CNJ Main Line Chronology

Please send corrections and additions to Bill McKelvey at
Posted on LHRy website on 26 March 2018


1831     Elizabethtown and Somerville Rail Road Company was incorporated.


1836     Opening of the E&S Rail Road from the ferry dock, foot of Broadway, Elizabethport, to the Union Hotel at Water Street (now Elizabeth Ave.) and Broad Street, Elizabethtown, by the horse-drawn Town Car.  Passengers were transported to and from NYC via ferryboat.


1839     Opening of the E&S from Elizabethport to Plainfield for steam operated locomotive "Eagle" and train.


1840     The E&S was opened from Plainfield to New Market (Dunellen).


1841     Opening of the E&S to Yellow Tavern, one-quarter mile east of Bound Brook.


1842     The E&S is completed west to Somerville.


1846     Foreclosure of mortgage and sale of E&S to Coffin Colket and John O. Sterns, the contractors who built the road, acting as agents for the creditors.

Organization of "The Elizabethtown and Somerville Rail Road of 1846."  Stephen Vail of Morristown was its first president.

Start of rebuilding of the railroad; wooden rails replaced with iron "edge rails."


1847     Incorporation of the Somerville and Easton RR to build a railroad from Somerville to the Delaware River opposite Easton, PA.


1848     The S&E was constructed from Somerville to the White House Road and was leased to the "E & S of '46."


1849     The "E&S of '46" was sold to the S & E and name was changed to The Central RR of NJ (CNJ).


1850     CNJ extension from Whitehouse to the Delaware River was begun under James Laurie, Chief Engineer, a founder and first president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.


1851     The High Bridge over the South Branch of the Raritan River (1,300 feet long, 100 feet high) and bridges over the Musconetcong, Pohatcong and Lopatcong rivers are built.


1852     Opening of the CNJ (became known as the Jersey Central), to Phillipsburg.


1853     City of Elizabeth ordinance prohibited any train speeds "greater than 8 miles per hour."


1855     An agreement was reached with the Delaware Lackawanna and Western RR (DL&W) for transport of their passenger and freight trains from Hampton to the Elizabethport waterfront.  The DL&W broad gauge required the CNJ to install a third rail between the two points. 

The CNJ was extended from Phillipsburg over the newly completed Lehigh Valley (LV) RR bridge across the Delaware River.  LV passengers were transferred to and from the Jersey Central at So. Easton. 

An agreement to move coal to tidewater similar to that with the DL&W RR was established with the LV.

The first NJ state tax on railroads was imposed, costing the CNJ $13,268.69 in the first year.


1858     A through line was completed between Elizabethport, Williamsport, PA, and Elmira, NY via the CNJ, LV, Beaver Meadow, and Catawissa Railroads.


1859     Through passenger service was established between New York (via ferry connection to Elizabethport) and Pittsburgh via CNJ, LV, East Pennsylvania & Pennsylvania Central Railroads.

Excursions to the Coal Fields of PA were offered from NY via ferry to Elizabethport, by rail to Hampton Junction, the Delaware Water Gap, over Pocono Mountain, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Mauch Chunk and return.  Side trips over the Switchback Gravity RR to the top of Mount Pisgah were offered.

Through passenger cars were run from Somerville to Elizabethtown and thence over the New Jersey Rail Road, which later became the Pennsylvania RR (PRR) to Jersey City.


1860     The New Jersey legislature granted permission to the CNJ to extend its line over Newark Bay to the Hudson River at Jersey City, and construction began.


1861     During the Civil War the government called on the railroads to carry troops between New York and Washington via the CNJ, LV, East Pennsylvania, Northern Central and Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) Railroads.

The Jersey Central had more double-track railroad than any other NJ RR.


1862     The first federal tax, to help pay for the Civil War, was imposed on railroads.

The CNJ advertised as the shortest route to Chicago and the west (898 miles - in 36 hours, via connecting railroads).


1864     The CNJ bridge over Newark Bay and extension of line from Elizabethport to Communipaw (Jersey City) was opened for passenger traffic.  Communipaw ferry connection to New York is re-established for steam operation with the ferryboats "Central" and "Communipaw."

Jersey Central's president was authorized to purchase enough land to increase their main line right-of-way width from 66 to 100 feet. 

CNJ began operating sleeping cars between Jersey City and points west of the Delaware River, first in NJ in regular service.

The original wood trestle at High Bridge was replaced by a fill costing $251,000.


1866     A third track was completed between Dunellen and Bound Brook; the last segment of single track on the main line, between Bloomsbury and Springtown, was double tracked; and a map was filed for a new rail alignment between Westfield and Plainfield.

The LV merged the Lehigh & Mahanoy RR into its system providing in conjunction with the CNJ "the shortest and best route from Lake Erie to NY."


1867     Directors decide to operate the Jersey Central on Sundays.  In protest, director William E. Dodge sold his stock and resigned.


1868     A track connection was made with the Lehigh and Susquehanna (L&S) RR at Easton, making a through route to Wilkes-Barre, PA.  The L&S became a principal supplier of coal to the CNJ.

The Jersey Central became the first railroad in America to introduce uniforms for employees.  It consisted of a blue coat, pants, vest, cap with "CRR" and gilt buttons.


1869     North track of new line through Plainfield was finished and opened to traffic.


1870     Main line tracks were relaid with steel rails replacing the former iron.

By this year through sleeping car service was established in cooperation with the LV to the west.


1871     The Jersey Central leased the L&S RR from the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company, giving the CNJ a continuous line from New York to Wilkes-Barre.

A new right-of-way between Somerville and Raritan was purchased to "straighten the railroad."


1872     The Newark and Elizabeth Branch was completed from Elizabethport to Brills on the Newark and New York RR.  This provided a by-pass route during outages of the Newark Bay Bridge.

CNJ stockholders voted to dissolve the merger with the DL&W made only six months prior.


1873     The Perth Amboy and Elizabethport RR was merged into the Jersey Central, completed by it, and became the Perth Amboy RR.

The Reading, in concert with the CNJ, LV, DL&W, and Delaware & Hudson Railroads established the first American cartel in an attempt to fix the price of anthracite shipment and to limit volumes.


1874     The new branch (which became known as the Perth Amboy Branch) from Elizabethport to a junction with the New York and Long Branch RR was opened.

The new line of railroad from Westfield, through Fanwood to Plainfield, eliminating grade crossings, was opened; the original rail line through Scotch Plains was abandoned.


1875     Broad gage DL&W train operations over the CNJ between Hampton and Elizabethport end and the third rail was removed.

The LV completed their own rail route, the Easton & Amboy RR, across NJ to Perth Amboy so they didn't have to depend on the Jersey Central.


1876     In cooperation with the Philadelphia and Reading RR (Reading), trains begin operating between Jersey City and Philadelphia via Bound Brook. 


1877     The Jersey Central entered receivership.


1880     CNJ locomotive #507 set a world speed record running the 89.4 miles between Jersey City and Philadelphia in 98 minutes.


1881     The CNJ absorbed the Ogden Mine RR and captured iron traffic from the Morris Canal.


1883     The CNJ leased all of its railroads to the Reading.  Shortly thereafter, the Reading itself became insolvent.


1884     Four tracks were completed between Cranford and Westfield; three between Fanwood and Westfield.

NJ imposed additional taxes on railroads, costing the CNJ $200,000 more annually.


1886     The Statue of Liberty was unveiled.  The statue later becomes the outstanding logo for the Jersey Central.

B&O RR began service between Washington, DC and Jersey City utilizing the Reading into NJ and the CNJ east of Bound Brook.


1887     The Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company forced the Jersey Central to retake possession of the L&S RR.

The CNJ broke their lease with the Reading and became independent.

Through coal trains between Pennsylvania and Elizabethport or Jersey City began.

CNJ began using Woodruff Parlor Cars on trains.


1888     A CNJ promotion to get more customers in their suburban territory by advertising and reducing fares resulted in an increase of 796,814 riders annually.

The LV completed a new main line from So. Plainfield to Roselle.  LV freight trains then used the CNJ from Roselle to LV docks at the Big Morris Canal Basin in Jersey City.  LV passenger trains continued to use the PRR Exchange Place Terminal in Jersey City via Metuchen.


1889     The current CNJ terminal in Jersey City was opened and the four track main line was completed to Bound Brook.  During the peak years 40,000 passengers used the facility daily.

The LV completed their own RR between Roselle and Jersey City withdrawing from the CNJ.

1890     The CNJ purchased land at Nolan's Point on Lake Hopatcong and laid out excursion grounds, complete with dancing pavilion, swings, walking paths, and boats for rent.  The Jersey Central then provided the finest short Sunday excursions to the lake.  As many as 60,000 people took the trips every summer in the early 1900's.  Accommodations were available at Nolan's Point Villa and the more expensive Hotel Breslin.  The round trip could be had from Jersey City and intermediate points for $1 and a hot noon meal for 50 cents. 

Royal Blue Line trains, a cooperative arrangement between the CNJ, Reading and B&O Railroads inaugurate service between Jersey City and Washington.

From this year to 1915 9,000,000 of the 12,000,000 immigrants who passed through Ellis Island reached the US interior via the CNJ.


1892     A Jersey Central locomotive was clocked on the Reading west of Bound Brook at 91.7 miles per hour.

CNJ locomotive #385 set a world speed record of 105 miles per hour between Plainfield and Westfield.

The CNJ is leased to the Port Reading RR, a subsidiary of the Reading.


1893     The world's first motor operated signal was installed on the Jersey Central near Phillipsburg.

The restored, historic Camden & Amboy RR "John Bull," the first steam locomotive to operate in NJ travels under its own power on the PRR main line over the CNJ main line in Elizabeth enroute to the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.


1898     The second big California gold rush induced the B&O to begin the first transcontinental passenger trains from Jersey City to San Francisco without change of cars.


1901     CNJ built a new locomotive shop at Elizabethport.  The 160 acre site employed over 600 workers and had a total of 600,000 square feet of buildings.  Facilities included: Machine Erecting and Boiler Shop; Freight Car Repair Shop; Blacksmith Shop; Passenger Car Repair Shop; Automotive Repair Shop; Air Brake Repair Shop; Passenger Car Paint Shop; Upholstery and Dye Shop; Locomotive Blacksmith Shop; Planing Mill; Boiler Shop; Flue Shop; Power House; and Storehouses.

Automatic electric block signals were installed between Bound Brook and White Haven, PA.


1902     The Jersey Central inaugurated the "Queen of the Valley," an express passenger train between Jersey City and Harrisburg, PA.


1903     The Liberty Bell traveled via a special train on the PRR main line over the CNJ main line at Elizabeth enroute to Boston for the celebration of the 128th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.


1904     Public Service (PS) RR commenced through interurban trolley service from Jersey City to Trenton via Newark, Elizabeth, Plainfield, Bound Brook and New Brunswick.  The segment between Elizabeth and Bound Brook was originally known as the Main Line and was later identified as the #49 Union Line.  The PS Main Line roughly paralleled the CNJ Main Line and crossed under it at Elizabeth, Westfield, Plainfield, Dunellen, and Bound Brook.


1910     A sixth track was installed between Cranford and Westfield.

A speed record between Jersey City and Washington of 226 miles in 4 hours and 7 minutes, including stops for locomotive changes and stations, was set during a heavy snow storm.


1911     Several additions were constructed to the Elizabethport freight car repair shop complex, including a 179' x 600' building for freight car repairs by the John W. Ferguson Co. and Phoenix Iron Co.


1913     LV passenger trains began using the Jersey Central from Oak Island Junction to Communipaw and the CNJ Jersey City Terminal.


1916     An explosion at Black Tom, south of the CNJ Jersey City Terminal involved scores of carloads of ammunition delivered by the Jersey Central and LV.


1917     The US Government took over all railroads for the duration of World War I.

The Westfield grade crossing elimination project was completed.


1918     Through passenger trains of the B&O and LV Railroads were shifted from Jersey Central's Jersey City Terminal to Pennsylvania Station in New York City by the United States RR Administration.  B&O freight trains continued using the CNJ.  LV commuter trains were routed to the PRR Exchange Place Terminal.


1920     Government operation of railroads ends.


1922     "The Mermaid," passenger train was inaugurated to carry summer vacationers from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Mauch Chunk, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton to the Jersey Shore via Elizabethport.


1926     B&O passenger trains were forced to return to Jersey Central's Jersey City Terminal by the PRR; those of the LV did not.  The B&O commenced providing free bus connections for its patrons between points in New York City and trainside at Jersey City.

The new draw bridge over the Newark Bay was opened for service.


1927     Beginning in this year the sprawling Mack Truck Co. plant adjacent to the CNJ main line in Plainfield manufactured small railroad switching locomotives.  The last unit was sold in 1937.


1928     Special trains were operated under contract to the American Zeppelin Transport Co. to carry zeppelin passengers and mail between Lakehurst and NYC.  The CNJ also operated special trains for sightseers to each arriving and departing zeppelin.


1929     The "Blue Comet" train with fine quality dining service was established between Jersey City and Atlantic City via Elizabethport and Winslow Junction.

The "Bullet" was established between Wilkes-Barre and Jersey City.


1930     The "Williamsporter" was established between Williamsport, PA and Jersey City and Railway Post Office service was begun on that train.

The Cranford grade crossing elimination project was completed.


1931     The B&O introduced the world's first completely air-conditioned passenger train, the "Columbian," between Jersey City and Washington. 

The B&O inaugurated "Rail - Air Passenger Service" between Jersey City and Los Angeles/San Francisco.

A major grade crossing elimination project in the Elizabeth - Elizabethport area was ordered by the NJ Public Utilities Commission.


1933     The Reading assumed control of the CNJ under Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) authorization.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveled between the White House and his home in Hyde Park, NY by rail, frequently using the CNJ-Reading-B&O route.  Buck Benny Rides Again was the code name used to indicate that Roosevelt was on the train.


1935     The B&O introduced its new streamlined "Royal Blue" train employing the first streamlined diesel electric locomotives in long distance service.

Trolleys on the PS #49 Union Line are replaced by the hybrid gasoline/electric All-Service Vehicle.  The more than 400 new trolley buses were transported to NJ on flat cars over the CNJ Main Line.


1936     The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR's new "Denver Zephyr" streamliner traveled over the CNJ main line enroute from the manufacturer in Philadelphia to the purchaser in Chicago.


1937     The Reading began "Crusader" service with a new stainless steel streamlined train between Philadelphia and Jersey City via Bound Brook.

The largest CNJ excursion moved 17,374 passengers between Bayonne and Asbury Park on 19 trains of 12 cars each.

The CNJ operated a special train from Raritan to California and Washington state for the Civilian Conservation Corps volunteer workers.  It consisted of 8 Pullman cars and 4 baggage cars (two of the latter were converted to kitchen cars).

Billions of dollars of gold reserves was moved from NYC vaults to a new gold vault at Fort Knox.  The shipments continued for two years and were alternated between the CNJ and the PRR so as not to establish a pattern.  The CNJ movements were on armored vehicles from NYC via their ferryboats to Jersey City Terminal where they were transferred to trains via the CNJ main line for the first part of its journey.

With the destruction of the zeppelin Hindenberg at Lakehurst, the special CNJ connecting trains ceased.


1938     The Railroad Enthusiasts, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, and Railroad Magazine sponsored an advertised trip over the B&O from Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Plainfield to Harper's Ferry, VA.  A stop was scheduled at Brunswick, MD for inspection of the yard and engines there.  The locomotive George H. Emerson was expected to pull the train on the same day round trip.  Fare was to be $4.50...

