Sixth Street Embankment (Harsimus Stem) HBLR / Rail Trail

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Sixth Street Embankment (Harsimus Stem) HBLR / Rail Trail

Postby pgengler » Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:13 pm

I took a walk yesterday to find a good spot to photograph some NJT trains, and I found a spot near where the HBLR tracks from Hoboken station turn north toward Lincoln Harbor. Right across the street there's an abandoned ROW that appears to have at one time been connected to the now-light rail route.

I took a couple of photos of it (some other ones, along with the other photos, are here, if anyone's interested):
The ROW
The repaved portion of the street
The light rail tracks straight ahead

Can anyone tell me what used to run here, and approximately how long ago? (It's mostly a curiosity thing.)

Thanks.
Phil Gengler

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Postby timz » Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:24 pm

Just what it was called at various times is a mystery to me-- but no mystery where it went: to the Lehigh Valley/PRR main east of the Newark Bay bridge. Around 1970 the PRR freight line to Harsimus Cove got connected to it too, to help the PRR connect to the NY Central. (That is, PC built an eastward-to-northward connection, instead of the westward-to-northward connection from the PRR passenger line that had been there for decades.)

Northward, it went thru the mile-long formerly-two-track tunnel that the light rail will (does?) go thru. West Shore passenger trains used that tunnel to get to Weehawken until 1958 or 1959.

Freight still used it until a year or two? before the light rail took over.
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Postby JLo » Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:27 pm

I think you are standing on the old ROW that connected to what was then Conrail near Grove St. It was an active ROW until the HBLR was put in. Freights used to run through Journal Square PATH station then head north through JC-Hoboken to Weehawken. Now there is a connection to the River Line on the Westside of the Palisades, just before Journal Square.
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Postby Lackawanna484 » Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:32 pm

It looks like the connection from the southbound NYCentral and (earlier) Erie Weehawken branch eastward to the Lackawanna Hoboken Yard.

The lead dropped off the north side of the DL&W main by Grove Tower to the Erie and NYC tracks. It dropped about 25 feet to cross Observer Highway at grade. Prob taken up in the early 1960s.
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Postby MickD » Sun Mar 06, 2005 12:17 pm

That was the connector between NJ Connecting Railroad and DL&W yard.
I really think it was mistake to tear that up.That could've been used as a rail link through The Bergen Arches.Considering what's being proposed for DMU service from Tenafly,a little foresight might've left that intact.Service could've run express from N.Bergen into Hoboken.
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Postby red baron » Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:38 pm

Officially, it was the New Jersey Junction Railroad, which ran parallel to the Erie Weehawken Branch. Consolidated to single track by CR in the late 1970s at the point where the photo was taken. Connected with the National Docks Branch of the LVRR at National Junction (NJ), located just north of the former PRR passenger main to Exchange Place.
To the left, in the first photo, is the location of the former Monmouth Street Yard (Erie). That yard served to hold commuter equipment before the abandonment of the former Erie Pavonia Terminal. The former DL&W / Erie interchange (taken out sometime after 1976) also curved in from the left side of the photo. Haven't been there in a few years, but last I knew there was still the remnants of a car washer in that yard, with concrete slabs still located between where the tracks were. Further south, there was also a connecting track that curved to the left (east) that went past "OS" to the Erie Pavonia Terminal.
Last edited by red baron on Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rbenko » Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:57 pm

Just to clarify, the first picture is NOT the connector between the DL&W and the Weehawken branch - it is the Weehawken branch proper, heading south towards CP Nave, which is just beyond the bridges in the background. At Nave the line splits - one branch went off to the left (east), gained elevation and used a sharply-curved trestle to swing west to join the PRR P&H branch that went through Journal Square. The other continued south, went under the P&H branch and became the National Docks line (which still exists and is used heavily). Also at Nave the ex-Erie line emerges from Bergen Hill (in a tunnel built in 1860), goes under the Weehawken branch, curves sharply south (it used to continue straight to Pavonia yards on the waterfront back in the day), and joins the National Docks line - this is now the only connection to the National Docks line.

Incidentally, I have several pictures of freights at the exact location of the photo, but alas, they are buried in my slide collection - if I ever get that organized, I'll post it, but don't hold your breath!!
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Postby pgengler » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:01 pm

Since I had some free time today, and it was really nice out, I walked along the tracks for a while to see where they went. rbenko seems to have nailed it ... if anyone's interested, I've got photos from today's walk here (the first couple are of NJT equipment, but the bulk of them aren't).
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Postby red baron » Mon Mar 07, 2005 9:59 pm

Real nice pictures. Did you see anything left at Monmouth Avenue Yard?You might be careful in regard to walking through the tunnel under Waldo Yard. Wouldn't be fun to get caught in there when something comes through.
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Postby rbenko » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:41 am

That's some mighty fine tresspassing you did there. Also, it's not a great neighborhood, and it's pretty isolated down there - hope you had a buddy with you for protection.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed viewing the photos. I'm surprised that the rail, and especially the turnout are still in place - thought CR would salvage it for use in other areas.

In this shot you can see the abutment from the start of the 6th street viaduct, which used to go down to the Harsimus Cove freight yards. The viaduct was 5 or six tracks wide at some points. The stone embankments are still intact, although the bridges over the streets have been taken down - there is interest in making it a linear park.
Last edited by rbenko on Tue Mar 08, 2005 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby red baron » Tue Mar 08, 2005 6:29 am

Sixth Street Embankment was PRR to Harsimus Cove Yard (removed early 1990s)
Railroad Avenue (renamed to something else - Christopher Columbus perhaps?) was PRR to Exchange Place (removed early 1960s)
Tenth Street was Erie viaduct (removed early 1980s) from Bergen Arches to Pavonia, parallel to Erie line from the tunnel to Pavonia built earlier
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Postby pumpers » Tue Mar 08, 2005 8:52 am

Looking north on the last photo, where exactly is the tall (17 story?)
reddish apartment building. Does anyone know the street/intersection? Telephotos can be confusing, but I still can't pick it out off a aerial photo. Maybe it is new?
JS
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Postby steemtrayn » Tue Mar 08, 2005 4:01 pm

pumpers wrote:Looking north on the last photo, where exactly is the tall (17 story?)
reddish apartment building. Does anyone know the street/intersection? Telephotos can be confusing, but I still can't pick it out off a aerial photo. Maybe it is new?
JS


The building is Sky Club, It's on 1st Street, between Harrison St. and Marshall St.
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Postby MickD » Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:34 pm

My mistake.Only glanced at second photo&it looked like the street(Grove?)
that the connector into DL&W yard crossed over.Thanks for jogging my
memory about NJ Junction RR.Senior moments must be upon me.LOL!!
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Postby pgengler » Sat Jul 08, 2006 12:08 am

rbenko wrote:Be that as it may, I enjoyed viewing the photos. I'm surprised that the rail, and especially the turnout are still in place - thought CR would salvage it for use in other areas.


I decided to head out this way again over the weekend, and was somewhat surprised to find that all of the rail between the HBLR sever point and the old switch to the still-active track was gone. In its place, there were a lot of rocks. I'm not sure if it's leftover ballast, or if it was just dumped over the rails (though I think this is unlikely, as there were a couple of spikes and such visible).

There wasn't much left to photograph, but here's what I did manage to get.
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