• Freight Trains Through Journal Square PATH station?

  • Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.
Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.

Moderators: TAMR213, keeper1616

  by jgins310
 
I was waiting for the PATH train last weekend at Journal Square. A large freight train (presumably carrying trash) passed through the station on the northern most track heading eastbound. I was wondering where it was going. Don't the freight tracks terminate a mile or so past? It used to go to the river line, but I though they got rid of that connection when they built the right rail. Where would the train be going?
  by airman00
 
When did you see the train and what kind of engine or engines were pulling it? I've heard there is one set of freight tracks on path lines there but have never seen a freight go thru. Anyone know how much freight service goes thru?
  by jgins310
 
It was March 27 around 3:00pm. There were two NS locomotives pulling what looked like trash containers eastbound. The train was probably 40-50 cars. I got on the PATH train so never saw if it entirely pulled through the station.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Frieght trains do not and indeed can not operate on Path tracks due to curves and clearances. I don't know what is left in
that part of Jersey City at this point. There is no available connection to anything else through that area anymore.
Maybe it was a switching move out of what remains of the Meadows.
Noel Weaver.
  by umtrr-author
 
Is there still a connection from that line (former PRR to Exchange Place and Harismus Cove) down to the Bergen Arches of the former Erie? (And yes, that would send the train right back westbound again.)

I seem to recall a discussion about the remaining Jersey City trackage some months ago, here.
  by jgins310
 
This was on the freight tracks, not the PATH tracks. It might have just been parking itself there. I've been taking the PATH for a while and this was a first.
  by airman00
 
I've heard that there is one set of tracks, at one end or on one side of the journal sqaure station that are freight tracks. I heard that from this website. So then I guess those would be the tracks the freight train was on. As to where it was going and what it was doing there is anyone's guess.
  by gravelyfan
 
The trash train uses the siding up near Journal Square (Topps Siding, I think?) to runaround the train. It's an interesting operation.

What follows is based on observations/radio montoring - I'm not an employee. The cycle starts with NS moving the train east as the 64J via Pittsburgh-Bethlehem-Bound Brook up the Lehigh Line to CP Valley. Train operates via the Lehigh Connecting track down to the P&H branch at CP Stock, then usually backs west on the P&H to tie the train down. Conrail crew PN-13 seems to be a daylight crew that gets onboard, pulls east over the Karny and Hack bridges and up the "single track" towards Journal Square (I think this is now the Waldo Running track). They use the runaround track there to put the power on the west end of the train, then proceed west across Hack and down the Grape lead through South Kearny yard and onto the Central Avenue Industrial track to get to the interchange with the NJ Rail Carrier (NJRC) where the garbage is loaded/unloaded (this is south of Truck 1&9)

Later in the day the whole operation is essentially reversed and when the train arrives back at CP Stock, often an NS road crew is put right on and the train proceeds west as the 65J.

I believe CSX has some business with NJRC as well and I gather this is interchanged via different Conrail locals (SK 39?) than the PN 13, which seems to essentially be a unit train for NS.

Corrections welcome!
  by Noel Weaver
 
I am going to relate an experience that I had on this "piece of rust" sometime prior to Conrail, in otherwords during Penn
Central.
I was on a Selkirk bound train out of the Meadows, a through train with no stops scheduled and probably with three units
although I don't recall exactly what we had. I seem to think the lead unit was an EMD. The overhead wires were still
energized with 11,000 volts although they were not frequently used. This was not the combat zone that we had through
Hoboken but it was not an easy portion of the trip either. We were going up the eastbound to CP-Waldo with good signals
and I saw something hanging from the wire. We were not going to be able to stop short of it so I buried my head and told
the head end brakeman to do the same. The lead engine got by it OK but not the second unit. The flash was beyond
imagination and it knocked out all of the wayside signals and every low voltage circuit on all three locomotives although we
still had traction motor power. I did the only practical thing and kept going to Weehawken even thought I should have
stopped, If I had we would have outlawed right there and we just went to work. We did not have a radio as a result of this
either. We stopped at Weehawken and went to the telephone to call the dispatcher and he was relieved to hear what
happened and that we got through it. We had to cut the power off at Weehawken and get fresh power there in order to
continue the trip.
Between Weehawken and Hack was a difficult piece of railroad and they should have had a separate rule book for just that
piece of railroad alone. How we got through that jungle for many, many years is still amazing to me today.
11,000 Volts of electricity is might strong stuff, I worked around and with it for many, many years and survived but I
remember railroaders who did not survive it.
Noel Weaver
  by Tommy Meehan
 
That's a terrific story Noel, thanks for taking the time to post it.

Now if this railfan can add one I got second-hand (but the day after it happened)-

A gent I know was working as a conductor on a Conrail transfer move that went from North Bergen to Kearny in the wee hours. He said it was an easy job except for the fact most nights the DS held them at Journal Square for an hour or more. Some nights a lot more. The signal was located under the Journal Square Transportation Center, the concrete ceiling just over their heads. This caused the diesel exhaust to bank down and the noise of the prime movers seemed amplified. It was like a surround-sound effect.

One morning he groused to his engineer, "How can Kearny be plugged every single night?" The engr was an old head and he laughed. "Is that what's bothering you, " he asked?

Then he took out his cell phone and called the Kearny yardmaster. He told the YM he was a night worker waiting for a PATH train at Journal Square. He said "one of your trains" had been sitting at the complex for a while and the diesel fumes were making him dizzy. "Any chance that train may be moving soon, Sir?"

He was told,"Yes sir, we're actually moving him now."

The conductor said about sixty seconds later they got a proceed signal. :-)
  by RDGTRANSMUSEUM
 
Thanks for the great stories,I still think back to my Conrail days working in that area. Its truely amazing I never got hurt with all that happened to us going in and out and getting stuck there. One day,Mr.Von Holton himself called me to "flag" in the projects one day. I took the call ,drove 100 miles from home and stayed there 4 hours(made my time card out for 8) and no one ever showed up, Amazing!
  by Noel Weaver
 
joshuahouse wrote:Mr Weaver, any idea what it was that had been hanging?
All I know is that it was metal. It made one hell of a flash when it finally hit one of the trailing units. I was glad that it did
not hit the lead unit. You could expect anything through that war zone.
Noel Weaver
  by Tommy Meehan
 
Noel thanks again for the story (and all your others, too) but I also have a question.

Well actually someone gave me a question. In fact it's from a retired engr who worked that stretch when it was Conrail. Possibly the only former Lehigh Valley man there.

With dead radios and signals down, how did you manage to get from the P&H Branch down onto the River Line?

Thanks again.
  by Noel Weaver
 
Tommy Meehan wrote:Noel thanks again for the story (and all your others, too) but I also have a question.

Well actually someone gave me a question. In fact it's from a retired engr who worked that stretch when it was Conrail. Possibly the only former Lehigh Valley man there.

With dead radios and signals down, how did you manage to get from the P&H Branch down onto the River Line?

Thanks again.
We just ran.
Noel Weaver