goes as far west as Midland Park NJ on occasion, also is a good money maker for the railroad with the customers they serve. As for the remaining crews, the WS-1 and WS-2 remain focused on the CSX Intermodal yard, and the WS-3 being the afternoon assignment that assembles the SU-99 prior to its departure, then drills cars in the intermodal yard with a couple of non intermodal customers they usually serve. But in any case, while there hasn’t been any major news, the railroad has quietly and smoothly continued to serve its many customers safely and without incidents. As for other items in this department, the railroad has comMARCH 2014 Ok folks, its been a while, but here we go again with another look at the recent activities of our favorite railroad. I must confess that this time the column will likely be smaller owing in part to a general lack of news, but as the saying goes, the one constant in railroading is change, there is still some news here and there to report on. So here we go…. OPERATIONS Operations over the past several months have been somewhat uneventful, but if nothing else they’ve been steady. Car loadings are either growing or holding their own, and the revenue side of things looks good. There have been several capital improvement projects both completed and ongoing, with some additional projects planned for the future. Unlike the last column which had a significant amount of northern division news, this time the bulk (such that it is) of news is from the southern Division. The past several months have marked a winter that was actually a REAL winter in the northeast, both in terms of snowfall and temperatures, and this resulted in the railroad running several plow extras, and in once instance running three separate plows on the same day: one on the northern division, one on the Southern Tier and one on the southern division. But I’ll get back to this in a bit. Traffic has seen an overall increase on the southern division. As an example, the railroad has the WS-5 crew, on duty (as of press time) at 6 pm, which works east of Little Ferry to North Bergen and Jersey City to the Marion interchange with NS. This assignment has seen a steady increase in traffic and it is now normal to come back to the yard with 30 + cars on a regular basis, and the crew run out of time before completing their work. The result has been having a second crew finish up any leftover work the following day, thus supplementing the WS-5. The WS-6, the Sparta Turn has also seen traffic increase, with Sparta Jct seeing a crew there nightly and most times for several hours. A lot of times the cars for Sparta will be dropped by the SU-100 or even the 99 since the road trains have more available horsepower. The other job that has seen an increase of activity is the WS-4, the “PC Job” as the bulk of its work is centered around Passaic Jct yard in Saddle Brook NJ. This job, which 14 pleted several capital improvement projects recently. Most notably was the installation of ties, ballast, and re-decking of a few bridges on the Southern Division between Butler (MP 38) and Sparta (MP 64). This was completed in part with funding of s state DOT grant, which I mentioned in a previous column. As part of this grant, several grade crossing improvement projects were undertaken, most notably the Mt Vernon St crossing in Ridgefield Park NJ. This crossing sees a significant amount of heavy truck traffic and because of that, was in major need of repair. The work involved the installation of new rail, ties and ballast, along with a new concrete crossing. This took several days to complete, but when completed, was a much welcomed improvement for all involved. CSX, which parallels the NYS&W here, is planning for an upgrade/replacement of its crossing at Mt Vernon St later this year and as of press time, ballast has been dumped trackside, along with ties and crossing timbers. No timetable has been set for installation as of now (late March). Next, we have the winter that wouldn’t quit…… This past winter was one that a lot of people would like to forget. As of late March when I type this, we are into Spring by a few days, but you would never know it owing to the continued bouts of cold snaps with temps hovering around or struggling to get above freezing when we should be around the 50 degree mark here in northeastern NJ. That said, this winter did have the bonus of a lot of snow and thus increasing photographic opportunities for several people, myself included. The peak seemed to be here in NJ when on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14, the railroad operated THREE separate snow plow extra trains. One ran on the Northern Division, which normally sees several of these movements each winter, owing to the lake effect snows up in that region. A second ran over parts of the CNYK, the Southern Tier Line east of Binghamton towards Port Jervis NY, though the plow extra didn’t go that far. The third train ran over the Southern Division from Ridgefield Park NJ to Warwick NY and return, which I happened to catch and will thus report on as follows. It was no secret the railroad planned a plow run for Friday, February 14, and as such several people in addition to myself gathered at Ridgefield park to await the departure of the train. The plow, # 91, had been moved to the service track in anticipation of an impending storm that did indeed drop a significant snowfall (on top of several inches already on the ground). The weather was sunny and bitterly cold, but that didn’t dampen spirits. Hope for a yellow jacket on the train were dashed when the NS 5294, a GP38-2 was used instead. It was shortly after 9 am when the 91, pushed by the 5294(facing east) began its trek westward. While the morning sunlight proved a bit tricky, several people were out for the chase and the sun and clouds did their dance for a good portion of the afternoon. A light delay owing to a vehicle stuck on the tracks just west of Butler slowing things down minimally, but the run went without incident otherwise. It should be noted however, for those of us

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