Trenton Cutoff

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Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:46 pm

Yes NJT occupies about 9000 ft of the old classification yard, as 'guestimated' from aerial views and measurments from the interlocking diagrams. NS has the remainder for general merchandise and inter-modal.
The yard is about 5 1/2 miles in length from the signals just west of old Oxford Valley rd, to the "fly-over" bridge connection with the NEC at CP Morris. I have not heard of any plans for further delevopment in the yard since the NJT project.
Here is a link to a 1968 interlocking diagram of MA/MY,MB, Copper and Nickel. (Sheet 32 "MY")

http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Maps/Itlk/my.gif

And the following link is for cp Morris (sheet 23) continuation to the NEC connection from Morrisville yard (sheet 32).

http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/M ... morris.gif

Jim

TREnecNYP

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by TREnecNYP » Mon May 03, 2010 1:58 am

Jim in S.E. Pa. wrote:Yes NJT occupies about 9000 ft of the old classification yard, as 'guestimated' from aerial views and measurments from the interlocking diagrams. NS has the remainder for general merchandise and inter-modal.
The yard is about 5 1/2 miles in length from the signals just west of old Oxford Valley rd, to the "fly-over" bridge connection with the NEC at CP Morris. I have not heard of any plans for further delevopment in the yard since the NJT project.
Here is a link to a 1968 interlocking diagram of MA/MY,MB, Copper and Nickel. (Sheet 32 "MY")

http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/Maps/Itlk/my.gif

And the following link is for cp Morris (sheet 23) continuation to the NEC connection from Morrisville yard (sheet 32).

http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/M ... morris.gif

Jim
I'll look into it more.

- A

loggingloco
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Pottstown, along the eastern shore of the mighty Schuylkill River

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by loggingloco » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:55 am

I grew up in Feasterville about midway between the Trenton Cutoff and the Readings frieght line through Trevose. As a kid I remember lying in bed at night and listening to the locomotives blow for gradecrossings.
When I was old enough to ride my bike to Playwicki Park my friends and I would dare each other to stay on one of the bridges when a train would go by. We would hang onto the handrail just at the end of the bridge. We were young, not smart!
When I started driving I would listen for an EB train hop in my MG and race to get to either Bridgetown Pike or Buck Rd to watch the train go by.

John

loggingloco
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:40 am
Location: Pottstown, along the eastern shore of the mighty Schuylkill River

Holland Wreck

Post by loggingloco » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:22 am

Does anyone have any info about a derailment between Bridgetown Ave and Bristol Rd in the late 60's or early 70"s.
My father took me to see it. What a mess.
I've done internet searches several times and came up with nothing. Ivethought about trying the Courier Times, but would like to get an aprox date first.
Thanks
John

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:09 pm

Loggingloco,

I remember seeing that mess too. Empty coal drag scattered all over between Bridgetown Pk, and the Bristol Rd (old) overpass. I have tried to find info on that one to no avail. I think that happened in 71 or 72, dont remember now...
There was another derailment with fire that occured about 1978 or so. Happened where the grades came back together south of Bridgetown Pk.., on the curve. Tanker loaded with denatured alcohol burning. People evacuated from "Bridal La" (a dirt road at the time). Danger of a 'Blve', (Boiling liquid vapor explosion). FD quelled the situation, but still another big mess. Cant find anything on that one either...

Jim

arjay3
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Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:41 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by arjay3 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:06 am

The "Trenton Cut-off" was the place I first tried to take train pictures many years ago (about 1970). Back then all you had to do was wait about an hour or two and you could expect a train. I was introduced to the line by my Dad who knew of a dirt lane off of Twining Rd near Rt. 63 that would access the track. Sit in the car a few hours and watch some trains, he always called it the "Trenton cutoff". My Dad grew up only a short distance from these tracks near Susquehanna Rd and remembered steam helpers in the winter. He was not a railfan per say and had no money for a camera - but he liked trains. There is an eastbound grade from the Reading crossing in Fort Washington to a location called Heaton near the RDG Hatboro branch. At one time there was a set of cross-overs located at Heaton - perhaps leffover from when helpers were needed in the 1930's.
My Dad also related the story about the major wreck at Fort Washington that caused the overhead truss bridge to collapse onto the Reading's Bethlehem branch. A quickly constructed "temporary" double track wood pile trestle replaced the steel truss bridge. That "temporary" wood trestle was in plain view of Rt 309 and lasted until Conrail finally replaced it in the early 1980's!

