Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines

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Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines

( reporting mark P-RSL or PRSL )

A joint venture of the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Company
in southern New Jersey.

1932-1976

The Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Historical Society

Help preserve the memory and heritage of the Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines.
Join the The Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Historical Society
The Biggest Little Railroad in South Jersey.

From the collection of Konrad Richter (PTT- Oct 26 1958)
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From the collection of Konrad Richter (PTT- Oct 26 1958)
From the collection of Konrad Richter (PTT- Oct 26 1958)
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From the collection of Konrad Richter (PTT- Oct 26 1958)







Contents

History

1941 map

In the early 20th century, Atlantic City and the Southern New Jersey seashore were major seaside vacation destinations for the Delaware Valley-Philadelphia area for both wealthy and working class alike. The popularity of South Jersey's seashore was made possible by rail transport providing inexpensive and fast service between the cities and towns where people lived and the seashore where they played.

There were two competing railroad companies connecting Camden, New Jersey (and by ferry to Philadelphia), with the resorts of Southern New Jersey seashore.Competition was fierce and by its height in the 1920s competition between the West Jersey and Seashore (PRR) and the Atlantic City Railroad (RDG) was so keen that at one time both lines boasted some of the fastest trains in the world.

Trains often raced one another so as to be the first to arrive at their destination. Racing was encouraged by the fact that in many areas, the two lines were only several hundred feet apart. On the Cape May lines, the trains were in sight of each other for 11 miles between Cape May Court House and Cape May. Over the last 5 miles into Cape May, the tracks were only 50 feet apart.

On 1 July 1926, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge opened. It was originally called Delaware River Bridge, and spanned the Delaware River, connecting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey. Car, truck and bus usage increased as the State of New Jersey built roads in the 1920's and 30's next to the railroads going from the Camden to the shore, cutting into profits.

On 4 March 1931, New Jersey's public utility regulators ordered the two companies to join their southern New Jersey lines into one company,
The Consolidation Agreement had decreed that the Pennsylvania Railroad had two-thirds ownership, and the Reading Company had one-third ownership.
But the post-war rise of the automobile and the Atlantic City Expressway built in the 1960's not only caused people to abandon the railroad for their cars, but also to abandon Atlantic City for more exotic vacation destinations. By the late 1960s, the surviving former Camden and Atlantic Main Line was reduced to a commuter service funded by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDoT) running trains of Budd RDC-1 railcars operating from a small terminal at Lindenwold PATCO station to Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood and Cape May.
Also Camden to Millville till 1971.

With both of its owners bankrupt,(BUT NOT THE P-RSL) on 1 April 1976 Conrail absorbed the P-RSL.

Timeline 1932 — 1976
See - P-RSL Timeline 1932 — 1976

P-RSL BS-16ms's and RDC-1 at Cold Spring Harbor 8-57 ( see note ♦ on the P-RSL Diesel locomotives page, about the BS-16ms on the left )
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P-RSL BS-16ms's and RDC-1 at Cold Spring Harbor 8-57 ( see note ♦ on the P-RSL Diesel locomotives page, about the BS-16ms on the left )
P-RSL Ticket 12-20-1942 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
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P-RSL Ticket 12-20-1942 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
P-RSL Pass c6915 1945 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
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P-RSL Pass c6915 1945 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
The Predecessors

The Predecessors

West Jersey and Seashore Railroad

West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S)

A Pennsylvania Railroad subsidiary that was leased to the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines in 1933.


1836 — 1933

WJ&S System Map



Effective May 4, 1896 the Pennsylvania Railroad consolidated all of it railroads and several smaller properties in Southern New Jersey into The West Jersey and Seashore Railroad.

The West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S) was a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It had lines coming from its Federal Street Terminal in Camden New Jersey. The " Main Line " to Atlantic City and to other shore points via Winslow Junction , and its line via Woodbury to Millville. Electrified with 650v DC 3rd rail and overhead wire.

With Branches going to Salem, and Deep Water Point from Woodbury, and Bridgeton from Glassboro.

While the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad line via Woodbury was a pioneering example of railroad electrification. Electric MU service between Newfield and Atlantic City ended Sept. 26, 1931 so P-RSL only inherited the electrified Millville-Camden commuter rail service from WJ&S.



