Here's some Erie Lackawanna freight action from 1975, Great Notch was about a 15 min. bike ride from my home to witness all the action at the station. Wish I was a little bit older at the time, you could hear all the activity from my house, many a school night I would hear the freghts working east and west, you could hear the westbounds creep up to the station, and soon air horns blaring though Little Falls would be followed by the roar of the eastbounds climbing the grade, our house would actually (((Shake))) alomst a mile away as the locomotives would round the curve near Route 46, and a stall every now and then was common, you could tell the under powered freights if they started working hard before reaching the crossovers east of the Great Notch station. All eastbounds would throttle back as they worked their way through the switches at the crossover. Some trains would be down almost to a walking pace as they made their way past the station and around the curve toward Montclair. In many of the images I posted you can see the tell tale cloud of sand around the locomotives fighting upgrade! On average we would see at least four to seven railfans on weekends and summer days, all armed with much better camera's then mine, where are ALL those photos today!? I will post some commuter and locals soon. I got a few emails off the list, your welcome one and all for images of the short lived "Greatest Show On Earth", as for a few years EL shifted to the Scranton side late in life. Glad I was there!

Todd ~


EL 3675.jpg (97016 bytes) EL 3616.jpg (99715 bytes) EL 36162.jpg (80916 bytes) EL 3315.jpg (102081 bytes)
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Starting off we see EL SD-45-2 3675 plus two SDP-45's leading a westbound at Great Notch, NJ. Then SD-45 3616 and a second SD-45 lead a westbound at Great Notch, Summer 1975. Next we have EL SD-45 3616, U33C 3315 and another EMD 6 axle on an eastbound early morning freight, that's 10,500 horsepower working upgrade at the Great Notch station.(Plus 3315 going away shot with it) Another day gives us SDP-45 3638 and 3641 westbound at Little Falls, NJ. The 3638 would soon become one of Erie Lackawanna's Bicentenial locomotives. Finally SDP-45 3640 at Great Notch, an eastbound, has just cleared the interlocking and this freight will soon head west for Scranton, Pa.

3655_east_at_Great_Notch.jpg (97148 bytes)  Here's SDP-45 3655 leading a SD45-2 at Great Notch station with an early morning NY-100.

DLWCAB.jpg (97148 bytes)  Former DL&W caboose rolls east at Great Notch.

EL_452_east_of_Great_Notch.jpg (154764 bytes)  Then we see EL 452 east near Clove Road, again this area has become the NEW NJ Transit "Great Notch Yard".

EL_427_west_at_Great_Notch_yard.jpg (97466 bytes)   A broadside view of EL 427 west at Great Notch yard after a recent snowfall, I included a photo of the 2 EL Ballast Hoppers spotted on the right.

EL_432_meeting_weed_sprayer.jpg (63755 bytes) EL_432_meeting_weed_sprayer.jpg (63755 bytes)  The photo's of EL 432 stopped at the station show another meet, the Silver Lake Drill was waiting to meet an eastbound weed sprayer. I don't even want to think what the railroad used to kill vegatation in the 1970's, but it sure worked! Soon EL GP-7 1400 showed up with the work train. 

The Even as a kid I knew enough to photograph this train from the parking lot of the gas station and Long Hill Road bridge, the crew of the drill may have warned us. The Long Hill Road bridge was life threating and dangerous in its own right, my photo of the weed sprayer with the GP-7 turned out blurry because I was ((Shaking)) so much when cars were crossing it, that thing had about 90% of its wood planks loose and rattled so bad you could hear it a 1/2 mile or more in ever direction!

EL_452_Silver_Lake_Drill_at_Great_Notch.jpg (101945 bytes)   This photo shows a westbound 452 at the yard lead, the Silver Lake Drill also hauled these single dome tank cars you see behind the locomotive up the spur, not sure where they were spotted though?

EL_460_east_at_Great_Notch (1).jpg (100097 bytes)  With the disscussion of the Silver Lake Drill, here's a few photos of some action at Great Notch, the first is the 460 leading the drill east with an average size train in 1975.

