• CR on the Southern Secondary

  • 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
 
@CoastLineRailfan Interesting find. There were several customers out there getting shipments up until rail service ended. I wasn't familiar about this one though. Nowadays, Clayton Sand and Ocean Spray appear to be the only people out there that could get rail service.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:17 am I'd just like to throw my two cents in regarding recent posts about a potential re-activation of the Southern between Winslow and Woodmansie.

While it's almost certainly not going to be reactivated, I have heard some rumors that say otherwise.

One of the rumors was that Conrail was to have NJ Seashore Lines reactive the line between Lakehurst and Winslow, to move cars between Oak Island and Camden. An Oak Island to Camden transfer was run for a short time while the line was still active (to my knowledge) so I guess something like that could work if there's money to be made on that kind of train.

The other rumor, which is honestly kinda crazy, was that CSX and Conrail were looking into rebuilding Lakehurst to Winslow (as well as the rest of the Southern) so that it could be used as a permanent reroute for CSX oil trains.

Apparently, residents along the CSX Philadelphia and Trenton Subdivisions are worried about one of the oil trains derailing and exploding. Something along the lines of the Montreal Maine and Atlantic crash in Lac Megantic.

Instead of going down the CSX mainline, the trains would be sent down the Beeselys Point Secondary to Winslow, where the trains would turn North and use the Southern. From Farmingdale onwards, there's a few potential routes. The Coast Line and the Northeast Corridor are two routes they considered.

I personally don't think this will happen, but it's certainly a possibility.

The only other area of the Southern that I know is being looked at for sure is Woodmansie to Chatsworth. NJ Seashore Lines has considered doing car storage on this stretch, so maybe that's what we are likely to see. It's certainly better than nothing.
I always thought that with NJSL managing the future Clayton operation, that eventually they would reactivate the Southern south of Woodmansie; doesn't make much sense that they wouldn't, imo, because the detour they would have to take to get from their South Jersey yards/HQ/whatever to Lakehurst as of now would be going up the NEC to North Jersey, taking the Coastline down to Central Jersey, and then ride the Southern down to Lakehurst; as far as I know we haven't heard about them building any yards/shops on the Secondary, so I'd imagine a trip that could take 30 minutes would end up taking hours. Maybe there's something going on behind the scenes, like NJSL and Conrai are in talks about the rest of the route, and that's why we haven't seen much activity (outside of Gateway failures) besides rebuilding the line.

I do think the SOUS would be a good freight mainline that could be used, but the NEC is more direct for transit between Camden, Philly, and Oak Island. However, they have to share that with passenger rail. I don't think they'll do the oil trains, because as someone mentioned here earlier, the Pine Barrens are sensitive environmental reserve. I don't think rerouting giant oil trains through them so they won't potentially derail and explode elsewhere would go over well. Not to mention, the FIT goes through some pretty dense areas. But maybe I'm wrong.
  by Bracdude181
 
@JohnFromJersey I personally don't think the oil train thing will happen either. I just figured I'd put that out there because a few people had asked about the possibility of Woodmansie to Winslow being reopened. It could happen, but it probably won't.

I can definitely see parts of the line being utilized for railcar storage. It wouldn't take much to do it. All that really needs to be done is the foliage would need to be removed, any damaged ties need replacing, new ballast in some spots, and the bridge over Route 72 would need some work. The rails are damaged in some spots due to attempted theft, but it's not impossible to fix.

Anything south of the Route 70 bridge in Lakehurst is likely gonna be NJ Seashore Lines territory anyways. I can see it becoming a great little class 3 shortline.
Railcar storage, excursions on the Southern, rail/truck transloading in Toms River, and maybe a small yard and maintenance shop in Lakehurst are all things that we could potentially see. In fact, I'd go as far to say intermodal could be possible down here if it's done right. It wouldn't be anything too big though, just a way to some of the tractor trailers off the highways between Ocean County and Port Newark.

Also, I agree that the NEC is currently a better route for a Sayerville to Oak Island transfer. I had been hearing rumors that they were gonna redo the current transfer (OI-16) so that cars for Sayerville would go down the NEC to Monmouth Junction. The trains would then take the Dayton Industrial to Jamesburg and use the Amboy Secondary to reach Browns Yard. The trains would also stop to work Metuchen Yard along the way.

The NEC is good for Plate F cars, but they can't bring down cars weighing 286,000 pounds to Monmouth Junction due to the age of some bridges in New Brunswick. Fortunately, strengthening the bridges would be a fairly inexpensive endeavor. This would allow all freight trains to have heavier cars which could benefit the local trains as well.
  by CJPat
 
Coastline Rail Fan, you were right originally, it was a nickel mine, not zinc processing.