Atlantic City Railroad

Atlantic City Railroad (ACRR)
Popularly known as the
Reading Seashore Lines

was a Philadelphia and Reading Railway (Reading Co.) subsidiary that became
Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines in 1933.
1861 — 1933


Effective 1 April 1889 the Philadelphia and Reading Railway consolidated all of it railroads in Southern New Jersey into The Atlantic City Railroad.

The Atlantic City Railroad (ACRR), a subsidiary of the Reading Company had one line from its Kaighn's Point Terminal going to Winslow Junction with lines splitting off to Atlantic City, Ocean City, Wildwood, and Cape May.
And a line to Grenloch via the Gloucester Branch. Also the Willamstown Branch from Willamstown Jct (on the Atlantic City Main) to Mullica Hill NJ to the south and Atco New Jersey to the North.

July 15, 1933 Atlantic City Railroad Co. (Reading subsidiary) renamed Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (P–RSL); PRR receives 66% percent interest and lease of WJ&S transferred to P–RSL. The Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines becomes a separate operating unit with its own general manager; is subtracted from Atlantic Division which is reduced to Camden-Bay Head Jct. and branches, but Atlantic Division and P–RSL retain common staff at divisional level; Pres. and VP are alternately from Reading or PRR each year.



Passenger Trains

Passenger Trains

Fall of 1968 at West Berlin By Brad Phillips
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Fall of 1968 at West Berlin By Brad Phillips


Named Passenger Trains

Freight Trains

Freight Trains

Freight trains became the main source of revenue for the P-RSL in later years.



Crew Symbol Notes Route
From ETT No. 8-A In effect 27 Oct, 1963
CA-289/298 Pavonia Yard - Atlantic City
CA-299/300 Pavonia Yard - Willamstown Jct
OC-90/91 ¿ Pavonia Yard - Ocean City
WY-33/34 Pavonia Yard - Millville
WY-50/51 Pavonia Yard - Salem
WY-79/80 ¢ ‡ Pavonia Yard - Glassboro
WY-345/346 Millville - Clayton
WY-350/351 Millville - Leesburg
WY-379/380 Glassboro - Bridgeton
WY-390/391 $ ‡ Cape May - Tuckahoe
WY-842/843 ¿ Pavonia Yard - Penns Grove
WY-846/847 Pavonia Yard - Pedricktown


























Notes

  • ($) Monday, Wednesday and Friday - Wildwood.
  • (¢) Tuesday and Friday - Willamstown.
  • (†) Daily except Saturday and Sunday.
  • (‡) Daily except Sunday.
  • (¿) Daily except Saturday.

Locomotives

Steam Locomotives


Diesel locomotives

Passenger Motor Cars

Oil-electric car


Also known as a Doodlebug

PRR Class Road Numbers Builder Builder Model Build month/year Horse Power Notes Photo
OEW250A 400 Brill 250A 9/1926 250 1
OEG350B 401 Pullman/Brill 350B 4/1929 350 (2x175) 2


Notes

  1. Ex PRR № 4635 acquired 5/7/1935 Retired 5/6/1952 Scrapped.
  2. Ex PRR № 4654 acquired 5/7/1935 Retired 5/6/1952 Sold to F.C. de Tunas Railway (Cuba).

More photos

P-RSL OEG350B № 401 at Camden
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P-RSL OEG350B № 401 at Camden
P-RSL OEG350B № 401
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P-RSL OEG350B № 401

Budd Rail Diesel Cars - Numbering System


Information Provided by A.C.Macrie.
P-RSL No. NJT No. Build month/year Notes
M-402 5180 9/1950 4
M-403 5181 9/1950 3
M-404 -- 9/1950 2
M-405 5182 10/1950 3
M-406 5183 10/1950 1
M-407 5184 10/1950 3
M-408 5185 5/1951 4
M-409 5186 5/1951 4
M-410 5187 5/1951 4
M-411 5188 6/1951 4
M-412 -- 6/1951 2
M-413 5189 6/1951 4

Notes:

  1. M-406 was scrapped in Atlantic City 10/18/83; as a result of a grade crossing accident 8/26/1980
  2. M-404 and M-412 were destroyed in a shop fire in Camden, NJ 2/16/1958.
  3. M-403, M-405 and M-407 retained original PRSL numbers and were never officially renumbered into the NJDoT/NJT "5100" series.
  4. M-402, M-408, M-409, M-410,M-411 and M-413 did officially receive NJDoT/NJT "5100" series numbers, and operated in seashore service with the new numbers.

