Australian tourist to visit NJ and PA

Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

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LandDownUnder
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 12:32 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Australian tourist to visit NJ and PA

Post by LandDownUnder »

G'day to all

As a first post on these forums, I should introduce myself. My name is Maikha, and I'm a railfan posting all the way overseas from sunny Sydney, in Australia. In terms of my interest, I'm an avid railroad photographer, HO scale modeller, and also spend a fair bit of time volunteering for a heritage steam railroad as a Conductor (The Great Zig Zag Railway - http://www.zigzagrailway.com.au), and a Mainline Excursion operator as a passenger attendant (3801 Limited - http://www.3801limited.com.au)

I will be heading over to the United States during the course of Mid-July until Mid-August 2006, although mainly for Family reasons, I expect that spending a month over there will have me indulging in some local railfanning. I'll be leaving roughly on the 14th July 2006 and returning on the 17th of August 2006. Although somedays are planned in Los Angeles mainly for tourist stuff, the bulk of my stay will be in South-West New Jersey and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, staying with relatives in both states. In New Jersey, I will be staying in a suburb called Lindenwold, located on the Atlantic City Line and is a convenient 30minutes from Downtown Philadelphia, whereas in Philadelphia, I will be staying in an outlying suburb I'm unsure of yet.

At present, I am planning what locations and activities I could get up to in a railroad context, and would like to seek the assistance of all here in helping me find the following.

-Any website, railfan or official, which showcases the Railroads in NJ and PA. Mainly after any of you locals who may have websites/photographic galleries that may feature photographs of the railroads.
-What would be of immediate railroad interest in Philadelphia?
-Also anything interesting in/near Lindenwold/Berlin?
-Suggestions of what to do in Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Washington DC in a railroad context in terms of a Day visit.
-Information about Local and State based transit systems in NJ and PA (I'm aware already that from Lindenmold and Philadelphia, I have NJ Transit, PATCO and SEPTA)
-Model Railroad stores, Train Shows and clubs in Lindenmold and Philadelphia that I could acquaint with. Does TAMR have any division/meeting in Philadelphia?
-Preserved and Tourist Railroads in both states, particularly Steam based
-Any Mainline Excursions which may operate out of Philadelphia and/or New York/Baltimore in the time of my visit?
-Transport Museums of interests in the previously listed cities.
-Any good local railroad stations in Philadelphia where I could photograph a variety of trains, both passenger and freight


As well as that, I'm also open to suggestions of anything non-railway that I could get up to in those areas. Any assistance rendered would be grateful from me, and will allow me to appreciate the railroads and railfanning over there abit more.


Oh and another important thing I'll definately need. Would anyone know where I could find a list of American Railroad terms? I know a few already, although a fair bit differs from what we use in Australia (Which is British Based). A Conductor down here is referred to as a Train Guard :wink:


Sincere thanks. More will be posted in due course.

Also, would it be ok if I could make this same post in the PA State Forum?

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain »

WADR, you're a little over the top showing off your Aussiness. I've been here a while but I don't make leprechaun references or say "top of the mornin' to ye" or stuff like that. They use the term "guard" in Ireland as well, but I don't ram it down everyone's throat.

All right then: What railway in Australia has the same gauge as Ireland?

And unless you're a personal friend of the Youngs (especially Angus and Malcolm), we don't wanna know ya :wink:

LandDownUnder
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 12:32 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by LandDownUnder »

Irish Chieftain wrote:All right then: What railway in Australia has the same gauge as Ireland?
Victoria :wink:

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3616
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Post by njt/mnrrbuff »