I jumped on Historicaerials.com and put in the coordinates: 39°50'13.7"N+74°30'25.9"W and found that it is marked as an abandoned nickel mine. It appears in the 1956 photos and disappears after 2002, although that is no indicator as to when it actually operated.
  by Coast Line Railfan
 
CJPat wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:14 pm Coastline Rail Fan, you were right originally, it was a nickel mine, not zinc processing.

I jumped on Historicaerials.com and put in the coordinates: 39°50'13.7"N+74°30'25.9"W and found that it is marked as an abandoned nickel mine. It appears in the 1956 photos and disappears after 2002, although that is no indicator as to when it actually operated.
What you saw fooled me too, but some people on njpinebarrens.com have pinpointed it as zinc processing. It was the Superior Zinc Company of Bristol, PA, and they wanted to have more processing power and opened their factory down here. Opened April 1st, 1942, ceased operations by the end of the year but began operations again under another operator. As you'd see, the design was quite flawed, but it continued to operate probably no further than the 80's or 90's.
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  by Tanker1497
 
I found this tid bit of info out on the internet, its the price Clayton paid back on 12/27/1985 and the value today. The taxes last paid. That makes this 13 miles of RR a costly 3/4's of a million dollars investment over the last 35 years...

Type vacant land
This property last sold for $264,569 on 1985-12-27. See sales information for Railroad Line, as far back as 30 years.

The Deed for Railroad Line is filed with the County Clerk in Book 4384 on Page 241.

This property was assessed for $528,600.00. The land was assessed at $528,600.00 and the improvements to the property were assessed at $0.00.

Railroad Line costs CLAYTON SAND COMPANY % BILL CLAYTON $13,558.59 annually in taxes.
  by GSC
 
Some thoughts on the posts above.

My brother-in-law and sister ran the NJ Off Road Vehicle Park on old quarry property just south of Rt 72 in Chatsworth. They showed me the old zinc company property next to the site. Old rusty industrial archaeology, fascinating to wander through, just watch for the hidden holes in the underbrush.

The Glidden Spur was to reach deposits of illmanite (black sand) used in paint products. A bunch of off-road guys used to run dune buggies back there.

I hadn't noticed any gondolas at Brick Recycling recently but didn't know the new weight restrictions from NJT.

The plastics plant across from Collingwood Auction once had three rows of six covered hoppers parked there. Not sure if the cars moved often, or were for storage, but they were always there, in view from the bridge. One day, they were gone. Google maps still show the sidings connected to the Southern. Not sure if a switch is still installed.

My thoughts on restoring the Southern south/west of Lakehurst: Wouldn't it be advantageous to reconnect Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst? Direct way to get out and to connect directly with NWS Earle if the military need ever arose. Not everything has to be transported by air or truck.

So many "what-ifs" surround the old Southern Division. I'll just shut off the lights and start whistling in the dark.
  by Bracdude181
 
@GSC Joint Base McGuire Dix has a currently unused rail siding just outside Lakehurst. It is still connected to the mainline. They used to have a yard in Pemberton as well as their own dedicated narrow gauge railroad. Both are now gone.

If they want to start using trains to move stuff around the property, it might be best to put a small yard in the large empty field behind the Hindenburg hanger and build a mainline between both parts of the base with sidings wherever they are needed. They could run some sort of train between Earle and McGuire as it is now for delivery of fake ammunition for training. (They do a lot of training out there)

@Tanker1497 Interesting find. I believe Clayton was getting tax breaks for a while after they did some repairs to the line in 2013. That didn't last long though. The state told them they couldn't get tax cuts by preserving a rail line and then not using it, or something along those lines. I highly doubt that Clayton would pay that amount of money annually just to keep ownership of a track they don't plan on using.

In any case, that is a LOT of money being spent on a line that isn't in use. You would think that they would sell it off so they wouldn't have to pay such a tax, but the exact opposite has happened.

At the time of writing this, most repairs between Lakehurst and Woodmansie are complete. They still need to finish rebuilding the Union Ave crossing in Lakehurst, (will likely be done between November and December) some areas still need ballast and/or ties, (not many spots like that left) two crossings need surface repairs and crossbucks, and a way to turn around and load trains needs to be built in Woodmansie. This will likely either be done by either rebuilding the balloon loop or making a long passing siding with a spur that goes into the pit.

Conrail still needs to do whatever is needed between Lakehurst and South Lakewood. They'll probably hold off on that until the last possible second, all things considered.

One more thing. The sand Clayton plans on moving is meant for the Construction of a new bridge and tunnel on the Northeast Corridor, as part of Amtrak's Gateway Project. However, service wasn't going to be restored solely because of this.

