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This line hasn't been used since the late 1980s and was left to be reclaimed by nature when most of the customers along the line went out of business. Conrail operated on it for a short while then shut it down. I had the opportunity to walk the line a week ago when I was visiting family in Waretown. The line is a single track mainline from Lakewood to Winslow Jct. where it turned into a three track mainline. It is very long and has many spurs running off of it going to various industries (mostly sand mines and lumber processors) and one spur that ran down through Waretown to Long Beach Island.
There is a second track from Lakehurst to Whiting. Two grade crossings in Whiting have been upraded with new signage. Another crossing further south in Woodmansie has also been upgraded in the past year, and the piles of dirt/sand near the pits have been removed. When they replace the crossing of County Rte 539, I suppose we'll see some trains.
The Southern Secondary originally ran through Bridgeton to Bayside, where oysters were loaded for tranport to Philadelphia and New York. There were also plans to run a ferry service to Delaware, as an alternative to the Northeast Corridor. The line is being "rehabilitated" from Lakewood to the sand mines in Woodmansie, presumably to support future projects in North Jersey (like the ARC tunnel), but it's unlikely we'll see any kind of service, passenger or otherwise, south to Winslow in our lifetimes.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
The Southern Division once hosted 2 daily trains (CNJ Symbols JS-1 South and SJ-2 North). They were running daily until the mid 1960's, when they became 6 trains a week, 3 south (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and 3 north (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). This connected with "RG", later "BANK" tower located in Red Bank, where the southern division joined the NY&LB. The tower was open from 6 AM Monday through 6 AM Saturday. Periodically, an Operator would be called to open the switch when JS-2 ran late on Saturdays, which was normal later on. Glass sand was the mainstay, serving Brockway (Freehold), Midland (Matawan/Aberdeen) and Metro Glass (Carteret) Factories. Sand service was also provided to build the original Meadowlands Complex. A CTC signal system existed from Lakehurst to Eatontown,controlled upstairs in the old Long Branch passenger station, with a controlled siding located in Lakehurst, where crews were swapped. What plans I heard were for the tunnel project between New York and North Bergen, which seems to have died. The rail, I believe, is still intact from Lakehurst to Woodmansie, but pulled up from there to Winslow, where the Winchester and Western and South Jersey Rail use it through Vineland and Bridgeton. The Line currently has one shipper (Woodhaven Lumber) in Lakewood. Periodically, shipments are made to the Navy Base just north of Route 33/34 and a siding below Asbury Road, which is once a week. The biggest problem with this line, as does the Freehold line; is with New Jersey Transit. They do not want Freight trains on there tracks, and this has caused increased truck traffic on our roads. I am old enough to remember when freight and passenger trains worked together, not separate entities as there is today.
It doesn't look like there have been any posts on here in awhile, but, can anyone tell me who owns this line?
It's my understanding (and I could be wrong) that the ROW from the sandpit at Woodmansie to Winslow is owned by NJ Transit, and the line north from the sandpit to ?Lakehurst is owned by Clayton.
You many be aware that new crossings (but not new rails) have been installed in the ROW in Whiting and across Rt. 539, so something may be in the works for the future.
Hope this helps!
Except for a missing rail beneath Route 70 the line is complete to Woodmansie. They are replacing ties in Lakehurst.
I am interested in running rail bike tours on a local line. Any information on possible lines would be appreciated. If trains aren't able to run anymore, than, at least people might be able to travel these rails and get a feel for what it was like when the train was the way to travel.
A new crossing has been installed at 539 in whiting and the rails are being replaced now although they don't go too far north or south of the road. I have a cabin in woodmansie and "word" is Clayton is paying to run the line to their quarry to move the sand etc. from the facility which I believe is a good idea. Ever drive down woodmanise Road during the day? It's a non stop every two minutes of tandem dump trucks. I'll say the drivers are professionals but it's very heavyweight traffic and cyclists Motorcycles and hikers use the road to acces the wildlife areas in the area. I think it would be a great idea to get it up and running again.
There's a (relative) plethora of information on the Southern Secondary and it's ongoing "rehabilitation" at:
I was watching a video not too long ago on Youtube about this abandoned rail line.The guy in the video was talking about the history of this rail line and showed the rail,bridges and equipment still in place.by equipment i mean junction boxes.crossing gates and even a new bridge located just outside of Lakehurst which crosses over a creek.The junction boxes and crossing gates were replaced because the guy said the rail line was thinking of reopening the rail line based on the economy possibly getting better.The video was shot over a year ago and from what i saw this rail line would need immense rehabilitation before it even opens up.My opinion is that the rail company whoever it is that would think about opening this abandoned rail line would seriously think twice.If anybody hears anything about this please let me know.Thanks.
These trains are private property. There is a man who owns these trains and it is his business. People trespass and violate the property, and anybody caught in the premise will be arrested. I know of individuals who have faced these consequences, so please be curteous of the train owner and stay away.