North Jersey Chapter National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) announced an "Extraordinary Excursion" over the Jersey Central from Jersey City to Bridgeton, Bivalve, Lakehurst, Tuckerton (former Tuckerton RR) and the Raritan River RR to New Brunswick and return.  Blue Comet equipment, including diner was used and a sightseeing gondola was to be attached to the train.  Fare was to be about $2.50...  The Jersey Central was to handle all the reservations!  The trip, was apparently too good to be true, as it was rescheduled to the spring of the following year with several changes.

Through sleeping car service between Jersey City and New Orleans began.


1939     Principally because of heavy New Jersey taxes, Jersey Central filed a petition for reorganization under federal bankruptcy statues.

North Jersey Chapter NRHS arranged an "Excursion" over the CNJ from Jersey City to Bridgeton (including a stop at the round house), Bivalve, Lakehurst, and Tuckerton (former Tuckerton RR) and return.  Blue Comet equipment, including diner (serving 85 cent lunch and $1 dinner) was used.  Fare was $4.25.

Railroad Enthusiasts advertised a three day railfan journey via the B&O from Jersey City, Elizabeth, and Plainfield to N&W's great shops at Roanoke, VA with stops at Silver Spring and Luray Caverns.  Round trip fare from NY was $13.60, with air-conditioned hotel $2 per night and breakfast 50 cents. 


1941     Last run of the CNJ "Blue Comet."


1943     The US office of Defense Transportation ordered the CNJ to discontinue 68 of 338 weekday suburban passenger trains due to shortages caused by World War II.

Large volumes of petroleum products were handled over the CNJ from points west to the world's largest tank car yard which was opened at Tremley.  This was necessary because German submarines were sinking many ships transporting oil from the Gulf of Mexico to the east coast.

CNJ moved 450 carloads of machinery /materials for the manufacture of the atom bomb over the main line.


1945     The war torn aircraft carrier USS Franklin was cut up for scrap which was moved to Bethlehem steel mills and some salvaged parts were shipped to Seattle to repair the USS Bunker Hill, all via the CNJ.


1946     Jersey Central transformed its PA properties into the Central RR Co. of PA to stop the State of NJ from confiscating the PA earnings of the CNJ under the guise of taxes.


1947     The first CNJ grade crossing to get automatic electric gates was Flemington Road, White House.

PS substituted buses for the All-Service Vehicles on the #49 Union Line and overhead trolley wires are removed.


1948     First run of the CNJ-Reading "Wall Street" between Jersey City and Philadelphia.

The first practical demonstration of television aboard a moving train was on B&O's "Marylander" between Washington and Jersey City.

All steam locomotive helper service between Raritan - Hampton - Phillipsburg ended due to dieselization, saving the CNJ $385,000 annually.


1949     The ICC approved a plan of reorganization for The Central RR Co. of NJ.


1950     The CNJ "Philadelphia Flyer" and Scranton Flyer" trains were discontinued.


1951     CNJ dining car service between Jersey City and Allentown ended; only dining car service between Jersey City and Philadelphia remained.


1952     CNJ cancels all passenger service west of Allentown.


1953     North Jersey Chapter NRHS sponsored a Gala Spring Trip to Green Pond Junction covering the Wharton & Northern, Mount Hope Mineral RR and the High Bridge Branch from Jersey City, Elizabethport, Elizabeth, and Plainfield.  The eight car train with 497 passengers was pulled by CNJ Pacific locomotive #810.  (This was the first railfan trip taken by your editor, who got to go for the $2.50 half fare rate.)

Railroad Enthusiasts and Railway & Locomotive Historical Society sponsor a Scenic Tour of the Reading Catawissa Branch from Jersey City, Elizabeth and Plainfield with a stop at Cranford to view the round house (still standing) and steam locomotives.  Two B&O dining cars were included in the consist.

All road freight trains were dieselized.


