Friday, December 21, 2007

Photos of the Western New York & Pennsylvania

Following photos were taken by Kermit Geary Jr. In his email he wrote the following:

"Did get a call from a good friend who told us that the Meadville Job would be arriving Olean about 1PM, so we headed west to intercept it. First shot was at Vincennes, NY and the rest at Olean, NY. Sure was nice to see a matched set of ALCO's with a re-painted C-430 in the lead."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa Train Tragedy in Michigan

The following news article from the Associated Press was found on the web site. I hope all our readers always remember to STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN at all railroad crossings, especially those with no lights, bells, or gates.

Car Crashes Into 'Santa Express' Train, Two Killed

Sunday , December 09, 2007

Associated Press


A car crashed into a train that was carrying mostly children to a visit with Santa Claus, killing two people in the car.

No one was injured among the 67 passengers Saturday on the "Santa Express" train, which was traveling from Mount Pleasant to Clare, about 16 miles away, where Santa was to join the group, authorities said.

Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said investigators don't yet know how fast the car was going. It struck part of the train's engine, which was hauling three cars, he said.

The train's passengers were in the rear car, he said.

The crash happened at a railroad crossing north of Mount Pleasant. Authorities said the crossing has a stop sign and a railroad crossing sign to warn drivers, but no warning lights.

The Isabella County sheriff's department said the 31-year-old woman driving the car and one of her passengers were killed. Another passenger was hospitalized with broken bones.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday morning's sightings along the Lehigh Line...

near Manville, NJ on a rather brisk and windy morning of December 15th.

NS 212 @ 7:55- had NS 8990 (C40-9W), NS 2541 (SD70) and NS 9083 (C40-9W) for power on a train that consisted of autoracks, a majority of them being KCS and BNSF, some TOFCs and one doublestack bringing up the rear. 212 would hold on the passing siding at CP Bound Brook for NS 21M to go west on the main.

NS 21M @ 8:05- headed west with NS 9175, NS 9758 (C40-9W) and NS 9955 (C40-9W) for power.

NS 18G @ 8:54- would have two ES40DCs for power, NS 7642 and NS 7635.

NS mixed freight, symbol unknown @ 9:00- would have NS 9831 (D9-40CW) and NS 2723 (SD70M-2) coming off the passing siding at at CP Port Reading Jct . It would take sixty-one cars of mixed freight west after NS 18G passed by.

CSX MA80 @ 10:07 would have CSX 2798 (GP38-2, ex-CR 8238) taking eleven coil cars east. The ex-CR coil car behind CSX 2798 looks to be of a newer design than the traditional coil car. A photo is included for the modelers in the audience.

Friday, December 07, 2007

2007 Santa Trains on New Jersey Transit

We know of 2 different Santa Trains being run on New Jersey Transit. One on Saturday, 12/8/07 on the Raritan Valley line and one on Saturday, 12/15/07 on the Hackettstown-Netcong-Dover line.

Raritan Valley Santa Train, 12/8/07

Join Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves for a train ride through the country. This trip features Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus along with a few of Santa's helpers. There are sing-a-longs, candy canes and coloring books for the kids. In addition, each car on the train features a drawing for a trainset; that's ten train sets per trip! Santa pays a visit to each car and is more than happy to pose for pictures with the kids.

The Raritain Valley train departs Raritan at 8:30 AM and goes to Westfield where it will depart at 9:00 AM for the trip to High Bridge. This train will then return to Westfield, stopping at Raritan along the way. A second trip will depart Westfield at 1:00 PM, travel to High Bridge and return to Westfield.

The price for the trip is $10.00 for children under 12 yrs. and $12.00 per adult.

Tickets for the Raritain Valley trains may be purchased from The Big Little Railroad Shop. Cash or personal check made out to the Jersey Central Railroad Historical Society. Sorry, no credit cards for train tickets.

For more information call call (908) 233-3603 or visit the following web site:

Hackettstown-Netcong-Dover Santa Train, 12/15/07

For information on this train, please visit the following web site:

Schedule and pricing are slightly different than the Raritan Valley train.

We do not have tickets for this train.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Union Model Railroad Club Open House and Show

Received the following Press Release via email.

