RAHWAY VALLEY RAILROAD

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Visit Richard King's website: Rahway Valley Railroad Co.

 

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RVRR 2-8-0 #14 - Kenilworth, NJ - 7/4/39  Baldwin: 9/1905 Serial #26356, Ex-L&NE #20
(Halsey L. Tilton photo, Dave Keller archive)

 

The Rahway Valley Railroad (RVRR), interchanging with the Lehigh Valley Railroad (LV) in Roselle Park and the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) in Cranford and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) in Summit, NJ, was one of the most successful short lines in US history.

The RVRR was able to even turn a profit during the Great Depression. During its lifetime, it was instrumental in the development of Kenilworth, site of its headquarters, as well as Union, Springfield, and other towns along its route. The railroad was created as part of an industrial development of New Orange (now Kenilworth.) The New York and New Orange Railroad extended from Aldene with the Central Railroad of New Jersey and from the Lehigh Valley is Roselle Park to New Orange, four miles. The line was foreclosed on in 1901 and was sold to the New Orange Four Junction Railroad. The NOFJ eventually went bankrupt in 1904. And was acquired in 1905 by Social Register publisher Louis Keller to provide passenger rail service to Baltusrol Golf Club, of which he was a founder. Later run as a freight-only line, the Rahway Valley was vital to industry in the area, with customers ranging from small fuel companies to Monsanto Corp. As customers switched to truck freight, moved away, or went out of business, the Rahway Valley Railroad withered to the point that service ended entirely in 1992.

The primary interchange with the RVRR was at the former Lehigh Valley (LV) junction at Roselle Park. Carloads Shipped/Received decreased for example: year (cars) 1969 (1513),  1970 (1638), 1971 (1337),  1972(1005) 
Research: Ed Schaller 

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Rahway Valley Railroad Timetable 04/10/1906 Compiled/Archive: Don Maxton


 "The Rahway Valley" 
by Steven Lynch 03/2006

Railroad Model Craftsman
 

    
Rahway River Valley Bridge
1972 - Cab View

 

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RVRR 1907 Leather Pass Book

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RVRR 1907 Pass Book 
Inside view

Rosters:
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Locomotives 02/14/09
Passenger Roster "coming soon"
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Freight Car Photos
08/16/09
RVRR Caboose 09/01/09

Locations:
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Aldene 06/10/12
Cranford Junction 06/05/12
Kenilworth 02/15/09
Maplewood 09/21/09
SIR (SIRT) Junction  06/10/12
Springfield 09/11/09
Summit 09/07/09
Roselle Park 09/27/11
RVRR Stations 02/14/09

RVRR Info:
RVRR Bibliography 03/10/09
RVRR Modeling 11/15/2011

Maps:
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Topographic Maps

Freight:
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Freight Action Photos 4/5/11
Freight Info

RVRR History:

RVRR Company History 02/14/09
NY and New Orange RR  1897-1901
New Orange Four Junction Railroad  1901-1905
Cross Country Railroad, Project of the Cross Steam and Electric Railway Company  1903-1904
Rahway Valley Railroad Company  1904-1909
Rahway Valley (Railroad) Company  1909-1986
Rahway Valley Railroad, Lessee  1909-1986
Rahway Valley Line 1909-1986
Rahway Valley Railroad Co. 1986- Present

Early History: NY&NO and NOFJ 03/07/09
End of RVRR Passenger Service 02/27/09
"The Rahway Valley Railroad: A Historical Overview"  02/27/09
RVRR Company Officers
02/24/09
RVRR News Articles 03/03/09
RVRR Magazine Articles 03/10/09

RVRR Paper:


Railroad & Canal Reports 09/01/09
RVRR Paperwork 11/16/2012
RVRR Passes
02/26/09
RVRR/NYNO Tickets 11/23/12
1955 Freight Manifest
01/01/09

Photos:

RVRR #15 Ashwood Ave, Summit, NJ 
Photo: William S. Young used by permission
Frank Reilly Collection
RVRR Photos

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Gering Products Inc. Thermoplastics Plant, Kenilworth on the former 
Monsanto site (1991+)

 

 

Published Material:
"THE RAHWAY VALLEY RAILROAD" Donald A. Maxton
Arcadia Publishing
ISBN:0-7385-1008-4
1-800-313-2665

 

 

 

"The little railroad that helped build Kenilworth" The Cranford Chronicle 05/21/11
Springfield RVRR Station 12/1947, Model Craftsman Warren Crater
  02/21/09
Rahway Valley Railroad "Saga of a Shortline" John J. McCoy 02/18/09
"New Jersey's Streak o' Rust" 10/1950 Trains Mag John T. Cunningham  02/18/09
"The Rahway Valley Railroad: Soon to be a Fallen Flag?" June 1986  03/10/09
"Rahway Valley Railroad - The 15 mile freight line..." RMC 1/1964  05/23/12
"Rahway Railway Finale" Railspace News Mag 07/1992  10/20/12

 RVRR #16 sidelined at Whippany, NJ 01/15/05 Photos: Tom Piccirillo



RVRR action as #17 in green livery is crossing Kenilworth Boulevard in 1970

Photos: Tom Piccirillo

O scale model of #17 in green livery that I painted for my model railroad. The model was imported by Yoder Scale Models in 2003. The lettering was custom printed on Micro-Mark blank decal paper from artwork I produced myself. The paint was a custom blend of Floquil colors that I matched against the original color slides.
2004.
Models & Photos: Tom Piccirillo

RVRR ABANDONMENT HISTORY

rahwayvalleyabandonmentmap.jpg (66859 bytes)The DL&W interchange in Summit was the first casualty in the post Conrail world. The last customer in Summit was the Foster Bell plant along the Springfield / Summit border. The plant closed in the 1980's. With its closure, the active portion of the RV was cut back to just south of the Rahway River bridge on the Springfield/Union border.

