• Thursday, December 30th Exploration Report: PRSL Territory!

  • Discussion relating to the PRSL
Discussion relating to the PRSL

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by JJMDiMunno
Hey guys,
Well, it's yet another Dave Halbert / Mike DiMunno production here...on Thursday, December 30th, we covered some Westville Cutoff material, the Buzby Cement spur (Westville / Brooklawn), and some live action as well with CA-51, CA-11 and CA-05. Here's today's details:

We started out the day at 0900 once again, and the first item of the day was some interesting Westville Cutoff exploration. At one time, a narrow gauge railroad was constructed in Audubon, to move fill being used for construction of the cutoff. This narrow gauge railroad was abandoned back when the cutoff construction ceased, and it was brought to my attention by David some time ago that there is a section of rail down there that is undisturbed, still lying there from sometime around 1905. This rail is in perfect 3 foot gauge, and today, we discovered the reason for this. There are actually TIES still in place down there, some preserved very well apparently by the constantly flowing water...and well, the following photo just says it all:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... Narrow.jpg

Following our work down by the narrow gauge stuff, and a quick stop at the Wawa of Audubon, we headed over to Westville to check out something we had intended on looking at long ago but never got to...that being the spur to Buzby Cement. There is strong evidence of this spur still existing today, including ties, plates, and spikes...and the foundations for the buildings making up Buzby's are quite prominent throughout the area. The view below shows one of the ties in front of what was apparently a loading dock for the cement company:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... oading.jpg

Heading down a little further, we see a location that was probably some kind of pedestrian crossing at one time for the cement plant...we can see here the original alignment of the rails, when they were in place here in the concrete:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... ossing.jpg

While we were there, we discovered this pier of sorts at the end of the road by Buzby's location...it's either some sort of pier, or the remnants of some old bridge...does anyone know the deal with this? Neither David nor I have a clue:


After we were finished down by Buzby's, we headed over first to look at the new signal which will act as the distant signal for both CP BROWN and CP WOODBURY, and then up to the area around Bulson Street in Camden, where we took an unexpected and tour of the area (taking advantage of our being together...neither of us would venture where we did today alone)...while we were in the area, we just happened to hear CA-51 get it's form D over the radio for the Beesley's, so we knew they were close. We zipped over to CP BROWN, where I shot the following exposure at the interlocking (this is my first time shooting from that location...I would not go there alone, nor would I advise anyone else to do so):


After this, we headed south and did some looking around the Gloucester area, south of the station, at the remaining freight receiving tracks that are there and still in place (though long disconnected from the VINS)...following our exploration there, we headed south to check out some more Westville cutoff stuff around the location of the old tower at Westville. While we were there, CA-11 crept up on us and made an appearance with the CSX 8829 and CSX 8562 moving around 100 cars north. In the view below, I am standing at the approximate location of the tower at Westville. The foundations for the old power transmission poles constructed on the Westville Cutoff ROW can be seen to the left of the SD50 trailing unit:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... tville.jpg

While we were there, we took a closer look at the old concrete bridge support designed to carry the double-track Westville Cutoff over the creek. This is one portion of the cutoff that actually had rail installed upon it at one time...cars were stored on here for local industries, Campbell's Soup in particular:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... Bridge.jpg

And as the last minutes of our available time for the day ticked away, we heard CA-05 get permission to head south out of Bulson Street after the CA-11 cleared the south wye switch up there. Minutes later, after we managed to make it to 4N position light signal in time, the CA-05 led by CSX 1128 and CSX 1127 rolled southbound with some cars for South Westville:

http://www.SJRail.com/DailyPhotos/Dec30 ... cester.jpg

And that's all for today folks...had I not had to go to work tonight, we might have had some more scenes from their switching activities, but alas, that is all. We have a potential light rail trip coming up on Sunday, we'll have to see what happens with another tentative event we have scheduled...if anyone would be interested in joining us on that, contact me...

Take care.