On to the stuff in the Philly and NY area. I have lived in the NYC area all of my life. I know a lot about the Philly area. You should find many options. Are you a commuter rail, Amtrak, or like transit.
First, Lindenwald served by a rapid transit, called Patco. In fact, it's the end of the line. It runs into Center City. They use older cars. There are some scenic areas, especially crossing over the Ben Franklin Bridge. In Philly, there is a pretty good subway system as well as light rail. There is one interesting mode of rapid transit that is like a bus on rails. It's called the Norristown High Speed Line. You have to take the Market-Frankford to 69th street to get that. With that, you go through some very scenic area. The cars really move. The Norristown High Speed Line ends up at Norristown Transportation center. From there, you can switch to the R6 regional rail which runs along the Schuykill River for the most part till it hits the not so good areas like N. Philly.
Other options for commuter rail include a ride on the R5 to Doylestown. North of Lansdale, you pass through a lot of scenic area like farms. There is the R3 lines, the portion that runs to Elwyn. You get to go over some high trestles like between Swarthmore and Wallingford.
If you take a trip to NYC, you will find a lot. First, take the River Line to Trenton, and then take the NEC to NYc. The city has an extensive subway system, with most routes being outside in the outer boroughs like the bronx and queens. For NJT commuter rail, why not take a trip to Pt. Jervis. This line is in partnership with MNR north of Suffern. In NY state, the scenery is lovely, especially going over many hills. How about take the NJCL to Bay Head where most of the great scenery is south of Perth Amboy.

JoeBas
Posts: 267
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:10 pm

Post by JoeBas »

It should be noted, as well, that if the trip is mainly for Family, the opporotunity to "distance railfan" somewhere like Philly (figure 45 minutes each way) might be somewhat limited, whereas local opporotunites may be easier to do (Hark! Is that a train I hear? Time to, um, go pick up a newspaper, yeah, that's it!).

In the Lindenwold/Berlin area, you'll basically have two options. The first is the New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City line, for passenger... these are usually Comet 3 or Comet 4 sets, and run with a decent frequency (check http://www.njtransit.com/ for a schedule -- another nice thing about Passenger, you sorta know when it's going to be around).

The second option is the Beesley's Point Secondary, a freight line which runs through the towns just south of Lindenwold and Berlin (Stratford and Clementon). Service is generally 1-2 trains a day each way (usually southbound first, then returning northbound), with occasional extras, and includes fairly long unit coal, LP and Stone trains, as well as general merchandise.

Information on both of these services can be found at www.sjrail.com. Folks there can probably help you more with approximate times on the freight moves (I've since moved away from the area).

PRRTechFan
Posts: 422
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 9:44 pm
Location: Manasquan, N.J. on the NJCL

Post by PRRTechFan »

LandDownUnder wrote:
...help me find the following:
-Preserved and Tourist Railroads in both states, particularly Steam based
-Transport Museums of interests in the previously listed cities.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg should be a "do not miss" destination on your trip. http://www.rrmuseumpa.org
It is about an hour or so west from Philadelphia, but would be well worth every minute it takes you to get there and back. This site gives directions: http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/visitors/direct.htm

You can take Amtrak from Philadelphia to Lancaster, the nearest station. http://www.amtrak.com/timetable/apr06/W10.pdf Amtrak Keystone service through Lancaster is fairly regular. Philadelphia-Harrisburg is an electrified line and usually uses equipment similar to what you would see on the much more heavily travelled Northeast Corridor. This line has deteriorated over the years, but is presently being upgraded for high(er) speed service.

Right next to the museum is the Strasburg Railroad. http://www.strasburgrailroad.com They run a short steam trip up to where their spur connects to the Philadelphia-Harrisburg main line.

You can see a lot of railroad history, ride on authentic restored equipment under steam power and get a taste of Amtrak high speed electric service in one trip! Enjoy!

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3616
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Post by njt/mnrrbuff »

Keep in mind that the railroad attractions in the Lancaster area are not walkable from any Amtrak station. I'm sure you can get around by a horse and buggy. Red Rose transit might have something but I'm sure that it's limited. If you come to Lancaster by rail, you might have to rent a car. There is a proposal of building an Amtrak station at Paradise, which would connect to the Strasburg railroad.The Amtrak equipment on the Keystone Corridor is LIKE everything else used on the NEC, minus Acela's being in revenue service. Currently, the line uses Genesis locomotives with are diesel, and have POOR acceleration. Soon, AEM7s will be back on the Keystone doing 110.

