Conrail’s Santa train distributes toys at Christmas

Every year, the good people at Conrail’s Browns Yard in Sayreville, NJ, run a Santa Train from the yard to Freehold, NJ, via the CR Amboy Secondary and the Freehold Industrial Track. At two locations (Freehold and Jamesburg), the train stops and Santa distributes toys to the local children. Assistance is provided by the local PBA and volunteer fire companies. The 2009 train is seen passing one of the steady customers on the Freehold Industrial Track, just a half-mile west of its final destination at the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in downtown Freehold, with NS GP40-2 3022 (ex-CR 3315, blt 5/78) and CSX GP40-2 4425 (ex-CR 3340, blt 6/78).

Image recorded Saturday, December 12, 2009. 

Conrail's Santa train en route to distribute toys at ChristmasClick on the image to display it at a larger size. Use your browser’s Back button to return to this page.

Conrail local freight train trundles through central NJ farmland

No horses in the field today, but plenty of horses on the rails, as a 3,000hp EMD GP40-2 easily handles its short train on the Conrail Southern Secondary. Scenes like this are hard to find in central Monmouth County, NJ, these days, but there are still a few undisturbed parcels to be found among the housing developments of this popular area. Through the fence slats we find Conrail Shared Assets Operations local freight WPSA-31 trundling through the farmland just north of downtown Farmingdale on its way back north to Browns Yard in Sayreville, NJ, with CSX 4423 (ex-Conrail 3338, blt 6/78) in control.

Image recorded October 30, 2009. Conrail local freight train trundles through central NJ farmlandClick on the image to view at a larger size

Conrail wayfreight prepares for run-around on famed ‘Blue Comet’ route

Conrail wayfreight WPSA-31, with new crew on board, prepares to make a reverse move and run-around its train for the pull back north to Lakewood. The train is sitting at the current terminus of Conrail’s Southern Secondary in Lakehurst, NJ. This is the former Southern Division mainline of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, route of the famed CNJ ‘Blue Comet’ passenger trains of the ’40s and ’50s to Atlantic City, and host to 70 and 80 car freight trains from north to south Jersey until the formation of Conrail in 1976.

There are actually no remaining customers on this end of the line; the crew utilizes the run-around track here to reverse direction to serve Woodhaven Lumber on a trailing point spur in Lakewood, the largest customer on the line. Conrail Shared Assets Operations is using CSX 4423 (ex-CR 3338, blt 6/78) for todays run on a beautiful fall day.

Image recorded September 18, 2009.

Conrail wayfreight prepares for run-around on famed 'Blue Comet' route

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Lineage recalled of three mainline veteran trains

In what could be a scene from Altoona or Harrisburg in the 1980’s, these three mainline veterans are actually getting ready to depart small Browns Yard, in Sayreville, NJ, in 2009, enroute back to Oak Island Yard in Newark. Let’s go over the lineage of these great locomotives, shall we?

Still un-repainted NS 3429 started life as Kansas City Southern SD40 612 in 10/66, then came to Conrail, and was rebuilt to SD40-2 standards as #6966. NS 1701 began as Erie Lackawanna SD45-2 3670 in 1972, then became CR 6655, working many years in helper service around Horseshoe Curve, finally being rebuilt to SD40-2 specs before the Conrail split-up in 1999. The far unit is NS 3428, sister to the 3429, also starting out as a Kansas City Southern unit, #608, in 11/66, then also rebuilt to Dash-2 standards as CR 6965.

Together these units comprise 123 years of service among them!! Without doubt, and literally without argument, the ElectroMotive Division of General Motors built the most dependable and longest-lasting diesel electric locomotives in the world from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Image recorded August 16, 2009

Three mainline veterans getting ready to depart small Browns Yard, in Sayreville, NJ, in 2009, enroute back to Oak Island Yard in Newark.

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Conrail work train YPMA-95 spotted on Southern Secondary

Under watchful eyes, Conrail work train YPMA-95 crosses Second St. in Lakewood, NJ, on Conrail’s Southern Secondary. What’s so special about a work train in the rain? Well, two things; this work train, picking up old ties lying beside the right of way, originated in Manville Yard in Manville, NJ, some 60 miles to the northwest of Lakewood (quite unusual to get a movement here from that far away), and, this is an SD40-2 on the Southern Secondary, which is nearly unheard of in the Conrail years (post-1976).

The Southern Secondary is a lightly used (3-4 times a month) line running from Red Bank to Lakehurst, NJ, over the former Central Railroad of New Jersey mainline, and Conrail rules dictate that only 4-axle power is to be used on sidings to serve the few customers that remain on the line. Since this train only traversed the ‘main’, if you will, no rules were ‘broken’, and this six-axle unit is a very rare and welcomed sight on this dreary spring day.

Image recorded June 5, 2009.

Conrail work train YPMA-95 spotted on Southern Secondary

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