Liberty Historic Railway, Inc.

Liberty Historic Railway

Liberty State Park


Transportation Milestones Around the CRR of NJ

Jersey City Terminal (now Liberty State Park) and the NJ / NY Port Area

Capt. Bill McKelvey, Editor

Introduction: Included are milestones, events, and things of mostly transportation importance within the entire NJ / NY Port area. Our goal is to limit items to an approximately 25 mile radius of the Statue of Liberty, which is the commonly accepted Port District of Jurisdiction of the Port Authority of NY & NJ. The Chronology is primarily devoted to transportation, but some other related and relevant items, important to the overall context have been posted as well. Due to the unavailability of month and / or day of some events / items, the listings of them under each year may not be in exact chronological order. Kindly forward suggested additions, edits and corrections to the editor: or 103 Dogwood Lane, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922. Please note: For your convenience, the Chronology is now electronically searchable.

Updated December 2012

4.6 billion years ago

Planet Earth was formed in the Pre-Cambrian Era.

3.8 billion years ago

Simple cells (prokaryotes) began to appear.

3 billion years ago

Evidence of photosynthesis begins to appear.

2 billion years ago

Complex cells (eukaryotes) begin to appear.

1 billion years ago

Multicellular life begins to appear.

600 million years ago

Simple animals begin to appear.

570 million years ago

Arthropods (ancestors of insects, arachnids and crustaceans) begin to appear.

550 million years ago

Complex animals begin to appear.

500 million years ago

Fish and proto–amphibians begin to appear.

475 million years ago

Land plants begin to appear.

400 million years ago

Insects and seeds begin to appear.

360 million years ago

Amphibians begin to appear.

300 million years ago

Reptiles begin to appear.

230 million years ago

The earliest evidence of Dinosaurs appears in the Mesozoic Era, Triassic Period rocks of New Jersey.

200 million years ago

Mammals begin to appear.

150 to 140 million years ago

Evidence of evolution of a wide variety of types of large Dinosaurs (as many as 100 species) appears in the late Jurassic Period rocks of New Jersey and many other areas of the US. Birds also begin to appear.

130 million years ago

Flowers begin to appear.

70 million years ago

The age of Dinosaurs fades and the last evidence appears in the Mesozoic Era, late Cretaceous Period rocks of New Jersey.

65 million years ago

Non-avian dinosaurs died out.

2.5 million years ago

The genus Homo appeared.

200,000 B.C.E.

Humans started looking like they do today.

35,000 to 40,000 B.C.E.

The first men to discover the New World or America are believed to have walked across a “land bridge” from Siberia to Alaska.

25,000 B.C.E.

Neanderthals died out.

20,000 B.C.E.

The New York - New Jersey Metropolitan area, including NY Harbor, was covered by the Wisconsin Ice Sheet, which was up to 1,000 feet thick. The leading edge or terminal moraine of the sheet stretches from the southern end of Staten Island, across the Narrows and through Brooklyn and Queens. Without the terminal moraine, most of Long Island, including Brooklyn and Queens, would lie beneath the Atlantic Ocean. As the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated northward a huge volume of meltwater accumulated and was blocked from reaching the ocean via the St. Lawrence River by the portion of the ice sheet which still covered the Thousand Islands area. This large body of water was Glacial Lake Iroquois - a prehistoric proglacial lake which was essentially an enlargement of the present Lake Ontario. It was three times as large and approximately 100 feet deeper than the present lake.

13,350 B.C.E.

Geologists, Oceanographers and Paleontologists concur that about this time Glacial Lake Iroquois broke through a dam and flooded east through the Mohawk River Valley, down the Hudson River Valley past NYC, through a spot of land where the Verrazano Narrows Bridge now stands, and into the Atlantic Ocean. The event formed NY Harbor. This massive rush of flood water is thought to be responsible for large rocks, the size of an automobile, being deposited on the outer continental shelf off the mouth of the Hudson River. The discharge of this fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean is thought to have triggered climatic changes caused by the altering of the Gulf Stream. In any event a cold climate period lasting 1,200 years followed. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

10,000 B.C.E.

Civilization began - the first cities were established.

The Leni Lenape (which means “original people”) were hunting and raising crops, such as corn, beans and squash, in the area which has become New Jersey.

6,000 B.C.E.

Geologists believe that at this time the lower Raritan River provided the course for the mouth of the Hudson River. Following the end of the last ice age, the Narrows had not yet been formed and the Hudson River flowed along the Watchung Mountains to present day Bound Brook, then followed the course of the Raritan River eastward into Raritan and Lower New York Bays.


Norsemen (Norwegian Vikings sailing out of Iceland and Greenland) are credited by most scholars with being the first Europeans to discover America.


Christopher Columbus, most famous of the explorers of the Western Hemisphere, was born at Genoa, Italy but made his discoveries sailing for Spanish rulers. His first landings were at what we now know as San Salvador, Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti and Dominican Republic.


Giovanni da Verrazano (1485-1528) was the first European to explore the New Jersey coast and sail into what became New York Harbor. The suspension bridge spanning the narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island is named in his honor.


Capt. John Smith and 105 cavaliers in three ships landed on the Virginia coast and started the first permanent English settlement in the New World at Jamestown.


Henry Hudson, seeking an alternative route to East Asia, sailed into the mouth of what became known as the Delaware River and anchored for the night. He then continued on to the New York Bay region where he is credited with discovering the Hudson River. He anchored his 85-foot-long, 80 ton, Half Moon in Weehawken cove and claimed the river for his employer, The Dutch East India Co. Shortly after, the Swedes and British claimed settlements in New Jersey along the coast.


New Amsterdam (Manhattan, later NYC) which became a Dutch province, was founded as a commercial trading post by the Dutch West India Company.


In May, Noten Eyelandt (“Island of Nuts,” officially renamed Governors Island in 1784) was the landing place of the first settlers in New Netherland. They had arrived from the Dutch Republic with the ship New Netherland and thirty families in order to take legal possession of the New Netherland territory. The NY State Senate and Assembly have recognized Governor’s Island as the birthplace, in 1624, of the state of NY. In 1633 a 104-man regiment arrived on Governor’s Island – its first use as a military base. New Netherland was conditionally ceded to the English in 1664, and renamed New York the following year. Defensive works were raised on the island in 1776 by Continental Army troops during the American Revolutionary War, and fired upon British ships before falling into enemy hands. In 1784 the island’s current name was made official. From 1783 to 1966 the island was a US Army post, and from 1966 to 1996 served as a major US Coast Guard installation. On 19 January 2001, Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two of the island’s three historical fortifications were proclaimed a National Monument. On 31 January 2003, most of the island was transferred to the state of NY, but 22 acres became a National Park. Governors Island is a 172-acre island in Upper NY Bay, approximately ½ mile from the southern tip of Manhattan and is separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel. The original, smaller island was expanded by approximately 82 acres of landfill on its southern side when the Lexington Avenue subway was excavated in the early 1900s.


Peter Minuit, the first Director-General of New Amsterdam, bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for an estimated $24 of trinkets. Permanent Dutch colonists began to arrive. In the next three decades several Dutch families built farms in what is now Jersey City and Hoboken.


Michael R. Pauw received the first Dutch West India Co. land grant on the west bank of the Hudson River, known as Pavonia on 22 November. This is the earliest known property conveyance for what are now known as Jersey City and Hoboken. A condition of the sale was that Pauw establish a settlement of no less than fifty persons within four years. He failed to do that and had to sell his land back to the Company. Harsimus, Pavonia, and Communipaw developed into present day Jersey City.


The first houses were built in the Dutch settlement at Communipaw, now called Jersey City.


The Dutch established the village of Red Hook in what is now Brooklyn.


Cornelis Dircksen inaugurated the first ferry service between Peck Slip at what is now Manhattan and the foot of the present Fulton Street in Brooklyn. Passengers would summon him by blowing a conch shell horn hung on a tree and Dircksen would row them across.


One Dutch Governor, Willem Kieft, provoked a disastrous war with an Indian tribe living near the village of Pavonia by insisting that the Indians pay taxes for repairs to Fort Amsterdam. The war, marked by bloody massacres of whole Indian villages, cost a total of more than 1,000 lives before a treaty was signed in 1645.


Peter Stuyvesant arrived in the city of New Amsterdam, at the southern tip of Manhattan, as the fourth and last of the Dutch Director-Generals of New Netherlands. He built the city’s first schools and fortified Manhattan against hostile natives and New England Yankees.


The first village (located inside a palisaded garrison) was established on what is now Bergen Square, and is considered to be the oldest town in what would become the state of New Jersey.


Jensen’s Ferry service was begun between Communipaw and Manhattan.


