• 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 pumpers
Looking at historicaerials.com, and noting the trucks on the left of the 3rd picture, my best guess is that the photos were taken from up on the embankment of the West Short ROW around an extension of about 81st St. (behind what is now Lowes to the right side).

Also, the Ridgewood (Bergen) generating plant was built 1959. The locos and cars all say Erie, not a EL or Lackawanna in sight. So the picture was taken 1959 or 1960, or maybe few years after while the equipment was still getting EL/Lackawanna painted on. JS
  by airman00
I was curious to know more about the old Weyerhaeuser siding. I noticed from a distance, that the siding goes beyond building some ways to some old concrete loading docks in the back. And there are already big loading dock doors at the building that Weyerhaeuser used to unload from. So what was the deal with the concrete loading docks in the "backyard" so to speak?
  by SemperFidelis
Airman, I don't see the loading docks you werre talking about, unless perhaps they were in an older photo and were obliderated by the newer portion of the building visible in googlemaps.

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.9806363 ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The only thing I can think of is that some of thier materials were more weather sensitive than others so some were unloaded inside and others were unloaded outside. Or perhaps, if they shipped finished products, they chose to load them inside rather than risking exposure.
  by pdtrains
weyerhauser had 4 doors...4 cars max spotted at a time. The track went past the building cause Door 1 was at the end of the building, and half of a box car had to extend past the building. IIRC. I know that cars were only spotted at the doors
  by airman00
Thanks guys. I just remember driving past the building a few years ago and seeing the tracks go beyond the building, and it appeared from what I could see they went a ways past the building.
  by rscott417
It probably appears that way because when they had the fire the rear of the building collapsed and was demolished so what seems like track extending further than the building used to be track leading to the rear of the building.
  by Jimbo51
rscott417 wrote:Thanks for the help guys, so the run down so far is..
B) Pascack Stone
C) Station
D) Freight House
E) Team Track
G) Reuten Window
H) JJ Demarest
K) Hercules Powder
L) Weyerhaeuser
M) Stevens Millwork

I also just got a very detailed map of the whole branch that I'm going to post, I just need to see what quality level I can get it at.
Pascack Valley Stone never had it's own siding. In the 70's it was a small operation that if any, got cars via the team track. In the mid 80's they moved across the tracks to the present locations, they then lease then south end of the siding (or runaround) and put in a pit. They got into the Salt business. They would get hopper cars of rock salt and bag it for home use. The first year they did great, but then we had two mild winters and they got out of the business.

Just north of Demarest Ave (southern most crossing) there was a small chemical company that moved in the late 60's. ( the property is still vacant due to Hazmat issues). The actual siding was only removed 2 months ago to clean up the property.

In the mid 70's Freight House was leased out to A.B. Massa, a small paper company in Northvale. They would get box cars of rolled container board, then truck them to Northvale. Around 1980, Massa moved to a new building in Northvale and got there own siding. This is the siding just north of Cove siding. They got cars until early 90's. They have since moved out of the area.

Reuten Windows got about 6 or 7 cars a month, the wood work to make the windows. They went out of business about 1979. The family then went into the property business and still own and lease out the buildings.

John J. Demarest is about the oldest business in Closter. They are on a Erie track map from 1930. They had two sidings back in the day. A dry track, to unload lumber and other items and coal track which was like a trestle. The whole yard burned in a fire in about 1960 (this was the biggest fire in Closter until the Weyerhauser fire in 2007). When they rebuilt, the coal siding was removed, as by that time coal was no longer a business in this area. They still got lumber loads until selling the business to Dykes lumber in about 2010. By this time, the lumber yard was only customer north of Englewood. CSX put a surcharge on any cars coming north of Englewood, so it was UN-economical for Dykes to continue to receive cars, as they had other locations with RR sidings.

Weyerhaeuser was the big customer in Closter. They operated the plant from being built in 1954 to the fire in 2007. It was vacant land at the time. The plant was built with 4 loading docks. Two back ones that open to the warehouse and two that were off the operations floor. In the early 70's, business was good and they knocked a hole in the wall and made a fifth dock off the operations floor. The fire was in the warehouse section of the building, which had to be torn down. That is loading dock area in the google maps at the time. The company that is now occupying the building, rebuilt the warehouse section in 2011.

I do not know to much about Hercules Powder they left before my time on earth. I would say some time in the 50's. Steven's Millwork was small in the 70's and 80's and got about 10 cars a year at best.

