CNJ 1087 swims in New York Harbor

Vincent Lee

In June, 1963, I got a call from a friend that a CNJ locomotive had fallen into the water in New York harbor. I immediately got on the next eastbound CNJ train to Jersey City from 33rd Street, Bayonne. At the terminal, I made the short walk to the float bridges just to the south. I found that EMD SW-9 1087 (built 1951) had toppled off Float Bridge #1, and into the bay. The Central had already moved a barge-mounted crane to the scene, and was beginning salvage efforts. I was told that the engine crew had managed to climb out of the engine, and run off the float bridge before it became submerged, so no one was injured.

A diagram of the CNJ's Jersey City Terminal

A view of the mess in the harbor. The 1087 is sticking out in the center.

The 1087 traveled down the track and plunged straight into the water.

CNJ personnel are hard at work trying to lift the bridge pontoon out of the water.

The large crane has begun lifting the pontoon towards dry land.
The still submerged 1087 floats in front of Float Bridge #2.


End of the Line
Seeing an EMD switcher totally submerged in water is certainly a sight of a lifetime. If you are interested in learning more about railroad operations at the waterfront, consider membership in the Rail Marine Interest Group.