Friday, November 28, 2014

WY841 / WY840 the Penns Grove Local

Our last PRSL run of the day will be the WY841 / WY840 Penns Grove turn. We head out with a reefer to be iced in Woodbury (before going to yet another south Jersey farm), a chemical tank car for Shell Plastics in Thorofare (off-line), and a tanker for DuPont in Deepwater (off-line), in addition to 5 loaded hopper cars.

In Westville  we drop 3 hopper loads at the PRSL generating station. (The other 2 hoppers will go to Barry Bros in town but they will be delivered on the northbound return run.)

While here we need to snag an empty covered hopper from Buzby Cement.

Leaving town we can see the hopper car that we will be retrieving on the return trip.

In Woodbury we meet WY80 on its return northbound leg with 8 loads from the Sunoco refinery in Paulsboro and the 3 loads it had picked up from Texaco on its initial southbound leg.

 We drop the our reefer for icing (and retrieve 2 iced reefers for delivery).

Going and Coming. We head down the Penns Grove branch as WY841 to service the off-line Shell Chemical plant in Thorofare, DuPont in Deepwater, and several southern New Jersey farms. 

The deliveries having been made we return as WY840 northbound training only an empty and 2 loads.

The Barry brothers delivery was a bit tricky. The coal unloading trestle is not going to hold a locomotive's weight and we had such a short train.

First we used the 3 cars we have to snag the empty hopper and plop it temporarily just in front of the remaining cabin (caboose) on the main line. Now we are too short to deliver the 2 loaded hoppers and keep the engine off the wood trestle, so we drop the 2 hoppers at the base of the siding. Back up and re-snag the empty hopper. This leaves us with enough cars to push the 2 loads up onto the trestle.

Now we can reconnect our short train. We are now done for the day and are anxious to head back to Pavonia to sign out.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Meanwhile ... in Camden.

The Pavonia yard's duties during a day are to dispatch 3 trains, do an engine swap, and turn 7 trains (5 of them being when the south quarter of the yard is functioning as the Millville and Penns Grove terminuses). In addition, the yard crew is expected to service the local Camden industries (RCA Victor, Campbell Soup, and the J. B. Van Sciber furniture company) during its spare time.   :-)

With only the Penns Grove local and a Philly transfer left on the schedule, our faithful Baldwin heads out to serve the local folk. It grabs a box car of lumber for Van Sciber and a car of cardboard boxes destined for Campbell Soup.

A quick run-around gets the switcher positioned for its switching work.
First the lumber to Van Sciber, gently nudging the existing tank car of wood stain already there.

The Reading box car already at Campbell's is empty and needs to be picked up.

We will temporarily pull it back and position it out of the way on the RCA Victor siding (conveniently next to the empty hopper that also needs to be removed).

Then we place the loaded box car in position to be unloaded.

Finally we retrieve the 2 empties, do another run around and return them to the yard.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

WY79 / WY80 The Tank Sweeper

The PRSL WY79/WY80 ran between Camden and Paulsboro, so I assume it was meant to serve the Sunoco (Sun Oil Company) refinery there. I understand there was also a run to serve Texaco (in Westville) that originated in what was originally (before the merger) Reading's (Camden) Bulson Street yard. We will combine them into a single tank car sweeper run to service both refineries.

Again, trying to alleviate Camden Pavonia yard switching and balance the loads between the Brown and Red Oak tower operators, we will originate WY79 from staging track 2. Since it is a PRSL run we will not stop to transfer engines or cars in Pavonia. It's sole job is to collect and deliver Texaco loads (and empties) and head down the Penns Grove branch to Paulsboro. It will swap cars in the yard (the other side of Pavonia) and head directly back to Pavonia via Woodbury - Westville - Brooklawn - Camden. Along the way it will meet the WY34 local returning from Millville. Since WY79 is southbound and WY33 is northbound they will not interfere with each other as they pass by.

[When WY80 returns it will meet the Penns Grove local so a conflicting meet in Woodbury will need to be arranged.]

WY79 entering Westville with an (Atlas) Alco RS11 on the point. (The 1955 RS11 only missed our time era by 4 years!)
Eleven tankers and a cabin in tow. 
We pick up 3 loads and leave 3 empties for the Texaco refinery.
Meanwhile, in Woodbury, the WY34 local is returning from Millville.
The WY34 local is trailing 20+ cars, mostly empties returning to Pavonia.
We pick up the ATSF reefer for a northbound delivery. It was left earlier for icing.
Northbound WY34 meets the southbound WY79 at Woodbury.
The tank sweeper takes the switch to the Penns Grove branch and the Paulsboro refinery.
WY34 picks up an empty box car and hopper and leaves a box car and flat car at Cornell Steel.
And now we get to deliver that iced reefer to Del Monte food distributors (after picking up that empty GN box car).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WY34/WY33 The Camden-Millville Turn - Part II

Splitting the train to avoid blocking Olive street we get ready to replace the empty LV box car at Holloway Lumber company with a loaded delivery (PRR).

We also have 2 loads to deliver across the way in North Woodbury but they will have to wait for the WY33 return trip (and trailing point turnouts).

At Woodbury we meet WY842 returning with empty hoppers from the Atlantic City Electric power house in Deepwater. Coming off the Penns Grove branch, it needs to snake across 3 tracks to get to the northbound main.