What is known as Fort Tompkins on Staten Island was first established when fortified with a blockhouse in this year. During the Revolutionary War it was known as Flagstaff Fort. It was taken by the British in 1776, enlarged, and used until 1783. NY State started a masonry fort in 1807. The site reverted to federal control during the War of 1812. It was divided into several smaller units, including Fort Tompkins and Fort Richmond. Cpt. Robert E. Lee from Fort Hamilton proposed rebuilding the Staten Island works, which was done in 1860. It controlled Forts Morton, Hudson, and Richmond and was later included as part of Fort Wadsworth which was established in 1864. By 1924 Fort Wadsworth had become an infantry post, and from 1955 until 1974 it was the headquarters of the 52nd AAA Brigade. It then became the site of the US Army Chaplain school before being turned over to the US Navy in 1979. The property became part of Gateway National Recreation Area when the Navy left in 1995. Shortly after that, the US Coast Guard became a tenant in some of the buildings. Historic structures include Battery Weed, directly on the harbor and Fort Tompkins on the bluff above. The National Park Service maintains a visitor’s center on the site and offers ranger-led tours of the facilities.


Four British warships entered New York Harbor and without firing a shot convinced Peter Stuyvesant, the peg-legged governor of New Netherland, to surrender. Control passed to James, Duke of York, brother of Charles II, King of England. He quickly transferred ownership of the land between the Hudson and the Delaware to Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret. They named it “New Jersey” after the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. Berkeley and Carteret sold off portions of their interest to different individuals, who established the separate but related provinces of East Jersey and West Jersey.

The Old York Road was completed and opened across New Jersey from Elizabethtown Point to Coryell’s Ferry (Lambertville). It connected with the Pennsylvania segment, which was already completed to Philadelphia.


Carteret and Berkeley issued the “Concessions and Agreements” by which they set the terms of settlement for people who would locate to the province. As the proprietors could profit only by selling lands to settlers, these concessions were designed to make New Jersey an attractive place in which to settle.


William Penn signed a document authorizing surveyors to examine the possibility of constructing a canal across the Jerseys from the Delaware River to New York Bay.


During the war between England and Holland, Dutch warships sailed into New York Harbor and demanded the city’s surrender. The city fell without a fight and the name was changed back to New Amsterdam.


William Penn signed a document authorizing surveyors to examine the possibility of constructing a canal across the Jerseys from the Delaware River to New York Bay.


The Colonial Assembly commissioned local seamen as pilots to assist ship captains in NY Harbor. Sandy Hook Pilots continues that service to the present. They utilize more than a dozen vessels to transport pilots to and from ocean ships.


Federal Hall, was built at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets as New York’s City Hall. It was the meeting place for the first US Congress; was where George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the US; and was where the Bill of Rights was introduced in the First Congress. The building was demolished in 1812. On the site the Federal Hall National Memorial was built in 1842 as the NY Customs House. It is now operated by the National Park Service as a museum commemorating the historic events that happened there.

A charter was granted to Samuel Bayard for a ferry from New York to Weehawken.

New Jersey had a population of 15,000 and two-thirds lived in East Jersey.


East and West Jersey were rejoined when they came under royal rule.


Young Benjamin Franklin, wanting to escape a troubled family life in Boston, arranged for passage to New York City (NYC) on sailing ship in September. There he tried to get a job in book store, but there were no stores. He tried the only printing shop, but there were no openings. The owner suggested that he try in Philadelphia, where his son had a printing shop. The journey was difficult and he was running out of money, so Ben decided to walk the 50 miles across the colony of New Jersey. At Burlington he got on a sailboat (which the passengers had to row due to lack of wind) for Philadelphia. Franklin remained in Philadelphia the rest of his life and became that city’s most famous man.


A charter was granted by King George II of England to Albert Kennedy, Esquire for a ferry between Manhattan and Pavonia (Jersey City).


An earthquake of 7 intensity near New York City on 18 December threw down a number of chimneys. The shock was felt as far as Boston and Philadelphia.


Douwes Ferry Road, from Harrison to Jersey City was completed.

The population of New Jersey grew to 60,000.


The first steam engine in America was imported from England to pump water from Col. John Schuyler’s copper mine in North Arlington, which had to be shut down in 1748 due to flooding. Schuyler paid English engine-maker Jonathan Hornblower ₤1,000 to ship him a “fire engine” and a crew of mechanics to set it up. It was repaired after two separate fires and it kept on pumping well into the 19th century.


Joseph Borden, Jr. and partners started a stage line which became the first regular service between New York and Philadelphia. Only the Bordentown to Perth Amboy segment was by land. Boats were used at either end of the trip.


John Butler established a coach service between Philadelphia and New York. The one hundred mile journey included six ferryboat rides and took three days.


America’s oldest lighthouse (103' tall) was built on New Jersey’s Sandy Hook, at the entrance to New York Harbor. It is the oldest standing and longest continuously operating lighthouse in the United States.

A stage route from Paulus (or Powles) Hook to Philadelphia was begun.


Colonel John Schuyler built the Belleville Turnpike from Jersey City to his copper mine in North Arlington. It was primarily constructed of cedar planks harvested from the Meadowlands.


The new Newark to Bergen (Jersey City) Plank Road was opened. It provided the connection with other roads to complete the first all-land route between the Hudson and Philadelphia.

John Mercerau and John Barnhill introduced their Flying Machine. Their "wagons set on springs" cut the travel time between Paulus Hook, and Philadelphia to two days.


Cornelius Van Voorst established a ferry from Manhattan to Powles Hook in Jersey City.


A new stage route was established over the Old York Road, by way of Lambertville, Somerville, Plainfield, Elizabeth, Newark and Powles Hook.

The outstanding stage coaches on the Old York Road were those of the Swift-Sure Stage Line. Their advertisements appearing in the New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy announced: “ A new stage line is to be erected to go from New York to Philadelphia by way of Powles Hook from thence through Newark and Elizabethtown to Bound Brook and the North Branch of the Raritan to Coryell’s Ferry, the only ferry between Newark and Philadelphia noted for its shortness and convenience over the river Delaware.”


Abraham Skillman advertised his "year round" coach traveling between NY, Elizabeth & Philadelphia in two days.


The first stage coach was used in New Jersey for public transportation by Joseph Hart's Philadelphia Coach Line. His route was from Powles Hook via Newark, Elizabeth and Trenton. It provided the most comfortable means of travel as well as the most expensive.


A charter for a sail / manpower ferry from Manhattan to Hoboken was granted. It connected with a line of stages run by Andrew Van Buskirk to New Bridge, near Hackensack.


The "Continental Post" established mail service between New York and Philadelphia with exchange of mail bags at Princeton.


New York appealed to New Jersey in June for 3,000 men to head off a grand attack expected from the British during the summer. More than 100 British transports were reported off Sandy Hook.

The Declaration of American Independence from Britain was signed on 4 July. This date is written on the tablet of law held by the left hand of the Statue of Liberty.

On 12 July, Richard, Lord Howe, Admiral of the British fleet arrived in NY Harbor. The Lower Bay was immediately held by the British Navy. Staten Island had been abandoned by the Americans without resistance, thus surrendering the strong position of the Narrows. Governor’s Island and Brooklyn Heights were still held by American troops.

The Hudson River was under siege by two British Frigates and their tenders in July and August. The newly independent Americans drove the British back down the River from Peekskill to New York Harbor.

By 12 August, nearly 250 British warships were in NY Harbor.

On 22 August, after the British had crossed from Staten Island to Gravesend Bay, Washington withdrew from Governor’s Island. Two days later the Americans lost the battle of Long Island.

On 14 September the British captured NY and for the duration fo the war occupied all of Long Island.

George Washington’s ‘Flying Camp’ was located at Paulus Hook, Jersey City. However, the fort was held by the British during the remainder of the Revolutionary War.

New Bridge was strategically placed at the narrows of the Hackensack River; was used throughout the American Revolution; and has been termed “the bridge that saved a nation.” The area was a hotly contested battleground and the adjacent Zabriskie-Steuben house repeatedly served as a fort to defend the bridge and is the only surviving dwelling along the route of the 1776 American retreat from Fort Lee through Bergen county. General George Washington made his headquarters there during the Steenrapie Encampment of September 1780. Portions of the site are currently in the municipalities of New Milford, River Edge and Teaneck and the nearby NJ Transit rail station has recently been renamed “New Bridge.”

The first great fire of NYC occurred.

On 11 September, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams rowed across the Arthur Kill from New Jersey to Staten Island for a peace conference with Lord Admiral Richard Howe. Their journey was a final, although unsuccessful, bid for reconciliation between the American colonists and representatives of King George III.

