Grenloch Branch Questions

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Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:16 am

Hey guys,
Wondering if someone can help me out with a few questions about some abandonment dates on the Reading Gloucester Branch / PRSL Grenloch Branch.

I'm inquiring about the portion shown here, highlighted in red.


http://www.sjrail.com/DailyPhotos/GloucesterBranch.jpg


This was a portion of Reading's Gloucester Branch, which should have carried the Grenloch Branch passenger trains before they were abandoned. I'm asking when the last train to traverse these tracks might have been. A portion of this branch would become part of the Holt Manufacturing spur eventually. I'm questioning the segment to the east of King Street up to the diamond that used to cross the Millville Branch.

Was this ever used for freight service even after the connection to the WJS was constructed? My other question is exactly when the connection was actually built between the Grenloch Branch and the WJS? It had to be post-1933, but I don't have an exact year.

Some of these rails continue to exist, in the form of a remaining portion of the wye near King Street (at the former Gloucester City station location), and some rails in a road near the site of the diamond. Does anybody have any formal record of the abandonment date of these tracks?

Thanks in advance for any assistance guys.

Mike DiMunno
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby rrbluesman » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:47 pm

You're talking about the line that was at one time the Camden County Railroad, right?
Ed

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:52 am

rrbluesman wrote:You're talking about the line that was at one time the Camden County Railroad, right?


I never knew it to be the Camden County Railroad - the only title I knew it to be was the Camden, Gloucester, and Mt. Ephraim Railway, followed by the Reading's Gloucester Branch, followed by the PRSL Grenloch Secondary (though the segment in question may have been gone by that point).

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby NJrailfan » Tue Nov 04, 2008 5:59 pm

I think that the portion on your map was probably abadonded during the PRSL merger although Im not positive. Durring the merger, the most duplicate tracks were abandonded and I would think that they would have removed the portion of the Reading branch between Camden and Gloucester City and have trains run over the PRR Woodbury line to reach the branch, like they today. This is just my guess though, I have`nt read anything to back it up

I did`nt know that there were still places in Gloucester City were you could see the originall route. On another note, do you think that portion of Gloucester is okay to drive into and look around?
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:46 pm

NJrailfan wrote:I think that the portion on your map was probably abadonded during the PRSL merger although Im not positive. Durring the merger, the most duplicate tracks were abandonded and I would think that they would have removed the portion of the Reading branch between Camden and Gloucester City and have trains run over the PRR Woodbury line to reach the branch, like they today. This is just my guess though, I have`nt read anything to back it up

I did`nt know that there were still places in Gloucester City were you could see the originall route. On another note, do you think that portion of Gloucester is okay to drive into and look around?


That's what I'd thought too, or shortly thereafter...but the remnants there almost look too new for that. Not to mention there's an industry directly adjacent to the Vineland Secondary (Millville Branch) in the area of the diamond now, that has an overhang which passed over the Gloucester Branch...I don't know if this place used that former line as a industrial track, or what...also I have reports of cars possibly being stored on that former branch up into the 60's, which looks about accurate for the remains. I'm just unable to confirm.

Here's a birds eye view complements of Microsoft Live...the item circled in red is the potential industry, with the overhang. The blue circle is where some rail can still be seen in the road, like a former crossing:

http://www.sjrail.com/DailyPhotos/GloucesterBranchIndustries.jpg

As for the safety factor in the area, yeah I think it's fine...I've walked the route a number of times. Will be doing it again some weekend soon to re-shoot the images I somehow lost for documentation sakes. Just realized I can't find them now, when I was searching for them to post here.

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby Steam man » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:29 am

Mike,
I lived just one block north(between Warren and Sherman Sts) of the industrial track where it crossed Broadway until 1965 and know for a fact that it was active at that time. The line come off the Millville Branch and was drilled by one of the Bulson Street crews,maybe 19-A a couple times a week. I remember seeing cars spotted at the plant on the south side of the track just beyond overhang you cirlced. The particular plant you indicated wasn't there and I think the one on the south side was a packaging plant at the time. I also saw cars being drilled on the spur that came off at the wye leg at King Street into what I think was Armstrong Cork at the foot of Essex Street. There was another spur that went into the Welsbach Plant along the river at the foot of Warren Street. I don't know the last time it was used or torn up though.
There was a connection that went into NY Shipbuilding just south of where the line came off the main past Newton Creek trestle and to the southside heading towards Broadway a bunch of turnouts in a ladder fashion that went to some long gone buildings that sat where the large automoblie storage lot is now. As an aside,when Steamtown ran the railfan excursion to Cape May in 1968,they used this branch to access the shipyard facility to store (and repaint) the 127 inside the fenced area.
Hope this helps you some.
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby pumpers » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:50 pm

