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Black River & Western Railroad Caboose Hops Ringoes to Three Bridges 7/20/2013

by Chris Guenzler

We drove into Flemington and followed the signs towards the historical district where we found what we were looking for.

Central Railroad of New Jersey station in Flemington. From here we drove to the Black River & Western station in Ringoes and parked the car.

A Brief History

The Black River & Western Railroad was started by William Whitehead in Oldwick, New Jersey in the late 1950's. A portion of the defunct Rockway Valley line went through his back yard. He and his sons started collecting rolling stock and an engine. They started laying tracks but then the expansion of Route 78 halted their dream of building a railroad at that location. They moved their equipment to the Chester Hill branch of the Central Railroad of New Jersey with the hope of starting a railroad there. The section of railroad they were scouting soon became landlocked by the construction of Route 80. The Black River & Western Railroad was incorporated in 1961. The Black River is a river in Chester and the Western portion of the name comes from the direction of travel. The cars were moved to Flemington, New Jersey and the search for a place to start their tourist train was continued. Within a short period of time, it became apparent that Flemington might just be the perfect location. A deal was stuck with the Pennsylvania Railroad for a tourist train to operate from Flemington to Lambertville section of track. The Black River paid $5,000 a year and fixed up the track. During this time, the Pennsylvania Railroad operated the freight service. Steam engine 60 pulled the first trip out of Flemington on May 16, 1965. Weekend and holiday schedules were devised. On March 16, 1970 the Black River & Western Railroad took over the ownership and operations of the entire Flemington/Lambertville line purchasing it from the Penn Central. That was the same day New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad merged to become Penn Central. With now operating both freight and passenger trains a true shortline railroad was born. Then on April 1, 1976 the central branch which runs Flemington to Three Bridges was purchased from the Central Railroad of New Jersey. On the same day Conrail was formed combining the CNJ, Penn Central and five other railroads. The line continues today as a well working shortline handling both freight and passenger trains over its rails.

A look around the grounds

Pennsylvania Railroad Doodlebug 4666.

Black River & Western 2-6-0 60.

Black River & Western SW-1 70.

Central Railroad of New Jersey John Kohn.

Arizona Eastern Railway M55 Delaware Turtle.

New York Ontario & Western Chinago.

Caboose 24531.

The Train

Our train sat in front of the Ringoes Station.

Lehigh Valley SW-1 112.

Lehigh Valley SW-1 112 builders plate.

B&O Caboose C2440.

Wabash Caboose 2727.

Maine Central Caboose 645. After this we waited to see if we had to exchange our E mails for tickets but they allowed us to use our E mail as tickets for this evening run to Three Bridges. Dave and I boarded the Maine Central Caboose for the start of this trip. We would ride to Flemington where the power would be run around the train and would push us to Three Bridges.

Our Trip

Our train left the Ringoes Station.

Our train headed north towards our first stop at Flemington.

Two views looking west.

The view foward.

The view to the rear.

The view ahead.

The view to the west.

The view ahead.

Hunterdon Concrete.

Coming up to the Neshanic River.

Crossing the Neshanic River.

Two more views west.

View forward.

The train crossed Walnut Brook.

The flag of our United States.

Dave enjoying the caboose.

Those clouds seem to be returning.

The train pulled into Flemington and I detrained to get the power running around the train.

Lehigh Valley 112 ran around our train and would push us to Three Bridges. I reboarded the B&O Caboose C2440 so I could be on the forward end of the train to photograph our route to Three Bridges.

The train left the Flemington station and headed for Three Bridges.

We took the track to the right.

Property marker of the PRR/CRNJ.

Our train went through the Flemington historical district.

That is the old turntable pit in Flemington.

This curve took us by the old Flemington Freight House.

The train went by the Flemington station.

It went by the place we had parked when we stopped to get pictures of that station earlier this late afternoon.

This curve lead to this grade crossing.

The train went through a tree tunnel and down the straight track.

The train came to where the old siding ended.

The train crossed over a road.

Views ahead of our train.

The train went under this bridge.

The train headed to the next grade crossing.

The grade to the left is to a future new freight customer on this railroad.

I love straight track.

Another old siding along our route this evening.

Another spur track went off to the left.

The train went by another siding.

The train crossed the South Branch Raritan River.

Heading down the straight track towards the next curve.

The train took this long curve.

Seems like there are plenty of tree tunnels on our route this evening.

The train took a slight curve to a rural crossing.

Crossing another road.

Our train rolled down a long section of straight track.

Our train is approaching Three Bridges.

There are cars in the siding at Three Bridges.

Our train has reached the end of that siding.

Our train took the interchange track to the left.

The train went down that track.

Our train stopped just short of the Norfolk Southern mainline at Three Bridges. There was a green signal on the NS mainline so we waited a few minutes to see if it would show up.

Our train at Three Bridges. With no luck we left Three Bridges for Ringoes and later through the trees saw a two light NS motive power set. I relaxed all the way back to Ringoes.

My last picture of the day before we returned to Ringoes. I thanked our crew for the great trip on the Black River & Western Railroad.

On to Hanover

Dave and I left and took back roads to the Pennsylvania Turn Pike which we took west to US 30 which took us almost all the way to our hotel in Hanover where we called it a night.