Ernest yard in PC days featured 3 or 4 Baldwin switchers. The online auto unloading facility at the west end of Ernest was the major online customer. In early Conrail they tried to close the RDG Abrams yard and operate everything out of Ernest but that was inpractical as everone knew Ernest was too small thus it didn't last long. With the Amtrak fees for running freight on the former PRR most traffic was rerouted to the former Reading and the catenary came down along with electric freight operations. Abrams became the main yard in the Norristown area and the excess track at Ernest was ripped up and the yard office razed.

Photo about 1980:
<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9 ... site"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_pBdi ... J_CR29.jpg" height="638" width="800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/arjay12/RW ... bsite">RWJ electric photos</a></td></tr></table>
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sharry
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Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:39 am

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by sharry » Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:49 am

Speaking of Playwicki Park, does anybody have any rough idea on when the train goes by on a daily basis?

Zeke
Posts: 633
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 5:08 am

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Zeke » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:33 pm

I used to run over the cut off back in the early to mid 70's as a PC Fireman and Engineer. I was promoted in March of 1974 and bid for and held the H-618 Enola pool crew out of Jersey city N.J. for a year or so. The Trenton cut off at that time was a double track signaled/cab signaled electrified freight main line with a 40 mph speed limit. Around 1974 the PC rebuilt most of the eastbound no. one track with welded rail and raised the speed limit to 50 mph. Morrisville yard anchored the cut off on the east end.The Trenton Branch, it's official name at this time, was part of the Harrisburg division. Milepost 46.O was Morris tower, with milepost 0.0 designated GLEN int The west end had two exit points, DALE at MP 0.7 the entrance to the P and T branch, which took you down to Thorndale proper and the entrance to the Philly-Harrisburgh main line and GLEN at MP 0.0 which let you out on the main line east of Thorndale. Both interlockings were controlled by Thorndale tower which officially was designated as THORN.

Traffic during this time period consisted of very heavy ore, coal and coke movements feeding the gigantic U.S Steel Fairless works which at the time had 11,000 employees and was located just southeast of Morrisville yard connected by a huge double track concrete brige spanning the four track New York- Wash PC mainline. The mill also produced a great deal of outbound finished steel products. Iron ore boats originating in Venezuela off loaded at Fairless works producing many 100 car Ore extras destined for the U.S. Steel mill in Saxonburg Pa. and Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem PA routed Morrisville yard and up the Bel-Del railroad.On any given day the cut off was host to the piggyback trains TV-11, TV-12, TV-3, TV-2,TV-20, TV9m,TV-10a, TV-19,TV-79 and TV-4. If the cutoff was plugged some of these trains were run via Philly and sent up or down the Main line. If TV-12 had livestock for Cross brothers meatpacking it ran via Philly.By and large most of the westbound trains had the 72 car limit and S office in Philly was averse to putting helpers on these trains out of Zoo to get them up and over the main line's grades due to fears of jacknifing.

