Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Discussion of the CNJ (aka the Jersey Central) and predecessors Elizabethtown and Somerville, and Somerville and Easton, for the period 1831 to its inclusion in ConRail in 1976. The historical society site is here: http://www.jcrhs.org/

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Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby wborys » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:55 pm

In the mid 50's, as a 5 year old I would ride the Jersey Central line from Jersey City Terminal to Bound Brook.
I seem to have etched in my mind an image of us going over a crossover, a 90 degree angle of tracks.
(I used to scare the heck out of me, desperately surveying the track to make sure no other trains were approaching)

now 60 years, I wonder where this crossing really was, and does it still exist. It was definitely in the northern part
of the line, maybe around Elizabeth, but I can't seem to find it on current maps.

Do any grizzled veterans of Jersey rail travel have any recollections or details?

Thanks..
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Re: Was there a diamond crossing on the Jersey Central line?

Postby Ken W2KB » Wed Jul 15, 2015 1:23 pm

Yes. There were diamond crossings at Elizabethport Station, the north/south line from Newark Broad Street to the NY&LB crossed all 6 mainline tracks at grade at E'Port.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby pumpers » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:45 pm

Just to follow up - hope this map link works - https://www.google.com/maps/place/Eliza ... 1b526b03ad
The former NY&LB and the line which went up eventually to the line to Newark Broad st is still there (the line parallel to the turnpike and just east of it ). The main line (Parallel to Trumbull St) is still there west of the NY&LB, but not east.
YOur favorite crossing was just east of the kink in Dowd Ave.
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East of this spot, the main line used to cross Newark Bay on its way to Bayonne and then the Communipaw terminal in Jersey City. But the bridge over Newark Bay was removed a long time ago, maybe the early 1960s . (Others here will know exactly without having to go Google it like I would have to).
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Re: Jersey Central

Postby timz » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:33 pm

Passenger trains (RDCs?) ran from Cranford (?) thru Elizabeth over the Newark Bay bridge to Bayonne until 1978.
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Re: Jersey Central

Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:59 pm

Yes. Usually RDCs (weekdays one set as a pair, the other a single RDC if I recall correctly), but sometimes a couple of coaches with a GP7 at each end, used when the RDCs were unavailable due to inspection/maintenance. The initial and last runs of the operating day were Raritan to/from Bayonne since the trains were kept at Raritan Yard overnight.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:59 am

I believe the bridge was taken down around 1979-1980.I was there last week and you'd never recognize the area from CNJ times. :(
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby Semaphore Sam » Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:05 am

In '59 to '62, living in Westfield, I went truant many times from High School, to travel on the CNJ to NY, using the Bay Bridge to JC, and then the ferry to lower Manhattan. Around Elizabethport, approaching the bridge, I seem to recall a huge Singer Sewing Machine factory (with sign on top) on the right, before entering the bridge towards NYC...is all that gone now too? I also recall a freight yard abeam that factory; is that still there? I'm sure that whole area is totally redeveloped; very curious, though. Sam
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby GSC » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:18 pm

See if you can get an area rail map from the early 1950s. You won't believe the intricate "bowl of spaghetti" the rail lines were back then. The "mains" were the six-track east-west line, as well as the Newark Branch to the north and line south that connected with the NY & Long Branch. (North and south given here are cardinal / map terms, the rail terms are all "west", going away from the Jersey City / NYC area.) So many spurs and leads radiated from this central area, so much was connected to rail back then.

E'port was quite a busy junction in its day.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby kilroy » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:13 pm

Semaphore Sam wrote:In '59 to '62, living in Westfield, I went truant many times from High School, to travel on the CNJ to NY, using the Bay Bridge to JC, and then the ferry to lower Manhattan. Around Elizabethport, approaching the bridge, I seem to recall a huge Singer Sewing Machine factory (with sign on top) on the right, before entering the bridge towards NYC...is all that gone now too? I also recall a freight yard abeam that factory; is that still there? I'm sure that whole area is totally redeveloped; very curious, though. Sam


Some or maybe all is still left. I don't know how big it was at its peak so I don't know if some has been removed but some of it is still there.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:39 am

Singer building is still there but I believe it is subdivided. CNJ shops are gone. Couldn't quite pinpoint what was there now. It was kind of tough driving and trying to see what was on the old CNJ at the same time. Transloading facility is west of E'port station. I do know that they tore all but one track out at Spring St. and the bridges that they ran across.I want to try getting back there on a weekend day. Maybe I could find a parking spot when traffic isn't as busy as a weekday.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby Greg » Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:33 am

Semaphore Sam wrote:In '59 to '62, living in Westfield, I went truant many times from High School, to travel on the CNJ to NY, using the Bay Bridge to JC, and then the ferry to lower Manhattan. Around Elizabethport, approaching the bridge, I seem to recall a huge Singer Sewing Machine factory (with sign on top) on the right, before entering the bridge towards NYC...is all that gone now too? I also recall a freight yard abeam that factory; is that still there? I'm sure that whole area is totally redeveloped; very curious, though. Sam


Much of the trackage inside the Singer plant is still there although disconnected from the main. Most of the buildings are rented to small businesses and there are plenty of places to park inside the site.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby philipmartin » Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:15 pm

Semaphore Sam wrote:In '59 to '62, living in Westfield, I went truant many times from High School, to travel on the CNJ to NY, using the Bay Bridge to JC, and then the ferry to lower Manhattan.

When Conrail was about to happen, 1976, the PC changed the name of its bridge across Newark Bay, between Oak Island and Greenville, from "Bay" to "Upper Bay" to differentiate it from the CNJ's "Bay" bridge. Boats call "Upper Bay" the Lehigh Valley bridge.
At the same time, the PC changed the name of the tower in Perth Amboy from "WC" to "Wood," I guess to differentiate it from the EL's "WC" tower in Waldwick.
NJ Transit used the former Jersey Central shop facilities in E'Port until the MMC got running. At that time I worked in the Eport locomotive shop as a section storekeeper, (parts department,) for a few months. One day a Conrail mechanic came in looking for a part, so I gave it to him, coming from my recent employer.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby R&DB » Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:25 pm

Although not on the CNJ mainline, there were two on the Southern Division. One at Farmingdale (PRR) and one at Whiting (PRR).
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:07 pm

Also, Port Reading, Landisville, Vineland, and Bridgeton, and before grade separation, 2 at Winslow Jct. Long ago, for short times, there were crossings at Mattawan and Red Bank. If you got off at that crossing at Elizabethport and caught a connecting train to Kearney or Newark, there was a crossing with the Lehigh Valley RR at Oak Island. There was also a crossing at a sharp angle at Hauks, Pa. on the Central RR Co. of Pennsylvania.
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Re: Was There a Diamond Crossing on the Jersey Central Line?

Postby GSC » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:19 pm

At one time Whiting had three diamonds. CNJ had two of them, where the Pennsy crossed and again just south where the Pennsy crossed to connect to the Tuckerton RR. Another diamond was where the Tuckerton connected to the CNJ across the Pennsy. A rebuilding of the junction later only left one diamond, where the CNJ crossed the PRR.

There was also a diamond at Beachwood Station, just south of Toms River, where the CNJ Barnegat Branch crossed the Pennsy's line to Seaside Park.

Was there a diamond at Branchport, where the line from Eatontown to Long branch crossed the NY&LB? have to look for that.

Edited update: By the looks of Historic Aerials maps, Branchport was also a diamond crossing. (Warning - if you are into maps, Historic Aerials can be a very dangerous place for you)

Also, don't forget diamond crossings of trolley lines. I know of the one in Red Bank, not sure how many others there were.
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