Erie Northern Branch (Northern Railroad of New Jersey)

Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.

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Re: Why did E-L abandon Northern Branch commuter service?

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Jul 07, 2009 8:06 am

Near the end, 1 Northern Branch train stopped at Susquehanna Transfer, I think about 8:25 a.m. That timetable has been illustrated in a few magazine articles about the NYS&W or the Erie.
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Re: Why did E-L abandon Northern Branch commuter service?

Postby RichM » Tue Jul 07, 2009 12:14 pm

I'm only going to post this link one more time... last item on the left side index is the April 1957 time table...

http://raildata.railfan.net/erie/homeerr.html

I think this shows the Susquehanna Tranfser stop that Jim's suggesting.
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Re: Why did E-L abandon Northern Branch commuter service?

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:25 pm

trainwayne1 wrote:Did the Northern Branch trains all stop at the Susquehanna Transfer? It seems that using the transfer would have saved a lot of time for commuters as it did for customers on the NYS&W. Or was it a case of most Northern Branch customers needed to get downtown in NYC to the Wall St. area?


A 1941 Official Guide shows a schedule effective April 27, 1941 for the Northern Railroad of New Jersey (in the Erie listing) with 3 trains a day in each direction 6 days a week (the Saturday afternoon trains ran in early to mid-afternoon). Two of the 3 inbound morning trains stopped at Susquehanna Transfer, as did one each of the Mon-Fri and Saturday outbounds, all of which showed connecting bus service to and from the Times Square Bus Terminal, 260 W. 42nd St. (pre-Port Authority Terminal), using buses scheduled to connect with NYS&W trains. The trains not stopping at Susq. Tfr. would not have connected conveniently with scheduled NYS&W bus trips. I remember the Northern stopping at Susq. Tfr. during the 1940s, so it was apparently a continuing thing from the time Walter Kidde started the "Susquehanna Short Cut" around 1940 or -41 until the end. (As an item of trivia, there was still a 23rd St. Ferry 6 days a week in 1941.) As to who used the service, it was probably mostly shoppers rather than commuters, because the big move of offices to midtown really began after 1945. The NYS&W service was also much used by theatergoers, but for people on the Northern it would only have been good for Wednesday matinees.
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Re: Northern Branch (Northern Railroad of NJ)

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon May 21, 2012 12:12 pm

<ADMIN USE>

Cleaning up and merging some threads.
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E-L Northern Branch commuter photos

Postby M&MRR » Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:49 pm

Some folks on the "You know you grew up in Cresskill if...." site have been wishing to see photos of commuter trains on the E-L Northern Branch in the 50s and 60s, especially in Cresskill. Does anybody know of any?
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Erie Northern Branch (Northern Railroad of New Jersey)

Postby RedbirdR33 » Wed Mar 06, 2013 10:55 am

I have been doing a considerable amount of research into the various re-alignments of the former Erie and Lackawanna Lines in the Jersey Meadows and I am trying to compile a comprehensive review of the above. While I have a fairly good understanding of what happened its always good to hear from those have first hand knowledge or more detailed information about these events. Over the next several days I will if you'll permit me to test your patience with some queries.

My first question concerns the Erie Railroad Northern Branch.

The Northern Branch was the last of the Erie routes to make the move form the Erie's Pavonia Avenue Terminal to the Lackawanna's
Hoboken Terminal . The date for this was sometime in 1959 and this was do to the fact that Northern Branch trains had to make a mile and one half switchback in order to get to and from the Hoboken Terminal. In 1959 the Northern Branch was operating six trains a day. Three southbound in the morning and three northbound in the evening. The oldest Northern Branch Time Table in my collection dates to 1952 and also show three trains in each direction every weekday although in 1952 "weekday" included Saturday as well.

Did the Northern Branch ever have more service and if so when was in cut back to only three trains?

Your comments and responses are appreciated.

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Re: Northern Branch Service

Postby granton junction » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:43 pm

The pattern of Northern Branch service with only 3 trains in each direction dates back to about 1938. Before that there was service throughout the day and on weekends. Competing bus service cut into Northern Branch ridership early on, and the schedule was adjusted accordingly. Saturday service lasted to about 1958 or so. There were 2 trains down in the morning, then an early afternoon returning train and an evening train on Saturdays. The evening weekday trains consisted of 6, 8 and 2 Stillwell coaches with usually Alco RS power although there was a brief period when Alco PAs were used (no photographic record). Ridership was good through the 1950s. But with the time consuming back-up move to Hoboken Terminal ridership had dwindled significantly by the end of service in 1966.
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Re: Northern Branch Service

Postby RedbirdR33 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:02 am

Thank you for that information. Its amazing that the passenger service lasted as long as it did. The buses would have provided a one seat ride into Manhattan whereas the Erie did not have the best of connections at the Pavonia Avenue Terminal.

