• Trenton-Princeton Traction Co.

  • 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 R36 Combine Coach
Trenton-Princeton Traction Co. was a local interurban that ran from Trenton to Witherspoon
Street in Princeton. The last trolley ran in 1940, though it remained in freight service to
Lawrenceville until 1974. From the May 1965 Official Guide, the line was 4.98 miles
between Trenton and Lawrenceville and was a Reading subsidiary company, with general
office at Reading Terminal , Philadelphia (as of February 1965).

Some questions:

Was service diesel hauled in the later years and were regular RDG fleet used?

Even though the line was active until 1974, when the I-95 (now 295) beltway was built
around Trenton in 1973-74, why was no overpass built where I-95/295 crosses the line?

At the restored Lawrenceville station, a replica 13,200 volts sign has been installed.
Was this an AC power line and not the traditional DC interurban?

Is there any more details or info on this former interurban, such as images and maps?
  by Ken W2KB
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 8:05 pm At the restored Lawrenceville station, a replica 13,200 volts sign has been installed.
Was this an AC power line and not the traditional DC interurban?
13,200 volts is a standard primary distribution voltage for customers pursuant to PSE&G's tariff for electric service. The customer's equipment would step down and rectify that voltage to the DC voltage it used for electric traction. The AC voltage supplied originally may have been somewhat lower, but the maker of this reproduction sign used the present day number. See Original Sheet No. 19 and other relevant sections of the PSE&G Tariff: https://nj.pseg.com/aboutpseg/regulator ... D5879.ashx
  by pumpers
There is an existing thread for this northern portion of the "Fast Line" here: "Abandoned line to Lawrenceville"
viewtopic.php?t=58424, with a bit of the history. It seems the line was abandoned north of Lawrenceville by ~1940's already with rails removed, and was not in service near Rider (south of 295) in the 1950s. So if that part near Rider was legally abandoned, then no tunnel would have been required.

That said, perhaps I am having deja vu, but I do seem to remember reading a discussion somewhere 5 or 10 years ago about such a tunnel under 295. But I don't remember if it was about a debate to add one back when they built 295, or about adding one more recently, when the Johnson Trolley trail was fixed up. Or maybe I am just having senior moment. There was a tunnel built under 195 or the NJTP (or both) for the Pemberton and Heightstown RR, which then was abandoned before the highway was completed. I seem to recall the tunnel under the turnpike was still there (although I don't know if you could walk though it) until it was wiped out by the widening of the turnpike in that area 5-10 years ago.
Jim S

EDIT: Regarding the HV question and reply, looking at Google maps & streetview, there are power lines running above the Johnson trolley line trail from the south side of 295 down through Rider, along Johnson Ave, all the way to the trail end in Ewing just north of Spruce St, not too far from Olden Ave. I'm no expert, but it does look like 3 phase wires at the very top, suggesting at least 13,000 V is still running there (Ken W2KB might know). Probably these lines were installed long after the trolley as the area developed, as an income source for whoever owned the trolley real estate.

Looking at page 19 of Ken's link, 3 phase, 3 wire service is 26,400 V or 69,000V. I vote for 26,400.
  by R36 Combine Coach
After various research and review of Official Guides, the Turnpike did apparently split the Pemberton &
Heightstown line (listed in Official Guide as Union Transportation Company). There apparently was no
overpass on the Turnpike ever built and the line was fully in service as of 1945, then cut down to between
Pemberton and Shrewsbury in Upper Freehold Township (still in service as of 1965 and possibly into early
Conrail). This explains why an overpass on I-195 was built in 1969.

The earlier thread provides some details about freight service on the Trenton & Princeton Traction line,
but it seems it was down to just heating coal for local boarding schools and Lawrenceville Fuel Co. (still
on Gordon Avenue).

One other interesting observation is why the line was listed as a separate company in Official Guide and not
as part of the Reading system.
  by pumpers
Regarding the P&H/Union Transportation and Route 195, the tunnel is now in use for the rail trail: https://goo.gl/maps/PQkK9ik6mCCmM9zK7
I'm glad it's getting some use some 45 years after construction - I'm not sure a train ever used it.

Regarding the turnpike, I'm not sure what I was thinking of when I said the turnpike widening from exit 9 down to 6(?) wiped out a train underpass. Maybe it was some other train history relic that got wiped out, but looking at a map, I sure can't figure out what it would have been. Memory is a funny thing.

While looking at where the Camden & Amboy went under the turnpike just north of Hightstown (where the turnpike was also widened), I found this interesting thing on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/fPE1u8oFApXXiHcp6
They designed the widened turnpike to accommodate the tracks, but as soon as the tracks got through they cut them off! A bit like the case of the P&H and 195 , perhaps. That track on the left is an old industrial spur - there is a brand new mega warehouse there now w/o rail service.
And if you turn the view around in Google Streetview, and look south towards Hightstown there is a Camden & Amboy historical marker standing there! You can just about read it if you zoom in.
  by CJPat
Pumpers, what you are probably remember ing is when they built the Hightstown Bypass, Rt 133 around the northside of Hightstown, they permanently severed the Camden and Amboy ROW.