Tag: Railroad Museums of New Jersey

Whippany Railway Museum                                    1 Railroad Plaza                                         Whippany, NJ 07981

Whippany Railway Museum 1 Railroad Plaza Whippany, NJ 07981

Whippany Railway Museum

1 Railroad Plaza

Whippany, NJ 07981

(973) 887-8177

http://www.whippanyrailwaymuseum.net/

https://www.facebook.com/WhippanyRailwayMuseum/

Open: Sunday 12:00pm-4:00pm/Monday-Saturday Closed/Seasonal

Admission: Please check the website for seasonality

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46925-d3395271-Reviews-Whippany_Railway_Museum-Whippany_Morris_County_New_Jersey.html

Video on the Whippany Railway Museum

I have to say that I was very impressed by the Whippany Railway Museum. It was not one of those usual train museums with bric-a-brac and posters and a uniform here and there. The museum building itself is a highly organized history of the rail system not just in New Jersey but all over the country. It showcases how New Jersey played a big role in the growth of the rail system and how transportation has changed over the last 100 years.

The museum displays were highly organized and well documented with all sorts of equipment of how a train functions, lighting equipment for the outdoors, and indoor dining, menus and manners for a time when rail was a form of luxury travel. It shows the progression from just transportation for the movement of product to a sleek way to travel from destination to destination.

The Whippany Railway Museum at 1 Railroad Plaza

There are all sorts of everyday items that show how maintenance of the trains have changed over the years and the modernization of the railcars. They have a display on lighting that has changed over the years and the way that communication was done between the trains and the staff. Even the uniforms have not really changed too much over the years.

Race is touched on with the advancement of Blacks in the Pullman coaches as porters and later supervisors. There was even a discussion on the strikes for better pay and working conditions. I thought it was interesting about the discussion of being called a “George”, which was a term for George Pullman, the owner and developer of the luxury cars. It might have been meant as a compliment but came off as a slur. It showed a progression in the field that in some ways has not changed.

The museum also showed that rail life could be lonely and not the best in working conditions for anyone which is why the unions became so powerful in later years. It also showed the ingenuity of how the rails conquered the West and opened the country up for development. With each stop, towns developed, and populations have changed. You see how this has been affected even today as rail is not as popular as it once was, and these small towns are dying off.

Where the museum really shines and where I saw the most pride is in the rail cars that have come to the yard over the years and have been carefully restored. The Southern Railway No. 385 built in 1907 for faster freight service, the Texaco Fireless Cooker No. 7240 built in 1937 for industrial switching duty and one of the newest steam locomotives still surviving, the U.S. Army No. 4039 built in 1942 for WWII service are just some of the cars on display (Whippany Railway Museum pamphlet).

The Lackawanna Railroad Subscription Club Car No. 2454

The railcar that most impressed me was the Lackawanna Railroad Subscription Club Car No. 2454 that was once known as the “Millionaires Express” (Whippany Railway Museum). The mahogany paneled car carried businessmen from New York City through towns in the middle of New Jersey. What I thought was interesting was the people who rode it (Christie Todd Whitman’s father was a member) and the fact that you had to ‘buy’ the seat, which meant that no one could ever sit in ‘your chair’ if you were not there. This car ran for 72 years finally retiring out in 1984 (probably due to the recession and changing times).

I ended up spending about three hours at the museum due to a very detailed tour by one of the volunteers named Mike. He gave the most interesting hour-long tour of each car and how they were renovating it and carefully restoring each one to its historical integrity. He was so detailed and when the other volunteers chimed in with their stories as well, made it a fascinating tour of the whole yard.

When you are visiting the museum, allow time to take this every intensive and detailed tour of the museum grounds and just don’t concentrate on what’s inside the building. The museum spreads out all over the yards and take the time to explore each car and learn its history. It is an educating and fascinating way to spend the afternoon.

The museum modernizes:

The Whippany Museum under new directions

The History of the Whippany Museum:

(From the museum website)

The story of the Whippany Railway Museum began many years ago when the Morris County Central Railroad (MCC) first opened to the public on May 9th, 1965, at Whippany, NJ. On that exciting day a half-century ago, former Southern Railway steam locomotive No. 385 departed Whippany for Morristown, NJ with the MCC’s first trainload of over 400 passengers. At the end of the day over 1,500 people had traveled on a nostalgic trip into railroading’s colorful past. For the next 15 years until it ceased operations in 1980, the MCC would carry on this excellent tradition, leaving memories for untold hundreds of thousands of visitors that would last a lifetime.