1954     Last regularly scheduled CNJ steam powered passenger service, Jersey City to Cranford.

North Jersey Chapter NRHS sponsored a Farewell Rail Camera Tour using the last operating camelback in America, CNJ camelback locomotive #774, from Jersey City via Elizabethport to Freehold, Bay Head Junction, and Atlantic Highlands.  Adult fare for the day was $4.50!




1955     Electric Railroaders Assn. sponsored a trip on the Wharton & Northern and High Bridge Branches using CNJ camelback locomotive #774 from Jersey City and Elizabethport.

Railroad Enthusiasts sponsored a steam trip using CNJ #774 from Jersey City, Elizabeth and Plainfield to Jim Thorpe with B&O dining car service.


1956     Dunellen track elevation was completed.


1957     On October 20th/21st a 12 car B&O train was utilized to transport Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Philip from Washington, DC, via Camp Kilmer to Staten Island.  The LV RR made the move to Cranford where the train was turned over the Staten Island Railroad at Staten Island Jct


1958     All B&O passenger service to Jersey City ended.

Two locomotives and three coaches of train #3314 passed red signals and derails going off the end of the open Bay Draw Bridge, killing 44 passengers and four crew members and injuring 50.


1959     The North Jersey Chapter NRHS and the Railroad Enthusiasts sponsored a Rail Camera Inspection Tour to the Reading, PA shops from Jersey City, Elizabethport and Plainfield.

A crewless, runaway diesel locomotive, #1706 departed the Jersey City Terminal moving west.  At Elizabethport it was shunted south toward Perth Amboy.  The engine roared out of control at speeds averaging 40 miles per hour for 36 minutes until it was finally "caught" by another locomotive which got up to speed ahead of the runaway and stopped it.  The throttle of the "ghost locomotive" was found wide open...


1960     The Trolley Museum of NY sponsored a Rail Diesel Car (RDC) trip from Jersey City, Elizabethport and Plainfield to Rockaway and return.

First state subsidy for commuter trains to CNJ.


1961     Railroad Enthusiasts operated a Rail-Camera Excursion from Jersey City to Green Pond Junction and return using RDC's.

Trailer on Flat Car freight service began over CNJ, Reading, and B&O route.

Service with RDC's inaugurated between NY & Allentown; discontinued in 1964.


1963     Second day freight service was inaugurated between Jersey City and Chicago.


1965     End of US Post Office mail service on the CNJ.

Centralized Traffic Control was installed on 13 miles between Hampton and Phillipsburg.


1966     CNJ began push-pull passenger train service.

Steamtown, USA and High Iron Co. sponsored a Steam Safari using CPR #1278 from Jersey City, Elizabeth and Plainfield to Jim Thorpe and return.


1967     Passenger service between Jersey City and Allentown was discontinued; cut back to Hampton.

Service to Jersey City was rerouted to Newark Penn Station via the LV route with a new connection provided at Aldene.  CNJ ferry service ended and Jersey City Terminal was closed.

Jersey Central filed for final bankruptcy.

The High Iron Co. operated Safari #2 from Elizabethport to Bridgeton and return using CPR steam locomotive #1286.

Safari #4 operated from Elizabeth, Plainfield, and High Bridge to Green Pond Jct. and return using CPR #1286 and #1238.

Safari #5 operated from Elizabeth to Jim Thorpe and return with same locomotive.


1968     A steam excursion using CPR steam locomotive #127 was operated to Jim Thorpe on Feb. 25th.

High Iron Co. operated a double headed (CPR locomotives #1286 & #1238) steam excursion from Newark Penn Station via Plainfield to Wilkes Barre and return.

High Iron Co. Iron Horse Ramble ran from Elizabeth & Plainfield to the Palmerton, PA festival and return using NKP #759.


1969     CNJ became part of the first "land bridge" rail route between west and east coasts, which by-passed the Panama Canal saving 10-20 days on Asia-Europe freight shipments.

High Iron Co. operated a steam excursion with NKP #759 from Jersey City to Jim Thorpe.


