The flagman returning to the 1800 after protecting the crossing. During daytime train crews would protect with flags and utilize a lighted fussee at night. Ray Wetzel photo 1980. The New York Susquehanna and Western Railway’s Passaic Industrial Branch. By Brian Cronk R ailroads throughout the United States provide vital transportation services. They link businesses with the vast markets the world provides. With time, these businesses are what built communities that eventually developed this country. Many of these communities host all kinds of industries along a common rail line. These industries were critical in employing citizens of the very same communities they manufactured the goods in. Occasionally, industry would be located far away from the main rail freight lines. Factories, warehouses and assembly plants would spring up in desolate locations. Ideally, the reasoning behind this was due to development around a source of energy or readily available resources. This could be bodies of water, location to the power grid or even telephone access. The first resource, water, would prove important for several manufacturing processes. Some of these include providing a means for producing steam, provided coolant for manufacturing processes and also supplied a critical ingredient in raw material production. The power of water when harnessed correctly powered the mills, spun turbines and produced all sorts of products a growing country needed. In the 19th and 20th century’s modern roadways, motor freight 4 transport and electricity was not a common fact of life. The industrial revolution was underway and better technologies were being sought after. Canals and rivers dictated where factories would be built. Unfortunately, main rail arteries failed to reach some of these industrial centers built around sources of water. Hence forth, the branch line was built. A branch line, like its name implies, leaves the main line and extends its way toward industry off the main line. With due time, this branch line evolves into the main shipping artery for that industry. Branch or spur lines are found on every size railroad. Class 1 freight carriers, regional and short lines all benefit from the advantages a branch line offer; they originate from a source far away from the railroads common path. For the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway branch lines are what built the many industrial areas they served in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Long before the housing and population boom seen in modern times, the railroad had purchased or built tracks to serve all kinds of industry along their main line in Northern New Jersey. These factories produced goods using raw materials such as coal, wool, paper, rubber and chemicals. Finished goods would be shipped for nationwide consumption. In war time these goods would prove more valuable for the war effort. The NYS&W maintained several branch lines in New Jersey along their Southern Division. The Sussex, Edgewater, Lodi, Passaic, Paterson City and Hanford were all branches built to extend main rail service direct into the industry. These branches carried many different commodities and varied commerce. As the decades passed, motor freight improved with successful roadway construction. Road way improvements also

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