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Re: Northern Branch Service

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:43 pm

I don't know how long it lasted, but the Erie had an arrangement with the NYS&W for Northern Branch passengers to use the Susquehanna bus connection (advertised as the "Susquehanna Short Cut" in NYS&W timetables) from Susquehanna Transfer via the Lincoln Tunnel to the bus terminal in Manhattan; Northern Branch trains made a scheduled stop at the Transfer if the train schedule matched a connecting bus, and the Manhattan arrival and departure times were shown in the Erie timetable. That at least enabled passengers destined to midtown Manhattan to avoid backtracking via the Pavonia Ave. terminal entirely. It still wasn't a one-seat ride, however.
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Re: Northern Branch Service

Postby granton junction » Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:12 pm

I have done some further research. As late as the April 1938 public tt, the Northern Branch still had a full schedule of weekday and weekend trains. However, with the opening of the GW Br in 1931 and the Lincoln Tunnel in 1937, ridership on the Northern Branch declined substantially in the 1930s. Red & Tan and Public Service provided one-seat bus service to Manhattan. Remember also that the Independent Subway was new, and commuters could now take the 8th Ave Subway from the GW Br to midtown and downtown Manhattan. So far as I can determine the cutback to just 3 trains took place in early 1940, but I still do not have an exact date. A 1947 employee tt shows only the 3 trains (and 2 trains on Saturday, eliminated in the late 1950s). This pattern lasted til the end of service in 1966. The 3 trains were well patronized thru the 1950s, but in the 1960s ridership fell substantially with the cumbersome back-up move to Hoboken Terminal.
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Re: Northern Branch Service

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:49 am

granton junction wrote:I have done some further research. As late as the April 1938 public tt, the Northern Branch still had a full schedule of weekday and weekend trains. However, with the opening of the GW Br in 1931 and the Lincoln Tunnel in 1937, ridership on the Northern Branch declined substantially in the 1930s. Red & Tan and Public Service provided one-seat bus service to Manhattan. Remember also that the Independent Subway was new, and commuters could now take the 8th Ave Subway from the GW Br to midtown and downtown Manhattan. So far as I can determine the cutback to just 3 trains took place in early 1940, but I still do not have an exact date. A 1947 employee tt shows only the 3 trains (and 2 trains on Saturday, eliminated in the late 1950s). This pattern lasted til the end of service in 1966. The 3 trains were well patronized thru the 1950s, but in the 1960s ridership fell substantially with the cumbersome back-up move to Hoboken Terminal.


A compromise in September 1939 proposed cutting back three services (the Northern Branch, the Orange Branch and the NJ/NY). The proposal, which was supposed to come into effect on September, 24, 1939, that the Northern Branch which would lose four eastbound and five westbound trains (they actually applied to can seven of them.) There was one point that the Erie was going to break the lease of the Northern Branch and can all service completely on the line. They did break it on February 1, 1940, but the railroad got a reprieve for three months.
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Re: Erie Northern Branch (Northern Railroad of New Jersey)

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:32 pm

Merging in some of the various topics on the historic nature (not the current operations) of the branch, along with some news on the Piermont Station:

LoHud.com

Not quite sure about the "not part of the Erie" topic. If that's the case, advise and I'll split the post.

Piermont: Historic train station gets $155K rehab

PIERMONT - Volunteers had restored the village's historic railroad station's facade to its former glory — a time when more than 40 trains a day pulled up to its Ash Street platform.
...
During the renovations, volunteers had to remove all the historic items and furniture from the first floor, much of which was used by Belle Kelly who served as a ticket agent and telegrapher and lived at the station long after train service was halted there in the 1960s.
...
The Ash Street train station was one stop along the Northern Branch line that shuttled passengers between Nyack and Jersey City, New Jersey, until 1966.

It was not part of the Erie Railroad, which ran from Piermont's pier to Dunkirk on Lake Erie and was once the longest railroad line in the United States.
...
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Re: Erie Northern Branch (Northern Railroad of New Jersey)

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:04 pm

It certainly became part of the Erie operationally (I don't know about the corporate status of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey, New York & Greenwood Lake Railway, etc., but all those North Jersey lines were functionally part of the Erie), despite the Erie's claim to be 100% diesel operated while the K1 Pacifics were still pulling trains on the NJ&NY. I think the post belongs with the Erie.
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