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Earle Naval Weapons Station - Military Railroads of the New York Metropolitan Area

MILITARY RAILROADS
OF THE NEW YORK METROPOLITAN AREA:


EARLE NAVAL AMMUNITION DEPOT
NAVAL WEAPONS STATION
EARLE
Colts Neck & Leonardo, NJ



updated:
FRIDAY, 10 MAY 2019 - 22:45

update summary

date

chapter
URHS passenger car roster added5/10/2019URHS Excursions
history chapter expanded
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special weapons chapter expanded
passenger excursions added
5/9/2019History
The El Estero Accident
Special Weapons
Rolling Stock
created 5/3/2019

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INDEX

HistoryThe El Estero AccidentTrackageSpecial Weapons Storage Compound - "Limited Area"
URHS ExcursionsLocomotive RosterLocomotive PhotosRolling StockSpecial Thanks


History

   The establishment of Earle Naval Ammunition Depot predates World War II, but with the entrance of the United States into World War II, a better modern facility was needed to service the Atlantic Fleet. With the remoteness and limited size of Iona Island Naval Ordnance Depot in Hudson Valley of New York (which could not be expanded due to being an island) and Lake Denmark in northern New Jersey with its close proximity to Picatinny Arsenal were conditions stacked against them. 

   A board was established to locate a suitable site, and after surveying several, they eventually chose Sandy Hook Bay. This location featured a sheltered port where ships could take on ammunition, and also had the advantage of several rail lines nearby which directly connected to Class 1 railroads. This made it convenient to receive ammunition manufactured and assembled from the western US, where the majority of shipments originated, as well as convenient for naval vessels to moor and load / unload their munitions. 

   Adding to this was the fact was the area of the New Jersey Highlands was almost undeveloped and rural (at that time) which meant only a minimal amount of local residents would need to be relocated as well as seclusion for security reasons.

  The proposed location passed approval, and on 02 August 1943, construction began on Naval Ammunition Depot Earle. It is so named after Rear Admiral Ralph Earle, Chief of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance during World War I. 

   Construction proceeded rapidly as the depot was now quite vital to the U.S. war effort in Europe. Earle Naval Ammunition Depot was commissioned on 13 December 1943, though work continued on the thoroughfares and railway connections between the mainside complex, the waterfront complex and the pier, which stretches 2.9 miles into the Sandy Hook Bay.


Admiral Ralph Earle, USN
3 May 1874 – 13 February 1939


U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance in World War II
Buford Rowland, Lt. Cdr; USNR
Google Books
added 06 May 2019

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Return to Index

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The El Estero Accident

   On 24 April 1943, the SS El Estero had taken on 2,730,000 pounds (1,365 tons) of mixed munitions at the Caven Point (Bayonne), NJ dock and was preparing to sail at 17:30.  A boiler flashback started a fire on oily water in her bilges, which quickly grew out of control. The initial response to the fire brought five fire apparatus of the Jersey City Fire Department, including two 30-foot fireboats as well as approximately 60 Coast Guardsmen. 

   Moored directly opposite the El Estero were two other fully laden ammunition ships and two ammunition-laden consists of railroad boxcars. If a simultaneous detonation were to occur, and with over 5,000 tons of ammunition involved; this would have been equivalent of the yield of a 5 kiloton tactical nuclear weapon (about 1/3 the yield of the Hiroshima - Little Boy fission bomb). 


From the August 2nd, 1945 NY Herald - PM Daily edition
sourced via fultonhistory.com
added 06 May 2019

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   That newspaper diagram is a little bland in detail, so here is 5 mile diameter circle (in red) superimposed on a Google Map Satellite View photo of Caven Point Pier (albeit with present day development) and the surrounding vicinity. Everything would have been flattened in that circle. 

   The black circle represents the area of structures flattened in the Black Tom (Lehigh Valley Railroad) Explosion of 1916. (Please note that debris from the explosion had been projected much further and as far as Journal Square.) 


courtesy of Google Maps

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   The Black Tom explosion (munitions, TNT) that took place on July 30, 1916 in Jersey City, NJ had an explosive force of about 1 kiloton. To witness an explosion of this magnitude; the fourth, final and largest explosion at the PEPCON Plant located in Henderson, Nevada on May 4, 1988 was also approximately 1 kiloton of explosive force. Videos of this explosion can be viewed on YouTube. However, the desert surroundings of the PEPCON Plant make a poor comparison to the center of a industrial area like Black Tom or Caven Point.

   The Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia explosion (explosives and munitions) of December 1917 was almost three times the force of Black Tom (and PEPCON). That explosion was approximately 2.9 kilotons and devastated Halifax. The Texas City / SS Grandcamp explosion of 1947 (and had not yet taken place, was slightly larger at approximately 3.2 kilotons). The Grandcamp explosion (ammonium nitrate) would become the worst industrial accident and largest non-nuclear explosion in US history. All of these pale in comparison to the potential explosion of the El Estero at 5 kilotons. 

   Without exaggeration, a blast of this magnitude would have destroyed the surrounding docks and freight yards and terminal facilities the Pennsylvania RR at Greenville along with other railroad yards & terminals in the vicinity, Bayonne, the Statue of Liberty, numerous oil refineries and other critical industries in the area. 

   Outside of 5 mile zone, the blast would have severely damaged most of Jersey City and Newark, NJ; St. George Staten Island; Governors Island; the Sunset Park and Red Hook neighborhoods in Brooklyn, as well as Lower Manhattan.

   So, with the Black Tom and Halifax explosions still in the collective memories of many; firefighting efforts began in earnest. It was quickly discovered that the severity of the blaze prevented access to the El Esteros' seacocks, making any attempt at flooding the ship not feasible.

   A call went out to the New York City Fire Department, which in turn dispatched its two most powerful fireboats; the "Fire Fighter" and the "John J. Harvey", to the scene (both of which are retired but still around as floating museums!)    
   
   This assistance arrived at 18:30 and immediately began running hoses up to Coast Guardsmen on the burning ship, with the fireboats taking positions directly alongside El Estero, while three commercial tugboats made up a towline to the bow of the El Estero and began pulling her towards the open water of Lower New York Bay, via The Narrows located between Brooklyn and Staten Island. For the record, one of these tugboats was none other than the Beatrice Bush, of the Bush Terminal Railroad! What a coincidence and what a great tie in between this page and Bush Terminal!

