• Toms River Industrial Track!

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

Moderator: David

  • 204 posts
  • 1
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 14
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB You are probably correct in saying that only one company should be running down here, although two freight rail companies can sort of co-exist if they try to. Your also right in saying there is a need for at least something to be done down here than just trains of lumber. However, this is really tricky because of the following issues.

1. While cars can theoretically be exchanged in Red Bank, NJT owns it and likely won’t allow cars to be stored and exchanged there. They like to keep it as open as possible for what seems like “god-forbid” reasons. Plus as it is now, you can only store about 15 modern day cars in Red Bank yard. It would be okay if they only had a few customers and ran only twice a week, but it will be a challenge if someone like Seashore Lines wants to expand down here.
Perhaps Seashore Lines could run a sort of Red Bank to Bay Head freight from there so Conrail can keep their trackage rights from Red Bank to South Amboy?

2. While passenger service is possible down here, it probably won’t happen under Seashore Lines. They could do Lakehurst or Toms River to Red Bank, but the FRA requires PTC and signals to be installed on any line with regularly scheduled passenger trains. This will dramatically increase the costs of rebuilding this line for passenger service. Last I heard, Transit wanted around 110 million to repair Red Bank to Lakehurst and bring everything up to standard and build train stations. They wanted catenary wires for electric trains too. (EW) It it highly unlikely that Seashore Lines will ever have this amount of money, and NJ Transit isn’t willing to spend that much. 110 million is probably what they pocket annually.

Plus, Transit really isn’t fond of freight trains and they will absolutely try to get rid of them if they take this line over.

However, passenger excursions on portions of the Southern are entirely possible and would be fairly popular, especially in Ocean County. It’s up to Seashore Lines to do something like this though. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. Hopefully we will see something.
I’d like to see CNJ 1523 and 1524 with some of the Jersey Builder coaches from the URHS between Lakehurst and Woodmansie.

Now this is where things get tricky.

3. NJ Transit owns the line from Red Bank to South Lakewood. Any sale or something similar would have to be approved by them. They won’t do this though, as they still think they need to hang onto this track for whatever reason. Same goes for Woodmansie to Winslow. They were thinking about doing that as part of MOM and even went as far to have two guys survey the line, but that never went anywhere.

Plus, Conrail can’t search for business, so getting rid of them to take this line over for MOM would be much easier. Especially since Conrail doesn’t want to be down here regardless.

Conrail owns Toms River to South Lakewood. Seashore Lines could easily take this section over and do whatever they please with it, since Conrail wants nothing to do with it. Truth be told, this is probably what should happen since it would at the very least keep this line going as Seashore Lines seems to be the only that wants to run on it.

One more thing, if Conrail well and truly wants this line to be better, they REALLY should reconnect it to the Freehold Industrial. As it stands, NJ Transit has restrictions for freight trains on the Coast Line. If SA31 came down this way and if OI-16 went down the NEC to Monmouth Junction and accessed Browns that way, it would allow for better customer service and larger/heavier freight cars, in addition to the ability to bring down almost anything that NJT has banned from the Coast Line.

Personally, I think it’s up to Seashore Lines to turn things around here. Conrails management has made it clear that they want nothing to do with this line, and Transit is too lazy and/or greedy to do almost anything other than what they do now. Some great improvements can be made down here provided that Seashore Lines plays their cards right. I’ve been hearing that the sand trains will finally start up this upcoming summer and that the sand will go towards the new Amtrak Portal Bridge, but we’ve all heard this before so we will see what happens.
  by WashingtonPark
 
Maybe I'm missing something, but why are we assuming that Seashore Lines wants anything to do with any of this except to run the sand trains that the state has granted the money for?
  by CR7876
 
WashingtonPark wrote:Maybe I'm missing something, but why are we assuming that Seashore Lines wants anything to do with any of this except to run the sand trains that the state has granted the money for?
Become some people are try to show that they are "connected". In reality, seeing is believing.
  by CharlieL
 
I think this whole thing is like a mobius strip. If the line was there and in use you might get more customers. I don't think anyone, particularly NJT or Conrail is going to put up money on speculation. I also don't think Ocean county is exactly a welcoming environment for the types of industry that could use rail in the amounts that would be required to reactivate the TR IT.
If the sand trains begin to run (for portal / gateway) and generate the kind of revenue needed, it would make some sense to extend the Freehold secondary to the southern just to keep the sand trains off the NJCL below South Amboy. And maybe with an active plate "F" route someone would be interested. Too many "ifs". Toms River / Manchester is pretty much a bedroom community with the only businesses those that support that type of community.
  by WashingtonPark
 