In Northvale, there was also a siding north of the A. B. Massa siding. The switch was right on the state line. This was Johnson Wax. It was there NYC distribution building. It was built around 1970. They would receive box cars of consumer products to be transferred to trucks. They left in the late 80's and the siding was removed during the 1990 abandonment and removal of the New York state trackage.
  by Jimbo51
Some notes about operations through the years. As previous stated, the Northern had threes job in the EL days. About a year into Conrail, it went to 2 jobs, with the 2nd Northern working Croxton to Palisades Park and the 1st Northern working Englewood north. Sometime in the early 80's business was dropping off and it when to just one job. They would work north on Monday, Wednesday, Friday taxi home and work south Tuesday, Thursday Saturday. One of the other jobs would work some of the customers between Croxton and North Bergen. In the late 80's Conrail put most jobs on a Monday-Friday schedule. Because the Northern kept outlawing on Fridays, a extra would have to be called on Saturdays. To alleviate this NB-70, which worked the River Line to Haverstraw daily, did the River Line on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and worked the Ridgefield area on Tuesday and Thursday. This way, the NB-51 would have time to run all the way north daily and make it back. This went on until 1990, when Conrail abandoned the New York State trackage on the Northern and removed it. The Northern was put on a schedule of going north of Englewood on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and only to Englewood on Tuesday and Thursday. On those days the Ridgefield customers that did not need a daily switch would be worked. By this time only CPC (Corn Products) and Supreme Oil would get daily work.
  by pdtrains
Just a correction about Pascack Valley stone The south facing switch for the chemical company that was across from the Closter station (it came off the runaround, facing south, connected just north of Demarest Ave)....was used by Pascack Valley stone at least from 1964 thru 1976. I don;t know when the chemical company last used the siding. It only held 2 cars, There was a loading dock there, tho, at freight car deck level, so the stone could easily be forklifted off the flat cars or box cars that they got. Pascack Vallry stone was a finished stone company, not a aggregates company. If they got 10 cars a year, it was a lot. One of the few consignees on the northern that got flat cars.
  by pdtrains
No one has mentioned Tenafly or cresskill....

Tenafly team track received cars at least up thru the mid 1960's.

Near the Tenafly/cresskill border, was Penetone Chemical. They had 2 tracks. Track 2 spotted 4 tank cars, and track 1 about 8 cars. Also, cars were left o the lead for unloading....the lead inside their fence was called the "Coal Yard" , As it was a coal yard way back when. The 1st northern could easily spend 2 hours switching Penetone. Cars were moved all over the place...from track to to track 1, or the coal yard, etc., etc. Lots of car kicking. Penetone also stored chemicals on the Cresskill team track. Usually about 10 tank cars were there at any time. And cars would have to be moved from the Cresskill team track to the plant and vice versa a lot.

Also, a RR track machinery company was localed in Cresskill....They loaded flat cars with track machines and shipped them outbound. They only shipped by rail a few times a year tho. Last outbound flat car load was prob in the 1960s. The Cresskill team track, btw, located just north and on the opposite side of the tracks from the station, was a remnant from the Cresskill passenger yard, that was active prob till about 1920/30. Local passenger trains went as far as cresskill during rush hours, and express trains went to Nyack. There was a turntable at this small yard too...the pit was still visible up till at least the 1970's.
  by granton junction
Let's keep this discussion going! At the site of the current Stop&Plop (orig A&P) in Closter was Limbert's Coal Yard which of course had a siding. There were 2 coal vendors in Closter, JJ Demarest and Limbert's. There is some faint evidence to suggest that there was a coal yard in Demarest just south of the station. There was a coal vendor many years ago (1930s the latest probably) at Hudson Ave (Highwood) in Englewood, but today of course there is no evidence of that. Sheffield Ave (Nordhoff) station in Englewood was a stop in the public tts in the 1930s, but the station is not even listed in the 1947 Erie employee tt.
  by pdtrains
OK, and how about sparkill....There was a team track and a coal yard (separate sidings) just north of the station, off the WB track of the double track. I remember seeing cars on the team track. I would suspect that both tracks were there up till brilliant NYS decided to rip out all the tracks. Sparkill was served by the piermont job up untill the piermont tracks were cut between orangeburg and nanuet. At that time, the 1st northern switched Orangeburg pipe (2 tracks), and Glenshaw glass in orangeburg, and Continental Can in Piermont. At that time, there were no more customers using the sparkill team track, that I know of.
  by rscott417
Great information guys, thank you. If anyone can recall Magic Mix Co and/or Wilds Bakery co in Englewood, car types and commodities that would be appreciated.
  by pdtrains
Wilds bakery had a 2 car siding, They received 40' single bay airslide covered hopper cars with flour. 2 40' cars was all the siding could hold. U can still see where the siding was on google earth.
  by rscott417
pdtrains wrote:Wilds bakery had a 2 car siding, They received 40' single bay airslide covered hopper cars with flour. 2 40' cars was all the siding could hold. U can still see where the siding was on google earth.
Thanks PD, were they in the building that Balthazar Bakery now occupies? Looks like it would have been an indoor unloading bay. Anything on Magic Mix?