   Despite an imminent explosion, the Coast Guardsmen, firefighters and tug crews continued their efforts to contain and extinguish the blaze (and to save as much of the ship and cargo as possible - both of which vitally necessary to the war effort), but the Port Admiral of New York Harbor ordered the ship sunk. So the tugs shifted to a shallow area of Upper New York Harbor off Robbins Reef Light, where the fireboats began a deluge of 38,000 gallons of water per minute (the fireboats combined maximum capacity) into the El Esteros' cargo hold. This succeeded in swamping the ship shortly after 21:00. With all hotspots declared extinguished by 23:30, the all-clear for residents and businesses surrounding New York Harbor was transmitted over the radio.

   This incident was considered to be the single greatest threat to New York City during World War II (but of which passed without major incident or loss of life), and an impetus to move the munitions handling out of Upper New York Harbor and away from the population centers.

   The importance, convenience as well as the safety of the location for the Earle Naval Ammunition Depot allowed it to develop after World War II, keeping pace with the changing missions of the U.S. Military. and growing explosive power of the weapons it uses.

   In 1974, the depot's name would be changed to Naval Weapons Station Earle. 

   Sam Berliner, III spent a great deal of time and effort in assembling the corresponding quadrangle maps that cover the entirety of Naval Weapons Station Earle; and these are dated 2014. I further edited them to better highlight the NWS Earle property boundaries.

   Clicking on the image below will bring you to a a large size version.


United States Geological Survey - 2014
original compilation courtesy of Sam Berliner, III website
Naval Weapons Station Earle and R.O.W. highlighted by author
annotated image: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Return to Index

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Trackage

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   There are three main areas to the Earle Naval Ammunition Depot operations: the Pier Complex is where the ships are loaded or unloaded. The Waterfront in the staging area where the munitions are initially sorted and recorded and then shipped to Mainside for long or short term storage, repair, disassembly or to render inert.


Pier Complex

   As for the Leonardo Piers themselves, and their being of historical importance, a Historic American Engineering Record - (HAER NJ-142-B) was completed by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2003. Here we will defer to actual maps drawn for the construction in 1944-1945.



Addition of US Army Pier - Leonardo, NJ - 1944
Earle Naval Weapons Station - Historic American Engineering Record - HAER NJ-142-B
U.S. Department of the Interior, 2003
(cleaned by author)
added 06 May 2019

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Building, Trestle, Pier Use Map - Leonardo, NJ - 1994
Earle Naval Weapons Station - Base Civil Engineering Office,
Earle Naval Weapons Station - Historic American Engineering Record - HAER NJ-142-B
U.S. Department of the Interior, 2003
(cleaned by author)
added 06 May 2019

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   The station's pier complex is one of the longest "finger piers" in the world. A two-mile trestle connects to three finger piers. Originally, there was only to be one pier, but following the "El Estero" accident in 1943, the US Army realized the advantage of Leonardo Pier Facility. They decided to piggyback the Leonardo Pier, requested approval for said construction which was given, and funded the expansion out of their own budget, and the Army built a second pier connected to the first.

   A new pier was constructed next to the first (date?), connecting the newer sections, with the old pier being cut off and abandoned in situ, hence the zig-zagging of the new pier around sections of the old.

   One mile from the shore the trestle branches off to Pier 1. At the junction of Piers 2, 3 and 4, a concrete platform supports a forklift/battery-recharging shop and the port operations building. This area is known as the "Wye." Pier 1 serves as temporary holding yard for trailers, Pier 2 is unoccupied, Pier 3 is the ordnance handling pier and Pier 4 (the westernmost) is the homeport Pier for USS Seattle (AOE 3) and USS Detroit (AOS 4). Pier 4 is also equipped with double deck galley style platform to multiple points of unloading & loading. Water depth around the piers is dredged and maintained to a 45 foot average to accommodate the largest naval vessel.


NOAA Office of coast Survey Navigation Chart 12324 - Leonardo, NJ
added 06 May 2019

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Naval Weapons Station Earle Pier Complex - Leonardo, NJ
(looking south).
Jay Cashman photo
annotated version: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Naval Weapons Station Earle - Pier 3 - Leonardo, NJ (north is right)
Note the white boxcars. These will be hauled to and from Mainside as required.
The unpainted boxcars are probably for non-munitions storage (pallets, wrapping, strapping, et al).

Google Maps
added 06 May 2019
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Naval Weapons Station Earle - Wye - Leonardo, NJ (north is right)
Locomotive on left appears to be a EMD SW1500. Locomotive on right is a new NRE 3GS21B-R.
Google Maps
added 06 May 2019
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Waterfront

   At the Waterfront Complex, the Navy Munitions Command provides ammunition for nearly every class of ship operated by the navy and United States Coast Guard as well as commercial vessels from other countries. The "mainline" of the Earle NAD Railway passes through here with a small spur to what appears be a disused auxiliary enginehouse or maintenance shop east of State Route 36.


Naval Weapons Station Earle - Waterfront - Leonardo, NJ (north is right)
Google Maps
annotated image: © 2019 by author

added 06 May 2019


   Also located here at "Waterfront" is the OHMSETT (Oil and Hazardous Materials Simulated Environmental Test Tank) of the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility which is operated by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), a sub-bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The OHMSETT facility is on the west side of the mainline and to the right of the image above. It is not related to NWS Earle (other than being a tenant, and is out of our purview, however a short spur and a couple of sidings off the mainline of Earle NAD railway services the OHMSETT Facility.
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Mainside

   This is where all the goodies come to play hide n seek in the 10,000 acre Mainside facility in Colts Neck. Mainside houses most of Earle's departments and facilities. The Navy Munitions Command, Detachment Earle, performs the station's primary mission: storing and providing ammunition to the fleet. The railroad is operated by the Public Works Detachment. Military as well as civilian personnel operate the inland storage, renovation, transshipment and demilitarization facilities.

   The Munitions Bunkers, Revetments, Locomotive & Rolling Stock Maintenance Facilities are located here and trackage for the Mainside location is quite extensive.

   The Public Works Detachment runs the railroad, which at its cumulative peak, consisted of 130 miles of track, 9 locomotives and 520 pieces of rolling stock. Overall length is roughly seventeen miles from the Leonardo Pier Complex to the southern most point of Mainside, which is the actual storage depot in the vicinity of Farmingdale. From the Pier Complex to Mainside runs a two track mainline, where upon entering Mainland; it splits into the locomotive and rolling stock maintenance area, yards, various sub-facilities, storage areas and munitions bunker complexes.
 
