• Rail access to East Hanover Nike Site

  • Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.
Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, mikec, cjl330

I believe that this topic has been discussed here before, but I'd like to kick it around somemore...

Here's a quote from Donald Bender's site.... http://alpha.fdu.edu/~bender/N-A-morris.html

"When it was completed in 1955, the East Hanover Nike launcher area (known as Nike site "NY-80L") contained the following elements: two multi-purpose barracks buildings; a diesel generator building for emergency electrical supply; a missile test building; a missile fueling area and missile assembly building, both surrounded by high, earthen berms to deflect the force of a blast in the event of an accident; internal roadways; a basketball court; sentry posts; and, a special railroad siding."

From looking at the area in maps.google.com, the Nike Site, which is now a condo development, was quite close to the M&E. It looks like it might have been a quarter of a mile south of the railroad. There's no signs of a ROW in the close-up satellite mode, but most of the area has been redeveloped so the ROW might have been oblitherated.

The reason that I even bring the topic up again is that I read somewhere else that missiles and equipment where brought into the maintenance depot at Camp Kilmer for servicing via rail which might lend credance to Don Bender's information that there awas rail access in East Hanover.

I'm kicking my butt now because years ago I explored the abandoned missile site, but I didn't think to look for signs of a railroad siding.

Your thoughts?

  by Lackawanna484
I don't ever recall seeing references to a siding at the EH Nike base before. And, the development of the Vornado tract (the current Vornado spur) was new trackage when it went in, I think.

If the line didn't come in via Vornado (which abuts the project), I'm not sure how the M&E would have accessed it.

The EH Nike site was on (what is now) Nike Drive which is off of River Road about 1/8 mile north of Rt 10. The closest point of the M&E is just north of the current development and east of where the tracks cross Ridgedale Ave. It is possible that it was served by the Vornado Spur because that is not too far away either. What's the history of the Vornado Spur? Did it ever run past the end of Murray Road? If so, that might answere the question.

  by joe k
The spur was built for Vornado / Two Guy's around 1970 + -
This spur required a new bridge to span the Whippany River just a few hundred feet south of the M&E main line.
I remember watching the spur under construction when I was working for the Morris County Central RR during our summer train excursions.
This spur would not help the Nike Base construction or operation since the base was closing and only a NG unit remained after that time frame....

  by Lackawanna484
The M&E would have had to cross the power plant or the cemetery to access the NIKE base if it didn't use the Vornado spur, though.

The Catholic cemetery dates from the 1940s, I'd suspect the Restland cemetery is of the same vintage. East of that point (DeForest Avenue) the railroad veers away from the base.

I wonder if the EH tax maps (or cemetery offices) might shed some light on this?

  by joe k
The location of the former Nike base and the M&E main line and connection from JCP&L and thru the cemetery property..... did not happen.
If rail access was needed, Uncle Sam would have considered the old farm properties near the M&E River Road bridge only about 1 mile north of the old Nike Base......elevation was about the same.
Everything was trucked into the facility....(thats how they removed the equipment when the base was closed around 1974)
  by engineerpete
Very interesting topic. After reviewing the map/sat photos the spur looks like the best candidate for service. If the spur was continued south it would connect the site. Attached is the link for ready reference.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=East+Hano ... &t=h&hl=en

Considering Joe K's report of the timing for the spur it doen't sound like it could have been used for base construction maybe the missile upgrade (Ajax to Hercules) mentioned in Bender's report.

I was just over in the area in East Hanover and observed that there is a power line serving the development that extends for about 200 yards beyond the end of Murray Road. If there was ever a spur serving the Nike Site, that's probably where it would have been. Maybe Steve Hepler knows something about this.

Hello Steve Hepler, are you out there?

Chuck G

  by Lackawanna484
I took at look at TT Taber III's 1965 book about the M&E, which has a map of all their lines, built and proposed. Has the brickyard spur, the long line and the short line to Eden mill, Suburban Propane, etc.

But, no alignment for the Vornado spur (1965), and no alignment for the Nike spur. I think joe k and I are in agreement that the Vornado spur was put in around 1970, with new construction and a new bridge. That's highly consistent with the book, which mentions the hope for future industrial parks. But, by 1970, the Nike base would be on the way out of business

I spoke with Steve Hepler this afternoon and he concurs with you guys that the Vornado Spur never served the Nike Site and also that there was no other spur that would have served that location.

I think this is a dead issue. If I ever bring this up again, someone please smack me. :wink: