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Tunnel Under Old Bridge Turnpike

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  • Tunnel Under Old Bridge Turnpike

    I have postcard history of East Brunswick book that show a tunnel under OBT. I remember 10-15 years ago that this tunnel collapsed and OBT was closed for several months.

    Question 1: Does anyone else remember this, and do you know the details?

    Question 2: Besides the map in RUTR, does anyone have a map or know where the track grade went from Harts ln to South River.

    If I'm not mistaken, the tracks crossed Route 18 just north of Edgeboro road and then wandered down to the river down toward Vets Park. So. I'm not really sure how the tracks when under OBT.

  • #2
    I don't know about the OBT but the bridge on Main Street in South River was under repair at about that same time I think.

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    • #3
      nikcap,

      The only "tunnel" that I ever knew about with the Old Bridge Turnpike was the OBT bridge over the RRRR tracks near the western end of Devoe Street in South River. However, I haven't been on that stretch of the OBT in a while, so I can't claim to have the latest news on that location.

      Regarding "Question 2: Besides the map in RUTR, does anyone have a map or know where the track grade went from Harts ln to South River": A Hagstrom Middlesex County map shows the tracks from Harts Lane and into South River. The tracks are still used today and I believe they're called the "Sayreville Running Track" for the Conrail Shared Asset Area trains that operate out of Browns Yard.

      You also state: "If I'm not mistaken, the tracks crossed Route 18 just north of Edgeboro road and then wandered down to the river down toward Vets Park. So. I'm not really sure how the tracks when under OBT." As far as I can piece together from current maps and the one in RUTR, the RRRR right-of-way only crossed the OBT as mentioned above (near the western end of Devoe Street). To get the trains back down toward Vets Park in South River, the tracks crossed over Route 18 (as you mention above, north of Edgeboro Road). However, the OBT combines with Route 18 before it reaches the spot where the RRRR tracks crossed over just north of Edgeboro Road, so (technically) the tracks didn't cross the OBT a second time.

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      • #4
        Just to clarify the story here. I was referring to the branch know as the Serviss line that ran to Hendersons and not the mainline.

        From the sounds of it maybe there was actually a narrow gage dinky that ran betweeen the mine and the factory.

        See this map on topozone: http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=18...&e=550840&s=25

        Starting in the lower left you can see the abandoned line that runs north and then bends across Harts lane and then across Tices Lane.

        If your fimiliar with the area not, (or the last 30 years. The grade looks to go behind the apartment there on Tices lane and then crosses Renee (or is Lake road) just inbetween behind where the Wiz used to be and churchill Jr High school. By looks of the map the line crossed Rt 18 where Bench Mark 86 is and then curved around between OBT and the South River. You can kind of still make the grade out. Infact, is you look at the topo map closely, you can see an area that is dug out and go to and under OBT.

        Check out the picture. Sorry it's not great quality.

        Attachment: obttunnel.jpg 39.97 KB

        Here's the story from the Images of East Brunswick, by Mark Nonestied.

        "The Train Tunnel c. 1900East Brunswick is part of the Raritan Vally Clay Districh. Rich deposites of this clay were mined for the production of bricks and other ceramics. American Enamel operated a clay mine where the present day Route 18 Flea market is. A train then brought the clay through a tunnel underneath the Old Bridge Turnpike to the factory. The tunnel collapsed in llater years . It was located near the back commuter parking lot by the Route 18 Flea Market."

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        • #5
          The tunnel Nik's refering too is behind the Flea market and spills out near the post office stands today.When the area was being developed,as the crews cut into the hilside it kept collapsing Ithink that was @1993.I recall the opening much larger than it is today,Ican remember walking thru standing straight up.I would assume the only place you may find evidence of the ROW would be around the end of William St.That area has been so developed most of everything has been leveled out.I'll ask around and post any new info if found..
          Still plays with trains,but gets paid for it!!

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          • #6
            Interesting! I always wondered why some of the buildings in this area were below the road level of OBT & Tices Lane. The mining operation explains it. I'll have to ask my father if he recalls this operation, or the tunnel/tracks for the mining operation's narrow gauge line.

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            • #7
              Interesting! I always wondered why some of the buildings in this area were below the road level of OBT & Tices Lane. The mining operation explains it. I'll have to ask my father if he recalls this operation, or the tunnel/tracks for the mining operation's narrow gauge line.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the info Joe, although I'm not exactly sure where the Post Office if now-a-days, (I thought it was on the other side of Main Street) I notice that the end of William street Ts with a road called Brick Plant Rd. (Go figure, huh)

                I was guessing that the tunnel was on the north side of the fleamarket, atleast based on the topo map, but are you implying that it's more on the east side of the fleamarket? (Nearer to Tices lane than Rt18/Edgeboro rds)

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the info Joe, although I'm not exactly sure where the Post Office if now-a-days, (I thought it was on the other side of Main Street) I notice that the end of William street Ts with a road called Brick Plant Rd. (Go figure, huh)

                  I was guessing that the tunnel was on the north side of the fleamarket, atleast based on the topo map, but are you implying that it's more on the east side of the fleamarket? (Nearer to Tices lane than Rt18/Edgeboro rds)

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                  • #10
                    When I was a kid, if you were leaving South River on Prospect st., you would make a right turn onto the OBT. On the right was the Wagner-Hetman Rambler dealership. Behind what was the Mid State Bowl, Tices(?)lane was a sand and gravel operation that ran for a long, long time. I believe it was part of the sand and gravel operation on Edgeboro. I think it was Herberts or Hermans, something like that. I do not recall rail access to that facility. There were tracks that crossed near the junction of the OBT and Rte. 18. Never knew where they went. I also recall some tracks at the end of Williams st. Seems to me there were some factories there that had rail access.

                    Hope this helps.

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                    • #11
                      When I was a kid, if you were leaving South River on Prospect st., you would make a right turn onto the OBT. On the right was the Wagner-Hetman Rambler dealership. Behind what was the Mid State Bowl, Tices(?)lane was a sand and gravel operation that ran for a long, long time. I believe it was part of the sand and gravel operation on Edgeboro. I think it was Herberts or Hermans, something like that. I do not recall rail access to that facility. There were tracks that crossed near the junction of the OBT and Rte. 18. Never knew where they went. I also recall some tracks at the end of Williams st. Seems to me there were some factories there that had rail access.

                      Hope this helps.

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                      • #12
                        I know this is an old thread, but maybe somebody will appreciate this updated info. I just found this in my research.

                        The tunnel under Old Bridge Turnpike that collapsed was built in 1913 by the American Clay Products Co. (known as AMCLAY in Rails Up The Raritan). This tunnel was used by the narrow gauge trains to run from the clay pits to the processing plant on the eastern side. The American Clay Products Company took over the operations of the Great Eastern Clay Company in about 1911 in which Robert Lyles managed for many years. In fact, there was a Lyles Station (not documented in RUTR) on the Serviss Branch at this location where the Narrow Gauge line crossed the RRRR.

                        Here is a newspaper clipping from the Daily Home News dated February 18, 1913:


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