P-RSL RDC-1 at Broadway Station Camden crica 1950'sFrom the collection of Dave Homer
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P-RSL RDC-1 at Broadway Station Camden crica 1950's
From the collection of Dave Homer

MU Cars

The P-RSL inherited the electrified Millville-Camden commuter rail service from West Jersey and Seashore Railroad.

On October 20, 1948, New Jersey's public utility regulators ordered Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines to remove all remaining 26 wooden MU coaches from service as a safety hazard should they be involved in fire or collision. P-RSL management already was considering replacing the MUs due to an aging power distribution system and obsolete rolling stock. So nearly 2/3 of the MU fleet was removed from service.

With only the 18 all-steel MP-54d coaches left for passenger service, P-RSL cut back the electrified commuter service to Glassboro in the fall of 1948, and management then ordered an end to all remaining electrification as of September 8, 1949. On that date a morning commuter run from Glassboro to Camden ended 43 years of electrification.

All was scrapped soon after, but some 3rd rail ties lasted into the 1990's.


PRR Class Road Numbers Type Photo
MO-1 5135, 5136 Wooden Combine
P-RSL MO-1 #5138
MPB-54d 5137, 5138 Steel Combine
MBM-1 5457, 5458 - 5459 Wooden Baggage/Mail
MB-1 6422-6426 Wooden Baggage/Express
MP-1 6701-6719

6721-6762

Wooden Coach
P-RSL MP-1
MP-2 6720

6763-6777
6779

Steel Ended Wooden Coaches
P-RSL MP-2 # 6765
MP-54d 6780-6794 Steel Coach
P-RSL MP-54d # 6794

Passenger Cars

The P-RSL inherited the following from the WJ&S:

PRSL P70 9891
  • 71 PRR-Type P-70 Passenger Cars №'s 9865-9936 (Steel, 44 seats)
  • 21 PRR-Type PB-70 Passenger-Combines Cars №'s 9938-9958 (steel, 40 seats) 9959-9962 (steel, 40 seats)
  • 17 various PRR-Type Mail and Baggage Cars №'s 25 (steel underframe), 6403 (steel), 6428-6438 (steel), 9963-9966 (steel)

Additional Passenger Cars were leased as needed from P-RSL's parent companies - the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and Reading Company (RDG), and sometimes from the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

The P-RSL did not own any of the P70’s that carried its name. They were leased from the West Jersey & Seashore. (D Lee)

The passenger cars of the Pennsylvania–Reading Seashore Lines were painted Tuscan Red. This is a brick colored shade of red.

Freight Equipment

The P-RSL owned no revenue freight equipment.

Cabin Cars (Cabooses)

Class Road Numbers Total owned Build month/year Notes Photo
ND 203 - 224 21 ?? † ♥
P-RSL ND №216
N-5 200 - 202, 225-242 22 3/17 - 11/29 † ‡ ♠ ♣
P-RSL N-5 №236
N-11E 250 - 252 3 9/69 ‡ ♦
P-RSL N-11E №250


Notes

  • (†) PRR Class, built by PRR
  • (‡) Penn Central Class
  • (♥) Inherited from the WJ&S, all retired in 1950.
  • (♠) №'s 200-202 inherited from the WJ&S. № 200 built 3/17 to Conrail , № 201 built 8/17 retired 9/9/69, № 202 built 4/19, retired 9/9/69.
  • (♣) №'s 225-242 rebuilt by the PRR and sold to P-RSL in 1950. № 232 retired 9/9/1969, № 237 retired 8/12/1972, №'s 241-242 retired 1/20/1973, rest to Conrail.
  • (♦) Built new by the Penn Central's Hollidaysburg shops, all went to Conrail.


Trackage

The PRSL had 409 miles of track in 1933. With abandonments over the years, by 1976 the P-RSL was down to 318 miles of track.