Model Railroad Club, Inc.™
Founded 1949

PO BOX 1146, Union, NJ 07083-1146

CONTACT: Bob Nalbone
(201) 892-5930 Weekdays 9 am – 5 pm
(908) 964-9724 Tuesdays 7 – 10 pm; Saturdays 1 – 5 PM

September 1, 2007

Model Railroad Club Announces Annual Light and Sound Show Dates

UNION, NJ – The Model Railroad Club, Inc., a tax-exempt public charity affiliated with the Union County, NJ Department of Parks and Recreation, today announced the dates for its 2007 Annual Light and Sound Show and Open House.

The show will run November 23, 24, 25 & 30 and December 1, 2, 7, 8 & 9 at the club building, located on Jefferson Avenue, off Route 22 east in Union, New Jersey behind The Home Depot.

Show times are: Friday, November 23, noon to 10 pm; Friday, November 30 & Friday, December 7, 7 to 10 pm; Saturdays 10 am to 8 pm and Sundays 11 am to 6 pm.

The show features the Club’s world-famous 1,600 square foot HO Scale layout. A 30 by 27 foot, double-decked N Scale layout is also featured. Visitors will also be able to view the progress that has been made on the 60 by 80 foot HO Scale layout addition.

The show is a perennial favorite with children and adults alike. It is the club’s major fund raising event for the year and proceeds from admission donations and purchases made at the Club’s gift shop and snack shop will help fund the Club’s activities.

New for 2007 is an additional presentation called “Classic Streamliners on Parade.” Exact HO scale replicas of five famous streamlined passenger trains from the post-World War II era, from locomotives to observation cars, will be on hand and operating.

“A majority of people were born after the formation of Amtrak and probably don’t know that at one time the nation’s freight railroads owned and operated all of the passenger train service and did so without any government assistance,” said Model Railroad Club Vice President and head of Development Bob Nalbone. “That’s the story we want to tell with ‘Classic Streamliners on Parade.”

The Model Railroad Club, Inc. was founded in 1949 in the basement of the late Paul Mallery, a pioneer of the hobby of model railroading. The Club occupies a building on Union County parkland designed, built and maintained entirely by the members, under a unique arrangement with the Union County Park System. Free parking is available on site and the building is wheelchair accessible.

For more information, please contact the Club at (908) 964-9724 on Saturdays between 1 – 5 pm or (908) 964-8808 for a recorded message, or by visiting the Club’s website at:

Holiday Wishes from Rail Europe

Received the following via email.

Check Out Warm Holiday Wishes from Rail Europe -

Click here: Warm holiday wishes from Rail Europe

.....and pick a destination. There's sound.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Western visitors on the Lehigh Line...

were greeted with cold temperatures and a blustry wind heading east over the Lehigh Line near Manville, NJ on this Saturday morning. Their trip east was "... in a holding pattern due to a Chessie move..." at Port Reading Jct. That CSX train was Q409-30 headed south down the Trenton Line at 7:40. Q409-30's motive power was CSX 5375 (ES44DC), CSX 8858 (SD40-2, ex-CR 6502), CSX 7604 (C40-8) and CSX 7357 (C40-8W, ex-CR 6192).

NS 214 finally was on the move again around 7:50. Its power was BNSF 4558 (C44-9W), BNSF 841 (C40-8W, still in a red and silver paint scheme with the "Fe" missing in Santa Fe) and NS 8463 (C40-8W, ex-LMS 723).

NS 212 would follow shortly there after around 8:00. 212's all western power trio consisted of TFM 1616 (SD70MAC), UP 4176 (C44-9W) and UP 4149 (SD70M).

CSX's MA80 would be holding at CP Bound Brook before heading to Plainfield. The power to pick up those cars would be CSX 2798 (GP38-2, ex-CR 8238). A side shot of CSX 2798 for the modelers in the audience has been included for reference purposes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The day after...

(Train sightings on 11-23-07.)

Thanksgiving was a rather cold and blustry day to be trackside. Before my fingers became too cold, I was able to record what trains would pass by my locations. By time sequence,the trains seen passing through Manville on the Trenton and Lehigh Lines were as follows:

8:30 CSX Q409- CSX 5117 (AC44CW) and CSX 647 (AC60CW) would bring this train of mixed freight west and then south on the Trenton Line.

