Joe Hensler Brewery & DOUG Tower
A wide view of the completed Joe Hensler Brewery from 2015. DOUG Tower can be seen in the distance on the left.
A reverse angle of the complex in 2015. Note one of the trucks has been custom lettered for Hensler’s.
This Father and Son catch a lot of action at Doug Tower during the 2014 Open House.
DOUG Tower governs all train movements between Middletown (to the east) and BOB Tower (to the west). Heading westbound, DOUG Tower is also where the GSN mainline increases from two tracks to three tracks, allowing for greater traffic density. A series of crossovers are located at DOUG Tower, as well as a switch that leads into the Walterville industrial district, to the west.
Just to the east of DOUG Tower, the Garden State Northern mainline emerges from a set of twin bores through Paul’s Mountain. Like Middletown, the original designs for this area never fully took shape. Those original plans were for a massive refinery complex. On the Middletown page we talk about the plans to build Butler yard and completely hide the eastbound main under a mountain. Since the grade separation had to start here, these two tunnels were set up perfectly to be the famous Stateline Tunnels at the border of New York and Massachusetts. Anyway, Doug’s dreams for the refinery melted away with a lot of his kitbashed parts when he left them by the heater for the glue to dry and another member came in and cranked up the heater on a cold winter night! Having never recovered from this, Doug Tower began the first of many transformations. It started out as Doug’s Aerodrome, a small commercial airport much like Teterboro. Then the airfield was condensed and a drive in movie theater was added. One member had the brilliant idea to install a very small TV screen and use thick foam to hide its base. The Club used to show train movies on this real screen during Open Houses! In 2005, the tunnel received a major facelift.
The next transormation came when the Club decided the real estate here was too valuable to be just a display and the GSN needed more railroad related industry. Matt, a huge fan of the Ramones, designed the Ramone Industrial Complex, home of bulkMATTic, a bulk-transfer facility for corn syrup and plastic pellets, and Lumber Resource. bulkMATTic was based on a prototype facility in Riverdale, NJ. Finally in 2011, it was decided to relocate Blatz Brewery from the west end of Albatross Yard to DOUG Tower. With much more real estate for a brewery, several other structures were added, including a malt house, a bottling plant, a double-ended loading platform with shelter, larger silos, a guard shack, and a power house. The Brewery was then renamed Joe Hensler Brewery, after the plant in Newark, NJ, and quickly became one of the Garden State Northern’s largest and most important customers. A decal was placed on the front of the malt house to remember passed member Ed Fraedrich as the Brewmaster.
A Susquehanna locomotive drops off some tank cars of corn syrup at the old bulkMATTic facility after dropping off some wood chip hoppers at Lumber Resource. Note the NYS&W boxcars converted into an office for the complex.
An early view of the new brewery in April 2011.
Another early reverse angle view of the brewery from Paul’s Mountain, also taken in April 2011. The large building with the awning and three doors at track level is the original Blatz Brewery building brought over from Albatross Yard.