• Northern Branch customers through the years

  • 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 airman00
Interesting discussion! It's a shame that all that freight business is gone. I would have loved to have seen the Northern Branch in it's heyday! Mr. Pdtrains... 16 hour shifts? Were they trying to kill people back then? An exhausted engineer at the end of a 16 hour shift is a good way to have an accident!
  by rscott417
I was searching around historical aerials and found that the Northern had a diamond crossing on Nordhoff Place and did some street running on what is now Sheffield Ave on a really long spur to a customer that is now "The Sheffield at Englewood South". Anyone have info on this?
This website is a very useful tool, using regular google maps or bing I always notice buildings that look like they could have supported rail service or odd shaped buildings that formed an "industrial canyon" and this website confirms it.
  by pdtrains
The company that was served was Joe Lowe, which was where the appts are now. They owned the Popsicle Brand, and popsicles were made there. They built their own siding, which was a good half mile long. Had the street running, ...and if u look at current day google earth, u can see the rail still there where it turnes from west to north, in a large parking lot. It pretty easy to follow the ROW. There was no room to make a direct connection to the Northern main, so the siding crossed the main on a diamond. , and joined what was called the "Joe Lowe runaround" on the east side of the main. Joe Lowe cars waiting to be spotted, were often stored on the runaround. The diamond was protected bu a semaphore signal on each side. When the Joe Lowe switch was opened, both signals would go red. The link paper siding also crossed the Joe Lowe siding at a diamond, just west of the main track. Joe Lowe was a busy place in the 60's. switched 6 days a week. Link Paper closed their plant there in the 1960's.. Joe Lowe ceased production there in the 1970's, IIRC
  by rscott417
Thanks again pdtrains, you're a wealth of knowledge on the NB. I sent you a PM a few days ago also.
  by cr9617
Back in 98/99 nb-51 would be up in closter and northvale 3 or 4 times a week for weyerhaeuser and cove distribution. I was still in high school at the time and didn't have my license yet so I would chase them on my bicycle. The slow speeds made it pretty easy. I followed them daily for at least a whole summer.

If anyone is interested, I uploaded a few pics here https://flic.kr/s/aHskNtoc7d

That's just some stuff I found at the top. I have a few boxes of unorganized prints to go through, so I'll add them as I find them. If I remember I have quite a few.
  by airman00
Great pictures thank you! I wish the northern branch was still like that.
  by rscott417
Really great pictures thanks for sharing them. If you can dig up your other ones I wouldn't mind taking a look at them. I'm curious about the picture with the long string of tank cars. It looks like it's taken in Closter, are they from supreme?
  by cr9617
It was indeed in Closter, I don't recall why they had so many that day. I do remember that it was like 8-8:30 which was unusual for the train to be there so late. Luckily it was summer and still light.

I uploaded everything I could find. I also found some from after CSX took over. In the CSX album are a series of pics that capture the flying switch that the crew would perform in Northvale to return home. Sometime after the CSX takeover they reconfigured the trackage to its present layout, I have some pics right from after they finished.

https://flic.kr/s/aHskR1GeDC" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

https://flic.kr/s/aHskNtoc7d" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by cr9617
One last thing, I found a Conrail Qualifying Book from January 1993 for North Bergen that had some track maps of the Northern in it.

You can find them here:
https://flic.kr/s/aHskRxQHQV" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by rscott417
I really appreciate you posting these photos, NB pics are hard to come by. I wish I had a camera handy for how often I watched these trains.
  by airman00
Awesome pictures, thank you!! It's really a cryin' shame that CSX removed that trackage in Closter. In my work travels I pass thru the NB in Closter a lot and it's terrible to see the old line in such bad shape. :(
  by RichM
Used to get my hair cut at Patsy's Barber Shop in Closter in the early '60's when I was a kid.

Best part of waiting was watching the trains. Team track across the street had a really interesting fabricated wheel stop... another artifact gone...
  by airman00
My father and one of my uncles can remember occasionally helping unload boxcars for Closter feed. And my father remembers when their was a siding that went into rueten window. Based on where rueten corporate park is, in compared to the NB, rueten window must've been a long siding.
  by RichM
Reuten had a warehouse on the north/west side of Herbert Avenue, about opposite JJ Demarest and about 200 yards west of the factory. That's what the siding served.
  by SemperFidelis
Sorry for the shameless plug but I always used the place when railfanning the Northern so many years ago now.

If anyone is in the area, Vittorio's Pizza in Palisades Court is excellent and is worth the stop. Not sure if the train still goes that far north, but it was a nice place to grab a pie back in the day and watch the train roll through town.