The Morris County Central was founded by a New Jersey aerospace technician, the late Earle H. Gil, Sr. of Parsippany. His idea of running steam excursion trains was formed in the late 1950’s when conventional steam railroad operations were fading fast. Gil hoped that a financially successful heritage railroad would justify the great expense involved in keeping one of these magnificent machines alive.

Having acquired No. 385 in 1963 from the 16-mile-long Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (VBR) in rural Piney River, VA, the MCC ran an outstanding operation through the woodlands of suburban New Jersey. In 1966, Gil acquired another VBR steam locomotive, No. 4039 a former US Army 0-6-0 switcher that was soon added to the MCC’s roster of vintage steam-era equipment.

Threatened by development of the property alongside the Whippany Station, the Morris County Central RR saved the Whippany Freight House from demolition in June 1967 by having it moved across four sets of tracks to a site opposite the station building. Originally used by our predecessor organization, Morris County Central Railroad Museum, this classic railroad freight house is now the headquarters of the Whippany Railway Museum.

The Morris County Central was a fine example of what a conscientious group was able to accomplish, with moderate resources and good taste in the preservation of operating steam. It proved that trains, steam locomotives and haunting whistles continue to linger in the minds of the American public.

Fifty years on, the Whippany Railway Museum continues the tradition and proves that it is indeed possible to have a quality operation through much hard work by its dedicated group of volunteers and the tremendous support of the visiting public.

(From the Museum Pamphlet):

Here you can visit the restored, 1904 freight house with its outstanding collection of rail and transportation artifacts and memorabilia. There are dozens of historic railcars and exhibits on view. We are proud to feature the largest collection of American-built standard gauge steam locomotives displayed in New Jersey.

Marvel at one of the oldest steam locomotives in America, the Southern Railway No. 385 built in 1907 for fast freight service, Texaco Fireless Cooker No. 7240, built in 1937 for industrial switching duty and one of the newest stream locomotives still surviving, the U.S. Army No. 4039, built in 1942 for World War II service.

Maywood Station Museum                                 269 Maywood Avenue                              Maywood, NJ 07607

Maywood Station Museum 269 Maywood Avenue Maywood, NJ 07607

Maywood Station Museum

269 Maywood Avenue

Maywood, NJ  07607

(201) 845-3323

http://www.maywoodstation.com

http://www.maywoodstation.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MaywoodStationMuseum/

Open: Times Vary; please check their website

Admission: Free

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46608-d2661796-Reviews-Maywood_Station_Museum-Maywood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

This National Registered restored 1872 New York, Susquehanna & Western railroad station, one of oldest in New Jersey, is located in the heart of Maywood, NJ. Restored by the Maywood Station Historical Committee and opened in September 25, 2004, it contains an extensive railroad museum and collection. The site also contains a restored caboose and engine.

I visited the Maywood Station Museum when it was open recently and found a fascinating collection of railroad memorabilia, Maywood fire department history and early maps of the town of Maywood. It is a treasure trove of articles for people who like to study railroad history especially its growth in small towns, early stages of industry in the town and in New Jersey.

Maywood Station Museum IV

The inside of the station museum

There is a lot of items that show the history of rail service not just on the train but in the station as well. There are antique desks, phones, ticket takers, mailboxes, benches and pictures all from the turn of the last two centuries.

The Maywood Station Historical Committee (MSHC) division of New York, Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society operates the Maywood Station Museum and is chartered as a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 non-profit, educational and historical organization with a mission to preserve our railroad and cultural heritage through restoration and preservation, historical awareness, archiving and interpretation, museum open houses, meetings and special events (Maywood Station Museum Committee).

The museum is operated and staffed by the volunteer membership of the Maywood Station Historical Committee. The main focus of the museum is concentrated on the history of Maywood Station and the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad and the roles they played in the development of the Borough of Maywood and the surrounding area. The museum collection contains hundreds of photographs, displays, documents, maps and artifacts covering the histories of Maywood Station, the NYS&W and local railroads, the Borough of Maywood and the local region, which are changed periodically and designed to entertain and educate visitors of all ages as well as offer a virtual timeline to these subjects.

Maywood Station Museum is also the official site of the New York, Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society’s (www.nyswths.org) archive, which contains thousands of drawings, maps, track diagrams, photos, timetables, documents and records covering the history of the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad (Wiki).

