• CMSL Cape May (NJ) Seashore Lines Non-Passenger Operations

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

Moderator: David

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  by liftedjeep
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Sun Nov 15, 2020 9:58 am @David Thank You. I've been thinking about it more and I'm liking the idea of joining the two divisions together to make one network. Especially if it means a Lakehurst to Tuckahoe transfer and back, stopping to work larger customers as needed. (Like Clayton Sand and Ocean Spray) Could see two locals from Tuckahoe too. One does Tuckahoe to Cape May while the other does Tuckahoe to Ocean City and back. Car storage on the BL England spur or maybe a transloading station at BL England. It would be a great operation to railfan.
Bracdude181,

Excellent write-up on the former Southern Division! You have some great ideas/ambitions! Keep those fingers crossed!

To shed a bit of light on the route south of Chatsworth....

In my opinion, that portion of the former CNJ Southern is in the roughest shape of the entire line. Aside from the forrest that has literally grown in and around, and is slowly engulfing the track, there are segments that have been completely removed altogether. I've spent many hours out and about 4x4'n through Wharton State Forrest in my (Lifted) Jeep. Rails have been taken out at many of the dirt road grade crossings. Some of the State fire trails cut through where portions are missing as well. I know of at least two wooden trestles that have long since been washed out.

Again, never say never, but it would be a HUGE undertaking to rehabilitate the stretch between Chatsworth and Winslow Junction, not to mention costing uber $$.

FWIW, the Ocean City Branch east of CP PAL in Palermo is completely gone. The rails, as well as the swing bridge at Crook Horn Creek have long since been removed. Tuckahoe to BL England is all that remains, and the power plant shut down operations last year.

Sadly, the Cape May Branch isn't in much better shape. The line is very much overgrown, and completely out of service below Dennisville due to the 2012 track vandalism. At last (unofficial) report, there was doubt that the swing bridge over the Cape May canal was still in working condition.

I realize I'm coming across as a bit of a "killjoy", but there is a reason why many of these former rail lines dried up years ago and were abandoned or placed out of service. We all can dream of the day when rail service is restored, but that may be as far as it gets, for now....

Ben
  by Bracdude181
 
@liftedjeep Thanks. I wasn't aware that Chatsworth to Winslow was in such bad shape. I do know that the tracks are practically nonexistent for about 2 miles just north of Winslow due to the land being redeveloped, but I had no idea it was that bad elsewhere. I'll be honest, I don't really see Chatsworth to Winslow being reopened. So far, NJT and CSX are the only ones that have shown interest in that portion. NJT wanted it for their MOM plan, while CSX has shown interest in using the line as a detour for oil trains that currently use the Philadelphia Subdivision. I still like the idea of Seashore Lines connecting both divisions though.

I still believe Woodmansie to Chatsworth can be reopened. It's only a matter of what can be done with it and how much it would cost. As I've mentioned, Ocean Spray in Chatsworth could be a BIG money maker during peak season for the farms, but is reopening the line just for that justifiable? I still wish I knew what that place across the tracks does. They have lots of trailers parked there.

At the very least, Woodmansie to Chatsworth can be used for railcar storage. Seashore Lines has looked into doing it on that stretch of track. If Chatsworth to Woodmansie is reopened, then perhaps several long sidings or one large one can be built along that stretch for railcar storage. Only if it would be cheaper than doing the bare minimum of repairs needed to store cars south of Chatsworth.

As for the Ocean City Branch, I have also seen that the ROW from a certain point disappears. There's not really any potential customers on that line south of Tuckahoe right now, so its future is up in the air. The only thing I know is that a company called Orsted might keep the electric transformers and the switching station at BL England for an upcoming offshore wind project. Perhaps the wind turbine parts could come in by rail and be shipped there. Who knows.

East of CP PAL is a tricky one. No potential customers at all, so it may be hard to justify opening that just for the occasional passenger excursion. It's a shame too, as that route has some beautiful scenery.
As it is now, maybe Seashore Lines could work out something with Conrail to use the current ROW to BL England for excursions once the pandemic ends. The only other thing that can be done, would probably be to build a transloading station there once the plant is demolished.