   Current operating total is approximately 92 miles with 280 pieces of rolling stock according to a publicity release regarding the arrival of the new locomotives in 2013. 

   The trackage at Naval Weapons Station Earle has many loops, wyes, sidings, encircling different sections of the facility and spurs and stubs leading to various bunkers within the complex and spread out among the property. The total amount of "bunkers" is approximately 250, but not all are serviced by the railway and not all those served by the railway appear to be used. 

   The actual name for a bunkers is "magazine" and the Department of Defense denotes two types: Earth Covered Magazines, and Above Ground Magazines. The construction differences are specifically explained in detail in the open source document:

 Unified Facilities Criteria - Ammunition & Explosives Storage Magazines; DOD 2015

   The following map is a fairly decent representation of the layout, using aerial mapping, but as to which tracks that are currently active, inactive, out of service or that have been removed cannot be confirmed do to the off limits nature and the size of the facility. 

   It is assumed each area has a specific purpose: small arms, artillery shells, missiles, obsolete weapons awaiting disposal, etc, and of course the special weapons area. One thing is almost certain: the wider the spacing between stubs, the more explosive power the weapon being stored has. 


Naval Weapons Station Earle - Mainside - Colts Neck, NJ (north is up)
Google Maps
annotated image: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Special Weapons Compound or "Limited Area"

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   Neither the US Navy, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), nor any other US Government Agency has ever confirmed or denied the storage of nuclear weapons at Earle Naval Weapons Station. Nuclear weapons are more commonly called "special weapons" or "devices" in defense circles of discussion.

   While one commonly thinks of a nuclear weapon being a large sea launched ballistic missile "SLBM" from a ballistic missile submarine: "SSBN" or "boomer" (these would have been administered to in the dedicated fleet ballistic missile submarine bases at Kings Bay, GA; or Kitsap - combined Bremerton and Bangor, WA as well as Norfolk, VA); or an ICBM from a Air Force missile base in the Midwest, or a large bomb dropped from an Air Force bomber like a B-52. These weapons fall into the category of strategic nuclear weapons. 

   But in fact, there were many other nuclear weapons intended for use as necessary in a tactical warfare environment; and are so named tactical nuclear weapons. However, it should be noted some weapons can be dual purpose: strategic as well as tactical. It should also be recognized that explosive yield does not determine strategic or tactical usage; the fighting environment & range does. Need to destroy a city in another country? Strategic. Have a submarine threatening your battle group from a few miles away? Tactical.

   Never the less, despite this lack of confirmation or denial, and considering the mission of the U.S. Navy during the Cold War through Desert Storm; it is entirely feasible and with almost certainty, that nuclear weapons were stored in the Earle Depot. (You got an L or Q clearance? Then you will know for yourself.)

   Therefore, Earle N.A.D. / N.W.S. throughout the decades, would have stored an assortment of shipborne nuclear weapons used by the US Navy, of which could include but are not limited to: 

modelwarheadyieldmanufacturing datesquantity
produced
retirement datesnotes
Artillery Shells  (battleships)
W19 "Katie" W23 15-20 KtOctober 195650 October 196211 inch shell. Components adapted to 16 inch shell body
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Torpedoes  (destroyers, submarines)
ASTOR Mk 44 & Mk 45W3411 KtAugust 1958 - December 19626007 July 1964 - 1976
ASW Mk 34 Lulu depth bombW34 11 KtAugust 1958 - December 1962 20007 July 1964 - 1971
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Depth Charges  (destroyers, frigates)
RUR-5 ASROCW4410 KtMay 1961 - March 1968575June 1974 - September 1989
UUM-44 SUBROCW55 variable, 1-5 KtJanuary 1964 - April 1974285June 1983 - September 1990thermonuclear (yield may only refer to primary)
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Gravity Bombs  (aircraft carriers & naval aviation)
Mk 27?November 1958 - June 1959700November 1962 - July 1965thermonuclear
Mk 43 / B4370 Kt, 500 Kt, 1 Mt *April 1961 - October 19651000 (all models)December 1972 - April 1991thermonuclear (can be used as a depth charge)
Mk 105 "Hotpoint" 11 KtJune 1958 - September 1962 6001965
B575, 10, 15, 20 Kt *January 1963 - May 1967  3,100 producedearly versions June 1975, last June 1993 (can be used as a depth charge)
Mk 61 / B61.3 to 340 Kt *October 1966 - early 1990's3150early versions retired from 1970s-80's
1350 active
thermonuclear; longest run, oldest design in service;
"Enduring Stockpile"
B83variable, low Kt to 1.2 MtJune 1983 - 1991650activethermonuclear
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Surface to Air Missiles - Anti-aircraft  (missile cruisers)
RIM 2 "Terrier"W451 KtApril 1962 - June 1966750July 1967 - September 1988
RIM 8 "Talos"W30300 T; 500 T; 4.7 Kt; 19 KtFebruary 1959 - January 1965
300January 1962 - March 1979
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Sea Launched Cruise Missiles  (submarines, missile cruisers, frigates)
Regulus IW56, 16, 55, 60, 100, 120 KtMay 1952
140January 1963
Regulus IW272 MtSeptember 1958 - June 195920August 1962 - July 1965thermonuclear
Tomahawk TLAM-NW80-0variable, 5-150 KtDecember 1983 - September 19903672010 -2013thermonuclear

* = various models of bomb produced
thermonuclear = two stage: fission primary (atomic bomb) ignites fusion secondary (hydrogen bomb). If cell is blank, weapon is fission (atomic bomb) only.
variable yield = disables the fusion secondary part of the deviced to reduce yield. Makes fewer weapons more versatile.
For comparison: the "Little Boy" gun type Uranium fission bomb used on Hiroshima had a yield estimated at 15 kilotons.  "Fat Man" implosion type Plutonium fission bomb used on Nagasaki had an estimated yield  of 20 kilotons.

If you are really into this type of weaponry, I highly recommend the website: Nuclear Weapons Archive

   Please note, the above list is almost certainly not a complete listing.   