A few things I gleaned from poking around:
-- From historicaerials.com it looks like the diamond may be there in 1940, but not in 1957 - there is a new road just east of the Millville branch that the Greenloch line does not seem to cross.
-- From Sanborn maps (1930), it seems that coming from the south/east and crossing the diamond and going Salem St, the line split in two, with the south leg going towards the river on Essex St, and the northern leg splitting again, with one spur going toward the water on Warren St (these two spurs sound like exactly what Steamman described), and the main stem of the branch going north on King past the NY shipyard.
-- From http://mapmaker.rutgers.edu/CAMDEN_COUNTY/sm_maps/GloucesterCityCamdenCo_1923.gif it sure looks like the line being discussed continued all the way down south on King St and then continued on Water St and then all the way to Big Timber Creek. This isn't on the Sanborn maps. Was this part of the Reading, or perhaps a trolley line not related at all.
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby Steam man » Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:56 am

pumpers wrote: ............it sure looks like the line being discussed continued all the way down south on King St and then continued on Water St and then all the way to Big Timber Creek. This isn't on the Sanborn maps. Was this part of the Reading, or perhaps a trolley line not related at all.
JS


Good find on the map pumpers!! The other line on King Street was indeed a trolley line that went on to Water Street and not only went to the Big Timber Creek,but crossed over on a wooden trestle into Brooklawn at one time. It was part of the extensive Public Service trolley system that covered the area. Used to be that at low tide you could still see the pilings at the end of Water Street.
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:11 am

Steam man wrote:Used to be that at low tide you could still see the pilings at the end of Water Street.


I believe you still can - last time I looked was about 3 years back, and they were still visible.

Thanks for all the info guys.

Another related question - this industrial branch that was in service into the 60's, the remnants of the REading Gloucester Branch...was that still called the Gloucester Branch at that time? If so, then I'm a little confused...there's a branch on the south side of Gloucester that served a number of industries at one time that I'd thought was called the Gloucester Branch also...am I mistaken?

I was going to look through my PRSL timetables and track charts and see if there was any mention of this...anyone have any notion of this in any official PRSL resource in the era of the 60's?

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby Steam man » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:33 pm

Mike,
My PRSL MOW track chart from 1961 does show the little industrial line at South Gloucester that crossed Broadway a bit south of Jersey Ave.as the Gloucester Branch. The one that ran up King Street was called the Gloucester Yard Track on the same chart.
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Thu Nov 06, 2008 1:01 pm

Steam man wrote:Mike,
My PRSL MOW track chart from 1961 does show the little industrial line at South Gloucester that crossed Broadway a bit south of Jersey Ave.as the Gloucester Branch. The one that ran up King Street was called the Gloucester Yard Track on the same chart.


Many thanks - I have the chart from 1966 at home, I guess I'll see if it's on there tonight when I get home.

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby JJMDiMunno » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:41 pm

Just checked my 1966 chart, and it shows the trackage still being referred to as the Gloucester Yard Track. Additionally, my ETT from 1969 shows a line called "Gloucester AC" in the list of public grade crossings, with a notation for "all crossings" in column 1, noting that all trains must stop at all grade crossings and a crew member must flag the crossing in advance. This means there were at least multiple crossings on this branch that required that procedure...otherwise, if the trackage that's currently in place remaining from that branch, the spur to the old Holt Warehouse, was the only trackage in service at that time, the note would have read simply "Broadway", instead of "all crossings", since it currently crosses nothing but Broadway.

Thus, it must have been in service at least as long as 1969...perhaps longer. Anyone else have anything to add?

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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby nayaugpark52 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:33 pm

The branch was active in the 70s switching the old Wellsbach and Armstrong Cork trackage. The last use was of the Independence Chemical Company at the corner of Essex and the Railroad. I believe that was in 1980. Holt Hauling had thrown gravel all over where the track was for a parking lot and an attempt was made to push a boxcar through the parking lot and the boxcar began to come off the rail. The car sat there for a while and was then taken back to Camden and the track wasn't used again. The track was very old and in poor condition. Up until the track was removed you could see the diamond crossover where it crossed the old trolley tracks which hadn't been in service since the 20s. After they rebuilt Broadway a double track was put back in the street entering the old shipyard complex about 5 years ago but it has never been used. It was intended for a coal shipping operation.
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Re: Grenloch Branch Questions

Postby RDG-LNE » Fri Feb 27, 2009 6:36 pm

I submitted this photo to a PRSLHS e-mail yesterday but I'll post it here as well. This is the right of way where the Camden, Gloucester and Mt. Ephraim ran in Gloucester between Broadway and what is now the Vineland Secondary Track:

CGMEROW.jpg
CGMEROW.jpg (80.34 KiB) Viewed 7693 times


This is all that is left of the Gloucester Yard Track/Gloucester AC:

CGMEHolt.jpg
CGMEHolt.jpg (125.77 KiB) Viewed 7696 times

Just two rails sticking out at the end of Salem Street at a gate at the Holt Cargo property.

I've ridden my bike and walked all around Gloucester with no problems. A few of the retirees will tell you about the town's industrial past once you explain why you are taking photos. One thing I'm not sure of is where the New Jersey Zinc plant was in town. Also, here is a diagram from Eddie Fell's WJ&S qualifying diagram book of Gloucester:

EddieFelGloucDiag.jpg
EddieFelGloucDiag.jpg (76.18 KiB) Viewed 7694 times


Enjoy!

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