PRSL2005
Posts: 60
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2004 12:45 am

Tour

Post by PRSL2005 »

Send me a e-mail and I can give you a tour of the area on a weekend.
n2icv@hotmail.com

pdtrains
Posts: 434
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2006 7:48 pm
Location: Phila, PA, Paso Robles, CA

Post by pdtrains »

Best Railfan Spot near lindenwold....

Winslow Jct, on Atlantic City Line.
It is the former jct of the PRR Atlantic city line, their Ocean City/Cape may line, the western half of the old Reading ACY line, and the Central RR of NJ Southern Division.

What's there today...
New Jersey transit trains Philadelphia to Atlantic city. 11 Round trips/day
Conrail freight that uses old Ocean City line and the old Reading ACY line (now called the Beesley point secondary). Trains are infrequent, but
you might get lucky.
Southern RR of new Jersey...I think this is still their base of operations..
located just south of the old PRR tower and the ACY line. They have a fleet of older diesels that they use, many of them quite interesting
to us locals. I believe they have a web sight, or you may find someone
who knows their operating schedule.

Tourist lines...
Cape May Seashore lines...Runs excursions in the Tuckahoe to Cape May
area, south on Lindenwold in NJ. 1950/60's vintage diesels with coaches, or Budd Rail Diesel Cars are used.

New Hope and Ivyland RR.
Excursion trains out of New Hope, PA., about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs NW of Lindenwold. They have a fleet of steam and diesel engines.


Wilmington and Western RR.
Runs steam and diesel excursions from the southern part of Wilmington,
Delaware, 45min to 1 hr west from Lindenwold.

Black River and Western RR...Ringoes, NJ.
I think they are running diesel excursions these days. Don't know if
their steamers are up and running.

The Pennsylvania RR museum in Strasburg, and the Strasburg RR were
already mentioned. The Strasburg always runs Steam trains, usually 2 at
a time during the summer.

All of these lines have websites. Just Google the RR names, and that should get you to the websites.

As for railfanning in Philadelphia and North Jersey....9/11 paranoia is still strong in these areas, so i'd recommend railfanning with someone who knows the area. There are few spots with any good density, where you can sit and watch both passenger and freight. The best spot that I know
of is Bound Brook, NJ, which is 1 to 1 1/2 hours northwest of Lindenwold.
It is a previous jct of 4 different rail lines, and averages about 35 freight and 40 passenger trains a day. Early AM watching seems to be the best.
There is an afternoon lull in traffic, then things pick up again after 4pm.
You will see posts on this forum from folks watching trains at Bound Brook.
Also go to Trainorders.com It costs $29. us to join, but there's a lot of info
there on the Eastern Roads forum, and pictures are posted there also.

Otherwise, most of the freight and passenger run on separate lines and there isn't all that much freight traffic, anyway. The heaviest freight line in the Phila area is the ex-B&O line (now CSX), which is not very photogenic, runs in spurts, and only crosses the busy Northeast Corridor passenger line at 1 place, where you don't want to go (Eastwick)

You might also want to try to contact Bob Vogel (chuchubob), who seems
to be the most active railfan in South Jersey/Phila area, who posts on these forums.

Good Luck

Beth Marshall, Philadelphia

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Otto Vondrak
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Post by Otto Vondrak »

http://railroad.net/articles/railfannin ... /index.php

Here's that list of American railroad slang... some of it is no longer in common usage... I can tell you that here we call the driver the Engineer, the guard is the Conductor, a signal box is a Signal Tower or simply Tower, and Amtrak we simply call "late."

