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Bones of the Branch

Branchville Turntable Remains

Branchville Turntable

[View 2]

In the early 1940s the Lackawanna started bringing the aging Pacific 4-6-2s onto the Sussex Branch. Previous to this, 4-6-0s had handled the work and could be accommodated on the 57 foot turntable at Branchville for turning.

Just before the Pacifics started running up the line, a new 90 foot turntable was installed at Newton on the site of the old roundhouse and the turntable in Branchville was abandoned. The Lackawanna, always penurious, created a wye track about a half mile outside of town to facilitate turning the engines (and running around to the opposite end of the train,) which then backed into the station.

The turntable may have been used past 1939, which is when the Branchville depot was moved to the opposite side of the tracks to make way for the new creamery. A val map I have seen shows that the moved station covered one lead to the turntable. I'm thinking that freights, utilizing a 700 class locomotive might have used the turntable to turn around using the remaining lead and perhaps run around the train in the yard at Branchville.

Eventually the pit was filled in, but the curved wall left intact. In the early 1990s, when the town of Branchville began building the firehouse on the site of the old station, they uncovered the turntable pit during the excavation. They rescued a stone from the wall and saved it for the memorial plaque which now adorns the front of the fire house. A very appropriate use.

'Bonerail' background from my friend, James Sorochinski
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