9:10 CSX yard engines CSX 2795 (GP38-2, ex-CR 8234) and CSX 4452 (GP40-2, ex-CR3403) shuffling two muncipal waste container cars on the ex-Reading Line.

9:35 NS 212- NS 8831 (C40-9), NS 9714 and NS 9466 (C40-9W) was the motive power on this mixed train of auto racks and intermodal cars.

9:55 NS 18G- had a rather short mixed freight with NS 9134 (C40-9W) and NS 2508 (SD70) as its power consist.

Hope that this day after Thanksgiving doesn't find you saying "Ohhh... I shouldn't have eaten that last piece of pumpkin pie!"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Norfolk Southern Dash 9 40C, locomotive was manufactured March 1993. Picture taken 22 Nov, 2007, 11:15 AM on the Leigh Line at CP Potter.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

A Saturday morning surprise...

was CP's 38T appearing on the Lehigh Line just east of Manville, NJ around 7:51. Actually, another website had said that 38T's schedule had changed on November 12 from a Monday-Wednesday-Friday to a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule. Since Saturday morning's weather forecast called for some early morning sun before the clouds rolled in, I thought perhaps I would see what was running while the sun was out. I was hoping perhaps, just perhaps I might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of this train. A distinctive horn to what is normally heard was the first hint this oncoming headlight was something other than a NS train. The motive power lineup was a trio of SD40-2's, CP 5763, CP 5664, CP 5593, and SOO 6021 (SD60). For me, not a bad way to start this morning off since seeing 38T was something I didn't anticipate seeing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

BLACK FRIDAY - Christmas Shopping at The Big Little Railroad Shop

Avoid the crowds at the malls by coming to the Big Little Railroad Shop in downtown Somerville on "Black Friday." We have all sorts of wonderful model railroad items from full sets to individual cars, locomotives, track, buildings, scenery supplies, etc. And if you don't know exactly what to get your modeler, we have gift certificates. We also carry books, videos, and calendars. We have items in all the popular scales: G, O, HO, and N. And, if we don't have what you want in stock, we probably can order it for you.

In addition to a full line of model railroading “stuff,” The Big Little Railroad Shop is now carrying plastic model kits for airplanes, ships, automobiles, and military vehicles. We also have some RC (radio control) items.

For our address and phone number, visit our web site at:

For your holiday shopping convenience we are open the following hours through Christmas:

Tuesday – Wednesday 11 AM - 7 PM

Thursday - Friday 11 AM -8 PM

Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM

Sunday 12 noon - 4 PM

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Train Of A Different Color

The following pictures are of an ACELA wrapped in ads for The History Channel. They were originally posted on 11/15/07 on by Chuchubob.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Last call for fall foliage...

(Train sightings on Veteran's Day, 11-11-07.)

started off with NS 212 going in the passing siding at CP 64 and coming back out on to the main at CP 62 without stopping around 8:40. Power for 212 was NS 9235 (C40-9W), NS 8759 (C40-8) and NS 2721 (SD70M-2).

NS 24V would follow at 9:53 on to the passing siding at CP 64 and be held there for no apparent reason as there were no westbounders forthcoming. At 11:20, it would then pass through Stanton Station and be held at CP 51 for 11J, whose power was not seen, and another westbound, symbol unknown.

That second NS westbound would have a combination of TOFCs and empty spine cars. Motive power for this train was NS 2744 (SD70M-2), NS 9690 (C40-9W), NS 9125 (C40-9W) and a unknown fourth NS diesel (I couldn't record that fourth diesel's numbers as this train was moving!).

Once the westbounder cleared, NS 24V would finally pass through Three Bridges at 12:10. On the point was NS 9386 (C40-9W) and NS 2614 (SD70M)to take in on to the Roycefield Running track.

What was nice for me was being able to photograph the 24V in good sunlight amidst a backdrop of fall foliage at Pattenburg and Stanton Station. Not able to include those scenes here as they were shot on film as I wanted to capture some of fall's fading color on film...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Video of Steamtown excursion to Tunkhannock Viaduct

Here's a link to a nice video produced by a Scranton TV station. Look in the list of titles for "Steamtown Excursion over Viaduct."

