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"Jersey!" (Video)

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The period between 1967 and 1983 was a tumultuous time for railroading in New Jersey. New York Central and Pennsylvania merged to form Penn Central in 1968. In 1971, Amtrak assumed operation of intercity passenger service. The flamboyant Chessie System image replaced B&O’s more conservative scheme on B&O/Reading/CNJ run through freight trains. The New Jersey Department of Transportation and, several years later, NJ Transit Rail Operations became dominating forces on the commuter rail scene. Perhaps the biggest change was the creation of Conrail which absorbed most of the state’s independent railroads. It certainly was an era of change.


“Jersey!” is an early effort of Revelation Video, having been released in 1988. It is sixty minutes in length and features all color vintage film of Garden State action during the aforementioned seventeen year span. The program concentrates on scenes along the former Pennsylvania New York - Washington Mainline, the New York and Long Branch Railroad and CNJ Mainline. A great deal of time is spent at Newark Penn Station, Elizabeth, Princeton Junction and Elizabethport. Some of the most fascinating material shows PRR GG1’s powering passenger trains consisting of cars owned by a wide variety of roads. Rolling stock of Seaboard Coast Line, RF&P, C&O and New Haven among others was forwarded in and out of New York City by the big G’s. E33 and E44 freight motors make time with priority merchandise. There is even a scene of the British “Flying Scotsman” rounding the Elizabeth “S” curve during its American tour.


The NJDOT and NJ Transit influence are readily apparent. CNJ GP40P’s which were financed with NJDOT money arrived along with second hand rolling stock from a variety of Midwestern and Western roads resulting in very colorful consists. Former Southern Railway E8 4334 is spotted in NJ Transit’s early white paint scheme. Views of F40PH’s and Comet equipment follow at the end of the program. Not to be outdone, Amtrak proudly shows off its new E60’s, AEM7’s and Amfleet cars, all of which first arrived during this time.


It was an exciting period to be a train watcher in New Jersey and “Jersey!” brings back many fond memories for those of us who were there. The program has been out of print for some time; however, it is occasionally seen for sale at meets and on the web. Much of the material was integrated into a longer Revelation program titled “Garden State Arrow’ which is currently available in DVD format. “Jersey!” would be worthwhile addition to the collections of enthusiasts interested in New Jersey railroading.





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