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  • Discussion relating to the PRSL
Discussion relating to the PRSL

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by glennk419
I posted this on the Sea Isle Branch thread but thought it was worth posting here as well. While not relevant to the current state of affairs in OC, it's some new information that I had never seen before.

While reading the thread on the Cape May Point branch, Jim Boylan included a link to some US Army maps of the area. According to this map, there was a leg off of the OC branch which ran south from 51st Street, across Corson's Inlet, through Strathmere and then connecting with the Sea Isle branch. It is marked PRSL so it is not the trolley line. The map also shows the then abandoned Strathmere branch referenced in another thread. This is the first I've ever heard of this, very interesting stuff. Here's the link: http://historical.maptech.com/getImage. ... g&state=NJ

  by CarterB
An interesting article on the history of rail lines in the area:

  by JimBoylan
The Google map must show the PRR Ocean City Branch running South-SouthWest from about 58th St. & West Ave., Ocean City. The Rutgers and MapTech (Geodedic Survey) maps show that it ran beside the highway much of the way over the marsh, but I think that the present Ocean Drive drawbridge over Corson's Inlet is about where the PRR drawbridge used to be. I think that the previous highway drawbridge was farther West and had sharper curves in the ramps.
Move the Google map and you can see some of the RDG's Sea Isle City Branch running NorthWest to SouthEast accross the marsh from Seaville to Strathmere. It had 2 drawbridges, over Ben Hand Thorofare close to the mainland, and over the Intercoastal Waterway, near Strathmere.
(Some confusion, the municipality of Corson's Inlet disolved itself in 1905 back into Upper Twp. and the neighborhood became known as Strathmere. Railroad stations and Post Office names may have been slow to change.)
Sea Isle City had at least 4 rail outlets, and at least 3 physically connected to something. The PRR went 3 ways from a wye: to Sea Isle Jct. on the mainland which was a wye with the Cape May branch from Camden via Millville and Woodbine Jct.; to Ocean City beyond a turnout to the Shore Fast Line at 8th St. & West Ave.; and to Stone Harbor via Townsend's Inlet and Avalon with a possible connection to the RDG's friend, the Stone Harbor RR from Cape May Court House. The Reading ran via Strathmere and Seaville to a connection with the Ocean City branch along N.J. Rte. 50 at Petersburg. As part of the RDG's abandonment, the PRR was ordered to connect to the RDG served lumber yards in Sea Isle City. I don't know if there was a connection before then.
The Rutgers map seems to show 3 parallel lines in Sea Isle City, and a recent poster on the Philly_Traction Yahoo Group said he remembered trolleys in Sea Isle City sometime after the RDG stopped running!
I hope more of you can shed light on this complicated area.

  by glennk419
Did the PRR ever run into Ocean City? I always thought that OC was strictly a RDG (and of course Shore Fast Line) town?

  by JimBoylan
glennk419 wrote:Did the PRR ever run into Ocean City? I always thought that OC was strictly a RDG (and of course Shore Fast Line) town?
Yes, it did, via Sea Isle City, Whale Beach, Corson's Inlet, and then up the middle of very wide West Ave., one block closer to the Ocean than the RDG. At the start of P-RSL, an askew wye was built at 51st St. station on the RDG. the 3rd switch was near 52nd St. & West Ave. on the PRR, pointing South towards the new end of the line in Sea Isle City. The PRR's roundabout route to Ocean City may have helped it get along with the Shore Fast Line, which at its begining ran a block more North in Pleasantville to connect with the Reading's Atlantic City RR!

Notice that the PRR liked the middle of wide avenues in many places, like Seaside Park, Seaside Hights, Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, Longport, Ocean City, Avalon, and the Wildwoods.
Last edited by JimBoylan on Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by glennk419
Thanks, Jim.

I currently own a home on West Avenue, never knew I had a railroad in my front yard! I guess that would explain the width of the street though.

  by PARailWiz
Would be nice to use West Ave to restore downtown rail service. Run trains along the old ROW until 36th street and divert it into the center of West there. Still leaves the problem of where to have stations for it and how to access them, but possible if a will existed to do it.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=ocean+cit ... &t=h&hl=en

  by glennk419
I'd be happy to get rail service back ANYWHERE on the island, especially those portions where a dedicated ROW still exists. Ah...to dream!

  by glennk419
Ah, the good old days. Amazingly, the Sunoco station still survives, although drastically modernized.

