Three NJ towns, four trains


After work yesterday, I wanted to take advantage of the remaining sunshine of the day, as clouds were supposed to start moving in.  So I headed for Bound Brook to see what was going on.  As it turned out, that was the first of four stops in Bound Brook, Manville and Hillsborough, NJ visiting both the Lehigh and Trenton lines.  Oh, yeah, and I caught a few trains.

So my first stop was the NJ Transit Bound Brook station.  Figured that would be a good starting point.  After parking, I made my way out to the track 2 platform to see what was up.

On my way out there, I heard NS train 33K talking on the scanner, looking to head west out of Manville Yard.  Interesting…  Just then, a westbound NJ Transit train pulled into the station.

A westbound NJ Transit commuter train pulls into Bound Brook station
A westbound NJ Transit commuter train pulls into Bound Brook station
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Looking around, I figured it was worth a shot to head west to Manville and try to catch 33K heading out.  Especially since the dispatcher held 33K for another job.  So I headed back to the car and went west.  Someone got two free hours on the meter at the station, seeing that I was only there 5 minutes.

I parked behind the VFW in Manville, and looked to the east. There, just inside Por Reading Junction, I could see a flicker of headlights through the moving air.

What looks to be a Norfolk Southern freight at Port Reading Junction, begins to head west towards Manville
What looks to be a Norfolk Southern freight at Port Reading Junction, begins to head west towards Manville
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Not long after that, the blob of light began to grow, and it was clear that it was a Norfolk Southern widecab on the point.  My guess is this was 33K heading west.  So I got a shot just as the train was cresting the grade to the east

NS train 33K crests the grade pulling out of Port Reading Junction, heading west into Manville
NS train 33K crests the grade pulling out of Port Reading Junction, heading west into Manville
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Then a couple as they approached me in the beautiful afternoon sunlight

NS train 33K rolls through Manville, NJ
NS train 33K rolls through Manville, NJ
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NS train 33K rolls through Manville, NJ
NS train 33K rolls through Manville, NJ
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And a couple going away shots, as the train went through the 13th Ave grade crossing

NS train 33K heads for the 13th Ave crossing in Manville, NJ
NS train 33K heads for the 13th Ave crossing in Manville, NJ
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The tail end of NS train 33K heads for the 13th Ave crossing in Manville, NJ
The tail end of NS train 33K heads for the 13th Ave crossing in Manville, NJ
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Not too bad!  After a couple more minutes, I could see another set of headlights down in Port Reading Junction.  I figured I had enough time to head to the other side of 13th Ave, and get a shot from west of the crossing.

Well, I got there, picked my spot and waited.  The headlights hadn’t moved one bit.

A CSX freight waits in the distance at Port Reading Junction to head south on CSX's Trenton Line
A CSX freight waits in the distance at Port Reading Junction to head south on CSX's Trenton Line
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So I waited some more.  After a few more minutes, I could hear horns from south-west of me.  OK, that meant something was headed up the CSX Trenton Line, and into Port Reading Junction.  So that probably meant this train sitting in the distance was in fact destined for the CSX line, and not heading west on NS.  A quick check of the GPS on my Blackberry, and I was off to find a couple spots on the Trenton Line!

I found one spot in Manville near milepost 56 on the Trenton Line.  So I set up there and waited.  A couple minutes later a headlight appeared on the horizon to the south of me.

CSX train Q706 crests the grade south of MP56 in Manville, NJ
CSX train Q706 crests the grade south of MP56 in Manville, NJ
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Looking at the consist, it was a unit empty garbage train, and while listening to the scanner, the symbol was Q706.  As they rolled past I got a couple shots – one tight telephoto and one wider

CSX train Q706, an empty unit garbage train, passes milepost 56 in Manville, NJ
CSX train Q706, an empty unit garbage train, passes milepost 56 in Manville, NJ
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CSX train Q706 rolls through Manville, NJ about to enter Manville yard and Port Reading Junction
CSX train Q706 rolls through Manville, NJ about to enter Manville yard and Port Reading Junction
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Then swinging around 180 degrees to get the markers

The tail end of Q706 clears milepost 56 in Manville, NJ on the Trenton Line
The tail end of Q706 clears milepost 56 in Manville, NJ on the Trenton Line
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With this job entering the yard, I figured that other train that had been waiting would be heading south soon.  Another check of the GPS showed me a crossing about a mile or so down the tracks in Hillsborough.  So I got in the car and checked it out.

When I got there, I parked the car and started checking things out.  The first thing I noticed was a signal right next to the crossing.  The south facing heads were dark, so that meant they were approach-lit.  A quick walk to the other side of the signal showed me that the north facing head was showing a green – which meant that the job that was waiting at Port Reading Junction was ready to head south, if not already on the move.

So I picked my spots and waited.  Well, the wait wasn’t all that long as the train’s headlights peeked above the crest in the grade.  Soon after that I got a shot of the train framed by the steps of the signal mast near the crossing.

Cresting the grade on the CSX Trenton Line in Hillsborough, NJ, a southbound general freight approaches the Sunnymeade Road crossing
Cresting the grade on the CSX Trenton Line in Hillsborough, NJ, a southbound general freight approaches the Sunnymeade Road crossing
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As they rolled across the Sunnymeade Road crossing, I got a couple wide shots with the 20D

A southbound CSX freight crosses Sunnymeade Road in Hillsborough, NJ
A southbound CSX freight crosses Sunnymeade Road in Hillsborough, NJ
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A southbound CSX freight crosses Sunnymeade Road in Hillsborough, NJ
A southbound CSX freight crosses Sunnymeade Road in Hillsborough, NJ
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And finally a couple going away shots

The power on a  southbound CSX freight rolls through Hillsborough, NJ
The power on a southbound CSX freight rolls through Hillsborough, NJ
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A southbound CSX freight rolls through Hillsborough, NJ
A southbound CSX freight rolls through Hillsborough, NJ
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Then to close things out as the train sped through the crossing, I did one longer exposure shot getting the cars streaking through the grade crossing.

The CSX freight streaks over the Sunnymeade Road crossing in Hillsborough, NJ
The CSX freight streaks over the Sunnymeade Road crossing in Hillsborough, NJ
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With the increasing cloud cover, and dwindling daylight, I decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel.

Thanks for looking!
Tom

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