CNJ Wooden Boxcar

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Years ago, Jersey Central Chapter members discovered this steel frame wood box car in a back yard in Metuchen.

Volunteers emptied it, donated it to URHS, and it was moved to the Morristown & Erie Ry.  It was later stripped of rotten wood and moved by road to Bivalve for the Bayshore Project (Home Port of the 1927 wooden Oyster Schooner A. J. MEERWALD).  They totally rebuilt it and it now contains high quality rest rooms for their visitors. 

Boonton Tour

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Photo by Steve Falco of Rockaway River falls in Boonton's Grace Lord Park on Capt. Bill's tour on Saturday, 7 July.  In the past the DL&W Iron Works branch extended to this point and this very same view could be repeated from a trolley or railcar if we get permission to re-install tracks to this point.

Boonton "Big Dig"

"The Big Dig" under way @ Boonton Yard on Thursday, April 26, 2018. Removing soil, concrete, rock and trees to make room for truck parking. Work funded by Liberty Historic Railway.  Photos by Dave Lindstrom.

Backhoe: Carbonetti Contracting
Trucking: Polaris Equipment, Mountain Lakes (Bill Amaducci)

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Rutan Coal Co. Truck

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In 1947 a Mack model EF scissor-lift retail coal delivery truck was acquired by the Rutan Coal Co. of Dover.  After they went out of the coal business it was acquired by prominent truck historian / enthusiast / restorer and supporter of the Heritage Center, Kerry Day.  After Kerry’s untimely death, the Day family donated it to the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center via curator Capt. Bill McKelvey and Tom Amaducci delivered it to the Phillipsburg Pump House site.  McKelvey convinced the “Friends” to donate the Mack to the Mahan Collection Foundation at Basking Ridge for needed preservation and restoration.  Gary Mahan picked it up in 2011 and subsequently wonderfully restored the veteran.  That was timely, as soon thereafter the Phillipsburg site was hit by waves of vandalism and theft.  The Mack EF is now safe, restored, and on display for visitors to enjoy.  Another good and timely decision indeed!

Apgar Bulldog Mack

Photo by Richie King

WOW! We were elated to see the absolutely wonderful restoration of the 1923, chain drive, Apgar Trucking, Mack tractor at the March meeting of the Metro Jersey Chapter, American Truck Historical Society hosted by Gary Mahan at the Mahan Collection Foundation at Basking Ridge. The Bulldog sat at the front of the Apgar facility in South Bound Brook for many years. Former Executive Director of the NJ Motor Truck Association and member of the NJ RR Museum Commission, Sam Cunningham, helped Capt. Bill McKelvey, then curator of the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center, convince Matt Wright, Apgar president / owner to donate the veteran vehicle to the “Friends”. In 2011 McKelvey convinced “Friends” board that the deteriorated Mack needed the protection and restoration that Gary Mahan could give it. That was a very wise, win - win, decision indeed!

Article by LHRy Director Emeritus in "Railway Age"

Autonomous Trucks: An Elephant in the Economy is a forward thinking, thought provoking, perspective article appearing on page 20 in the March 2018 issue of Railway Age, by Transportation Economist J. William Vigrass.   "Professor" Bill is a LHRy Director Emeritus who led the most successful Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning, Graduate Student Studio focusing on the transportation needs of Liberty State Park for us. 

New Director Announcement

The LHRy Board is pleased to announce that Richard King of Union, NJ has been unanimously elected to be a Director, replacing Ted Brewer who is retiring.  He is an outstanding Rahway Valley Railroad historian and author, employed in Sales Operations at Jaguar Land Rover North America, Mahwah, NJ.  “Richie” is currently Treasurer of Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Morristown, NJ.  He has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ramapo College of NJ, Anisfield School of Business.  We thank Ted Brewer, a founding Director of LHRy, for his eight years of service and dedication to our cause - he is now a Director Emeritus.