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   While attempting to ascertain the track layout using Google Maps Satellite View, I happened across this area in the middle of the entire depot, pretty far removed from the other more trafficked areas of the base. This section of the base is surrounded by chain link fence and has some unique features which will be discussed below. It is dilapidated and obviously no longer in use. But why would such an already secure weapons facility such as Earle Depot need a further cordoned and fenced off area? (And if I wasn't before, I'm now pretty impressed with the resolution of Google Maps Satellite View.)

   So, I'm willing to bet you J. Robert Oppenheimer's slide rule that this is the de-commissioned special weapons storage "limited area". And for the record, if this area were not decommissioned, I wouldn't be talking about it publicly and in such detail.

   The compound, which measures approximately 3000 feet north to south and 2000 feet east to west (at its widest point) and comprises approximately 5,500,000 square feet; is surrounded by a chain link fence to the length of 1.8 miles in circumference, topped with helical "concertina" razor wire, and in all probability; electrified. Referencing the topographical maps, the area is nestled in a natural  "hollow" or a valley surrounded by several low hills. I believe this to be intentional, as these hills would provided a safety measure in case of a partial or full accidental detonation; and would at least minimally shield the surrounding area.

   Pedestrian / vehicle access to the compound (at bottom left - northwest corner of the image below) is via a road with chicane to prevent any vehicle from gaining momentum to attempt to ram through the next set of barriers, as well as place for escorts to meet those needing to access the compound.

   After navigating the chicane, you then approach a 90' vehicle entrapment area with two sliding steel barriers on steel rail recessed in the pavement. Not your typical wheeled chain link fence gate. After you have stopped at the outer barrier, it was slid out of the way. Your vehicle pulled up to the inner closed barrier, and the outer one was slid back into position behind the vehicle.

   Now, a US Marine approached you and your party for credentials and your security clearances are checked. While this took place, at least one other Marine inspected your vehicle, the trunk or back of truck, under the hood, as well as under the vehicle and wheel wells with mirrors. Your tool bag(s) and diagnostic equipment are inspected. Your documentation is brought into the guard post (marked "gp" in orange in the image below); where a telephone call is made to the compound supervisor in the support building to confirm your arrival and the veracity of your visit.

   If you are transporting a device or devices to or from either a ship or an assembly / refurbishment facility; their serial numbers are checked against the manifest list at this time as well. You and whatever personnel that made up the escort for the weapons in transit; have been under armed guard by at least a squad of US Marines and members of the Federal Protective Force "ProFor" from the start of your journey to the end of your journey. But, if you are a technician or scientist, you might be alone or with a partner.
 
   All the while that this is occurring, several extremely serious and dedicated US Marines from a special detachment for protecting nuclear installations have their weapons trained on you. We're not talking the type of solider that are leaning on something, puffing on a Lucky Strike, with just his holster flap unbuttoned, all casual like. These are at full alert posture, wearing body armor and have you, and the people with you; under very close observation, as well as the perimeter in case you are the distraction and not the actual threat.

   Upon receiving confirmation of your authorization to enter the compound; which usually took at least 5 to 10 minutes, and often more; the barrier in front of you was slid open and you proceeded inside. Then you were escorted to the support building, where you were issued a dosimeter, and your travel orders and other documents are reviewed and confirmed through several phone calls and a thorough inspection of your person, including a walk through metal and radiological detector.

   From this point on, you will never leave the company of another person, that was permanently cleared for access to the compound. This is the essence of the two man rule regarding security around nuclear weapons or their components. No one, and I mean no one single person; is ever to be left alone in the vicinity of a nuclear weapon. This way a single person could not attempt to steal it or sabotage it. While a single person in thought could be corrupted to do so by a sudden case of overzealous morality, or by treason by a foreign power; to steal or sabotage the weapon, two (or more) separate individuals not normally associated with one another made it difficult and highly unlikely to conspire such an act together. If you had to take a leak, someone accompanied you. If something suspicious took place, the compound locked down until the matter could be assessed and rectified.

   Oh, and by the way, every single person that is authorized to be in the vicinity of a nuclear weapon has had to pass both initial and periodic investigations of the Personnel Reliability Program, where every aspect of your life has been investigated, picked apart and scrutinized. Everyone from your kindergarten teacher, ex-romantic interests, employers & ex-employers, ex-spouses, siblings, friends, former friends, your members of clergy; etc., have been interviewed. Your credit history checked. Your lifestyle investigated. Are you living within your means? Partying habits. Political activism. Everything is analyzed to ensure you are not a potential threat to security of the nuclear program.

   Even the smallest question about your past can invalidate you from approval or suspend your clearance after your approval. Going through contentious divorce or child custody proceeding? Chances are you will be temporarily suspended until that aspect in your life is resolved. You either have the best interests of your military position and full concentration on the nuclear weapons you work on, or you don't. And if you don't, you aren't going to be working on one.

   It is one of, if not the toughest background check to pass. Rumor has it that candidates for the Presidential Security Detachment of the Secret Service have an easier time passing their applications and background checks and getting approved for that duty. Reason? If you fail as an agent protecting the president? One, maybe two lives lost. A nuclear weapon gets stolen and used? Thousands (and potentionally even millions) lose their lives. 

   Returning to the image below, at the top left corner (northeast) is a small parking area with what looks to be the empty site pad for a support building, a helipad, and a tall watchtower (like those used for fire towers). There are white poles with what appear to be floodlights and white boxes on them. Video cameras? Motion detectors? Infrared Sensors? Scintillation detectors? Radiological survey meters? Or all of the above? LOL!

   These floodlight towers (marked "fl" in white in the image below) surround the building sitepad, the helipad and in front of three recessed entrances to the three pairs of siamesed bunkers at upper left. Also, there is another security gate affixed to the wingwall of the bunker accessway of the siamesed magazines before you even get to the individual magazine doors on the left and right. This gate in almost all certainty was secured with two padlocks or combination locks, each with a different key or combination that were changed on an irregular basis to prevent memorizing. Once you were through that gate, now you had to unlock the heavy steel bunker door, with at least one or two more locks.

   These siamesed magazines held the most important components, such as the slugs of Highly Enriched Uranium 235 for the gun type devices, and the cores of Plutonium 239 for the implosion type fission devices (these components are the actual part of the bomb that is compressed by explosives reaching supercriticality and resulting in the nuclear explosion); as well as any (classified) safety devices (Permissive Action Links) to prevent unauthorized detonation, and other highly specialized and classified items in nuclear weapons design that make the weapons lighter, more efficient, and safer. Those design details are better covered by other websites.