Decommissioned, dismasted British ships were anchored during the Revolution in Wallabout Bay. These rotting hulks were jammed with American prisoners. On 20 October, the Whitby, the first of many prison ships arrived at Wallabout Bay, the future site of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Other early arrivals were: the Stromboli, Scorpion, Hunter, Falmouth, Scheldt, and Clyde. After two of the ships burned in 1777 and 1778, the infamous ship Jersey, the largest of them all, was brought in and all except sick prisoners were transferred to her. About 11,000 Americans – citizens and soldiers – who died on these floating prisons were buried near the Bay.


Daily stagecoaches began to operate from NYC to Philadelphia.

On 26 December, the British frigate Mercury was wrecked in the Hudson River off NYC. An attempt to raise her was made in 1823. According to tradition, she was carrying considerable specie for paying troops.


During the Revolutionary War, Major Henry (Lighthouse) Lee attacked the British fort at Paulus Hook, Jersey City, and captured 150 British troops.


There was a great freeze in the Revolutionary War winter of 1779-1780, when the British were occupying NY. The Narrows and Upper Bay were frozen solid. In one day eighty wagons of provisions for British troops on Staten Island were sent across the harbor on sledges.

The British twice tried unsuccessfully to get to Washington at Morristown. British troops, based at Manhattan and Staten Island came in boats via Paulus Hook. These were the last British attempts to invade New Jersey.

The British ship Lexington sank in the East River off 138th Street in 66 feet of water; the loss was reported to be $1,800,000.

The beautiful, shining new, three-masted British frigate of 28 guns, the HMS Hussar, tried to negotiate the treacherous Hell Gate on 3 November. The 114 foot-long ship, with a 40-foot beam, got caught in a strong current and she fetched up broadside on Pot Rock, sinking in sixteen fathoms of water. She was said to have carried gold and silver worth $2 to $4 million. Spectacular attempts were made for years to salvage her, but the Hussar now lies completely buried at the bottom of the East River.


On 15 January a NJ ferryboat got into floating ice and was damaged so badly that it sank. The eight passengers were thrown into the water. They climbed onto a cake of ice carried by the North River eddy around into the East River. All the slips there were so choked with ice that it was difficult for a small boat to go to the relief of the marooned men. Finally a boatload of soldiers did manage to rescue all but one, a Negro who had frozen to death.

A ferry from Brooklyn to NY suddenly upset. One of the horses on board had shifted, which startled the others so that they all moved to one side and the boat filled. The three passengers and two ferrymen saved themselves by swimming until they were picked up, exhausted, by boats from shore. Independent Journal

The 55 acres of land now occupied by the Stevens Institute of Technology, encompassing Castle Point, the highest point in Hoboken, was purchased by Col. John Stevens. Upon this land Stevens built a 40-room Victorian mansion, “Castle Stevens.” It was demolished in 1959 to make way for the 14-story Stevens Administration Building. The senior Stevens was a pioneer in ferry, steamboat, and railway developments. He also redesigned the British steam locomotive for use and manufacture in the US. His sons, Robert Stevens and Edward A. Stevens, created America’s first commercially successful railroad - the Camden & Amboy. They were also involved with the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co. and the “Joint Companies,” when the two were merged. Robert designed the “T” rail which became the standard shape of rail used throughout the world. When E. A. Stevens died in 1868, he left a bequest in his will for the establishment of an “institution of learning,” providing his trustees with land and funds. The Stevens Institute of Technology opened in 1870 and initially was dedicated to mechanical engineering.


Congress authorized contracts with stage owners for carrying the mail between New Hampshire and Georgia via New Jersey.

On 17 December a Brooklyn ferryboat turned over while crossing the East River, drowning one man and seven fat oxen.


The United States Constitution was signed.

New Jersey was the third state admitted to the Union on 18 December..


The first real legislation of the First Congress of the US, when they met at NYC, was to encourage shipping, and they passed laws strongly protective of shipbuilding, and went so far as to practically exclude foreign tonnage from our domestic trade. The Americanism of their action has never been exceeded in the legislative history of our country, and the attendant growth of our merchant fleet, from 123,893 tons of shipping in deep-water commerce at the time to 576,733 tons seven years later, is without parallel in the annals of commerce.


The census showed 184,000 people living in New Jersey, of which nearly 70% traced their origin to the British Isles, another 20% were of Dutch ancestry, and 10% came from Germany and surrounding countries.


Peter Cooper was born in NYC on 12 February and became an American industrialist, inventor, philanthropist, and a candidate for US President. He designed and built the first commercial steam locomotive in the US (the Tom Thumb for the B&O RR); set up an iron mill in NYC; then moved it to Trenton where it grew into a giant complex employing 2,000 people. He was one of five men who formed American Telegraph Co.; co-founded Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan (with Abram Hewitt); developed an endless chain intended to be used to pull boats on the Erie Canal, which DeWitt Clinton approved of, but which Cooper was unable to sell; and became one of the richest men in NYC.

Revolutionary War Colonel John Stevens obtained a patent for running a steamboat with paddle wheels.


In this year there sailed from New York a little ship-of-war of about 90 tons, named the Betsy, and she was the first vessel to carry the stars and stripes around the world. The voyage, lasting two years, was a commercial success.


The United Insurance Co., the first marine insurance company organized in NYC was chartered on 20 March.

On 2 April the large ferryboat which plied between the ferry stairs at Fly Market, NY and Brooklyn across the East River, unhappily sank in a gust of wind. Eight men were in the boat, five of them boatmen and three passengers. All were drowned but one boatman.

Wealthy and influential Robert Livingston convinced the state of New York to grant him a monopoly for Hudson River steamboat travel.

Col. John Stevens, Robert R. Livingston and others participated in the construction of a small steamboat, the Polacca, on the Passaic River at Belleville and it made a trip to NYC the next year.

The Associates of the New York & Elizabethport Ferry Co. began operating about this time. It is considered the oldest corporate entity of the Central Railroad of New Jersey and was officially incorporated as the Elizabethport & New York Ferry Co. on March 6, 1839.


On 24 April a 38 or 44?-gun frigate, President, built on voluntary public subscription by the merchants of the city, was launched on the East River, NYC and presented to the US Navy. The shipbuilding era had begun, and this was the first major naval vessel built in NYC.

Fire pumpers and hand engines were first placed on “floats” or small boats by New York volunteer firefighters. America’s first fireboat, The Floating Engine, was built by New York City volunteer firemen.


In May a gust of wind caught the sails and upset the ferry from Fly Market. One woman and six men were drowned. Five were saved after spending an hour and a half in the water. Three horses and a two-wheeled carriage were also lost.

Federal authorities purchased the old docks and 40 acres in Wallabout Basin on the East River and the property became an active US Navy shipyard five years later. The location was greatly expanded over the years and became known as New York Naval Shipyard or Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Sailors’ Snug Harbor was founded in this year upon the death of Capt. Robert Richard Randall. His will specified that he Manhattan estate be used to start a marine hospital for “aged, decrepit and worn out seamen.” The name was chosen by Randall himself. In 1831 the trustees sold the Manhattan estate, and with the proceeds purchased property in northern Staten Island, two miles west of St. George, overlooking Kill Van Kull and the Constable Hook section of Bayonne.


The Bergen Turnpike Co. was chartered. It was later taken over by the Jersey City, Hoboken & Paterson Street Railway Co. to build their line along the route. When Public Service took over the trolley line they operated the turnpike as well. It became a public road in 1915.


Colonel John Stevens, a brother-in-law of Robert Livingston, built an 86-foot steamboat Little Juliana, driven by twin screw propellers – an idea decades ahead of its time – and crossed the Hudson from Hoboken to New York.

The Dey Group Associates sold a block of land with favorable terms to Robert Fulton to induce him to locate his shipbuilding yard in Jersey City.

The "Associates of the Jersey Company" was established and leased the New York - Paulus Hook ferry which was originally worked with sail and rowboats.


The Fulton Foundry and works were built on the corner of Green and Morgan Streets with the first ship dry-dock in Jersey City in front of the foundry.


The first shot of the War of 1812 is said to have been fired six years before war was declared. On 6 April, the British frigate Leander wantonly fired a cannon ball into a small, unarmed American trading vessel as it stood off Sandy Hook Lighthouse, coming out of the Port of NY. One seaman was killed.


Unfortunately for Stevens, Livingston chose to support Robert Fulton’s 130-foot steamboat North River, which was propelled by two side-mounted paddle wheels. On 17 August, Fulton steamed up the Hudson from Manhattan to Albany and was soon running scheduled trips. He renamed his boat Claremont after the name of Livingston’s estate. This is considered the first commercially successful steamboat service in America.

Hoboken landowner, Col. John Stevens, built the Phenix, a paddle wheel vessel for the Hoboken to New Brunswick run. Phenix is acknowledged as America's second steamboat and the first built entirely in the US - completed only a few weeks prior to the Clermont. Phenix was also the first steamboat built in New Jersey.

