I remember back in 1986 and early 1987, for a period I was partially
crippled from an injury but I was able to get around and drive my car.
I would have my scanner on in Jamaica, Queens and when I would hear
the WB SLN- getting ready to leavy Little Ferry I would head for my car
and head for the George Washington Bridge by whatever route I figured
I would get there the best and keep a scanner tuned to the NYS&W only
at all times. I would follow their progress and usually first catch was
North Hawthorne which was not too far off route 4. After that, I would
try for a crossing at Midland Park then head for Butler where the train
would not be going too fast but the roads following weren't great either
although I can't remember all of the details.
Probably the most dramatic location was not far west of Butler on a
road that follows the tracks with a couple of crossings thrown in for good
measure. I think it was the second or westernmost of the two crossings
where I would stop west of and wait. I could hear him working hard and
whistling all the way from before Butler and the echos from the
surrounding hills would remind me of somewhere in the back hills of
maybe West Virginia rather than metropolitan New Jersey only a few miles
from New York City.
After that spot, I would usually link up with route 23 not far west of Butler
and continue to follow the track to maybe Stockholm or that general area
where I would decide that the hour was getting late and my all night trip
needed to come to an end. If I heard on the scanner that another train
was in the works, it would be a different story and I would continue to
Sparta Junction where one of the two trains would pull down toward
Limecrest to clear for the other one, then I had something to follow on my
way home and often it would be daylight by this time.
Most frequent night for this escapade was Friday because I think the WB
train only ran two or three nights a week.
The NYS&W police were usually following them too and they were often
local police officers who were railfans or semi railfans moonlighting for the
NYS&W. I had lots of interesting conversations with these people too
although I don't think the followed the train as far as I usually did.
Good memories and a small number of slides too. Even caught Water
Rich following once or twice too and that made things even more enjoyable for the night. There was uaually a few others doing the same thing too.