The abandoned trains in Winslow NJ are on private property. Respect the owner. Do not trespass. You can be arrested and prosecuted.
The rails are being installed and ties removed ahead of them down Pasadena rd past mt. Misery rd, Clayton is just beyond the crossing on Pasadena so it looks like it may be coming to pass sooner then later. Let's hope so I think it would be a good idea, it's a shame they don't continue over Rt. 72 and run some steam and antique tours though the area I think it would be a great way for people who don't like to hike or bicycle to learn about and appreciate the pine barrens without The bugs ! What if you could take a train to batsto I think it would create new for interest in trains and local history.
Thanks Anon and Delsea Storm.I was just commenting on the video,not thinking of actually trespassing on private property.If property isn't posted private property as such,how do people know?
If you see this, THE TRAIN CARS ARE NOT ABANDONED AND ARE PRIVATELY OWNED. Do not trespass! If you visit without permission from the owner, you can and will be prosecuted.
I don't know of any rail cars.All i know from what i saw on the video was an abandoned bridge over rte. 72 and rail.As for warning me,i can read no trespassing signs and i do not trespass on private property like i said.Also my family worked the Reading Railroad so i know the rules pertaining to rows.
Why all of these "warnings" all of a sudden? I'm almost certain there've been no railcars south of Lakewood since the 80's. In fact, Clayton owns the Right-of-Way from to Woodmansie, and NJ Transit south of Route 72. Cape May Seashore Lines has a contract to operate trains on the Woodmansie-Lakewood stretch, but whether that will ever happen in our lifetimes is moot. There is literally nothing on the ROW or rails (what few stretches of rails are present)south of 72 to Winslow, and will all due respect to Anon and Delsea, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone patrolling this stretch with the intent of apprehending and prosecuting "trespassers".
Point of clarification-My comments refer to the stretch of the Southern Secondary through the Pine Barrens between Lakewood and Winslow Junction.
Thank you Albert.I agree with you 100%.What these people fail to realize is my family lives along an abandoned row and they know as well as i do what's legal and what's not.These people who are posting these warnings not to trespass must think other people don't respect abandoned rows and probably want to take railroad artifacts and whatnot.I don't do that.
I wonder if Clayton mining will reclaim the right of way from Woodmansee to Winslow junction to send materials to Kennedy concrete in Vineland. It would be a formidable occasion to bring back the Blue Comet experience from New-York to Atlantic city, a touristic activity that would give New-Jersey's tourism industry another source of potential revenue, especially if it is marketed properly, and if it departed from Montreal.We'd have to bring back the same service that existed at that time period, and the same restored passenger wagons that were there at the time, replacing the scrapped ones by similar type wagons. It would surely pull some attention by its passing.
its coming back and being rebuilt, a youtube channel called millennium force has been taking videos about it.
Clayton sand changed their name a few years back. The line is owned and maintained by New Jerse Srasore Lines according to the blue signs on their crossbucks and gates. All the level crossings have been refurbished, so the ROW has to be mowed north of Lakehurst and 6 geet of rail replaced.
I was enlightened by a news article in the NJ section of the Phil Inquirer on August 14 2011 commemorating the anniversary of the Blue Comet derailing in Chatsworth NJ on AUg. 19 1939. Being a rail fan I ate this story up big time and even rented the hardcover "Blue Comet" book from the library. Still thirsty with this Comet nostalgia I absolutely had to go to Winslow Junction to see for myself a couple of these last Comet cars in existence. This was on Aug 23 2011. Arrived around 1 pm and sure enough there were plenty of old trains to see in addition to the 2 BC passenger cars.
One old car, a yellow Maine Coast coach wasn't locked so seeing nobody around in I went.(gee,can you blame me) Inside this old train car was like something out of a horror movie, dirt, mildew, rust and crud. rather disgusting but if only those seats could talk. While inside the car it started to rock and sway like crazy and I thought it was leaving with me in it! Swaying subsided and got the hell out of there very shook up. It wasn't until a friend called me on the ride home to ask me where I was for the earthquake, True story.
I would give anything to take a rail cart ride over that Blue Comet Line. Has anybody ever done this? I have traveled down Savoy Blvd and walked on the tracks which have pine trees growing between the rails. I wonder if this wonderful old rail line will run again in my lifetime. Sorry to run on so long.
I saw a video with a drone recently and I don't think there are restrictions on viewing and looking at the rail cars from what I saw.I figure if you ask,you can look all you want.
Thinking seriously of rail carting somewhere along this line. Does anybody know of anyone who's done that in NJ? Gut feeling is that CNJ and NJ Transit (South of rt 72) would try to discourage this.
Any spin on this?