Note: It is also known as the Nicholson Viaduct, as that is the small town that lies underneath; but I think the DL&W called it the Tunkhannock Viaduct after the name of the stream that runs under it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Black River Railroad Historical Trust Newswire

Time certainly does fly when you're having fun! It's hard to believe our regular passenger season is over for the year, but October is over and it's time to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

For the first time ever, the Black River & Western Railroad is sponsoring free train rides on November 17'th for anyone who brings a donation for the Flemington Area Food Pantry. Come get into the spirit of the holidays by making your donation, and enjoy a free train ride! More information is available on our website

Also coming soon are the Santa Express and North Pole Express trains. This year's North Pole Express trains are sure to please our passengers with a special experience they won't soon forget. We've been working hard to make improvements over last year's program and provide an enjoyable evening for all our passengers. Tickets are by reservation only, so visit our website soon to buy your tickets!

If you can't make it out to the railroad in the evening for the North Pole Express, you will certainly enjoy the regular Santa Express trains on our standard weekend schedule. You'll meet Santa and his elves and receive a tasty treat too. No reservations are required.

Upcoming Events - Schedules, Fares, and additional information for these events is available at

November 17 -- Stop Hunger Express -- It's Thanksgiving, so come help the Flemington Area Food Pantry with your donation and enjoy a free train ride! A minimum donation of two non-perishable food items is required per rider. At the end of the day we'll take the train into Flemington to deliver the food!

November 23, 24, 25, December 1, 2 -- Santa Express -- Take a ride to Ringoes and visit Santa on the way! Santa and his elves will be on board the train to meet each child and give them a candy cane. Once the train arrives at Ringoes, there is plenty of time for photos with Santa.

November 23, 24, 30, December 1, 7, 8 -- North Pole Express -- Our last event of the year, the North Pole Express, is a special experience for the entire family. Come board this evening train for an exciting journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus. Santa's elves will lead a sing along of familiar Christmas carols on the brightly lit train, and Santa himself will give each child their "first gift of Christmas". Reservations are required for this train. Buy your tickets now at


Work continues on several projects including the overhaul of our steam locomotive #60, construction of a museum in baggage car #420, and the rehabilitation of a hand operated railroad crane. Visit for pictures and more information on these projects!

About Us

Based in Ringoes, NJ, the BRRHT's mission is to preserve the heritage and history of railroading while educating the public about railroad safety. To fulfill this mission, the BRRHT operates seasonal passenger excursion trains on the Black River & Western Railroad. Other activities include hosting special events in partnership with the railroad, working towards the creation of a small museum at the Ringoes rail-yard, and ongoing acquisition, restoration and preservation of historic railroad equipment. The BRRHT is constantly seeking out individuals with an interest in railroading or railroad history to become a part of our organization. For more information on how to support the BRRHT email or visit

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Picture of me

People are always giving me grief about not having my picture on the web site. So, here is a portrait of my "real" self along with my store mascot, Pennsy. Pennsy was literally an angel. She had her costume on all day long.

Dusting off the "E" archives...

The date is October 10, 1982 as NJT's 4251 passes by what was CP West Portal on the Lehigh Line. It is on its way back to Newark after taking passengers on a sixty-five mile trip to view the fall foliage in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This round trip journey passed over eight bridges, including two separate crossings of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers and through the mile long Pattenburg Tunnel. The trip would also take passengers through CR's Allentown Yard, CR's Bethlehem Engine Terminal and Bethlehem Steel Company facilities.If you are wondering what the price of this excursion was back then, it was $28 per person.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Last call for fall foliage...

(Train sightings on 10-28-07.)

as Saturday's wind and rain washed out what autumn leaves were left along the Lehigh Line in Manville on Sunday morning. There were enough trains passing by my location though to not ponder the question of what happened with this year's colorful foliage. In time sequence, those trains were as follows:

8:25 NS 212- had NS 2581 (SD70M) and two C40-9Ws, NS 9310 and NS 9330, as power.

9:05 NS 64J- had PRR 8438 (C40-8W, ex-CR 6262) as its leader followed by NS 9277 (C40-9W). I noticed that on this train there were the shorter COFCs mixed in with the waste containers. This was something I haven't noticed in the past. Previous 64J were solid trains of the blue waste containers.

9:28 CSX K706- more garbage as FURX 3049 (SD40-2, ex-SOU 3245) was sole power on this trash train.

