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The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
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   Author  Topic: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)  (Read 255 times)
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« on: Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:28am »
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Gentlemen:
 
Photos of this highly unusual and most unorthodox "grade crossing" are extremely rare; the very few I've seen over the years were in books on the old Morris Canal.
 
The canal, a great innovative engineering marvel in its day, stretched from Phillipsburg, NJ, eastwards to the Hudson River waterfront at Jersey City; in time, it was greatly eclipsed by the railroads (LV, CNJ, DL&W), and was finally abandoned and drained in the early 1920's.
 
The Newark City Subway (today's Newark Light Rail) operates along the former canal bed, opened to (PSNJ) streetcar traffic in 1935.
 
The canal entered Newark at its northwest end, originally passing under Orange St.  
 
After a fatal grade crossing collision between a city streetcar and a DL&W train in 1902, the railroad lowered the tracks to run through a depressed ROW (Morris & Essex) under Orange St.
 
An electrically powered inclined plane was built at this location to transport the canal boats OVER Orange St. and then back down again to the waters of the canal.
 
An inverted siphon carried canal water under the plane, the street, and the DL&W.
 
An alarm bell would ring and crossing gates would be lowered to halt the streetcars (and other vehicular traffic) on Orange St., until the canal boat had crossed the street and began descending the far side.
 
Today, modern LRV's operated by NJT pass through the site of this long-gone and highly unorthodox grade crossing, recalled today only by historians.
 
Interestingly, this electric canal boat plane was built, maintained, and operated by the DL&W........
 
"L.F.L."
 


« Last Edit: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:31am by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #1 on: Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:49am »
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  When the Newark City Subway opened in 1935, allowing the streetcars of several PSNJ lines a fast trip downtown, the cars crossed the only grade crossing on the new line at Orange St., the site of the old electric canal boat plane.
 
In this photo, we see inbound (to Penn Station, Newark) subway-surface "Compromise roof" streetcar No. 2667 (subway-surface line #29) pausing at the Orange St. station.
 
The factory building on the left was standing when the inclined canal plane was still in operation......
 
http://www.newdavesrailpix.com/psct/htm/psct003.htm
 
(courtesy: newdavesrailpix)


« Last Edit: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:19am by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #2 on: Nov 3rd, 2015, 12:55am »
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In this photo (circa-1960's) we see  PCC #12 (operating on the No. 7 "CITY SUBWAY" line) about to cross Orange St. and make a station stop, inbound to Penn Station.
 
The far side of the inclined canal plane would have been just to the rear of the streetcar......
 
http://www.newdavesrailpix.com/psct/htm/psct063.htm
 
(courtesy: newdavesrailpix.com)


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L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #3 on: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:11am »
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A modern day view (2009) of the location of the former DL&W-operated electric canal boat inclined plane and crossing at Orange St., Newark.
 
LRV #120 is standing just about where the crest of the plane would have been during the years the canal was in operation.
 
Note that the old factory building (built when the inclined plane/crossing was in operation) is still standing.....
 
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?103359
 
(courtesy: nycsubway.org)


« Last Edit: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:12am by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #4 on: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:07pm »
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Just before Orange Street is the Norfolk St. station; these 1950's views, minus the PCC's and connecting ramps* to former surface trackage (#23 CENTRAL, abandoned 1947), would be virtually identical to photos taken during the days when the Morris Canal was still in use.
 
The trusses seen here were also in place during the canal era.....
 
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?76112
 
http://www.nycsubway.org/perl/show?76125
 
(courtesy: nycsubway.org)
 
*ramps similiar to these were also used in the streetcar subway that operated until the 1950's in Rochester; like the former Newark City Subway, Rochester's "subway" was also built in the bed of an abandoned (Erie) canal.


« Last Edit: Nov 3rd, 2015, 1:11pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #5 on: Nov 6th, 2015, 10:59pm »
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*Further historical note:
 
The DL&W-operated Morris Canal canal boat grade crossing was not only unique in that it enabled canal boats to cross Orange Street at grade, but also, as it was the only electrically-powered plane used on the canal.
 
All other planes were operated by "Scotch Motors" (or "Scotch Turbines") which were water-powered.
 
These turbines were housed in stone chambers deep underground, beneath the "powerhouses" at each plane.
 
These turbines revolved horizontally as water from the upper level of the canal was directed below it, then forced up through it, and expelled through jets at the end of its four curved arms. along the lines of a lawn sprinkler.
 
A surviving turbine, an ancient relic of a long-lost era of transport and commerce by canal, was rescued from the abandoned PLANE No. 3 at Ledgewoode, and was put on permanent display at the state park at Lake Hopatcong, not far away........
 
"L.F.L."


« Last Edit: Nov 6th, 2015, 11:06pm by CLASSB » Logged
L. F. LOREE 1403
Former Member
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #6 on: Nov 6th, 2015, 11:10pm »
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Here is a detailed cross-section of a typical "Scotch Turbine", used in the raising and lowering of canal boats at the planes of the Morris Canal.....
 
http://www.morriscanal.org/turbine.html
 
(courtesy: Morris Canal Greenway)


« Last Edit: Nov 6th, 2015, 11:11pm by CLASSB » Logged
TAB
Historian
Posts: 1910
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? ( Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #7 on: Nov 7th, 2015, 1:45am »
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..from the Railroad Gazette, August 25, 1905, some text along with elevations and site maps. Amazing engineering for the day......Tom
 
 
  https://books.google.com/books?id=AkM_AQAAMAAJ&lpg=PA185&ots=vU09t4lkD2&dq=newark%20nj%20orange%20st%20inclined%20plane&pg=PA185#v=onepage&q=newark%20nj%20orange%20st%20inclined%20plane&f=false


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Henry
Historian
Posts: 6122
Re: The Oddest Grade Crossing Of Them All? (Newark, NJ)
 
« Reply #8 on: Nov 7th, 2015, 2:24am »
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Very cool TAB, good find!
 
Henry


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