Prototypes for a TIMESAVER shunting puzzle layout


HOBOKEN (New Jersey)

This is just a very brief portrait of the Hoboken Shore RR - be sure to check out Paul R. Tupaczewski's website on the HBS which features in-depth information and lots more pictures. All the information presented here was taken from that website with the kind permission of Paul R. Tupaczewski.


The Hoboken Shore Railroad (HBS) started off as the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad (HMRR), a shortline that served a large industrial clientele running the length of Hoboken's (New Jersey) waterfront as it ran from its connection with the Lackawanna in Hoboken north to Weehawken.
The line had everything that makes a switching line so special: tight curves, street trackage, and even a float bridge.

The railroad was renamed the "Hoboken Shore Railroad" in 1954, solely for the reason that "it sounded better". Traffic started dropping off as industry on the Hoboken waterfront began closing down and moving out. In the mid-1970s, the railroad was hauling very little, and the creation of Conrail along with Conrail's failure to keep the Erie-Lackawanna's tracks as a freight line, sealed the fate of the Hoboken Shore. The railroad operated in a limited fashion until at least 1977 and filed for abandonment in 1978.


An overview map of the Hoboken Shore RR
[Click to enlarge]

Today, very little of the railroad remains: Its main yard is long gone, the enginehouse now is a parking lot, and most of the main tracks have been ripped up. A short section of street trackage remains in place from the vicinity of Maxwell House (today a brewery), running to the new park at 5th Street.

Hoboken Shore RR's GE 44-ton switcher #700 (Picture Richard Taylor / Click to enlarge)


The benefits of dieselization were quickly discovered. The last diesel purchase of the line, in 1949, was a pair of GE 44-ton diesels numbered 700 and 701. Delivered in a maroon and gray paint scheme, breaking the "boring black" scheme of previous diesels, the 44-tonners were repainted in 1953 into a CNJ-inspired green and yellow scheme.

Although the end to end length of the railroad was less then 1 mile, 10 times that trackage was in place in various sidings. It is this abundance of sidings which makes the Hoboken a source of inspiration for virtually any form of switching layout - Atlas, for example, even had a trackplan named after the Hoboken Shore RR in its trackplan booklet HO layouts for every space.

Here are a few visual impressions of the Hoboken Shore, from top to bottom:

A GE 44-ton switcher enters the floatbridge yard, where the Empire State building in the background definitely helps to set the locale.

(Picture 1974 Jay Mikesh / Click to enlarge)

Parked cars on both sides of the track add to the overall tight clerances.

(Picture 1974 Jay Mikesh / Click to enlarge)

An NMRA excursion was organized on the Hoboken in 1964 using a GE 44-ton switcher and gondolas. The floatbridge was the Hoboken's interchange point with the DL&W.

(Picture 1964 Richard Taylor / Click to enlarge)

Note also the covered tracks sin some places.

(Picture 1964 Richard Taylor / Click to enlarge)

The Hoboken also features an example of a prototype Timesaver location, to be found at the Port of New York Authority, where the Hoboken's tracks run in a configuration which even reflects the linearity of John Allen's design to a certain degree.


Modelling a Timesaver switching puzzle on the Hoboken is made easier still by the fact that the motive power is readily available in HO and in N scale in the form of ready-to-run GE 44-ton switchers, and Prime Mover Model Railroad Decals has sets for HO scale Hoboken Shore RR 44-tonners and boxcars.


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Page created: 19/NOV/2002
Last revised:17/NOV/2013