9:41 NS 18G- this mixed freight would have NS 9662 (C40-9W) and NS 9419 (C40-9W) for power.

9:45 MA2- with PRR 3048 (GP40-2) heads east on the main. It would return at 10:45 with seven tank cars. A roster shot of one of those tank cars for the modelers has been included.

11:03 CSX Q300- with CSX 5228 (ES44DC), CSX 597 and CSX ???? for its power. Coming off the Trenton Line, because of all the orange cars near the front, my first thought was this was the juice train. Imagine my disappointment when I saw they were the orange municipal waste containers. My 'ol eyes are just not as sharp as they once were.

Just as a reminder that daylight savings time will end next Sunday (November 4th) at 2 AM. That is another sign that this fall is fading fast...

Lionel, MTH Near Deal

One of our customers sent us a link to a newspaper article about the current (10-26-07) status of the MTH vs. Lionel lawsuits. This prompted me to check the OGR Forum (O Guage Railroading Forum) for postings by "locolawyer," who has been the primary source for our previous postings on this topic. "locolawyer" is a lawyer and an O guage railroder who actually goes to the court hearings, reads the documents that have been filed, and summarizes the information in layman's language on the OGR Forum. FYI links to his most recent postings are given below, followed by the newspaper article.

Note: This is about the MTH vs Lionel lawsuits, not any Lionel vs MTH lawsuits. It is also about Lionel coming out of bankrupcy, which they cannot do until the lawsuits are settled.

The following is a newspaper article from the Houston Chronicle dated 10-26-07.

Lionel, MTH Near Deal in Toy-Train Rift

Houston Chronicle
Oct. 26, 2007

© 2007 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lionel LLC has reached a tentative deal with rival MTH Electric Trains to settle a long-running trade-secrets battle and to put the 107-year-old model train maker on track to exit bankruptcy by early next year, the companies said Friday.

The proposed deal, whose terms were not released, comes nearly three years after MTH's $38.6 million judgment against Lionel in a trade-secrets lawsuit forced its bigger rival into bankruptcy.

Pending approval, the deal would resolve "all MTH claims" against Lionel, Lionel said.

MTH has said Lionel owes it about $88 million, including $38.6 million awarded in 2004 after Lionel was found to have appropriated its rival's trade secrets. MTH also sued Lionel for $17.5 million for allegedly using its patented smoke-puffing technology and using it in its own Smart Smoke system for model steam engines.

"We're happy its over, it's been large drain on everyone involved," said Lionel Chief Executive Jerry Calabrese.

But Mike Wolf, founder of Columbia, Md.-based MTH cautioned that the settlement, which is contingent on Lionel raising new financing to fund its reorganization plan, among other requirements, could still be derailed.

"It's not a done deal, even though the monetary part has been finalized," said Wolf. "It could still blow apart."

Neither Wolf nor Calabrese would disclose the terms of the settlement. But in court papers, MTH has said the only thing holding up a settlement was a spat over the future use of certain model-train technology. Although MTH doesn't enjoy Lionel's brand recognition, the smaller company believes it has superior technology.

MTH previously proposed a $25 million settlement of its claims against Lionel. But last week, MTH's bankruptcy lawyer backed off that figure.

The settlement comes as Lionel moves closer to emerging from Chapter 11 protection.

On Thursday, Judge Burton R. Lifland of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan approved the outline of Lionel's reorganization plan, paving the way for the company to send its proposal to creditors for voting.

Lifland scheduled a confirmation hearing for Jan. 31 on the plan.

Calabrese said he's confident in the model-train maker's ability to obtain financing for its Chapter 11 plan.

"The only reason the company has been in bankruptcy for the past two years is this lawsuit," said Calabrese. "I think the business itself is the healthiest part of this deal, and we won't have any trouble raising the financing."

In 2000, MTH, then known as Mike's Train House, sued Lionel after its South Korean supplier reportedly stole some of MTH's train designs. In 2004, a Michigan jury awarded MTH $38.6 million, forcing Lionel to file for bankruptcy later that year.

But in late 2006, a panel of judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial.

Lionel's proposal to emerge from Chapter 11 would pay creditors in full and pay MTH's claim in cash, as long as Lionel receives bankruptcy-exit financing, and the plan is confirmed and a final resolution of the disputed claims is reached.

