SEPTA Commuter Rail
Morris Tower on the NEC
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: 215 and 267
Access by train/transit:
None, see below
The SEPTA Trenton line passes thru the
area in Morrisville, but does not stop until it gets into Trenton NJ.
There is one yard here, New Jersey Transit's Morrisville Yard on the west side of
The Tyburn Rd bridge provides a convenient spot to take pictures of trains
on the Corridor, but parking is difficult and you will have to do some
walking. If you need car parts, it also looks like this is a good spot
where you can spend some time rummaging around the junkyards :-)
An 18 track yard that sits on the west side of the Northeast Corridor, in the eastern portion of the former Pennsylvania RR Morrisville yard.
The yard is used for both off hours storage and maintenance. Note that there is no good vantage point for anything in this yard without trespassing on railroad
property. I'm not sure how old the maintenance building is, but Jersey Mike's recall is that construction started around 2006. If so, Bing
doesn't update their pictures as often as Google, but we can be very thankful that they don't, as it has provided very good historical reference for more than one of my pages!
Morris Tower on the NEC
GPS Coordinates: 40.202966, -74.773793
Access is very easy, as it is right off of the S Pennsylvania Ave exit off of US 1.
Here is an especially complete description of Morris Tower from Jersey Mike: Seven
(7) miles from GRUNDY we finally reach another trademark PRR flying
junction. MORRIS tower is located in MORRISville Pa, and and has its home signal right at the western end of the long stone arch bridge over the Delaware River and
into New Jersey. MORRIS is the point where the Trenton cut off diverges out of the center of the main line. Instead of routing its east-west freight trains south some
40 miles to ZOO for the trek up the Main Line with its curves and grades, the PRR built, sometime in the 1890's, a new freight only line which cut the corner between
Morrisville Pa and Downingtown Pa. PRR freight trains would race down the 4 track New York main and then rise up and out of the center, flying over the southbound tracks
as it curved into the huge, electrified Morrisville yards.
MORRIS tower was built in 1941 with a 47-lever US&S Model 14 electro- pneumatic machine and replaced a previous brick tower built in 1903 that housed an electro-mechanical
machine. Part of the PRR's second to last generation of towers were a dull, boxy, utilitarian affair - something one would expect after the end of a nearly decade long
depression. Structural brick with a concrete foundation, there is no bay window and no hint of the embellishments that were found on the c1947 towers. Despite its name
placard, MORRIS was closed sometime around 1990. As you can see, MORRIS is easily accessible from local streets and is still used as an Amtrak MoW base, parking lot and
houses the air compressor equipment for the pneumatic switches that still power MORRIS interlocking. It is also evident from the photos that someone cared enough about
MORRIS to install all new replacement windows and new doors.
About 9000 feet to the south of MORRIS is where the 4 track mainline splits in two with the northbound tracks remaining straight, while the southbound tracks bow out to
the west to then proceed under the three-track flyover bridge. The three flyover tracks then converge into two tracks as they descend to the level of the four main line
tracks, directly in front of MORRIS tower. MORRIS also directly controlled several interlockings around Morrisville yard from its Model 14 machine. These included MY,
which was right beyond the flyover at the eastern throat of the yard, MB, NICKLE and COPPER, which were along the sides of the yard, and MA at the western throat of the
yard. All five of these interlockings were fairly minor with only a few switches and signals between them.
Here is a northern view of MORRIS in which we can see the new door into the upper floors, two track illumination lights, one on the lever floor, another on the relay
floor, and air reservoir equipment for the switches. With two air conditioner units MORRIS is a welcome relief to any MoW worker on a hot summer day. MORRIS still sports
its original slate roof, proving once again the superiority of that particular roofing material over asphalt shingles.
After the formation of Conrail in 1976 from a dozen bankrupt north-eastern railroads, a direct line from New York to the PRR main line at Harrisburg was established over
former Lehigh Valley, Jersey Central and Reading branches and the freight that had once flowed freely over the PRR and the Trenton Cutoff (by virtue of the PRR having the
only direct route to points west of Harrisburg), soon found itself flowing over the new, shorter route on a new unified regional rail system. Except for detour moves,
local freight moves and freight destined for delivery on the NEC, MORRIS's job of moving freight trains on and off the NEC slowed to a trickle and by 1990 MORRIS was
taken out of service as a manned tower. MORRIS interlocking now mostly handles moves by SEPTA commuter trains from tracks 1 or 2 onto tracks 3 or 4 where they then can
terminate at the southbound platform of Trenton Station, right across the river. There existed a Morrisville station in the middle of the interlocking, but by 1964 it
hosted only one local train and was closed by the early 1980's. As of this writing, MORRIS is still a pneumatic interlocking.
In a recent development, New Jersey Transit is building a new layover and maintenance facility on portion of what once used to be the Morrisville Yards in an effort
to augment the cramped and largely jury-rigged facilities around the Trenton station (FAIR). So once again electric trains will be climbing the flying junction for
access to a 12-track electrified yard for MU trains and push-pull trainsets. Projected completion of both project phases is 2006.
Jersey Mike, 2002
GPS Coordinates: 40.206590, -74.769223
It's only a little over 500 feet, but I guess it still qualifies! It's between the two yellow arrows along the Delaware River, under the NEC.
The video states the train even runs on Sundays.
Here at Morris Interlocking, there are two sets of signal bridges for NB traffic. The set of three signals is for commuter trains coming out of the Morristown NJT
yard, and the larger northern bridge is for northbound trains on both sides of the NEC.
Yard Entrance Signals
A set of signals for the entrance to the yard, mounted on a cantilever
bridge. You can't see these signal as you zip by on the corridor!
Well, maybe just a tad if you are rear facing and know where to look as you
come out from underneath the overpass......
These signals were from the Conrail era, and shown here for historical purposes only. Text and picture by Jersey Mike, and comes from his
Signal Blog. The picture comes from a discussion that centers around the use of "C" signals.
SEPTA's Trenton Line, which IS NOT the same as the West Trenton Line, passes thru Morrisville,
but does not have any stops in the immediate vicinity until you get into Trenton (going NB).
Here is one of the schedules for SB weekdays, effective April 2017.
You can see the first station heading south out of Trenton is Levittown.
The locals that stop at every station take about 50 minutes to get to 30th
St Station, however, the "express" trains don't seem to go much faster!
Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click here for their index page.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, myindexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented
I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while,
an error may creep in :-)
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or
disoriented. Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the
railroads on them. If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job
of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads. Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Aerial shots were taken from either Google Maps or www.bing.com/maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit
is always given! Please be NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.