LHRy Director Moves On

We are indebted to Director Doug McQueen and most appreciative for his service as treasurer for LHRy and his excellent work with the predecessor Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning Graduate Student Studio which explored solutions for future transportation needs and other initiatives for Liberty State Park.  Doug is moving on with his aviation / legal career path and is unable to continue as an active director.  We welcome Doug to the LHRy rank of Director Emeritus!  We will sorely miss his hospitality for our board meetings at the LeClairRyan office.

Terminal Opening Delayed

The CRR of NJ Jersey City Terminal repairs and restoration from Superstorm Sandy will delay the reopening of the Terminal until Fall of 2015 or early 2016.  However, a complete restoration of the train / track announcement signs, reflecting the period 1938 to 1941, as researched by LHRy, will be in place on the concourse when the work is completed.

New LHRY Director

Liberty Historic Railway is pleased to announce the addition of a new director - Gregory Bender, PE of South Bound Brook, NJ.  Replacing retired director, Bill Vigrass, PE, Greg recently retired from Picatinny Arsenal where he was Senior Transportation and Packaging / Handling Engineer, Director, Staff.  He is a Rutgers University Trustee, past president of the Rutgers Alumni Association, the Rutgers Alumni Engineering Society and current member of Task force to improve Governing Board Efficiency.  He is a recognized public advocate for New Jersey public transit systems, including bus, rail, light rail, and water systems.  He is his town’s current representative on the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition; past Chair, Ocean County Public Transportation Board and VP Emeritus of the Shore Commuter Coalition.  We sincerely hope that LHRy can meet Greg’s expectations

Train Shed Grant

NJ DEP (Parks) has submitted a $1,000,000 grant application for the initial work toward stabilization of the Central RR of NJ, Jersey City Terminal Train Shed, which is on both the National and NJ Historic Registers.  LHRy gave written support for this grant and commends Parks for this first step away from demolition by neglect.

Locomotive Donation

The 45 ton, 300 hp, General Electric switching locomotive (Serial No. 12977) purchased and restored by the Chairman of LHRy has been donated to United Railroad Historical Society of NJ for use at their Boonton Yard.  It will be on display at the third annual Transportation Heritage Festival at Boonton scheduled by URHS for Sunday, 21 September. 

Five strikes and we are totally out!

Over the past 5 years Liberty Historic Railway has spent nearly $100,000 attempting to 1. Jumpstart restoration of the Train Shed in Liberty State Park; 2. Provide a 1+ mile trolley shuttle between the Hudson Bergen Light Rail station and the Ferry Dock @ the terminal; and 3. Provide a place to display pedigree items of rail equipment which served the Terminal and have been preserved by United Railroad Historical Society.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced that our application for their 11 Most Endangered Structures List for the Train Shed was rejected for the third year in a row (three strikes).  LHRy will not make any additional attempts to save the structure as a feasibility study concluded that it was not possible to raise from private or corporate sources the $26,000,000 to stabilize the shed nor the $92,000,000 to fully restore it.  So, it will either collapse or be demolished, probably to make way for more parking for additional visitors to Liberty State Park by motor vehicle...

Our second objective to provide a viable and needed transit link in the Park was vehemently and fanatically rejected by the Friends of Liberty State Park (strike 4).  So, the motor vehicle will continue to be the necessary access to the Park which is already auto dominated.

Our third objective to restore a short rail connection to move a display sample of rail locomotives and cars, which used the Jersey City Terminal was also fanatically opposed by Friends of Liberty State Park (strike 5).

We are glad that we gave these needed amenities our best and full effort, but we are deeply disappointed that all three initiatives have met with failure.

However, we are most pleased to report that NJ DEP Parks is proceeding with our recommended upgrading and restoration of Train / Track announcement signage and interpretive panels for all 20 tracks on the concourse of the Terminal.  Restoration of the Superstorm Sandy damage to the Terminal is well under way and it should reopen in 2015.

LHRy Delegate Now URHS President

At the April meeting of the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey, Larry Gross, the alternate delegate of Liberty Historic Railway was elected president of URHS, succeeding K.C. Smith.  Larry is an Emergency Medical Technician with the Morristown Fire Department and the Boonton Yard Foreman living in Morris Plains with his wife Barbara and children Nicholas and Hanna.  In his spare time Larry is an EMT trainer for several fire departments as well as a gymnastics instructor.

URHS Locomotive @ Spencer, NC Festival

United Railroad Historical Society’s cosmetically restored Reading F7 #284 joined 24 other Streamlined locomotives of the 1930s to 1950s for a four day festival at the NC Transportation Museum at the Spencer, NC roundhouse, courtesy of Norfolk Southern. No. 284 would have been a prime display locomotive at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal in Liberty State Park if not for the fanatical opposition to restoration of any track in LSP by leaders of the Friends of Liberty State Park. The Reading Railroad used such locomotives to haul their Crusader and The Wall Street trains between Jersey City Terminal and Philadelphia for years.

87-Year-Old NJ Bus Acquired

The Chairman of LHRy has acquired a 20 seat 1927 Yellow Coach parlor bus for the future NJ Transportation Heritage Park. The Type X coach with 24,128 original miles spent its entire life in NJ and the last 50 years in a barn on the estate of the late Dr. Ralph Cox at Rio Grande, NJ. While it does not run, needs 7 new tires, is missing some parts, and requires extensive restoration, the body is sound and the Bonhams auction price of $1,530 was quite attractive...