The 16 year "general" history of the Woodmansie connection.
We reported back, in 2006, that Clayton had contracted to clear the overgrown 13 mile stretch of track and reported regularly on it's progress. It was our general understanding that Clayton was clearing the line because they anticipated providing the sand for THE Tunnel construction contract at the time.
When Chris Christie was elected Governor, he cancelled NJ's participation in the contract (originally set up under Gov Corzine) because of the lousy financial deal it established. At that time, the cost was established under an Engineer's Estimate and included 3 participants, The Fed Gov't, State of NY and State of NJ. After deducting the Fed Gov't share, NJ & NY agreed to split the remaining share with the caveat that NJ pay for ALL cost overuns and Change Orders. The project already got into cost overun before the project came out of Engineering Design. Who knows how much more NJ would have been on the hook for before this multi-year project was complete. Also, as a reminder, these tunnels were to be built as the "Tunnel to Nowhere" as the design called for the tunnels to be terminated under a different location other than Penn Station (Macy's?) which most of the public considered it to be, shalll we say, less than convenient and didn't connect directly with the subway routes like at Penn. Not considered to be "optimal".
With the tunnel contract cancelled, Clayton did not persue any further significant improvements, although the crossings were refurbished at Cnty Rt 539, Cnty 530 (Lacey Rd), and Wranglebrook Rd. Further project work was later completed in Lakehurst to include rebuilding the timber trestle. Of course, during that period, Conrail cut the Southern up in Lakewood and pulled track leading onto the TRIT. Clayton did establish the service contract with NJSL.
Hard to call the Sand trains a fantasy after the expenditure of this much money, however, I believe we can recognize that there isn' enough bulk traffic/customers outside of the Hudson Crossing Construction contract to allow the line to operate profitably. Previous Shipments were made for other significant public contracts, like the Meadowlands Sports Complex.
I believe (opinion) that Clayton has put in minimal maintenance to keep the line clear on the hopes a tunnel contract would be redeveloped (it did) and whether he has a shot as a supplier (still to be seen). I would guess that if he can open a regular supply contract for a multi-year project, that may give him an opportunity to possibly to garner other potential customers. Sand comes in many types. Woodmansie sand is of excellent construction grade. Other sand pits, like the former Heritage Minerals & Glidden provided color extracts while others provided sand for the former glass production markets (like Anchor glass) that were in NJ before cheap plastic bottles overtook the market and drove the manufacturers away.
And that nonsense in Jersey City, that NS1 alluded to, was just part of those specific individuals (excluding Clayton and the NJSL) to establish themselves as a real railroad. Those "people" had attempted that in several locations like in the Sommervile area, outside of Baltimore, and a few other locations Ino longer remember. There had been numerous discussions within this bulletin board, back in the day. That little tidbit has no place of relevance in this topic.