Mike DiMunno
www.SJRail.com: All about South Jersey Railroads!
  by louisfols
Thanks so much for these photos.
It really was the Brooklawn cutoff.
I'm looking for old photos of area.

  by kevikens
Great pix. I am surprised I did not run into you that day as I also was in the same area that day and got pix of that same train you got at Gloucester City switching a plant at the Westville spur. One thing that you wrote, though, that got my attention, your admonition about going into Camden alone. I have railfanned for many years and much of that in Camden. I suppose I go into the city on average at least once a week. I find the city an area of considerable rail interest from Pavonia to Bulson St. Strangely, or providentially, I have never had the slightest trouble from the city's criminal element. I think I observe no more than the usual comon sense precautions any prudent railfan would usually do. The only hassaling I get is from the cops who seem to think I am cruising the area for the girls or drugs. I know the stats on crime in Camden but my own experience is that the majority of serious crimes are committed at night, usually provoked by drug activity, and are not actually committed in the areas of rail activity. I write this not to encourage fans to act recklessly but to consider that Camden has some very intersting rail sights, many with old factories in the backgroud, and that they might want to consider the city as a worthwhile place to railfan. By the way the only time I ever had a problem while railfanning weas in Easton, Pa. about 15 years ago when two kids picked up my canera bag and ran off with it.

  by chuchubob
I agree with kevikens. I frequently railfan in Camden and my only altercation so far was with a police officer who suspected that I was photographing oil tankers in Pavonia Yard from the 27th Street bridge to aid terrorists.

http://www.transitspot.com/gallery/Bob- ... 5_01_01_07

(this is not the photo in question; just an example of a photo from 27th Street bridge)

  by JJMDiMunno
chuchubob wrote:I agree with kevikens. I frequently railfan in Camden and my only altercation so far was with a police officer who suspected that I was photographing oil tankers in Pavonia Yard from the 27th Street bridge to aid terrorists.

http://www.transitspot.com/gallery/Bob- ... 5_01_01_07

(this is not the photo in question; just an example of a photo from 27th Street bridge)
My opinions about railfanning around CP BROWN may be changing...in fact, for the whole 15 or 20 minutes that David and I were there at BROWN interlocking, we didn't see a single other person (with the exception of those driving by in cars who weren't paying us the slightest attention). I'd like to return there a few times and shoot CA-51 or another southbound...there's some interesting angles to be had there.

Mike DiMunno

  by PRSLTrainman
I've been reading with interest the discussion of the area around Brown in Camden (BTW, great job, Mike, with your day's "reports". Very enjoyable!). I know the area well, when even years ago for some reason you always felt safer while you were on the ground railroading (drilling the junkyard, for example) than you did even unlocking your car parked at Bulson St. to go home. But, a question popped into my mind that I haven't really thought of for a while --- How did "Brown" get the name BROWN? The other towers in the Camden area are pretty self-explanatory (Jersey, Cooper, Center, etc.). What is the origin of the name "Brown"?

  by Steam man
I'm pretty sure the it was named after a Reading Company president. The interlocking station that was there before it was for the crossing of the ACRR main and the WJ&SSRR Millville line was designated by it's telegraph code of "UR" Tower.
  by EugeneV.Debs
I've never had any trouble in Camden. The only trouble you will face in Camden if you are white is from cops who think you are there to score drugs or prostitutes.
As like any other place if you are a railfan people might think you are a little crazy.
For the history minded railfan much can be found in Camden. The Kaign's Point Ferry slips still remain. A strip of Public Service track shows on 3rd and Penn, while in south Camden some is totally uncovered. Public Service poles can be found right across the street from the Public Service building which acts as a library. Wood poles that date from the turn of the century can be found near River and Federal near 36th St. The Public Service barns still exist for both buses and for storage.
My point is Camden is worth going to.
By the way, as a future expedition how about walking bits of the Mullica Hill line?
  by JJMDiMunno
EugeneV.Debs wrote:By the way, as a future expedition how about walking bits of the Mullica Hill line?
Sorry this took me so long to get back to you, but I've been away for a week...

Anyway, myself and another local guy have done SOME of this in the past, but not a complete report. Possibly a summertime trip for David and I!

Mike DiMunno

  by David
I am up for it Mike---Put it down on our schedule and another Camden trip!