Freehold Branch questions

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby CNJ4104 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:04 pm

Kback 9

To answer your questions I’ll refer to information received from Bob Hoeft a former CNJ employee who worked the Freehold Branch from the 50’s on.

1. The typical passenger train was 5 cars (1 combination and 4 coaches) on the weekday trains #4902 and #4927 between Freehold and Jersey City. The Saturday trains #4950 and #4957 between Freehold and Matawan consisted of 2 cars (1 combination and 1 coach). All passenger trains were steam hauled (usually a T-38 camelback) till the end of passenger service in April 1953.
2. The “typical” freight train was more varied and depended on what was dropped off by the nightly Jersey City Bay Head road freight JQ-3. Originally the local freight to Freehold was designated QV-1 (later QVX) and ran to Freehold on M/W/F. On T/TH/Sat it ran down the Sea Shore Branch. Diesel motive power initially was a H-15-44 and in later years a RS-3. Shippers on the branch past the Matawan yard limits are as follows. In Freneau there was Matawan Lumber which received wood products in boxcars from the Pacific Northwest. In Morganville there was Champion Oil, Faye Sales, and Becker’s Coal trestle (question #3). Champion Oil repackaged oil for resale so they received oil in tank cars and shipped out in boxcars. Faye Sales received lumber products in boxcars. Becker’s received bituminous coal in B&O three bay hoppers to heat their greenhouses. They also received anthracite in CNJ two bay hoppers for resale to local industries and houses. In Marlboro there was the State Hospital and Dugan’s. The State Hospital north of Marlboro received about 200 cars a year of Bit coal in B&O three bays until they changed over to gas. Dugan’s received Bit coal for there coal trestle on the east side of the main and feed and grain on the west side for their distribution facility next to the station which by the way still stands. Freehold had numerous industries. While physically the largest, the A&M Karagheusian mostly received coal for their boiler. Very little shipped out of the mill. The largest shippers in Freehold were the two feed houses Holland & McChesney and S.R. Mills. Both received feed and grain in boxcars from the Midwest and occasionally BAR reefers loaded with potato plate seedlings from Maine. Other shippers in Freehold include Bayonne Steel, Allied Transit Mix, and Freehold Lumber. All of which were served from the team tracks across from the station. Bayonne Steel received (ironically) mostly plywood in boxcars. Allied Transit received cement from the Portland Pa area in covered hoppers. Freehold Lumber received wood products from the northwest via boxcars. There was also a coal yard next to the freight station. I don’t know the name of it though and it was my understanding it didn’t do much business. The only other “regular” business was LCL. This was handled in CNJ boxcars loaded in E’Port for dropoff along the line were needed. Trains were typically 8-12 cars long.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Pacobell73 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:32 pm

I did some extensive videotaping of the branch in Jan 1993 to examine what was left. I recall reading that service between Morgantown and Freeholsd ceased in the early 1970s (perhaps 1973) due to a bridge failure. Anyone know which bridge may have been the one that forced the CNJ to cut back service?

Also, when did Conrail finally throw in the towel on the active Matawan/Morganville portion?
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Kaback9 » Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:52 pm

83 is when everything ceased. Service to Freehold stopped in the 70's.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Pacobell73 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:49 am

I wish someone had pix of the Matawan Creek trestle and a Conrail engine creaking over it.

Also, since Rt. 18 was completed in 1973, I have heard that a train never crossed the girder bridge over the highway in Marlboro.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Kaback9 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:13 am

Pacobell73 wrote:I wish someone had pix of the Matawan Creek trestle and a Conrail engine creaking over it.

Also, since Rt. 18 was completed in 1973, I have heard that a train never crossed the girder bridge over the highway in Marlboro.


Correct no train ever went over the Rt. 18 bridge though there was track on it. I know as I had taken some spikes before as they were ripping it up. I know of a picture that does exist except I would need their permission or since they have posted here they could post it as well.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby CNJ4104 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:08 pm

Pacobell73 wrote:I wish someone had pix of the Matawan Creek trestle and a Conrail engine creaking over it.

Also, since Rt. 18 was completed in 1973, I have heard that a train never crossed the girder bridge over the highway in Marlboro.


Pacobell

I took the atttached photo of a Conrail GP 10? crossing Lake Matawan in 1979. Sorry for the soft focus.