Maywood Station Museum II

The Museum and Railroad Car

For those interested in historical buildings, meticulous care has been taken by the Maywood Station Historical Committee to show the museum in a historical context.  The museum features the original woodwork painted and stained in the original colors and original Maywood Station furnishings have been restored and displayed such as the potbelly stove, station agent’s desk, chairs, telegraph keys and freight scale. Victorian-period original light fixtures and sconces adorn the ceilings and walls. Additional items have been painstakingly reproduced to the exact original specifications of over one hundred years ago including the station benches and bay window area (Wiki).

The Maywood Station Museum collection includes a former Penn Central/Conrail N-12 class caboose, which was restored by Maywood Station Historical Committee members. Visitors to the Maywood Station Museum are invited to come aboard Caboose 24542 and view additional displays and an operating model train layout. The Maywood Station Museum collection also includes original New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad ALCO Type-S-2 Locomotive #206, which has also been restored by Maywood Station Historical Committee members (Wiki).

On September, 10, 2009, NYS&W S-2 #206 was placed on the State of New Jersey Register of Historical Places. The locomotive was placed onto the National Register of Historical Places on March 19, 2010 (Wiki).

The History of Maywood Station:

Maywood Station Museum III

The Museum Logo

In 1871, the New Jersey Midland Railway, predecessor of today’s New York, Susquehanna & Western (NYS&W), began constructing a rail line between Newfoundland, NJ and Hackensack, NJ.  The line was part of a plan to connect with the New York & Oswego Midland (later New York, Ontario & Western) in Middletown, NY and provide rail service from the Great Lakes to New York Harbor. The residents of what would later become Maywood, which at the time was part of an area called Midland Township, saw the advantages of the new railroad and requested a stop be made.

At the time, approximately 13 homes with nearly 90 residents were in the boundaries of today’s Maywood. Soon afterward, construction of Maywood Station began. On March 11, 1872, the New Jersey Midland commenced operating trains on the new line and Maywood Station formally opened in the same paint colors you see it restored to today. Six passenger trains a day in each direction initially stopped at Maywood. It should be noted that for a brief period after that station opened, the station sign said “West Hackensack” but this removed due to the requests of local residents who wanted the station named “Maywood”, as the immediate area surrounding the station had then become known (Maywood Station Museum).

A station agent was employed and it is believed that the first agent was name George Sipley. The station agent handled passenger  baggage, freight shipments to and from the station, passenger ticketing and general functions in addition to performing the job of postmaster. In the 1872 to 1910 period, Maywood Station served as Maywood’s post office at various times when it wasn’t housed in a local merchant’s store. Another station agent/postmaster was Charles M. Berdan, who held this position in the late 1890’s into the early 1900’s. Mr. Berdan’s home was located directly across Maywood Avenue from the station and exists today. Maywood Station was also equipped with a telegraph so that the railroad could communicate between their stations and local residents could send messages around the world. The station also offered Wells Fargo and later, Railway Express Agency delivery services. These services lasted into the 1960’s (Maywood Station Museum).

When Maywood Station was built, it originally located on the south side of the current tracks. In 1893, the station was moved to its present location on the north side of the tracks due to the addition of a second set of tracks being constructed and a purchase of additional land by the railroad. At the time, several additional NYS&W stations along the line were similarly moved for the same reason. When the station was moved, it was jacked up onto the rails, the rails greased, spun around and slide approximately 30 feet closer to Maywood Avenue, then jacked up again and moved to its present  location. A new foundation was also added. It is interesting made at this time including the addition of a freight platform at the “new” rear of the station.

Maywood Station Museum

The Maywood, NJ Railroad Museum

The spot where Maywood Station was moved to originally included a passing siding where steam locomotives were stationed to be added, when necessary to help heavy freight trains on the several grades encountered heading west on the line. When the station was moved, the passing siding was cut back and one of the two switches was removed. The remaining trackage was then used to store freight cars, which were unloaded at the station. The siding started to the west of the station and ran 440 feet to near the rear freight platform of the station. The siding was last used in the early 1970’s and remnants of it can be seen today (Museum Station Museum).

In 1894, the approximate 1.1. square mile area that included Maywood Station, formerly part of Midland Township was incorporated as the Borough of Maywood. Also that year, the NYS&W expanded into western New Jersey and through its Wilkes-Barre & Eastern Railroad subsidiary, into the coal fields in the Pocono region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The rail line could now take a passenger from a ferry at New York City to a connection at Jersey City, NJ to almost Scranton, PA on its own rails. The added ease of transportation began to attract manufacturing to Maywood as well as a demand for new homes. In 1894, the total residents living in Maywood numbered approximately 300 but this was about to change (Maywood Station Museum).

