Erie Railroad Orange Branch
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Please send corrections and additions to Bill McKelvey at email@example.com.
Posted on LHRy website on 21 March 2018
1829 - The Morris Canal was opened between Newark and Mountain View.
1855, 18 December - The Newark & Bloomfield Railroad (became the Lackawanna Montclair Branch) opened to Bloomfield. The Watchung Railroad would later cross the N&B tracks at a diamond at Watsessing (Watsessing Jct.).
1856 - The Newark & Bloomfield Railroad was completed to Montclair.
1862, 5 June - The Orange and Newark Horse Car Railroad line began operating to Lincoln St., Orange. It was NJ’s first streetcar company.
1867 - Horse cars of the Newark, Bloomfield, & Montclair Horse Car Railroad via the “Old Road to Bloomfield” (north of Bloomfield Avenue) began running. Service ended in 1876. ‚ The Montclair Railway, predecessor to the NY and Greenwood Lake Railway, was organized.
1868, 1 April - The Morris & Essex Railroad leased the Newark & Bloomfield Railroad.
1868, 15 April - Orange Branch predecessor, The Bloomfield and Orange Horse Car Railway Co. was incorporated.
1868, 10 December - The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR leased the Morris & Essex RR.
1870, 8 March - The B&OHC Ry Co. name was changed to The Watchung Railway Co.
1870, 1 August - The Watchung Railway was constructed by D.N. Ropes, but was not operated.
1876 - 3 July, The Watchung Railway began operations. ‚ Horse cars began operating on Bloomfield Ave., between Newark and Bloomfield.
1876, 1 August - The Montclair Railway was reorganized as the Montclair and Greenwood Lake Railway and a new lease was made with the Watchung Railway.
1877 - 31 August - Passenger trains were halted on the Watchung Railway due to financial troubles.
1878 - A mortgage given by the M&GLRy was foreclosed and the New York and Greenwood Lake Railway was formed to take over the Watchung Railway.
1880, 28 February - Proceedings were instituted for the foreclosure of the $200,000 mortgage and the various bondholders were made defendants. On 22 April - Abram S. Hewitt was appointed Receiver and he was authorized to issue Receiver’s certificates for extending and repairing the Watchung Railway. Mr. Ropes arranged to sell The NY & GL Ry Co. most of the Watchung Railway bonds at 20%. The money was advanced by the NY Lake Erie and Western Railroad Co. and Cooper, Hewitt & Co. By an order of 9 July, the Receiver was authorized to issue $50,000 of certificates which was used to extend The Watchung Railway 0.3 mile from its temporary terminal at Park Ave., (Llewelyn Station) to Main St., West Orange.
1886, 6 November - Construction of the Orange Crosstown and Orange Valley Street Railway began, but was halted by winter.
1887, 11 January - John Burrows, age about 60, a passenger in horse car No. 4 of the Newark and Bloomfield Horse Car Line, received slight cuts on his face and was somewhat bruised about the body by being run into by light engine No. 2, E. Schooner, engineer and J. Snyder, conductor in charge at Bloomfield Avenue crossing of the Orange Branch, caused by driver of horse car being unable to stop when flagged, by reason of ice on rails. ‚When track of the new OC&OVSR reached the crossing of the Watchung Railway at Washington Street, the steam railroad officials refused to permit a crossing. When railroad officials did not appear in Orange to discuss the crossing, engineer Edward Noble, Jr., laid the crossing over the Watchung Railway in the early morning hours of 26 March. When daylight came the railroad found the crossing in place and promptly tore it out.
1887, 12 April - New Jersey saw its first electric street car in service on a portion of the OC&CVSR on the streets of Orange. The system of inventor/Professor Leo Daft was employed. Four days later there was a successful public demonstration and crowds rode the car. However, the poles and wires were opposed by the City Council and the system reverted to horse operation in June.
1887, September - The “battle” at the Washington Street crossing of the Watchung Railway continued. When the OC&CVSR found that horse cars could be pulled across the steam railroad without rails at the crossing, the Watchung Railway removed the crossing planking and dug a hole to block the track. The railway kept a steam locomotive on a siding near Washington Street day and night with steam up and ready for a quick dash to the crossing in case the “CROSSTOWN” showed any attempt to relay the crossing. The issue was finally settled in court. On 23 September, the crossing was laid and cars ran the full length of the line.
