This very successful annual event gave us the opportunity to show the operation of the Canal Society of NJ’s pontoon boat, a canoe, and a horse drawn wagon along the watered section of the Morris Canal in Wharton. The views of the canal, the restored lock and the basin above the lock is what passengers on our planned trolley shuttle would see from the elevated former Central RR of NJ right-of-way. Views of our public displays are also shown. Videography by Mitch Dakelman. The link to the video is: https://www.facebook.com/LibertyHistoricRailway/videos/959275300866270/
Liberty State Park Update (December)
In a late November press release the NJ DEP unveiled possible ideas for development in LSP which arose from a study done by Biederman Redevelopment Ventures (BRV). They included a low-rise hotel within the preserved / restored envelope of the Train Shed: Re-creation of famous NJ restaurants; and Museums either for immigration or transportation and technology. These venues would create a World Class Destination and provide the income to properly care for LSP and other NJ parks. NJ DEP hasn’t made any decisions regarding the development ideas generated in the BVR study or initial NJ DEP review.
NJ DEP has concluded that restoration of the entire Train Shed is “unattainable”. The NJ State Historic Preservation Office has determined that preserving only part of Shed – its perimeter and exterior “look” – could be acceptable. The BRV report acknowledges that access to LSP remains an issue, but it avoids mention of the Sam Schwartz Engineering study done for Jersey City that found feasible construction of a trolley / railway connection between the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station near Liberty Science Center and the Train Shed.
LHRy fully supports the following objectives;
∙ Re-use of the crumbling Train Shed site that stabilizes and restores its perimeter and retains its “look”.
∙ Re-use of Train Shed space that documents its role in immigration and / or transportation history.
∙ Restoration of Track #1 for a covered platform terminus for a trolley shuttle operating from that point to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail station adjacent to Liberty Science Center.
∙ Use of the NJ DEP engineering study, commissioned by LHRy and performed by Curtis & Ginsberg, on stabilization of the Train Shed’s structural perimeter.
∙ An electric trolley shuttle would be an environmentally friendly way to move people, in preference to automobiles, providing mass transit to the currently auto-dependent LSP.
New Train / Track Announcement Signage
The new CRR of NJ Jersey City Terminal Train / Track announcement curtains and signage which was researched and proposed by LHRy have been completed and installed, but the concourse is not yet open to the public. They now cover all 20 tracks, look wonderful, and will greatly improve the historic interpretation of the past glory of this most important terminal which served four major railroads for a century.
Preservation of a NJ Steam locomotive (December)
Many years ago, the Great Falls Development Corp. acquired an 0-4-0 Saddle Tank steam locomotive built in Paterson by Alco – Cooke in 1910. It has been displayed, in the open, behind the Paterson Museum for decades. This past Summer exposed asbestos was discovered, due to the deterioration of the locomotive by the elements and GFDC did not have the funds for the required abatement. LHRy funded the asbestos removal and consultant’s fees. LHRy has also proposed funding for full restoration of #102 to working order and that it be housed in a suitable building.
Donation to Whippany Railway Museum (December)
In 2014 LHRy donated their title to the 1906 Stephenson / Lisbon trolley car to WRyM. Now, LHRy has donated $10,000 specifically designated to the care and protection of that trolley. We hope it will soon join the many excellent displays and exhibits at the Whippany site.
Donation to the Electric City Trolley Museum Association
The Chair of LHRy has made a donation of $1,000 to the Scranton, PA Trolley Museum in the name of LHRy to assist the continuation of the outstanding restoration work they have been doing on their collection of vintage trolley cars.
Donation to New Jersey Fire Museum (November)
The New Jersey Fire Museum & Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial has struggled for decades to establish a dedicated building for the storage and display of their historic fire equipment. Their dream finally came true in 2015! LHRy has donated $10,000 to help them along with their new facility in Allentown, NJ.
The CNJ Terminal windows, doors, and roof which were damaged by Super Storm Sandy have been repaired and restored. The train / track sign fixtures have been restored and repainted, but replicated train announcement signs have not yet been installed. Work is progressing on the storm resistant restoration / replacement of utilities. This work is expected to be completed by Labor Day but reopening of the Terminal may not occur until 2016. The collapse of one concrete panel of the Terminal Train Shed over track No. 1 appears imminent. Phillip Street has been milled in preparation for re-paving.
We noticed that the wheels, axles, and frames of Thomas Edison’s two 1882 electric locomotives on display outside, in front of his West Orange Laboratory, are in an advanced state of deterioration. They had been developed and used at Edison’s Menlo Park facility. The needed restoration would have been an excellent project for LHRy to fund. However, National Park staff told us that they had the funding and that the work was to be completed soon.
We are most appreciative for the gratis promotional table given to us at the TransAction Conference at Atlantic City by its leader, Frank Reilly. LHRy Chair, Bill McKelvey and Larry Gross manned the table for the three days (21, 22, & 23 April) of NJ’s 39th annual transportation conference. We promoted the United Railroad Historical Society, their many member and other local transportation organizations with literature and give away materials.