• Railfanning Trenton Cutoff

  • Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
Discussion relating to the NS operations. Official web site can be found here: NSCORP.COM.
  by jfrey40535
 
I live near the Trenton Cutoff in Bucks County and would like to know if this line runs on any kind of "normal schedule". I always seem to miss opportunities for good daylight photos.

Also, if anyone has any favorite spots, feel free to post them here!

  by Urban D Kaye
 
Define..."normal"... ;) There are a handful of trains on the cutoff each day, best bet is probably to rely on ye olde trusty scanner.

Probably the most regular among them is CSX Q190, which turns at Abrams usually around 12:30 to 13:00 and enters the cutoff eastbound near CP Ford around 13:30 to 14:00. I believe the NS 14G is also a mid-day run eastbound, tho I've heard him calling at widely varying times. 66Z is another bet, but I've only seen it rarely.

As for photo spots, most fans seem to photo these trains in the Norristown, Plymouth Meeting region, between Norristown Transp Center and CP King. I'd love to see some photos taken farther east on the line. For example, there are two parallel bridges that cross thru Playwicki Park, one is the active Trenton Cutoff, the other is inactive (tracks removed) and I believe had once been used as a passing siding. I've never seen a pic from there, but it sounds ripe for the opportunity.

My best offering comes from Ft Washington State Park...there's a hiking trail that has a nice view slightly uphill from the tracks. I caught one pic there awhile back.

-Urban

Image

  by jfrey40535
 
Thanks for the info! Unforunately I got rid of my scanner awhile ago : (

I'm often tooling around Southampton/Willow Grove where the cutoff passes the Reading Warminster and Newtown Branches. I'm hoping to get some shots there once the weateher improves. I'd like to be lucky enough to catch a Warminster train and a NS at the same time, but we'll see how that goes.
  by RRDude68
 
Late afternoon to early evening is probably the best time to see trains on the NS Morrisville Line, aka, the Trenton Cutoff, especially as we get closer to summer. The CSX stack train is generally an early afternoon run. If you are near Plymouth Meeting from around 1 to 7pm you will often see meets on the controlled siding behind the shopping plaza that has a Target store. The CSX train, eastbound freight 14g, westbound freight 17g, empty or loaded steel trains 66z/67z or 64a/65a, and Abrams yard local H25 often meet there. It definitely helps to have a scanner. NS Road channel 1, AAR 46-46 is used on this territory.

  by glennk419
 
Urban D Kaye wrote:Define..."normal"... ;) For example, there are two parallel bridges that cross thru Playwicki Park, one is the active Trenton Cutoff, the other is inactive (tracks removed) and I believe had once been used as a passing siding. I've never seen a pic from there, but it sounds ripe for the opportunity.
The cutoff was originally double track for its' entire length, hence the twin bridges. The second track was lifted sometime in the mid 80's around the same time the line was de-electrified. All of the wayside signals were also removed at this point and the line was "upgraded" to cab signal territory.

  by jlpack153
 
There is also a westbound train that pulls empties out of Morrisville yard usually between 5 and 6 on weeknights. I live close by and it was reliable enough to take the kids there on summer evenings. It's a good train (Around milepost 11) because can have over 100 cars and moves at a pretty good speed

  by jfrey40535
 
Anyone have a line map that has milepost or other landmark listings on them? I've been able to lookup some of the trains that run on the line, but as far as calculating when they will land at some of the spots I'd like to photograph them will be a bit of the challenge.

A few spots I would like to do some photo shoots:
Upper Southampton: County Ln Rd Grade Crossing
Feasterville: Street Rd Bridge & Bustleton Pike Grade Crossing
Willow Grove: Davisville Rd, Easton Rd (611), York Rd (263)

and if I get time some shots out in Norristown and if I have real luck the slug train in KOP crossing the new I-76 bridge

  by RDGAndrew
 
Not having a scanner, I can't tell you the names of trains, but there is an eastbound mail train that I often saw passing through Willow Grove / Hatboro around 8am, when I worked over there a year ago. Yesterday I was walking in Ft. Washington State Park and saw an EB merchandise train with a trailing BNSF unit crossing the bridge over the Wissahickon at about 2:30 in the afternoon. I was on the Green Ribbon Trail, which you can get to by parking behind Flourtown Commons on Bethlehem Pike, crossing the creek on the old Reading Plymouth Branch bridge that now has decking and railings, and heading upstream for about 20 mins. The view is not as convenient for photography, since to get a really clear shot of the bridge you'd need to be in the creek, but it is on the south side of the tracks, and it might work if you have hip waders!

  by RDGAndrew
 
BTW, it will be interesting to see what kind of shoo-fly bridge they build across 309 and what kind of new bridge will go in when the whole mess is over. The newspaper article I read about the project said that NS "insisted on having uninterrupted train traffic" while the highway work was going on. As if that was some novel and extreme request.

  by glennk419
 
RDGAndrew wrote:BTW, it will be interesting to see what kind of shoo-fly bridge they build across 309 and what kind of new bridge will go in when the whole mess is over. The newspaper article I read about the project said that NS "insisted on having uninterrupted train traffic" while the highway work was going on. As if that was some novel and extreme request.
When I was by there a couple weeks ago, it looked like the eastern abutment for the temporary bridge was almost complete. It was located about 10-15 yards north of the current ROW. They're going to have to put quite a bit of fill in on the western end to match that new alignment. Unfortunately they don't have a spare bridge and railroad to run on like they did in KoP.