1888, 11 April - The New England Society of Orange waged a campaign to induce the Morris & Essex Railroad to improve their service. It asked the Watchung Railroad to put on express service to Jersey City. Following an idleness of four years, passenger service was reactivated to attract riders from the nearby DL&W RR. They even provided stages to carry passengers free from the center of Orange to the Watchung Railway. Although the DL&W passengers soon returned to “their” railroad, the improved service developed a new cadre of riders from Orange, East Orange, Bloomfield and Belleville. ‚ In May, ground was broken at West Orange for the Edison phonograph works and the plant was completed within six months. ‚ Edison began to purchase property on which to build his factories at Silver Lake. He owned forty-seven acres of land there by 1889. ‚ On 17 October while a flying switch was made at Forest Hill, the coach of train No. 19 struck the engine 280 at 4:16 p.m. The shock threw C. Gwynne, age 55, against a seat, knocking out his tooth and badly injuring his knee.
1889, December - The CROSSTOWN Line was the scene of another electric railway experiment when Thomas A. Edison equipped the short Tory Corner Branch for electric operation. The rails were bonded for a two-rail system with a high current at low voltage Car No. 6 was equipped with an Edison motor. Power was furnished by the Edison Laboratory at Lakeside Avenue and the current Main Street, West Orange. The Edison electric railway system used direct current of 1,000 amperes at 20 volts. On 30 April, 1890, the car was returned to the CROSSTOWN Line and the wires to the laboratory were removed. Newspapers reported that the experiments had not been satisfactory but that Mr. Edison had by no means abandoned this project.
1891, 17 July - George Coleman, fireman, age 25, in assisting to turn engine 196, D. Driscoll, engineer, on turntable at West Orange at 12:20 a.m. had his right foot caught between pilot of engine and the ground, spraining his ankle. ‚ On 24 September - As train No. 403, with engine No. 166, S. Smith conductor and Ira Mead, engineer, was crossing Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad tracks at Watsessing Jct., at 7:29 a.m. they were run into by a D.L. & W. train. William Duffy, age 42, jumped from train No. 403 badly spraining his right ankle.
1892 - The NY & GL Ry Co. took over the bonds and stock from the NY, LE & W RR Co.
1893, April - Due to unpaid taxes from 1885 to this year, the NJ Attorney General sold the Watchung Railway Co. to Peter Cooper Hewitt for $10,615.19. ‚ The CROSSTOWN Line changed hands to become Suburban Traction Co. and substantial investments were made in track, new electric cars and electric overhead. Within a year electric car operations were begun, but soon thereafter they entered receivership.
1894 - The South Orange & Maplewood Street Ry (the Swamp or Montrose Line) was chartered and built a trolley line between the Erie RR West Orange station on Main St. to South Orange Ave., South Orange.
1895, 11 October - Peter Cooper Hewitt and wife conveyed the Watchung Railway Co. to The NY & GL Ry Co. For $12,746.21.
1895 - Branch Brook Park was formally created and the Orange Branch crossed its northern end.
1896 - The BLOOMFIELD car line was electrified and the faster service drew passengers from the Lackawanna’s Montclair Branch. The Lackawanna countered by reducing their fares to match those of the trolley. ‚ The first commercial motion picture projectors were mass produced at West Orange by Edison.
1896, 1 May - The Erie Railroad Co. leased the NY & Greenwood Lake Ry and the Watchung Ry officially became the Erie’s Orange Branch.
1898, July - The financially troubled Suburban Traction Co. (the CROSSTOWN Line) was ordered sold and was purchased by the Orange & Passaic Valley Railway Co.
1901, 8 March - After protracted legal battles, the South Orange and Maplewood Traction Co. commenced use of its Main St. crossing for freight service connecting the Orange Branch at the Erie’s West Orange Station with a freight station which was built in the Erie’s design and colors south at Forest St., West Orange. The motive power used to haul the railroad cars was a combination electric freight motor and snow sweeper. ‚ In July a new carhouse was opened by the Orange & Passaic Valley Railway Co. (the CROSSTOWN Line), on the west side of Washington Street, just north of the Watchung Railway. The new building, with a capacity of 50 cars, had 8 tracks, 6 with pits, a shop, offices and a waiting room. It was considered one of the best in the country at the time.
