Bobby S wrote:Was just visiting a family member whose property backs up to the ROW that led to the Atlantic City Racetrack. I looked up this area awhile back using google maps, historicaerials and other books. I can follow the ROW to where it joins the current AC Line but I have a few other questions. How did the trains turn at the racetrack? What was the layout like? Are there any photos? Also it seems the Reading paralleled the PRR to AC. Was this Aloe St? Did the Branch cross over the Reading to get to the PRR at that time? When was it last used for passenger service? I also noticed it seems the Reading went through what is now AC airport. Cool area with a lot of old ROW's. Also I am pretty sure I saw a ROW cross Delilah Rd near the airport but some of this doesn't match up. Any and all info about this area will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I can answer a couple of your questions. The Atlantic City Race Trains ran from 1947 to 1967, primarily between Philadelphia and ACRC although through trains also ran from NYC until 1955. When hauled by steam, the engines ran light to Atlantic City engine terminal for turning and service after dropping their trains. From several accounts, the sight and sound of up to three K4's running light at track speed was something to experience. Once diesel service took over, the trains were hauled by doubleheaded PRR Alco PA-1s or EMD E7 / E8's coupled back to back which eliminated the need for turning the locos. In the final years of service, P-RSL Baldwins were the primary power. There were originally five "storage" tracks at the race course which held between 12 and 19 cars and were doubled ended so that the locos could pull off for turning or repositioning to the head end of the return trains. The longest track, Track 1, also had a partial high level platform which was used for loading and unloading of race horses at the beginning and end of the racing seasons. The block stations serving the track were appropriately named GATE and TURF and were both manual interlockings, although GATE was tied into the mainline signal system and controlled by electric lock.
Service to the track started 14 years after the ACRR / WJS merger and the ACRR (RDG) tracks had already been lifted through that area so there was no rail crossing necessary.
The track diagram for GATE can be found here: http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Prr/M ... k/gate.gif
There are several publications which cover the Race Trains, including the John Stroup P-RSL In Color books and West Jersey Rails Vol. II which has a whole chapter devoted to the service.