• CR on the Southern Secondary

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

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  by Bracdude181
 
A very good friend of mine spotted a Conrail maintenance truck inspecting the railroad crossing on County Route 571 in Manchester today. The truck attempted to go down the tracks but was unable to do so because of all the foliage. This is the first time Conrail has inspected the Lakehurst to Lakewood stretch since 2015...
  by CharlieL
 
No surprise he couldn't get the truck down the track. There's enough lumber growing between the rails in the Lakehurst - Lakewood stretch to build a small development - - ; )
  by Bracdude181
 
For some reason, OI16 brought NS 5628 (ew) to Sayreville but did not take another engine out when it left.

Therefore, the current roster is:

CSX 4429
CSX 6160
NS 5286
NS 5628 (ew)
  by JohnFromJersey
 
CharlieL wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:42 pm No surprise he couldn't get the truck down the track. There's enough lumber growing between the rails in the Lakehurst - Lakewood stretch to build a small development - - ; )
How big are the trees growing there and how long would it take to get them out of there? The inspection truck coming through must mean we'll see some trains come through sooner or later
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Also, I've always wondered, was there ever a time the SOUS was in danger of being abandoned or OOS like the Freehold connection?
  by CR7876
 
I don't know what was seen, but there is no evidence of flange marks at the crossing. There was no attempt at a Hy-Rail. Someone was probably stealing parts for another crossing on the in service portion of the line, and trying to use the dirt trail turnaround on the north side of the crossing.
  by CharlieL
 
From what I've seen there are not many actual trees growing between the tracks, mostly small saplings. But a few as big as 6" diameter a foot off the ground between Lakewood runaround and Lakehurst.

As for shutting down the southern, if it weren't for Woodhaven's (probably about an average of) 10 -12 cars a week, it would most likely be gone by now, all overgrown.
  by Bracdude181
 
@CR7876 The reason why there's no rail markings on 571 was because the truck never put its rail wheels down. He lined up the truck with the tracks and was gonna attempt to go south towards Lakehurst, but decided not to attempt it after looking at the track conditions.

As for the Southern being in danger of being abandoned, it's already in danger. Has been for at least a decade. North Jersey management wants nothing to do with the Southern.

North Jersey management began scaring off customers in 2003. Many customers were told that they weren't worth Conrails time and promptly stopped getting rail service. Customers that were lost because of this ideology include Poly One in Howell, Columbia Propane in Toms River, and Dinaso in Lakewood. We are now down to 2 active customers, (3 if Extech is still a customer) which are Woodhaven and Bel-Ray.

But what's really gonna kill this line is NJ Transits restrictions on freight cars, which is another major contributing factor to this lines decline. Along with a weight and height restriction, certain cars are banned altogether. This is why we no longer see gondolas, certain tank cars, certain hopper cars, flatcars, and reefer cars. These restrictions mean that many potential customers can't get rail service. Brick Recycling stopped getting cars because of this, as NJT said their cars were too heavy. Incidentally, this has also prevented any sale of this line to interested parties.

Something needs to be done about this soon. If the Transit restrictions don't kill this line, Conrail will. They don't want to run down here anymore, and are not afraid to abandon it. There are people in North Jersey management who want to make some major improvements down here, but aren't able to because of one member in upper management. This guy is a real cheapskate. He's reluctant to spend money on almost any sort of improvement, and only likes serving very large customers while leaving smaller customers like EH Allen in South Amboy behind. (They got bulkhead flat cars for a while until Conrail told them he wasn't worth their time) North Jerseys future is bleak as long as this guy is calling the shots.
  by Coast Line Railfan
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:17 pm @CR7876 The reason why there's no rail markings on 571 was because the truck never put its rail wheels down. He lined up the truck with the tracks and was gonna attempt to go south towards Lakehurst, but decided not to attempt it after looking at the track conditions.

As for the Southern being in danger of being abandoned, it's already in danger. Has been for at least a decade. North Jersey management wants nothing to do with the Southern.

North Jersey management began scaring off customers in 2003. Many customers were told that they weren't worth Conrails time and promptly stopped getting rail service. Customers that were lost because of this ideology include Poly One in Howell, Columbia Propane in Toms River, and Dinaso in Lakewood. We are now down to 2 active customers, (3 if Extech is still a customer) which are Woodhaven and Bel-Ray.