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UK SUCCESS! A U.S. Vulcan is Restored

Vulcan Iron Works of Wilkes Barre, PA, (1860s to 1950s) was a builder of hundreds of small industrial type locomotives.  In 1942 they produced an 0-6-0 Tank steam locomotive for the US Army Corps of Engineers, one of 382 in the class that saw service variously in the UK, western Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.  It was shipped across the Atlantic in 1943 and operated in the UK as War Department No. 1960 until the end of hostilities.  It was purchased by the Southern Railway (UK), and worked at Southampton Docks, and later at the Ashford wagon works until 1968.  The embryonic Kent & East Sussex Railway preserved it for future heritage operations.  Finally in 1994, with restoration completed it entered service for the next 10 years, until it’s boiler certificate expired.  A second round of restoration was begun in 2012 and it was decided to return it to service in the striking blue livery of scrapped classmate No. 300, which was the last representative of the class operating on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire.  The original No. 300 was named after Major General Frank. S. Ross, a distinguished member of the US Army who was chief of transportation in the European theater of operations in the Second World War, and his name will be placed on #300.  The restoration was completed late in 2017, just in time to delight Santa Special passengers.  K&ES Ry has a second USA 0-6-0T, BR No. 30065, which is in queue to be restored by 2022.

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Canal Books Donated

A selection of canal books focusing on New Jersey (both Delaware & Raritan and Morris Canals) have been donated to the research libraries of the following maritime museums: New Jersey Maritime Museum, Beach Haven; The New Jersey Museum of Boating, Point Pleasant; Toms River Seaport Museum, Tom’s River; Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum, Tuckerton; and the Canal Society of New Jersey, Waterloo Village; by Capt. Bill McKelvey, Chairman, Liberty Historic Railway. All of the above are considered excellent, with the NJ Maritime Museum rated outstanding by McKelvey.

Funding Received by LHRy

The Liberty Historic Railway board is happy to report that we have received our first major funding from the public. A NJ Family Foundation sent us a $5,000 grant in September to be used for railroad projects. We interpret this as an endorsement of the type of projects we have been funding recently. It was our hope that such confidence would be fostered by our new “Project Funding” rack card which we are distributing as well as the project funding record posted on our website.

During August, LHRy received an additional $90,000 of supplemental funding from a board member.

D&R Canal Watch

LHRy supports the D&R Canal Watch, whose mission is to protect, maintain, and promote the recreational, historical, aesthetic, and environmental qualities of the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park and its environs, to assist and to support regional, state, local, and private enterprise efforts that contribute to this goal, and to investigate the restoration of the canal to through navigation.

The D&R Canal Watch now has a Facebook page, and we encourage our members and friends to join!

D&R Canal Watch is looking for volunteers for few hours to staff its table at one or more of these festivals. For all of these events, D&R Canal Watch will supply a table, chairs, tent, and banner.

37th Annual Raritan River Festival
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Boyd Park, New Brunswick, NJ
12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
To Volunteer, Contact: Doug McCray at 609-859-4084 or K2QWQ@comcast.net

Bound Brook RiverFest
Date TBD (usually a Saturday in September)
East Main Street, Bound Brook, NJ
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
To Volunteer, Contact: Linda Barth at 908-240-0488 or barthlinda123@aol.com

East Millstone CanalFest
Saturday, October 14, 2017 (raindate: October 15)
East Millstone Park, Somerset, NJ
11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
To Volunteer, Contact: Linda Barth at 908-240-0488 or barthlinda123@aol.com

August 2017 News

Total auto gridlock at Liberty State Park was observed on the weekend of July 29 - 30. The west end of Zapp Drive was subject to bumper to bumper stagnation due to full parking lots. As a result, Park Police blocked off Morris Pesin Drive, Freedom Way and Zapp Drive east of the ferry parking lot.

A plan that would have prevented this mess and others like it was put forward by Liberty Historic Railway with an award-winning LSP Transit Study by Sam Schwartz Engineering a couple of years ago. It called for the re-creation of a historic electric trolley operation on its own private right-of-way along the south side of Zapp Drive. Vintage streetcars would shuttle park goers between the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal on the Hudson River and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail’s Liberty State Park station adjacent to the Liberty Science Center where parking spaces are plentiful.

Sadly, this solution to traffic congestion received unreasonable opposition from the Friends of LSP. They claimed buses were the answer – but we know they would be trapped by the same auto gridlock. They stated that the trolley would take “blanket space” from park visitors - not credible - no one would want to spread a blanket out 10 feet from a busy roadway in a 1,200 acre park!


Two years ago a meeting at the Thomas Edison Laboratories National Historic Site on Main Street in West Orange was attended by LHRy Chairman McKelvey. At the time the remnants of the pioneering Edison Menlo Park electric railway displayed at the front of the building were noted to be in a rather deteriorated state. We offered financing to restore and place them on short sections of vintage rail. Park staff said they had the funding and they planned to do the work. They have done so! An excellent restoration has been completed to preserve these iconic NJ artifacts on rail. Photos by Gage Bongiovi, Thomas Edison National Historic Park.