After the last sand train ran, (which according to one of my sources was in 1992) Clayton closed the line and began moving all outbound shipments via dump truck. Manchester Township residents have not been happy about this due to the unsafe driving that many of the truck drivers do. I can personally attest to this, as I have nearly been in a head on with one of these trucks that wasn't maintaining his lane.

Of course, the trains won't take all of the trucks off the road as some trucks go south and others make deliveries to areas where there's no railroad. It is possible to deliver the sand to Clayton facilities along Conrail lines in Central Jersey. This would be much cheaper as Clayton would only be paying for the sand to be shipped by NJSL and Conrail instead of using their own trucks, paying the drivers, paying the insurance for the trucks, paying for fuel, paying for truck permits, etc.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:45 pm @GSC Joint Base McGuire Dix has a currently unused rail siding just outside Lakehurst. It is still connected to the mainline. They used to have a yard in Pemberton as well as their own dedicated narrow gauge railroad. Both are now gone.

If they want to start using trains to move stuff around the property, it might be best to put a small yard in the large empty field behind the Hindenburg hanger and build a mainline between both parts of the base with sidings wherever they are needed. They could run some sort of train between Earle and McGuire as it is now for delivery of fake ammunition for training. (They do a lot of training out there)

@Tanker1497 Interesting find. I believe Clayton was getting tax breaks for a while after they did some repairs to the line in 2013. That didn't last long though. The state told them they couldn't get tax cuts by preserving a rail line and then not using it, or something along those lines. I highly doubt that Clayton would pay that amount of money annually just to keep ownership of a track they don't plan on using.

In any case, that is a LOT of money being spent on a line that isn't in use. You would think that they would sell it off so they wouldn't have to pay such a tax, but the exact opposite has happened.

At the time of writing this, most repairs between Lakehurst and Woodmansie are complete. They still need to finish rebuilding the Union Ave crossing in Lakehurst, (will likely be done between November and December) some areas still need ballast and/or ties, (not many spots like that left) two crossings need surface repairs and crossbucks, and a way to turn around and load trains needs to be built in Woodmansie. This will likely either be done by either rebuilding the balloon loop or making a long passing siding with a spur that goes into the pit.

Conrail still needs to do whatever is needed between Lakehurst and South Lakewood. They'll probably hold off on that until the last possible second, all things considered.

One more thing. The sand Clayton plans on moving is meant for the Construction of a new bridge and tunnel on the Northeast Corridor, as part of Amtrak's Gateway Project. However, service wasn't going to be restored solely because of this.

After the last sand train ran, (which according to one of my sources was in 1992) Clayton closed the line and began moving all outbound shipments via dump truck. Manchester Township residents have not been happy about this due to the unsafe driving that many of the truck drivers do. I can personally attest to this, as I have nearly been in a head on with one of these trucks that wasn't maintaining his lane.

Of course, the trains won't take all of the trucks off the road as some trucks go south and others make deliveries to areas where there's no railroad. It is possible to deliver the sand to Clayton facilities along Conrail lines in Central Jersey. This would be much cheaper as Clayton would only be paying for the sand to be shipped by NJSL and Conrail instead of using their own trucks, paying the drivers, paying the insurance for the trucks, paying for fuel, paying for truck permits, etc.
Fort Dix used to be one of the places where the Army had basic training. I'd imagine whatever rail system they had was gone not too long after they stopped having boot camp there at the end of the Cold War.

Clayton has BIG plans for the line if they are willing to go through costly repairs and pay a boatload of taxes on said line. I did not know that sand trains ran up until 1992, I was always under the impression those stopped coming in the 70s/80s. Wonder how long the sand trains were then, and I wonder how long they will be once they start shipping by rail again.

If some of the trucks DO go south, and since NJSL DOES own trackage rights in Winslow... Do you think there would be incentive for both to try and restore service there too? I could see it happening, depending on what happens with the current planned operations...
  by CJPat
 
Clayton stopped shipping sand by rail in/about 1988 with the last derail (became too costly to keep fixing).

By 1990, the line was overgrown up to Lakehurst. Freight was still going down the TRIT to service Builders General & Suburban Propane. Not sure what the Ocean Grow transloading area in downtown Lakehurst was considered (TRIT or Southern Secondary) since they needed to take the lead switch to the TRIT to access the siding. Conrail continued to park their engines there during layovers until they built the siding up in Lakewood south of Cross Street.

Ft Dix had extensive sidings for their supply houses on the northwest side of the Fort and was serviced by the Pennsylvania/PennCentral thru Pemberton after Union Transportation had their access to service severed because of the removal of the Camden & Amboy Rail bridge over Main St in Hightstown. These tracks through Ft Dix/Wrightstown also served McGuire to provide fuel and supplies. I did some support work with Army Basic Training program in '81 & '82 and those tracks were already inactive by then. I don't think they got ripped out until around early '90's (?).