CharlieL wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:31 pm I think this whole thing is like a mobius strip. If the line was there and in use you might get more customers. I don't think anyone, particularly NJT or Conrail is going to put up money on speculation. I also don't think Ocean county is exactly a welcoming environment for the types of industry that could use rail in the amounts that would be required to reactivate the TR IT.
If the sand trains begin to run (for portal / gateway) and generate the kind of revenue needed, it would make some sense to extend the Freehold secondary to the southern just to keep the sand trains off the NJCL below South Amboy. And maybe with an active plate "F" route someone would be interested. Too many "ifs". Toms River / Manchester is pretty much a bedroom community with the only businesses those that support that type of community.
That's what I was thinking. If CR and NJT won't put up the money on speculation why would the Seashore Lines to run freight down to Cape May, Ocean City or Tom's River, (when nobody has said they want freight service), without big grants to pay for everything, and what government agency is going to do that right now? They make their money on car storage. I can't believe they can make any now or in the future by running occasional passenger excursions to these places.
  by R&DB
 
Dear members who read this thread;
My posts here are just conjecture and wishful thinking. My suggestion of Seashore Lines as operator is because Clayton has chosen them as operator for the Lakehurst - Woodmansie track. As others have noted neither NJT or Conrail seem to have any interest in anything beyond Woodhaven, hence my idea of a shortline operator. If passenger service was to be offered it would obviously need to be compliant to all rules and regulations.
I grew up a few blocks from the NY&LB and lived 10 years near the Maxim station site. I now live close to the TRIT and have friends and a brother in Whiting, so I am very familiar with the need for some non-road transportation assets in the Ocean/Monmouth areas. NJT is basically a commuter railroad. What I foresee is more of of an excursion/shopping service with some connecting service for commutation. Local control of freight may entice more shippers to choose rail.
So if you look at my posts as the dreams of a 70 year old foamer you are correct. But if I had the money to buy and build what I foam about, I would.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB I agree, I’d really like something to be done down here. Even without MOM this line really can be something great again. Prior to Shard Assets Conrail, this line made enough money to justify switching crews that ran as needed. There was that many customers!

Since you’ve lived near these lines so long, I have a question.

Have you noticed that things really started going downhill around here after Conrail was split off? No more TRIT, no weekend switcher crews, a HUGE drop in customers, and deteriorating tracks? It just seems that Conrail really stopped caring for this line around 2002 or 2003 and I don’t understand why seeing as how profitable it was. We still saw two trains a week with 25 cars each (usually) up until that point...
Last edited by Bracdude181 on Thu Dec 24, 2020 2:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by pdtrains
 
I seriously think we need a dreaming board. Keep reality and dreaming separate. I lived in a town in north Jersey, which once had passenger and freight trains. Today its all but abandoned. The population has shifted to techies, who live at their computer screens, and rich, semi-famous ppl, who wouldnt think of stepping down to using any sort of public transportation.

And while I believe that "if u build it, they will come", no one wants to spend their own money building anything. This country is pretty much run by old men, who, as a lot, tent to be very self centered, and resentful about something. Not every old man...but a lot.

Dream all u want. The reality is...u CAN have anything u want in local railroads...all it takes is money.
  by Bracdude181
 
@pdtrains Exactly. People want this line to be more active. At the very least using it to take all the trucks in the area off the road if there won’t be passenger trains.

But no.

“Can’t do this, can’t do that. Too expensive this, don’t wanna do it that.”

Aside from grant money and whatever Clayton paid for, Seashore Lines is really the only person to pay out of pocket for anything on the Southern and the TRIT. (They wired the TRIT lead into the new Union Ave crossing which they are paying for out of pocket)

All I’ve ever heard for why the Southern and Central Jersey rail freight has fallen from grace is excuses. Transit won’t spend a dime on MOM and Conrail only barely cares enough to keep the Southern running at this point. It’s over for this line if something doesn’t change soon. Conrail has already weighed their options and tried to find buyers for this line, but no one except Seashore Lines has put the money and work forward. Chesapeake and Delaware was interested too, but that went absolutely nowhere.
  by David
 
Things are going to change. Possibly within the next year. Do not lose faith. My sources say, within the later months of 2021. Sorry, not going to go out on a limb with too much info for now. I do not want a lot of you folks telling me I am spreading "rumors". This tread has come alive for the good. Keep reporting. Thank you--David
  by CharlieL
 
@R&DB:

I didn't take your comments any other way. It seemed very plain to me that was what you were expressing.
I also would like the southern to be more active and am old enough to remember traffic on the TR industrial down to Waretown, as well as the RDC between Red Bank and Trenton via Seagirt, Freehold, etc, carrying mostly students. And I still miss the K4s' on the NY&LB (don't remember the camelbacks tho as the Central dieselized their trains on it around 1948).
It all boils down to money. NJT is broke, as is the state. If there's money to be made, someone will do it. I just don't see that happening. I would love to be proved wrong.
  by Bracdude181
 
@David I’ve been hearing good things will happen next year too. Not sure what you’ve been hearing, but I’ve heard the sand trains will (finally) start up in June. Seashore Lines is almost done with repairs, but Conrail still has work to do.

