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New Jersey Rails
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New Jersey Rails

(C) 1999 J. Rissmeyer
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New Jersey Railroad Biblographys

These are shorten histories of the railroads. After the Bio's are links to related web pages.

Pennsylvania RR

The PRR was originally a line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. It grew by leasing other roads. In 1863 the Pennsy contracted with the Philadelphia & Trenton, The Camden & Amboy, and the Delaware & Raritan Canal Company. In 1904 the Pennsy started construction of two tunnels under the Hudson and Four tunnels under the East River. The biggest single improvement by the Pennsy in the 20's and 30's was the electrification of its lines between New York and Washington and from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. During World War two Pennsy's freight traffic double and the passenger traffic quadrupled. In 1957 the Pennsylvania and New York Central announced plans to merge the two roads.

New York Central (West Shore)

I am only doing the West Shore RR since this was the only part to run in New Jersey.

The New York, West Shore, and Buffalo Railroad was formed in 1880 to build a line to compete with the New York Central along the west shore of the Hudson River. It was suspected that the Pennsylvania RR was behind the project. The RR reached Buffalo in 1884, when a rate war ensued. The Road entered bankruptcy with the NYC only lightly bruised. The NYC then started to build a line in Pennsylvania. J.P. Morgan worked a compromise between the New York Central and the Pennsylvania RR. The NYC would lease the West Shore, and the PRR would get the partially built South Penn. In 1885 the West Shore was reorganized as the West Shore Railroad, wholly owned by the NYC. In 1952 the West Shore was merged into the NYC. Most of the West Shore west of Albany has been abandoned, but the section between Albany an Jersey City was/is valuable to the NYC and its successor Conrail.

Penn Central

The Penn Central Company came into existence on February 1, 1968 when the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad merged. The merger was not a success after the first year of operation yielded a deficit of $2.8 million. On June 21, 1970 the company entered bankruptcy proceedings. This ended in the creation of Conrail.

New Jersey Central

Central Railroad of New Jersey was opened in 1852 between Elizabeth and Phillipsburg, NJ. In 1864 the line was extended a few miles east to Jersey City, and in 1871 the railroad extended in to Pennsylvania by leasing the Lehigh & Susquehanna RR. In 1946 CNJs lines in PA were reorganized as the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania in an attempt to avoid taxation by New Jersey. Separate operation of CRP ended in 1952. In 1964 the CNJ purchased about 40 miles of the defunct Lehigh & New England. CNJ came under control of the Reading Company in 1901, at about the same time Reading came under the control of the Baltimore & Ohio. The Three Railroads Formed a Jersey City-Philadelphia-Wasington passenger Route to Compete with the Pennsylvania.

Reading

The Reading company began as the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, chartered in 1883 and opened from Philadelphia though Reading, to Pottsville, PA., in 1842. An Affiliated company, the Philadelphia & Reading coal & Iron Co., Began to buy much of the anthracite land in the area. In a reorganization of the Reading company, a holding company, acquired the railroad and the coal and iron company, and in 1901 got control of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. In 1923 the Reading Company merged a large number of wholly owned subsidiaries and became an operating company. Readings passenger business was almost all suburban and its freight business was also largely short haul. Reading Had a considerable amount of anthracite traffic, and its route west from Allentown through Reading and Harrisburg carried much of the freight that bypassed Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington.

Erie

The Erie Railroad, built with a track gauge of 6 feet, was completed from Piermont, NY to Dunkirk, NY in 1851. It was later extended to Jersey City, Chicago, and Buffalo. It was converted to standard gauge in 1880. The Erie always seemed subject of one financial manipulation or another. Eventually it achieved some stability as a New York-Chicago route, primarily for freight.

Erie-Lackawanna

Erie-Lackawanna Railroad Was formed in 1960 with the merging of the Erie railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.

Lehigh Valley

Lehigh Valley Railroads earliest ancestor was the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill, & Susquehanna Railroad. It was incorporated in 1846 to haul Anthracite from Mauch Chunk, PA., to Easton. In 1853 it changed its name to Lehigh Valley Railroad, and it opened it's rail line in 1855. By construction and by acquisition of other railroads LV made a connection with the Erie at Waverly, PA., in 1869. In 1879 the road reached Buffalo by financing the addition to Eries broad gauge track of a third rail for standard gauge trains, and in 1892 extending its own line to Buffalo. The eastern end of the railroad was pushed to Perth Amboy in 1875 and to Newark and a terminal on New York Harbor in 1891. LV discontinued its passenger trains in 1961, one of the first major roads to do so. In 1962 the ICC authorized the Pennsylvania Railroad, which through subsidiaries had held a substantial interest in LV since the late 1920s, to acquire control of Lehigh Valley. By 1965 PRR had acquired 97 percent of LVs stock.

Conrail

Conrail was formed on April 1, 1976 by the US Government to take over the ownership and operation of six bankrupt eastern roads. These included The Central Railroad of New Jersey, Eire-Lackawanna, Lehigh & Hudson River, Lehigh Valley, Penn Central, and Reading. It also took over the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore lines which was not bankrupt, but not doing so well. It started with a $2.1 billion from the US Government. It trimmed its excess plant and started an extensive program to improve what was left. By 1981 Conrail posted a profit and kept doing better. Conrail owns 2,100 locomotives and 74,277 freight cars.

New Jersey Transit

New Jersey Transit Rail Division of the New Jersey Transit Corporation was formed April 1982 to take over Conrail's operation of commuter service. The first day of operation was January 1, 1983. NJT owns 106 locomotives, 715 passenger cars, and 300 self-propelled passenger cars.

Amtrak

After World War Two railroads invested heavily into passenger trains, But traffic kept declining. With interstate highways being built, and new airline technology, Americans turned away from railroads. By the 1960's it was evident that something would have to be done. Most railroads joined Amtrak but some didn't (like Rio Grande). Amtrak took over most intercity passenger operation on May 1, 1971. Most railroads ran the trains for Amtrak, but Amtrak brought its on people in gradually. Most of the first passenger equipment was bought second hand from the railroads. Amtrak started to buy new equipment in the following years. Today Amtrak owns 399 engines, 863 Mow cars, and 1,919 passenger cars.

Some of the previous Biographies were taken out of Kalmbach Publishing Co's Railroad Reference Series and Used with out permission
J. Rissmeyer April 12, 1999 - k-gnome@monmouth.com
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