RVRR - Cranford Junction
Current Cranford Junction
Sanborn map Cranford #5 SIRT
Sanborn map Cranford #15 RVRR Interchange 1929
SIRT Station tracks CNJ Camelback and train at SIRT-CNJ Interchange-Cranford Jct. - c. 1946
1. CNJ 0-8-0 #311 switching cars on SIRT tracks at SIRT- CNJ Interchange - Cranford Jct. c. 1946
RV #16 Cranford 11/01/71 Archive: Brian Woodruf
2. RV #17 Cranford CNJ interchange c. 01/01/72 Archive: Brian Woodruf
3. NYS&W SW9 #120 westbound passing Excee Tower (XC) 10/27/1988
RVRR interchange Aldene Ramp (center track) Roselle Park 10/02/81 Photo: Donald Albertson
4. RVRR interchange 03/05/06 view W Archive: Walter Anderson
5. M&E C420 #19 Federated Plastics siding 11/11/07 Archive: Randy Kotuby
6. Cranford Junction roundhouse area view W 2010
7. Alden ramp at ex-LV bridge over ex-CNJ main - view N
8. Aldene Connection 03/05/06 view E Archive: Walter Anderson
RVRR-LV interchange at Locust St. and W. Webster Ave., Roselle Park freight/passenger stations Sanborn Map - 1925
view east at Aldene, taken by Alvah Reed, is dated 1899. It is on page 10 of my
Volume 1 book. The track furthest to the right (in front of the station)
is the NY&NO connection to the CNJ. The LV is seen up ahead crossing
over the CNJ with the original 1890s truss bridge. This bridge was later
replaced in the 1920s. At the far left can be seen the connector between
the CNJ and LV, known as Central Junction. Before the LV extended to
Newark, LV trains utilized this connection and CNJ trackage rights to
reach connections to New York City. The LV then built it's line over the
CNJ and to NYC in the early 1890s. Central Junction still remained as a
downgraded interchange for several years. Central Junction was part of a
long track that started on the LV near Centennial Ave. in Cranford. The
track went down to grade level. There was a connection to the SIRT at
Staten Island Junction. The track then crossed the SIRT via two
diamonds, crossed W. 1st St. at grade, and continued to the CNJ,
paralleling the CNJ for some distance before tying in just east of
Gordon Street. After Central Junction closed, the track was stubbed and
used as a siding to serve Watson Stillman.
Info: Richie King
Info: Richie King
The Aldene Plan ramp was graded and built for double track for future expansion as needed. It has not been implemented since the first operational opening day: 4/30/1967
The 4 track CNJ mainline to Communipaw, NJ ferry terminal has been totally razed c. after 8/6/1978 dead ahead. It is fully grown over at this time.
Federated Plastics siding is off to the right with a covered hopper on the siding. This siding connects to the SIRT switch just south of Cranford Junction near the ex-XC tower (razed <prior 1/01/1976).
Center of photo, just right of the signal: white
poles/red tops. These are fiber optic cable lays along the ex-ROW.
The CNJ in the mid-1960s, which
claimed it was losing a considerable sum of money on its ferry operation
between Liberty Street, N.Y. and its Terminal in Jersey City, NJ, even
with the State picking up some of the cost in the form of subsidy, was
in a permanent downward spiral that would lead to the railroad's filing
for bankruptcy early in 1967.
Desperate to cut costs, the CNJ turned
to the state who created a "railroad transportation division"
within the highway commission headed up by Dwight R. G. Palmer, who was
placed in charge of preserving rail commuter services as a cheaper
alternative to a new highway building program.
Palmer's office produced a report
called "The Rail Transportation Problem" stating that the
state should partiality subsidize service until more fundamental changes
could be made.
One of these "fundamental
changes" for eliminating the ferry service were studied, and in
1965 work was begun on the "Aldene Plan" whereby CNJ trains
would be routed up the Lehigh Valley at Aldene, over to the former PRR
at "Hunter," terminating at Newark's Penn Station, leaving
passengers the option of taking a PRR train to Penn Station, N.Y. or the
PATH Tubes, if their destination was downtown.
It would involve the building of a
ramp to connect the CNJ and the Lehigh Valley Railroad at the site of
the recently abandoned Aldene Station to reroute trains bound for Jersey
City to follow the LV to the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline (now the
Northeast Corridor) and on to Newark Penn Station where passengers could
transfer to PRR trains into New York Penn Station. This would allow the
CNJ to abandon its labor-intensive ferry service and much
of its Communipaw Terminal in Jersey City, and all local trains
operating east of Cranford, all totaling up to about $1.5 million in
As a concession to a few hundred
factory workers that worked in various areas along the line, a set of
Budd Rail Diesel Cars would continue to operate between Cranford and
Bayonne until the end of that service on August 6, 1978.
Opening day for the Aldene Plan was
officially announced for Monday, May 1, 1967 but a full-service
rehearsal occurred the day prior (a Sunday to avoid the commuter rush).
The CNJ operated push-pull consists with a cab car leading eastbound.
Today, operations are nearly identical. Passengers bound for New York
must disembark at Newark and change either to a Northeast Corridor or
North Jersey Coast Line train operated by New Jersey Transit to New York
Penn Station or PATH trains to the World Trade Center. The change of
train is necessary as the Raritan Valley Line has never been
electrified, and only electric trains can operate into New York Penn
Also affected by the change was the
Reading Company's Crusader service from Philadelphia, which operated
over the CNJ via trackage rights. After the Aldene Plan went into
effect, it began to operate into Newark Penn Station, continuing until
1981 as a through service, and then as a connecting train from West
Trenton through 1982. New Jersey Transit has explored reactivating this
service as the West Trenton Line.
The Aldene Connection is single track, although it is graded to allow a second track to be added.
Considerable work had to be done before service began on May 1, 1967, mostly on the former Lehigh Valley, where a station had to be built at Roselle Park, along with the elimination of several grade crossings. (Chestnut Street and Locust Street for example)
In addition, a connecting track had to
be built at Aldene, connecting the CNJ with the L.V., and since the
volume of trains was too large for the two-track Lehigh Valley,
signaling improvements were made so trains could run either way on both
tracks (rule 261-TCS). A gauntlet track was needed on #2 at Roselle
Park, since wide shipments would be too close to the island platform.
And last, but not least, a coach yard had to be built at Harrison, NJ
(just east of Newark) to store equipment between trips. Since the CNJ/LV
connection at Aldene was only a single track, it often became a
bottleneck at rush hour, with east bounds sometimes waiting for
westbounds before they could "go up the Hill." Two tracks were
planned, but never installed, contributing to headaches for the
operators at "EXCEE" and "NK" towers.
Former CNJ Bay Head trains ran over
the PRR tracks from Newark to Perth Amboy, via Rahway and the PRR's
Perth Amboy and Woodbridge branch.
So, with all the equipment in place, the Aldene Plan was operational on May 1, 1967, which was a Sunday. Trains operated on a weekday schedule, giving crews, towermen and some commuters a chance to give it a "dry run."
CNJ Central Division - Main Line map shows the single track Aldene cut-off from north side of CNJ 4 track main to LV. The Aldene Plan also relocated the trailing point (westbound facing) Rahway Valley connection to the CNJ to a facing point switch.
Sanborn map Cranford #16 LV - B&O (now SIRT) Interchange 1929
SIRT Staten Island Jct 1918 (rev. 1980)
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