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Switch Saturday on the Black River & Western

Perhaps the scenic highlight of the BR&W is the former-Central Railroad New Jersey through-truss bridge over the South Branch of the Raritan River, located about a mile south of Three Bridges, N.J., seen September 28, 2019. This is easily accessed from the shoulder of River Road (see map at right). In this early fall view through a gap in the trees we see that empty centerbeam cars can also run south. These are destined for C&G Fab Con, a maker of concrete caskets that ships out by rail utilizing centerbeam flats. This customer is located about one half mile south of this location, and although not a major shipper, they are a new customer and an important step in the right direction after years of freight decline on the Black River.

Switch Saturday on the Black River & Western

By Aengus Habersaat/photos by the author

While many short lines operate a weekday-only schedules hampering the working or school bound photographer, the Black River & Western regularly fields a crew on Saturday using an EMD switcher type locomotive, often SW1500 1596, with a typical sign-up time of 7:00 a.m. and normally beginning the day at Three Bridges, New Jersey. After many years of declining freight volumes due to manufacturing and agriculture fleeing the Garden State, the Black River & Western began seeing an uptick in traffic in late 2019 and into 2020 thanks to inbound lumber to a transload site in Ringoes and a new customer that ships concrete caskets…

July 2020Read the rest of this story in the July 2020 issue of Railpace Newsmagazine!

This article was posted on: June 17, 2020