• PRR yard in P'burg along Bel-Del line

  • 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 carajul
Looking at some historic arials there was a rather large yard in Pburg, NJ along the deleware river just across the river from Easton, PA. There was a roundhouse, engine facility, and large yard area. I think this was the PRR's yard or something. It was really busy in the 50s-60s but then in '70 it's smaller and by '72 it's obviously being severely downgraded. Based on the dates I'm going to assume this facility's demise was a result of the PC merger.

Can anyone give me insight or history on this yard? Nothing there today but the rusty single track Bel Del line and a forrest!
  by ccutler
carajul you are asking many good questions that are best answered by reading about the history of these rail lines in the various publications available or searching the yahoo groups affiliated with the various lines.

In terms of the Pennsylvania yard going through Phillipsburg, I believe much of it had to do with the Pennsy interchanging with the many rail lines that went through that city. Before the PC mergers, the Bel Del was a major freight route from the Pennsy to New England through Maybrook NY. After the Penn Central merged forcibly with the New Haven, Penn Central re-routed their own traffic away from Maybrook and through Albany and the old Boston and Albany line to reach the New Haven. Later the Maybrook line's bridge over the Hudson River had a tie fire and was abandoned, closing that route to the New Haven. That occurred some time in the early 70s, after which there was really little overhead traffic left for the Bel Del. The connections in Phillipsburg were also less important, since the PC then owned the LV, and traffic was going to trucks.

So the whole Bel Del line was "toast" by the time of the Conrail merger, one of the many sad 70s stories of northeast railroading.

There are some nice photos of the interchange lines on gingerb.com, and you really should check out the other sources. Have fun!
  by Mr. Ed
Isnt that the area that was scheduled to be the state sponsored rail museim until McGreedy and his associates bought it for condominiums?

Mr. Ed
  by pdtrains
FWIW...It was Florio and his associates that wanted to by the land for condos, Not McGreevy.

The land was declared not suitable for housing due to contamination. So the land just sits.
Lots of political animus in NJ. Apparently, Florio still trying to get the land approved for housing.
Lots of infighting among the RR historical folks in NJ, too, which makes it hard to get anything done.
  by NYS&W142Fan
If you look at the "long range" map for NJT, the area of the old PRR yard is the proposed area for the NJT yard if/when passenger service is restored to P'burg. As I was told, apparently that site has been in contention for some time.
  by philipmartin
A few factoids. When I worked second trick at G from 1960 to'64, the yard master at P'burg was Red Seagraves. I saw him some years later, working as a yardmaster in Bethlehem. The conductor on the BL16, between P'burg and Martin's Creek, was Rooney, a nice guy. Besides the BL16, I would have two southbound L&H trains with symbols something like OA1 and HO6, which can't be because the numbers would both have to be even or odd. They'd each have about 135 cars. They used 15 or 1600 HP Alco road switchers. When they had a northbound coal train, they didn't worry about speed limits through interlockings; they had a couple of miles of rising grade out of G.
We'd also get a train or two out of Trenton for P'burg, and the Valley drill would come over from Richards Yard to Hudson Yard. That was pretty much my day. Not overwhelming.
The switch at the south end of P'burg yard was called Kent. Freight trains got running orders (19s) and clear blocks by block limit stations. In 1960, they could also get permissive blocks, but the Pennsy did away with that a few years later. Frenchtown was open on first and second trick, but closed third trick and weekends. If Frenchtown was open, I'd block trains to or from Kent with him. If it was closed, I'd block the trains with MG in Trenton. Lambertville wasn't a block station by that time. P'burg was yard limits, so trains didn't have to get a clear block to work there.
Scheduled passenger trains didn't get orders; they were in the timetable. My first day at G in 1960 was the last day for passenger train service on the BelDel.
The L&H ran from Easton to Allentown yard on the CNJ. So by labor agreement they occasionally had some CNJ guys on the crews. CNJ engineers could also work as conductors, and a few did on the L&HR trains.
To move trains over the L&H bridge between P'burg and Easton I'd work with the operator at PU tower, on the CNJ in P'burg, Tommy Hawk. The CNJ still had passenger trains we had to watch out for.
The Pennsy had a marine operations strike in 1960, while I was on vacation. I'm told that the BelDel got extremely busy at that time.
Some of the L&H engineers were Jack Chamberlain, "famous" Moe Dunn, who wasn't afraid of speed, Tom McGovern and Gilloughly. Conductor Joe Spranger, Jr., Buss, and Kenny Spranger. All nice guys.
  by Milesius
Fascinating information! What do you mean trick? How Many trains came in to Phillipsburg Yard daily? I am going to model P-burg yard in the Fall 1952 and looking for a roster of deliveries to Kent from all over.
  by pumpers
Milesius wrote:Fascinating information! What do you mean trick? How Many trains came in to Phillipsburg Yard daily? I am going to model P-burg yard in the Fall 1952 and looking for a roster of deliveries to Kent from all over.
Second trick means second shift in RR slang - 3 PM to 11 PM, roughly. JS