We need to pick up 2 empties (NP & NADX) from the Woodbury team track and drop off a load of canned goods (CP) for the local Acme markets.

Since Woodbury has 2 sets of run-around tracks, we do a rare facing point delivery of a tank car of Pepsi-Cola syrup at the Woodbury Bottling Co.

We have 4 reefers that need icing before they go to various southern NJ farms so we will drop them at the icing platforms in the small South Woodbury yard.

With the remains of our train reconnected we are off to Millville. See you on the return trip!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WY34/WY33 The Camden - Millville Turn - Part I

WY34/WY33 was the local turn that ran from Camden through Woodbury to Millville. It did a whole lot of switching along the line and will take at least 2 posts to cover.

In the very early 1950s the line was still double  (and triple) tracked and that is the period I chose to model. All the switches in this portion of the railroad were trailing point so one side of the railroad got switched going southbound (WY34 or WY841) and the other side was switched on the return leg (WY33 or WY840) of the turn.To me, switching is the fun challenge of the layout.

Towns did not like having their automobile intersections blocked so operators are required to split their trains at each crossing during switching moves (that's 4 locations before you get to the main Woodbury station).

The Woodbury yard also has an icing facility (probably long gone before 1950, but thanks to a friendly time warp, it is still present here). All the reefers get iced at Woodbury. Those new fangled mechanical reefers are serviced by a local gas truck. The bulk of the wooden reefers spend time at the icing facility before reaching their farm destinations. South Jersey was loaded with farms and many provided Campbell Soup (in Camden) with their vegetable needs.

I also have all the locals drop their cars needing northbound deliveries in the Woodbury yard (no sense lugging them back and forth) to be picked up by the next northbound local.

 The yard Baldwin switcher, one of the few engines I have that actually fits the period (and the railroad), gets WY34 blocked and ready to roll:

This is southern New Jersey (i.e. the "Garden State") so the farms need plenty of reefers to get their produce to market and in this time frame the bulk of the reefer fleet was still ice hatch oriented.

Power for today is a pair of PRSL GP38s (there's that time friendly time warp again - these didn't arrive on site until 1967-1969; someone please make a Baldwin road switcher in N scale!)

We trundle across the Timber Creek trestle with 14 cars in tow.

We need to deliver 3 cars in Westville and pick up 6 empties. First we have to get the 3 empty hoppers from the PRSL generating station. (Time warp again.) The power plant was built in 1906. It used to supply electric to power the passenger service using an outside 3rd rail. The state banned wooden passenger cars [they telescoped in accidents, increasing fatalities] and the electric passenger service was then replaced by steam and diesel powered steel car trains in 1949. (And RDCs in 1950-51.)

The local power company (Public Service Electric) made an inexpensive offer of electric power in 1922 and the plant was shut down and the smoke stacks removed. It then sat there abandoned until being torn down around the turn of the century.

We also need to pick up an empty gondola and replace it with 2 loaded ones at the Buzby Bros. cement mixing facility and replace an empty 50 box car with a loaded one on the team track.

We also need to snatch an empty box car from the middle track (Texaco storage).

With 17 cars NOW in tow, we head off to North Woodbury to continue our switching duties.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Reading Coal Transfer and WY843/WY842

Evidently Reading got the contract to deliver coal to the Atlantic City Electric Company power plant in Deepwater, NJ (Penns Grove branch). From what I can tell the coal transfer from Pennsylvania was usually delivered by 3 Reading RS3s. Whether they changed engines or not and whether they returned with empties from Camden or Deepwater I do not know.

I believe the PRSL train designation was WY843 southbound from Camden (and the northbound return WY842 from Deepwater/Penns Grove). (The Penns Grove local was WY841/WY840.) Until I know more, and lacking Reading RS3s, I will run this train from staging with a pair of Life-Like Reading F7s, switch to a pair of Atlas Pennsy RS3s in the Pavonia (Camden) yard and run as a non-stop coal drag through Woodbury and down the Penns Grove branch.

The WY designation was for trains from Camden through Woodbury (to Millville, Salem, or the Penns Grove branches). This distinguished the trains from Camden to Burlington ("CB") and to Haddonfield/Atlantic City ("CA"). The origin of the "WY" designation is still in dispute. One PRSL member suggested it stood for the trains originating in the West Yard portion of the Camden yard. Other members sent an avalanche of exceptions which seemed to rule out that theory. A long time engineer and the source of the bulk of the PRSLHS information said it stood for West Jersey. That seems to be the popular choice, but I see no other designations using the last letter of a split name. I tend to lean towards Bert Pennypacker's (Pennsy Steam Years, volume 3, p. 30) explanation of it representing trains running through Woodbury's yard as all trains for the Millville, Salem, and Penns Grove branches did. (Where else can you get all this trivia?)

Leaving staging

Through Philadelphia & Manayunk, PA

Arriving in Pavonia (Camden, NJ) yard

Removing the Reading "caboose" and adding a PRSL "cabin"

WY843 Highballing through Westville

Covering the Woodbury commuters with swirling coal dust 

The triple deuce is bringing up the rear

Taking the crossovers to get onto the Penns Grove branch

And heading out of town!