• Newark Erie Branch / NX Drawbridge questions

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

Moderator: David

  by carajul
Why did CR aburptly abandon the Newark branch in 1977?

Did CR not want to maintain the NX draw anymore and just serve the line from the west?

What was the line that ran north-south and crossed the newark branch just west of Bergen Ave?

There seemed to have been a network of trackage east of the turnpike on small island strips in the water/swamps. The rails are all gone everywhere. Why did CR rip out all these tracks?

When were the rails removed from both sides of the bridge?

Immediately west of the bridge there is a building with 5 tracks going into it. What is this? When did they stop using rail service? In the 1966 photo there are boxcars jammed on the spurs. Approximately 30 friggin boxcars spotted!

Even into the early 1970s the branch was jammed with cars. Just west of the bridge after crossing the street was a yard several blocks long filled with boxcars. Must have been a lot of industry and factories in Newark years ago. From 1970 to 1979 the change is drastic. From rails to roads and condos!
  by R36 Combine Coach
The section through the swamps connected to the Greenwood Lake Line just west of DB Draw bridge.

The "north-south" line through Kearny was the Lackwanna's Kingsland cutoff between the M&E and Boonton Lines, which accessed the Kingsland Shops.

Refer to map.
  by peconicstation
Conrail did not abandon the Newark branch in 1977, it simply took NX draw out of service, and continued to serve both sides of the branch with local freight service.

The bridge itself was in working order right up to the day when the tender was told to report to the yard office on Monday for a new assignment.

NX was a 2 track draw but in the mid-60's after commuter service ended, one track was taken OOS, and the track pattern on the east side changed.
At that point there was only a single track leading up to the bridge itself. The 2nd main track through Kearny and Harrison was left in place but was used for passing and storage.

The rails leading up to NX were in place for decades, and on the east side they were largely removed when the 3 track trestle bridge over Passaic Ave (River Road) was removed in the early 2000's.

We all know that a scene for the movie Annie was filmed at the bridge in the early 80's, and for that filming the bridge and tracks were painted.
However by the time that movie shoot took place the mechanical equipment used to raise and lower the bridge was destroyed by vandals, this was long before
vandals set the tenders shack on fire.

Since the Annie filming the bridge has sat there rusting away, with no upkeep or maintenance since, not to mention no railroad use since late '77.

It is often speculated on how long it will be before the bridge slams shut, or starts to list.
If you look at some recent pictures of NX you'll notice that the counter weights appear to be pulling away from the structure.

Time will tell.

  by carajul
Why did CR abandon the bridge and serve from both ends? Was the bridge maint costs too much? Does CR still own the bridge?

Why did they rip the track up thru the swamps east of the bridge?

Does anything use the track west of the bridge? The tracks looks pretty bad.
  by peconicstation
[quote="carajul"]Why did CR abandon the bridge and serve from both ends? Was the bridge maint costs too much? Does CR still own the bridge?

Why did they rip the track up thru the swamps east of the bridge?/quote]

Some of your questions can be answered by the wikipedia page for the bridge.


When Conrail was being formed one of it's mandates was to reduce the amount of duplicate main line track in-service.
Starting on it's first day (4/1/76) Conrail removed through freight trains from lines such as the Boonton, and the Jersey Central main line.
During it's final years the E-L was using the Newark branch for local freight drills, and a very occasional through freight if they needed a detour route.

Movable bridges are very expensive to maintain, require regular inspections, not to mention in the case of NX, a full time bridge tender.

It was simple cheaper for Conrail to sever the branch and serve both sides with local service.

Today, the east side of the Newark branch, together with the lower Boonton line form an isolated Y, cut off from connections.
The base of the Y, is the out of servie, condemded DB swig bridge, the tip of the lower Boonton is the condemded, WR bridge, and NX is at the tip of the Newark branch east.
It is doubtful that anyone would want to make the capital investments to replace WR, and DB, not to mention replace, or restore NX (provided it can be restored).

  by Joseph DeLuisi
The building in question just west of NX Bridge with the thirty boxcars on the five sidings was a company called Art Metals. They manufactured office furniture like file cabinets, desks, chairs and other related furnishings. They employed hundreds of workers and had many goverment contracts. The small yard on Passaic St & 4th Ave was used mainly for them, and I believe a switcher was assigned there too. Sadly Art Metals went out of business around 1981.
  by Maverickstation1
Stumbled upon this story from last year.

Next to the NX Bascule Bridge, a/k/a The Annie Bridge, the next most well known abandoned Bascule Bridge would
be the Crook Point Bridge a/k/a/ The Stuck Up Bridge in Rhode Island.

RI has appropriated funds to demolish their bridge in the next few year, and that state owns the bridge.

In the case of NX it is as of now, still owned by Norfolk Southern.

The question continues on when will NX be taken down, or fall down ?

https://www.providencejournal.com/news/ ... tion--poll