Then there's the Cape May Branch. It's sad to see what has happened to this line after Seashore Lines worked so hard to keep it running. The swing bridge was repaired to working order at some point many years ago, but i don't believe it has moved since the line went out of service. It would take some work to get it going again, but it's not impossible. If it's ever going to be reopened, I would focus on running a local freight once or twice a week from Tuckahoe to the passing siding in Cape May and back first, before starting passenger excursions up again. There are potential customers along that line, and some could pull in considerable revenue. It would be an expensive undertaking, but it is possible if it's done right.
  by WashingtonPark
 
I'd be interested in knowing who the potential customers would be on the Cape May branch. After Conrail gave up on it Tony tried to run freight and I believe the only business he got was a lumber car once in a while and then nothing. I'm guessing if there was any real business down there he would repair the track to 10 MPH. If there was money there it wouldn't be that expensive of a fix, not to mention grants if it was going to aid business. What business is down there that would be willing to ship by rail to make it worthwhile? It would have to be more than 2 or 3 cars a week or it wouldn't be worth the effort.
  by liftedjeep
 
WashingtonPark wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:48 pm I'd be interested in knowing who the potential customers would be on the Cape May branch. After Conrail gave up on it Tony tried to run freight and I believe the only business he got was a lumber car once in a while and then nothing. I'm guessing if there was any real business down there he would repair the track to 10 MPH. If there was money there it wouldn't be that expensive of a fix, not to mention grants if it was going to aid business. What business is down there that would be willing to ship by rail to make it worthwhile? It would have to be more than 2 or 3 cars a week or it wouldn't be worth the effort.
Modern Gas (not sure if that was the name of the company back then) in Woodbine Junction was supposed to be a steady freight customer, with shipments of (I believe) propane. (One can view the sidings and spurs on Google Maps that come off of the main and into Modern Gas). At the last minute, Modern Gas opted to ship via truck, rather than rail.

The start of the Cape May Branch in Tuckahoe is being used to store rail cars. To the best of my knowledge, this is currently the only viable source of revenue the branch has to offer. There was also a sand offloading operation taking place at the site of the former wye in Tuckahoe. I don't know if that is still ongoing however.

Ben
  by Bracdude181
 
@liftedjeep The sand transloading operation appears to have dried up unfortunately. Seashore Lines does indeed still store cars on the first 4-5 miles of the Cape May Branch, which I hear they do very well.

@WashingtonPark There's a few potential customers. Mainly ones associated with building materials, but there might be the potential for outbound loads of recyclable waste and inbound loads of crude oil and propane. I'd have to do some research into this to be sure though.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Wow, this is the most active I've seen this thread in the four or so years I've been lurking on it.

Where is the info on the potential CSX rerouting that @Bracdude181 and others keep mentioning? I've seen it mentioned in the main CR Southern Secondary thread, but alongside a potential C&D transfer, no one has any evidence besides hearsay. In my opinion, if CSX wants to reroute oil trains, they would probably save more money fixing whatever line they're concerned about; I do not know if the state would be ok with huge oil trains coming through the Pinebarrens, but I could be wrong.

And since we're on the topic of the MOM line, why would NJT want to rejuvenate the Winslow-Woodmansie portion? Would it be a more direct route to AC from NYC for them? They could make Toms River be a major station (I know on the old ROW there's a big park and ride for NJT buses), and then have the line continue down to AC/Philly, which would be more direct for commuters in South/Central Jersey.

@liftedjeep
Is it illegal to hang out by the Rt 72 bridge? I was thinking about taking some friends over there and hiking over the bridge and following the old ROW. I'm about 20 minutes from it.

@CJPat
No industries, few crossings, all good features for converting Woodmansie-Winslow into a high(er) speed line between NYC and AC in the summers.

@RailsEast
When do you think they'll finally get things moving with Gateway?

As people have mentioned before,
1. When we actually see Clayton sand trains start rolling?
2. I think it would indeed make sense for CMSL to reconnect Winslow-Woodmansie; unless they move their HQ (or whatever) to somewhere further North, their trains will have to take a hell of a detour (go towards Philly, go north until about the Raritan River, go East, then down the Coast Line, and ride the Southern down) to get to Clayton sand.
  by Bracdude181
 
@JohnFromJersey The CSX thing hasn't been confirmed. I first heard about it through a friend who picked up the rumor from a Conrail employee. I personally don't see this happening, but CSX could potentially do it if they want to spend the money. Chatsworth to Winslow is in horrible shape apparently, so repairs will be expensive.

In NJ Transits case, I do not know why they were looking into this line. I certainly can't think of many reasons to start revenue passenger trains as it is now, or why they would want to do a Red Bank to Atlantic City train at all. I wouldn't get my hopes up for MOM though. NJT won't put a dime into that project even if they wanted to. Plus, NJ Transit and Conrail absolutely despise each other, and any sort of track-sharing agreement between them will be very one-sided.

As for the transfer between Lakehurst and Tuckahoe without the Winslow to Woodmansie section, such a transfer would probably only run as needed to ferry engines and rolling stock between the divisions for maintenance. Therefore, it's not really needed right now. Connecting the two divisions is possible and could be hugely beneficial to Seashore Lines freight as a whole, but it would be an expensive endeavor. Possibly 10-20 million or more.

