• Salem County Line - Swedesboro to Salem - Operated by: West Jersey, SRNJ, US Rail, SMS

  • 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 blockline4180
I'm surprised Salem County didn't ask the M&E up in Morristown to operate the Branch... They do branch work for 3 county owned lines up in North Jersey... Also M&E already has a presence in Maine and Pennsylvania, so you would think South Jersey would be an option!
  by bluedash2
Trainlawyer wrote:It appears that since the traffic which US Rail believed would develop on the Salem Line did not they have chosen to walk away from their assumption of SRNJ's lease. As SRNJ was never relieved of its common carrier obligation the path of least resistance would seem to be to resume operation.

The current management of SRNJ is the same group of stockholders who attempted to spin the line off in early 2009 believing that they could do better. They now have the opportunity.

For the record, SRNJ is the only RR in over 20 years to even get business to grow on that line. Go back to '85 when CR sold it to Salem Co, they were barely running anything then and the 3 short lines after couldn't do better. Along came SRNJ around '95, and they had it busier than it ever was (2-3 runs to Sweedsboro and shifting Salem M-F). As far as track conditions, it was bad ever since the PRSL days and Salem Co did nothing to give it the rehab it badly needed. SRNJ paid a ton of money to clean up the many derailments over the years due to the lack of the County even giving a damn about that line. US Rail must have finally seen why SRNJ got fed up with the line. That area of NJ is not exactly well off money wise and they were lucky to have the industry they do. Anybody who thinks that business will ever develop on that line is a big dreamer and/or doesn't know this area too well. It's amazing that line has survived this long.
  by bluedash2
It's also my understanding that SRNJ is only operating the line until the County gets another operator. I believe they don't want it long term from what I read elsewhere.
  by blockline4180

Wasn't the SRNJ thinking of running a passenger tourist railroad down there a few years back?? I know something like this may be hard to accomplish, but with a few more passenger cars( They already bought 1 car?) and more upgrades to the line, anything could be possible.... Salem County still has some of the nicest undisturbed farmland left in the state and I would think that would make for some nice fall foliage trips if marketed right!

  by Mr. Ed
In the revival of this thread, it was stated that the thought was that geeps were being moved down there. Is it safe to presume that all of the SRNJ locos that were down there were moved back to WInslow Jct? I was by WJ last week and only saw 2 center cabs. There was a third one in Salem and if memory serves, it was on friction bearings which meant that for it to be relocated back to WJ, it would have to be trucked. So what is really going on in regards to locos in Salem?

Mr. Ed
  by bluedash2
MrEd, all SRNJ locos were moved out of Salem to Winslow when US Rail got their own power back when the changeover occured. CSAO made a special move with CSX 2624 towing the locos down the Beesley's (which I witnessed). Trainlawyer, I thought that branch was part of PRSL? There are plenty of pics in the books out there of the GP38's serving Swedesboro. Or did they only serve Swedesboro (Delmonte?) but not Salem? And yes, traffic is the problem and IMO, the fact that Anchor Glass and Mannington being 2 of the largest employers in Salem Co is the only reason the County got involved in the RR line in the 1st place otherwise it would probably be a bike trail by now. A shame either way.
  by bluedash2
Hey btw, when did the US Rail units get moved out? I was by Woodstown on Jan 2nd and saw the SW1 near the rt 45 bridge that goes over the line. And since that part of NJ is economically depressed (for the lack of a better word), I don't think the economy had too much to do with the lack of rail traffic developing. It's been that way down there for quite some time.
  by DougD
Yes, the line was a part of the PRSL. It was the Salem Secondary Track, former WJ&S and ex-Salem Railroad.
  by Mr. Ed
Thanks for the replies and clarification.

Mr. Ed
  by PRSL2005
Hi all
Read though this timeline done by me with info from PRR Chronology Research by Christopher T. Baer .
Enjoy! WJ&S Timeline 1836 - 1933
As you can see that , the Carney's Point line was Delaware River Railroad incorporated in N.J. as reorganization of (Delaware Shore Railroad who built the line); under control of DuPont interests, which have plans to build a large dynamite plant at Gibbstown.
Later West Jersey & Seashore Railroad Board confirms purchase of stocks and bonds of the Delaware River Railroad for $245,742. (MB)
Nov. 1, 1899 West Jersey & Seashore Railroad begins operating Delaware River Railroad running between Woodbury and Penns Grove, N.J., under agreement of Oct. 27, 1899.
On July 15, 1933, The Atlantic City Railroad leased the West Jersey & Seashore Railroad and changed its name to Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines .

The RDG had carfloats to the two DuPont plants in Southern New Jersey on the Delaware River, Carney's Point, and Gibbstown. From Pigeon Point DE and the Wilmington and Northern Branch. The W&N was RDG's route from Reading, PA to Wilmington, DE. Also owned by DuPont till leased to the RDG Co. IIRC the carfloats ran into the late 70's under Conrail.

The Salem Line is as Trainlawyer said "Incidentally the Salem Railroad ran Salem - Riddleton - Elmer and the connection down from Swedesboro came later."

Info from the timeline, SJ Rail/wiki/WJ&S, and SJ Rail.com (South Jersey Timeline of Historic Events)

July 1, 1863 Salem Railroad opens between Pittstown and Salem (Claysville), N.J., completing line.

Nov. 1867 Construction begins on Swedesboro Railroad in N.J

May 19, 1868 West Jersey Railroad leases Salem Railroad (Elmer-Salem) retroactive to Jan. 1, 1868. (Val)

Sep. 11, 1860 Last spike driven on Swedesboro Railroad between Woodbury and Swedesboro, N.J. (WdbryCnstn)

On January 21, 1882, the West Jersey Railroad, after being asked by agricultural interests of Woodstown, to build a railroad from the end of the Swedesboro Railroad to place called Riddleton Junction on the Salem Railroad. Completed in February, 1883, this gave the West Jersey Railroad two different routes into Salem.

Jan. 20, 1943 PRSL abandons 4.7 miles of Salem Branch between Daretown and Riddleton. (This is the 1st line to Salem)

December 30, 1950: Passenger service on the Salem Branch ends, gas powered motor car.

September 1988: Salem County purchases from Conrail, the Salem Branch between Swedesboro and Salem, operated by the West Jersey Railroad.

What year did the SRNJ takeover the Salem Line?
  by RailVet
A week ago today I drove through Swedesboro on my way to Cape May and noticed the tracks were rusty and very overgrown with brush. Is rail service still active on this line?
  by riffian
Bridge work north of Swedesboro has the line shut down for several months. Since Anchor Glass in Salem shut down there is hardly any traffic left - a couple of cars of telephone poles a week and occasional loads to the feed mill at Woodstown .
  by von schlieffen
What bridge, out of curiosity? I'm guessing we will see this line abandoned in the near future. Industry in Salem is gone and never coming back, unfortunately.
  by riffian
Presumably the bridge over Mantua Creek, about 3 or 4 miles south of Woodbury. This was mentioned in a piece by Steve Barry in Railfan and Railroad magazine. I think you are probably right about the dismal future of this line.
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