1909, August - Ralph H. Beach, an advocate of storage battery cars, designed a single truck light weight car powered with Edison nickel alkaline batteries which made trial runs on Public Service Railway track. The car body was built in NYC and the axles and wheels were fabricated by Taylor Wharton; the car was completed at the Edison West Orange plant. It would have been easy to run the car on the Orange Branch from West Orange to the Orange & Passaic Valley diamond crossing at Washington St., Orange and then jack and jockey the car to the trolley tracks. Another possibility would have been to run the car to West Orange where the Orange Branch connected with the South Orange & Maplewood trolley line, which in turn connected with the Main St. trolley tracks to access the O&PV line. (The documenting photo was taken in front of the Erie West Orange station.) The car was based at the O&PV carbarn on Washington St., a short distance from the Orange Branch. The car was sold to the Third Avenue Railway System in NYC.
1910, 15 November - A double truck battery car was completed by Ralph Beach at the Edison, West Orange plant. Test runs were conducted on the Erie Orange Branch. Thomas N. McCarter, President of Public Service, and F. D. Underwood, President of the Erie, were aboard one of the trial runs. The car ran for a while in regular service on the Orange Branch and made a trial run on the Swap Line. It later operated on the Erie from Harriman to Goshen, NY.
1911, March - An Erie steam locomotive derailed and rolled over on its side at Lakeside Avenue, near the Edison laboratory and plant.
1911, 9 April - Double truck storage battery car #100 was photographed at Atlantic City. It had traveled from the Federal Storage Battery Car Co. at West Orange to Atlantic City via the Erie and Pennsylvania Railroads. The 135-mile run was reportedly made on one charge. It carried 190 cells and was powered by four 15-amp, 200 volt motors. The car body was manufactured by the J. G Brill Co.
1911, August - About this time, Ralph Beach’s Federal Storage Battery Car Co. was housed in the Edison complex at Silver Lake (Belleville).
1912 - The Federal Storage Battery Car Co. at Silver Lake was reorganized as Railway Storage Battery Car Co. RSBCC got exclusive rights to use Edison batteries in street and railway cars. They also equipped car bodies built by J.C. Brill, Canadian Car & Foundry, and others. A number of cars were completed before production ended in the late 1920s. ‚ On 25 September, railroad executives, financiers, and others traveled from Penn Station, NY to Long Beach, Long Island on the Long Island Railroad. They traveled on the first complete train to be powered by storage batteries. The train was made up of the three cars which had been assembled at Silver Lake for export to Unidos Habana (United Railways of Havana, Cuba). The train was operated from the Erie Orange Branch to the Pennsylvania Railroad, probably via Marion Junction and then west to Hudson to join the new line to Penn Station, NY. The Battery Train was also test operated on the Orange Branch.
1913 - The Lackawanna RR completed their grade separation project in the Watsessing area. This eliminated the diamond crossing of the Erie Orange Branch, which thereafter crossed over the two-track Lackawanna Montclair Branch on a steel bridge. During this project, a short siding was constructed east of Watsessing, down a right-of-way which later became Waldo Avenue, Bloomfield to dump excavated dirt. Upon this filled land the boyhood home of future author Bill McKelvey was built at #98 Waldo.
1914, 9 December - Over half the buildings in Thomas Edison’s West Orange Laboratory were destroyed in a spectacular fire.
1915 - The 1 million square foot General Electric plant on Lawrence St. at the Bloomfield / East Orange line was built.
1916, 27 Sept. - A special train for Old-Time Telegraphers & Historical Assn. and the US Military Corps. traveled from NYC to the Edison West Orange plant. E. P. Griffith, Supt. of Telegraph for the Erie made up a mock train order which was dated Sept. 27, 1861, and was signed by Andrew Carnegie. It read, ordering the train, “To run wildcat from Jersey City to West Orange and stop there. To shake hands and take lunch with the Electrical Wizard, Thomas Edison. After using five hours time of train business return to Jersey City.” At his laboratory, Tom Edison had presented each visiting member with a miniature telegraph key.
1917 - Railway Storage Battery Car Co. No. 100, built by Brill, but assembled at Silver Lake, was operated to Atlantic City for a railroad equipment convention. While there it made demonstration runs to Ocean City. (Note: also see entry for 1921.)