   One of the less secure magazines in the compound could house the activation plugs for the firing circuit or the computer that holds the pre-programming for flight / launch characteristics.

   After your work, inspection, and / or accounting was complete, you and your escort return to the support building where you had your dosimeters analyzed for potential radiation exposure. If you were clean; your tool bag inspected again. A phone call to a supervisor of the base that your leaving the compound as well as a call to the Marine contingent at the vehicle entrapment area to advise them of your departure. Then you were escorted to your vehicle, and then back to the vehicle entrapment where your vehicle was throughly searched in, on, and under again. This way someone else could not place something in your vehicle without your knowing and your inadvertently becoming someone else's courier or patsy.

   Ironically, the interior of this special weapons compound was only serviced by a single spur. There was another just outside of it.

   And yet again, perhaps I spent a little too much time on this chapter; but as this is the only military facility on my website that was privy to handling nuclear weapons, and personally I do not think enough people understand the scope of what lengths and extremes the military goes through to protect these weapons. It deservedly required a little more attention. If you wish to check it out without getting yourself arrested and thrown in a Federal SuperMax prison for 20 years, here is the link to the coordinates on Google Maps Satellite View.

...
Google Maps Satellite Imagery - Special Weapons Compound (de-commissioned), Earle N. A. D. - Colts Neck, NJ
(north is left)
annotated image by author: © 2019 - www.freightrrofnyc.info
added 07 May 2019

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.  While researching this chapter, this author located the following question dated June 2, 2008; as posted on the Federation of American Scientists website:

"Were Nuclear weapons stored at Naval Weapons Station Earle in NJ at one time? Are there any stored there currently?"

"Yes, NWS Earle was one of two primary naval nuclear weapon storage sites on the Atlantic coast (the other being NWS Yorktown in Virginia). When the Navy retired the Terrier, ASROC and SUBROC weapons in the late 1980s and early 1990s, however, Earle lost its main role. And with the retirement of nuclear depth charges and denuclearization of the surface fleet in 1994, all remaining naval nuclear weapons (Tomahawk and Trident) for East Coast forces were consolidated at Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay in Georgia in 1997."




   So, that pretty much confirms it. I'm pretty sure the Soviets had a bullseye or two over this place back in the day of the not so recent unpleasantness, and maybe they still do. And to think I lived only 25 miles (as the B52's fly) right across Lower New York Bay in good old innocent Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn until 1998.

   I think it is a good time to return to subject matter at hand: the railroad at Earle.
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Boxcar Revetments - Above Ground Magazines

   When loaded with munitions, the boxcars are stored in three sided revetments within the Earle Base. The design of these revetments as so, that in the even of a accidental detonation, the force of the blast will be focused up, instead of along the surface of the ground, and in doing so, protecting other neighboring revetments. 


Above Ground Magazine - boxcar revetment (empty)
Naval Weapons Station Earle - Mainside; Colts Neck, NJ
Google Maps
annotated image: © 2019 by author

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Above Ground Magazine - boxcar revetment (loaded)
Naval Weapons Station Earle - Mainside; Colts Neck, NJ
Google Maps aerial
annotated image: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Earth Covered Magazines - Munitions Bunkers with Stub Tracks

   Another type of activity for the railroad is to spot a boxcar or two in front of the platform at the an enclosed bunkers or Earth Covered Magazines. 

   Sections of the Earle Ammunition Depot have earth covered munitions magazines, either individual or "communal" with steel doors securing the entrances. The magazines are above ground, constructed of reinforced concrete, with earth pushed up on three sides, and of which also thinly covers a roof. In the event of an explosion, the forces are directed to go through the thin roof instead of sideways and affecting other magazines. In the following image you can see a communal magazine flanked by two sets of three individual magazines. Note the rightmost magazine set has an additional security perimeter in the form of a chain link fence around it. 

   A short (200 foot or so) stub track turns out from the running track and dead ends in front of each magazine or a set of magazines. This way, the train crew can spot several different boxcars at different individual magazines for loading or unloading by ordnance personnel. Loop or balloon tracks surround each group of magazines so the locomotive may access the boxcars from either direction.


earth covered magazines & stub tracks
Naval Weapons Station Earle - Mainside; Colts Neck, NJ
Google Maps aerial
annotated image: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Storage Units with Stub Tracks

   Yet another subsection of the Earle Base, has what appears to be modular or double wide prefabricated storage units with unloading platforms in front. These appear to be the lightest duty storage structures for munitions on the site. Perhaps small arms ammunition, flares and other incidental items?


storage units & stub tracks
Naval Weapons Station Earle - Mainside; Colts Neck, NJ
Google Maps aerial
annotated image: © 2019 by author
added 06 May 2019

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Passenger Excursions

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   About once every twenty-five years, the US Navy at Earle Naval Weapons Station, offers a train excursion over the line for US Military Service Members and their families. For the 2000 excursion, the United Railroad Historical Society provided 8 newly renovated (in 2000) excursion coaches for the excursion from Colts Neck, to Leonardo Pier, NJ and return. That excursion was run to fund the maintenance of the coaches as well as to provide the Navy with a passenger train to the pier for their annual "Summerfest"

   With many thanks to Richie King, who as a board member of URHS; was able to provide the following roster of passenger equipment used for the 2000 excursion.

"Here is the information for URHS's Green Fleet coaches. The odd numbers are equipped with generators on board. Each coach is named for a railroad.
I have their current locations listed. All are still owned by URHS."


URHS #car namepresent locationcar conditionhistoryoriginal car configuration
317"New York Central"Tuckahoe, NJstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5317,
exx-110,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Burlington Northern 4817,
nee-Great Northern 1216
108-seat coach rebuilt from
Pullman Standard lightweight
48-seat leg-rest coach
326"Erie"Batesville, MSstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5326,
exx-129,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
nee-Great Northern 1139
106-seat coach rebuilt from
American Car Foundry
lightweight 60-seat coach
327"Lackawanna"Batesville, MSstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5327,
exx-119,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
nee-Great Northern 1127
329"Pennsylvania"Tuckahoe, NJstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5329,
exx-100,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Great Northern 1007,
nee-Union Pacific 5487
108-seat coach rebuilt from
Pullman Standard lightweight
48-seat leg-rest coach
331"Reading"Boonton, NJstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5331,
exx-115,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Great Northern 1000,
nee-Union Pacific 5469
108-seat coach rebuilt from
American Car Foundry
lightweight 44-seat leg-rest coach
332"Lehigh Valley"Boonton, NJcaught fire,
status?
ex-New Jersey Transit 5332,
exx-121,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Great Northern 1001,
nee-Union Pacific 5470
info needed
333"Baltimore & Ohio"Batesville, MSstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5333,
exx-123,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Great Northern 1002,
nee-Union Pacific 5471
108-seat coach rebuilt from
American Car Foundry
lightweight 44-seat leg-rest coach
334"Jersey Central"Boonton, NJstored serviceableex-New Jersey Transit 5334,
exx-112,
exxx-Central RR of New Jersey,
exxxx-Great Northern 1005,
nee-Union Pacific 5477
info needed
URHS roster courtesy of R. King.