We've all been waiting patiently for rail service to kick off in Lakehurst again. Amtrak wants to get started on the tunnels, but they don't have the green light to start construction. The Portal North Bridge replacement, on the other hand, is expected to start in spring next year. Supposedly, Clayton holds the contract to supply the sand for the entire project. Including the bridge and tunnel replacements. One of my sources has told me that they want to get the trains rolling in May, so hopefully that's what will happen. Assuming this is the deadline, the following must be done by then:

1. The siding repairs in Lakehurst need to be finished.
2. Any unfinished crossings need to be brought up to standard. (3 crossings are currently unfinished. One is under construction)
3. A way to load up hopper cars needs to be set up at Clayton, as the balloon loop hasn't been rebuilt. Only the switch for it has been completed.
4. Engines need to be ferried to Lakehurst once Conrail does their part. Expect 2 or 3 leased GP38-2s. Possibly one engine will be transferred from Tuckahoe (hopefully GMTX 2015 :D)
5. Conrail has to fix Lakehurst to South Lakewood. Knowing North Jersey management, this will probably be done at the last possible second for as cheaply as physically possible.
  by liftedjeep
 
JohnFromJersey wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:32 pm @liftedjeep
Is it illegal to hang out by the Rt 72 bridge? I was thinking about taking some friends over there and hiking over the bridge and following the old ROW. I'm about 20 minutes from it.
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's "illegal" to hang out at the bridge, or really anywhere along the former RoW. I've explored a great deal of the ex Southern Division, from Lakehurst to Vineland and never had any issues. See link to my album:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/archiv ... ?id=104576

Obviously, use good judgment when exploring or hiking, respect the land, and obey any private property signs that you might come across.

Ben
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:18 pm @JohnFromJersey The CSX thing hasn't been confirmed. I first heard about it through a friend who picked up the rumor from a Conrail employee. I personally don't see this happening, but CSX could potentially do it if they want to spend the money. Chatsworth to Winslow is in horrible shape apparently, so repairs will be expensive.

In NJ Transits case, I do not know why they were looking into this line. I certainly can't think of many reasons to start revenue passenger trains as it is now, or why they would want to do a Red Bank to Atlantic City train at all. I wouldn't get my hopes up for MOM though. NJT won't put a dime into that project even if they wanted to. Plus, NJ Transit and Conrail absolutely despise each other, and any sort of track-sharing agreement between them will be very one-sided.

As for the transfer between Lakehurst and Tuckahoe without the Winslow to Woodmansie section, such a transfer would probably only run as needed to ferry engines and rolling stock between the divisions for maintenance. Therefore, it's not really needed right now. Connecting the two divisions is possible and could be hugely beneficial to Seashore Lines freight as a whole, but it would be an expensive endeavor. Possibly 10-20 million or more.

We've all been waiting patiently for rail service to kick off in Lakehurst again. Amtrak wants to get started on the tunnels, but they don't have the green light to start construction. The Portal North Bridge replacement, on the other hand, is expected to start in spring next year. Supposedly, Clayton holds the contract to supply the sand for the entire project. Including the bridge and tunnel replacements. One of my sources has told me that they want to get the trains rolling in May, so hopefully that's what will happen. Assuming this is the deadline, the following must be done by then:

1. The siding repairs in Lakehurst need to be finished.
2. Any unfinished crossings need to be brought up to standard. (3 crossings are currently unfinished. One is under construction)
3. A way to load up hopper cars needs to be set up at Clayton, as the balloon loop hasn't been rebuilt. Only the switch for it has been completed.
4. Engines need to be ferried to Lakehurst once Conrail does their part. Expect 2 or 3 leased GP38-2s. Possibly one engine will be transferred from Tuckahoe (hopefully GMTX 2015 :D)
5. Conrail has to fix Lakehurst to South Lakewood. Knowing North Jersey management, this will probably be done at the last possible second for as cheaply as physically possible.
10-20 million to reconnect Winslow to Woodmansie doesn't sound too bad; I'd imagine that's not too far off how much it cost to refurbish Woodmansie-Lakehurst-Lakewood over the last few years. If any other bigger companies got involved, they could refurbish the whole line and make a freight alternative to NEC and whatever branch lines connected to it. It would also just make things more flexible, maybe the Ocean City line could come back...

