&S Branch,P&T Branch and Trenton Cut-off.
Up 'til CR abandoned the A&S and P&T Branches, that entire piece of Railroad carried the bulk of all of PRR/PC/early CR's EAST/WEST tonnage! I remember my Dad taking me to Downingtown Sta. in the early 70's and watching so many freights with GG-1's,E-44's and E-33's! And the trains were BIG! 130-150 car mainifests,Ore and Coal trains,etc. Hard to believe now that only ONE NS local plies the HBG Main between GLEN and Coatesville(H-83 or H-3A).Luckly the westbound local is Daylight
(10am-1pm)and usually rates 2 NS Dash-9W's.
Here's an excellent shot from Ben Russell under the Whitford Bridge:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 3&nseq=137

I'm also thrilled that there is discussion on the Trenton-Cutoff! That and the A&S Branch have always been my favorite pieces of xPRR territory.Especially when it was Electrified.How sad that 35 years ago you had and average of 40-50 freight trains a day between Enola and Morrisville using the Low-Grade..............

Cheers,
Bri

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