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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Army-Navy Game in a B&O GP-30 on the NY Central

Date: 04/08/17 20:51
Army-Navy Game in a B&O GP-30 on the NY Central
Author: rrcaboose

This is my first Railroader's Nostalgia story and I hope somebody likes it.

It was sometime in the early 1960's and before my days as a railroader. I used to spend alot of time at the Jersey Central's Communipaw Engine Terminal in Jersey City, NJ shooting photos and hangin' out. My Uncle Mike was a CNJ first mate on the Hudson River tugboats as was his father, also Mike, before him so I was always welcomed and got alot of cab rides too!
One Saturday, I was in the Engine Dispatcher's office at the roundhouse (photo 1) and an engineer friend Bill asked me if I wanted to hitch a ride on a transfer run to NYC's Weehawken, NJ yard. Of course I said yes! Power was a trio of brand new B&O GP-30s  (photo 3) that had come in that same morning on a B&O Trailer Jet. Since it was Saturday, the power would not go out westward on a return trip til Sunday evening. Little did I know all that time would be needed.
On a transfer run, the sending railroad (CNJ) delivers the train to the receiving railroad (NYC) and then grabs the caboose and returns with no freight. The opposite is true for NYC to CNJ transfer.
We had about 100 cars and with all the grades especially initial departure from Jersey City, we really needed all those GP-30 horses.
Leaving the roundhouse, we then coupled to our train and shoved back towards Phillips Street interlocking and then out towards HY Tower on the CNJ main.
When our power cleared the interlocking at Phillips Street, we charged forward up the hill to the LV connection on the National Docks Branch and were elevated through lower Jersey City. At about 10 mph we were easy targets for the rock throwing little ba****ds at Montgomery Street Projects and we all rode the floorboards for awhile. Luckinly no broken windows this trip. At this point, we had only gone about 6 railroad miles but we had been on duty for 5 hours!
A red signal at National Docks Junction held us for an E-L transfer ahead of us but we didn't mind. This was in the days before cell phones and direct-tv/satellite but we did have an excellent clear tv signal reception from the empire state building for Bill's black and white tv. He had an adapter so we were able to plug in the the GP-30s cab power outlet. We sat there and watched at least 3 quarters of the Army-Navy game
Finally a resticted signal, and hoping no cutting levers were pulled on our train, ever try to keep a train stretched downgrade! Going under both the Erie and then Lackawanna railroad overpasses in Jersey City and then Hoboken, we were on the same tracks that Franklin Roosevelt rode on his trips to upstate NY state. Then passing over Baldwin Avenue road crossing at the Lincoln Tunnel, we entered the approach yard lead for Weehawken. No more West Shore passenger trains but the station platforms were still visible along with 2 sets of NYC E-8 diesels laying over from the west Point trains earlier today. Had a chance to climb on and inspect...my first and only time in a NYC engine cab until many years later on the Valley Railroad in CT where they had a restored NYC E-8...might have even been the same one!
Cut away from our train and tied up at the yard office and went for 'lunch'. About an hour later, the NYC yard crew had pulled our train into the yard and we picked up our caboose and headed back to Jersey City.
Got onto the pit at Communipaw just around 16 hours. What a day.
Walked over to the ready track and rode a Budd car set to the Passenger Terminal and then rode home with a special 'employee' stop at 33rd Street Bayonne just for me.
I hired out on the CNJ about 6 years later and NAVY won that day.

Date: 04/08/17 21:34
Re: Army-Navy Game in a B&O GP-30 on the NY Central
Author: GN599

I liked that story and the photos with it. I think 16hrs probably went by a little faster then, you guys were still allowed to have fun!

Date: 04/11/17 15:36
Re: Army-Navy Game in a B&O GP-30 on the NY Central
Author: CPR_4000

Good story. That was a rough neighborhood between Jersey City and Weehawken. One night while trying to get through there, a coal train took the curve at the Hoboken-Weehawken border a little fast and centifugal force took over. Not sure if it was LV or CNJ. I grew up in Weehawken and probably saw one of the trains you were on at least once. We sure had a lot of variety: coal trains and transfer runs from the LV and CNJ, PRR transfer runs, and NYC transfers to CNJ, LV, and PRR. Great variety of power, too, with RDG/B&O/C&O units on the CNJ trains. I remember the B&O GP30's when they were new . . . thought that sunburst scheme was very special. Of course, I was about 11 years old. I remember seeing an mt coal train one day with four CNJ F3's; from atop the Palisades you could see straight down into the cab, and the crew had a checkerboard set up on the dash. Good times.

Date: 04/11/17 16:12
Re: Army-Navy Game in a B&O GP-30 on the NY Central
Author: funnelfan

Great Story. Railroading can be a slow process sometimes. At least back in the 16 hour days the crew probably got more sleep on the train than they did at home. At least on the shortline I work for, it's rare to have to wait on someone else. We tend to just keep moving for 12 hours straigth. Makes the hours go by faster, but can really suck if you are tired too.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA

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