Northern Branch - Route Guide

Route Guide

The Marion Running Track is a short elevated track connecting the Passaic and Harsimus Line towards Kearny with the Northern Branch. It was built around 1994; prior to its opening, trains accessing the Northern Branch had to go to Journal Square and reverse direction, and the connection included a grade crossing of Newark Avenue (which the new connection overpasses). For these reasons, most freight trains instead used the River Line, passing through the Palisades in tunnels twice.

Another grade crossing still exists at Saint Paul's Avenue, under the Pulaski Skyway and Truck US 1-9. This is now the only grade crossing on the Northern Running Track. Just north of this crossing, a second track begins; the line is double-tracked from here to the north end.

North of there, the line passes under the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, now part of New Jersey Transit's Hoboken Division in the middle of West End Junction. These bridges were built in 1907, before which the tracks crossed at grade.

Just north of the NJ Transit overpasses, the line enters Bergen Junction, and two tracks split to the west from the main line, which heads northwest to Croxton Yard.

Soon the line passes over County Road on a rather old bridge. It then passes under Secaucus Road, whose bridge opened on May 20, 2002. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway begins at the Land Bridge Terminal, just north of Secaucus Road, and parallels the Northern Running Track, just to the west, all the way to its end.

The next three overpasses, over which pass the Northeast Corridor, Route 3, and Route 495, have never been grade crossings. The next overpass, Paterson Plank Road, opened on April 22, 2002.

The Northern Running Track ends at North Bergen Yard, at what has been called Granton Junction, and is now CP 2. From here, it splits into two CSX lines, the Bergen Subdivision (which was part of Conrail's River Line until most of Conrail's assets were split), and CSX's Northern Branch. The Bergen Subdivision soon becomes the River Subdivision, and leads along the west side of the Hudson River towards Albany, New York.

Beginning at CP 2, the CSX-owned Northern Branch is a lightly used freight spur that passes through eastern Bergen County, New Jersey, terminating at the state line in Northvale. The line's tracks have been removed beginning at the New York border. However, the right-of-way continues as a rail trail heading north as several names - the Joseph B. Clarke Rail-Trail to Piermont, the Old Erie Path to Grand View, and the Raymond G. Esposito Trail to Nyack.

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