• 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 rscott417
Im trying to gather enough information to start building an HO layout of the NB from 86th Street in North Bergen up to Northvale. I have a pretty good idea of the customers in the CSX era, its the earlier years that I'm unsure of. The CSX era will be 2005-2010 and will include WR Grace, Colorite Polymers, Delta Corrugated, Admiration/Supreme Oil, JJ Demarest Lumber, Weyerhauser, and Cove Industries. Using the same track plan and industries I'd like to incorporate the Erie RR around 1956 and include passenger service and stations in Northvale, Tenafly and Ridgefield. The Erie Lackawanna around 1976 and Conrail around 1990. I've been mostly working on motive power and rolling stock until I can make certain of correct customers in each railroad era. If my photobucket ever starts letting me upload photos again ill post some progress pics if it's related.

I posted this question in the Erie and EL section of this site but I thought I'd try here as well but here are some of my inquiries of the NB at the moment
I found this picture and wanted to know if anyone had information on this customer. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... ?id=977577" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; A commenter on rr picture archive says its best foods, did they date back to Erie RR and what exactly did they do there? What did they use the box and tank cars for shipped/recieved etc?

Also in Ridgefield is the team track across from the old station. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=1926172" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Does anyone know who got shipments and of what? In another picture of the team track I've seen boxcars, tank cars and open hoppers.

How long has WR Grace been at their location and who if anyone else occupied the premises around 1956, 1976 and 1990? The same question goes for JJ Demarest, Weyerhauser and Cove Industries. I really appreciate any knowledge and expertise shared of the line.
  by SemperFidelis
Don't know about the others, but I was still shipping cement to JJ Demarest Lumber around '05 or '06. Heard they had a bad fire sometime around 2010ish that shut them down.
  by rscott417
SemperFidelis wrote:Don't know about the others, but I was still shipping cement to JJ Demarest Lumber around '05 or '06. Heard they had a bad fire sometime around 2010ish that shut them down.
Weyerhaeuser had the fire in 07, dykes lumber owns JJ Demarest now. I didn't know they got cement deliverd there, in box cars I assume?
  by pdtrains
OK whatdaya want to know. I now the northern from ridgefield to sparkill pretty well. I have lot of paperwork from the 1960's, including the "wheel reports" from CX, which listed all the cars on the 1st northern leaving the yard, type of car, contents, destination city, and consignee. The pix w 404...they are working corn products. 2 tracks, biggest customer in Ridgefield.

North of ridgefield...

Palisades park....a steel place that got pipe, cant remember the name

Leonia..Team Track

Englewood... (east to west, more or less)
Link Paper
Joe Lowe
Fisher steel
Wilds Bakery
GM Newark Warehouse
Im forgetting a few im sure\

Tenafly...Team Track

Penetone Chemical (2 tracks)
Team Track (most stored cars for Penetone. There was also a turntable at the area of the cresskill team track from the early days.

Pascack Valley Stone
Team Track (Closter feed box cars, Empty box cars spotted for loading of Cotton Wadding, tank cars for a chemical co, and occasional box cars of brick.)
Fred Reuten Millwork
JJ Demarest lumber
Weyerhaeuser (Corrugated boxes)
Hercules Powder/Stevens Millwork (long siding...after Hercules out of business, xtra loads for weyerhaeuser were stored there

JA Melnick millwork
the "New siding" installed west and across from Melnick. It was a warehouse of some sort. Siding installed in the late 60's.

