Welcome to RailsEast.com!

Hello, and welcome! I appreciate your visit to my small, but slowly growing collection of railroad photographs from the eastern US. My images concentrate on the trains and locomotives of Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation, and Conrail Shared Assets Operations in the northeast, along with other eastern, mid-Atlantic and southeastern shortline and commuter operations. Although I have the bulk of my work on the big RR archive site, I wanted to showcase my best photos and experiences in a larger viewing format, and thus RailsEast was born.

Feel free to leave a comment and voice your opinion, or just say Hello. Valid questions, criticism and corrections are encouraged, and will be responded to promptly. I hope that you enjoy my compilation, and I thank you again for stopping by.

Chris

Something old, something new…..

An historic day in Milford, NJ, on the old Pennsylvania Railroad Bel-Del mainline…..the old plant switcher from Riegelsville, NJ, now privately owned and fully restored, resting before the Milford Alive! festivities on September 24, 2016. This will be the first diesel locomotive to grace the rails of Milford this century…..

 

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A stroll through Red Bank

Red Bank, NJ, is a cool little town, and has had rail service since 1855 or so, when the Raritan & Delaware Bay (the second railroad in the state, after the Camden & Amboy) began surveying  here. The Central Railroad of New Jersey eventually assumed control of the line, and Red Bank would become the northern point on the CNJ Southern Division mainline, which extended to the Bridgton area in extreme southern NJ. After Conrail reorganized the railroads of the northeast in 1976, this route was cut in half, with the northern portion running from Red Bank to Lakehurst, and the railroad abandoned from Lakehurst to Winslow Junction (except for a 13 mile stretch under private ownership from Lakehurst to Woodmansie). The northern portion of line is still active today as the Conrail Southern Secondary, although trains presently only go as far as South Lakewood, served by the once-weekly Conrail Shared Assets Operations local SA-31. The crew is seen here strolling through the south end of Red Bank, crossing Newman Springs Road & approaching MP 39; business has been good lately, with trains of 10-15 cars on many trips, but the train today consists of only 3 cars for two customers on the line. Hopefully this is just a brief winter slowdown, and traffic levels will return to normal soon.

Image recorded January 22, 2015.

Conrail SA31 Red Bank NJ Southern Secondary

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Once dormant, now active again

On the now 150 year old ex-CNJ Southern Division mainline, business had dwindled to a customer or two in the late 20th century. Things did not look good for this once proud high iron to southern New Jersey as recently as 2009, but, as everyone knows, there is nothing constant but change. Conrail Shared Assets Operations local SA-31 has operated on this line since Conrail proper assumed rights from the CNJ in 1976, and the line has seen hard times in the last decade & a half. With change rearing its ‘positive’ head, for a change, the current Southern Secondary has seen a significant increase in traffic in 2014, much to the delight of the local economy, and to local railfans as well. The weekly Thursday afternoon runs have seen trains of 12+ cars for the past year, compared to runs of 1 to 5 or 6 cars previously. This days consist had 17 cars, with 14 lumber loads destined for the lines largest customer, Woodhaven Lumber in Lakewood, as well as 2 empty gondolas for loading at Brick Recycling, another ‘once dormant, now active again’ business in Howell, NJ, and one boxcar full of brick products for Extech Building Materials. The Extech  (formerly Atlantic Building Supply) siding, pictured here, had lain dormant for several years, but started receiving inbound loads again back in 2011, and has been a regular drill since then. Conrail Shared Assets crew SA-31 is seen here spotting the loaded car on the Extech siding, after having pulled the empty boxcar just moments ago. With the continued business from Extech, and the new business from Brick Recycling, just a half-mile north of here, the future looks bright for the Southern Secondary, almost forgotten about just a few years ago.

Image recorded October 30, 2014.

DSC_7527SA31ExtechClose10302014

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Consolation Prize

Well, sometimes things work out perfectly, and sometimes things just work out, but with a consolation prize. I knew that the NS New York Central heritage unit (NS 1066) was in Allentown yard, and I knew that road power is frequently used on Allentown-based locals, so I made the 90 minute drive to see how good (or bad) my luck was on this given day. Fortunately, I did catch the NYC unit in Bethlehem, but under very cloudy, early morning skies. OK, I thought, not bad, but far from perfect, so I hung around (knowing that Allentown can produce a nice surprise at any given moment). Finally, the clouds depart, and the game is on to get the best possible photograph in this very scenic area before I begin the trek back to the Jersey Shore.

Using the best 2-way radio technology available (this day, a Kenwood NX-700) to my advantage, I hear the dispatcher give permission to NS train 38G,  “UP Eight Three Four Nine”, to double their train at the west end of Allentown yard, not knowing that there was any other foreign power in the area. Rear wheels spinning, I make a beeline to Emmaus, a few miles west of Allentown, to a spot where I’ve shot from before, and where the midday light would work in my favor. I present to you my ‘Consolation Prize’ for the trip, Norfolk Southern Allentown, Pa. to Camden, NJ train 38G with Union Pacific EMD power in the form of SD70ACe 8349 and SD70M 4799 up front, with NS 9319 (GE C40-9W) assisting. Thanks to the reports from the internet, and a little ‘just plain dumb luck’, the day turned out better than I had expected, and the drive home went just a bit quicker than most.

Image recorded December 28, 2013.

Norfolk Southern train 38G NS Reading Line Emmaus Pennsylvania

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The usual Thursday stroll

On a surprisingly sunny Thursday afternoon (most Thursdays in NJ are cloudy), Conrail Shared Assets local train SA-31 heads down the CR Southern Secondary (the old CNJ Southern Division) in Eatontown with a short consist for Lakewood, NJ. This was a main freight route for the Central RR of NJ, running from Jersey City to extreme southern NJ, from the late 19th to mid 20th century, hosting at least two trains a day. Many years ago, there was a passing siding at this point on the line, with the north switch located just about where NS 5283 (GP38-2, ex-CR 8081, nee-PC 8081, blt 2/73) is positioned in this photo. In November of 1953, CNJ train SJ-2 derailed 21 cars at this spot, with a few even climbing the embankment to the left, and it is thought that the switch contributed to the accident.

There will be no problems for the crew today, as they take their very regular Thursday stroll down the Southern; in fact, if you wake up & don’t remember what day it is in this area, you will know it’s Thursday if you see the local going by. The train is never big, and never fast (10 mph restriction on this line), but there is much rr history in this area dating back to the 1850s, and it’s good to see the line still in operation into the 21st century.

Image recorded on August 15, 2013

Conrail Train SA-31 Southern Secondary Eatontown NJ

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