CENTER


Main Line


From ETT No. 8-A In effect 27 Oct, 1963


The Main Line (Mile Post 0.0 to 57.9) 57.9 miles, is the former Camden and Atlantic line. It was the main passenger route from Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia (via the Delair Bridge Line) to Atlantic City, New Jersey (and Cape May, New Jersey via Winslow Junction, and the Cape May Branch ).


PATCO Hi-Speedline


On 3 April 1964 the P-RSL sold the right of way between Kirkwood station in Lindenwold and Camden to the Delaware River Port Authority for $2,150,000 in order to build the PATCO Hi-Speedline. On 14 January 1966 the last train ran over the " Main Line " between Center Tower in Camden and Vernon Tower in West Haddonfield , as result of PATCO construction. On 1 October 1969, service over Delair Bridge Line between Lindenwold and the Delair Bridge was abandoned, and passengers had to change to the PATCO Hi-Speedline at Lindenwold.

Today the line from the Delair Bridge to Atlantic City is the New Jersey Transit Rail Operations (Atlantic City Line) .


Time Line

  • Jan. 15, 1966 Last runs of passenger trains between Camden (Broadway) and West Haddonfield; tracks removed to permit construction of PATCO transit line on former PRSL right-of-way; (or no Sat. pass & last 1/14)
  • Jan. 16, 1966 All Atlantic City and Cape May trains routed into 30th Street via Delair Bridge; Pemberton and Millville locals continue to terminate at Broadway; PRSL abanonded between Division Street, Camden, and West Haddonfield; PRSL single-tracked between ("VERNON") and Kirk (short for "Kirk"wood); PRSL freights begin operating into Pavonia Yard via Delair instead of to Camden.
  • Sep. 21, 1966 ICC approves single-tracking PRSL between Winslow Junction and Absecon.

 Map of all lines

Millville


The Millville Branch (Mile Post 0.0 to 41.2) is the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ,Ex West Jersey Railroad . From Camden via Woodbury and Glassboro to Millville . Electrified 1906-1949 with 650v DC 3rd rail and overhead wire .

SeeElectrification of the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad


Brown Tower


Clementon


The Clementon Branch (Mile Post 2.8 to 25.9) is the former Atlantic City Railroad ,Ex Philadelphia and Atlantic City Railway . From Brown Tower in Camden, New Jersey via Clementon, New Jersey to Winslow Junction.


WINSLOW


Clementon Station
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Clementon Station
















Cape May

The Cape May Branch (Mile Post 25.9 to 80.0) 79.29 miles, is the former Atlantic City Railroad Ex Seacoast Railroad. From Winslow Junction via Tuckahoe to Cape May .


Woodbine

The Woodbine Secondary Track (Mile Post 56.8 to 60) is a short part of the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Ex Cape May and Millville Railroad. From Woodbine to Woodbine Junction .


Ocean City

The Ocean City Branch (Mile Post 53.8 to 66.8) is the former Atlantic City Railroad Ex Ocean City Railroad. From Tuckahoe to Ocean City at 10th street.


Sea Isle City

The Sea Isle City Branch (Mile post 61.9 to 68.1) is the former Sea Isle City Railroad From Ocean City to Sea Isle City.

  • Sep. 19, 1942 Last run of PRSL summer-only, Sunday-only passenger service between Ocean City and Sea Isle City, N.J
  • 1943 PRSL abandons 0.33 mile connecting track to former WJ&S line between 51st and 55th Streets, Ocean City; also 6.42 miles of ex-WJ&S line between 55th Street and Sea Isle City.

Wildwood

The Wildwood Branch (Mile Post 72.4 to 76.4) 4.00 miles, is the former Atlantic City Railroad Ex Wildwood and Delaware Bay Short Line Railroad . From Wildwood Junction to Wildwood . (Mile Post 76.4 to 80.0) 4.4 miles, is the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ex Anglesea Railroad From Wildwood to Cold Spring Harbor.


Cape May Point Branch

In 1941, a giant Magnesite plant was built at Cape May Point, NJ, and that stood as the largest customer for freight trains south of Winslow Junction, until the Beesly Point Generating Station was built in 1962. This plant was very special in the fact that it was one of few in the country that had the ability to turn Dolomite (a mineral commonly found in sea-water) into Magnesite, which was used for many different products during it's day. This plant would live to be the largest customer for freight south of Winslow Junction until the Beeslys Point Power Plant was built in the 1960's. The Northwest Magnesite Plant would continue to recieve cars until it's demise on July 31, 1983.


