Freight Info

Discussion relating to the PRSL

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Freight Info

Post by BobLI » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:55 am

Just how much freight traffic was there on the lines? Was it mostly passenger traffic to the shore fronts or were there was a large amount freight that terminated at the lines?

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Re: Freight Info

Post by edbear » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:38 pm

Can't tell you what the volume of freight traffic was, but I think it was substantial. However, most of the industry was concentrated in the area of Penns Grove, Woodbury, Salem not too far from the Delaware River and then down in the Millville-Vineland area. The shore points didn't terminate much traffic. In modern times there was a large power plant on the Ocean City Branch which took coal trains. One item of note: until the 1960s, Reading freight traffic to the Seashore Lines was interchanged via carfloat from Philadelphia. The PRR as 2/3 owner of the Seashore Lines did not allow RDG interchange freight to move via their trackage over the Delair Bridge until the railroad industry was imploding. This stance was used to discourage freight routings via the Reading rather than the faster, cheaper all rail route via the Delair.

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Re: Freight Info

Post by JJMDiMunno » Tue Nov 08, 2011 9:14 pm

BobLI wrote:Just how much freight traffic was there on the lines? Was it mostly passenger traffic to the shore fronts or were there was a large amount freight that terminated at the lines?
At one time, there was significant freight traffic. As mentioned above, the points that bordered the Delaware River as well as locations in the Millville area (for sand) generated the most traffic. The largest customer in the shore area was Northwest Magnesite at Cape May Point until 1962 when the power plant opened at Beesley's Point outside of Ocean City. That power plant accepted both coal and fuel oil, resulting in a significant increase in traffic on the Clementon Branch as well as the Cape May Branch between Winslow and Tuckahoe, and then the Ocean City Branch and Beesley's Pt. Industrial to the plant.

Northwest Magnesite closed in 1983, ending that traffic. Coal and oil traffic to the power plant at Beesley's Point is a mere fraction of what it used to be. The only line on which traffic has actually grown since 1976 (and in recent years, held it's own) is the Penns Grove Secondary.

Mike DiMunno
~Mike DiMunno
CSAO Beesley Point Secondary - MP 8.69 (Magnolia, NJ)
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Re: Freight Info

Post by DaveS » Thu May 31, 2012 5:22 pm

Does anyone know if there was any freight traffic on the Ocean City Branch during the early Conrail era up until it's abandonment in 1981?

David M. Smutek

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Re: Freight Info

Post by rick773 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 3:33 pm

This doesn't help your Ocean City question, but Gary Evans of the PRSL Historical Society posted information on 1973 Conrail (PRSL) freight traffic on July 2nd & 4th emails. I summarized it in my July 4th blog at :

Gary stated: "Most of the information here was gleaned from the 1st and 2nd Printing of the PRSL book by Frederick A. Kramer and from "By Rail to the Boardwalk", which is the Bible on PRSL history.."

The type of traffic at each PRSL town (including Ocean City) can be found on the 1954 Freight Shippers Guide found at The Reading Modeler's site: ... ia-Reading Seashore Lines

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