Lionel recently pegged its value upon exiting Chapter 11 at about $100 million.

The privately held Lionel, based in Chesterfield, Mich., is owned by the estate of former Paramount Communications Inc. chairman Martin Davis and rock musician Neil Young. Ex-Lionel owner Richard P. Kughn owns a 5 percent stake in the company.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

After Friday's rains ceased...

Saturday morning's weather made it a good day to be trackside along the Lehigh Line in Manville, NJ. Three NS and one CSX would be the only four trains that passed by my vantage point during the ninety minutes I was there. In time sequence, those trains were:

NS 212 @ 8:36- would have NS 8815 (C40-9) and NS 2611 (SD70M) for power. It would take the passing siding at CP Bound Brook to hold for 21M and 11J.

NS 21M @ 8:50- had a interesting lash up of NS 9452 (C40-9W), BNSF 7515 (ES44DC) and "Operation Lifesaver" NS 9255 (C40-9W) as this train's power.

NS 11J @ 9:15- had PRR 8203 (C39-8, ex-CR 6006) and NS 9975 (C40-9W) bringing the autoracks west.

CSX Q300 @ 10:05- finished working Manville yard and headed east. Motive power was CSX 12 (AC44CW, ex-CSX 9111) and CSX 4566.

This certainly was a good way to take advantage of this nice weather.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lionel Trains - Harry Potter Hogwarts Express

Lionel will be releasing a new trainset sometime in November - Harry Potter Hogwarts Express. See pictures below. We will have it in the store as soon as it is released, but you could come in and order it now.

We are an authorized Lionel dealer, and we carry Lionel products year round, not just at Christmas time. Currently, we have the following sets in the store:
  • The Polar Express

  • North Pole Central Christmas Train

  • Thomas and Friends (Thomas the Tank Engine)

Plus several other passenger and freight sets. Each set contains an engine, cars, track, and a power pack. Everything you need to set-up and run a train.

We also have several Expansion Packs which include cars, track, and some scenic accessories. And we have additional track and switches in stock.

Come in and check us out. See our web site for location information.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LV Tugboat Cornell

On Saturday, 10/6/07, the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historical Group sponsered a trip to Greenport, Long Island to see and ride on the restored tugboat Cornell. This tug was formerly owned by the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The group rode the Long Island Railroad to get to the tug. During this trip they also rode the PCMRR 16 in. guage miniature railroad and visited the Railroad Museum of Long Island, both in the Greenport area. Some of our regular customers were on this trip, and they shared some of their photos and comments with us.

About 40 members of the group took the 1.5 hour ride on the Cornell. We tooled around the water between Greenport and Shelter Island. The tach on the 16 cylinder, 2 cycle supercharged 1600 HP Cleveland(Div. GM) Marine Diesel rarely got above 400 RPM. The drive is diesel-electric. The engine looks very much like the WWII sub diesel (see photo).

"Captain" Kilbride did a great job shepherding the group around the various sights, and keeping us on time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not Quite the Blue Comet

The following is an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer on 10-15-07. The story is about new express trains between New York and Atlantic City, and it mentions historic trains the "Nellie Bly," the "Flying Spray," and the "Blue Comet." The first two were PRR trains that ran from Penn Station in New York City to Philidelphia and then to Atlantic City, which is the route the new trains will take. The Blue Comet was a CNJ train that actually left from Jersey City (one could depart from a New York City terminal by ferry to Jersey City), and ran to Atlantic City entirely within New Jersey. The Blue Comet ran on the New York & Long Branch to Red Bank, then roughly down the center of New Jersey on the old New Jersey Southern to Winslow Junction where it turned east on the Reading line from Philidelphia to Atlantic City. So, the new express service described below is not quite the Blue Comet.

N.Y. to A.C. express returns
The new train service will echo the popular pre-WWII traffic.

By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer

ATLANTIC CITY - Following in the storied path of the "Nellie Bly," the "Blue Comet" and the "Flying Spray," express trains soon will run again between New York and Atlantic City, carrying passengers lured more by slots and cards than sea breezes and saltwater taffy.

The Atlantic City Express Service, aimed at affluent young New Yorkers who don't want to ride a bus or fight traffic, is expected to start late this year or early in 2008.

