Penns Grove Secondary

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Penns Grove Secondary is a rail freight line in the Delaware Valley in the southernwestern part of New Jersey in the United States. Part of Conrail's South Jersey/Philadelphia Shared Assets it runs for approximately 20 miles (32 km) between its it southern terminus at Penns Grove and Woodbury at the north where it joins the Vineland Secondary about 8.5 miles (13.7 km) south of Pavonia Yard in Camden. At its southern end the Deepwater Point Running Track continues another 3.7 miles (6 km) through Carneys Point to Deepwater.


Once part of West Jersey and Seashore Railroad, Penns Grove Secondary parallels the Delaware River

Located within Gloucester County and Salem County, the Penns Grove Secondary serves industries and distribution facilities in the corridor along the east bank of the Delaware River and with spur lines to Pureland Industrial Complex and maritime facilities, including the Port of Paulsboro, where rail interchange is provided by SMS Rail Lines.

At the north, the line begins in Woodbury at a junction with the Salem Secondary and the Vineland Secondary. It then passes through Thorofare, West Deptford, Paulsboro, Gibbstown, Repaupo, Bridgeport, Pedricktown, and Penns Grove. For much of its length it travels parallel to US Route 130 and New Jersey Route 44. It bridges Mantua Creek, Repaupo Creek, White Sluice Race, Starrs Ditch, Raccoon Creek,[1] and Oldmans Creek. Some of the bridges have been automated.[2]

South of Penns Grove, the Deepwater Point Industrial Track continues through Carneys Point to a DuPont industrial complex known as the Chamber Works[3] at Deepwater[4] in the vicinity of the vehicular Delaware Memorial Bridge.


The Delaware Shore Railroad was incorporated on February 20, 1873 to build a line from Woodbury to Penns Grove. The line was opened in July 1876, but declared bankruptcy in January 1879 and reincorporated as the Delaware River Railroad.[5] On April 30, 1900, the WJ&S acquired the DRR.[6] On May 4, 1896 the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) consolidated all its railroads and several smaller properties in southern New Jersey into the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S). Passenger service on the Penns Grove Branch ended July 8, 1950.[7]

Planned upgrades[edit]

Port of Paulsboro[edit]

A 2010 New Jersey Department of Transportation report anticipated increased freight activity in South Jersey.[8] New infrastructure at the Port of Paulsboro, where SMS Rail Lines handles interchanges with Conrail Shared Assets Operations, includes the construction of a rail crossing, turnouts, and 11,000 feet (3,400 m) of track with a link to the Penns Grove Secondary and a balloon loop for dockside accessibility. It is expected to cost $3.2 million and be completed by 2014. Partial federal funding for this work was obtained in 2011 by SJPC, Conrail, and Salem County by leveraging $117.65 million of infrastructure funding for the marine terminal and other South Jersey projects.[9][10]

Jefferson Street Bridge[edit]

The Jefferson Street Bridge is a railroad movable bridge over Mantua Creek 1.3 miles (2.1 km) upstream from its mouth.[11][12] The 160-foot (49 m)[13] "A-Frame", shear pole, swing bridge was originally constructed in 1917[2] and rebuilt in 1940. Once part of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL),[14] it is now part of Conrail's Penns Grove Secondary. Originally manually opened, it was partially automated sometime between 2000 and 2003.[2][15]

Buckling of the bridge caused a derailment of a coal train in 2009. More than 15 rail cars left the tracks, though none toppled.[16] In November 2012, seven cars derailed while crossing the bridge. Of the four cars that fell into the creek, one was punctured, releasing 23,000 US gallons (87 m3; 19,000 imp gal) of highly toxic vinyl chloride,[17][18][19] which required an evacuation in the region and Paulsboro school lock-downs.[20] Removal of derailed cars and environmental cleanup was handled by U.S. Coast Guard.[21]

In March 2013, Conrail announced that the bridge would be replaced with an expected September 2014 operational date. Normally, between March 1 and November 30 the bridge is left in the open position for maritime traffic and closed when trains approach.[2] It will remain locked in the closed position until the bridge is replaced.[13][22] The new bridge will not be fully operational until Summer 2016.

Litiigation in the matter is ongoing.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christian, Jodi (June 13, 2011). "Bridgeport Railroad Drawbridge". Bridgehunter. Retrieved 2013-07-21. 
  2. ^ a b c d Automation of Moveable Bridges CONRAIL (PDF). Retrieved 2013-08-24.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "automation" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^
  4. ^ "1914 Deepwater Point". Innovation Starts Here. DuPont. Retrieved 2013-07-20. 
  5. ^ Gladulich, Richard M. (1986). By rail to the boardwalk. Glendale, Calif.: Trans Anglo Books. ISBN 0-87046-076-5. 
  6. ^ "PRR Chronology" (PDF). PRR Research. Philadelphia Chapter Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. January 2005. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
  7. ^ "South Jersey Timeline of Historic Events". Retrieved 2013-07-22. 
  8. ^ Southern New Jersey Freight Transportation and Economic Development Assessment Survey (PDF) (Report). New Jersey Department of Transportation. December 2010. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 
  9. ^ "PortoCall" (PDF). South Jersey Port Corporation. Spring 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  10. ^ "Federal Tiger III Grant Partnership Agreement Signed Between the South Jersey Port Corporation, Conrail, and Salem County Bring $18.5 Million to Upgrade Southern New Jersey Rail and Port Infrastructure" (PDF) (Press release). South Jersey Port Corporation. October 23, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  11. ^ "United States Coast Pilot 3 - Delaware Bay" (pdf) (46 ed.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. August 25, 2013: 200. Mantua Creek, Mile 78S, ... entrance jetties are marked by lights, and the entrance channel is marked by buoys. ... The ConRail bridge 1.3 miles above the mouth has a 32-foot-wide swing span... The wharves below the first bridge on Mantua Creek have depths of 20 to 14 feet alongside.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  12. ^ Google (August 23, 2013). "East Jefferson Street Bridge" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved August 23, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b Kotzker, Dari (March 4, 2013). "Damaged in Paulsboro Derailment Will Be Replaced Bridge". NJ Today. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  14. ^ "Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Penns Grove Branch Mantua Creek Moveble Bridge Paulsboro, New Jersey". Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  15. ^ "Paulsboro Railroad Bridge". Bridgehunter. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  16. ^ Six, Jim (August 23, 2009). "Train cars derail in Paulsboro, West Deptford". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  17. ^ Linday, Jason (December 1, 2012). "Paulsboro train derailment: How it happened; anatomy of the train wreck - Updated". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  18. ^ Preliminary Report (PDF). Accident No.: DCA13MR002 Accident Type: Train Derailment with Hazardous Materials Release Location: Paulsboro, New Jersey (Report). National Transportation Safety Board. November 30, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-14. 
  19. ^ "A Train Derails in Paulsboro, N.J., Releasing 23,000 Gallons of Toxic Vinyl Chloride Gas". NOAA. December 17, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  20. ^ "Train derailment causes chemical spill of vinyl chloride in Paulsboro". South Jersey Times. November 30, 2012. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  21. ^ "Unified Command Advances East Jefferson Street Bridge Cleanup". Coast Guard News. December 5, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-02. 
  22. ^ Forand, Rebecca (March 1, 2013). "Paulsboro train derailment: Conrail to replace bridge that collapsed". South Jersey Times. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  23. ^

External links[edit]