By Gary (Mongo) Evans
The earliest forerunner of the Grenloch Branch was the Camden, Gloucester & Mt. Ephraim Railway built as a 3 foot gauge railroad, opened from Kaighn's Point to Gloucester City (3.9 miles) in Feb 1874.
The 1.2 miles to Mt.Ephraim opened in May of 1876. Purchased by the Reading in Nov 1883 and Standard gauged the line in June 1885.
On Sept 17,1889,The Camden County Railroad was incorporated. Bateman Manufacturing Co in Spring Mills had two large plants in use by 1886,making farm implements under the name "Iron Age".Mr.Bateman purchased a 60' wide ROW in 1890 and by April 1st,1891,the first carload of farm tools left.
Other Customers were ...
- Lumber & Coal Dealer in Mt.Ephraim
- Lumber yard in Glendora
- Sand shipper in Blenheim
- Coal,Lumber,and Hardware dealer in Blackwood.
- Camden Co Hospital at Lakeland
- Coal Dealer and a Sand shipper in Grenloch,(formerly Spring Mills).
Over the years,the Coal dealers closed down,a new Lumber yard at Blackwood,and more sand shippers came and went.
Trap Rock opened an asphalt plant in Bellmawr. By the 1950's,a yard runner served the line 3 days a week with Lumber,feed and coal.
In 1966, The Interstate Industrial Park opened in Bellmawr and soon trains were running 5 days a week.
Customers handled cardboard boxes and paper, Frozen French Fries,Masonite,General Freight,books and newsprint.
Map of The Interstate Industrial Park
In 1973, the branch was torn up to Station Ave in Glendora and New Deal Lumber started picking up at the new Team Track in Glendora.
In 1976,On April 1st, 85 years to the day aftter the first shipment left Bateman Manufacturing, Conrail took over.
Soon PRSL S-12's, S-8 & Road Switchers gave way to assorted EMD, ALCO switchers and EX-EL RS-2's. Later SW1001's, SW1500's, GP38-2's and GP40-2's.
As the years passed,New Deal Lumber switched to trucks,Delaware Valley Box traffic slipped. The branch from Glendora to Bellmawr was torn up in the August of 1984.
Buisness at Bellmawr Industrial Park is now just the Cardboard Box warehouse, and a Public warehouse. The turn is back to 3 days a week.
The ROW from Grenloch is still in place with Rails to Trails from Blackwood,to Hilltop and in Runnemede.
As we speak,the rest is being cleared to complete the trail.