history of Erie "DB" drawbrdge over the Hackensack River

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history of Erie "DB" drawbrdge over the Hackensack River

Postby pumpers » Mon Apr 03, 2017 1:24 pm

I'm trying to create an exact history of RR lines in the Secacus/Kearny/west Jersey City area in the late 1800s/early 1900's time frame.

When was Erie DB draw built? This is the one that in the early 1900's until recent years carried the Erie NY & Greenwood lake (the Boonton line from 1960's until the Montclair connection was built about 15 years ago) and the Erie Newark Branch (formally the Newark and Hudson RR) over the Hackensack, location is : N 40.75825 W 74.09386 It went out of service 10-15 years ago.

Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DB_Draw ) says 1889 and cites a NY Times article. But the article ( http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 94689FD7CF ) says it replaced a bridge originally built by the Morris and Essex (later the Lackawanna, now NJT Morristown line). The details are complicated (see http://warofyesterday.blogspot.com/2012 ... lroad.html ) but in short the M&E built a 2nd bridge for its traffic (at N 40.74329 W 74.07683 , later replaced at the same location by the current "Lower Hack") due to getting its own Bergen Hill tunnel around 1877. The first bridge the M&E built (around 1863 at at N 40.74602 W 74.07545) was then taken over by the Erie Newark and Hudson RR . It was only a few 100 yards north of the 1877 bridge . So it sounds like the NY Times article is describing this bridge being replaced, which is about a mile south of DB.

Further, in 1889 the Montclair RR, the predecessor of the NY&GL was even not yet owned by the Erie, and the 1889 NY Times article talks about Erie building a bridge. (DB draw did replace an earlier NY&GL bridge on the same location as DB, I just don't think DB was the bridge in the NY Times article. )

So this is all to say I don't trust the Wikipedia date.

Any experts out there who know when DB was actually built? It is very confusing and hope I have described it correctly (correct my errors please!)

Thanks, JS

One more confusion is that around DB draw was built, the Erie Newark and Hudson realigned in the meadowlands in Kearny to connect to the NY&GL to use DB (the "modern" Newark Branch alignment) or whatever was their previously, and the I believe the new bridge in the 1889 NY Times article was abandoned after only 20 years. Nothing in that location since at least ~1911 or so. Perhaps it was moved a mile north and became DB?
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Re: Erie Hackensack River bridges

Postby timz » Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:24 pm

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet ... 79~1020006

As I recall, circa 1910 NY&GL and Newark Branch trains both used the ex-DL&W bridge, then maybe around 1916 they both switched to the upstream bridge. So why does the above 1891 map show the upstream bridge? No idea.

Today's NE Corridor still has a bridge over the SE-to-NW Erie connection on the above map, and another over the old Newark Branch.

RR Gazette 15 May 1908 has an article about the Erie changes west of the tunnel.

"The location of the Newark branch line and of the New York & Greenwood Lake line and their point of divergence will be changed. These lines now leave the main line just west of the tunnel and cross the Hackensack river, whence the Newark branch runs westerly, while the New York & Greenwood Lake follows the bend of the river and proceeds northwesterly. The old line of the New York & Greenwood Lake originally crossed the river at a point higher up. Under the rearrangement the tracks of the Newark branch and the New York & Greenwood Lake will be the same and will follow the old location of the latter road crossing the Hackensack river near Snake Hill on a new bridge now being built. The two lines will diverge just west of the bridge."
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