CNJ's Newark bay draw

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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Dec 16th, '09, 22:04

Bridge operator "3314 went in the drink!"
Dispatcher "are you kidding?''
Bridge operator " No,The train is in the water"
Dispatcher " Hold all trains east and west "
That was the the chilling conversation between Patric Corcoran the Bridge Operator at DY draw and Claud Burley Assistant Chief Train Dispatcher on September 15 1958 10:01 am.
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Coach #932 hangs moments before it falls into Newark Bay.

I'll soon pass on all the important details of this tragic event, I'm just double checking my facts.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Dec 19th, '09, 18:20

Part I
On September 15 1958 after two and 1/2 million trains crossing the CNJ's 40,000 ton bridge over Newark Bay, the Central had it's worst wreck ever. Normally the bridge saw an average of 139 trains per day but the east bound Bay head to Jersey City train # 3314 plunged off the south western open draw and plunged into 40 feet of water just west of Bayonne NJ.
At 9:45 am local time the dredge "Sand Captain" heading south along the west channel of the Newark Bay approached the rail crossing at the south end of Bayonne and signaled for permission to pass. The next train, #3314 was due at 10:01 am. The dredge has the right of way under maritime law, and was too high to for the 35 foot high water clearance of the lift spans without them being raised. Patrick Corcoran (the operator on duty) set all signals to stop, opened all derails on the approaches, and opened the two 310 foot lift spans on the western side of the bridge to 108 feet. This was about 30 feet of the maximum height, but plenty high enough to clear the dredge.
This was all witnessed by a small track crew of 4 men on track #3 300 feet east of the lift spans.
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A view of the operators cabin of DY draw.

Fallowing Co. practices Corcoran went out on the platform outside of the operators cabin to watch the dredge pass under the bridge and check the location of #3314, witch should be just coming to a stop at Signal R26 on track #1. Instead he watched in horror as the train bounced over the derail and rattled along the ties, then plunged into the the dark waters of the bay. Two GP7's #1532-#1526 and two coaches #1004 (empty dead head to Jersey City) and #1100 carrying over 30 passengers sunk to the bottom of the channel. A third coach #932 snagged the bridge pilings and hung 1/2 in the watter. The last two cars coach #1062 and combine #293 skidded to a stop just short of the open draw. The dredge captain put his ship into full astern to avoid having the train crash on top of them. The train just missed the ship it passed through the bridge.
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A view of the open derail just after the accident.If you look just past the derail you will see where the train skipped along the wooden guardrail.
Last edited by e-paw on Jan 13th, '10, 21:11, edited 3 times in total.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Jan 8th, '10, 22:48

part II
I have a few more notes about the circumstances and findings of the wreck.
Engineer Lloyd Wilmurn (63) ,a 39 year veteran of the central and fireman Peter Andrew (42) , a 20 year employee were in the cab of Gp7 #1532, witch was running long hood forward (a common CNJ practice) did not survive along with all the passengers in the 2nd coach. All the survivors were rescued from coach #932 before if broke loose and fell into the oily bay. Among the survivors were 3 passengers that lived through the PRR's Broker wreck of February 6th 1951. They are Lloyd Nelson, Campell Jeffrey, and Gustave Platz, very lucky indeed.
The normal power for that train was a single FM H-24-66 trainmaster, none being available that morning the 2 geeps were cut it as power. After the 2 locos were removed from the channel the speed recorders showed that the train passed automatic signal 82 2,250 feet west of the bridge at 41 mph, the speed restriction on the bridge is 45 mph. The signal read Approach......Proceed preparing to stop. This means that they should have slowed to about 20 mph as it passed the signal. The next signal, R26, 490 feet from the open draw read RED over RED over RED, stop. #3314 was going 42.5 mph when it hit the derail just past the signal. The train was put into emergency 8 feet from the edge of the open span by someone in the cab.
Out fo the 2 Gp7's I could not find definite info about one, #1526. Reports of what happened to #1526 after the wreck are not consistent. some say that it was rebuilt, some that it was scraped. There was probably some renumbering that was not well documented. As for 1532 It was returned to service after a rebuild from GM. This gave it all the internal upgrades to make it a Gp9, but it retained it's 7 body minus the distinctive CNJ squared off long hood for HEP equipment. It was not permitted to be used it passenger service anymore and considered a "Jinx" unit. It served in freight service On the newly acquired L+NE division in Pennsylvania. In 1974 it was placed on the High bridge branch after the central abandoned there trackage in PA. It was the last Gp7/9 to wear the Green and Yellow tooth past stripe scheme. It was added to Conrail in 1976.
As for the cause of the wreck , it was considered to be some kind of a medical emergency in the cab of the lead unit. Because of the condition of the train crews bodies a proper autopsy was not able to be preformed, It is unknown why the train was traveling at that speed or who put the train into emergency.
Last edited by e-paw on Jul 5th, '10, 17:28, edited 2 times in total.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Jan 8th, '10, 23:14

I also found this photo.http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=59271
It shows 1532 and 1526 together some time after the wreck. A closer look raises some questions. 1532 has obviously been rebuilt, fresher paint and the loss of the squared off end as seen on 1526. BUT,,, If that is the same 1526 as in the wreck why does the paint seam so faded and in a different scheme? After the wreck any unit repainted would have been given the tooth past stripes as on 1532, the more simpler scheme on 1526 was not applied until years later. At that rate 1532 should show the same weathering as 26 but it does not. The L+NE division was considered equipment purgatory,rolling stock there was not well maintained. 32 worked alone on the High bridge line so the pic is not from there, This gives the pic an earlier date. So it's appearance in comparison to 1526 does not make sense. This is what i was talking about with not being sure about what happened to 1526 after the wreck.
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Re: CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby tetters » Jan 12th, '10, 14:37

