• The Northern Branch - southern terminus?

  • Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.
Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.

Moderators: TAMR213, keeper1616

  by CPSK
I'm not sure this post belongs here with Conrail, but since I am mainly interested in the southern terminus between North Bergen and Jersey City, I believe it comes under Conrail Shared Assets.
I am confused.
I was just running (by foot) past the Piermont NY station on a run from Tappan to Nyack Beach SP. Part of the trail is the old Northern branch.
After I returned home, I started doing some research on the Northern branch.
I am reading this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Branch" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

First off, they talk about the configuration prior to the 1990's when the new Marion Junction was built.
I recall train movements in the area, as I was listening on my scanner from Teaneck NJ and had good coverage to the south.
CR trains used to have to do a reverse move at Marion in order to get from the Northern running track to the west (Kearny, OI, etc). I remember that being a PITA, with the grade crossing at the busy Newark ave.

The other route was to use the elevated loop track (which I believe was built by PC) which would take trains running through the old Erie tunnel from what is now CP Croxton, up the loop, and onto what was always referred to as the "Westbound", which is the P&H line. This allowed trains to get from the River Line to Kearny and west without making the reverse move at Marion.

The Wikipedia article referrs to that being the preferred route, but talks about running through the Palisades in tunnels twice. Looking at Google Maps, I see only the one tunnel - which is the old Erie tunnel which comes out just north of the beginning of the P&H loop track. I believe the point where the loop track connected to what is now the National Docs secondary - was called "CP Nave".
So, where is the second tunnel that the Wiki article is talking about?
Whether trains came through the Weehawken tunnel (which is now NJT's HBLR line), or through the old Erie tunnel, there was only one tunnel involved.

Unless they are referring to a time before the Northern branch was connected to the River Line in North Bergen? Wasn't it always connected there?
If not, I can see where the second tunnel comes in, but that would mean that a reverse move was necessary at CP Nave, right?
The train would come through the Weehawken tunnel on the River Line, travel to CP Nave, then what? Was there a run-around track where the locos could run around the train and then pull them through the Erie tunnel back up the Northern branch?

I think what I am confused about is which trains that Wiki article is talking about.
Trains needing to access points north on the Northern branch from points south of Jersey City or v/v?
I am more familiar with the PC and CR trains connecting between the River Line and points west and south or v/v.

The article also mentions a "CP 2". Where was CP2? Was that the south end of the North Bergen yard? I always thought that was CP1, or CP01.
Perhaps the article is referring to the CP names on the Northern, which would have been different than those on PC or NYC.

I hope that someone can either clear this up for me, or link me to another website where I can get this mess of spaghetti untwisted.


  by Backshophoss
Believe CP 2 is on the River Line to Selkirk
  by mackdave
Check this link for a map of how the Northern went to the Erie's Jersey City waterfront terminal.
http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com/2012 ... lroad.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The changes took place over several decades to get to where we are today. I'm going to try and list them as I remember.
1. Early 1950's the NYS&W built a new bridge over the east end of Croxton yard at KW on the Erie. When it was done, they sold it to the PRR, and moved the PRR interchange from Marion Junction (barely visible on the penhorn map, follow a straight line south to the PRR, the line then went east to Journal Square) to Secaucus Rd, which became the south end of the NYS&W.
2. When the EL merger happened, all Erie trains except the Northern and NYS&W were moved to Hoboken via a new connection to the DL&W. There was no direct track to Hoboken for the Northern. Later the Northern trains did get to Hoboken with a backup move in Secaucus,then on the DL&W. The NYS&W terminated at Susquehanna Transfer underneath the Route 3 viaduct.
3.Penn Central tried to link the North Bergen end of the NYC River Division to the PRR at Marion Junction, but Irving Maidman, owner of the NYS&W wanted way too much money for the two miles of track (PC would have to buy the entire NYS&W). PC built a link Between Waldo in Jersey City (just east of Journal square on the PRR) down to the National Docks branch of the NYC below Dickinson High School. This did give a direct, although tenuous connection. The curved bridge is still there, over Newark Ave. abandoned for years.
4. When Conrail came along, the Northern became Conrail property, and enabled the NYC North Bergen trackage to be connected to the "new" PRR/NYS&W yard at Secaucus Rd. The Marion Junction connection in Jersey City was reversed with a new RR bridge over Truck Rts 1&9 to enable River Division trains to go south and west, and PRR to go East and North.
5. When the HBLR came along, this all received state funding to make it all happen. KW was rebuilt to enable trains from the PRR to access Croxton (NS moves) and utilize the ancient Erie Freight tunnel to restore the connection south of National Junction to get NYC Trains to Greenville and over Newark Bay for Oak Island access.

Whew! Any corrections are welcome.

Dave Mackay
  by mackdave
The answer to your question about the current end of the Northern, it's just above 69th St in North Bergen were it's grafted onto the NYC.

Dave Mackay