But what's really gonna kill this line is NJ Transits restrictions on freight cars, which is another major contributing factor to this lines decline. Along with a weight and height restriction, certain cars are banned altogether. This is why we no longer see gondolas, certain tank cars, certain hopper cars, flatcars, and reefer cars. These restrictions mean that many potential customers can't get rail service. Brick Recycling stopped getting cars because of this, as NJT said their cars were too heavy. Incidentally, this has also prevented any sale of this line to interested parties.

Something needs to be done about this soon. If the Transit restrictions don't kill this line, Conrail will. They don't want to run down here anymore, and are not afraid to abandon it. There are people in North Jersey management who want to make some major improvements down here, but aren't able to because of one member in upper management. This guy is a real cheapskate. He's reluctant to spend money on almost any sort of improvement, and only likes serving very large customers while leaving smaller customers like EH Allen in South Amboy behind. (They got bulkhead flat cars for a while until Conrail told them he wasn't worth their time) North Jerseys future is bleak as long as this guy is calling the shots.
The Southern is indeed in danger, but only until the pending sale is completed.

Conrail didn't essentially say "piss off" to the customers, they gradually increased shipping rates to "justify" keeping the deteriorating lines open and maintaining them, to which the customers could not afford to receive rail service, and Conrail got to shut down the lines it didn't want to operate.

As I've said time and time again, any weight restrictions that could affect movement of freight doesn't affect the Southern or Browns in general, the obvious height restrictions do remain an issue, and that goes for an any electrified line, whether it is the NJCL, NEC, M&E, etc. Gondolas and hoppers that meet the height restrictions are not banned at all, considering OI-16 transfers upwards of 5 gondolas and hoppers each run on the Coast Line. The gondolas carry scrap metal and steel, *exactly* what Brick shipped, so there are no weight restrictions on gondolas. The hoppers carry a various array of plastics, *exactly* the type of cars and loads Poly-One would ship, so there are no weight restrictions on hoppers. Debunked.

The numerous improvement projects that don't fall under your radar that continue to be built clearly indicates that this "Penn Central Trainmaster" spiel might be just a spin of the imagination. An observant railfan would note that North Jersey's future is indeed not "bleak", perhaps you could look to a different, unbiased source for factual updates on the condition of the rail lines you are elaborating on. Speaking of sources, can you quote this "source" and where *he* got his information from? Do you have a connection at Conrail or something to back all this up?
  by Matt Johnson
 
The Southern Secondary is the only physical connection between Earle NWS and the national rail network. I would think that strategic value alone might be enough to keep it safe from abandonment.
  by Coast Line Railfan
 
Matt Johnson wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:11 pm The Southern Secondary is the only physical connection between Earle NWS and the national rail network. I would think that strategic value alone might be enough to keep it safe from abandonment.
That is very true, but if push comes to shove I don't think the Navy would be willing to take the reigns from Collingswood to BANK.
  by RailsEast
 
Fwiw, the Poly One plant was one of my customers back in the day. The reason they stopped receiving plastic pellet covered hoppers was that the head office decided to close the plant and shift operations to Texas. If they were still in operation here they would still receive cars.
Chris
  by Coast Line Railfan
 
RailsEast wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 4:15 pm Fwiw, the Poly One plant was one of my customers back in the day. The reason they stopped receiving plastic pellet covered hoppers was that the head office decided to close the plant and shift operations to Texas. If they were still in operation here they would still receive cars.
Chris
Besides Conrail driving off customers, this is another reason we lost some business. I didn't necessarily come up before, but some consignees decide that rail service isn't worth it, or they shut down, etc. I believe Dinaso shut down instead of opting to end rail service as well.
  by RailsEast
 
Also, Red Bank Recycling wanted a siding into their scrap yard in Red Bank. Conrail even laid out panel track beside the facility in anticipation of town council approval, but the NIMBY's said no, they didn't want an additional 10-20 trucks through their neighborhood every day.

It's not always the railroad that says 'no' to a potential customer.
Chris
  by Bracdude181
 
Southbound at Newman Springs Rd 4:38 PM. CSX 6160 leading with 10 cars for Woodhaven.
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