War seemed imminent when a fort called the Southwest Battery, equipped with 28 cannons and thirty two pounders was built on what was then a small island off the lower tip of Manhattan, connected with the main island by a bridge. Later it was called Fort Clinton or Castle Clinton, it was intended to protect New York from possible foreign naval attack. In 1822 Congress ceded the fort to New York and landfill made it a part of the Battery itself. In 1824 it became Castle Garden, a place of public entertainment. From 1855 to 1892 it was used as an immigrant reception center and from 1896 to 1941 it was the site of the NY Aquarium.

The Fulton Fish Market initially opened on South Street at Fulton Street, Manhattan.

“Old Ironsides,” the USS Constitution, launched in Boston on 21 October 1797, was under repair in the Port of New York from this year to 1809 and again in 1811.


Stage lines began to use the Trenton and New Brunswick Turnpike in crossing New Jersey, marking a new era in overland transportation.

James Allaire provided brass fittings for Fulton's early steamboats. He later took over Fulton's boat works (in Jersey City) and moved it several times on the New York side of the Hudson. Allaire is now famous for his bog iron village which carries his name in Monmouth County, NJ (Allaire State Park).

Christopher Colles devised a plan for the construction of a unique all-timber canal across New Jersey from Bordentown on the Delaware River to Middletown Point on Raritan Bay.


The steamboat Phenix, built by John Stevens was advertised as running between New York and New Brunswick.

The third commercially successful steamboat in America, Raritan, replaced the Phenix in New Brunswick to New York service.

John Stevens steamboat Phenix ran into trouble with the Fulton-Livingston monopoly, and she was brought around to operate on the Delaware River. This June trip was the first ocean voyage by any steamboat.


An all-turnpike route from Powles Hook (Paulus Hook, Jersey City) to Philadelphia, for stage coaches and wagons, using the Trenton Bridge was in place.

Cornelius Vanderbilt began ferrying passengers and freight between Manhattan and Staten Island and by 1834 competed on the Hudson River against a steamboat monopoly between NYC and Albany with his “The Peoples Line.” He became an American entrepreneur who built his wealth on shipping and railroads, becoming one of the richest Americans in history.


A franchised ferry route was begun with the steamboat New Juliana between Hoboken and Manhattan by Col. John Stevens. The service operated continuously until 22 November 1967 - 156 years.

Governor of New Jersey, Aaron Ogden, introduced the first beam engine steamboat, called Sea Horse, in New Brunswick - Elizabethtown - New York service.


Fortifications were built on Governor’s Island as an integral part of the former New York harbor defense system during the War of 1812.

Self-taught engineer, Col. John Stevens penned his vital pamphlet: Documents Tending to Prove the Superior Advantages of Railway and Steam Carriages over Canal Navigation. It was the first American railroad book ever written. In it he states: “I can see nothing to hinder a steam carriage moving on its ways with a velocity of 100 miles an hour.” Stevens was America's pioneer advocate for steam railroads and is regarded as the father of American railroads.

During the War of 1812 much commercial traffic was diverted from sea routes to roads between coastal cities.

Sixteen-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt ran a ferry service between Staten Island and the Battery, NY. This earned him his title of “Commodore” as the ferryboat captain.

Robert Fulton built his first ferryboat, Jersey, at Jersey City. It was the very first steam powered, double ended ferryboat to operate in NY Harbor - or the world. It was propelled by a center (paddle) wheel.

Paulus Hook (Exchange Place) ferry service to Cortland St., NY opened on 18 July by the Jersey Association with which Robert Fulton was connected.


Oliver Evans proposed building a railroad between Philadelphia and New York, guaranteeing a train speed of 12 mph.

The New Jersey Legislature ordered carriages on public roads and turnpikes to keep to the right.


On 24 January, Robert Fulton and William Cutting were given authority to establish a steam ferry between Beckman’s Slip, NY and the old ferry slip in Brooklyn. The Nassau went into commission on that run on 10 May. In one day it carried 549 passengers, one wagon, two chairs with horses, and one saddle horse. One evening that summer the Nassau took a shipload on a pleasure excursion up the Hudson. There was music and dancing, the press reported.

The first railway survey in America was conducted by Col. John Stevens between Trenton and Raritan Bay.

To satisfy the Fulton-Livingston monopoly, Col. Stevens replaced his steamboat on the Hoboken ferry with a horse powered ferry. The horse-boat or team-boat had been invented by Moses Rodgers and was first used on the East River. It had a paddlewheel in its center, powered by eight horses. His second vessel was used on the Hoboken run.

The first steamboat excursion ran from Manhattan to Sandy Hook on 25 May using the Fulton. The war with Great Britain prevented her use in coastal waters. (Morrison)

Thomas Gibbons and Aaron Ogden were originally partners in a steam ferry between Elizabethtown Point and NYC. In this year a dispute arose over a lease renewal. Soon other arguments ensued, and Gibbons established a rival ferry. The two became bitter antagonists.


On 14 January, the US frigate President went aground on Sandy Hook bar while trying to escape to the sea; she was crippled and captured by the British.

Captain E. S. Bunker of Nantucket took his 134-foot, 327 ton, wood-burning steamboat Fulton through Hell Gate, being the first steam vessel ever to attempt it. Regular steamboat service between New York and New Haven was soon established.

A railroad between the Delaware and the Raritan, later known as the Camden & Amboy, was chartered. This was the first intercity railroad chartered in the New World.


The Allaire Iron Works was a leading 19th-century American marine engineering company based in NYC was founded by James P. Allaire. They were one of the world’s first companies dedicated to the construction of marine steam engines, supplying the engines for more than 50% of all the early steamships built in the US. Allaire supplied the engine cylinder for the first steamship to cross the Atlantic, Savannah, pioneered the use of the compound engine in steamships, built the engines for two winners of the coveted Blue Riband, and supplied engines for at least 17 US Navy warships during the American Civil War. James Allaire retired from the company in 1850 when it was taken over by Cornelius Vanderbilt. The firm went out of business in 1869.

Captain E.S. Bunker took his new, strongly built passenger steamer, the 150-foot Connecticut, through Hell Gate against the full force of the tide, although it took him three tries.


On 4 February, a steam ferry that had been running for two years was wedged in a field of ice between Peck Slip, Manhattan, and the NY Steamboat Wharf. The East River was so full of ice a few days later that a solid bridge of ice had formed and thousands crossed the river on it.

On 19 February NY Harbor was closed by ice at the Narrows and a Hell Gate. For two weeks horse-drawn sleighs could travel from Long Island to Governor’s Island.

Cornelius Vanderbilt began the first steam ferry service to operate between Staten Island and Manhattan with the Nautilus. Prior to this time ferry service was provided by private individuals using small twin mast sailboats.

Jeremiah Thompson and others established the Black Ball Line, the first fleet of packet ships to ply between New York and Liverpool on a regular schedule, which brought New York a great deal of import business that had previously gone elsewhere. At about the same time, the city’s merchants persuaded many Southern planters to allow New York firms to handle the details of shipping and selling their cotton.


On 26 January the new, 146-ton, Staten Island steam ferryboat Nautilus came to the aid of the sailing ship Corsair in difficulty a mile below the Narrows and towed her into Quarantine dock..

In February, no vessels could get in or out of NY Harbor for six days, and floating ice from the Hudson was a great menace.

Hoboken to Barclay St., NY ferry service opened on 1 September.


The Savannah, was originally built as a sailing packet at the NY shipyard of Fickett & Crocker. Scarborough & Isaacs, a wealthy shipping firm from Savannah, GA was persuaded to buy the ship and convert it to a hybrid ship with the addition of a boiler, steam engine and sidewheels and gain the prestige of inaugurating the world’s first transatlantic steamship service. Allaire Iron Works supplied Savannah’s engine cylinder, while the rest of the engine components and running gear were manufactured by the Speedwell Ironworks of Morristown, NJ. The paddle wheels could be folded up and stored on deck when not in use to reduce drag and avoid damage. SS Savannah conducted a successful trial in NY Harbor on 22 March and soon departed from New York on her maiden voyage to her operating port of Savannah, GA. She reached her destination in 207 hours, having deployed her engines for 41½ hours. During May and June, Savannah was the first vessel to cross the Atlantic partly under her own steam, supplied by 75 tons of coal and 25 cords of wood. In spite of her historic voyage, she was not a commercial success as a steamship and was converted back to a sailing ship shortly after returning from Europe. Savannah was wrecked off Long Island in 1821.

On 30 June, the new steamboat Franklin was advertised as commencing service between Whitehall Slip, Manhattan and Shrewsbury, NJ. Carriage connections were available to and from Long Branch, NJ.

Louis Charles Guille leaped from a balloon over Jersey City and safely landed with a parachute, the first jump in this country.


The City of Jersey City was incorporated on 28 January.


The steamboat United States provided the first service between Newark and New York.