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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Kaback9 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:31 pm

I still get a kick out of that photo! Its sad to think that bridge will soon be a pedestrian bridge.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby CNJ4104 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:15 pm

Kaback9 wrote:I still get a kick out of that photo! Its sad to think that bridge will soon be a pedestrian bridge.



If I remember correctly, the crew pulled the train down to Imperial Oil in Morganville and dropped the cab on the main. They then set out the tank on the Imperial Oil siding. After coupling back up to the cab they pushed it back towards Matawan towing the MP box of lumber for Matawan Lumber in Freneau. Upon reaching Matawan Lumber they just uncoupled it and left it on the main to be unloaded.

This local usually ran on Friday afternoons and it took me all winter to catch it with enough light. This was just after Conrail rebuilt (stabilized really) the bridge. They used a old CNJ American crane painted in the Red Baron scheme to assist in this effort. I was 14 at the time.

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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby Pacobell73 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:10 am

CNJ4104 - thank you so mu8ch for posting that picture. Absolutely wonderful. My only experience with that bridge was walking across it end-to-end in Winter 1992.

I will try to post some videos of the line from that period once I convert the VHS tape.

Again, thanx!
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby michaelk » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:02 pm

Jtgshu wrote:when wires were pulled down in Metropark in the summer of 2003, it was strongly considered by NJT to have equipment moves to Trenton via the Amboy Secondary to Midway, becuase there was only 1 train in Trenton, and the wires were expected to be fixed very early in the AM, meaning that there would be no way to get the trains to Trenton for the AM rush.

It ended up that the NEC got fixed faster than they expected, so it never came to fruition, but who knows if some other issues would have popped up to prevent it from happening.

I wonder if River draw was ever severely damaged (like it has in the past) would NJT ever do a detour down the Amboy Secondary (or the Freehold Branch if MOM was built that way). I don't think so, as it would just be easier to suspend service :(


During the 80's when the were electrifying they also did some significant work on the draw (Morgan creek?) Between south anboy and matawan. For what seemed like months (was just a kid) they ran matawan to bay head shuttles and then busses from matawan to south amboy. May have been only weekends- not sure. But I remember that it was permanent enough to be in the schedules.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby NY&LB » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:49 am

During the 80's when the were electrifying they also did some significant work on the draw (Morgan creek?) Between south anboy and matawan. For what seemed like months (was just a kid) they ran matawan to bay head shuttles and then busses from matawan to south amboy. May have been only weekends- not sure. But I remember that it was permanent enough to be in the schedules.


The first schedule that I have to have the "bus" note was October 26, 1980; my prior schedule, February 4, 1979 did not have the note, it read " SPECIAL NOTE On trains 3322,5324, 3326, 3303, 5305, and 3307 bus service provided between South Amboy and Matawan, connecting with train service at both points" This was a Monday thru Friday note, the Saturday and Sunday schedules were not effected. These were mid day trains as follows: EAST bound 3322 arrived Matawan at 9:35 AM; 5324 at 12:36 and 3326 PM at 3:04 PM next through train was at 6:04 PM {these were the ONLY trains during that period 3 hour headways! vs. today's hourly service}. WEST bound, train 3303 arrived South Amboy at 7:04 AM, 5305 at 9:59 AM and 3307 at 12:50 PM (next "through train" was at 3:29 PM} The bus added 30 min. to the trip!

The identical note remained through April 26, 1981. My first TT without the note is the October 31, 1982 "NOW! Electric Express Service from Matawan" schedule.

That puts a pretty good window of when the work was being done although I am probably missing a TT or 2. Interesting that they did not do construction work on weekends back then.
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Re: Freehold Branch questions

Postby michaelk » Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:52 pm

NY&LB wrote: .... The bus added 30 min. to the trip!
....



Not to get too far off topic and guess it is somewhat relevant to timing- but the buses also made the old railcars look like luxury- laughing. The old train toilets used to just open to watch the tracks below- those buses smelled like toilets. It's been a real long time- but i think many (most) cars on the line back then even had AC- although it you sat at either end of the car by the units they dripped on you- buses not so much. Since I remember it being HOT on the buses - I'd GUESS that the bus thing started with at least one schedule before the oct '80. (could have just been Indian summer or early spring, but i seem to recall the hot going on for some time.) Both had a smattering of those spiffy green plastic windows- laughing.
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