• South Jersey Exploration - Weds, Dec 29th, 2004 (Wins, Tuck

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

Moderator: David

  by JJMDiMunno
Hey guys,
Well, the man from alligator country (Dave Halbert of Naples, FL) has returned to New Jersey for the annual winter visit, and so we began on Wednesday, December 29th with the first of several planned all-day trips around the South Jersey region. As an overview of what we covered today, we started out at Winslow Junction, and ended up at Bellmawr on the Grenloch IT with stops at Vineland, Bridgeton, Tuckahoe, and Woodbine along the way (well, not exactly "along the way", but that was the way we chose to go. Here's some highlights from today's rounds:

We started out at Winslow Junction, where we found nothing going on with the exception of some idling equipment and cars on the interchange for CA-51 to pick up in the evening. We chose to follow the CNJ south to Vineland, checking out any progress made by the SRNJ on their service restoration project down there. We found extensive brush clearing between Winslow and the recently reconstructed bridge over Hospitality Creek (or is that Collings Lake?)...a definite requirement since a light engine move was in fact performed over this bridge not too long ago, just after the bridge work was finished. However, south of the bridge, there appears to have been no track work performed as of yet, and evergreens still continue to grow high between the rails in some spots, a result of lack of service for several years. This leaves a significant portion of track for the SRNJ to work on before freight service from Winslow to Vineland can re-commence...

Along our trek to Vineland, we found several of these CNJ-style boxes, which both of us have noticed before but never really knew their function. We still do not know the exact function of these boxes, which appear to be numbered sequentially (the pictured box is #712)...though we suspect possible signal control boxes of some kind from this track's days as ABS territory. A photo is seen below...this photo is down by Buena Vista:


Eventually, we wound up at Vineland, where we spotted yet another interesting historical signal box of some kind. This one appears to have controlled a semaphore on the PRSL, protecting the interlocking at LANDIS. This would be the northbound signal protecting the interlocking, and this signal is listed as signal "1LA" on my PRSL interlocking diagrams. The signal is long gone, but the box (and most of it's interior mechanism) remains today:


Next, we followed the CNJ (now Conrail Vineland Industrial Track) a little further to the west, where we came across the former location of the spurs into the Vineland Electric Plant, which was a topic of discussion on SJRA recently. The track work performed by MOW forces on the South Jersey District is very obvious in this area, as piles of discarded ties can be found all along the Vineland Industrial ROW. This view is looking west along the CNJ, the old (and now detatched) spurs can be seen here:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec29 ... ectric.jpg

Next, we proceeded west to the city of Bridgeton, where we made a quick stop at the W&W. While we did not have time to get out and look around too much, a complete day trip is already in the planning to cover the Bridgeton region as part of the Dave and Mike summer spectacular 2005. In our quick glances around the area today, we did happen to locate and quickly check out the PRR station (now a welcome center), and some interesting industrial spurs in the area of that station building that do not appear to have been abandoned for too long now. More investigation will have to be done into this area with the help of David's GPS navigation system this summer (when I don't have to pull out my stacks of maps and try to figure out what the heck we're looking at).

After we were finished at Bridgeton, we refueled ourselves at a local Wawa (of course) before making a straight path to Tuckahoe via route 49. Upon our arrival at Tuckahoe, we were pretty amazed at what we saw. Work was being done to complete the engine storage track there at Tuckahoe (which will eventually become a run-around), and the track gang was out in full force there today. After checking in with the folks on the scene to ensure that our presence there was OK (always a good idea folks, I can't stress this enough), we took a walk around and I was able to grab the following two images, showing the new track being installed there:


While we were there at Tuckahoe, we were advised that significant work had been done at Woodbine, and we thought that it would be a good idea to take a ride down there and investigate. It turns out that a majority of the grading for the first of two spurs there has been completed, and that track crews will soon begin installing new rail there. I shot the following two views there, one from the Cape May Branch itself facing south and displaying the newly cleared ROW, and the other from the dirt portion of Heine Avenue, which will eventually host a grade crossing for this spur. The Train Interceptor can be seen on the right in the first photo :)


After this, we decided to call it a day pretty much and head back towards home (only because the sunlight was leaving us, we've done days longer than this one)...as we approached Hammonton on the way home, a DC call from Curt reported that CA-05 was going to come out of Bulson Street and lock themselves in the Grenloch Industrial for the night, where they would outlaw. Being the Grenloch Branch fans that we both are, we just had to make a side trip up to catch this train working at Bellmawr, and so we did. Power tonight was CSX 1127 and CSX 1128, sequential switcher units. They did their work at Weyerhaeuser and tied their train down on the siding at Benigno Blvd, where they continued to sit awaiting a CA-69 recrew until around 1AM. I shot two sets of photos of this outlawed local...one around 6:30PM just as they outlawed, and another around 9:45PM with the assistance of both my headlights and Curt's combined. Here's the two best images from tonight's lineup:

CA-05 at Benigno Blvd, just after the crew had stepped off the power. This is a time exposure of 30 seconds at F4.5 and ISO-100:
http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec29 ... nigno1.jpg

CA-05 at Benigno Blvd again, this time around 9:45PM. The lighting was provided by car headlights from two vehicles, with Curt sweeping back and forth with his headlights across the trucks of the locomotives as I performed a 13-second time exposure at F4.5. A little more light on the end of the 1127 would have been nice, but hey, you can't get everything you want:
http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec29 ... nigno2.jpg

And thus concludes another Dave Halbert / Mike DiMunno (in conjunction with SJRail.com and the South Jersey Railfan's Association) historical trip production...look out for our next report tomorrow night, with coverage of some other interesting locations.

Mike DiMunno
www.SJRail.com: All about South Jersey Railroads!