On 3 September a major hurricane slammed into the New York area flooding everything below Canal Street even though it hit at low tide. The East and Hudson Rivers converged over lower Manhattan, but that part of the island had not yet been built up.

New York’s first experience with anthracite fuel on a successful commercial basis was provided by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. in this year and the following. The company shipped coal through Philadelphia directly to individual consumers in NYC via the ocean route.


George P. Macculloch, while fishing at Lake Hopatcong, got the idea of using the lake as a water supply for a canal across northern New Jersey from New York Bay to Phillipsburg. He vigorously promoted the idea of the canal and was the first to suggest the use of inclined planes for it.

An act was passed to investigate the feasibility of the Morris Canal.

A new Fulton Fish Market building was opened on South Street, Manhattan, between Fulton and Beekman Streets. It was the destination of fishing boats from across the Atlantic Ocean.


Ephraim Beach surveyed the route of the Morris Canal.

The Delaware & Passaic Canal Commission was appointed by the Legislature of the State of NJ for the purpose of exploring a route of a canal to unite the Delaware, near Easton, with the Passaic, near Newark, produced a report and map of the route which was to become the Morris Canal.

The Champlain Canal, connecting the Hudson River with Lake Champlain and thus New York City, was completed and opened.

New York convened in the prior year to obtain a floating light off the harbor, resulting in the Sandy Hook Lightship being stationed off the Port of New York. She was the first vessel ever placed in the open sea to guide ships to a port in the US.


The United States Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Marshall struck down the Fulton-Livingston steamboat monopoly (Gibbons vs. Ogden) thus opening steamboat services to competition except in the case of railroad owned ferry services. The preemption of the interstate commerce clause of the constitution was affirmed as one of the Federal powers.

Col. John Stevens of Hoboken obtained a patent for his method of constructing a railroad.

The Morris Canal and Banking Co. was chartered by the State of New Jersey to build a canal from Phillipsburg to Jersey City.

On 15 May the steamboat Aetna of the Citizens Line had just come abreast of Gibbet Island (now Ellis Island) when there was a tremendous explosion. Of the thirty-seven on board, thirteen were killed instantly and only a few escaped unscathed.

A ferryboat had just arrived at Jersey City from Courtland Street, NYC, and the passengers landed when the boiler burst with an explosion which was heard in NYC and at Bergen and Hoboken in July. The boiler was seen to rise forty feet from the deck when it exploded, and the fragments which flew from 10 to 30 feet from the boat destroyed all the wood work with which they came in contact. One passenger was killed and two other people were scalded. The boiler was nearly new; and the furnace of 3/8" copper was supposed to be one of the best in the Port of NY. The Torch Light and Public Advertiser, Hagerstown, MD, 20 July 1824

A small quantity of anthracite coal, which had been rafted to Philadelphia from the upper reaches of the Delaware River was transferred to the sloop Toleration, which reached New York City on 10 December. A grate in which the hard coal could be burned was set up in a fireplace at the Tontine Coffee House and the public was invited to come and see the “fine burning qualities of the Lackawaxen Coal.” A month later, the subscription books for purchase of stock in the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company were opened and by 2 pm on the same day all of the stock was sold out. The D&H was to become an important supplier of anthracite coal to NYC.

Two shipbuilders, Henry Steers and John Thomas, came to New York and built at the foot of Tenth Street, on the East River, the first ship-railway ever seen in the US. It consisted of rails laid on an inclined plane, upon which a cradle was run for the purpose of drawing vessels up out of the water in order to repair them. The first trial of this slipway was made in March 1826 and was a total success.


Col. John Stevens made the first known American application of steam locomotion to railway track on a circular track at his Hoboken estate with his "steam wagon." It is considered the first steam locomotive in America.

Construction of the Morris Canal was begun.

The Wurtz brothers, Maurice and William, successfully demonstrated the burning qualities of stone, or anthracite coal, to potential investors at Manhattan’s Tontine Coffee House, home at the time of the New York Stock Exchange. It enticed businessmen to invest in the Wurtz plan to build a canal from their Carbondale, PA mines to the New York market, launching the first million-dollar private enterprise in the US.

The Erie Canal was completed between Lake Erie and the Hudson River, with the latter providing a connection for canalboats to the NY / NJ Harbor. It was opened on 26 October with a “Wedding of the Waters” ceremony in New York Harbor. The Erie was a smashing success and gave NY an edge over other commercial port cities along the Atlantic coast.

Towing with steamboats began on the North (Hudson) River with the opening of the Erie Canal and the steamboat Henry Eckford, built in the same year, was the first steam craft to make a special business of towing canalboats on the river.

The few steamboats running on the Hudson River in this year under the Fulton-Livingston monopoly increased to 45 in the late 1830's. Steamboat Days by Fred Erving Dayton


Abraham Brower began operating a horse-drawn omnibus - a multi-seated non rail vehicle on NYC’s Broadway, with great success, which was duplicated by hundreds of others.

While en-route from Hartford to NY the boiler of the steamboat Oliver Ellsworth; exploded and three were scalded.

In this year, James Bard, born in New York in the year of Waterloo, made his first steamboat painting, of the Bellona, the first steamer ever owned by Commodore Vanderbilt. Young Bard was a mere twelve or thirteen when he selected his highly specialized career, which focused on the smaller boats – river steamers, excursion craft, and towboats, the small fry of Long Island Sound. Although some estimate the total number of Bard paintings in the thousands, only about 350 have been tracked down. American Heritage, Vol. XII, No. 5, August 1961


By late November, the first ten boats traveled the length of the newly completed Delaware & Hudson Canal with ten tons of coal each. Five days later, ten tons of this anthracite coal reached NYC via the sloop Toleration. A part of this cargo was sent without delay to the Western Hotel on Cortlandt Street where a grate had been prepared to demonstrate the great advantages of coal over wood for heating. Soon another grate was set up in the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company’s offices on Wall Street. Anthracite coal helped spur the industrial revolution in America.

The first regular towboat engaged in harbor service was the Rufus W. King, built by the New York Dock Co. She was legislated into existence, as the company could get no charter for their scheme to repair vessels on marine railways unless they provided a steamboat to tow all ships that might need repairing to their place. In those days they burned pine wood, which when piled up on the deck fore and aft made the craft look like a floating wood yard.


In 1828 Horatio Allen went to England and ordered four steam locomotives for the Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. to be used to connect their canal with their coal mines. The first locomotive, Pride of Newcastle, was built by Stephenson at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was sent to London, where it departed on the sailing vessel Columbia and arrived in NYC on 15 January 1829. Upon its arrival it was taken to the Abeel and Dunscomb Foundry, 375 Water Street, NYC where it was set up on blocks and demonstrated under steam on 27 May. Stourbridge Lion, also ordered by Horatio Allen for the D&H Canal Co. was completed in Stourbridge, England by Foster, Rastrick and Co. On 13 May the Lion arrived in NY from Liverpool on the sailing vessel John Jay. Stourbridge Lion was soon taken to the West Point Foundry on Beach Street, where it was also set up on blocks; steam was raised; and the public in considerable numbers came to see the mechanism of the locomotive in operation. After arrival from England the last two locomotives were sent from NYC to Rondout, NY (the Hudson River terminus of the D&H Canal) and were apparently put in storage. On 2 July the Pride of Newcastle and the Stourbridge Lion were both sent up the Hudson on the steamboat Congress and arrived at Rondout the next day. On 16 July both locomotives were loaded onto D&H Canal boats sent for them. The Stourbridge Lion arrived in Honesdale, PA by 24 July, but the Pride of Newcastle mysteriously disappears from mention. By 5 August the Lion was on the D&H Co. Gravity Railroad track, ready for its trial run on 8 August. A crowd far in excess of the population of the village was on hand to witness the event. It did make short trial runs, but it was discovered that the 7 to 10 ton weight of the 9 hp locomotive was too heavy for the track bed. The locomotive was removed from the track, enclosed by a shed, and stayed there for 14 or 15 years during which time many parts were removed. Finally the boiler of the Lion was removed to Carbondale, where it was used in the D&H shops. The Stourbridge Lion was one of the first locomotives to be run in a country other than England and became the first to move on a commercial track in America. Honesdale and the Stourbridge Lion by Vernon Leslie.

Reduced traveling rates (of $2) between NYC and Easton / Phillipsburg were advertised by the NY & Easton Line of Mail Coaches in combination with the "New and Elegant" steamboat Bellona between Elizabethtown and NYC. The coach left Easton at 4am and the boat arrived at NYC at 6pm.

The first US naval steamship, Demologes, was launched in NY in 1914 but since there were no skilled mechanics to handle her engines properly she was kept at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to receive and train sailors. She was renamed Fulton the First soon after launching. There were barrels of gunpowder on board, used to fire the morning and evening gun. On 4 June she blew up due to either carelessness or revenge on the part of a gunners mate, who had been flogged that morning. Thirty-three were killed and an estimated twenty-nine were wounded.

