Gilbert B Norman wrote:No doubt, Mr. R&DB, this incident was fresh in the minds of those formulating the plan to close the CNJ terminal and route CNJ trains into Newark Penn. That enabled the bridge you note to be taken out of service. No doubt the discontinuance of the B&O trains was an additional factor.
Other than the lift spans being removed, I think the trestles were simply abandoned in place.
I was 9-1/2 years old when the train plunged off the bridge, and lived in Bayonne on West 9th Street, about 3 city blocks from the shore of Newark Bay next to the bridge. I distinctly recall walking to the shore immediately south of the bridge, seeing the hanging coach, etc.
That said, the September, 1958 accident was not a cause of the bridge removal. On April 30, 1967 all CNJ mainline and Jersey Shore passenger trains were rerouted to Newark Penn Station under the NJ "Aldene Plan", leaving only a shuttle train between Bayonne and Cranford, NJ plus a few freight trains, and most importantly to the State of New Jersey, eliminating the need for the state to heavily subsidize the CNJ ferry service between Jersey City and downtown Manhattan. The New York Port Authority (jointly owned by NY and NJ) had acquired the bankrupt H&M Tubes in the early 1960's, renamed it Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) and it continued to lose a lot of money. Moving the CNJ passenger train termination to Newark Penn greatly increased PATH ridership thus reducing PATH losses. The root cause of the removal of the CNJ Newark Bay bridge was the desire of the New York Port Authority to expand ports Newark and Elizabeth which it owns and operates, with the resultant greatly increased number and size of ships bottlenecked by the bridge draws. The Port Authority convinced the US Coast Guard to declare that the bridge was a hazard to navigation. So in August,1978 the Bayonne Shuttle was discontinued and plans went ahead to remove the draws/center portion of the bridge. The mile or so of trestles did remain in place for a number of years, but the Port Authority wanted them removed as well. I recall seeing in the newspaper a photo offered by the Coast Guard as evidence in the hearing (the City of Bayonne wanted the trestles to remain in place to potentially restore service with a much wider draw to accommodate large ships) conducted on the matter in which Coast Guard testified that the bridge trestles were falling apart and had to be removed as a hazard to navigation before they collapsed. The photos the Coast Guard produced to prove that the bridge was falling apart were of tie plates, spikes and track bolts which were loose on the bridge. None of the photos showed any structural members or damage. The finding was the trestles were in danger of collapse, thus a hazard to navigation, and had to be removed, which they were soon thereafter. Only a few concrete piers remain at the Bayonne side in very shallow water.
To get back on topic of reuse of the CNJ Jersey City Terminal, from time to time there have been proposals for instituting heavy or lightrail passenger service over the former PRR-Lehigh Valley joint bridge about three miles to the north of the former CNJ bridge location, with the potential for reuse of the CNJ JC Terminal for transfer to modern ferries. None have gone beyond the proposal stage to my knowledge.