CNJ engine #2506 approaches the Route 72 overpass in 1975 on this now-abandoned line. (1975, submitted by John Gaston)
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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.
Toms River, NJ
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?
Medford Lakes, NJ
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.
Toms River, NJ
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.
Medford Lakes, NJ
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.
brick , NJ
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.
Do you have any pictures or information about Lakewood to Winslow Junction? Please