Harbor Branch

(Mile Post 78.4 to 80.0) 1.06 miles, is the former Atlantic City Railroad. From Harbor Branch Junction to Schellenger's Landing.
Dec. 8, 1950 PRSL Cape May Real Estate Branch to Schellengers Landing closed.
Note - It seems the "Harbor Branch,", "Cape May Real Estate branch", and "Schellenger's Landing branch" are all the same thing.
More→Cape May's Harbor Branch - South Jersey Magazine Fall of 1995 By H. Gerald MacDonald


Grenloch


The Grenloch Secondary Track (Mile Post 2.8 to 13.4) 9.63 miles, is the former Atlantic City Railroad Ex Camden, Gloucester & Mt Ephraim Railway , and Camden County Railroad . From Brown Tower in Camden to Grenloch. Its nickname is The Peanut Line .


Also see → The Grenloch Branch


Woodbury


Penns Grove


The Penns Grove Branch (Mile Post 8.8 to 32.7) is the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ,Ex Delaware River Railroad From Woodbury to Penns Grove .


Deep Water Point

The Deep Water Point Secondary Track (Mile Post 29.1 to 32.7) this goes from end of the Penns Grove Branch to The Deep Water Power Plant located on the Delaware River.


Salem


The Salem Secondary Track (Mile Post 8.8 to 37.5) is the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ex Salem Railroad from Woodbury to Salem.


GLASSBORO


Bridgeton


The Bridgeton Secondary Track (Mile Post 18.2 to 38.9) is part of the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad from Glassboro to Bridgeton.


Williamstown


The Williamstown Secondary Track (Mile Post 18.2 to 25.7) is part of the former Atlantic City Railroad Ex Williamstown & Delaware River Railroad exx Williamstown Railroad. from Glassboro to Williamstown.


Millville


Manumuskin


The Manumuskin Secondary Track (Mile Post 41.2 to 48.5) is part of the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Ex Cape May and Millville Railroad from Millville to Manumuskin.


Leesburg

The Leesburg Secondary Track (Mile Post 46.8 to 52.5 ) is the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Ex Maurice River Railroad from Manumuskin to Leesburg.
Map→ [[1]]


Newfield


The Newfield Secondary Track (Mile Post 47.7 to 64.4) is part of the former West Jersey and Seashore Railroad Ex West Jersey and Atlantic Railroad from Mays Landing to Atlantic City. At one time electrified with 600v DC 3rd rail.


Somers Point


The Somers Point Secondary Track (Mile Post 59.3 to 66.1) from Pleasantville to Somers Point, was part of the former Shore Fast Line route.


INTERLOCKING DIAGRAMS

Main Line

Photos → [2] [3] [4]


Clementon Branch


Cape May Branch


Ocean City Branch


Wildwood Branch


Millville Branch


Penns Grove Branch

Successor Railroads

P-RSL Pass 1955-1956 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
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P-RSL Pass 1955-1956
From the collection of Tony Beatrice
P-RSL Ticket 11-7-67 From the collection of Tony Beatrice
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P-RSL Ticket 11-7-67
From the collection of Tony Beatrice






















Further reading

  • Trans-Anglo Books By Rail to the Boardwalk (1986) Richard M. Gladulich ISBN 0-87046-076-5
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails (1983) NRHS
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails II (1985) NRHS
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails III (2002) NRHS
  • Crusader Press Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (1980) ISBN 0-937-156-02-7
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Reading Seashore Lines (2007) LIbrary of Congress Control Number 2005936161
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS Atlantic City Railroad (1980) Library of Congress Control Number 77-79997
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Philadelphia Marlton and Medford Railroad Co. 1881 - 1931 (1973)
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Trains to America's Playground (1988)
  • Morning Sun Books Inc Pennsylvania- Reading Seashores Lines In Color (1996) ISBN 1-87887-57-2
  • Morning Sun Books Inc Pennsylvania- Reading Seashores Lines In Color II (2009) . ISBN 1-87887-57-2
  • Robert Stanton The Railroads of Camden New Jersey (2006)
  • Robert Stanton Trolley Days in Camden New Jersey (2004)

External links


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