Oh yes, and trams are Trollies or Streetcars or the generic Light Rail. And Philadelphia has a wonderful light rail system that uses vintage and modern vehicles. The vintage PCC's are on the Route 15, operated by SEPTA. I think that would be a fun way to spend part of your day.

-otto-
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CarterB
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Location: Bergen County, New Jersey

Post by CarterB »

I second PRRTech's suggestion of day trip to Strasburg, PA to see both the Museum and the Strasburg RR. One of the best Rail vintages in the USA, if not THE best!! Well worth the trip.

"By Train...
Persons traveling by train should take Amtrak to the Lancaster, PA station. From there, taxi service to the Museum in Strasburg may be hired. During part of the year, bus connections from Lancaster to Leaman Place on the Strasburg Rail Road may be used as a connection to the train. The Museum is across the street from the main station of the Strasburg. Before planning a connection, please call the Museum at our main number (717-687-8628) to find out what schedules are in place."

Since you will be basically in the Philly area, quite easy to also take SEPTA/Amtrak to NYC, Baltimore and Washington DC. for day trips and the stations in each case are near or at center city, with easy local transportation to tourist spots. In NYC you use the subways, in Philly, SEPTA, Baltimore, the light rail, and in Washington the METRO.

The second best vintage attraction in USA is the B&O RR Museum in Baltimore....chock full of early steam..late steam...electric...etc. another worthwhile place to visit and only a short cab ride away from Baltimore Penn Station, and quite near the old B&O Camden Station.
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!

alewifebp
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Location: WORMland

Post by alewifebp »

Otto Vondrak wrote:Amtrak we simply call "late."
-otto-
Hilarious! And remember, it's not SEPTA, it's INEPTA.

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain »

And remember, it's not SEPTA, it's INEPTA
SEPTIC is out...?

Jtgshu
Posts: 11744
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:32 pm
Location: MP 39.1

Post by Jtgshu »

"Transfer in Trenton for the SEPTIC train to FILTHADELPHIA"

:-)

Not that I agree with it, but its got a funny ring to it!
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at railroad.net.

LandDownUnder
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 12:32 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by LandDownUnder »

Thank you to all who've replied with some really good suggestions. My apologies for the amount of time it's taken me to respond, as the internet posts take weeks for it to be sent from Sydney over to the 'States :wink:


Since I made my initial post in the thread, I've done alot more research and have decided upon the following:

-Although staying in Lindenwold/Philadelphia, I intend on doing a few trips interstate to New York (General railfanning), Baltimore MD (B&O Museum) and Washington DC (General railfanning). I also wish to go on at least one nice sceneried country line in PA, NJ, NY and MD. All these trips will be daytrips out of Philadelphia.
-As the above, daytripping to other States out of Phila, I intend on getting an Amtrak Tourist railpass for the North-East corridor that I hope should cover me between Washington - New York City.

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:On to the stuff in the Philly and NY area. I have lived in the NYC area all of my life. I know a lot about the Philly area. You should find many options. Are you a commuter rail, Amtrak, or like transit.
First, Lindenwald served by a rapid transit, called Patco. In fact, it's the end of the line. It runs into Center City. They use older cars. There are some scenic areas, especially crossing over the Ben Franklin Bridge. In Philly, there is a pretty good subway system as well as light rail.
I've taken a look at Patco, and that looks to be the alternative to get me into Phila if I were to stay with a relative who lives near Collingwood.

