Official Rahway Valley Thread

Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

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The Rahway Valley Reactivation VI

Postby mikec » Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:37 pm

Time for number six. Changed the name a little. Have fun.http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14487
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Postby rvrrhs » Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:11 am

To continue the most recent discussion, about the Kenilworth branch to Monsanto...

My wife grew up in an apartment on Monroe Ave., overlooking the crossing. Her family was among those who greeted the trains, and was never in the NIMBY camp. Of course, they were renters, and I'm sure the NIMBY forces came from the homeowners. My father-in-law has worked for National Tool on N. 12th Street. since the late 1960s, and he has told me they used to get the occasional boxcar via the RV, which ran along their building on its way to Monsanto.

In either Don Maxton's book or in "Saga of a Shortline," there is a story of a munitions factory in that area during World War One (Two?), and a boxcar of explosives that was on fire and heroically moved to a safer location by the RV crew.
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Postby rvrrhs » Mon Aug 22, 2005 11:34 am

Also, the entire ROW of the "Monsanto Branch" was sold off in the late 80s or early 90s, and houses built on it (and the offices of a construction company on the south side of the Monroe Ave. crossing.

The only way to tell where the ROW was is to drive down those numbered streets above 14th Street that crossed the tracks and look where the "hump" in the street is. From 14th street to Monsanto, the streets have been repaved and the crossings are no longer evident.
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Postby Alcoman » Mon Aug 22, 2005 2:00 pm

Any progress reports?
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Postby james1787 » Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:10 pm

My wife and I are starting to house hunt.. I wonder if there are any houses on or near the row in Springfield for sale?? :)
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Postby rvrrhs » Mon Aug 22, 2005 4:13 pm

I'm always driving by there, and there always seems to be a "for sale" sign or two: Tooker Ave., Tooker Place, Lyons Place, Bryant Ave., Hawthorne Ave. and Woodcrest Circle all are along the ROW.

Good hunting, Jim.
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Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:26 pm

I pulled the last revenue cars, off the line, in January, 1988. We were kind of suprised, about this, as Monsanto was actually a rather productive customer. The same thing was happening on the SIRY (off topic, I know). We lost P&G, then the lumber yard, and soon it was only a carload of bricks, maybe once or twice a month. Let it be said, that the DO Corp., parent of the NYSW/RVRY/SIRY, etc., was in a period of "selling" out their railroads, from underneath the trains. A nice profit was made selling off Edgewater, after "losing" the business. Also witness the FJ&G, also owned by DO. If one were to look at the total railroad/real estate holdings of the DO in 1987, then look again at 1991, you will understand what we are speaking of. The SIRY couldn't be "sold" (scrapped and turned into viable real-estate) because the DO was the designated operator, not the owner. Notice they did manage to keep the 120, however. No one can blame a railroad for selling off unused real estate, or abandoned lines, but how do you suddenly "lose" every single customer, on a profitable railroad, in less than a year. Then again, how does this "happen", again and again, on all of your recently acquired properties ? The RVRR was making money, but we were not ALLOWED to switch the customers, when they needed service. The jobs started working out of WS, and we were down to servicing both sides, a total of 1, maybe 2 days, per week.The work at Canford was the only thing left, when I left, and this was served across the main, from Excee tower. (some plastics place, name escapes me) We took the RVRR engines, and shipped them to Bingo, along with the LVRR "office" car. everything of value was removed, everything else was scrapped. Trackwork was done, only to rerail cars, and then sometimes, once the cars were re-railed, the torn-up track behind it was abandoned, and (I will presume) the ICC was petitioned to accept the request for abandonment. The LVRR interchange was a good example. It was newer rail, 132 pound, if I recall correctly, new ties, ballast, etc. A nice "tight" yard at Roselle Park, at Locust St. It was easy to interchange, run around our cars, and haul back to Kennilworth. For some "odd" reason, this line was sold !!! We then had the luxury of rambling through the weeds, and rotting ties, on the 80 pound (if I recall) "rails" through the long and out of the way route, to Excee, where we now had to shove, one way or the other, due to all of the former CNJ/RV tracks in the interchange yard being out of service. WE had to cross over at Excee, if we needed to run around our train, and enter the SIRY, then run around between South street, and the end of the long run-around, which heads out towards Bayway. (the middle crossovers were also OOS). There were spots, between the "junction", and Excee, where you couldn't even see the rails, as they were buried in the dirt, and grass. Some people actually mowed the "lawn" on the railroad, thereby extending their yards. (illegal encroachment) We literally derailed every single time we serviced the RVRR, at the end. The last derailment I had, was at the Wye, at Rt. 22, and this took 3 days, to rerail 1 engine, and 2 cars, due to the deteriorated track condition. And while this was happening, no-one was being serviced, on either side. (RV/SIRY) The amount of work we lost, and customers who were somehow "convinced" to move their business to trucks, would make you cry. We saw it happen, and there was nothing we could do to stop it. The best thing to EVER happen to those properties, was to come under the control of the M&E. I never saw anyone try so hard, to keep the businesses they had, and aquire new ones, as I did while working for Ben, on the M&E. Those guys want railroad, and they want to run it, not scrap it, then sell off the land. Wess and the new team seem just as eager, to carry on that legacy. I could think of a few more properties, in the area, that they should be running, as well. But that is another subject, entirely. Regards... :wink:
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Postby Al Holleuffer » Mon Aug 22, 2005 7:18 pm

