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.
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