The Coney Island hotel was built and vacationers were soon attracted to the western-most of the Long Island barrier islands, which was later made into a peninsula. Railroads, streetcars, steamboats, and the subways made the island accessible to the masses. Amusement parks attracted even more visitors and it became the largest amusement area in the US with three major parks: Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park. Coney Island went into a severe decline after WW II, but has experienced a resurgence in recent years and is still served by subway lines.


Robert L. Stevens designed the forerunner of modern "T" rail.

Charters for the Delaware & Raritan Canal and the Camden & Amboy RR were granted. Ground was broken and construction was started on both.

On 9 September, Charles F. Durant became the first native-born American to fly. He flew a hydrogen-filled balloon from Manhattan to South Amboy.

The brig Vineyard with a cargo of cotton, sugar, and Mexican cash was scuttled and burned off Coney Island by pirates.

Immigration to the US from Europe began on a large scale after this year. The initial waves came almost entirely from Ireland, Germany and Great Britain.


The Elizabethtown and Somerville (E&S) Rail Road Co. was incorporated. This was the beginning of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRR of NJ).

An act was passed permitting the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co. and the Camden & Amboy RR Co. to consolidate their stock and use their joint funds for the completion of both railroad and canal. The New Jersey Legislature gave the "Joint Companies" certain protection against competition in the carrying of passengers and freight across New Jersey between New York and Philadelphia.

The Camden & Amboy RR, the first in New Jersey, began operation between Bordentown and Hightstown with horse power.

The locomotive John Bull, manufactured in England and assembled at Bordentown, hauled the first passengers with a steam locomotive on a regular railroad (the Camden & Amboy) in New Jersey. Madame Murat, niece of Napoleon, was the first woman to ride a steam railroad in the United States.

The Paterson & Hudson River RR was incorporated and began construction.

The first (British made) iron "T" rails were installed on the Camden & Amboy RR. The rail was mostly fastened to square stone sleepers, but since the sleepers could not be supplied quickly enough, some was laid with rails spiked directly to wooden cross ties - believed to be the first such use in the world.

The Morris Canal was opened between Phillipsburg and Newark. Its inclined planes which overcame great elevation changes were an engineering marvel. In fact, the Morris Canal overcame a greater change of elevation than any other transportation canal ever built. Its brownstone Little Falls aqueduct was at the time the highest (at 52') stone arch in the United States.

The first Morris Canal boats which were loaded with Lehigh coal at Mauch Chunk arrived in NJ.

The first railroad car in New Jersey was built for the Camden & Amboy RR by M.P. and M.E. Green of Hoboken.

One of Colonel James Reeside's "elegant" coaches, carrying seven passengers, baggage, and mail made a record run, with steamboat connections, from Powles Hook to Philadelphia in eight hours and forty-two minutes.

On the night of 4 December the Charleston Line packet President went on Romer Shoals in a violent northwest wind. She pulled two anchors, drifted, then struck hard and water burst into he bottom. Fortunately her passengers were rescued, hours later, by the schooner Major Howard of Staten Island and they were taken to NYC by the steamboat Bellona.

In December a great ice floe from the Hudson drifted down and into the East River. It cut a brig, that was loading at the end of a dock, from stem to stern. She sank so quickly that the stevedors barely escaped with their lives.

John Stephenson began building carriages in New York City and a year later, produced the world’s first streetcar. It was the famous John Mason, built for the pioneer New York & Harlem Railroad.


The new steamboat Hercules, was the first New York Harbor vessel to attempt a profit solely by towing other vessels.

The Paterson and Hudson River RR Co. began operation.

The New Jersey RR and Transportation Co. was the third railroad in New Jersey to be chartered. Within a few years it connected Jersey City with Newark and New Brunswick.

On 26 November the very first street car in the US appeared in Manhattan, on the NY and Harlem RR. It was hauled by horses along 4th Avenue between 23rd Street and the Harlem River.


On 8 November, Cornelius Vanderbilt was nearly killed in the Heightstown, NJ accident on the Camden & Amboy Railroad. Also on the same train was former US president, John Quincy Adams.


A pact between New Jersey and New York, ratified by Congress, declared that the Statue of Liberty is located within the territorial jurisdiction of the state of New York.

The Delaware and Raritan Canal was completed across the “waist” of New Jersey. It provided an important link in the inland waterway route between Lake Champlain and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Long Island Railroad was incorporated on 24 April and is the oldest railroad in the US still operating under its original name. It is also the busiest commuter railroad in North America, carrying over 80 million riders every year.

Whitehall Boatmen, from New York rowed through the D&R Canal in one of their beautiful barges, on their way to Philadelphia and back in late summer.

The first rail artery between Jersey City and Newark was inaugurated on 15 September. At first it was horse-drawn, but within 15 months it was powered by a steam locomotive.

The Seamen’s Church Institute of NY & NJ was founded. Affiliated with the Episcopal Church, it serves mariners through education, pastoral care, and legal advocacy. SCI is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ agency in North America. Headquartered in NYC, the institute operates a Seafarers’ Center in Port Newark, Hospitality Centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn Passenger Ship Terminal, and maritime educational facilities in Paducah, KY and Houston, TX. Annually, its chaplains visit 3,400 vessels in the Port of NY & NJ and along American inland waterways.


The New Jersey RR was completed from the Hudson River at Jersey City, over Bergen Hill to Newark, Elizabeth and Rahway.

The first known New Jersey railroad holiday excursion was to the Paterson Falls via the Paterson and Hudson River RR on the Fourth of July.

Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor, a new Paterson firm led by Thomas Rogers, was hired to assemble an English-built locomotive which had been delivered from New York in 12 crates of parts via the Morris Canal.

Coenties Slip was originally an artificial inlet in the East River for the loading and unloading of ships that was land-filled in this year. Today it is an historic pedestrian walkway in Lower Manhattan, in the heart of the Financial District. New York’s first City Hall once stood at Coenties Alley and Pearl Street, just north of Coenties Slip.

The second great fire of NYC occurred.


The Morris Canal was extended to the Hudson River at what is now the northern border of Liberty State Park

The Elizabeth & Somerville Rail Road opened 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.

The Hoboken to Christopher Street, NY ferry opened.

The Norwich (#18578) was a passenger steamboat built in this year at NYC by Lawrence and Sneeden for the New London and Norwich Steamboat Company. Her superstructure was later removed and she towed canalboats on the Hudson River for eighty years. Her original 250 hp engine was used until she was broken up in 1923.

On 23 August, the seven-year-old, 174 ton, ferryboat General Jackson, was crossing the East River from Long Island to the foot of Walnut Street, NY when the steamboat Boston, passing down the river, struck her near the bow. The General Jackson sank in less than three minutes. Eight or ten persons leaped from the ferryboat’s deck onto the deck of the Boston. The rest were swept off as the Jackson went down. The Boston lowered her lifeboats immediately, but of the twenty-five passengers on the ferry, six were missing. Fourteen horses and wagons also went to the bottom.

On 21 November the American bark Bristol, carrying 100 passengers and a crew of 16 arrived at Sandy Hook. No pilot responded and then a wind came up - the ship went aground on the shoals at Far Rockaway, and the seas began to break over her in thick fog. Some were rescued, but 84 perished.


On 2 January the 300 ton American bark Mexico with 112 passengers - steerage immigrants from England and Ireland - and a crew of 12 came arrived at Sandy Hook after a stormy 67-day crossing. Again no pilot responded and then a snow storm with high wind followed. Mexico came ashore at Point Lookout, Hempstead Beach and soon broke up. One hundred and sixteen perished.

On 2 July, Thomas Rogers filed the first locomotive patent in the US Patent Office.

The first steam locomotive built by the Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor Locomotive Works of Paterson was intended for the New Jersey RR. It was test operated between Paterson, Jersey City, and New Brunswick on 6 October, but was acquired instead by the Mad River & Lake Erie RR in Ohio and named the Sandusky. It is thought to have had the first steam whistle in America. Over the years Paterson was home to six steam locomotive manufacturers which built approximately 23% of all 19th century American steam locomotives. Before the industry left Paterson in 1923, over 12,000 locomotives had been built there.

A new, 198-foot-long steamship, the Home, built in NY for the NY - Charleston route, struck a buoy and grounded on Romer Shoal as she departed NY Harbor. Four hours later she floated off and did not appear to be damaged. Two nights later, she began to leak and went to pieces north of Hatteras and sank with the loss of all 80 hands.


The cut through Bergen Hill was completed by a joint effort of the New Jersey RR and the Paterson and Hudson River RR to the Hudson River. It is now used by Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) rapid transit trains through Journal Square, Jersey City and Conrail Shared Assets.