1917, 23 October - The crossover connection between the Orange Branch and the Swamp line was removed.
1919 1 February - The Edison Herald, “For All Workers of the Thomas A. Edison Industries”, Vol. 3, No. 1, featured a front page photo and article applauding the rapid, orderly, loading of workers on the trolley cars at Lakeside Avenue in front of the plant.
1920 - The large Westinghouse Lamp Plant was constructed in the Watsessing section of Bloomfield.
1921, 9 April - Railway Storage Battery Car Co. Car #100 was displayed at Atlantic City. It was operated there on it’s own battery power from Silver Lake. (Note: also see entry for 1917.)
1923 - The Morris Canal went out of business.
1925, 21 May - General Motors International shipped their first boxed Chevrolet from their Bloomfield Plant for export. ‚ American La France was considering increasing output at their Bloomfield plant to produce 1,000 buses and trucks in 1926.
1927, 29 May - Sunday passenger service was abruptly ended.
1927, 2 August - Buses replaced the Montrose or Swamp Line cars which operated south (railroad west) of the Erie’s West Orange station.
1929, 2 June - The CROSSTOWN trolley line, under Public Service control since 1903, was replaced by Public Service buses.
1930 - Gasoline-Electric Motor Cars began to power Orange Branch passenger trains.
1931 - Electrified service began on the Lackawanna’s Montclair Line.
1934, April - The General Motors domestic parts warehouse was opened at Bloomfield.
1937, February - Morris Thompson of West Orange, and others, while working on a WPA project building retaining walls along the Orange Branch for Wigwam Brook near High Street, Orange, discovered gold coins. The coins were English gold sovereigns with dates ranging from 1840 to 1877. ‚The Erie RR went into reorganization in the autumn. ‚ On 29 December, the MT. PROSPECT car line to Forest Hill was converted to All-Service Vehicles.
1938, 15 June - The 1,000,000th Chevrolet export unit was shipped from their Bloomfield plant.
1941 - A trolley enthusiast charter was operated on the 7 CITY SUBWAY and 21 ORANGE (stopping at Erie Loop) lines using car #3206 equipped with a secondary Golden Glow headlight belonging to renowned hobbyist Howard E. Johnston. ‚ A North Jersey Chapter, National Railway Historical Society trolley enthusiast “Special” charter was operated on the 7 CITY SUBWAY, 21 ORANGE and 29 BLOOMFIELD lines using car #3207 equipped with a secondary Golden Glow headlight.
1941-2 - In secrecy the Westinghouse Bloomfield plant produced nearly 70 tons of refined uranium for the Manhattan Project which led to the Atomic bomb.
1945 - The Canada Dry soda bottling plant was built in Orange.
1947, 28 October - Ten free-rolling freight cars crashed into a BLOOMFIELD trolley car at the Bloomfield Avenue crossing of the Erie Orange Branch. The trolley was cut up on the spot and scrapped.
1949, 22 February - A trolley enthusiast charter was operated on the 29 BLOOMFIELD line using car #3213 equipped with a secondary Golden Glow headlight and marker lights. ‚ The General Motors Train of Tomorrow visited the Bloomfield Freight Station yard in Summer and was open to the public.
1950, 24 January - An Erie coach, with passengers aboard, derailed at the West Orange station. ‚ 24 September - A Newark Sunday News article showed a plan to eliminate the Erie Railroad grade crossing on Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield. The proposal was to depress the avenue below the railroad.
1951 - The Public Service ORANGE trolley line on Main Street was replaced by buses on 1 March. ‚ The Erie celebrated and promoted their 1851-1951 Centennial. ‚ The Erie Railroad Centennial Train visited the Bloomfield Freight Station yard and was open to the public on the evening of 8 August. Included in the train was the 4-4-0 William Mason, borrowed from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum but lettered for the Erie.
1952 - Diesel locomotives took over passenger service after retirement of steam locomotives and the 5000 series “Doodlebugs”. ‚ On 22 March a trolley enthusiast special trip using car No. 3217 with a secondary interurban type Golden Glow headlight attached and signed “ENGLEWOOD” made a photo stop at the Orange Branch grade crossing. ‚ The Public Service BLOOMFIELD trolley line was replaced by buses on 30 March. Shortly thereafter the trolley crossing diamond on Bloomfield Avenue was replaced by straight rails.