When Delaware Otsego (NYS&W) took over in 1986, the Primary interchange was moved from the LV interchange to the former CNJ interchange at Cranford (actually Aldene in CNJ days). The RV had embargoed (not abandoned) the CNJ interchange with the coming of Conrail. This track was restored by the Delaware Otsego Corp. By 1987, the RV/LV interchange was no longer used.

In 1992, when service on the RV was finally discontinued, the LV connection near the Roselle Park Fire Station was ripped up and the land sold to a developer who built the homes on top of the former right of way. This forever severed the connection to the LV.  (The houses next to the Firehouse were built before the the tracks were pulled up and trains were still running. The houses were built on ex-town property... Mike Cray 12/10/01)

As for the Maplewood Branch, the construction of Interstate 78 chopped the line back to Vauxhall Road in Union. Recent housing development cut the line back to Morris Avenue. Jaeger Lumber off of Morris Avenue was the last active customer north of Rt. 22 They stopped receiving cars in the late 1980's.

When the State and Union County bought the property in 1994, they faced a couple of immediate problems. Two bridges along the line didn't allow 14' clearance underneath. These are the two bridge in Summit that were removed. Since it was felt that there would be no immediate need to restore this section of the line, the bridges could simply be removed and replaced "when necessary" (Read: never).

At the same time the Delaware Otsego was selling the right of way to the LV so that homes could be built, they also sold the entire Monsanto Branch right of way to eager adjacent homeowners who finally got their wish of seeing the "eyesore" railroad disappear. I believe that the removal of this segment will be the one that will be most regretted in the future.

All that was left is what you see today. I must say, it is horrible fate for such a once prosperous railroad. While the politicians might be successful in rebuilding some of it, I feel that commercial real estate interests will conspire to keep much of it useless..."  Commentary:  05/16/2000  Eric S. Strohmeyer  

THE DIAMOND CROSSING MYSTERY SOLVED

"...If my memory serves me right , the LV did go over a diamond at the east end of their small yard at Cranford to service a company (freight station) that was about 100 yards to the east of the diamond. (track ended at Locust St.) I can remember spotting cars there when I worked the local out of Oak Island , OP-5, in 1969 but do not remember the name of the factory... You had to open a box and throw a lever to set the signals to red for any opposing moves while we made the shift..." Keith Bednar  

The entire line in that area was to run at "yard speed" and that limited them to a max of 15mph being able to stop short of any obstructions. A switch that had about a 10 foot high switch target on it. (Note: It was not connected to anything but the high target.) It was set one way while the LV switched the stub, and set the other way for the RV.

Upon throwing the switch it would show clear to go across the diamond for the LV to service the industry east of the diamond. When completed switching the industry the signal was returned to its normal position of clear for the RVRR crews to run across the diamond crossing to switch the interchange. As with Summit, this interchange would have setouts and pickups providing a reason to have the foreign road switchers operate in the area.

roselleparkrvrrxcross1985.jpg (107049 bytes)The photo looks west. The track heading out of the picture in the upper  right 
is the RVRR to Kenilworth. Behind the camera is the yard. To the left are the tracks that connect with the LV. To the right is the stub industry track. Note that the diamond was in Roselle Park...not in Cranford. Photo: David Newall 1985  Commentary: Tom Piccirillo

  Rahway Valley Memories:  Steve Rodick c.1960's

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RVRR freight bound home south of  Route 22 entering
Kenilworth, NJ Photo: William S. Young used by permission
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Galloping Hill Golf Course, Kenilworth, NJ

I have circled in RED the area, I believe, that is the location of the above locomotive photo.  The yellow dashes mark the path I used to take every weekend in order to go from my home on Liberty Ave in Union, NJ, to Galloping Hill Golf Course, where I was a golf caddy for 5 years.  It took me onto the RVRR right-of-way that ran along "what would appear that water area".  Mind you, I caddied in the early 1960’s and that photo goes back to the days when locomotives were running – which I believe had to be before 1955 (I absolutely recall seeing what may have been the last locomotive cross Liberty Avenue in that pre-1955 time frame).  As such the terrain had changed by the 1960’s – with far less water adjacent to the tracks – but the slopes still existed – and I recall shimmying down those every weekend! What memories.

My trek each weekend along those tracks was always an adventure – especially when I had to cross ROUTE 22.  Had my parents known I was doing that my life would have ended as I knew it then!  LOL!  

Also – I recall seeing at Liberty Avenue what had to be the leftover foundation of Arion Station or Kate Miller Station – although at the time, I thought it was something remaining from a ramp and not an actual “station.”  As it turns out, Google maps provides a precise photo location directly on Liberty Avenue at the intersection of the RVRR tracks.  Here are both a SW and a NW view from that Google photo location.    Anecdote/Maps: Steve Rodick  

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The NW view simply shows the overgrown tracks heading north with the Watchung Mountains beyond Springfield and Summit in the background; to the right is Breeze Corp. and to the left is Western Electric; (when it was there.)
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The SW photo shows the tracks and what still appears to be the “ramp” to the right, which today is adjacent to a parking lot.

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Rahway Valley RR 1906 Map of the Kenilworth - Roselle area Stations 

Prepared by
Union County Engineer
Surveys & maps &
(for)? Fidelity Trast  (sic)

Note 1: Kenilworth, Warren Street Station - There was no actual Warren St. in Kenilworth, it was in the original plans for New Orange though. Warren Street Station is simply marked "Station" on the map.
Note 2: Kenilworth, Central Station  - There were no facilities at the Kenilworth Station until about 1919
Note 3: Michigan Ave. (flag stop)
Note 4: Aldene    
Research: Rich King

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