The new rail service comes as more visitors are rediscovering Atlantic City trains, a faint echo of the pre-World War II era, when the Shore resort drew dozens of trains daily from New York and Philadelphia.

"The attraction is comfort, convenience, and the time to get here," said Agostino Cipollini, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, one of the casinos paying for the new service. "You don't have to spend time in traffic, you don't have to worry about anything involved with driving."

The new trains from Manhattan's Penn Station will offer modern amenities, food and drink, and 300 leather seats in double-level cars.

But they won't be significantly faster than the trains of 1938.

Bankrolled by three casinos and operated by NJ Transit, the service is scheduled to run nine round-trips on weekends, making the 143-mile run in two hours and 40 minutes, with one station stop in Newark, N.J.

That's about the same time it took in the halcyon days of steam locomotives.

Seventy years ago, the Pennsylvania Railroad's daily "Nellie Bly" made the trip in two hours and 45 minutes, and that train stopped at three stations. The Jersey Central's daily "Blue Comet" made the trip in three hours, with four stops.

The leisurely pace of the modern service (average speed, 54 m.p.h.) is due to several factors. Atlantic City Express Service trains will have to share the tracks with Amtrak and NJ Transit trains. And the express-service train will stop briefly in Northeast Philadelphia to allow the engineer to walk from an electric locomotive (used on the main Northeast Corridor) on one end of the train, to a diesel locomotive (used on the Atlantic City line) on the other end.

(Trains on the Atlantic City line are now slowed briefly by a 10-mile-per-hour speed restriction for repairs on part of the Delair bridge across the Delaware River, but NJ Transit spokeswoman Penny Bassett-Hackett said repairs would be completed before the express service began.)

Fares have not been set, but casino officials say they expect prices to be competitive with Amtrak's service through Philadelphia, which ranges from $53 to $87 each way.

"It's still a moving number," Cipollini said. "It will be competitive, not necessarily comparable, but it will be a good value for the customers coming into this market.

"Currently, the only way to take the train from New York to Atlantic City is through Philadelphia. NJ Transit operates 14 trains daily from Philadelphia to Atlantic City, charging $8 for the 11/2-hour trip.

Ridership on that Atlantic City line is up 27 percent in the last four years, rising to 1.27 million passengers in fiscal 2007.

The new express service is a joint venture among the Borgata, Harrah's Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority. The casinos are buying and refurbishing eight double-level cars for $15 million, and the development authority will lease four locomotives for $4.5 million for three years.

The joint venture will pay NJ Transit $3.8 million a year to operate the trains.

"The train doesn't have to be wildly profitable for this to work," Cipollini said, noting that passengers are likely to also spend money shopping, going to casino shows, and, of course, gambling.

To promote the new service to the 25- to 35-year-old New Yorkers who are the prime target market, the casinos have hired Tierney Communications of Philadelphia to handle public relations, and One Trick Pony of Hammonton for marketing.

"There certainly is a strong demand from New York . . . in some aspects, it's an underserved market," Cipollini said. Friday nights and weekends, he said, can be especially challenging for New Yorkers trying to get to Atlantic City by highway, when the normal 21/4-hour drive can turn into a 31/2-hour slog.

Casino marketers were also encouraged by New York's rising population and declining auto-registration numbers.

"It's just too expensive to have a car in New York City," Cipollini said.

The return of the New York express is a back-to-the-future move for Atlantic City.

"Ironically, it was the train that really opened up the Jersey Shore," said Dave Coskey, Borgata's vice president of marketing.

Although trains once ruled Atlantic City (on one August weekend in 1904, 70,000 people arrived on 98 trains from Philadelphia and Camden), the new rail service will be pitched as looking forward, not backward.

With the announcement last week of a massive new $5 billion MGM Grand casino-hotel complex here, Atlantic City is, more than ever, styling itself as a Las Vegas kind of destination.

"Atlantic City has changed from yesteryear," Cipollini said. "We're looking to the future."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Somerville Fall Street Fair

The Somerville Fall Street fair was held on Sunday, October 7th, and we had two tables set up in the street in front of the shop. One table had an operating slot car race set, and the other had an operating Thomas the Tank Engine set. We also had our Radio Controlled (R/C) tank running around in the street. Pictures below are from that day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Train, dirt bike crash; teen hurt

Following article is from the Express-Times newspaper, Easton, PA.

