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New Jersey Museum of Transportation Pine Creek Railroad 8/3/2018

by Chris Guenzler

After a few hours of railfanning at Princeton Jct, Robin and I drove out to Allaire State Park and followed the signs to the train station then parked in the shade of a tree before walking onto the grounds.

New Jersey Museum of Transportation

New Jersey Museum of Transportation is a museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, and operation of historic railroad equipment. The organization runs excursion trains on a 3 foot narrow gauge tourist railroad named the Pine Creek Railroad. The museum is independently operated along with the Allaire Village and is located in Allaire State Park in New Jersey. The museum runs Santa Special trains on the weekends in December.


The origins of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation began with the purchase of a Baldwin 0-4-0T engine from the Raritan River Sand Company in 1952 by a pair of railroad enthusiasts. This first engine was named the Pine Creek No. 1 and was eventually sold to the Walt Disney company, where it was overhauled and renamed the 4 Ernest S. Marsh. The engine is still in use today at the California theme park.

Initially a 2.5 acres plot of land on Route 9 in Marlboro was purchased where the railroad was run as a tourist attraction, but in 1952 when the organization was facing large property tax increases the not-for-profit Pine Creek Railroad Division of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation was formed and the operations were moved to its present-day location in Allaire State Park.

While the Pine Creek railroad loop runs adjacent to the abandoned Freehold and Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad that skirts the park (now known as the Edgar Felix Bikeway), it was never part of that rail line right-of-way.

Sunken engines

In 1985, two steam engines were found side by side and in an upright position by charter boat Captain Dan Lieb in 90 feet of water 5 miles off the coast of Long Branch. Further identification of these engines occurred in 2004 when a team of diving and railroad enthusiasts working along with the a History Channel production team investigated the engines. After viewing several digital images it was discovered, through the evidence of several artifacts on the engines, that they were Civil War-era Planet Class 2-2-2 locomotives from between 1850 and 1855.

On September 25, 2004, the New Jersey Museum of Transportation was granted custody of the two engines by US District Judge Joseph Irenas. The museum hopes one day to raise the relics for display and interpretation at the museum.

The Collection

Raritan River Sand Company 0-4-0 10 Baldwin Locomotive Works
Hope Natural Gas Company 0-4-0T 3 H. K. Porter, Inc
Raritan Copper Works 0-4-0T 9 H. K. Porter, Inc
Ely-Thomas Lumber Company 6 Lima Locomotive Works
Chiriqui Land Company 2-6-0 6 H. K. Porter, Inc
Cavan and Leitrim Railway 4-4-0T 3 Robert Stephenson & Company
Lehigh Valley Coal Company 4-4-0T 117 Vulcan Iron Works

Our Visit

We walked toward the waiting train.

The train was ready for the noon departure and being prepared for service. The engine is former United States Army narrow gauge 25 ton switcher 7751 built by General Electric in 1942.

Central Railroad of New Jersey caboose 91155, built by Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1903 from an 1874 box car, was the last car on the train today. We met the train crew and the conductor gave us a excellent private tour of the grounds and buildings.

New Jersey Museum of Transportation scene.

Lehigh Valley Coal 0-4-0 117 built by Vulcan Iron Works in 1925. It was later sold to Jeddo-Highland Coal Co. 117 at Jeddo, Pennsylvania.

Unknown switcher.

East Broad Top gondola car 824 built by American Car and Foundry Company in 1914.

Central of New Jersey Frenau station built 1907 for Freehold & Atlantic Highlands Railway, a predecessor of CNJ. It was originally located at "Frenau" along the Freehold Branch and later relocated to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation.

Oschwald Brick Company model FLB type-2 4 and three foot gauge Plymouth 7 ton switcher 4.

Passenger car under restoration.

Raritan River caboose body 7 on display.

The Pine Creek Railroad Shop. We were taken into the shop building.

US Steel Lorian Works Plymouth switcher 39 built by General Electric in 1955.

US Steel Lorian Works 44 ton switcher 45 built by General Electric in 1955.

Chiriqui Land Company 2-6-0 46 built by Porter in 1914 for the Chiriqui Land Company in Almirante, Panama.

