The end of the line, for now

With Conrail severing the former Central Railroad of NJ Southern Division mainline back in the late 1970s, and with rail customers switching to trucks, or not surviving the tough New Jersey marketplace, the present day Conrail Shared Assets Operations railroad decided that, with no future potential for rail-freight services, they would take the Toms River Industrial track, and the Southern Secondary out of service at MP65.9 by removing a section of rail in Lakehurst in June of 2009. The mainline extends south of this point to the sand pits in Woodmansie, NJ, and there was hope that the owner of the line south of Lakehurst would revive sand train service in 2006, and again in 2009, but those plans never materialized, and the line remains dormant. Unfortunately, in December of 2010, the end of the line would be moved further north to South Lakewood, NJ, and trains would be eliminated from Lakehurst altogether.

Here we see weekly local WPSA-31 sitting at the end of track marker, with a new crew onboard and getting ready to utilize the runaround track immediately behind the train. CSX 4423 has seen these rails before, starting life as Conrail 3338, built in June of 1978 by EMD. In a matter of minutes, the crew will position the locomotive on the opposite end of the train, and head north to Lakewood to drill the large lumber yard there; without the 4 to 10 carloads of inbound lumber every week, this line would have little chance of survival, so to the good people of Woodhaven Lumber, we say ‘thank you’.

Image recorded September 18, 2009.

Conrail Southern Secondary CSX 4423 exCNJ Lakehurst NJ

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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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