I could see a Red Bank-Atlantic City NJT connection being useful; it would open up commuter options for Central and South Jersey residents, many of whom either go to NYC or Philly for work, and current commuter train options for many of them involve a lot of driving to get to any stations, and/or crazy transfers to get to places like Philly. Not to mention, it would be good for business, since NYC would have more access to Atlantic City in summers, and Philly would have more access to shore towns like Asbury, Long Branch, Belmar, etc. via rail.

Do we know how many rail cars CMSL would have to ferry? And how many trains we could expect to see a day/week?
  by Bracdude181
 
@JohnFromJersey I'm thinking quite a lot of cars. Enough to justify a Tuckahoe to Lakehurst transfer. We would need way more freight traffic in Tuckahoe for this to happen.

Also, much of the carload traffic through Camden is inbound shipments to their final destination. The rest is outbound stuff like scrap metal and waste products. Freight through Tuckahoe would be much the same, but they would probably 20-30 cars plus whatever you could possibly make from the Ocean City Branch if we are ever gonna see Seashore Lines operate from Winslow to Lakehurst.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:57 am @JohnFromJersey I'm thinking quite a lot of cars. Enough to justify a Tuckahoe to Lakehurst transfer. We would need way more freight traffic in Tuckahoe for this to happen.

Also, much of the carload traffic through Camden is inbound shipments to their final destination. The rest is outbound stuff like scrap metal and waste products. Freight through Tuckahoe would be much the same, but they would probably 20-30 cars plus whatever you could possibly make from the Ocean City Branch if we are ever gonna see Seashore Lines operate from Winslow to Lakehurst.
Would that be 20-30 cars a week? A day?

I wouldn't be surprised if Seashore Lines tries to relocate their main operations closer to Lakehurst, though at the same time, maybe they could try to snag a grant from the government to get a Winslow to Lakehurst transfer. As I've mentioned in this thread or another (this thread is getting awfully similar to then CR on the Southern one), I believe the distance between Clayton and Winslow isn't significantly further than between Clayton and Lakewood - though more work would obviously need to be done than the latter.

Does anyone on the Ocean City Line get any service? It's a long, winding route and it seemed to only service the Beesley's Point power plant, which has been shut down.
  by liftedjeep
 
Does anyone on the Ocean City Line get any service? It's a long, winding route and it seemed to only service the Beesley's Point power plant, which has been shut down.
There is no "Ocean City Line". Not since the last (freight) train left the island in 1981, and the subsequent Crook Horn Bridge failure.

The Beesleys Point Secondary begins at CP BROWN in Camden, and goes the length to the former BL England power plant in Beesleys Point. Aside from a handful of customers north of Winslow Junction which are served by Conrail out of Pavonia Yard, there are no businesses south to Tuckahoe. Between Tuckahoe and the closed power plant, is nothing. As stated, the rails have been removed to Ocean City.

Ben
  by JohnFromJersey
 
liftedjeep wrote: Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:45 pm
Does anyone on the Ocean City Line get any service? It's a long, winding route and it seemed to only service the Beesley's Point power plant, which has been shut down.
There is no "Ocean City Line". Not since the last (freight) train left the island in 1981, and the subsequent Crook Horn Bridge failure.

The Beesleys Point Secondary begins at CP BROWN in Camden, and goes the length to the former BL England power plant in Beesleys Point. Aside from a handful of customers north of Winslow Junction which are served by Conrail out of Pavonia Yard, there are no businesses south to Tuckahoe. Between Tuckahoe and the closed power plant, is nothing. As stated, the rails have been removed to Ocean City.

Ben
What was the deal with the bridge failing? And would it make sense to bring service back to Ocean City one way or another?
  by liftedjeep
 
[/quote] What was the deal with the bridge failing? And would it make sense to bring service back to Ocean City one way or another?
[/quote]

October of 1981, service to Ocean City ends due to the ring gear failure of the swing bridge at Crook Horn Creek. It gave the railroad the excuse it needed to abandon an already dwindling service to the island.

To the best of my knowledge, the former RoW is owned by NJ Transit. Aside from having larger issues to currently deal with, there is no desire in returning service to Ocean City. Residents of the island have no interest either, in having "noisy trains" disturbing their quiet town.

It will never happen

Ben
  by Bracdude181
 
I could be wrong, but it looks like they ran another hi railer along the Southern in Lakehurst. The weeds from Union Ave to about a mile or so south are completely gone. Which is strange, because the weeds at Lacey Road in Whiting are still there...

Just on the Ocean City Branch, it's gonna be hard to do anything with that line now that BL England is gone. No one seems certain what the future of the line is. Even if you don't rebuild east of CP Pal, there's no potential freight customers and running any sort of passenger train to Beeseleys Point is questionable. The tracks from Tuckahoe to BL England are in good shape, so maybe they could do railcar storage?
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