• Looking for another Mystery Spur/Track around Rt. 22

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

Moderator: David

  by carajul

I recall from the mid-late 1980s I used to play racketball with a buddy of mine somewhere along the Rt 22 corridor. I think near Somerville or Watchung. I don't really recall. The place was the Ricocheete Racketball Club or something. I was a huge 2 story building with a gym and racketball courts on both stories.

While driving around we passed RR tracks with those darth vader style flashers. I think we must have passed the quarry running track but then I recall driving on a two lane road in an industrial area passing a spur track with side of highway flashers (again the darth vader style), not overhead. The flashers had an "exempt" sign on it. I remember the spur dead ended and was up against a warehouse and was obviously unused as there were wood pallets and debris laying on the rails.

Anyone know where this spur/siding with the flashers would be? I don't think it would have been on the quarry track as I don't think any of those spurs had flashers. I do recall it being somewhere around Rt 22.
  by Jtgshu
Yea, definitely sounds like the Middlebrook Industrial on the way to the Stavola quarry. Chimney Rock Road is a two lane road that parallels the line and there were several spurs that crossed Chimney Rock Road, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them did have flashers.
  by carajul
Maybe it was the Middlebrook industrial.

Any reason why NS tore out all those sidings? They cut the switches out, tore out the tracks and ties. Totally obliterated the spurs. The arials in the 1970s show all the spurs with cars parked on them. Was there just no hope for rail service anymore? Or did NS just not care?

It looks like the only spurs still in are the lumber yard that still has boxcars parked on the spur and the UPS warehouse which has a car once in a blue moon.
  by Jtgshu
I doubt it was NS....ripping out the sidings was probably a Conrail thing.....

I have heard that they wanted to do away with the whole branch at some point, however, NJT resisted as they get all their ballast from the Stavola quarry, and the line was "saved" - I use that term lightly, as the only maintence on it seems to be when there is a derailment, which usually involves a NJT stone train. The line was at risk again a few years ago with the plans for the rebuilding of the Route 22 crossing and Chimney Rock Road interchange, but it was agreed upon to rebuild the crossing and reconfigure the interchange for the line. Also the Route 533 crossing is due to be rebuilt in the coming weeks. So for once, the line is actually getting some work!

There is one other customer on it still, Somerville Lumber, which has a siding at the current end of the line, just before the Route 22 crossing (or where it was til they removed it to build the intersection) The lumber yard at the beginning of the line, by the switch to the RVL has closed up (I think it was another Somerville Lumber location)...they had a good number of cars there on a regular basis when they were open. The other siding by the UPS facility is for the other Somerville Lumber location - Ive never seen or known UPS to use it, but its unoffically called the UPS siding.

I wish someone knew the grade on it, ive seen track charts and it was under 2 percent, but I dont' believe it.....that stretch inbetween Route 28 Xing and 287 bridge is STEEEEEEP. Trust me, I know!!! hahahaha
  by carajul
No, it wasn't CR as the sidings just came out in the past 2 years. In fact the live maps still shows them. So it was NS. And I mean they oblitereated those sidings. Perhaps they were making a statement.

As I understand it NJT wanted to buy the line from NS but they refused to sell it, but NS doesn't want it either. Go figure.

The 1979 areials show all the sidings packed with cars. However when I explored the area a few years ago I noticed many of the buildings had been converted to offices. Some even had their trucking bays converted to car parks.

The only reason that line was built in the 1800s in the first place was to serve the quarry.
  by ccutler
Having grown up in Somerville I know that branch pretty well. I can tell you that the only customers on that line for at least the last 10 years have been the quarry and Somerville lumber. I am not counting the Westinghouse lumber site that was really next to the RV line. Many other sidings appeared to be connected from a distance but a closer look would reveal that all of them, except for the one next to route 22 entering a building to the west, were already disconnected for the last 10 years. One of the sidings opposite Somerville lumber used to receive covered pellet hoppers into the 1990s I believe, but the vast majority of the branch's merchandise business was gone by the late 1980s. A rare tank car would appear at one of the sidings south of Route 28 in the 1990s. The seed warehouse received box cars through the 1980s, between Route 28 and Interstate 287.

I don't think that the UPS building was ever a rail customer as long as UPS used the site.
  by ccutler
Here are some photos I took of the chimney rock branch on each side of the first RR crossing off of the RV line. some work getting done...
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