Winchester & Western Railroad has grown from an 18-mile short line linking Winchester and Gore, Va., into a system that includes former Pennsylvania Railroad trackage extending from Winchester north to Hagerstown, Md., and former Jersey Central and Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines trackage in Cumberland County in southern New Jersey.
In recent times W&W was owned by the Unimin Sand Company. In 2018 it was melded into Covia Holdings Corp., and in September 2019 it was acquired by short line conglomerate Omnitrax, but the Winchester & Western retains its name and distinctive livery.
Winchester & Western’s New Jersey Division is comprised of 47 miles of trackage which connects to eastern Class 1 railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern via Conrail Shared Assets at Millville, N.J.
W&W GP9 445 trails on J101-30 on the return trip to Bridgeton, photographed passing the Aunt Kitty’s Foods plant at North Mill Road along the Conrail Shared Assets Vineland Running Track in Vineland, N.J., on March 30, 2021. Just south of here, ownership of the rails switches from CSAO to W&W’s Southern Main Line.
The “CNJ side” is designated as W&W’s Southern Main and includes trackage from Vineland west through Norma and Rosenhayn to Bridgeton, where W&W’s shop and engine terminal is located. The Deerfield Branch extends north from Bridgeton to Seabrook (acquired from the New Jersey Southern Railway in 1987), and south from Bridgeton through Fairton, Cedarville and Newport to a major sand facility at Dividing Creek along the Bridgeton Port Branch.
To access W&W’s “PRSL side” crews operate over a short section of Conrail’s Vineland Running Track from a point near the Norma and Vineland border to Landis in Vineland, when trains change ends to travel south on Conrail Shared Assets’ Millville Industrial Track to Millville Yard, where W&W ownership of its Seashore Line begins and extends south to Port Elizabeth. This W&W segment includes glass manufacturers Durand and Nipro Glass. Vineland is the official interchange between Conrail Shared Assets and the W&W for both W&W lines…