First to cross the Atlantic under steam power only, the British ship Sirius reached NY City in 18 days.

The US Congress officially designated all railroads as official postal routes on 7 July.

The first US patent for a railway brake was issued to E. Morris of Bloomfield, NJ.

The NY Harbor Pilot boat Franklin was driven ashore in a gale in this year and all aboard perished. From this year to 1895, fifty-five other Pilot boats were wrecked, sunk in collisions, or otherwise hurt, and almost 100 pilots met violent deaths in that time.


The Camden and Amboy and New Jersey Railroads linked at New Brunswick to complete the first all-rail route from Philadelphia to the Hudson River (Jersey City), opposite New York. Thirteen miles of this track were laid along the east bank of the Delaware & Raritan Canal. The strengthened covered wood bridge at Trenton provided the link to Pennsylvania.

The Elizabethport & New York Ferry Co. was officially incorporated on 6 March. It is considered the oldest corporate entity of the Central Railroad of New Jersey.

The Elizabeth & Somerville Railroad was opened from Elizabethport to Plainfield with steam operated locomotive Eagle and train.

The small steam tugboat, Robert F. Stockton was built in England for the Delaware and Raritan Canal Co. and was sailed across the Atlantic because it could not carry enough coal to steam that distance. After 49 days at sea she arrived at the Battery in New York, becoming the first iron hull vessel to cross the Atlantic and the first commercially successful screw propelled vessel in America. She was renamed the New Jersey and worked for the canal company for 30 years.

Philip Hone, erstwhile mayor of NYC and celebrated diarist, committed the following lines to his journal on May 30, 1839: Among the maritime exploits with which these adventurous times abound, the arrival, on Wednesday last, of a little schooner, called the Robert F. Stockton, from England, was one of the most remarkable. She sailed from Gravesend (UK) on April 13. She is only ten feet wide and seventy feet long, and her burthen is thirty tons. She is built entirely of wrought sheet-iron, and is intended as a towing vessel on the New Jersey Canal (the D&R). The commander is Captain Crane. She performed her voyage in forty-six days, with no serious disaster except the loss of one seaman, who was washed off this little cockle-shell by one of the seas which were constantly sweeping her decks. Never, I presume was the western ocean crossed in so small a craft. There was not room enough to lie straight nor to stand erect. This little vessel lies near the Battery, and is visited by hundreds of curious persons, anxious to realize the possible truth of the nursery story about the “three men of Gotham” who “went to sea in a bowl.” The Robert F. Stockton was the first iron-hull vessel to cross the Atlantic and the first commercially successful vessel utilizing the screw propeller. The Robert F. Stockton and the Introduction of Screw Propulsion, by Alexander Crosby Brown, in Steamboat Bill of Facts, Journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America, No. 40, December, 1951.

On 4 July the ferryboat Samson was wrecked between NYC and Staten Island with 2 killed.

John Ericcson (1803 - 1889) was the Swedish designer / inventor of the screw propellor who Robert Stockton engaged to apply to the small tugboat he had built at Birkenhead, England for the D&R Canal Co. Ericcson followed the tugboat Robert F. Stockton and came to New York in November, 1839. By the close of 1841 he had built six more propellor vessels. The next year he launched nine and in the following year sent 26 down the ways. His contractors were the young and enterprising firm of Hogg & Delamater, who took over Cunningham’s old Phoenix Foundry in New York soon after he came to New York. One of the most immediate results of Ericcson’s activities was the establishment of the Swiftsure Steam Transportation Line between New York and Philadelphia, via the D&R Canal. In 1842, four iron propellors designed by Ericcson were laid down in New York for the purpose of carrying coal on the D&R Canal. Queens of the Western Ocean, by Cutler.

William Harnden, generally recognized as the founder of the express business in America, began his First Express Co. which was, in fact, the first of its kind. He made arrangements to transport small parcels between NYC and Boston via steamboat and rail connections. First Express operated on a schedule, taking financial liability for loss, and using alternate routes and carriers when necessary.


Swiftsure Steam Transportation Line was established in April, 1840 to operate a line of barges between New York and Philadelphia via the D&R Canal. The agents were J.& N. Briggs, 34 Old Slip, New York, and Armer Patton, 46 & 47 South Wharves, Philadelphia. Queens of the Western Ocean, by Cutler.

In every subsequent year, New Jersey has been one of the states with the highest proportion of residents born outside the country. The primary reason is that the Port of New York has been the most important immigrant entry point. Most of these new arrivals crowded into Hudson, Essex and Passaic counties, and especially into Jersey City, Newark and Paterson.

Hudson County was founded.

Erie Basin, at the time the largest man-made harbor and storage depot complex on the eastern seaboard, was completed. It is now home to the Erie Basin Barge-Port, co-owned by the Hughes - Reinauer partnership.

William H. Webb inherited his fathers shipyard (Webb & Allen, established 1831) on the East River between 5th & 7th Streets. He renamed the yard for himself and turned it into America’s most prolific shipyard - turning out more than 150 of the finest vessels ever constructed in New York. Webb designed some of the fastest and most successful sailing packets and clipper ships ever built, and also built some of the largest and most celebrated steamboats, steamships and warships of his era, including the giant ironclad warship, Dunderberg, for France. The latter was the world’s longest wooden-hulled ship. Following the post Civil War slump Webb closed his shipyard and turned his energies toward philanthropic goals. He became a founding member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and established what is known today as Webb Institute.


The 153 ton steamer Henry Eckford, employed to tow grain-laden Erie canalboats down the Hudson to NYC, exploded in NY on 27 April.

Martin Van Buren, the first presidential candidate to campaign by rail, traveled across New Jersey.

After several years of shadowy financial dealings, the Morris Canal and Banking Co. went bankrupt.

George L. Schuyler, a Jersey City shipbuilder, worked on the construction of a luxurious, armed, anthracite coal fired, frigate for the Russian Czar.


Iron Steamboats: The D&R Canal Co. are now building six iron steamboats, with Ericson’s propellor, in New York, two of which will be employed in towing boats through the canal from Philadelphia to New York and back; two to Albany; and two to Hartford, CT. Four of them are now in an advanced stage to completion and will soon be put in operation. These iron boats will be capable of carrying 230 tons coal each and the directors expect to divert a vast quantity of the eastern trade from the Schuylkill to their conveyance through this channel. Burlington Gazette, April 1, 1842.

The first American, twin screw, steam propelled vessels – Anthracite, Black Diamond, Ironsides, and Vulcan were built in NYC by Hogg & Delamater of the Phoenix Foundry to designs furnished by John Ericcson for the Delaware and Raritan Canal Co. These iron hull canalboats carried coal from the Philadelphia area through the Delaware & Raritan Canal north and east of New York Harbor and helped promote its use.

The Jersey City Floating (Theater or Show) Barge was said to have seated 1,000 and the troupe for the season was comprised mostly of local artists from nearby communities. The presentations included: “The Rent Day,” “Three Brothers,” “Bombastics Furioso” (a comic rendition of an opera) and ended with three members singing popular and comic songs. The Show Barge was moored in the Morris Canal Basin at Jersey City after the 1842 season, and did not tour again until 1845. Winfield, Charles A., History of Hudson County, NJ, 1874

The bell-cord for use by conductors to signal locomotive engineers was invented on the Erie RR; they carried the first shipments of milk to NYC.

Samuel Morse submerged a wire, insulated with tarred hemp and India rubber in the water of NY Harbor and telegraphed through it. Submarine cables now link all continents except Antarctica.


The USS Princeton (named for Princeton, NJ) became the first steam, screw propelled, warship in the US Navy. She was designed by John Ericcson, who also was her main supervisor of construction, along with Capt. Robert F. Stockton. She proceeded to New York where she engaged in a speed contest with the British steamer SS Great Western, besting her handily.