New manufacturing and homes sprang up in the area surrounding the station and included such industry as Schaefer Alkaloids Company, Maywood Chemical Company and Maywood Art Tile Company. As these companies expanded so did Maywood’s population and by 1920 it numbered nearly 3000 (today Maywood has approximately 9,500 residents). The 1920’s also marked the height of passenger service provided by the NYS&W at Maywood Station. Thirteen passenger trains in each direction stopped at Maywood Station on a daily basis. Freight shipments continued to be delivered to the station and most of the local industry had their own rail sidings serving their plants. The NYS&W was enjoying a period of posterity and in 1920, a freight house addition was added to rear of Maywood Station and the exterior walls received a stucco finish over the existing boards and battens.

Stucco was in-vogue in the 1920’s and the NYS&W applied this material to several other stations on their line as well. In 1926, another round of various improvements were made at Maywood Station including the addition of interior men’s and women’s bathrooms, an 8-inch concrete floor installed to replace the wooden floor planking plus electrical and heating improvements. Unfortunately the Great Depression stuck in October 1929 and lasted well into the late 1930’s and the growth slowed dramatically.  In 1937, the NYS&W declared bankruptcy and shortly thereafter was spun off from its parent, the Erie Railroad, which had controlled it since 1898. Around the same time, Maywood Station’s bay window was removed due its deteriorating condition (Maywood Station Museum).

The newly independence NYS&W fought hard to survive and cut back certain services but at the same time tried innovative concepts like streamlined, self-propelled, rail passenger cars as a way of cutting costs while boosting efficiency. The railroad also quickly retired its steam locomotives and replaced them with more efficient diesel locomotives stating in 1941 and completed the program in 1947. During World War II, the fortunes of the NYS&W did improve with the wartime demands placed on America’s railroads. As in World War I, many of Maywood’s servicemen departed through Maywood Station, some never to return. By 1953, the NYS&W was solvent once again but only for a few more years. Faced with mounting losses from the passenger services it offered and America’s love affair with the automobile and a new interstate highway system, the railroad once again embarked on a period of reducing their passenger train schedules.

Losses continued and on June 30, 1966, the last passenger train called on Maywood Station as well as on the entire NYS&W, however the railroad continued to utilize the tracks at Maywood Station for their freight operations, which continues to prosper to this day. Shortly after the end of passenger service, the station was closed and was used by the NYS&W as maintenance base and for storage. Bill Spence served as Maywood Station’s last station agent. In the late 1970’s. Maywood’s Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) leased the station from the NYS&W to be used as a meeting hall. The VFW made a number of improvements including repainting the station, repairing cracked stucco, repairing the roof and maintaining the grounds. In the early 1990’s, the VFW moved out of the station and it remained unoccupied until June 2002, even thought the NYS&W attempted to lease it to another tenant during this period.

Faced with a pending order of demolition by the Borough of Maywood in early 2002 due to the deteriorating conditions of the station, a volunteer, 501C3 non-profit group named the Maywood Station Historical Committee Division of the New York, Susquehanna & Western Technical & Historical Society Inc. was formed on May 29, 2002 with a plan to restore the station and turn it into their museum. After several years of volunteer work to restore the station and create a museum, the group has successfully achieved their objectives and more, including placement of the station on both the National Register and State of New Jersey Register of Historic Places. The station now enjoys the notoriety as being one of the most impressive restoration projects and museum efforts to date in the State of New Jersey’s historical community (Maywood Station Museum).

I want to the thank the Maywood Station Museum for this interesting information and please check out their website at http://www.maywoodstation.com.

https://www.facebook.com/MaywoodStationMuseum/

Westwood Heritage Society Museum Westwood Train Station Broadway and Westwood Avenue Westwood, NJ 07675

Westwood Heritage Society Museum Westwood Train Station Broadway and Westwood Avenue Westwood, NJ 07675

Westwood Heritage Society Museum

Westwood Train Station

Broadway & Westwood Avenue

Westwood, NJ 07675

(201) 666-9682

http://www.westwoodheritage.org

https://www.facebook.com/hfwhalen/

Hours: The Second Saturday of every month; 10:00am-2:00 pm

Admission: Free

TripAdvisor Review:

 

 

I had visited the Westwood Heritage Society Museum during its one day opening in the month and no one was there to greet me. It seems that they closed at noon. I was able to walk around the train station’s main room and look around at all the old pictures of town, its history and the interesting facts of how the town grew.

