• 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

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  by Bracdude181
 
@nomis Odd. Why does Conrail still own that portion? Hasn’t been a train in at least 30 years. I have heard that Ocean County has considered turning it into a rail trail, but that means they’d have to buy the whole thing from Toms River onwards. Knowing Conrail they’d charge a rip-off price for that...
  by R&DB
 
Perhaps Ocean County hasn't acted because they are collecting taxes on the property. The row in question from Germanna Station Road to the GSP is about 40' wide and 2 miles long, so it may have a pretty good tax income.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB Perhaps. Kinda odd that Conrail holds onto the land if it’s still on tax rolls. Clayton pays over 13K annually for the Lakehurst to Woodmansie portion of the Southern. Wonder how much the land costs Conrail annually...
  by Bracdude181
 
I’m not sure if what I’m about tell y’all is information that’s well known, but here it is anyways.

In the 90s Conrail began a never completed project that would have meant a huge increase in traffic on the TRIT and the Southern Secondary.

After the pollution fiasco that Toms River Chemical got in trouble over in the 80s, Ciba Geicy eventually took control of the site and planned to either run the chemical plant or redevelop the site for an industrial center. (Forgot which one) In the early 90s, Ciba began talking with Conrail about bringing in 50 loaded tank cars once a day. I believe the trains were to be loaded with oil.

Conrail began making preparations for these large trains. The TRIT was completely rebuilt from Lakehurst up until where the line turns left across Route 37. The plan was canceled as it would have involved running these trains down the North Jersey Coast Line, and NJ Transit was not fond of having large trains carrying flammable materials down its line. This meant that Ciba could not get the rail service they required, so the project was abandoned and Ciba closed the chemical plant down. It did not take long to become a superfund site.

Or at least I’m pretty sure that’s how the story goes. I may have to make corrections here or there but that’s the general rundown.

Also the timeline isn’t exact. I know that the Toms River Chemical site became a superfund site at some point after the lawsuits from the EPA, but when that happened exactly I’m not sure.
  by Ken W2KB
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:28 pm @R&DB Perhaps. Kinda odd that Conrail holds onto the land if it’s still on tax rolls.
It appears that there are both overhead and underground utilities located in that two mile portion of right of way. The lease payments by the utilities may significantly exceed the property tax.
  by R&DB
 
@Ken W2KB
Thanks Ken, You are probably correct.
  by R&DB
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 9:08 am The Bimini Drive railroad crossing on the TRIT has been marked for repairs. Two sections of brand new rails are sitting on the side of the road and construction markings have been sprayed on and near the tracks...
Went over the Bimini Crossing today, It does not appear any repairs were done back in September as it is in poor condition.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB I know, I’ve been stopping there from time to time whenever I have to drive up to Lakehurst.

Did you see the brand new heavy rail sitting on the side of the road?
  by R&DB
 
i didn't notice any rail laying there but I didn't stop to look as I had traffic right on my tail. But the crossing absolutely needs work.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB The whole line should be fixed and reopened while they are at it lol.

I really, REALLY want to see Seashore Lines operate this track. It would make such an awesome little branch line for them. Imagine one of their engines going through that monster crossing on Route 37!
  by R&DB
 
@Bracdude,
The Toms River Bus terminal would make a wonderful Train Station for an excursion train but there are two missing bridges on the RoW, not to mention two miles of track to lay. Lakehurst needs the wye put back in. A station at Whiting would be desirable as well as Lakehurst. The BASF (former Ciba-Geigy) site would be a good spot for an engine house or car storage. Perhaps Builders General could get rail service again? Columbia Propane?
All of this is dependent upon what happens with Clayton, the Southern Secondary and the Freehold Industrial Track. Opening the FIT between Freehold and Farmingdale would remove NJT from the equation. A wye at Farmingdale would make moves from Browns to the Southern much easier. Sand traffic from Woodmansie would generate income for NJSL who then might want to expand to the TRIT.
Yes this is dreaming, but it could be made to turn a profit by a properly run short line.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB I was referring to Ciba Geicy to Lakehurst when I said the whole line. Not sure if they will ever rebuild to downtown Toms River.

