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New Jersey Transit                                        New Jersey Transit  

I grew up in New Jersey, living in the Morris County towns of Towaco and Whippany.  My grandfather had built a house in Towaco back in the 1930s and he, and my father when we lived there in the 1950s, walked a half mile or so through the woods and along a couple of streets to the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western's station, from which they took steam-hauled commuter trains into Hoboken, where they caught ferries to Manhattan. After we moved to Whippany my father took the train from Convent Station, near Morristown.  As time went on the Lackawanna was merged into the Erie Railroad to become the Erie Lackawanna.

Though I have occasionally visited the Hoboken terminal for photography, I have only returned to my old stomping
grounds  three times, in 1961, 1966 and 2009 with a camera. My last visit was a happy experience. The NJ Transit trains were on time, clean, and colorful. Quite a contrast to the MBTA commuter trains around the Boston area, where I live.

These first shots were taken from a platform at the Morristown station in 1961. They show two intercity Erie-Lackawanna trains, the inbound  one of which was probably the Erie Lackawanna Limited, which was once the Hoboken-Buffalo Phoebe Snow, and which a couple of years later would be temporarily resurrected as the Phoebe Snow until 1966. The train passing it on the right was the Lake Cities, on its way to Chicago.  These were workaday expresses with little flair, but reliable in terms of service. When I was in high school I remember riding the Phoebe Snow up to the Poconos, where our church group went every winter to enjoy a snow trip. Later, when I went to college in the midwest, I once rode the Phoebe Snow to Buffalo, where I picked up a Nickel Plate train to Chicago.

Here are three 1966 photos of commuter runs on the Montclair-Boonton line (with some trains going on to Hacketstown) Bottom left is a train from Hoboken arriving in Boonton.  Bottom right is another outbound leaving Towaco.

The next photo was probably taken in Denville, near Dover. E-L commonly carried club cars with open observation areas on the rear.  There, one could have a drink and have a cigar in a style which lasted through much of the 20th century on this line.

My first stop on my trip to North Jersey in 2009 (I was attending my 50th Hanover Park High School reunion) was Towaco, where the grungy station of my youth had been restored nicely, though without a ticket office.

It's always a happy day when a train pulls into the station, and I was lucky to have an outbound one arrive. Smooth and quiet it was.

Now on to Morristown, just a couple of miles from my home in Whipppany.


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