I'm not exactly sure what rail carting is, tho I can guess. I rode my Harley along Savoy Road today, and the rails seemed intact from Rte. 72 to the siding in Chatsworth... They pick up somewhere south of SR 563, and (presumably) extend to Carranza road, where they're broken on the unpaved road there. Rails "peek" out of the woods at the northeast side of Rt. 206, too, but there's only a ROW path to the southwest. Let us know if this is really going to happen someday, I'm IN!
Hey Albert, a rail-kart is a homemade go-kart only with small train wheels to keep it on the track. Best way to show you is for you to google rail-k/carting and they will link you to YouTube and there are hundreds of terrific videos from all over the US & Canada. Be careful cause after you watch you will become addicted. This is so on my bucket list to do this especially on the Blue Comet tracks. Carts can be purchased online.
Don't blame you for taking a ride south on Savoy blvd, I did that one day last week and when I stopped a couple of miles and walked over onto the tracks and could't believe the pine trees growing on the tracks! Actually I was planning to go north on Savoy today and see what the tracks look like over there but had to do an estimate this afternoon so no good for rail hunting. As far as the southern spur goes, I think you are more knowledgeable than I am and your passion for this is the same as mine and that connects the dots.
Here's my email so we can connect privately.... email@example.com if you want.
Hope to hear from you.
Jeff,i've seen rail-carts like what you mentioned along with gandy dancers on abandoned rail videos.I wouldn't mind doing it.As a matter of fact the one that I saw was gas powered and boy could that cart move!Looks like a lot of fun.
I grew up at the northwest corner of the Ironbound, 150 feet from the entrance of the Northeast Corridor to Newark Penn Station and the Jersey Central spur from Broad Street Station, so rails are in my blood. Weather permitting, I ride my motorcycles in the Pine Barrens, including down to Cumberland County along the ROW of the Southern Secondary north and south of Winslow to Port Norris and Bayside. Been there.
I spend much of my time out of state, but I'll plan to take photos of the current state of the ROW and post it on this website-I "recently" was at Winslow Junction, and have some photos, but more will follow-eventually!
Sounds great Albert.Do whatever you can with the pictures and any information on this rail line.
Does anybody know if Sunday's fire in the Pine Barons affected our favorite rail line?
I took a ride up 539 up to Millstone Twp today and there was no visible damage whatsoever to the Southern Secondary Crossing on 539! Still, lotsa dump trucks filled with sand, hopefully we'll see some of this sand transported by train in the not-to-distant future...
Always been a huge Blue Comet fan. What I cannot figure out is how that train moved from the north/south Southern Secondary onto the PRR east/west AC line in Winslow Junction which is now the NJ Transit line When I Google Earth this it shows a connection to the Beasley Point line but not the AC line?? I even looked around the day I went to Winslow Junction to see the mothball cars. I should have asked the guys in that locomotive repair shop but didn't think to do that. Any thoughts on this?
I wondered about that too. It looks like there at one time was a spur near or under the southernmost trestle connecting the main Southern Secondary heading off to the east-you can see the ROW with some remaining trackage on Google Earth and the "empty" lot north of the repair shed. This connector passes behind the repair shed, crosses the Beeseley's point line, and joins the AC line a little to the east.
I don't know if this is the actual route the Blue Comet took, but it makes the most sense on the basis of what's there now. Interestingly, except for a maybe 100-200 feet of track missing across Spring Road, the connection could almost be used today.
Needed a rail fix on this beautiful Sunday so drove to the rt 72 trestle and this time I turned right and headed north on Savoy Blvd. Got out of car and checked out the rails and they were as badly overgrown with pine trees as bad as the south side of the trestle. Lots of dirt bikers. Drove further north and same overgrowth until I got in Manchester then it was grassier with no pines and clear rails.
Continued further north up into Whiting and tracks were clear and assume same in Lakewood and north. No doubt in my mind this would be an excellent stretch to rail kart..... On my bucket list for sure.
Next I might try to find the same rails south of Chatsworth to Winslow Junction but might need a guide and a map as that looks to be untouched in decades.
People on this thread interested in finding out more, NEED to find a copy of "Trail of the Blue Comet"...wonderfully done history, with photos, lots of photos.
This book can be found on several sites, E bay, Amazon etc. I got mine from my local library. Great book.
The old Barnegat Branch ROW isabout 200 feet from my house and I'm 2 miles from downtown Lakehurst. New crossing signals have yet to be installed, and this is holding back opening the line down to Hanson Sand IMO. From the pont where the track enters Hanson south to at least a mile N of Winslow most of the track is still in place. In Chatsworth near the old station site the woods surround 2-3 tracks. South of the fire house one can follow the ROW about a mile when you get to a short trestle. This has fencing AND a metal barricade to discourage further travel. Also, this is the only area where I have seen Posted signs on the trees on either side of the ROW. The signs were in posted by the railroad or any railroad, they were posted by a conservation agency.