Towers of the CNJ 3

Towers of the CNJ

Listed below are the towers of the CNJ broken down by line. The list and descriptions were complied by Richard Colletti, a former tower operator with the CNJ. Many thanks to Richard for giving us permission to post this information here.

Newark and Elizabethport Line

Controlled the east end of Brilles Yard, all switching movements to the local customers, the one time "Newark passenger transfer station" (when direct service still existed) and service to Elizabethport (Eport) via "CY" tower. When direct service between Jersey City and Newark ended, there was no real need for the existance of "BS" and therefore it was closed, the main line removed, the station razed  and hand switches installed where needed.

"BT"  tower- (BRILLES)

Also known as Brilles West, this tower controlled all pasenger and freight movements between Newark - Jersey City and Between Newark - Elizabethport. Also controlled the west end of Brilles Yard and local switching to area customers.

"CY" tower - (NEWARK)

This was a very unique tower. It controlled CNJ rail traffic between Eport - Newark via "BT" and Eport - Jersey City via "BS". It also controlled the PRR branch which crossed the CNJ at grade. At one time, before the LV elevated it's tracks, it controlled the crossing of the LV at grade. This tower had 67 levers in it and at one time they all worked!! This was also a one man job, to boot....! the towerman at "CY" answered to 3 dispatchers and 2 yardmasters.


This was a junction of the Main Line, Newark to Eport line and the Eport to Perth Amboy line. Towerman was responsible for all passenger trains, all freight trains originating out of eport yards, all local switching traffic, all through freights that picked up or set out there, the shop traffic and the east end of eport northside yard and east end of Eport southside yard. The towerman had 3 dispatchers, 2 yardmasters, and 1 shop foreman  phone lines that he/she answered to. This place was a nightmare....I know...

Elizabethport to Perth Amboy Line

See Above.

"WY" tower- (BAYWAY)

A drawbridge that controlled rail movements across the Elizabeth River. As time went by, river traffic became sparse and the river started to silt over. As a  result, the tower was closed and the bridge welded shut. The miter rails were removed and the bridge was straight railed.

"RH" tower- (CARTERET)

A drawbridge that controlled rail movements across the Rahway River. Tower also controlled the entrance to Carteret Yard, the southernmost end of the Bayway Branch and the Linden Branch.

"PD" tower- (PORT READING)

Controlled the diamond at Port Reading where the RDG crossed the CNJ at grade. Also controlled all switching movements out of Port Reading Yard.

"WO" tower- (BARBER)

Drawbridge that controlled the rail movement accross the (forgot the stupid name of the river) river. Also controlled the Barber switch yard and the industrial tracks.

"WC" tower- (PERTH AMBOY)

Controlled the junction between the CNJ and the PRR and the LV. Also controlled the four track line through Perth Amboy Station.


Controlled the western end of the Perth Amboy Station and returned the tracks back to two. Controlled the lead to the Raritan River drawbridge and the Lippsett Steel industry. This tower was closed and became remotely controlled from "WC" tower and was given the name 'CP BEACH'.

New York to Newark Branch

Main Line - Jersey City to Phillipsburg

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This page last updated September 15, 2015.
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