Westwood Heritage Society Museum

Westwood NJ Rail Station where the museum is located

Many prestigious families of Bergen County, NJ have helped shape the town including members of the Demerest, Blauvelt, Wortendyke and Haring families. These early members of Bergen County Society have left there mark on the politics and construction of the current town.

There are displays of family life in town, life on the railroads, the history of how the railroad came to town, the growth of the town, residents of the town and a display on railroad conductor, Mr. Blauvelt himself. There are many sets of pictures in the display cases and there is an on-going slide show of pictures on the main wall of the terminal showing the past and present of the town.

Westwood Heritage Society Museum II

If you like the history of railroads into the new suburbs or are from Westwood and are interested in its history, this museum is worth coming to for the afternoon. The main building of the train station is always open during business hours, so you will have plenty of time to look at all the displays. If you get there on the second Saturday of the month, you might get to talk with a member of the Heritage Society. It only takes about an hour to see all the displays.

History:

The Westwood Museum, which is housed in the Westwood Train Station building, was established and held its ‘Grand Opening’ on Memorial Day of 2002. The Museum serves as an exhibit gallery for the numerous artifacts of Westwood’s past and records of its history that have been acquired or complied by the Society.

Westwood Heritage Society Museum III

Historic Westwood, NJ

The Museum at the Station                                  176 Rock Road                                                     Glen Rock, NJ 07452

The Museum at the Station 176 Rock Road Glen Rock, NJ 07452

The Museum at the Station

The Glen Rock Main Line Station

178 Rock Road

Glen Rock, NJ  07452

(201) 342-3268

http://www.glenrockhistory.org

http://glenrockhistory.wix.com/grhs

email: GRHistoricalsociety@gmail.com

Open: The last Sunday of each month from 1:00pm-3:00pm

There is no admission fee although donations are gratefully accepted.

TripAdvisor Review:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46608-d2661796-Reviews-Maywood_Station_Museum-Maywood_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

I visited the Museum at the Station as my last stop on the Northwest Bergen History Coalition 8th Annual History Day tour. The station is managed by the Glen Rock Historical & Preservation Society and is housed inside the original 1905 Erie Main Line Train Station on Rock Road at the tip of downtown Glen Rock. The station was at one time a destination and departure point for families and farmers, commuters and immigrants.

Museum at the Station IV

There are permanent exhibits  on the Erie Railroad’s past and artifacts from Glen Rock’s past including clothing, furniture, toys and farm equipment. Some of the items they have on display are an interesting toy train collection by a local resident, an old Victrola with the accompanying records, period clothing donated from local residents and local artifacts from local residents.

Museum at the Station II

Toys at the Museum at the Station

They had a small display for the day on how immigration shaped the town of Glen Rock and it grew on the transportation that was brought to this small town. The volunteer docents who operate the museum do a nice job with the tours and in describing all the artifacts on display.

Museum at the Station III

Toy display at the Museum at the Station

What is nice is that right down the road is the historic ‘Rock’ that Glen Rock is named for is a block down the road at the corner of Rock Road and Doremus Avenue. This historic landmark is a product of the its movement here in the last Ice Age. During the time of the Lenape Indian living in the area, it was considered sacred and used as a historic marker. During the Colonial era of the town, it was used as a gathering place.

The museum is open limited times of the month so please call in advance.

History of the Museum:

The Museum at the Station is housed in the 1905 Glen Rock Main Line train station. The Erie Main Line was originally part of the Paterson-Ramapo Railroad that was one of the earliest railroads in New Jersey, coming through this area in 1842. The building now houses the Glen Rock Historical and Preservation Society. The Borough was incorporated in 1894 and the Museum’s collection contains many artifacts, documents and photographs illustrating  the history, growth and development of Glen Rock, NJ.

Museum at the Station

The Museum at the Station in Glen Rock, NJ

(From the Northwest Bergen History Coalition)

Disclaimer: This information was take directly from the Northwest Bergen History Coalition pamphlet and I give them full credit for the information. Please call or email the above numbers for more information.

(Please see my blogs under my site, “MywalkinManhattan.com”, ‘Days One Hundred & Nine’ and ‘Day Forty-Three’ for description of my touring days of the sites of Bergen County)