Eastbound Crusader

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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Eastbound Crusader

Postby erielackawanna » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:28 am

This is my dad's shot of train #614, the afternoon eastbound Reading Crusader.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.p ... 271&nseq=0

Does anyone know a way to tell if this was #117 or #118?

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Postby Tom_E_Reynolds » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:57 am

What a great shot from a long forgotten era.

Thanks for posting.

Does anyone know, how well patronized was the Reading trains to Jersey City?

What was the timing difference between Philadelphia and Jersey City, as compared to the PRR mainline? Did the Reading route take longer then the PRR? Cost less?

Why would someone choose the Reading over the PRR to get to NYC?
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Postby EDM5970 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:17 am

Why would someone choose the RDG over the PRR to get to NYC?

Well, if you lived in West Trenton, Pennington, Hopewell, or Belle Mead, the RDG would be a better choice, as the PRR didn't serve any of those places, and the PRR would be a pain in the neck to drive to-
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Postby njmidland » Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:33 am

Why would someone choose the RDG over the PRR to get to NYC?


IF you were going from downtown Philly to the Wall Street area the Reading might be more or equally convenient. Reading Terminal and some of the northern city side stops were more handy than the PRR. Also for either RR you had to change to another mode (ferry or Hudson Tubes) to get to lower Manhattan. Usually the RDG, was cheaper as well.

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Postby timz » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:05 pm

njmidland wrote:Usually the RDG, was cheaper as well.


Got any figures?
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Postby JimBoylan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:09 am

When Aldene Plan started in April, 1967, PRR Phila. - Penn Station, New York, N.Y. was $5.25, PRR Phila. - Penn Station, Newark, N.J. was $5.00. RDG Phila. - Penn Station, Newark, N.J. was $4.95, newspaper articles said that the new RDG fare to Newark was 30 cents less than the old fare to the ferry terminal in New York City, because the PATH Tubes charged 30 cents Newark - New York. So, just before Aldene Plan, PRR & RDG must have been the same price Phila. - New York. I don't know what the RDG charged Phila. - Newark before Alden, but after, they were 5 cents cheaper!
For many years starting from at least 1964, PRR had Ladies' Day round trips on Wednesdays and Thursdays after 9:30 a.m. at $4.50, Phila. - Penn Station, New York. Maybe in the past there had been a full fare round trip of $9.00 and this was half of it, it was certainly less that half of 2 $5.25 one-way tickets. There was even a half-fare version of this at $2.25 round trip with no sex restriction and good for ages under 16! The RDG had nothing to match.
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Postby JimBoylan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:17 am

Timing: In the summer of 1968, the 7:32 a.m. departure from Reading Terminal made a 4 minute same platform connection at Newark with the 8:00 a.m. clocker from 30th St. Station, arriving 9:21 a.m., departing 9:25 a.m. I think this pattern lasted for most of the years from the start of the Aldene plan until the end of service via the former RDG.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:45 am

Didn't Conrail continue operating a Philly-Newark commuter train on the RDG Crusader route? I'm not sure if it was a SEPTA train or an NJDOT train by that point.

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Postby erielackawanna » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:54 am

Otto, It was Conrail through SEPTA for sure (not sure if NJDOT also contributed - someone else pipe in on that).

I think it died with SEPTA dropped all diesel lines.

There was one Wall Streeter and one Crusader each way per day. It ran with RDCs at the end.
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Postby timz » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:01 pm

For years the Crusader schedule was 110 minutes Reading Terminal to Liberty St Manhattan, including the ferry ride. Whether the PRR could beat that to downtown depended on how good a connection to the H&M you got at Newark; usually the timetable showed you spending maybe ten minutes in Newark, which brought the overall time Broad St to Hudson Terminal about equal to the Crusader.