1953, May - A full page story on future Erie, Orange Branch employee, Jim Kostibos, appeared in the Erie Railroad Magazine. ‚ The Garden State Parkway was under construction and they bridged the Orange Branch west of the General Electric plant and Lawrence Street.
1954 - All old 1912-1917 era Newark City Subway cars were replaced by second hand PCC cars.
1955, 20 May - Passenger service was replaced by an Erie Railroad Motor Coach Connection operated by Public Service on local streets for a short time before passengers abandoned it for other means. The two am and two pm trips took 24 minutes compared with the 16 minutes the train took between Forest Hill and West Orange. ‚ Until the abandonment of Orange Branch passenger trains, East Orange had six passenger stations. ‚ On August 9th a work train with two cranes was working to remove crossing towers and shanties and crossing gates in the Oranges. The very unusual power for the train was EMD FT A & B 700, the first of the first batch of 6, 4-unit road freight locomotives the Erie purchased in October, 1944. These two 1350 hp, drawbar-connected units, were traded in on new ALCO units in June of 1963. ‚ Hurricane Diane struck on August 18 and 19. It was one of the greatest disasters to have ever hit the Erie Railroad. It crippled their main line between Port Jervis and Callicoon. Several 1600 hp, six axle, ALCO MRS-1 diesel locomotives from the US Army Transportation Corps were used to help the Erie with their locomotive shortage. Unit B-2068 worked on the Orange Branch. ‚ Thomas A. Edison Industries donated the Edison West Orange laboratory to the National Park Service.
1956, 14 July - The Edison Laboratory National Monument was designated.
1957, August - Al Wester hosted the first Greenwood Lake Retirees Barbecue at his home at 84 Montclair Avenue in August, 1957. There were a total of 29 in attendance, including one youngster wearing a conductor’s hat in the foreground of the documentary photograph
1959 - Thomas A. Edison Industries was sold to McGraw Electric and became McGraw-Edison. The General Electric relocated from their Bloomfield plant.
1960, 17 October - The Erie and Lackawanna Railroads merged to form the Erie Lackawanna Railway. Since the new Hoboken Terminal was 1.3 miles less than the former Erie terminal at Jersey City, all mileages to Orange Branch points were reduced by 1.3 miles. ‚ Orange Branch track was torn up from the West Orange Yard west to the end of the branch at Main Street.
1961 - Unit trains of Bessemer & Lake Erie RR hopper carloads of fill from a sand quarry at Midvale came down the Greenwood Lake Division past Forest Hill Junction with the Orange Branch heading for Leonia where the sand was used for construction of the various interstate highways, primarily I 80, that would lead to the George Washington Bridge. Power for these trains included: sets of four Erie Alco RS-3s; Lackawanna RR ABBA sets of EMD FTs and Erie Lackawanna EMD F3s 7141-A, 7142-B, 7143-B, and 7144-B still in Erie paint. The latter units were built in March 1948 and acquired from the NY Ontario & Western Railroad when it ceased operation in 1957. A year earlier, the same set in Erie numbers 714 ABCD operated on the Caldwell Branch
1963 - Late in this year the former Lackawanna Boonton line freight route through the Paterson area was taken for construction of Rt. 80. The Boonton line was connected to the Greenwood Lake line at Mountain View and heavy freight trains between Scranton and Croxton Yard began operating through Forest Hill.
1964 - Essex County Freeholders proposed that the Newark City Subway be extended along the existing Greenwood Lake, Orange, and Caldwell branches and the Morristown & Erie Railroad lines.
1971 - By this date McGraw-Edison had moved their West Orange operations to the midwest.
1973, 26-27 May - The High Iron Company announced a Springtime Steam Spectacular excursion from Hoboken to Binghamton, NY and return via Dover and Forest Hill on the 27th. The trip was to be powered by Reading Railroad 4-8-4 No. 2102. ‚ On 22 July - A 19-car railfan special operated on the Greenwood Lake - Boonton line, powered by NKP Berkshire steam locomotive No. 759. ‚ On 16 December, Morris County Central Railroad equipment was moved from the Morristown & Erie Railroad to Newfoundland via the Erie Lackawanna Railway Caldwell, and Greenwood Lake Branches past Forest Hill and to the NY, Susquehanna & Western Railroad. The train of their equipment, piloted by E-L GP7 #1235 included ex-USA 0-6-0 #4039 and ex-Southern 2-8-0 #385 - both in steam.