Thanks for sharing, Bob. I've seen your other OC and PRSL shots as well. They are great and invoke quite a few fond memories.

  by Trackbolt
If I have anything to owe my interest in trains are two experiences which I will always remember. One was standing at the Ocean City 10th Street Station in the summer of 1955 at the tender age of four and having the bejeezus scared out of me when the safety valve of a steam locomotive open or having the whistle blow as the engine crossed 10th st. I do not know if the engines in ocean city that I saw were Pennsy or Reading but I knew they were big noisy and cool to watch. In the following years all I remember in Ocean City were the RDC cars which always seemed to be parked at 10th st. The other was in the LV shop town of Sayre PA in 1960 watching trains enter and leave town from the walk bridge.

  by Vermonter
This could be the summer, or the year for someone with the right means and / or influence to possibly make a difference as far as ever getting Ocean City passenger service restored.

I have a cousin who lives near to and works in Ocean City. She just informed me that the State of New Jersey has decided that the bridges on the Causeway (Route 52) into OC at 9th Street are deteriorating and they are going to limit the weight going over them. Therefore, the two flat bridges (between the two drawbridges) will now be one lane in each direction instead of two. They closed the Causeway for 4 days - it will actually be 6 or 7 days in total before they reopen it, so they can restripe the roadway and put barriers up along the railings. This will be permanent until the new entrance to the city is built.

I don't think it will take too much imagination to visualize what Route 52 will look like this summer. Of course, 585 or whatever it is that feeds 34th Street will not be any bargain either. Then it will only increase traffic coming in from Longport and from Strathmere.

I think it would be the perfect time and the perfect place for a billboard that everyone can see (while they sit parked) depicting the RDC's travelling in to Ocean City. Some suitable unmistakable words might help interpret it like "Anybody Remember this?", "This was abandoned for something better!" or "It's Gone now because the Family Car was Better!"
Another - "If this were the 50's or 60's you could be there now"!
You get the idea. It just seems to me like this year somehow someway would be the perfect opportunity. My cousin? She is prepared to ditch her job come Memorial Day.

If ever there was an opprtunity for the public to be reminded of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines, this is it.

  by glennk419
Bill, your cousin is very correct regarding the upcoming traffic woes in Ocean City. I own a home is OC and although I'm an "Exit 25" and 34th Street guy, I'm already dreading the mess this summer. It's bad enough that all the Rt 9 traffic is already using the Marmora exit with the Beesley's Point bridge still out, this is just going to make things a total nightmare. The NJDOT planners in South Jersey must really have their heads up their arse. At the very least, I will certainly be strategically planning my travel times.

Part of the reason for the downgrading of the Rt 52 / 9th Street causeway is because the project to replace it will most likely be delayed by several years since the lowest bid came in 90 Million dollars over projection and they're trying to prolong the life of the spans. Unfortunately, both Somers Point and OC bound traffic will suffer as a result. Incidently, NJ Transit busses are exempt from the weight restrictions.

I like your idea of trying to remind OC visitors of what once was and could have been as far as rail transit goes. It's really too bad that the Crook Horn bridge was removed, I'd bet that Tony Macrie would have found a way to get trains running into town again if it were still in place. Unfortunately though, since all those visitors have no voice in Ocean City government (or in many cases NJ for that matter), the only way the city's hand would ever be forced is if those visitors stopped coming, something I highly doubt.

  by Vermonter
Glennk419, I think you are absolutely correct. It will indeed be something for OC government, politicians and voicemakers to consider. If the traffic situation becomes a terrific nightmare this summer it could turn things toward the right direction though. The family and I have a week planned there this year and we certainly don't plan on changing our plans but there may be more and more day-trippers that will change theirs. Also people may think twice about 2007 and consider some alternative. Probably it will capture more and more the news media attention. For those who like to go across the bridge to do some shoppping and avoid the jammed-up Super Fresh store or perhaps to the Crab Trap to eat (just 2 examples), it may cause some ultimate rethinking.

It does appear that the groundwork is there for some major plan rethinking by all.

I find it amazing that railroad has such a major part in the history of the City but now its been "thrown out with the trash". Something is very pathetic with that picture.
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