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Discussion relating to the PRSL

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

Hello, my name is Tony and I am 18 years old. I love trains and i love how the PRSL operated in Ocean City and I wish to see service return to Ocean City in the future. I own trains from HO and O. I hope to talk to all of you about my favorite railroad which is the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines and hope to discuss about it.

  by glennk419
Hi Tony and welcome aboard. I think you'll find most of the folks here to be very friendly and their posts informative on both past and current rail operations in South Jersey. I too share your enthusiam for rail service in Ocean City and have fond memories of when trains still ran on the island. One last thing, if you haven't already visited the CMSL, it's certainly worth the trip and you can ride original PRSL cars on ex-PRSL rails. Enjoy!

I have been riding on the CMSL since 1998, in fact, i think it was the first time they operated into Cape May? For Ocean City, i can't belive that service stoped operating on October 5, 1981 after the ring gear failed on the crook horn bridge. I wounder if it was a freight or passenger train that tried to enter when the bridge failed? I often vacation down Ocean City in late June. Our family rents a house on 51st street on the beach which is neat. I always walk up to 51st street and look around the old ROW. I still think that trains should be operating up to at least 51st street or maybe farther to 46th street. I know if service was continued, it would be a great experience to ride into OC by train like they did up to 1981. At leased we know where the old row is and i hope we still do not have to deal with the town not wanting trains to return to OC.

Hey Glen, I hope you can share with me on how long you had been experiencing trains to Ocean City. I am sure you remember the RDCs and Baldwins that brought trains into the town. I remember seeing pictures of Baldwins bringing at least one passenger car into the town around the late 60's and basically the RDCs. I never found pictures of freight traffic on the OC branch. I only walked the old ROW between 51st and the bridge, i am upset that the NIMBYs wanted the tracks removed and i wonder when the tracks were removed up to the bridge?

  by glennk419
Tony, my memories of service to Ocean City only go back to the mid and late 70's when I spent a portion of my summers in OC as a teen. Obviously, all service was covered by RDCs at that point and limited to two trains in each direction per day. We used to stay at 20th and West so the horn blowing for the numerous grade crossings was my daily alarm clock. I also recall some of the very limited freight service that remained at that time, usually a mid-afternoon train comprised of just a box car or two with a Conrail SW for power. There were small passenger shelters at 24th and 51st Streets, the one at 24th also had a small (unofficial) sign attached designating it as "Society Hill East". The 51st Street station still survives today as a school bus shelter at 52nd and Bay. I remember the bridge languishing for several years before it was removed and often wondered if it was really beyond repair. Fortunately I grabbed a couple of pictures while it was still around.

A nice photo essay of the remains of the branch can be found here:

http://www.prsl-rr.com/gallery/view_alb ... nch&page=1

i'm sorry, i did not know that you only remember from the 70s and on. I read that RDCs were the only power used for passenger service up to 1981. That must have been a amazing sight to see Budd cars running through 20th street to 10th. I am surprised that service lasted up to 10th street into the early 80s. I am surprised that service lasted up to 1981 and did not end when the wildwood branch was abandoned in 1974. Those pictures are excellent and i remember how the old ROW looks today. I was told the crook horn bridge was removed in the early 90s.

  by Steam man
Welcome Aboard Tony. You have come to the right place for PRSL stuff. There are many well informed historians, other Seashore Lines buffs and some former employees ,such as my self that frequent the site. My historical interest lies a bit more in the early PRSL era when steam ruled the rails, and more specifially the Atlantic City Railroad and the lines they became after the merger in 1933.

Even though it's getting to be a while ago, I also have a different perspective on the Seashore Lines operations having been on the"inside" of the daily operations of a railroad working as a block operator for a few years. If I can help you in any way, just ask away.

Thanks Steam Man i really enjoy this forum. I always found it neat that even Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City had train service. Before i found out that service to these locations only lasted thru the early 1940s i thought they lasted up to the 70s. But the floodings and storms killed the service. I remember looking at pictures of the tracks around Sea Isle City destroyed by the storms. And early seam photoes taken around 1900. But, I still think it was neat. I always question why service stopped to Ocean City. The reason was the Crook Horn Bridge. By the way, which branch did you operate on? Or was it a number of different branches on the PRSL?

  by Steam man
PRSLFAN wrote: By the way, which branch did you operate on? Or was it a number of different branches on the PRSL?
I operated all the existing block and interlocking stations at the time, plus two movable bridges. I worked both the extra board as well as having the second trick at Brown for a while. Places worked include:

Brown (B&I)


Glassboro(B&I) Worked last day this B&I was in service and closed this Block and Interlocking station

Winslow (B&I)

Atlantic (B&I + movable bridge)

Canal (B&I+ movable bridge)


Berlin (B&I of sorts, odd setup )

Test Table (a left over tfrom the telegraph days, which included teletypes, ringing phone lines and other odd telephone line duties)

Lindenwold (Station agent. This was possible since the block operators and staion agents were on the same roster. I was just an extra filling in on vacation hold downs)

Wildwood Jct (B&I)

I have pictures of all the stuff somewhere in my archives, I'll have to dig them out sometime.
Last edited by Steam man on Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

  by mgdemarco
The album of the OC branch is great. Where does one need to park in order to walk the ROW eastward under the Parkway? Are you allowed to do this?

  by glennk419
mgdemarco wrote:The album of the OC branch is great. Where does one need to park in order to walk the ROW eastward under the Parkway? Are you allowed to do this?
Probably the best place to park would be along Route 9 and Butler Road near the crossing site (the relay case is still in place on the east side of Rt9) and to hike in. It's about 1/2 mile to the parkway and then a good mile or so to the Crook Horn Bridge site, if you can still get that far. The ROW east of the parkway is quite clear and the bugs and poison ivy aren't yet a problem. There is also a rest stop and picnic area on the GSP just south of the ROW but I believe the adjacent area is posted as No Trespassing and the police would probably investigate an empty car. As far as hiking the ROW, I'm not sure who officially owns it these days and while it's a pretty benign area, I suppose you could be asked to leave if someone complained.

  by mgdemarco
Yes, I want to get out there soon before the bugs and poison ivy come out.

Here is a good site on old PRSL photos and other fallen flags i think you will enjoy.


  by JJMDiMunno
NJDOT should still own that...in fact, an interesting fact that some of you may not know, is that some of the rails from the Ocean City Branch are actually what's being used today to construct the industrial sidings in Woodbine on the Cape May Branch. Most of those rails have come from the Stagecoach Rd. area in Palermo.

As far as walking, you'll get as far as the bridge just to the west of Crook Horn, which has collapsed. Can't get over that. Many of those photos on the gallery page which you viewed were done on a trip that Tom Duke, Jim Boylan and I did back in April of 2006, when we walked as far as we could get on that branch...

Segment between Crook Horn and that smaller collapsed span is heavily wooded anyway...rails might still be there, but you can't see them anyhow.

Mike DiMunno