   As this event last took place in June 2000, the next one (which not scheduled or even announced) is estimated to be 2025, but scuttlebutt is it will not take place as a result of heightened security atmosphere due to actions of acrimony towards the United States. 

    Photographs and video of the 2000 excursion can be seen here:

Volunteer Railroader Association - Earle Naval Weapons Station Railroad Excursion - June 25, 2000
C. Esposito Video - Earle Naval Weapons Station Railroad Excursion - June 25, 2000

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   Coming out of the southern border of Mainland is a single track that extends another 20 miles or so south to Lakehurst Naval Air Engineering Station, Fort Dix and MacGuire Air Force Base. Yes, that Lakehurst, where the zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and crashed in 1937. It is now the Naval Air Warfare Engineering Center Lakehurst, and is a test facility. Part of their experiments utilize weighted sleds powered by jet engines set on railroads tracks, but as this is not a true railroad, it is out of the purview of this website. 

   Well, maybe for another time...


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ATTENTION READERS:
This is an active duty military installation. It is NOT open to the public, and all roads leading to the facility are heavily patrolled.
No photography is allowed without consent of Station Commander.

Violators subject to fine and/or imprisonment.


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Return to Index

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Locomotives

   As the creation of Earle Naval Ammunition Depot took place during the middle of second generation of diesel designs in production, we are fortunate enough to witness a very nice assortment of motive power at this location through the years: operations started with total of ten Baldwin VO660 and VO1000.  Four Whitcomb 80 tonners came to the facility shortly after. Eleven GE / ALCo RSX4 (MRS1) and three GE 80 tonners came in the 1950's, (one of which is still seen in recent aerial imagery) two EMD SW1200 and one SW900 to round off the lot. The Baldwins operated right through the 90's, and were the most famous (and photographed!) of the locomotive fleet to have operated at Earle.

   Not all locomotives operated at this location at the same time, and would be reassigned to another base throughout the years. 

   The roster doesn't end there: the newest locomotives to arrive: a pair of National Railway Equipment 3GS21B "Gen Sets" (truck engines powering generator packs in an individually replaceable set). Each "Gen Set" is turned on (automatically) as more power is needed or turned off as it is not, as opposed to one big engine running all the time. This arrangement helps new switching locomotives meet current environmental standards:

Weapons Station Earle Going Green with Delivery of New Locomotives

   .

   The photo section below begins with oldest locomotive at top (the Baldwins) and progresses to the newest at the bottom (the NRE Gen Sets).



Earle #1 (65-00367) before rebuilding - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Olev Taremae photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #1 (65-00367) after rebuilding - Colts Neck, NJ - June 24, 2000
Richard Adams photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #1 (65-00367) after rebuilding - Colts Neck, NJ - June 24, 2000
Richard Adams photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #2 (65-00368) - before rebuilding - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Olev Taremae photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #2 (65-00368) after rebuilding - Colts Neck, NJ - June 24, 2000
Richard Adams photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #2 (65-00368) after rebuilding - Colts Neck, NJ - June 24, 2000
Richard Adams photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #3 (65-00622) - after rebuilding - Colts Neck, NJ - February 8, 2012 
Senga Butts photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #3 (65-00622) - Colts Neck, NJ - February 8, 2012 - note the
Senga Butts photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #4 (65-00366) - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Olev Taremae photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #6 (65-00315) - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Richard Adams photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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.Earle #7 (65-00369) before rebuilding - November 4 1977 - Earle, NJ
Tom Trencansky photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone
added 06 May 2019
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Earle #9 (65-00132) after rebuilding - January 1996
David Hutchinson photo
courtesy of Baldwin Diesel Zone

added 06 May 2019
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#10 (65-00131) - Earle, NJ - Nov. 4, 1977
added 06 May 2019
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#10 (65-00131) - Earle, NJ - March 21, 1981
Richard Louderback photo
collection of Mark Laundry

added 06 May 2019
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Earle #19 (USN 65-00128) with Earle #1 (65-00367) - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Richard Adams photo
added 06 May 2019
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Earle #19 (USN 65-00128) with Earle #1 (65-00367) - Earle, NJ - May 30, 1981
Richard Adams photo
added 06 May 2019
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Earle #? (65-00434) @ Cattle Town Feeds, Inc. - Summerfield, TX - February 2004
courtesy of Don Ross collection
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #5 (65-00586) being parted out at Alaska RR - Birchwood, AK - 10/20/1984
J. Fischer photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #6 (65-00349) - Colts Neck, NJ - February 8, 2012
Senga Butts photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #6 second (65-00349) - Colts Neck, NJ - February 8, 2012
Senga Butts photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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 Earle #4 (65-00630) & Earle NAD #7 (65-00636) - Leonardo Pier Complex - 6/25/2000
Bob Vogel photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle NAD #6 third (65-00631) - Middletown, NJ - 9/30/2013
Eric Kreszl photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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65-00631 third (65-00631) - Middletown, NJ - 9/30/2013
Eric Kreszl photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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65-00631 third (65-00631) - Middletown, NJ - 9/30/2013
Eric Kreszl photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019
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Earle #7 (65-00369)
US Navy photo
added 05 May 2019
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Earle NAD #7 (65-00636) & Earle #4 (65-00630) - Colts Neck, NJ - 6/25/2000
Bob Vogel photo
courtesy of Railroad Picture Archives
added 06 May 2019

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65-00647 - December 2013
U.S. Navy / Mike Brady photo
added 06 May 2019
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65-00647 with 65-00648 in distance - Leonardo Pier - unknown date
U.S. Navy photo
added 06 May 2019
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65-00647 - unknown date
NRE Website photo
added 06 May 2019


