Washington, NJ trackage history

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Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby carajul » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:27 am

Just doing some research on the Washington NJ pax station demolition. I noticed that the tracks that went past the station to the north are now gone. In the early 1980s photos the rails are in good shape and shiny. When/why/who removed the rails going to the north and where did they go? Also does anything use the 4 tracks in front of where the station was located? I see a few cars spotted there but in the 1980s photos they are packed.
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby Greg » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:26 am

That was the DL&W 'Old Road', the former mainline prior to the Cutoff being built in 1912. It had two tight tunnels, one with a gauntlet track. The last revenue freight was in 1970.
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby rr503 » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:18 pm

carajul wrote:Just doing some research on the Washington NJ pax station demolition. I noticed that the tracks that went past the station to the north are now gone. In the early 1980s photos the rails are in good shape and shiny. When/why/who removed the rails going to the north and where did they go? Also does anything use the 4 tracks in front of where the station was located? I see a few cars spotted there but in the 1980s photos they are packed.


There was just a lot more carload traffic on the old E-L east of Washington in that time -- especially in the Totowa area. Many, many industries have gone down since then, or switched to trucks -- some not all that long ago.

As I understand it, those tracks are still used. A local (H65?) brings cars from Allentown to Washington, where they are left for another local (H02) to take up to the DRR and M&E interchanges, along with customers between Washington and Totowa. Those cars are left in the yard between locals (or were last time I checked).
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby jmchitvt » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:36 pm

I moved from Oxford NJ to VT in 1966, and was the traffic manager at Wyandotte Chemicals in Washington (later BASF) from start up in 1960 until I moved.

Maybe I can help (or try) to answer any questions you have.

Wyandotte shipped and received via rail extensively and I've got some good memories of the Washington station.

Joseph Meyers in VT
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby carajul » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:16 pm

If the new line (Cutoff) was built to replace the old line in 1912, why did the old road last until 1970? What purpose did it serve?
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby carajul » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:18 pm

[quote="rr503"][quote="carajul"]Just doing some research on the Washington NJ pax station demolition. I noticed that the tracks that went past the station to the north are now gone. In the early 1980s photos the rails are in good shape and shiny. When/why/who removed the rails going to the north and where did they go? Also does anything use the 4 tracks in front of where the station was located? I see a few cars spotted there but in the 1980s photos they are packed.[/quote]

There was just a lot more carload traffic on the old E-L east of Washington in that time -- especially in the Totowa area. Many, many industries have gone down since then, or switched to trucks -- some not all that long ago.

As I understand it, those tracks are still used. A local (H65?) brings cars from Allentown to Washington, where they are left for another local (H02) to take up to the DRR and M&E interchanges, along with customers between Washington and Totowa. Those cars are left in the yard between locals (or were last time I checked).[/quote]

Well we all know how CR and NS feel about local carload biz. They prob chased all that biz away.
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby rr503 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:39 pm

There was a lot of industry on the Old Road back then. Beyond the stuff in Washington that's the subject of this thread, there were (I believe) a few spurs up in the Manunka Chunk area, as well as the power plant and cement facility in Portland. Add into that the fact that it was the best route for B&P cement traffic to NYC, and it had a decent raison d'etre until quite late. And it goes without saying that this was on top of the fact that railroads understood the concept of redundancy back then...

I believe what killed it was a collapse in Oxford tunnel in 1970, at which point traffic from all those sources was low enough (and tunnel repair costs high enough) to justify its abandonment.

As for NS/CR carload business, I've heard that the issue isn't so much poor marketing as it is infrastructural restrictions (beyond losses incurred by deindustrialization, of course). The Washington Secondary is a 263k Plate C line, which basically means it's a step down from the standard in both its load and cube capability. This isn't to say marketing isn't terrible -- I'm sure it is -- but here that situation is aggravated by the weakness of rail in the area.
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby carajul » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:48 pm

I talked to the hi ups at several of the existing cement mills in the Bath, PA area a few years ago. When I asked them why up until the 1980s there were 100 cars spotted on their spur and today 5 cars, the answer I got was all the same... rail service reliability sucked, rail company customer service sucked, rail rates were $$$ compared to trucks.
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby rr503 » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:01 pm

carajul wrote:I talked to the hi ups at several of the existing cement mills in the Bath, PA area a few years ago. When I asked them why up until the 1980s there were 100 cars spotted on their spur and today 5 cars, the answer I got was all the same... rail service reliability sucked, rail company customer service sucked, rail rates were $$$ compared to trucks.


If I may add a little color to just *how* much has been lost, I dug up the CR ZTS map set from '93. Starting on page 242 is a map set that covers the old DL&W from Pittsburgh east. I'd say it's revealing ;)

http://www.multimodalways.org/docs/rail ... 0-1993.pdf

Enjoy!
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Re: Washington, NJ trackage history

Postby jmchitvt » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:15 pm

The line west/northwest of Washington DID have several purposes:

Four come to mind:

1) Bring Portland traffic to Washington for forwarding via train 71, and reverse 66 traffic to Portland - rather than circle to Port Morris and back to Washington

2) Wyandotte received several cars a day, faster than to Port Morris and back

3) Oxford Furnace mine run until April 1964- some days up to fifteen/twenty cars

4) Scheduled symbol freights 2/HB-9 and BH-12 daily

Joseph Meyers in VT
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