• CA 297, CA 289 QUESTIONS

  • Discussion relating to the PRSL
Discussion relating to the PRSL

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by mitch kennedy
Happy New Years everyone! This is one for SteamMan or Don Lee perhaps... Back til the early 70's, CA 299/300 would spend the day at Owens Corning on the Magnolia-Barrington line and turn back, getting his "19" at the phone box at Davis Road. In mid afternoon, CA-297 came along and would sometimes pick up some mty's for the sand pit at Williamstown Jct, turn at Williamstown Jct, and back to Camden as well. After a few years away at college, it seemed the last few years of the PRSL, CA 299 would leave Magnolia and drill to Williamstown Jct and then back home. Also CA 289 or 294 started to run "non stop" to Winslow and then drill the Main Line to Berlin or further as needed, while the drill out of AC turned at Winslow (I think the CA 294 and 298 crew numbers swapped a little as well). I know 289/298 started on the Clementon line sometime after the Patco deal, but I also know 289/298 at first got bumped to work via Jersey and Vernon at this point. Was the PC charging too much for this move, or was it too time consuming to essentially "deadhead" the first 12 miles via the PC? Many the time after I thought CM91 was done, there was a "dead" CA295 (?) tied on behind 91's cabin. Can someone shed some enlightenment here? Thanks!

  by chuchubob
Here's Don Lee's reply, which he emailed to me while railroad.net was down:

PRSL freight operations were constantly adapting to the needs of the customers and the operation of the railroad. I cannot speak specifically to the exact reasons for the changes noted, but I do recall that CA299/300 and CA296/297 were changed several times in the 60’s. When business was heavy, both crews were operated. When things got light, usually 296 was abolished and a combination of 299 and CM91 made up the difference.

CA289/298 at one time was a straight away job, Pavonia to Atlantic City via Center and the Main Line and later via Jersey . The crew would lay over in AC and return the next day. Two sides to this crew provided six day service to Main Line customers. The AC proper work was done by a yard crew. As the yard crew work in Atlantic City diminished, a labor agreement was reached that permitted both yard and road work to be performed by the same crew. I believe that was when CA294/295 was created as an AC to Winslow turn. At some point in its life, this crew went to Pleasantville one or two days per week rather than Winslow. Then 289/298 became a Pavonia to Winslow turn. I believe you will find that the diversion of 289 to the Clementon Branch was more of an operational move than a financial move. By the end of the 60’s the Main Line single tracking had been completed. There were eight regularly scheduled passenger trains north of Winslow, which grew to twelve in the summer months. With virtually no place to meet, keeping 289’s movements on the Main Line to a minimum was a necessity. When he operated north to Berlin , he took only his industry cars with him and could clear almost anywhere when necessary. With his entire train, that would have been impossible.

There was a short period when Northwest Magnesite in Cape May was shut down; I believe it was the summer of 1967 or 1968, when there were four Winslow turns that converged in the mid to late afternoon. 289 Pavonia to Winslow via Jersey, 91 Pavonia to Winslow via Clementon, 294 AC to Winslow and 390 Cape May to Winslow. One Block Operator trying to coordinate set offs and pick ups of four simultaneous crews was interesting to say the least. Luckily this only lasted a few weeks.

Don Lee

  by mitch kennedy
Bob-Tell Don thanks! It's always great to have your observations rationalized after years and years. I was just home for Christmas and it sure is weird to have NO clue of what job you just heard go by on the old Clementon branch. I guess they still have the old WPCA 30/31 and 50/51 on as needed basis, but it seems to go any time of day! I'll see if Photoshop can make a decent-enough picture of some old Instamatic shots of 6032 on 297 meeting the 6025 on 299 at Lincoln Ave. in Magnolia!
Thanks to all!

  by chuchubob

WPCA-51 generally runs from Pavonia to Winslow and back on weekdays. Sometimes CA-20 will run to Tuckahoe on a Tuesday if they have interchange with Cape May Seashore Lines. Otherwise, the Clementon Branch has an occaisional CSX and NS coal train for Beesleys Point.