   


US Navy Earle Naval Ammunition Depot / Naval Weapons Depot Locomotive Roster

All locomotives known to have operated at Earle Naval Ammunition Depot / Naval Weapons Station Earle were standard gauge and diesel electric.
(The GE RSX4 / MRS1 were adjustable gauge: 56½" to 66" as per military specifications, but only operated standard gauge at Earle NAD.)


builder

c/n
build
date
modelwheel
arrangement
number / nameUS Navy number
acquired

disposition

notes
ref
NRE 5516-61 8/2013 3GS21B-RB-B 65-00647new NREX 647 (3GS21B)
123 tons
2100 horsepower

NRE 8/2013 3GS21B-RB-B 65-00648new NREX 648 (3GS21B)
EMD2006411/1954SW1200B-B65-00630usedfrom MILW #2029
EMD2007511/1954SW1200B-B65-00631used

from Chicago Milwaukee St Paul & Pacific 2040, Class 12E-S. Re # 645 (1959)
sold to Chrome Locomotive in July 1984.  
sold to USN 65-00631 in September 1987

EMD260204/1960SW900B-B65-00636usedfrom CNW #145
GE 311802/13/1952 80 tonB-B65-00310used from US Army, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Naval Weapons Center, Goose Creek, SC
Denton Farm Park's Handy Dandy Railroad
80T Cum NHBIS-600 (2) 470hp
B-B-160/160-4GE747
GE / ALCo31653 6/16/1953 RSX4 (MRS1)  C-CEarle NAD # ?
65-00584used 

from US Army  #2098, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Morristown & Erie  #2098, Morristown, NJ;
Everready Supply (dealer), CT
Winchester & Western  #2098, Winchester, Va - (refused)
Eveready Supply (dealer), Bridgeport, CT
Panama RR  #2098 > # ?

120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp  
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80331) 
GE / ALCo31654 6/16/1953   RSX4 (MRS1)  C-C Earle NAD #6
65-00585

used

from US Army #2099, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Eveready Supply (dealer), Bridgeport, CT
Uruguay State Railway (AFE) #1612
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp           
 C-C-240/240-4GE731
 (A-80332)     
GE / ALCo316554/15/1953   RSX4 (MRS1)C-CEarle NAD #5
65-00586 used 

from US Army  #2100, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Alaska RR
Parts

120ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp          
 C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80333) 
GE / ALCo31656 4/17/1953RSX4 (MRS1) C-C Earle NAD #14
65-00560 used from US Army  #2101, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Texas State RR Museum  #8, Rusk, TX
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp               
C-C-240/240-4GE731   
(A-80334)         
GE / ALCo31660 4/29/1953RSX4 (MRS1)C-C
65-00587used from US Army  #2105, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to South Branch Valley  #26, Mooresfield, WV
Cass Scenic #26, Cass, WV
Uruguay State Railway (AFE) #1611
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp               
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80338) 
GE / ALCo316625/6/1953     RSX4 (MRS1)  C-CEarle NAD #13
65-00588 used from US Army  #2107, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to South Branch Valley  #17, Mooresfield, W Va
Cass Scenic  #8, Cass, W Va
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp            
C-C-240/240-4GE731 
(A-80340)
GE / ALCo316645/12/1953  RSX4 (MRS1)  C-CEarle NAD #8 (third?)

65-00589 used from US Army #2109, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Uruguay State Ry (AFE) #1613
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp             
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80342) 
GE / ALCo316655/13/1953    RSX4 (MRS1)  C-C Earle NAD #9

65-00590usedfrom US Army #2110, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to US Department of Energy; Sandia Laboratory; Albuquerque, NM
wrecked in collision tests, scrapped
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp           
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80343)
GE / ALCo31666 5/15/1953 RSX4 (MRS1)   C-CEarle NAD #12
65-00563 used
from US Army #2111, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Aaron Ferrer, Omaha, NE
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp              
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80344)
GE / ALCo316675/18/1953    RSX4 (MRS1)  C-CEarle NAD #10 (second)
65-00591 usedfrom US Army #2112, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to Morristown & Erie #2112, Morristown, NJ
Eveready Supply (dealer), Bridgeport, CT
Winchester & Western #2112, Winchester, VA (refused-Not delivered)
Robert Brothers Coal  #1, Mortons Gap, KY
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp           
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80345)
GE / ALCo316705/22/1953RSX4 (MRS1)  C-C65-00593usedfrom US Army #2115, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
to US Dept of Energy, Sandia Labs, Albuquerque, NM
120 ton Alco 12-244D 1600hp               
C-C-240/240-4GE731
(A-80348)
GE31824 3/20/1953 80 tonnerB-B65-00347newfrom US Army, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA for: US Navy  #65-00347, Naval Construction Battalion #10, Port Hueneme, CA
to US Navy  #65-00347, Seal Beach Ammunition Depot #1, Seal Beach, CA
Rebuilt – Johnson Railway Services - 8/1987
US Navy  #65-00347, Naval Weapons Station, Goose Creek, SC
Cummins LI-600 (x2) 500hp              
B-B-160/160-4HM833
GE318494/24/195380 tonnerB-B65-00383new from US Army, New Cumberland Transp Corps Depot, Marietta, PA
for US Navy  Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, NJ
Cummins LI-600 (x2) 500hp               
B-B-160/160-4HM833
Whitcomb
605116/194480DE7BB-B65-00264newto Beaufort & Morehead RR #85; Beaufort, NC (on property 9/16/1980)
to Chesapeake RR #85; Clayton, DE (through 1999)
present whereabouts unknown
Buda 6-DCS-169 (x2) (supercharged), 325 hp each at 1200 rpm
Whitcomb605126/194480DE7BB-B65-00265newBuda 6-DCS-169 (x2) (supercharged), 325 hp each at 1200 rpm
Whitcomb605136/194480DE7BB-B65-00266newBuda 6-DCS-169 (x2) (supercharged), 325 hp each at 1200 rpm
Whitcomb605146/194480DE7BB-B65-00434newto Pantex; Amarillo, TX?
to Peavey Grain,
to Cattle Town Feeders, Inc (no #); Summerville, TX  (present 7/14/2018)
Buda 6-DCS-169 (x2) (supercharged), 325 hp each at 1200 rpm
Baldwin7032412/30/1944VO 660B-BEarle NAD #15
65-00454new660hp
Baldwin7032512/29/1944VO 660B-BEarle NAD #16
65-00127new660hp
Baldwin7032612/28/1944VO 660B-BEarle NAD #17 > 18
65-00130new660hp
Baldwin714302/7/1945VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #19
65-00128newto the URHS of NJ; painted as the fictitious B&O 412,
leased to SMS as display locomotive
1000hp
Baldwin719408/07/1944VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #8 (first)
65-00125new1000hp
Baldwin7196810/07/1944 VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #8 (second) > #10 
65-00131new
rb
EMD repowered
to LTEX
1000hp 
Baldwin7196910/07/1944VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #9
65-00132new
re
rebuilt by NRE Waycross; EMD repowered
to NWS Charleston, reported 2012
1000hp
Baldwin7197010/27/1944VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #10 (second)
65-00133new1000hp
Baldwin701024/25/1943VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #4new1000hp 
Baldwin6965910/04/1943VO 1000B-BEarle NAD #3
65-00027new
rb
rebuilt to VO-1000m (repowered with EMD) became 65-006221000hp 