Sparkill....Team Track
Coal dock

Piermont Br. switched by the 1st northern after 1966
Piermont..Continetal Can

Orangeburg ...
Orangeburg pipe (2 tracks)
Glenshaw glass

Thats a start I guess....
  by pdtrains
ps....best foods was bought by corn products in 1958. The picture is obviously post 1963. Inbound tank cars of corn oil. Inbound box cars and reefers of foodstuffs. It was a food products mfg plant. Dont know if they shipped out loads...but I remember 57' mech reefers going in there. The tank cars on the team track were for Corn Prods, and prob many of the box cars too ..IIRC. Hopper cars? IDK. Hoppers, gonds and flat cars were pretty rare on the northern Hopper cars may have been company service. There were a TON of covered hopper cars for Owens Illinois glass plant in North Bergen, and later for Glenshaw glass. (Sand and Soda Ash) Otherwise the northern was about 75% box cars, and 25% tank cars. Wilds bakery did get Covered hoppers of flour, and Fisher steel would get Gondolas of steel. On rare occasions..JJ Demarest would get a flat car of lumber, and Pascack valley would get a flat car of stone
  by pdtrains
Oh, uh....power during the EL days....
Passenger trains 900's (rs-2's and 3's) and 1400's (GP-7s) Occasional E-8's during 1966, when passenger trains were turned at Sparkill.
Freight..1st northern...Mostly 1200's (GP7's and 9's on weekdays and 400's (NW's and SW's) on sat and occasionally on a weekday) After 1966...mostly RS2's/3's and the 400's. 2nd Northern ran almost all the time with a 400. 3rd northern was a relief crew. On rare occasions, a 1000 srs Rs-3 or an 1100 baldwin would show up, but that was pretty rare.
Pass trains ....1st one of the morning 2 coaches, 2nd train 5 coaches, 3rd train..4 coaches. Mostly stillwells, but occasionally a boonton car in the consist.
\Afternoon WB rush was the opposite..with the 2 car train running last.
Work trains...there was a tie replacement project for the whole line in 1964. Most work trains had the 400 series switchers, but everything up to and including GP-35's were on the northern in work train service at times. In the mid 1970's, the GP-35's and U25b's were getting bumped to local service...and I think the GP-35's showed up occasionally. Early conrail...Not 100% sure...but I think it was mostly EL GP-7's and PC GP-38s. Saw an occasional U25B, and even LV RS-11's.
  by rscott417
Thanks for posting pdtrains, very useful information including the passenger consists. I used historicalaerials.com and was able to determine which buildings and spurs were built and by what year. If you don't mind I'd like to pick your brain about certain industries pertaining to 1956, 1976 and 1990. I'll try to go in order from south to north.
1)I know that the current WR Grace location which I believe is in North Bergen was built by 1954. Do you have any information about this indusrty, what they ship/receive and who the previous occupants were and what they shipped/recieved. According to historical aerials there are tank cars spotted in a 1978 view. You mentioned Owens Illinois glass plant in North Bergen, and Glenshaw glass. (Sand and Soda Ash), is that WR Grace location?
2) In Pal Park you mentioned a dealer that took delivery of steel or pipe, do you know the year?
3) Admiration/Supreme Oil in Englewood, I know that they moved to that location in 1982. Do you have any information about this location pre-supreme oil? In an aerial view on that historical website it looks like there's a boxcar spotted there in a 1979 aerial view.
4) Weyerhaeuser building in Closter looks like it wasn't built until at least 1964. Do you know the occupants of this location around 1976?
5) Cove Industries building looks like it wasn't built until at least 1964. You mentioned JA Melnick millwork, is that the former occupants at the cove building?
  by pdtrains
I dont know that much about North Bergen and Ridgefield. The 1st northern wud bring cars out for N Bergen, and 2nd northern wud switch it. I'd have to dig oout some old paperwork, and look at the historicals . Owens Illinois was a hugh plant. 10-15 cars a day

Again when I dig out paperwork, I can find he name f the place in Pal Park.

Northvale...Melnicks was on the west side of the main..doors for spotting 6 box cars. North (rr west) of that by abt quarter mile, on the east side of the main...was agway...I think they cud spot 3 cars. That building was built in the 1960's. think melnick was older.

Closter was interesting, with 6 sidings, the switchback into JJ Demarest, and double track. Sparkill was a really cool RR junction..double track, crossover, a diamond, wye, runarund, sidings, and a cool station. Northvale and tenafly were boring, really.....Tenafly team track wuld get a few box cars a year.

Superior Oil....IDK what was there before. Nothing anywhere close to that large an operation. The big operations in the 1960's/70's in englewood were Joe Lowe, GM, and Sexton. They were switched 6 days a week. Everything else was a 2 car a week operation... Wilds and another siding came off the runarund on the east side of the main... I think the "other" became Superior Oil. Ill dig in the basement for the paperwork.
  by SemperFidelis
Demarest gets thier cement (bagged) via flatbed truck. We had reason to ship via rail to them for a few months and they were actually very well set up to recieve via boxcar but CSX (of course) made it far more economical to deliver via truck (from Chicago!). It would have only amounted to a few boxcar loads as it was a summer when our Jersey plant was in desperate need of air quality upgrades and we had to ship all material in from outside plants, but it was always interesting to see railroads shoot themselves in the feet over and again when it came to pricing.
  by rscott417
Thanks for your input and help guys. Pdtrains, if you could share some info on the paperwork you have that would be great.
  by rscott417
Pdtrains, I was reading through your post again about the equipment used on the NB. While the passenger trains were making their runs in the AM, did freight trains wait for the last passenger train to clear before making their way on the branch or would they pull into a siding and wait for them to pass and continue switching?
  by granton junction
As I remember, the psgr trains were all clear before the freight trains went out onto the branch. The local freight went north from Englewood toward Closter in early to mid afternoon. The 3 psgr trains were 'rush hour only' essentially. The freight trains on the Northern Branch basically had the entire day to do their work. However, there were times when the freight train would have to wait at Sparkill or Closter for the northbound psgr trains to clear. The freight train would then only return southbound. Maybe some other folks can fill in more details. Today a section of rail is pulled up at the Englewood Stn with ties across the tracks. So it is finis for the Northern Branch north of Englewood.
  by pdtrains
1st northern went on duty at 8am, never out of the yard before 9am, and pax trains were already passed the yard 2nd northern on duty at 11am.
1st northern would be in the hole for eve pax rush at englewood, closter or sparkill. Monday was the heaviest day, so usually they held at englewood on mondays, went to closter after the rush. In those days u cud be on duty 16 hours, so they didnt have to be back till midnight