Back to the cut off, some of the manifests trains operating were AST-4 which usually ran in two or more sections during weekdays, EV-4,CG-8,CG-6,CNY-4,CG-2, SWC-1,P-5,NJC-1(autoracks Metuchen-Linden) VE-1, PR-7 and PR-9. Tuesdays seemed the busy traffic day of the week and it was possible to have 40 plus trains traverse the cut off in a 24 hour period. Power for these trains usually would be GG-1s,E-44's and E-33's and the two GM/EMD experimental electrics.Any of these trains could run with SD-45/SD40 combos, ALCO Century series, GP-40/GP-35's or any variation of GE U-boat models. The VE-1/EV-4 were two Selkirk -Morrisville-Enola heavy thru freights that usually ran with solid U-boat consists due to Selkirk being the system GE U -boat shop.The cut off had no intermediate interlockings though NEST tower in Earnest yard was a block station manned 24 hours a day and the place to run around broken down freights against the current of traffic in emergencies. It was a pretty simple railroad to run over with a few grade crossings and one stiff grade eastbound coming into Morrisvillle and a steady westbound climb out of Neshaminy and west of Earnest up to GLEN. There was one electrified center siding between the two mains at MP 7.7 Howelville that could hold around 65 cars but it was used infrequently. That coal train wreck, train Coal-4 Xtra, was caused by a broken wheel though they tried to nail the engineer for speeding. I knew him well, he was speeding but they could not prove it in those pre event recorder days.They were after him for a few years shooting him with radar and having special duty road foreman ride his trains.But he retired and that was it. We used to refer to that wreck as Willies coal pile as his name was Willard. He's been dead for thity years now so I guess they cant do anything to him now ! LOL

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Thu Mar 31, 2011 8:22 pm

Great info and stories Zeke.

Do you by chance remember what year the coal pile happened, and do you remember the later wreck (circa latter 70's) that occurred just east of there. It was near the electrics shed just where the grades came back together on the North Hampton Twp end ?


Jim

JFMcIntire
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:39 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by JFMcIntire » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:44 pm

I am looking for a location that I've found referenced in some genealogical research for my family. In a 1904 book, "Ellwood Roberts' Biographical Annals, 1904: Montgomery Co, PA, he refers to an ancestor “John Hallman" who "resided on a property in the same vicinity now [1904] owned and occupied by William Sheppard." [p. 265] On p. 261 he writes: “WILLIAM SHEPPARD, one of the most successful farmers of Plymouth township, resides on the Ridge Road near the Trenton Cut- or crossing."

Does anyone know where in 1904 the TRENTON CUT would have crossed RIDGE AVENUE?

Jim
J_McIntire@msn.com

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Sat Aug 20, 2011 1:46 pm

JFM.

I beleive the cut-off crosses ridge pike right near the turnpike just before it crosses the schukill river.
I have topographic maps of the area that show the RR and surface roads as they were in 1898. If time permits,I will scan and post the maps (or at least post links to them).

Jim

JFMcIntire
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:39 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by JFMcIntire » Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:13 pm

That's great, thank-you. If you have a chance and can post the maps I would appreciate it.

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:13 pm

JFM,

Here are the maps.

Image
Image

Hope these help..

Jim

JimBoylan
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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by JimBoylan » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:56 am

The original double track line, now abandoned, through Playwicki Park and over Neshaminy Creek between Langhorne and Feasterville had a 1% grade. The new Eastbound track, now used for both directions, has an easier 1/2% grade. More of the Westbound traffic was empty cars, there were more heavy loads Eastbound.

Jim in S.E. Pa.
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: Trenton Cutoff

Post by Jim in S.E. Pa. » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:56 pm

Jim Boylan

You are correct about the grades.. The original ROW was double track. New ROW with lesser, natural grade was obtained. That is why the tracks split apart from each other just west of Bridgetown Pike (in Northampton twp), and come back together just east of the overpass that spans the CSX/Septa (X-Reading) lines at CP Wood. Take notice (if traveling around the area) to the RR over passes between those two points. Pay special attention to the constructional differences. This is really evident on the Playwicky Park bridges over the Neshaminy creek. The origonal being mostly brick and the newer (current ROW) being all stone. When standing center span on the origonal (abandonded) ROW over the creek, take notice of the difference in height when looking at the newer bridge.
Saw many-many 100+ car coal and ore drags head east pulled by a pair of bricks on they're way to the Fairless Steel Works.

Jim

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