I would prefer mainly to catch NJ Transit into Phila out of Lindenwold, as on most of my commutes, I would be connecting with an Amtrak train out of 30th Street Station. Does the NJ Transit train use the same railroad line as the PATCO train, or are they on two segregated tracks? Also, how would I get from the PATCO line to 30th Street station? Would I have to change at 8th Street, etc.
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:There is one interesting mode of rapid transit that is like a bus on rails. It's called the Norristown High Speed Line. You have to take the Market-Frankford to 69th street to get that. With that, you go through some very scenic area. The cars really move. The Norristown High Speed Line ends up at Norristown Transportation center. From there, you can switch to the R6 regional rail which runs along the Schuykill River for the most part till it hits the not so good areas like N. Philly.
Would these rapid transit vehicles you describe be the ABB N-5 things? (http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=144343)

I'll definately take a note of taking a ride on the Norristown line. Also noticing many photographs taken there, I believe the freight services (Norfolk and Southern?) are alot more frequent there?
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Other options for commuter rail include a ride on the R5 to Doylestown. North of Lansdale, you pass through a lot of scenic area like farms. There is the R3 lines, the portion that runs to Elwyn. You get to go over some high trestles like between Swarthmore and Wallingford.
Would these routes/services where I could find the Silverliners and the Locomotive (ASEA AEM-7) hauled trains?
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:If you take a trip to NYC, you will find a lot. First, take the River Line to Trenton, and then take the NEC to NYc. The city has an extensive subway system, with most routes being outside in the outer boroughs like the bronx and queens.
A trip to NYC is on the agenda, although a dedicated day to visit NYC and the outlying islands (Long Island and Staten Island, etc) I intend on taking the Amtrak direct from 30th Street to Penn Station.

On another day where it's more leisurely I to intend on taking the River Line to Trenton, and then taking an NJ Transit train to either Newark or Hoboken. I mainly seek what could I find of interest in both Newark and Hoboken?
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:For NJT commuter rail, why not take a trip to Pt. Jervis. This line is in partnership with MNR north of Suffern. In NY state, the scenery is lovely, especially going over many hills. How about take the NJCL to Bay Head where most of the great scenery is south of Perth Amboy.
Thanks, I'll definately put that on the agenda.
JoeBas wrote:The second option is the Beesley's Point Secondary, a freight line which runs through the towns just south of Lindenwold and Berlin (Stratford and Clementon). Service is generally 1-2 trains a day each way (usually southbound first, then returning northbound), with occasional extras, and includes fairly long unit coal, LP and Stone trains, as well as general merchandise.
One thing I noticed when looking at maps of the local area of Lindenwold and Clementon, I noticed a paralleling railroad line that goes through Clementon and following it all along East bound, it goes through Winslow Junction, it ends up on the Atlandtic Coast south of Ocean City and eventually to Cape May. Is this the Beesley Point you refer to? (My grandmother lives a few houses from the level crossing in Clementon).
PRRTechFan wrote:LandDownUnder wrote:
...help me find the following:
-Preserved and Tourist Railroads in both states, particularly Steam based
-Transport Museums of interests in the previously listed cities.
The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg should be a "do not miss" destination on your trip. http://www.rrmuseumpa.org
It is about an hour or so west from Philadelphia, but would be well worth every minute it takes you to get there and back. This site gives directions: http://www.rrmuseumpa.org/visitors/direct.htm

You can take Amtrak from Philadelphia to Lancaster, the nearest station. http://www.amtrak.com/timetable/apr06/W10.pdf Amtrak Keystone service through Lancaster is fairly regular. Philadelphia-Harrisburg is an electrified line and usually uses equipment similar to what you would see on the much more heavily travelled Northeast Corridor. This line has deteriorated over the years, but is presently being upgraded for high(er) speed service.

Right next to the museum is the Strasburg Railroad. http://www.strasburgrailroad.com They run a short steam trip up to where their spur connects to the Philadelphia-Harrisburg main line.
njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Keep in mind that the railroad attractions in the Lancaster area are not walkable from any Amtrak station. I'm sure you can get around by a horse and buggy. Red Rose transit might have something but I'm sure that it's limited. If you come to Lancaster by rail, you might have to rent a car.
Both Strasburg and the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania across the road are both definately a must see for me! However, I'm unsure how I could get to Lancaster by car.

