New Jersey Southern Railroad

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New Jersey Southern Railroad (NJS)

was formally acquired in September 1879 by

The Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) as its Southern Division


Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad

From Wikipedia
The New Jersey Southern Railroad (NJS) began life as the Raritan and Delaware Bay Railroad Company (R&DB), in March 1854. The R&DB was chartered to construct a railroad from the Raritan Bay to Cape Island later know as Cape May, near the outlet of the Delaware Bay. It was to form part of a rail and water route from New York City to Norfolk, Virginia.

The man behind it was William A Torrey, who owned 43 square miles in the area of present-day Lakehurst, New Jersey.

Construction began in 1858 from Port Monmouth, New Jersey on Raritan Bay. The first segment opened in June 1860 ran south via Red Bank, New Jersey as far as Eatontown, New Jersey and then by a branch running east to the resort town of Long Branch, New Jersey on the shore. It was the first railroad to reach Long Branch. Summer service in the first year was three train and boat trips per day in each direction.
This first section included what would remain the two largest engineering works on the line: the long pier at Port Monmouth and the Navesink River bridge at Red Bank.

Later in 1860 the main line was opened as far as Lakewood. As construction continued, instead of turning southeast at Lakehurst to Toms River and parallel to the shore to Cape May, the main line continued southwest, opening to Whiting(Manchester Township) and Atsion (now in Wharton State Forest) in 1862.
The route passed through the center of the lightly populated Pine Barrens, and was connected to towns on Barnegat Bay only by stages running on public roads. A branch to Toms River was opened later, in 1866, and extended to Waretown in 1872.

The reason for the Pine Barrens routing soon became clear. In September 1862, the R&DB and the Camden and Atlantic Railroad began operating a through service between New York and Philadelphia once a day, without change of trains between Port Monmouth and Camden. To make this possible the two railroads had built a connecting line(Basto Branch of the C&A, later Atsion Branch of the NJS') from Atsion to Atco on the Camden and Atlantic Railroad.
As roundabout as it was, this service caused controversy because it broke the state-authorized monopoly of the Camden and Amboy Railroad for travel between New York and Philadelphia. But as the American Civil War put demands on the railroads to transport troops and materials, the Camden and Amboy Railroad proved notoriously unable to handle the traffic on its one-track main line across New Jersey, and the R&DB rapidly became a valuable alternate route. 17,500 troops were sent via the R&DB over nine months starting September 1862.
But the Camden and Amboy Railroad took the matter to court, and tried to use its influence in the state legislature to dissolve the R&DB, while the R&DB appealed to the United States Congress to protect its operation.

Through service to Camden was discontinued in February 1866, and in December 1867 the R&DB lost its case on appeal and was ordered to close the section of line from Atsion to Atco, making it impossible for passengers to travel to Camden even by changing trains.

The Camden and Amboy's zealous defense of its rights is all the more remarkable because the monopoly was set to expire on January 1, 1869.

The Camden and Amboy Railroad further weakened the R&DB by supporting a competing service to Long Branch. The Long Branch and Sea Shore Railroad was opened in 1865 from Spermaceti Cove on Sandy Hook down the narrow sand spit to a station in Long Branch near the R&DB station. This route was shorter and faster both by sea and land than the R&DB route, which had been built incidental to the main line to southern New Jersey. The Camden and Amboy Railroad supplied the locomotives and cars for the new road.

The LB&SS would later become part of the New Jersey Southern.

The R&DB company, having exhausted its limited resources on the fight with the Camden and Amboy Railroad, went into bankruptcy, and was reorganized under new management as the New Jersey Southern Railroad near the end of 1869. That summer, a cooperative arrangement with the Camden and Amboy Railroad permitted operation of a train service from Philadelphia to Long Branch, via Trenton, Monmouth Junction, and Farmingdale, using the R&DB main line and branch north of Farmingdale.

New Jersey Southern Railroad

The new company was created by railroad financier Jay Gould. He had first taken over the Long Branch and Sea Shore Railroad, when it was of no further interest to the Camden and Amboy, and improved it by extending it farther north on Sandy Hook to Horse Shoe Cove. From this base he then acquired the former R&DB. The Horse Shoe Cove dock was more sheltered than Port Monmouth, and its better access to Long Branch made it the preferred route for the combined railroads. Boat service to Port Monmouth was discontinued about 1871. Trains now ran through from Sandy Hook to Long Branch to Eatontown Junction and from there down the NJS main line to southern New Jersey. Some service continued to run on the old NJS route from Port Monmouth via Red Bank to Eatontown.

Meanwhile down in south Jersey, the main line was finally extended to Delaware Bay, but not by the NJS. The Vineland Railway started at the end of the NJS at Atsion, crossed the Camden and Atlantic at Winslow Junction, and reached the agricultural town of Vineland in 1870. This company was backed by Charles K. Landis, the founder of Vineland as a somewhat utopian community. The railway was continued onward to Delaware Bay at Bay Side in 1871. The New Jersey Southern's plan now was to reach Baltimore by means of the Vineland Railway, a boat across Delaware Bay, a railroad across the Delmarva Peninsula, and a boat across Chesapeake Bay, according to a statement issued in 1873 over the signature of Jay Gould, President.

The only lengthy NJS branch in south Jersey ran from Bridgeton to a place called Bivalve, on the Maurice River in Port Norris. It was opened in 1872 by the Bridgeton and Port Norris Railroad, but connected at Bridgeton not with the NJS but with the West Jersey Railroad running to Camden. The principal commodity was oysters, at that time plentiful in the area and much in demand. The NJS did not acquire this line until 1887, after the B&PN company had failed and it was reorganized as the Cumberland and Maurice River Railroad. Ref--> Donald B Wentzel, "The Maurice River Branch", in West Jersey Rails II, 1985

Also at this time two connecting lines were built in central Jersey, both from Whitings. The Pemberton and New York Railroad ran west to meet a railroad from Camden near Pemberton. The other, the Tuckerton Railroad, ran southeast to reach the bay towns from Waretown (which was also on the NJS's branch from Lakehurst) to Tuckerton.