They never properly repaired the bridge under Route 70 after an SA38 crew parked NS 5311 on it overnight many years ago. When 31 came back the next day the middle of the bridge was sagging.
  by R&DB
 
@CharleL
Thank you and by the way it was a doodlebug between Red Bank & Trenton. (gas not diesel, saw it a few times) As I stated in a previous post, this line, the Southern Secondary and the Freehold Industrial Track all belong in the private sector. (Think short line) Gov'mint (NJT) and big biz (CR Shared Assets) are just not responsive to local needs. The only reason I mentioned NJSL in my previous posts is because Clayton selected them to operate their track. And NJSL has experience with both freight and passenger operations. Black River & Western would probably be a good fit as well. I would just like the operator to be a NJ based shortline.

The main part of the infrastructure (ROW & track) is there. (yeah I know it needs work) It just needs to be properly utilized! Thinking outside the box is required here.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB Seems like many aren’t open to thinking outside the box. Seashore Lines running down here on at least part of the track makes sense.

Truthfully it’s the NJT freight restrictions that are holding this line back. No cars over Plate E, a 263,000 pound gross weight limit, and various bans regarding car types and commodities. No steel coils, scrap gondolas, refrigerated boxcars, intermodal cars, and some flatcars. This means that quite a few of the people along this line who want to use it simply can’t do so because the cars they need aren’t allowed on the Coast Line.

The only way to fix this is to permanently reroute OI-16 down the NEC and reopen Farmingdale to Freehold. (I’ve heard we might see both of these next year but I’m not gonna hold my breath just yet) Amtrak allows almost anything to come down their tracks, with the exception of long trains carrying nothing but hazardous goods.

Problem is, running down the NEC is more expensive due to the longer route length. The current route is shorter and allows Conrail to drill 4-5 yards with one crew and two engines, so it’s cheaper for Conrail.

As for Farmingdale to Freehold I don’t really understand why they got rid of it seeing as how it allowed Conrail to work the Amboy Secondary, Freehold, and the Southern all on one train.
  by CJPat
 
@Bracdude - Several times you have referenced freight restrictions from NJT prohibiting certain types of cars and their freight (e.g. gondolas of scrap, refridgerator, etc) on the Southern and multiple other members had stated that the restrictions do not exist. Can you please identify where these restrictions are printed out? That would surely settle your claim. There would have to be a written policy enforcing what fright they cannot accept that prohibits certain types of Customers from locating adjacent to the rail and not using the service.

As far as Plate F cars being forbidden, it would be a factor of clearances, bridge restrictions, and rail conditions. Since the whole concept of the rehabilitation of the Secondary was to support sand hoppers, this would be significant since these are some of the heaviest standard size cars rolling. And as previously mentioned by others, the actual type cars requiring the Plate F rating are few and relatively not pertinent to any type of industry that the Southern would be expected of serving so i don't know why you think that is any factor of real consideration.

The NEC is a doubtful resource. As it stands now, Amtrak does not support expanding the number of trains on the line, especially slow moving freight. NJT itself has issues trying to increase the quantities of trains on the NEC and are being held at bay. Amtrak is focused on increasing line speed trying to reach the coveted "High Speed Rail" goal. Freight is an obstruction to that plan.

The business of freight rail as well as just how commercial industry operates in these days has undergone such evolution over the 30 years I have lived in this area due to political, social, and financial reasons, it doesn't support the smaller customer. It's all about bulk movement (multiple cars). Look at any mixed freight. typically, it consists of numbers of the same car type (e.g. group of tankers, group of intermodals, group of hoppers, etc). Shortlines maybe interested in servicing the small qty customers, but not the Class Is that need to move and sort the cars in their yard.

The lumber works well on the Southern because they are moving 7+ cars typically in a run to Woodhaven. The sand (assuming Clayton actually nails down a large project supply contract) will be desirable since they will be moving a large quantity of hoppers each time to make it work everyone's while.

This is why freight doesn't expand on the Southern. I don't believe it has anything to do with some prohibited freight class. If someone wanted service similar to Woodhaven (many cars delivered at once and regularly), I believe you will see the interest.

If you want to see how a shortline operates and how hard they had to work (with the many nuisances) to make a buck, here is an interesting briefing on how the Rahway Valley RR used to operate in the late 1960s given by Richard King, of TriState Rail a week ago at one of their virtual meetings (I grew up in the Cranford/Kenilworth area and was always curious about the Rahway Valley).
https://www.facebook.com/TriStateRail/ ... 8554089665

Definitely not glamorous and you can see why Conrail wasn't inspired to expand on these kind of operations that they took over (clarification - Rahway Valley was never under Conrail, after freight heavily dried up, the Delaware & Oswego gave up and it was abandoned)
  • 1
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 14