Friday, February 20, 2015
HOPPER IN THE HOOD
The industrial park down the street from my house is located on just about the northern end of Conrail Shared Assets Hainesport Industrial Track. Formerly a PRR through line, this railroad has been cut back to Mt Holly, but is only serviced as far as Hainesport. Despite being at the dead end of an "industrial track", Hainesport is quite busy in terms of rail traffic - enough for one train each weekday to make the run up from Camden, usually dual GP38-2s with at least a dozen cars, sometimes many more. This very small industrial park receives wine in refers, steel coil in coil cars (the right door on the blue building in background), plywood, rebar, and steel on flats, gons and center beams for a team track, and outgoing many many large trash gons and skeleton flat cars with garbage containers. The industrial park itself is served by the independent Hainesport Industrial Railroad - a track mobile - and in reality a scam to enable a trash to rail operation without local or state regulatory oversight (not that I object) There is an additional customer in Hainesport, but not in the industrial park, a creosote plant, or whatever the substitute is to treat power poles. This is still served by Conrail Shared Assets, receiving log cars. Add a very large paper distributor down the track in Mt Laurel that usually has up to a dozen or more box cars spotted, there is an interesting mix of traffic to see, and, unlike most of the rest of New Jersey, not a covered hopper or tank car in the mix - its an all-natural railroad - trees, wood, steel, paper, and booze inbound, trash outbound.
So, despite a semi predictable array of freight cars there is occasionally an interesting visitor, like EAMX 303, shown above. (I once thought I saw a G-39 ore jenny at night on the local, but could have mistaken it I guess) Since the pipe mills closed in nearby Burlington and Florence a few years ago, hoppers are rare, and even rarer, single hoppers. I'm not sure what this was delivering or picking up - maybe they were trying it out with trash? but there is a STEEL connection. This car was originally owned by the Cambria and Indiana Railroad, a Bethlehem Steel railroad, and used to haul coal from Bethlehem Steel mines to coke plants at their mills. The car was of course also built by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1980.