Train, dirt bike crash; teen hurt

P'burg boy in critical condition
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Express-Times

Express-Times Photo TIMOTHY WYNKOOP

The motorcycle of a Phillipsburg teenager is shown lodged under a train Wednesday night in Phillipsburg.

PHILLIPSBURG A town teenager riding a dirt bike was critically injured Wednesday evening when he was struck by a train under the South Main Street bridge.

John Gibbons, whose exact age is unknown, was listed in critical condition at St. Luke's Hospital late Wednesday night. The train, operated by Norfolk Southern, hit the blue-and-white motorcycle Gibbons was driving at 6:05 p.m., according to Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband.

Phillipsburg police said they were called at about 6:30 p.m. and found Gibbons lying beside the tracks, shirtless and with one of his white sneakers knocked off.

Kelly Snyder said Gibbons was with her and a group of friends Wednesday afternoon at the skate park in Delaware River Park riding dirt bikes, including the Yamaha TT-R 125 that Gibbons was on at the time of the wreck. Snyder said it was Gibbons' first time riding a dirt bike.

Sgt. Shawn Carmody said Gibbons and another boy broke off from the group and took turns riding trails near the tracks. Carmody said judging by the orientation of the bike, its rear wheel was pinned under the front of the train. He said police believe Gibbons was eastbound on the tracks -- the same direction the train was headed. Judging from the injuries, Carmody said he does not believe Gibbons was wearing a helmet.

Carmody said the train is loud but the racket of the motorcycle might have drowned out surrounding noise.

Matthew Famularo said he was walking along Main Street near the bridge, heard a screeching sound and then the train's whistle blow. Famularo said he got to the bridge, looked over the railing and saw a body sprawled on the gravel next to the stopped train.

"I saw the train person walk up the tracks to (Gibbons)," Famularo said, referring to the train's engineer.

Husband said the company would not release the engineer's identity. He said the area where the crash occurred is a "transitional area" meaning that the train picks up speed, accelerating from about 30 mph to 50 mph. No figure on how fast the train was going was available Wednesday night.

Bob Fulper said he followed police vehicles to the site, walked to the bridge, peered over the railing and caught site of Gibbons' prone body.

"His head was bleeding on the left side," Fulper said. "And it looked like bone was sticking out from his arm."

Police said the Warren County Prosecutor's Office was assisting with the investigation. Railroad officials were also reviewing the crash but refused to comment. At 8:40 p.m., after police freed the bike, the train, with more than two dozen loaded cars in tow, crept away. Husband said the train was bound for Secaucus, N.J.

Carmody said people ride dirt bikes along the tracks all the time. He said police chase people away but they can't keep everyone off.

Philip Consentino said he was out on the balcony of his second-floor unit in the John F. O'Donnell Apartments beside the tracks.

"I heard (the engineer) blow the whistle. Nobody can say he didn't blow the whistle," Consentino said. "I heard the train blow the whistle and I heard it dragging the bike."

Consentino agreed that many people ride bikes near the site of the wreck.

"I knew something was going to happen sooner or later," Consentino said.

Reporter JD Malone can be reached at 610-759-4599 or by e-mail at

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are these people train watching?

Judging from a quick glance, an observer might believe these people are watching this NJT train on the Raritan Valley line in Raritan (NJ). Actually, they are all waiting for the 26th John Basilone parade to start to honor a home town boy who enlisted in the Marines and would later come to be described as a "Marine's Marine...". Leading off this year's parade lineup was the USMC band from Quantico, Virginia. A little history about who John Basilone was. He enlisted in the Army in 1934 and would serve four years. In 1940 he re-enlisted with the Marines because, as he told his mother, "The army's not tough enough for me." During the WW II battle of Guadalcanal in September, 1942, he would be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in helping to ward off a Japanese regiment. Winning this medal assured John a stateside role in the military, but he had promised his men he would return to fight. Landing on Iwo Jima in the first wave, John would guide a trapped tank away from a mine field. Under heavy fire, he also single-handedly destroyed a Japanese blockhouse. On Febrauary 19, 1945, he would be killed in action. He was 28 years old. John Basilone is the only soldier in history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, given posthumously, for his actions on Iwo Jima and a Purple Heart.