Funny you mention those customers. I’ve been hearing that Builders General and Amerigas (Formally Columbia Propane) want rail service again. I’ve also heard Seashore Lines has indeed looked into running the TRIT. Not sure if that’s true, but I really hope it is.

If it was up to me I’d do rail/truck transloading at Ciba Geicy. There’s a lot of people in Ocean County that could benefit from that, and it would Seashore Lines a hell of a lot of money if they did it right.
  by R&DB
 
The question is threefold:
1 - Is there really customers that want regular rail service?
2 - Is Conrail willing or do they want to sell it?
3 - Does Mr. Mackrie have the desire and funds to purchase?
If the Clayton sand trains start running some of these questions may get answered. My guess is it would become financially acceptable to resume service on the TRIT. Just add the TRIT traffic to sand train and interchange in Lakehurst. If the sand trains go through Oak Island all traffic for the TRIT could interchange there instead of Browns. If NJSL does get the TRIT they would need trackage rights to north on the Lakewood siding. Also think the siding should be extended through Lakehurst to the double track south of town. Obviously the missing switch to the TRIT would need to be put back in. The wye is not essential, but sure would help.
Regarding the BASF site, until the western (usable ) portion of the site is separated from the eastern (contaminated) portion, nothing can be done with it. BASF undoubtedly knows they have valuable real estate there and sooner or later they will do something with it. Railfans would like to see rail use of the site, but any use that heavily uses the crossing of Rt-37 probably won't be approved by the township. An occasional move into Builders is one thing, but a park & ride or large intermodal terminal is quite another. Could be a good site for car storage. IF NJSL gets the TRIT, it would be a good site for an engine house / shop.
A major problem with the TRIT is the eight grade crossings between Builders and Lakehurst and the monster crossing at Rt-37. None of these crossings have gates. Most of these crossings have a large majority of the traffic being elderly who have not seen a train in the vicinity for 20 years. They may ignore signals. A public relations campaign may be necessary before starting service.
  by Bracdude181
 
@R&DB To answer your questions.

1. Builders General and Amerigas want service. Both are tired of trucking their materials to their respective locations. More so with Builders. When Conrail closed the line in 2005 they made an agreement that Conrail would pay to truck lumber from Freehold to Toms River. Conrail recently backed out of this and Builders is very unhappy about it.

There are three other potential customers on the line. ABC Supply Co, Mountain Millwork, and L&W Building Supply. Not sure if any of them are interested in rail service though.

2. Conrail wants nothing to do with with this line and will likely sell or lease the line to anyone who wants it. They are more likely to lease it.

3. My sources have told me that he indeed is looking to run the line, but there’s no confirmation of that. Not sure if he has the money but the line is not in horrible condition, and can likely be fixed for relatively cheap.

4. The crossings can be upgraded. Route 37 needs new lights, signs, and a road surface. Bananier Dr is fine as it is, but could do with LED lights and a new road surface. Saint Catherine Blvd and Bimini Dr will need a complete rebuild with lights and gates. Alexander Ave at the very least needs new signs that meet FRA/DOT standards, preferably the standard X sign combined with a stop sign. S Colonial Dr has been damaged by vandalism and will probably need to be replaced. Repairs should consider the fact that the road sees heavy school bus traffic.

5. The current siding south of Union Ave has a crossover in the middle, which separates it into two sections. One can hold all of the sand cars and the other can take cars for the TRIT. Therefore, the only problem is a parking spot for engines, which can easily be done on the OceanGro spur.

6. At most, the crossing on 37 would only be used twice daily. One train in, one train out. I wouldn’t expect any huge trains coming in and out of this place so traffic shouldn’t be a huge problem. God forbid a train breaks down there, an alternative route exists.

7. BASF does indeed allow people to lease the land. Someone is leasing the eastern part for a solar farm right now.
  by R&DB
 
Someone is leasing the eastern part for a solar farm right now.
From what I can see from Google satellite view there is no solar farm on the property and it is heavily patrolled by a private security firm. I can see the cars patrolling the eastern fence from my front window.
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