• Fort Dix narrow guage railroad?

  • A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads
A general discussion about shortlines, industrials, and military railroads

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by RailVet
I'm doing some research on the Fort Dix narrow gauge, which operated from about 1920 to the end of WW II. Does anyone have a map of where the line ran?

  by delvyrails
Suggest you try old topographic maps, which are on-line at www.historical.maptech.com and which will show something of the military railroads in Fort Dix.

I have printed copies of the Pemberton, Bordentown, and Lakehurst 15-minute series, dated 1948.

The Lakehurst map is the only one that shows an existing complex of narrow guage tracks--in loops within a half-mile area near its lower left which would be about 3.5 miles south of Colliers Mills.

The Bordentown quadrangle indicates an "OLD RAILROAD GRADE" that extended northwestward from that complex about two miles, then westward about 8 miles toward the main area of Fort Dix near Wrightstown. Another grade runs south from this line connecting just west of Taylor Mountain. At Cranberry Hall, it joins a line coming about 5 miles southeastward from the Wrightstown area. From this junction, a line seems to have run somewhat southward about two miles to firing ranges north of Mirror Lake, which shows in the northeast corner of the Pemberton quadrangle. There's probably more.

Hope this helps.

  by CarterB
According to:

" When the narrow gauge railroad was built at then Camp Dix in 1922, the smaller trains, affectionately referred to as Dinky, ran on tracks just under 24-inches wide, less than half the size of standard rail tracks.

According to the book titled Narrow Gauge to No Mans Land, by Richard Dunn, the U.S. Army’s 1st Engineers “had little difficulty constructing the railway over the relatively flat terrain” selected for the project in 1922.

The original length of the track was seven miles long, but eventually grew to 17 miles by 1946 when the train stopped running.

During the height of the Dinky reign, 11 steam locomotives and one gassed mechanical had moved along the ranges at the beginning. The number of cars associated with these engines fluctuated over the years but by the beginning of World War II in 1940, it appears there were 92 cars on post. Of those, 39 were passenger cars, 12 freight cars, and one observation car to oversee training on the ranges, according to Dunn’s book.

According to Zimmerman and Warrick, park officials during the meeting expressed to Fort Dix that park officials would like to move the selected engine prior to Labor Day weekend, however that is not expected to happen.

The Dinky Railroad restoration project started more than 10 years ago. At that time, post officials signed an agreement with Pine Creek Railroad to relocate one of the engines to the post at that time.

On Pennsylvania Avenue, outside the Fort Dix museum, space was allotted and trees were planted to embrace the outdoor display. However, funding was withdrawn for the project when Operation Desert Storm started.

Since then, the plan was shelved and had remained in discussion phases at the installation. Those involved with the project believe the Dinky Railroad played a very significant role in training thousands of soldiers for World War II. On post, a very small part of the train’s history still, which is today a small walkway, that still exists near Range Control."

  by davek
The book 'Steel Rails to Victory' by Ron Zeil (out of print) has some pictures of the Ft Dix railway, I seem to remember both diesel and steam locomotives......

  by trapper
Hello all. New to this site. Anyway, when i was stationed at Dix ( 69-70) i hung out at the
standard guage engine house in my spare time. There was a ge 80 tonner that the civilan
workers ran on the rare occasion to move cars around and deliver outbounds to the PRR.
It was kept in immaculate shape. At that time about the only freight that showed up was
reffers for the post comm. I seem to also remember a couple of USA passenger cars in
storage, hospital cars.
The air force base would make a rare showing with another ge switcher once in awhile
to pick up inbound coal or leave emptys for the penn. If i remember right it was painted
an ugly sky blue. Go figure.

I was told by the old timmers (civilian) that the narrow guage engine house was located where
the post bus station was / is when i was there. There also was one piece of the narrow
guage track left in a grade crossing on the main road going into the post proper. That
would not be too far from the bus depot as i recall. I belive a lot of the narrow guage
rolling stock was built by "Magor"? somewhere in north Jersey...
  by RailVet
I was fortunate enough to make contact with the curator of the post museum a couple of years ago and obtain a copy of a map showing where the old narrow gauge line ran, so I lucked out. I also visited the post that same year and found nothing but open fields and some new buildings where the rail yard once sat. The enginehouse still stands but now serves a function other than rail. The air base's railway is also no more than a distant memory.

The Fort Dix rail yard and the tracks leading to the air base are visible at this URL:

http://msrmaps.com/image.aspx?T=2&S=12& ... ort+dix|nj|
  by Deval
I like the turning loop at the east end - you don't see that much. In fact, I've never seen one of those at an army post before.
  by RailVet
Camp Kilmer, NJ, had loops at both ends, and the Reading line just east of Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, also had a loop. (Oddly enough, no rail line actually entered the latter.) Camp Kilmer is now an industrial park with little rail and the Reading line near "the Gap" was abandoned many years ago. The loops at both locations now exist only on old maps.