On Sunday, I swung thru Lakehurst, Whiting, and Woodmansie just to see what changes or any were out there. I found several track maintenance vehicles parked on the rails in downtown Lakehurst along with piles of ties that appeared to be distributed in smaller piles going down the line (for how far?). One note I made is that the passing siding that also runs across Union Ave stretching from the Rt 70 overpass down to the wooden trestle bridge south of Union has not been touched at all. It is still overgrown and the parking lot abuts right up to it. I would think they will need to rehab that too just so they can transfer cars.
In Whiting along Cnty 530 , there was a track machine parked on the stub siding in the park that used to lead to the Pennsy line. There was also a 40 ft shipping container nearby but I don't know if it was associated. No actual work appears to have been conducted yet there.
At Cnty 539, there was a very large pile of ties and smaller equipment (didn't have time for a good look, a forest fire had closed Rt 72 and traffic was evidently being diverted up Cnty 539). It did not appear that any work had begun there either. Like identified previously, the track at Cnty 539 is fully connected.
Out at Woodmansie, nothing has changed since last reported. It does not appear that Clayton has initiated any work to get the track onto his property yet. Savoy Blvd was closed just prior to reaching RT 72 due to the Forest Fire.
I have a theory - Is it possible that the track from Lakehurst to Woodmansie will be improved (to what degree?) to allow a supply of rail and ballast to be delivered to Woodmansie to support the siding & small yard that Clayton will need? The Southern Secondary would only need to replace the couple of pieces of rail it had removed in Lakewood and under Rt 70 to bring the load in. The run between Lakewood and Lakehurst has been unused for approx. 3 years? I am sure they will inspect the general rail and maybe decide they might need a few ties to get a supply train in. Once it looks impending, I am sure they will improve the Secondary to necessary standards to handle the sand cars once the decision is made to actually ship.
If all this in prep for Clayton to position themselves for this next tunnel construction to NYC, I would think it would be quite a financial gamble. They would have to win some kind of sand supply contract before they would have any significant work in that direction.