1972     CNJ operations in PA were terminated.

New run through freight service was inaugurated between Jersey City and Harrisburg in cooperation with the Reading.

Freight pool service was begun with the Erie Lackawanna RR between Jersey City and Scranton via the CNJ Main Line and High Bridge Branch; it ended in 1976 with Conrail takeover.

Winter Steam Excursions from Elizabeth to Bethlehem and return using Reading locomotive #2102 by Steam Tours, Inc.

Steam Tours, Inc. and the Railroad Enthusiasts operate "The Royal Blue" excursion from Elizabeth via the CNJ-Reading-B&O route to Washington, DC and return the following day, using Reading #2102.


1973     The Railroad Enthusiasts sponsored a trip from Elizabeth to the High Bridge and Wharton & Northern Branches.


1974     Passenger service from Hampton to Phillipsburg was restored.

CNJ operated "The Mermaid" service from Raritan to the Jersey Shore via Elizabethport.


1975     Mainline Steam Foundation sponsored a "Blue Comet Nostalgia Special" from Raritan to Bay Head Jct. and return using steamers FEC #148 and CPR #972

Extension of PATH from Newark via Elizabeth over CNJ to Plainfield was proposed.


1976     Conrail took over operation of the Jersey Central and five other bankrupt railroads.  B&O freight train operation over CNJ ended.

PATH extension to Plainfield was defeated.

Liberty State Park opened with the former CNJ Terminal the focal point.


1978     The "Bayonne Scoot," passenger service from Bayonne to Cranford ended, terminating 142 years of passenger service on parts of the line.  The Newark Bay Draw Bridge was abandoned and later removed.


1981     Service on the CNJ-Reading route between Newark and Philadelphia was eliminated by NJ Transit.


1982     Passenger service to West Trenton ended.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society (RHS) operated a fall foliage excursion from Newark and Roselle Park to Allentown and return using NJ DOT E-8 locomotives.


1983     NJ Transit took over commuter rail operations from Conrail; The last passenger service from High Bridge to Phillipsburg, via the former CNJ Raritan Valley Line, was ended by NJ Transit. This service utilized the last open end observation car in scheduled passenger service in the US..


1984     Passenger service to Phillipsburg ended.


1985     Tri-State RHS sponsored a "Farewell to the CNJ" trip from Newark, Cranford, Dunellen and Raritan to Phillipsburg and return.

Railroad Passenger Services Corp. sponsored a Hershey Park Special Excursion from Newark and the Raritan Valley line to Hershey Park and return.


1988     Tri-State RHS hosted the NRHS convention with the following trips using portions of the CNJ main line: Bound Brook to Selkirk, NY behind triple headed Morristown & Erie RR diesel locomotives; Bound Brook to Reading via Philadelphia; and Bound Brook to Reading via Allentown, the latter both using NKP #765.


1991     Waterfront Connection was opened; Raritan Valley trains began operating to and from Hoboken.


1992     NJ Transit opened Meadows Maintenance Center making the former CNJ Elizabethport shops redundant.  Passenger equipment moves between Aldene and Elizabethport Shops for maintenance cease.  Many shop buildings were demolished, but the 1901 locomotive shop and several other structures survive.


1993     NJ Transit released the Newark - Elizabeth Rail Link Options Study.  The planned light rail route incorporated a segment of the former CNJ right-of-way between Elizabethport and downtown Elizabeth.

A real estate development project near the site of the CNJ Elizabeth Station proposed to build on a portion of the main line route.


1994     The Scoping Summary Report for the Newark - Elizabeth Rail Link produced by the Federal Transit Administration and NJ Transit identified the Jersey Central Main Line between Elizabethport and Plainfield as a NERL Future Candidate System Extension.


1995     The CNJ Main Line was placed on the National Historic Register.  The revised Elizabeth development project preserving the CNJ right-of-way and incorporating the restoration of the CNJ station was approved.


Our thanks to Frank Reilly and Walt Grosselfinger for their help with this compilation.