I remember wondering if they were going to reinstate rail traffic during Desert Storm/Shield because Ft Dix/McGuire were a major mobilization point for overseas. Units arrived for fill out of equipment and personnel as well as final train up before loading out on the airframes and heading towards the Middle East. Vehicles were shipped to the ports for load out onboard ships. I always felt they could have received the units, separated out the vehicles and do final maintenance and load the vehicles onto flatcars for shipping to the ports.

Someone earlier (not sure if it was this thread) had described the narrow gauge railroad that ran troops out to the firing ranges. There is even a book that discusses it. But I believe that was during WWI during the Camp Dix days and gone in the 1920's.

The rail at Lakehurst came off the existing siding (former CNJ), entered the base approx in the similar location and turned north up Cnty 549/South Hope Chapel Road. There it branched in several places to service Hangar 1 and the Lakehurst NAS supply areas. There really is no practical way to stretch the existing rail (just inside the trucking entrance) over to McGuire.
  by Tanker1497
 
I posted this a while back Lakehurst is moving its main gate to where the RR siding enters the base. I'm not sure if its right or left of the tracks or on them? In 1978 or so MGuire still received JP4 by rail and coal. It stopped right around that time. As posted it was in the early 90's they pulled out the tracks and storage on Fort Dix. The train ran at the very end of runway 36 and you use to be able to see track still around the supply building on base.
  by Bracdude181
 
@Tanker1497 I haven't heard of any plan to relocate the siding. I know that they were considering reopening it so they could remove bomb waste by rail, but nothing has come of that yet.

@JohnFromJersey Clayton only intends for sand to be transported from their pit in Woodmansie to points north. Seashore Lines is the one with the plans. I've met the founder of Seashore Lines before (he runs another outfit in Tuckahoe) and he does have some cool ideas. If all goes well, we might see Seashore Lines take over the Toms River Branch after the sand trains start running...
  by pdtrains
 
After all id said and done, this is all just about money. Clayton sand isnt going to spend $10M rehabbing track unless they have a signed contract for sand to move by rail.
Tony Macrie doesnt have money to burn. He (so it appears) would operate the line for Clayton, ios my understanding. but that could always change in an instant.

The state of NJ, AFAIK, is paying for grade crossings to be rehabbed, for the benefit of the road traffic, not for the rail line. A highway crossing in Tenafly, NJ was just rehabbed on the northern, despite teh facth that no train has been thru there in like 8 years or something. And whoever owns the track would pay for basic brush removal. Its not that expensive to do a little upkeep.

BTW 13,000 $ a year in taxes (if thats what i read), for 20 miles of ROW, is nothing. Pocket change.
  by OCtrainguy
 
A lot of discussion going on here the past few weeks on the ol' Southern. With 590 pages now, there's still a lot of passion from the railfans on the former CNJ line. As a child, a drive to my grandmother's in Lakehurst meant crossing the tracks in Lakewood and the Glidden Spur for a chance to see Conrail. That did happen a few times, seeing the train stopped at County Line Road right at 84 Lumber a few times and then once on the Glidden Spur.

We often didn't, but a walk from my grandmother's house down to the tracks in Lakehurst didn't result in seeing a train. Ironically, a weekday soccer game in Manchester during the fall of 1990 resulted in me seeing a train on the Toms River branch . The train was heading back to Lakehurst. I first photographed the SA35 back in 1997, thanks to a co-worker, who lived in western Howell and would cross the tracks in Farmingdale to get to the office. His sightings on certain days helped me get my first photos of the train.

A lot has changed obviously since then. Builders General has shipments consolidated to Freehold (from Little Silver, Toms River and Freehold locations). Gold Lumber was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. US Components in Lakewood closed (is now a private school). The lumber yard in southern Howell changed names several times, not sure what it is now, but doesn't get rail service. DiNaso is no longer in Lakewood and whoever was receiving the pole cars there no longer does. PolyOne moved (out of state I think) from there location in Howell. They were a large customer for the line. Woodhaven is now the biggest customer. As also noted in the recent discussions, several have come and gone. Clayton has a rail line at their Lakewood location, but doesn't use it. The use of the siding for fertilizer via Ocean Gro was a great idea, but that was killed by competitors. Sand trains have been talked about for quite a while now. That would be a shot in the arm for this line.

There continues to be talk about potential for this line, but to me, that depends on who runs it and how hungry they'd be for that business. For now, I will continue to enjoy the updates we share on the weekly trip of the SA 31 and discussions concerning the line. When weather and my work schedule allows (hybrid of remote and in-office), I will try to get out and photo the train. That's getting a bit more challenging now with sunset at 6:30ish right now.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
Maybe we should all pool some money together, find some rich people to befriend, and buy the line ourselves. I'm sure we would do a good job
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