You'd think once Broad St closed in 1952 the Crusader would be an attractive alternative-- but maybe there just weren't that many people heading to downtown Manhattan from downtown Philadelphia.
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Postby scotty269 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:51 pm

There are a few old Reading timetables at Bethayres station. I'll get some times for you tomorrow.
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"The Crusader" and "The Wall Street"

Postby CarterB » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:33 pm

I know the Crusader was a SS five car "double ended" set, but what were the consists of the Wall Street and were the Pacifics for that train ever streamlined?
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Re: Eastbound Crusader

Postby mitch kennedy » Fri Aug 22, 2008 1:43 pm

The Wall St and Seven O-Clocker had semi-conventional equipment (not quite like the steam coaches like the commuter runs) Two Pacifics, 108 and 178 (?) were done with smooth boiler jacketing but not identical to each other, with recessed headlight into the smokebox and stack flanges, almost like the Euro-style D&H steamers, but not weird... Lucius Beebe's old books had pix of these (now I'm dating myself). Patronage in 74 and 75 on the RDC runs to Newark was great-full after the stops prior to Weston Manville. They were empty til Jenkintown and filled right up with lawyers and stock brokers vying for the cab view from the open "cab" door.. They never closed it on the way up, but it was on the way back to Philly. By 75 it was $5.75 one-way versus $10 on Amtrak. I rode to/from Newark on Mon and Fri to college in Newark. Only time I remember the "cab" door closed northbound was late in 75; one morning a few dignitaries ( I assumed RR officials) rode from Rdg Terminal to Newark. I asked Elmer, the snack bar attendant why it was closed off. He replied "That's Mr. Bertrand. He's our President".. said in a tone usually reserved for a well-liked Pastor! You could always count on passing the northbound B&O freight between W Trenton and Manville on the way home and from Tabor Jct to Weston Manville the track was a SMOOTH 70! The CNJ was a BBUUUMMPPPYYY 55 from Bound Brook Jct to Cranford Jct. It bumped along til 81 I believe and then NJT ran old garbagey junk on a Bound Brook-W Trenton shuttle for a mercifully short time. Long live the Rdg!
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Re: Eastbound Crusader

Postby CarterB » Fri Aug 22, 2008 2:21 pm

Did the pre RDC Wall Street or Seven O'Clocker have a snack/dining car like the Crusader? Also what did the RDC service have in the way of a 'snack bar' or was it just an attendant with a plywood board across two seats?
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Re: Eastbound Crusader

Postby mitch kennedy » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:30 pm

Actually it was a nice setup. The 2 former B&M RDC's had the old baggage sections converted with a "Kitchenette" on the engineer's side with bar stools along it, and small but comfy diner-sized tables (each seating 4) on the fireman's side. The rest of the car was the conventional Budd seating (the other side of the mid-car "bulkhead") It had great coffee and fresh, high-quality baked goods from a bakery in Philly, and served as a bar car on the way home. The prices were proprtionally lower than similar PC/Amtrak snackbar fare and MUCH nicer. The windows on the "table" side had real curtains with framed prints of Ranulph Bye's paintings of the New Hope and Collegeville stations. The attendant would set up each table with a deck of cards and a scorepad for the regulars, who boarded at Elkins Park and Jenkintown. The one on the later tain, Elmer, was a former dining car steward on the B&O Capitol Limited. Wish I could remember his last name! This service was on both the RDC powered trains (Wall St and Crusader) up and back. We were usually 5 or 10 minutes late cause of bad signals on the CNJ and sometimes at Hunter trying to cross all 4 tracks of the NY-Philly Main from the LV connection. These were the cleanest RDC's on teh Rdg! (I remember going to Rdg or Bethlehem on same and was not always as impressed with the window cleanliness, especialy when trying to shoot the switcher and caboose at Potttstown!) And this was right up to Conrail. By 77, it had gone down a little, but essentally was still the same. Higher prices and store-bought pastry, mostly. The atmosphere was a lot like a compressed version of the PA-era Adirondack on the D&H when it was still D&H equipment, operating as an Amtrak train in the mid-70's.
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