Excee Tower in Cranford

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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Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby CNJFAN » Sat Mar 20, 2004 9:42 am

Does anyone know what year Excee in Cranford was no longer used?
Also, what year was it torn down?
I thought through freights on the CNJ ceased in the early 80's but I read on another thread that it was used maybe through the 80's.
What was it still being used for the Rahway Valley and SIRR connection?
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Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby CNJFAN1000 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:47 pm

I commuted from Cranford to NYC from 1979 to 1992. One of my favorite memories is catching an evening train out of Newark with the old ex-CNJ coaches with windows that still could open in the summertime. I remember vividly one summer evening watching orders being hooped up to the engineer and conductor by the tower operator. That was the last time I ever saw this done. Can't remember an exact date; it was during the summer. I would guess early 80's, when the old coaches were ending their careers.
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Postby CNJFAN » Wed Mar 31, 2004 8:14 am

Would you happen to also remember what year the through freights no longer traveled on the CNJ Mainline?
I have asked this so many different times and I got so many different years told to me.
One was 1978 and i know they were still coming through beyond that year then I was told 1981, 1982 then 1983.
I would like to know the correct year if anyone truly does know.
I am thinking they were pretty much stopped in 1982.
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Postby BlockLine_4111 » Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:50 pm

IIRC the old Block Line magazines (80s) had some pics of this tower and a small run down on it.
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Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby CNJFAN1000 » Sat Apr 03, 2004 8:10 pm

I moved to Cranford in July 1979. I started commuting to NYC right away,and lived three blocks from the station back then. I can't recall
seeing or hearing any freights on the ex-CNJ line at any time, except one Sunday when there was a freight waiting on the express track for a signal to head east. I went home and grabbed my camera for some photos. I'll try to dig them out for an exact date. I also remember seeing the circus train heading EB up the connection to the ex-LV line one Saturday when I was at the old Horan lumber yard along the line. This was around 1990. There also have been instances of detours being run because of a derailment on the ex-LV line, but not many.
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Postby CNJFAN » Sun Apr 04, 2004 9:59 am

The latest through freight that I know of was in 1981.
I have a book with a picture of it in Bound Brook with a Conrail locomotive and I called the author of the book and he confirmed that it was 1981.
I was just wondering how far beyond that did through freights run on that line?
Not too much after that I don't think and from what I understand, after October of 1978, it was only used as a secondary through freight line from Conrail.
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Postby BlockLine_4111 » Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:53 pm

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Postby msernak » Fri Apr 09, 2004 8:52 pm

I remember when this tower was torn down. What was strange was that they only tore down the top 1/2 and left the bottom for some time. Anyone know why??
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Postby metman499 » Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:19 pm

I believe that the bottom half was still in use for storage purposes.
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Re: Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby philipmartin » Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:09 pm

I worked Excee for maybe a year until it closed. The Rahway Valley would cross over on its way to or from Staten Island, several times a week, with its O&W 116. No freights; they were all on the Conrail Lehigh Line.
When Excee closed I bumped a relief job; last trick at five towers a week from Brielle to HX. That lasted maybe six months when they closed HX. Then I bumped Morristown ticket. I remember the year by the jingle "Florio free in '93." That means that Excee closed around '92.
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Re: Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:50 am

I know I took a picture after they tore the top off. Maybe 1993 or 1994. I have video footage of NJT trains passing the remaining bottom in 1997 and just the foundation in 1999 . I went by there around Christmas hoping to update my video with the modern equipment. To my horror they are building some sort of offices or something and a parking lot sits on part of the old CNJ/SIRT area.
I know Conrail routed a few freights on the old CNJ in the early '90's due to a derailment east of Bound Brook.I wish I could have seen them lugging up the Aldene ramp.
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Re: Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby GOLDEN-ARM » Wed May 07, 2014 5:07 pm

i lived in roselle park while working for conrail. i could look out the window, and see the trains crossing the central, on the valley. the dispatchers and callers knew i lived there, and could take a short call to run detour trains from roselle park to bound brook. being qualified on the cnj line, i got a good percentage of detour trains that ran the aldene/bound brook detour (if i was home, and rested). when i got back to roselle park, if there wasn't a westbound nearby to run, i'd go back home and wait for the movement desk to call me, and head out for the next trip. the best part of detouring, was hanging out with the cattle, waiting to ride to the city, and seeing a freight train stop so i could get on. people seemed amazed a freight would stop, and pick up a passenger.... :P

spent many hours as a "tower rat" as a kid, waiting to ride freights or scoots. later on, i visited it, while running the rvrr, and later on, the sirr.
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Re: Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby RAHWAYVALLEYRAILROAD » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:23 am

Last regularly scheduled freight train that passed Excee Tower was the 681 (Elizabethport to B&O-Eastside Yard) and counterpart train 682. Southbound 681 would pickup empty freight cars off the Staten Island RR in Cranford, while northbound 682 would set off loads. The Excee towerman would be busy lining up the switches for these moves. In early 1979 Conrail established a new interchange for the Staten Island traffic, along the Lehigh Line in Cranford. Conrail implemented a new turn freight from Allentown to Cranford and return to handle the Staten Island RR traffic; along with cars for the Somerville TOFC ramp. At this point the 681 and 682 were discontinued. Thereafter, through the early 1990s, an occasional Conrail detour train would operate via Excee Tower and the Aldene Ramp.
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Re: Excee Tower in Cranford

Postby philipmartin » Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:06 pm

XC was still open when these movies were made. :

http://youtu.be/u3IhC65QbQM
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