I hope I don't sound silly and clueless by asking this, although would the local Armish community be able to give me a ride down there by horse and buggy? For a good reasonable contribution/donation of course! I've seen the film "Witness" with Harrison Ford and have been curious ever since to see and explore the areas of Armish community.

Otherwise, what would be the minimum age to hire a car in the United States? I'm only 19 years of age, yet in Australia, the minimum age and license rating to drive motor vehicles solo is 17yrs. If worse come to worse, I'm contemplating on getting a taxi to Strasburg, but unsure how much that will cost.
pdtrains wrote:Best Railfan Spot near lindenwold....
Winslow Jct, on Atlantic City Line.

What's there today...
New Jersey transit trains Philadelphia to Atlantic city. 11 Round trips/day
Conrail freight that uses old Ocean City line and the old Reading ACY line (now called the Beesley point secondary). Trains are infrequent, but
you might get lucky.
Southern RR of new Jersey...I think this is still their base of operations..
located just south of the old PRR tower and the ACY line. They have a fleet of older diesels that they use, many of them quite interesting
to us locals. I believe they have a web sight, or you may find someone
who knows their operating schedule.
I noted Winslow Junction in the maps as a place of possible interest, and have also noted the photographs of the vintage diesels of Southern RR of New Jersey on the railpictures.net site. Would anyone know if there's anyway of getting to Winslow Junction by public transport? (Would NJ Transit have any buses serving this location?).
pdtrains wrote:Cape May Seashore lines...Runs excursions in the Tuckahoe to Cape May area, south on Lindenwold in NJ. 1950/60's vintage diesels with coaches, or Budd Rail Diesel Cars are used.
A fan of the Budd Railcars, I definately would like to visit this Tourist Railroad. However their website isn't working (Or finished yet), and I'm unsure on what their opening days and running times are. Any other contact details I could get for this TR? Also it's to my understanding that in due course I'd be able to catch a bus from Philadelphia direct to Cape May? (Instead of heading to Atlantic City first).
pdtrains wrote:New Hope and Ivyland RR.
Excursion trains out of New Hope, PA., about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs NW of Lindenwold. They have a fleet of steam and diesel engines.
Wilmington and Western RR.
Runs steam and diesel excursions from the southern part of Wilmington,
Delaware, 45min to 1 hr west from Lindenwold.
I'll keep these two TRs in mind.

pdtrains wrote:As for railfanning in Philadelphia and North Jersey....9/11 paranoia is still strong in these areas, so i'd recommend railfanning with someone who knows the area. There are few spots with any good density, where you can sit and watch both passenger and freight. The best spot that I know of is Bound Brook, NJ, which is 1 to 1 1/2 hours northwest of Lindenwold. It is a previous jct of 4 different rail lines, and averages about 35 freight and 40 passenger trains a day. Early AM watching seems to be the best. There is an afternoon lull in traffic, then things pick up again after 4pm. You will see posts on this forum from folks watching trains at Bound Brook.
The local Railroad media in Australia had a news item in their International Gazette that NJ Transit has lifted a ban on photography on their premesis, but implied something on the lines that we have to obtain a photogrraphy permit from them. Could someone verify this?
pdtrains wrote:You might also want to try to contact Bob Vogel (chuchubob), who seems
to be the most active railfan in South Jersey/Phila area, who posts on these forums.
Thank you Beth!
Otto Vondrak wrote:Oh yes, and trams are Trollies or Streetcars or the generic Light Rail. And Philadelphia has a wonderful light rail system that uses vintage and modern vehicles. The vintage PCC's are on the Route 15, operated by SEPTA. I think that would be a fun way to spend part of your day.
Thank you Otto. Are there any Trolley museums in Philadelphia or Baltimore?


Again, thank you to all who have provided some nice suggestions for my visit to the 'States. I will post accordingly in the other respective forums on my queries with other states.

Thank you sincerely.

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