EL_415_at_Great_Notch.jpg (96616 bytes)A_meet_at_Mtn_View.jpg (101066 bytes)   Next up is a westbound, just switcher 415 and C-172 at he station. It was VERY rare to see a light move like this! I included a meet at Mountian View, the drill is on the right heading up the Geenwood Lake Spur, and an EL work train occupies the connector track that linked the NY&GL RR and the DL&W Boonton Line, you are looking east.

EL_420_on_a_work_train_at_Great_Notch.jpg (96616 bytes) Next we see the EL 420 and a gondolla at Great Notch station, this train was picking up lots of loose rail and debris along the right of way along with a small crane, I recall EL spent a few months cleaning up leftover junk from recent trackwork and they also painted signals and crossing gates and such, all in preparation of the Chessie inspection train that was going to inspect the Erie Lackawanna railroad prior to a planned takeover. This train may have been related to that event. .

SDP-45_3640_at_MP-17_Fransisco_Ave.Great_Notch.jpg (100457 bytes)  Here's some more photos of EL freights at Great Notch, 3640 is west of the station on the single track heading downgrade into Little Falls at the Fransisco Ave. crossing.

Below 3616 is west passing the yard at Great Notch, once again you can see a few tracks are being used, looks like an EL crane siting on the right hand track, indication of more track work I spoke about. A couple of photos of 3661 on a winter afternoon westbound with an SDP-45 and SD45-2. 3611 on a westbound under the Long Hill Road bridge.

3616_at_Great_Notch_yard_westbound.jpg (90104 bytes)          3661_west_at_Great_Notch.jpg (101907 bytes)       3611_under_Long_Hill_Road_at_Great_Notch.jpg (101328 bytes)

elhowellsjct.jpg (100893 bytes)  3622 climbing eastbound past the Great Notch station with three SD's working hard with a heavy freight..

3655gn.jpg (99671 bytes) 3655_at_Great_Notch.jpg (99671 bytes)   3655 and a second SDP-45 round the curve at Great Notch on a winter day with some fresh fallen snow..

3604_passing_work_train_at_Great_Notch.jpg (96120 bytes)   Here 3604 heading west passing a work train at Great Notch.


2580_plus_2_uboats_Eastbound_at_Great_Notch.jpg (87611 bytes)  GP-35 2580 could be SC-8 with that Red CNJ gondola head out, Lake Jct. pickup?

The series below shows SDP-45 3641 and 3670 waiting at the station for and eastbound freight. Soon the eastbound freight arrives with 3658 and a of all things,a NJ DOT U34CH 3364 in the consist.

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Above are two more eastbound freights headed toward Croxton Yard, the first is U33C 3312 plus an SD-45 and a GP-7 working hard past the station. The second is SDP-45 3668 with a U-Boat, you can see both freights have Hi-Cubes in the consist, in fact the 3668 is hauling a long solid string of them upgrade. I am thinking his would be BC-2 or SF-100? Anyone care to take a guess? Both are early morning photos. Next up is their destination, the former Erie freight yard at Croxton. Enjoy a walk around the engine terminal, and a view of EL 428 near the "Boxcar" yard office. Later visits to Croxton in the late 70's after the Conrail takeover were enjoyable, I would ride my bike from the Little Falls area down Route 3 and visit the terminal on weekends, I became good friends with the hostlers there, and soon I was operating locomotives and setting up road power for the freights! .... ya can't make this stuff up! All this was before I knew how to drive a car. I tried my best to get the former EL locomotives on the point. :)

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Above a sample of the afternoon commuter train activity at Great Notch, the first is train 1001 rolling westbound taken from the large rock outcropping above Route 46, 1001 and its small 2 car train would arrive around 5:00 pm and make a station stop in Little Falls. Next is a photo of 1040 making its 4:40 station stop as it returns eastbound. The next three photos are of the meet we chatted about earlier today, 1032 has moved east on 2 track up to the station, and 1005 arrives from Hoboken. Moving a little bit west we see U34CH 3358 at Mountian View meeting the Silver Lake Drill getting ready to head east after 1041 clears the interlocking. After one of my cab rides on train 1041 I took this image of the engineers position in the EL cab car, we were setting up to run east from Lincoln Park. Then its back to Cedar Grove and two views of train 1040 on the Peckman River Bridge. The last photo is 1001 at Great Notch heading into the sunset.