1975, September - The US Railroad Assn., in proceedings leading to the formation of Conrail, proposed to cut freight service on 2.7 miles of the Orange Branch (USRA Line No. 1206) between Bloomfield and West Orange. The federal government set aside $57,775, the estimated amount to operate the line, for one year. Service was eliminated shortly after Conrail took over the line.
1976, 1 April - The Erie Lackawanna Railway was taken over by Conrail.
???? Rail excursion w/759? to Binghamton returned via Scranton and the Greenwood Lake......????
1982, March - Southard Salvage completed the dismantling and lifting of Orange Branch track from West Orange to Meadow Street in East Orange at the Bloomfield line. ‚ On April 12th, Representatives of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie RR met with selected NJ Legislators and officials to unveil their plan to purchase almost 640 miles of ex-Erie RR main line from Croxton (Secaucus) to Creston, OH. P&LE also offered to buy over 130 miles of branch lines in NJ (including the Orange Branch from Forest Hill to Bloomfield) and elsewhere. They also proposed to operate local freight service via trackage rights over certain lines owned by NJ Transit, including the Boonton Line (Montclair to Dover, NJ). Conrail did not accept P&LE’s initial purchase offer, and thus, the P&LE attempted to drum up local support for their plan, which could bring a major independent RR back to NJ. The plan did not get any traction. [Block Line, Vol. X, No. II, June, 1982]
1983 - Westinghouse Lamp Division at Bloomfield was sold to North American Phillips Lighting Corp., and a year later they ended production.
1984 - During the re-electrification of the former Lackawanna Morris & Essex Division the Orange Branch bridge over their tracks at Watsessing was removed. At this time the old “Edison” MU electric cars were replaced with modern equipment.
1984, 19 August - A farewell to the Lackawanna MUs excursion, powered by Morristown & Erie Railroad red Alco Century locomotives No. 18 & ___, traveled east past Forest Hill. The trip, covering all the electric lines with a return on the Boonton Line, was sponsored by Tri-State Railway Historical Society.
1986, 28 September - Ben Levin’s E8s & Blue Mountain & Reading eqpt. Returning to Reading Going west @ Lake Hopatcong - used the Greenwood Lake or M&E from Hoboken? (Collins Erie Trackside pg 114) Ask Rusty King....................................
1990, June 2 - United Railroad Historical Society (URHS) sponsored a Farewell to the NJ Transit E8 locomotives with an excursion from Hoboken to Denville via the Boonton Line (passing the Orange Branch Junction at Forest Hill), then east on the Morris & Essex to West End Junction, reversing for a run up the Pascack Valley Line to Woodbine and return to Hoboken. [Railpace Newsmagazine, V. 9, No. 8, August, 1990]
1994, 24 April - Newark City Subway PCC car #13 was trucked to Silver Lake and placed on the freight rails of the Orange Branch at Franklin and Heckel Streets as part of the Cherry Blossom Festival. ‚ The NJ Transit Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link Project studied a light rail vehicle base facility for the Newark City Subway at the former site of the GM Chevrolet plants in Bloomfield/Belleville on the Orange Branch. ‚ In May all but the center, main track was removed between Belmont Avenue and Grove Street. ‚ On July 17 the Morristown & Erie Railway operated a pair of excursion trains for the 25th Anniversary of the Train Station Hobby Shop, located in the former Lackawanna station on the Boonton Line in Mountain Lakes. The morning deadhead move from Morristown reversed at Denville and went east to Mountain Lakes, powered by M&E Alco’s C424 No. 18 and C430 No. 17. The first trip made a circle tour via the Boonton line to West End (Jersey City), returning via Morristown and Denville. The second trip operated via the Boonton Line to Suffern, NY and return via West End. Thus the Erie Orange Branch Junction at Forest Hill was passed three times. [Railpace Newsmagazine, V. 13, No. 10, September, 1994]
1995, 27 February - The NJ Transit Board approved plans for a new City Subway maintenance - vehicle base facility at the former site of the GM Chevrolet plants in Bloomfield/Belleville on the Orange Branch.