Pouch Terminal Inc yard engine Model BS 2 built by Mack Trucks in 1929.

I found this to be interesting. We finished here and went outside.

An engine hood was outside.

Car trucks and the turntable span.

Central Railroad of New Jersey box cars 24343, 22866 and 23193. Next we went into the engine shop.

United States Steel Lorain Works 45 ton narrow gauge switcher 39 built by General Electric in 1949.

Ely Thomas Lumber 2 truck Shay 6 built by Lima in 1927 as Phoenix Utility Company 9 at Waterville, North Carolina. It was then sold to Fontana Mining Company at Fontana, North Carolina before being sold in 1931 to the North Carolina Exploration Company at Fontana, thensold in 1944 to Champion Fiber & Paper Company at Canton, North Carolina before going to Ely Thomas Lumber Company 6 at Jetville, West Virginia, and in 1955 Edgar Mead at Pine Creek, New Jersey and ten years later, moving to Farmingdale, New Jersey.

A Porter tender.

Marcus S Wright Sand Company/Pine Creek Railroad Plymouth model DL Type 2 5 built in 1942.

Alcoa B switcher 701 built by Davenport in the 1920s.

DuPont A-Line Model BHA-G300 15 built by Brookville in 1955.

Cavan, Leitrim & Roscommon Light Railway & Tramway Company 4-4-0T 3 "Lady Edith" built by Robert Stephenson & Company in 1887 for the Baltinamore, Ireland company.

Newfoundland Railway narrow gauge coach 212, later Canadian National 502, built in 1902.

East Broad Top combine 16, one of the EBT's earliest surviving passenger cars, retired in 1941.

Canadian National 502 built in 1902.

View of the engine house.

Newfoundland Railway wooden coach 509 built by Canadian National in 1902.

Surrey, Sussex & Southampton 2-6-2 26 built by Baldwin in 1920.

United States Steel Lorian Works 39 built by General Electric in 1949.

Unknown diesel switcher.

My friendly ghosts at the New Jersey Museum of Transportation. We walked around to the rear of the building and found something else.

Union Transportation Company 56 foot span Armstrong style turntable.

One of the open cars used on this railroad.

Caboose 5 built from a Raritan Rver Sand Company side dump car in 1951.

Tidewater tank car 01332.

Raritan Cooper Works 4-4-0T 9 built by Cagney by 1923 for a New Jersey beachfront amusement park.

Union Transportation Company 56 foot span Armstrong style turntable and narrow gauge wheel sets.

A narrow gauge wheel set.

A wedge snow plow blade.

A series of interesting switches.

Pine Creek Railroad station and ticket office. We went inside and picked up our complimentary tickets to ride the train.

The Freneau is the name of this station and the ticket window is below it.

The timetable board of this station.

A model train in this building.

Water tower built in 1980.

From here we went to the gift shop and I bought a Pine Creek Railroad T-shirt.

The train ready for us to board.

More model train trains. It was time to board the train with me riding the rear door of the caboose sitting on the deck of the caboose and Robin rode the engine, lucky lad! Sit back and enjoy the ride on the Pine Creek Railroad through Allaire State Park.

We took two laps around the Pine Creek Railroad loop and then the trip was over. I met Robin and soon we were on the way out of the park. A special thank to the Pine Creek Railroad, the engineer of our train, our excellent conductor and tour guide for having us here today.

Onward to Hagerstown

We took Interstate 125 to Howell for a late breakfast for me of hot cakes and sausage then drove through the worst rain storm of the trip, causing me to drive at 45 mph through it because the wipers could not clear the water off the windshield. After about twenty miles, the rain let up and we took this road to Interstate 95 to the Tollway Interstate 276 and once in Pennsylvania, the next heavy rain shower lasted thirty minutes. After that there was no rain until we got south of Harrisburg but we did encounter heavy rain most of the rest of the way to Interstate 81. We drove through more rain showers until the freeway went bumper-to-bumper and we got off and slowly found our way to the Days Inn Hagerstown where we checked in for the night. Bob and Elizabeth soon arrived and then went to Bob Evans for dinner running in from another heavy rain shower. After a good dinner, I called it an early night.