Next I am sending a collection of my all time favorite EL locomotves, the EMD GP-7. The jack of all trades "Geep" looked and sounded fantastic, and could be found hauling everything from a work train to road freight. Here's a sample of of what I photographed. The 1400 is on the weed sprayer at Great Notch, this was the one that met the Silver Lake drill I posted a couple days ago. It was a former Erie passenger locomotive. All of these engines are former Erie actually. Then there is the Totowa Roustabout at Great Notch, this train always rated a GP-7 or two at times if the train was heavy enough. One of the very first photographs of the EL I ever took was this image of the 1232 on a work train at Great Notch. Two photos of the 1226 on the Totowa Roustabout, it was doubling the hill westbound.

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Below 1238 is spotting an EL gondola in the Great Notch yard with a work train. I included two more eastbound Totowa Roustabout shots, nothing sounded better than a single GP-7 working hard upgrade at Great Notch! Then we see 1233 at Lake Jct. paused almost at the exact same spot it was wrecked a couple years prior when a runaway off the New Connection struck this locomotive! The Re-Built GP-7 1233 has numerous modifications visible and was the only Geep to get white number boards. (pieces of the wrecked 1233 could be found in the woods nearby today!)

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Finally we see the 1240 on the Dover Drill, then the 1233 at the Great Notch crossovers, wish I had video, she was really slipping on wet rails after a summertime rain shower. And finally a sunset photo of the 1234 and second GP-7 eastbound near the yard heading to Croxton with the Roustabout. This train headed west every weekday at around 10am and returned around 5pm give a take an hour or so. One of the EL GP-7's lives on, I have one of the Leslie Tyfon A-200 air horns off Erie Lackawanna 1237! :)

Todd ~

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I'll add another eastbound fighting its way upgrade at Great Notch today, check out EL U36C 3328, SDP-45 3641 and a nice surprise, some 1st generation power in the mix, an EL F-7 followed a GP-7. The F-unit's were getting scarce by the early 70's on through freights. One of the reasons I added this train was not just the locomotive consist, but the fact a sharp looking Erie Lackawanna maintenance of way truck actually stopped on the Long Hill Road bridge to watch! Looks they paused to watch the freight make the climb, one employee is looking from above and a person at the gas station walked over to see the show. If only I had a video of all these trains fighting their way east. You can see the engineer was pouring on the sand for traction as he passed under the bridge approching the station.

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Below is a typical Winter afternoon at Great Notch in 1975, I recall this was a snow day as school was closed, a perfect chance to see some EL trains after the storm, I actually rode my bike through the fresh fallen snow to get to the station, it was not an easy ride! After finally making it to the warmth of the pot belly stove in the waiting room, the first train to arrive was the Silver Lake Drill with engine 450, it rolled west around noon. You can actually see a whisp of snow off those covered hoppers, this was the first chance the drill got up to speed after the climb west though Bloomfield and Montclair. The 450 was just starting its decent toward Little Falls. Then an eastbound freight soon arrived from Scranton with SD-45 3626, 3608 and SD45-2 3674, they sounded great working their way up the hill from Cedar Grove to the station at a crawl in notch 8, as was the practice they stopped sanding at the crossovers and throttled down to keep from slipping then right back up. But you could hear something was wrong, SD45-2 3674 had shut down, unable to handle the strain of the uphill battle any longer. You can see that the fireman had run back and was now trying to restart the unit before they stalled, thus blocking the interlocking and all the road crossings east of Great Notch. Their was no following train to offer them a push! The remaining two SD-45 locomotives were at at an ear piercing roar as the passed the station at nothing more than a walking pace! At one point the fireman must have has success in getting the 3674 running again, the engineer must have breathed a sigh of relief as the long train, and soon the caboose slowly rolled past the station, another EL freight had tackled the mountain. I would hear this struggle take place every day from my classroom as the trains worked their way through town, now I experinced it all firsthand. Later that afternoon train 1041 would go west, and in the photo you see 1040 at about 4:45 heading back to Hoboken, it was getting dark and time to grab my bike and make my way home, not a bad snow day!

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This Page Last Updated On January 5, 2012

Fred Stratton
Diamond Graphics.