1995, 20 May - A URHS excursion, powered by their Lehigh Valley Railroad F7s painted in Cornell red traveled past Forest Hill.
1997, April 26-7 - Tri-State Chapter, NRHS and the URHS, in cooperation with the Morristown & Erie Ry, Conrail and NJ Transit fielded a colorful Operation Lifesaver train for the Borough of Lincoln Park’s 75th anniversary on Saturday, April 26. The consist included the URHS-owned pair of Lehigh Valley F-7 locomotives & RDC M-1; Morristown & Erie caboose & two first class coaches; Operation Lifesaver box car; and Tri-State’s restored Lackawanna baggage car. The train backed from Morristown to Denville and then headed east on the Boonton Line to Lincoln Park. At the conclusion of the Lincoln Park festivities, the Operation Lifesaver special continued east Saturday evening to make a Sunday appearance at Franklin Street in Belleville on the former Erie RR Orange Branch, for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. [Railpace Newsmagazine, V. 16, No. 17 July, 1997]
1998, September 19 - The URHS sponsored an all-day excursion over NJ Transit lines using repainted “Erie” E8s 835 and 834 pulling URHS Lounge Car and five Bombardier coaches. Photo stops were executed at Kingsland, Waldwick, the lunch stop at Ridgewood, Harmon Cove, (passing by the former Erie RR Orange Branch Junction at North Newark) Boonton, and at the Trade Center in Roxbury, west of Netcong. [Railpace Newsmagazine, V. 17, No. 11, November, 1998]
1999 - Norfolk Southern Railway took over their portions of Conrail and continued operating freight service on the Orange Branch.
1999 - On 7.21 the local NS freight from Dover delivered six Trailer Train flats loaded with 422 tons or over 4 miles of rail to Silver Lake (Belleville) on the former Erie RR Orange Branch. The 115# rail was rolled at Bethlehem Steel Co. Steelton Works (1999) and came by way of Phillipsburg. Former Orange Branch trackage between Franklin Avenue and Grove Street was removed. It was rebuilt to include new switches (6) to allow OB trains to access the light rail, cross it at Franklin Street and get off the light rail west of Belmont Avenue, Belleville and rebuilding of a freight run-around track between Belmont Avenue and Grove Street. The ne2w rail was used to rebuild the portion of the Orange Branch now traversed by Newark Light Rail cars and for the new Bloomfield light rail maintenance/storage facility.
2001 - The extension of the Newark City Subway was completed to Grove St., Bloomfield utilizing a segment of the Orange Branch from Belmont Ave., almost to Franklin Ave., Belleville.
2002 - The Montclair Connection was completed, joining the former Erie Greenwood Lake Line with the former DL&W Montclair Line. Thereafter all NJ Transit Montclair - Boonton Line trains operated through Watsessing and passenger service ended east of Montclair on the former Greenwood Lake line past Forest Hill.
2009, 30 March - The former Edison Laboratory National Monument, combined with Edison’s home was renamed Thomas Edison National Historical Park. ‚ Freight service to Hartz Mountain, the last customer on the Orange Branch ended in 2009.
Need date of Operation Lifesaver train at Silver Lake with M&E Alco locomotive, URHS LV F7s and RDC car for Cherry Blossom Festival
2014, 7 November - Norfolk Southern Railway Co. filed a Notice of Exempt Abandonment and Discontinuance of their Bloomfield Industrial Track (Orange Branch).
2015, 11 April - A mini-reunion of Erie Orange Branch employees was convened in the Hickory Creek, restored round end Pullman observation lounge of the NY Central Railroad’s Twentieth Century Limited train. The occasion was a one day, round trip excursion from NY Penn Station to Albany and return sponsored by United Railroad Historical Society. Those in attendance included: Jim and Barbara Kostibos; John (NS Engineer) Sobotka; ____ ; ____ ; and Bill McKelvey.
Thanks to the following who also helped with the above information: Stan Beet, Jr., Frank Capalbo, Dwight Crater, Don Dorflinger, John Drennan, Ed Francis, Jay Held, Joe Landspurg, Bob Mohowski, Carl Perelman, Stewart P. Schneider, Dennis Yachachak, John Sobotka, Jim Kostibos, Tom McConkey, Terence Mulligan, Douglas Tarr, and many others.