Driving north on the NJ Trunpike Sunday, 8/21, I noticed that the entire center section of the AK Bridge verticle lift span is completely wrapped in tarps. I assume they are sandblasting and repainting it. I was surprised nobody mentioned this sooner.
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Postby CNJFAN » Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:30 am

I remember reading about 3 years ago in an issue of railpace that the AK Draw was ready to go and was rehabbed since 1998.
Is that not true?
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Postby mikec » Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:52 am

GOLDEN-ARM wrote:The LVRR interchange was a good example. It was newer rail, 132 pound, if I recall correctly, new ties, ballast, etc. A nice "tight" yard at Roselle Park, at Locust St. It was easy to interchange, run around our cars, and haul back to Kennilworth. For some "odd" reason, this line was sold !!!



Are you sure this has been sold. It was mentioned a few times that they weren't going to use this connection because Shared Asset/ Conrail didn't what exchange on this Section of the LV because of how busy it is. Everything I have seen on this is the DOT still owns the ROW from RP Juntion to the LV CR recently pulled up all the siding on the LV from Aldene to Hunter. Just to busy with NJT also running along there also they did a survey for a 3rd track from Aldene to Hunter.
Last edited by mikec on Tue Aug 23, 2005 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Sir Ray » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:01 pm

CNJFAN wrote:I remember reading about 3 years ago in an issue of railpace that the AK Draw was ready to go and was rehabbed since 1998.
Is that not true?

Yep, that's what they said, back in the late 1990s when a consortium of NS and CSX was supposed to run the line (that bass-ackwards decision, over the protests and complaints of many, including several muncipalities along the SIRR/RVRR (!!!! - yes, I know) who felt that local service would be ignored in favor of through haul only (and they would have been right, too). So we ended up with a 5 or more year delay, lots more controversy, and the connection to the chemical coast (for good or bad), and, since AK bridge hasn't been used since the late 90s rehab, I guess they need to rehab it a bit again - hopefully it won't rust shut again from another 5 years of disuse (well, the significant progress on the ground weighs against this, but I still won't believe it till I see the first local to Visy Paper and the Fresh Kills transfer).

The DO debacle sounds like the same short-sighted, incompentent, crap business decisions that have kind of screwed this country over for the past few decades...
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Postby CNJFAN » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:08 pm

Then I didn't imagine it about the 1998 rehab of the AK Draw.
I read that they are supposed to start running trains this coming November but I have the feeling that it is not going to be November, but a bit later.
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Postby pgengler » Tue Aug 23, 2005 12:08 pm

I recall having read that work on the bridge had stopped because there was a dispute between Staten Island (or NYC as a whole) and the PANYNJ about something. It might have been that SI wanted the PA to put up for restoring the North Shore Line.
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Postby Ken W2KB » Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:39 pm

james1787 wrote:My wife and I are starting to house hunt.. I wonder if there are any houses on or near the row in Springfield for sale?? :)


Maybe you can use some of the NIMBY literature about the 100 car garbage trains that will run frequently thereby detroying the property values, as a negotiating chip. :wink:
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Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: My Personal Site
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Postby BigDell » Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:41 pm

Driving north on the NJ Trunpike Sunday, 8/21, I noticed that the entire center section of the AK Bridge verticle lift span is completely wrapped in tarps. I assume they are sandblasting and repainting it. I was surprised nobody mentioned this sooner.


I mentioned either in this forum or the NJ Rail thread some time back that they had the scaffolding around the one tower - but that was months ago. It looks like they haven't done much lately, but it could be that the work is so..... "subtle". :-)
Nice to see things being done. Great to see rail service returning. I've been psyched ever since they ran that test train over the summer to Bayway.

Looking forward to the first run over AK...
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