• Rail Trail Rahway Valley & CNJ Aldene to Elizabeth proposed

  • 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 Maverickstation1
GSC wrote: Sat Aug 07, 2021 1:26 pm I can understand the Aldene Plan that permitted CNJ to close the entire Jersey City operation. But looking at satellite images of the huge Elizabeth yard with all the traffic it seems to have, I wonder why the route from Aldene to Elizabeth wasn't kept as a direct route for freight. Maybe getting freight from the LV to the CNJ at Aldene was the problem? Is the old route officially abandoned, OOS, or railbanked?
After the Aldene Plan took effect the CNJ Mainline between Elizabethport and Aldene was still busy with CNJ Freights, and the Cranford to Bayonne Shuttle Trains (The Scoots). After Conrail Day(4/1/76), through freight traffic was routed off the CNJ main in favor of the former Leigh Valley main. The Scoots continue to run until August of 1978, and then the line was still used by NJT equipment moves to and from the Elizabethport Shops until the Meadowlands Maintenance Complex opened. Since then it has been dormant for the most part.

One issue with freight trains along the route are low bridge clearances in particular where the CNJ crosses under the NEC. The CNJ did lower track 2 under that bridge (known as the arch) to allow for higher clearance, although it did not stop the horrific wreck on 11/4/72 when as westbound freight was routed onto the wrong track and it took out the westbound passenger station. In this case a dispatcher routed the freight onto a track that was not the high clearance track.

At one point Conrail did post to abandon the line, but IIRC it is listed as being OOS. I thought at one point NJ DOT purchased the ROW, but it does not show on a list of ROW's that NJ DOT purchased.

Given the popularity of attractions around Elizabethport (Jersey Gardens, IKEA, etc) that were a mere pipe dream when the Scoots still ran, the CNJ main remains a given for a light rail line.

Lastly, here is a link to the story and some great pictures about the 11/4/72 wreck.


  by GSC
Thanks for the history. I have seen some of these pictures before but didn't make the connection to the date. Interestingly, returning from a Legion function in Belleville yesterday, I was in traffic under the old CNJ bridge on McCarter Highway. I pointed it out to another passenger in the car.