• Belle Mead General Depot

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by Tom_E_Reynolds
Nice shots from the air. You can clearly see some of the old ROWs and all the ties left to rot.
  by pierrerabbit
Hillsborough Township and Somerset County are working on purchasing about 1/2 of this property from the government, and funds are available for the cleanup (contaminated soil, miles of old ties and ballast, 60 acres of concrete) etc. The plan is to make it into mostly parkland. A company called Hillsborough Properties owns the other half, who I think wants to put in low income housing.

I'm wondering the method they will use to remove the bad material. Common sense would say to use the existing crossing @ rt 206 and connection with CSX, or use thousands of trucks clogging up an already crowded highway.

I have biked back there, its mind-blowing how big this place is. If you're thinking about exploring this area, keep this in mind...the US gov still owns it, and there was a fire there on Tuesday. You can access it from Pleasant View Rd, at the end of the park. But now because of the fire, I expect them to close off the opening in the fence, and step up the police patrols.
  by Chessie GM50
Yup, If you have access to it, read the Beacon.
  by pierrerabbit
Yeah, the mayor's pushing the gov to fix the fence, and send in the cops. All because of some kids (allegedly) setting a fire (allegedly). I was planning on going back this weekend, but now I won't, 'cause I don't need the hassle of being arrested for trespassing.
  by Robynmarie211
I stumbled upon this website while looking up info on Belle Meade. When I was a child I actually lived in a house at the Belle Meade Depot, from 1970-1974. This is so interesting to see the pictures of what it looks like now. Are there still any houses left? We lived in a single, ranch style house at the end of a street with a fence next to it. There were about 4 more larger, apartment style homes in this area. There were only 4-5 families that lived here. My dad worked for the GSA and we moved from Belle Meade to upstate NY when he got transferred. He then worked for the DLA before retiring after 37 years with the federal government. If anyone has any more info about toxins in this area, please post. My dad developed Alzheimer's at the age of 64 and I have to wonder what he was exposed to by working at depots like this one.
  by pierrerabbit
If you mean the Depot off of Montain View Rd, (having two in Hillsborough is confusing), I don't ever remember seeing any houses on the property. The only structures left are a water tower and one building, which was recently torched. As far as chemicals go, I only know of residual creosote in the ground from the ties. Maybe the EPA has more info.
  by Chessie GM50
Well, I wasn't alive then, but a family member that worked at the Belle Mead GSA/VA depot never described apartments on the property. I'll check Historic Aerials to see a basic layout.
  by Robynmarie211
I am talking about the GSA depot off of MountainView Road. We lived there from November 1970 to November 1974. I went to Woods Road Elementary, but for the fourth grade I was bused to a small old schoolhouse that only had 3 fourth grade classes. I don't remember the name of that school. The houses were just outside of the fence after you went past the front gate, there was a road that brought you back to the houses. We lived in the house that was the farthest up the road. The first house(ranch-2 family) had 2 families, the Jacksons and the Evans-who moved before we did. Then there was an empty house that ran parallel with the fence. Then there was another 4 unit apartment type of house. 2 families lived there-I only remember the one daughters name was Penny. There was a basketball court behind this building. Then there was a road and then our house. We had a row of garages across the street from us and the depot fence ran behind the garages and alongside of the house. I haven't been back to that area since we moved away so I don't know if the houses are still there or if they were torn down. There used to be another 4 unit type building next to us but that was torn down one day while we still lived there, so maybe the rest were torn down too. Looking at the aerial shots of this depot I can't believe how desolate it looks in that area. I can't see any houses where they should be, I called my mom and asked her to look at the pictures to see if maybe I'm missing them. If I get back up north sometime I would really like to go by and see where we used to live. I wish my dad was still with us I'd really like to know what he did while working there. My mom really doesn't know.
  by pierrerabbit
Well, this is actually not a railroad themed thread, so some may bark at me, but who cares.

Now that you mention it, I kind of remember houses there a long time ago. This is where it gets weird. The school you are refering to was the Flagtown school, I too went there in 1974, you may have been on the bus with my old friend Mike Maurer. He lived off of Mountainview. If you want more info, you can PM me.

  by CJPat
Robynmarie211 - In response to your original question about toxic chemicals, Mercury was originally stored at the Depot until sometime in the 1960's and then supposedly moved to the Depot closer to Sommerville. (See this article at http://ndep.nv.gov/mercury/docs/mercury111606.pdf. There has been some kind of environmental remediation being conducted. In this newspaper article, they say "Township and Somerset County officials have been working to clean up the environmentally compromised property that has low levels of surface-soil contamination caused by railroad ballast and oil used to control dust on the site. They want work to begin this year and expect it to take 18 months to complete." This article can be seen here http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/ ... /810240390.

If you want to see your house as it was from a 1971 Aerial photo, go to http://www.HistoricAerials.com and enter Belle Mead, NJ and select the year 1971 and you can zoom into the facility to look.

And to keep this railroad related, you can see the extensive rail network too.
  by afboone
Drove up 206 this weekend, looks like the track on the depot side of the 206 has been removed. The switches on the track side are still there.
  by JADes718
All the track, ties, and ballast were removed and taken off site, as part of the clean up. Work finished up right before all the snow. They are putting out a contract in the spring for removal of the asphalt, and the remaining concrete foundations. The rumor is after that they will start engineering phase for the new park. I saw the plans something like 10 ball fields, a bounch of tennis courts and basketball courts and something like 2 miles of hiking trails.


  by tdipaul
doctordirt wrote: Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:23 pm http://www.mtaofnj.org/mta_train_engine.htm

The last remaining switching engine on the VA Depot was donated to the Military Transport Association in 2003. It had served from WWII to 1998. It was a veteran of four major wars.

It was restored and now serves daily as a yard switcher for the Morristown and Erie under a cooperative agreement between the MTA and the M&E.

BTW - although it had not run in more than 5 years, when new batteries were installed and a little ether applied - the engine started up and ran under its own power when it reached the M&E. It can be seen on Railroad Days in Whippany several times each year.
Sorry, cant let this thread die for I am in the planning process of building a model railroad and this is an excellent prototype to follow. Especially interesting for me since I live <1 mile from here and was inside before the remaining tracks were pulled up circa 2004. How impressive it was!

The link above is now dead so cant go refer to that anymore. Is it safe to assume the engine is this one here?



If anyone can provide more info about this engine or any other types/roadnames of engines from L-V, Reading or even Conrail that would have passed through the depot I am all ears!
  by NJWG
I believe I was in this place about 25 years ago when it was GSA. I recall seeing a small Plymouth or Davenport type of switcher there that was yellow and black. Can anyone help my memory with this it would be appreciated.