Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

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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Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby MikeDob » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:37 pm

I have a question for the local Jersey rail buffs. I grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark NJ, which as you probably know got its moniker because it was bound on all sides by railroads. Needless to say, being a city kid, there were no woods, per se, to play in, but we had the railroads, the Passaic River and the Meadowlands to explore. I lived on Cortland St just off of Ferry St, a couple of blocks East of the old Ballantine Brewery. Everyday, when I went to school in the early 1960’s we would pass over the rail crossing at the end of Hawkins St. This crossing also went under another elevated rail road track and Rt 9 and the Turnpike elevated highways. Back in those days, the crossing was still manned by a railroad crossing guard who initially manually lowered and lifted the gates. He stayed in one of classic sheds with the saltbox bin on the back like the kind that used to be sold for O Guage Lionel sets – possibly a Plasticville kit. I walked those tracks for miles with my friends. I stll have my old Lionels and last set them up under the Christmas tree for my grandkids

I remember seeing a color photo of this crossing in book on Jersey rail lines many years ago, which was very expensive and I was not making much money at that time. The photo was taken from the overpass looking down at the shed to the west. I would like to find this photo and others of that crossing from the late 1950’s early 1960’s. Also, does the crossing have name or number? Any books or references available with photos of this crossing?
MikeDob
 

Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby pumpers » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:30 pm

No pictures, but I did find a track diagram of the area with the Hawkins St. crossing labelled.
http://raildata.railfan.net/cnj/homecnj.html (On the left side, click on "Newark and New York Branch")
The line at ground level sounds like the Central RR of NJ (Jersey Central) Newark Branch (going to a dead-end station on Broad St), and the elevated line along Route 9 was the Pennsylvania RR P&H (Passaic and Harsimus?) freight branch.
JS
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Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby Sir Ray » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:08 pm

Well, there isn't a railroad crossing guard booth at that point anymore, but there is (or at least was a few years ago) a guard booth for the entrance to Naparano, and the guard there-in would come out and eye anyone who lingered a bit long in the road looking through the chain link gate. I think the only real business to the west is some place that takes tank cars of vegtable oil.
I swear there was also a small 1 story bar/tavern called the 'Third Rail Cafe', right on Hawkins before the grade crossing - there's now one of those narrow modern 2 family homes of the style that was built all over the Ironbound district in the past 2 decades on the site. I may be misremembering, but that's what I think the bar was called.
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Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby MikeDob » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:38 pm

The guard booth, or as Plasticville used call to 'em, "Watchman's Shanty", was razed decades ago when they went to automatic gates. You really got me puzzled on the "3rd Rail Cafe" tavern, though - I have no recollection of that. There was (and still is if I'm not mistaken) a one-story tall bar on the next corner less than a 1/2 block down - same side of Hawkins St. - known as "Eddy's Long Bar". My dad used to stop there and treat me to one of their legendary humongous burgers.
MikeDob
 

Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby pumpers » Thu Jul 16, 2009 8:16 pm

Check out this site I stumbled onto. If you are a fan of the Ironbound and the CNJ you should love it.
http://trainutz.com/ironbound.shtml Amazingly lifelike.
One link even had a shanty:
http://trainutz.com/I-elvcrossingshanty.jpg

Does anyone here know Andy Romano, creator of the site (and the models)?
JS
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Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby Sir Ray » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:06 pm

MikeDob wrote:The guard booth, or as Plasticville used call to 'em, "Watchman's Shanty", was razed decades ago when they went to automatic gates.
Yes, the railroad-owned shanty for the crossing gate is clearly long gone, but a different guard booth for the Naparano entrance guard is there, behind the chain link gate. Hard to get a good picture when the guard is always watching you...

You really got me puzzled on the "3rd Rail Cafe" tavern, though - I have no recollection of that. There was (and still is if I'm not mistaken) a one-story tall bar on the next corner less than a 1/2 block down - same side of Hawkins St. - known as "Eddy's Long Bar". My dad used to stop there and treat me to one of their legendary humongous burgers.
I could be wrong on the name '3rd Rail Cafe', but I would have sworn there was a 1-story 'cafe/bar/tavern whatever right by the tracks.
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Re: Rail Crossing Hawkins St Ironbound Section Newark NJ

Postby pumpers » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:37 pm

I was in the Ironbound exploring (and eating dinner) this weekend, so I came back to this thread. I didn't get down to Hawkins St, but just now by googling found a "Eddies Long Bar" at 107 Hawkins, northwest corner of Hawkins and Christie, very close to the CNJ crossing mentioned above. Alas, on Google maps street view, it is closed and for sale http://maps.google.com/maps?q=107+hawkins+st,+newark,+nj&hl=en&ll=40.727889,-74.138848&spn=0.000004,0.00265&sll=40.728088,-74.139041&layer=c&cbp=13,353.81,,0,-1.52&cbll=40.727929,-74.139005&hnear=107+Hawkins+St,+Newark,+Essex,+New+Jersey+07105&t=h&z=19&panoid=-mcihqXS3Dm5YAIt3Oa_pA
And here is the crosssing, looking south on Hawkins. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=107+hawkins+st,+newark,+nj&hl=en&ll=40.727312,-74.138888&spn=0.000004,0.00265&sll=40.728088,-74.139041&layer=c&cbp=13,204.34,,0,9.12&cbll=40.727464,-74.138875&hnear=107+Hawkins+St,+Newark,+Essex,+New+Jersey+07105&t=h&panoid=mCSsIxev7x_6mmjEyl2aSw&z=19. If you rotate the view (click and hold on the "N" on the circle on the top left, and drag it around the circle) you can see the new house Sir Ray mentioned.
JS
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