Noel Weaver wrote:
The line was equipped with distant switch signals but manual block and the
speeds were 70 MPH in the 1970's and early 1980's when I often rode it
and the Budd Cars went like a bat out of hell.
Are you sure on that track speed? Information that I have at this time includes:
PRSL system timetable from 1960,
PRSL system timetable from 1969,
PRSL system timetable from 1973,
PRSL system track charts from 1966,
PRSL interlocking diagrams from 1968.
On all of these sources, track speed from Crook Horn Bridge, milepost 61.8 to Ocean City 10th Street Terminal, milepost 66.3 is shown as 45MPH for passenger, 30MPH for freight. From Tuckahoe to Crook Horn Bridge was a slightly different story, with passenger trains authorized for 50MPH.
And to answer an earlier question, yes, freight service did occasionally run into Ocean City. Usually, it consisted of a single boxcar of lumber, spotted on the team track by the freight house at 10th street by WY-390 / WY-391 on Friday mornings / early afternoons. Generally the crew signed up at around 11:00AM, this was the same local freight that worked the Cape May Branch and, when still in service, the Wildwood Branch.
And yes, to put it simply, to re-establish service via rail to Ocean City would require nothing short of a miracle. To be honest, restoring service to Ocean City would make the Cape May Seashore Lines project look like fun and games for a child (surely not to down the CMSL in any way, as that project was anything but childs-play, I know it was tough work to get some of that stuff below Courthouse back in service after being dormant since 1983)...first of all, it would require construction of a bridge that would cost more money to build than most high-income professionals make in their lifetime.
Second, to get to even just 51st street, you have to deal with a couple dozen homes, most of which if not all contain NIMBYs.
Third, you have to deal with the local fisherman who instantly turn into a giant swarm of NIMBYs, who will not want to even THINK of giving up their favorite fishing spot on the island (the bridge would be constructed there, and you bet they're going to put fences and stuff up to keep people from walking on the ROW up to that spot). And everyone here knows, that home-owning NIMBYs, combined with fisherman NIMBYs, combined with the people that just are too lazy to walk a few extra feet to walk on the side of 52nd street instead of where the tracks will be laid (we'll call them lazy pedestrian NIMBYs), combined with four-wheeling NIMBYs (this is a special class of NIMBY here in S. Jersey that likes to spend their time destroying carefully groomed ROW's with their four-wheelers and such, completely ignoring the issues of tresspassing, private property, etc) = pretty much no chance for the railroad.
Oh, and by the way, CMSL continues to deal with these four-wheeling NIMBYs all the time...it's a real issue down there...actually, wanna know a little interesting piece of information? Anyone here want to take a guess as to which group specifically petitioned for removal of the rail between 49th street and the Crook Horn Bridge a few years back (that wasn't that long ago)? That's right, the four-wheeling NIMBYs! Seems they didn't have enough room for their environmentally destructive machines on wheels...so they petitioned to have the tracks taken out in several spots on the island so they could have more room to ride. Before that, the tracks were pretty much entirely intact between the Crook Horn bridge and 34th street, not after the four-wheeling NIMBYs finished with it...how do I know this? Because I was there visiting my aunt at her house on 49th when they were removing some of the rail right there around 50th...no camera of course (dummy that I am, I left the thing at home, I've since learned better to NEVER go anywhere unprepared).
And that's all I've got for now folks, take care.