That must have been a horrifing experience for everyone involved.
Life should not be a journey to the grave with intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke thoroughly used up totally worn out and loudly proclaiming
WOW! What a ride! H.S.Thompson
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Jan 13th, '10, 21:17

I found a picture of the french ship that hit the bridge back in 66.http://www.photoship.co.uk/JAlbum%20Shi ... on-04.html
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Jun 18th, '10, 19:42

I found this link http://bridgehunter.com/nj/essex/newark-bay-rr/#Facts With some great shots of DY draw. Some are from the interior showing the various controls used to raise and lower the lift spans. There are quite a lot of aerial views, some even show the damaged span removed. Take a look, I found them quite interesting and nostalgic. They show many details that you would normally see.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Dec 6th, '10, 22:09

I found a few vids on the bridge wreck by accident and had to post them.
Part one--- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AksDqLAb ... re=related

part two--- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRZDKBFd ... re=related

part three-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY2SQtsReAk
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Apr 1st, '11, 20:32

An up date pic of the west 8th street station. It looks complete. The next time I'm in town I'll have to check it out. Just didn't have the time today. The new station sits just east of DY Draw, in roughly the same spot as the original station. Image
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Apr 10th, '11, 09:59

I was in town again yesterday and stopped by west 8th street to check it out. I was somewhat disappointed by the station. from the outside it looks like a nice new building maybe with a waiting room or at least a sitting aria so that you could get out of the weather as you wait for your train... Nope...just a set of stairs and an elevator. The bottom of the building is completely open to the elements offering no shelter at all. Even the ticket machines are located outside, that will be fun in the snow, The HBLR line is not exactly known for prompt clean up in bad weather. There was a small mural of the old station tucked up high in the corner of one wall, If you don't look for it your never going to find it. I guess I shouldn't complain too much, the old station was removed a long time ago and the aria has not had passenger service for 30+ years. So something is better than nothing.
I took a few pics from my cell phone to share with you here.


Image
The front of the station with the new raised trackage behind it. The old grade of the CNJ's 4 track main is still in use as a CR joint access line. It is now down to a single track with the rest of the space used as a high way.

Image
this is the station as seen from the platform . The original station stood about 100 feet to the right of the current building.


Image
this is a shot of the platform looking west towards the freight yard that is still in use today.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Apr 10th, '11, 10:21

While I was in town I stopped by the public library to do some more research on DY draw. All in all it was a very productive stop. In a hours time is was able to uncover a few old news paper clips about the bridge. Image

Image

What the article leaves out was that the Mayor used the time of the arrest to halt the demolition of the bridge as he was in Washington begging and pleading to Congress to leave the bridge standing. He felt that in 10 to 20 years it will be needed. WOW what a smart man, NS-CSX would love a 4 track bridge to get across the bottleneck that is the Newark bay. In today's economy new construction of a bridge on that scale is imposable. His cries were on deaf ears and demo continue.

Image

Image

I was unable to find any info on the collision of the French freighter SS Washington of 1966. I have not been able to narrow it down to a specific day that will help me in my search, I'll keep trying.
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » Apr 16th, '11, 12:27

Although It's not very interesting reading, I did find this Cort document about the damages to the bridge caused by the steam ship Washington. This find did provided me with ad important date, May 19, 1966. This is the date of the wreck. Finally, a date to work from. Now maybe I can find some pics of the damage caused by the ship. http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F ... 937_1.html
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Re: CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby iis612 » Apr 16th, '11, 13:03

That is some seriously painstaking research you are doing. If a few more people in this world paid the same attention to history, as you do, we (as a people) would be far less destined to repeat our earlier mistakes.

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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » May 8th, '11, 08:58

When disaster strikes there is only so much that you can do. In this case the Jersey Central tried it's best to overcome the loss of it's 4 track main just west of New York harbor. This brought all traffic to a halt, snarling trains and clogging sidings. until trains could be rerouted around DY Draw they did the best they could.

Image

From the news paper clip you can see one of the railroad buses that were used to shuttle passengers from the west 8th street station in Bayonne to the Elizabeth port( E-port) station located on the west side of DY Dray. This trip could add more than an hour to the days commute in each direction. Buses were Commandeered from several companies for this task in a great hope to keep he trains running on schedule. Eventually freight and passenger trains were diverted onto the Leigh Vally, DL&W, and PRR to get around the mess in the Newark bay
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CNJ's Newark bay draw

Postby e-paw » May 18th, '11, 22:10

May 19 1966, 45 years ago, almost to the day. DY draw felt the slam of a ship that nearly took down the two eastern most spans covering four tracks. At 10pm on a foggy night the French freighter SS. Washington left port Newark and headed south down the Newark bay, the normal route to the Atlantic ocean, but came to a sudden stop when she struck then scraped along the railway bridge that has been the subject of this thread. Judging by this news paper clip,

Image

She must have been moving at a good clip. That twisted steel to the right is the base of the tower that holds the machine room and counter weights at the eastern most end of the bridge. What a sound that must have been. This accident would cause the removal of the effected tower and lift span containing two of the four mains. One main was returned to temporary service with the span locked in the down position. This gave the crossing three working tracks until the removal of the bridge section reducing it down to 2 mains (the same capacity as the second bridge to cross these waters). This reduction of trackage was not a big problem due to the decline in tonnage hauled.

Image
in this clip, work crews make the necessary repairs to the damaged bridge. DY was to reopen to traffic 12 days latter. The CNJ was to be reimbursed for the damages and cost of repairs, but instead never rebuilt the bridge and diverted the funds to other arias on the ailing system. So the once proud DY draw, largest bridge of it's type in the world, stood battle scared till the end of it's days.
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