Footnotes:

   There are three locomotives that carried Earle NAD #8:  Baldwin c/n 71968, Baldwin c/n 71940 and GE/Alco c/n 31664. 

   Also, there seems to be some differing methods regarding the numbering of the units. Images of the Baldwin units as seen on the website "The Baldwin Diesel Zone"; some are marked "first" and "second". This is possible, but this author in comparing images of those locomotives, noticed that the locomotives marked "second" appear to have been rebuilt and repowered with EMD equipment and cosmetics, i.e: single exhaust stack to dual stacks, EMD dual sealed beam headlights, and EMD style radiator shutters and housings on the nose. This author has always reserved the use of the "second" tag to denote a completely different locomotive carrying the same road number as a predecessor locomotive.

   Further information is required, and images not included here are most certainly welcome. Please contact me at bedt14@aol.com


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Rolling Stock

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Boxcars - for Mobile & Temporary Storage

   Another interesting aspect of the operation at Earle, are the Navy boxcars. They provide an efficient means of directly transloading munitions to and from the ships by bringing the boxcars directly shipside on the Leonardo Pier and loading or unloading directly. This eliminates one step of handling as would be the case if the ammunition were to be handled again at a permanent bunker site. And any reduction in the handling of munitions decreases the chances of an accident. This method is also beneficial when the munitions only need to be stored for a short period of time.

   Fortunately, Sam Berliner III has already done some research on these cars.

   These cars were built to haul ammunition and were purchased new in the 1950's. They were part of a group of 100 units, of which that had been recently reconditioned and repainted by a private contractor located in Star, NC. Most of the cars had a light weight of 68,000 pounds with a 105,000 pound load limit. Dimension are 19½' feet wide, 14' wide in side length of 50½'.

   Cars 61-05178 and 61-06516 have a 177,000 pound load limit.

   The car numbers are as follows: 61-06516, 65-04790, 61-04793, 61-05169, 61-61-05178, 61-04789, 61-04933, 61-05174, 61-05240, 61-06909, 61-06906, 61-06520, 61-05191, 61-04871, 61-06516 and 61-05171.

   The cars are painted all white with red and yellow reflectors affixed to the sides in a staggered pattern.

   There are two manufacturers of cars represented: most of the cars with riveted side panels were built by the Pressed Steel Corporation of New Jersey. This company was better known for their manufacture of the early Fox style of freight car trucks.

   Cars 61-04726, 61-05240, 61-06520 have welded side panels and are similar to Pullman Standard PS-1 boxcars. Pullman Standard built two lots for the US Navy; USNX 8000 through 8879 in 1952 (DF loaders) later renumbered 28,000-28879. Then renumbered once again in the 61-xxxx series.

   The second lot comprises of 61-04221 through 61-04260 built in 1954. All cars have CRECO doors, either five or seven panels with the exception of 61-04790, 61-4793, 61-05171, 61-05174, and 61-05191 which have Youngstown corrugated doors.

   This material originally was compiled by the Railroad Prototype Modelers and the Philadelphia Chapter of the NRHS.

   An interesting publication issued by the US Navy explains the refit of the boxcars:

INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE TEAMS WITH PWC TO EXPEDITE RAILCAR RESTORATION AT NWS EARLE


courtesy of Sam Berliner, III
Sam Berliner, III's Naval Weapons Station Earle
added 06 May 2019
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courtesy of Sam Berliner, III
Sam Berliner, III's Naval Weapons Station Earle
added 06 May 2019
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courtesy of Sam Berliner, III
Sam Berliner, III's Naval Weapons Station Earle
added 06 May 2019
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courtesy of Sam Berliner, III
Sam Berliner, III's Naval Weapons Station Earle
added 06 May 2019
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courtesy of Sam Berliner, III
Sam Berliner, III's Naval Weapons Station Earle
added 06 May 2019

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Return to Index

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ATTENTION READERS:
This is an active duty military installation. It is NOT open to the public, and all roads leading to the facility are heavily patrolled.
No photography is allowed without consent of Station Commander.

Violators subject to fine and/or imprisonment.


.
Special Thanks

   .

   First and foremost, 

   I am very greatly indebted to Sam Berliner, III for allowing me to piggyback and use his information and images from his Naval Weapons Station Earle page. It was not my intent to create another page of Earle, but despite our similar interests, there were enough differences is subject matter that inspired me to author my own. I highly recommend you visit and read his website on Earle as well, as not all topics were covered on both pages. 

   Secondly, I would like to thank Baldwin Diesel Zone and Railroad Picture Archives and the respective photographers for use of their locomotive images.

   And, sincere thanks to Richie King for providing the roster of passenger equipment used in the URHS 2000 excursion.

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Return to Index

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Index:

Military Railroads of the New York Metropolitan AreA
Main Page

New York NavAL SHIPYard
a/k/a BROOKLYN NAVY YARD

Fleet Supply Base
SOUTH BROOKLYN


Brooklyn Army Terminal

EARLE N.A.D.
N.W.S. EARLE


IONA ISLAND N.A.d.

Governors Island /
Fort Jay


Fort Wood /
Bedloes Island


Fort Tilden

Fort Hamilton

Fort Schuyler

FORT TOTTEN

Fort Wadsworth

MILITARY OCEAN TERMINAL - BAYONNE

Fort TerryFort Hancock / SANDY HOOK PROVING GROUNDS
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