Still busy, but not what it once was

Where there were once two, now there is only one; main track, that is, with Conrail electing to single-track the former Lehigh Valley RR mainline west of CP Port Reading Junction (just beyond the signals in the distance). The exhaust heat waves on this chilly spring morning are quite evident, brought into prominence by the large lens used to record westbound Norfolk Southern train 11J, about to cross over Main Street in Manville, NJ.

With the closing of the Ford and General Motors assembly plants in the Garden State, all loaded autorack cars are inbound only, which necessitates a dedicated empty autorack train (11J) daily to return railcars to the assembly points in the south and midwest. Today, NS C40-9W 9573 leads the train out of the Raritan River watershed, heading ‘up the mountain’ as the dispatchers say, towards the only railroad tunnel in NJ at Pattenburg, some 26 miles away. (Trans-Hudson River tunnels to NYC don’t count here; they start in NJ and end in NY.)

Image recorded April 30, 2011.

Westbound Norfolk Southern train 11J, about to cross over Main Street in Manville, NJ

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One Comment

  1. Actually, Conrail didn’t single track the ex-LV main west of Port Reading Jct. Lehigh Valley did that before Conrail was conceived of, single tracking the main line between Port Reading Jct. and The Phillipsburg interlocking right at the Delaware River crossing between Phillipsburg, NJ and Easton, PA. Only one siding was retained over this section, right at the Pattenburg tunnel at the top of the “mountain.” Conrail single tracked the portion between the “Potter” interlocking in Edison (just east of Inman Ave.) and Port Reading Jct. in the late 1980s, and that 2nd main track was re-installed after the NS-CSX “split” of Conrail in 2007, about two decades later.

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