• The Aldene Plan

  • Discussion of the historical operations related to the Central Railroad of New Jersey; Lehigh & Hudson River; Lehigh & New England; Lehigh Valley; and the Reading Company. Visit the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society for more information.
Discussion of the historical operations related to the Central Railroad of New Jersey; Lehigh & Hudson River; Lehigh & New England; Lehigh Valley; and the Reading Company. Visit the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society for more information.

Moderators: metman499, scottychaos, CAR_FLOATER, Franklin Gowen, David, Marty Feldner

  by Sonny
 
Does anyone have any information or memories about Aldene Plan construction on the Lehigh Valley? What exactly was done, how it may've disrupted operations, when the work began? How about grade crossings, I know several were eliminated, anyone know whcih ones?

Thanks
Sonny
  by Sonny
 
Well to answer my own question, partially anyway, I found a NY TIMES article from January 1966 which revealed that construction along the LV main began in the summer of 1965. But union squabbles and a delay in the Port Authority acquiring additional PATH cars for extra Newark service were holding things up. CNJ President Perry Shoemaker told the TIMES that in his opinion service could begin in Spring 1966 with or without the extra PATH cars. The head of a coalition of 21 separate CNJ unions responded that he thought that was too optimistic. Turned out he was right too. (Service began on May 1, 1967, right?)

Anyway, the TIMES article said four grade crossings were being eliminated and had a photo of existing ground-level LV track (in Union) with the newly constructed viaduct off to the right. Not sure which direction the camera was facing. Also had a photo, much better quality, of the Aldene ramp between CNJ and LV under construction. No track yet, but the fill was complete.

Hope the foregoing jogs somebody's memory!

Sonny

  by TheBaran
 
I am certain that two of the eliminated grade crossings were Locust Avenue and Chestnut Street (Roselle Park) and I believe the other two were further east as Galloping Hill Road (Roselle Park/Union) and Morris Avenue (Union). These four crossings were replaced with bridges carrying the Lehigh Valley tracks.

The Roselle Park Historical Society is located on West Grant Avenue, near the corner of West Grant Avenue and Chestnut Street in Roselle Park (across from the post office) has several historical pictures of work associated with the grade crossing elimination project that was part of the Aldene Plan, as well as a few pictures of the old Lehigh Valley Roselle Park Train Station.

Several road crossings in Roselle Park were also closed as a result of the Aldene Plan (Walnut Street once crossed the Lehigh Line and I believe Roosevelt Street (see below) did as well).

A pedestrian tunnel was also constructed connecting West Clay Avenue with Roosevelt Street. This tunnel was built long enough to accommodate expansion of the Lehigh Line to 3-tracks (pre-NIMBY thinking). This tunnel is located next to DeIorio catering and deli. This business is owned by the family of Roselle Park mayor Joe DeIorio. The mayor's opposition to the reactivation of the SIRT and RVRR railroads stems from the increase in train traffic on the Lehigh Line (behind his deli/home) that resulted from the Aldene Plan and ultimately freight train traffic re-direction as a result of Conrail. For that reason, he hates trains and distrusts anything positive said about them.

  by Sonny
 
Thanks Baran for the information about Roselle Park and the Lehigh Valley. Chestnut and Locust Sts, are they by the station? A guy on another list worked at the Post Office back in 1965-66 when the construction was in full swing. He said that at times it was very hard to get across the grade crossings, what with work trains and the regular LV traffic.

I wanna try and stop at DiIorio's deli they next time I go to Roselle Park to railfan. The platform is a great place to watch trains. You can see westbounds coming almost all the way from Hunter. The Roselle Park Hist Socy sounds pretty interesting, too.

Thanks again-

Sonny

  by TheBaran
 
The east end of the Roselle Park train station platform overlooks Chestnut Street, the west end overlooks Locust Avenue. If you are standing at the east end of the platform, you will see one of the Roselle Park volunteer firehouses. Next to the firehouse is a new, asphalt bike path that parallels the tracks down to Galloping Hill Road. The path is about 1/2 mile long. There is a fenced flood basin along one side of the path. About midway down the path is a gate, normally open, where you can access the basin (which is normally dry). It is a great place to exercise a dog, while railfanning at the same time. The embankment is cleared of trees and you have unobstructed views of the trains. Signal towers give indications of oncoming trains. During late spring and much of summer, you can get great sunset shots of trains from the basin given the orientation of the line thru town.
  by jack S.
 
A 1923 map of Elizabeth-Union shows Morris Avenue and the Morris County Traction line UNDER the Lehigh Valley.

Best switches,

  by TheBaran
 
You are correct Jack. I was not sure about the Morris Avenue crossing. TopoZone.com has the pre-Aldene Plan Quad loaded for Roselle Park. You can see the grade crossings for Locust and Walnut Avenues, as well as Chestnut Street. Further northeast, the contour lines indicate a bridge for Morris Avenue. The Morris Avenue bridge is similar in appearance to the Locust Avenue and Chestnut Street bridges (even before the additional bridge span was recently added over Morris Avenue for Union Station). The structural steel is similar and the supports are all formed concrete. This is in contrast to the original Faitoute Avenue Bridge in Roselle Park, which is concrete with stone supports. The original Morris Avenue bridge was likely replaced around the time of the Aldene Plan, perhaps to accommodate a widening of Morris Avenue.
  by CAR_FLOATER
 
The Morris Ave. bridge was replaced in the 1950's (1952 to be exact if I remember correctly), because I have a copy of a General Order with a note for a speed restriction at the location (Townley/Morris Ave.), due to a shoefly track and temporary bridge....I also believe it named Shering-Plough.
This was probably due to the widening of the road, but I have no concrete proff of that. I will try to dig the original order out of my collection and post it.

Car Floater
S. Plainfield, NJ