Gould lost control of the New Jersey Southern Railroad company in the Panic of 1873 and it went into receivership. Ref--> New York Times, 14 May 1879

Rail service to the Monmouth County coast was revolutionized by the opening of the New York and Long Branch Railroad (NY&LB) in 1875 from Perth Amboy to Long Branch. It was the so-called "all rail route" from Jersey City, operated by the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The NY&LB crossed the NJS original mainline at Red Bank and the NJS mainline via Long Branch on the west side of town at Branchport. This was the third railroad to Long Branch, and it rapidly became the primary route.
The time by rail from New York (including a ten-minute ferry ride to Jersey City) was about 1 hour 40 minutes. The "bay route" to Sandy Hook took about 2 hours but writers of the period considered it the more pleasant journey, at least in good weather. The New York and Long Branch was extended by separate companies to Sea Girt in 1876 and Point Pleasant in 1880.

The idea of connecting New York and Philadelphia by the former R&DB was revived for about two years from 1878 to 1880. The rail portion of the new route ran from Sandy Hook via Long Branch, Eatontown, Whitings, and Pemberton to Camden. Travellers could leave New York by boat at 11:00 in the morning and arrive at Philadelphia by ferry at 4:20 in the afternoon.

The Pennsylvania Railroad acquired the Pemberton route in 1879, and used it and new construction to create a new route from Camden to Long Branch in 1881, running via a new line from Whitings to Toms River and Seaside Heights and up to the end of the NY&LB at Bay Head Junction, just south of Point Pleasant. The Pennsylvania likewise rerouted the trains from Philadelphia off the NJS in 1880, running instead by a new line to Sea Girt and then up the new NY&LB. The section of the NY&LB from Long Branch to Point Pleasant therefore had trains to both New York and Philadelphia, but not through service, and the possible journeys involving the NJS bay route to Long Branch and a change of trains to the Pennsylvania Railroad were not promoted.

The New Jersey Southern was formally acquired by the Central Railroad of New Jersey in September 1879, although a CNJ timetable of July 1878 shows that the NJS was already operated by the CNJ at that date. The CNJ moved to consolidate operations of the rail and bay routes. A new link was built in 1878 from the NJS Long Branch station, now called East Long Branch, to the NY&LB at West End, on the south end of the town. The main services from New York were now: Jersey City to Point Pleasant over the New York and Long Branch; Sandy Hook to East Long Branch and (via the new link) to Point Pleasant; and Jersey City to southern New Jersey, turning off the New York and Long Branch at Red Bank into the NJS main line. The old NJS main line from Port Monmouth to Red Bank was downgraded to a branch with minimal train service. The NJS line from East Long Branch to Eatontown saw a few trains that allowed passengers to use the bay route and connect at Eatontown for southern New Jersey. {{Ref--> Elaine Anderson, The Central Railroad of New Jersey's First 100 Years, Center for Canal History and Technology, 1984, p.66,70}}

Subsidiaries equipped and operated as a part of the New Jersey Southern Railroad


This road extends from Bridgeton to Port Norris a distance of 20.30 miles.


This road extends from Greenwich to Cohansey Creek a distance of 1.03 miles.


This road extends from Bridgeton to Long Reach a distance of 21.20 miles.


This road extends from a point on the Vineland Railroad near Bridgeton to the Cumberland and Maurice River Railroad a distance of 1.23 miles


This road extends from Atsion to Bayside a distance of 46.82 miles.


This road extends from a point on the Vineland Railroad near Bowentown Station to a point in Bridgeton near Broad Street a distance of 3.66 miles.

Long Branch and Sea Shore Railroad Company

Present the following report Capital stock paid in $95,194 05 floating debt 79,988 84 principal and interest of debt paid during the year 1866 $4,965.64 Cost of road equipment $180,148.53 RECEIPTS from passengers $43,220.42 from freight 9,910.66 $53,131 08 EXPENSES for working the road including repairs maintenance of way and contingencies $43,267.25 There have been no accidents involving loss of life or personal damage during the year of 1866, HENRY HOWLAND President.

Image:13cnj1.png Central Railroad of New Jersey (Southern Division)

The Central Railroad of New Jersey (reporting mark CNJ), commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States. Its main line ran from Jersey City west through New Jersey to Phillipsburg and across the Delaware River to Easton and Scranton in Pennsylvania. Its Southern Division stretched into southern New Jersey to Delaware Bay.

The New Jersey Southern was formally acquired by the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey as its Southern Division in September 1879.

The CNJ was leased by the Philadelphia and Reading Railway in 1883. Though that was later canceled, the Reading continued to exert major influence over the CNJ, and used it for its New York City terminal.

In 1901 the Reading Company gained control of the CNJ, which lasted until the creation of Conrail on April 1, 1976.

In 1929 the CNJ began operating its most famous train on its Southern Division, The Blue Comet, from Jersey City to Atlantic City (via Winslow Junction and the P-RSL). The Blue Comet ran with coaches, diners, baggage cars on day runs and added sleeping cars on the night runs. At it’s height in 1929 the CNJ “Blue Comet” carried more than 62,000 passengers, by 1940 it had declined to a mere 14,000 passengers. It ran until 1941.

Photos of the Southern Division
Track maps

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