Hughes Marine Firms: The roots of Hughes Marine Firms go back to Michael Hughes, a “boatman,” who arrived in New York from Ireland in 1843, and relocated to New Brunswick, NJ in 1862. His sons, James Hughes, Sr. and John Hughes, were also boatmen and worked in their father’s boatyard. When Michael died around 1900, he owned a New Brunswick boatyard along with a fleet of tugs and canalboats which moved Pennsylvania coal to New York, via the D&R Canal. In 1908, with the tug and vessel fleet growing, and business on the canal declining, James Hughes, Sr. opened an office in NYC and began to operate coastwise hopper barges from New England to the mid-Atlantic. John operated the boatyard until it closed in 1914. James Jr. joined the business in 1894. He had a talent for bringing together buyers and sellers of marine equipment. He began a chartering and sales brokerage operation under the slogan “Clearing House for Marine Difficulties”. That slogan continues to be the motto of the company today. James Hughes, Inc. was incorporated in 1934 as the transportation arm of the firm. Deck and hopper barges were used to move bulk, and oversized cargoes on inland and coastwise routes (and still are!). James Jr.’s three sons, Bob, Bill, and Jim, joined the firm in the 1930's. During WW II they supervised the loading of numerous boilers, tanks, and other cargoes for transfer between naval bases all along the East Coast of the US. The end of WW II brought with it a need for new bridges, roads, piers, and tunnels. Specialized vessels were needed to support the construction boom. The Hughes boys saw, and met, this need by incorporating Hughes Bros., Inc. in 1945 to provide deck barges to the aggregate and marine construction industries. The Hughes organization continued to expand, operating and renting their fleet of barges, transporting oversize objects by tug and barge, and selling, as brokers, all types of floating equipment through their sales department. The family formed a new entity, Hughes Maritime, in 1992, to purchase, with Reinauer Transportation, an 86-acre pier and warehouse facility, in Brooklyn, NY, known as Erie Basin. The Hughes family manages this marine industrial park on behalf of the partnership. The following year, Hughes relocated its corporate office to Edison, New Jersey, after almost a century at 17 Battery Place, NYC. Bob Hughes was widely known throughout the industry, having served as Chairman of the national tug and barge trade association, the American Waterways Operators. Bill Hughes was long active in the Moles and the Whitehall Club, of which he was President. The fifth generation family members, Bill Hughes, Jr., Bob Hughes, Jr., and Joe Hughes, came aboard in the 1970's and now collectively manage the business. They rotate the presidency of the corporations in a tradition which they inherited from their fathers. Through their efforts, Hughes commenced a barge building program and acquired a number of smaller barge companies, which doubled the size of their fleet. Today, Hughes owns one of the largest deck and hopper barge fleets on the East Coast. After almost 100 years, they have recently re-entered the shipyard business with the purchase of a floating drydock, and the addition of a skilled shipyard staff at their Erie Basin facility. (The basin was the largest man-made harbor and storage depot on the eastern seaboard. It primarily served canalboats from the Erie Canal.) Hughes Marine Firms has excelled in many aspects of the marine business over the decades. The current owners stand on the shoulders of the generations before them, whose strength has been their ability to embrace change.

On Saturday 11 November, the Liverpool packet Sheffield with 130 passengers (mostly immigrants in steerage) and crew aboard was entering NY Harbor in a gale with a pilot when she struck on Romer Shoal. Fortunately, the keeper of the Staten Island Light had seen the Sheffield and he sent word to Captain Oliver Vanderbilt (brother of Cornelius) of the Coast Wrecking Co., later to become a great salvage organization. Vanderbilt fired up the boiler of his little steamer, Wave, and towed an empty lighter out to where he thought Sheffield was. Finally, just as he was ready to turn back he found her and succeeded in rescuing all who were aboard.


A hot water heating system was adopted for warming the passenger cars of the Camden & Amboy RR.

The USS Constitution departed New York City on a global journey that included visits to numerous international ports as a goodwill agent of the United States. “Old Ironsides” is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat.

The Morris Canal Co. was reorganized and "Banking" was dropped from their name.

The NY Yacht Club is a private yacht club based in NYC and Newport, RI. Founded in 1844, it is one of the world’s most distinguished and influential yachting institutions. Membership is by invitation only and they have over 3,000 members. Their first clubhouse was established in a modest Gothic-revival building in Hoboken, NJ, on land donated by Commodore Stevens. The current primary NYYC clubhouse is a six-storied Beaux-Arts landmark with a nautical-themed limestone facade in midtown Manhattan. Opened in 1901, it was designed by Warren and Wetmore, architects of the exterior of Grand Central Terminal.

The Altantic Avenue tunnel was constructed in what is now Brooklyn, and is considered the world’s oldest subway tunnel. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Transport, a large side-wheel steamer was launched in Hoboken. She was a very early railroad car ferry and was used to interchange freight cars between the Morris & Essex Railroad at Hoboken and the Camden & Amboy Railroad at South Amboy.

The North River Opera House was planning a floating theater to start in early summer... to tour area rivers and canals ‘and perhaps the Great Lakes.” Spirit of the Times (NY), February 1845

Palmo’s Burlesque Opera Company gave performances on an unnamed show barge at the Fulton Street Wharf in October. Thirteen more shows were given at Brooklyn. Showboat Centennials, No. 17, March 1986

Opening night of the Temple of the Muses floating theater was 2 April at the foot of Canal Street (about where the Manhattan end of the Holland Tunnel is now situated) with admission ranging from 25¢ to $3. There was an opening address, followed by the vaudeville skit “The Alpine Maid.” The main feature was a play, “Our Flag, or Nailed to the Mast,” followed by a male trio singing several comic and popular songs, and concluded with a farce entitled “A Lady and a Gentleman in a Peculiarly Perplexing Predicament.” Throughout April and into early May, the Temple toured along the lower end of Manhattan, then up the East and Harlem Rivers. A variety of popular plays were presented, but the biggest crowd pleaser was reported to be “The Floating Beacon,” or the “Wild Woman of the Wreck.” NY Evening Mirror; Showboat Centennials, No. 17, March 1986

On 30 October the NY Herald reported that the new 245-foot, iron steamboat (John Stevens) “slid off the ways into the Hudson River.” She was designed by Robert Livingston Stevens and built at their family shipyard in Hoboken. Construction commenced shortly after the launch of the Camden & Amboy freighter Transport. The Stevens was a side-wheel passenger boat, one of the first and largest to be constructed with an iron hull, which was fabricated and supplied by Jesse W. Starr & Co. of Camden. She was towed to NY for installation of her ‘steeple’ engine which had a diameter of 75 inches and an 8-foot stroke; two boilers; and wheels which were 31 feet 8 inches in diameter and 12 feet wide. Her passenger accommodations were luxurious. Following speed trials off Port Richmond, Staten Island she traveled the outside route to operate on the Delaware River for the C&A RR between Philadelphia and Bordentown. The John Stevens was able to attain 19 mph and was the fastest boat on the river at the time. On 17 July 1855 she was destroyed by fire at the company’s shops at White Hill, below Bordentown. The hull survived and languished at Bordentown for ten years before being rebuilt into a freight boat for service between NYC and South Amboy.

The enlargement of the Morris Canal was completed.


The Morris Canal Co. announced prizes of $200 for the fastest boaters. The Cavanaugh brothers of Phillipsburg took their boats from Port Delaware, in Phillipsburg, to Jersey City in four days.

A series of excursions were operated by the Camden & Amboy RR from Philadelphia. Passengers took a steamboat to Bordentown, the railroad to (South) Amboy and another steamboat to cruise around Staten Island. Return was again via the C&A RR and a Delaware River steamboat.

The West Side Freight Line became the only freight railroad operating directly into Manhattan. It stretched north from a waterfront depot at Chambers Street on 10th, 11th, and 12thAvenues.

Alex Mackay described a trip to the New Jersey RR: “My destination on leaving New York was Philadelphia. On arriving at the ferry the passengers jumped in crowds upon the floating ship. We were conveyed across the Hudson to Jersey City, where we landed and fled. I followed the breathless and panting crowd into a large unfinished building which I found to be the railroad station (terminal). Once within the station, the hurry-scurry if possible increased; men jostling each other and rushing in at every available aperture into the cars like so many maniacs. On venturing inside one of the cars I discovered the cause of the tumult. It appears that in Winter there is a choice of seats, the preferable ones being such as are not too near or too far from the stove and the race was for these seats...”

The first dry dock at the Brooklyn Navy yard was under construction. A unique, very early daguerreotype photo of the work survives.


The Old Colony Railroad express train began operating from Boston to Fall River, MA with a connection there on a Fall River Line night steamboat for NYC. Their palatial steamboats, originally owned by the Bay State Steamboat Co., docked at piers on the North River in NYC. The boats left in the evenings, traveling around the Battery, up the East River, and east on Long Island Sound toward Newport and Fall River. The Fall River Line steamers offered staterooms, dorm berths and salon chairs for the comfort of their overnight guests. The boats arrived in the early morning hours in Fall River. Passengers disembarked from the steamers there and boarded the Old Colony Railroad trains. They arrived in Boston in time for their morning appointments. Their boats were called “floating palaces” as well as “America’s most luxurious steamship line” and became the standard route for travel between Boston and NYC. During the Civil War, the line suspended service to Fall River, traveling between NY and Newport for six years. Service to Fall River resumed in 1869. After passing through several hands, the line came to rest in 1912 with the New England Steamship, where it remained until the line’s service ended in 1937.

The Cunard (Steamship Co.) Line began serving New York in this year, but its ships at first had to dock at Jersey City. Later they were able to land their passengers on the Hudson River side of Manhattan.

The Colgate Palmolive Co. established its first factory on the Jersey City waterfront.

The Atlantic Basin in Brooklyn was completed.


John Taylor Johnston, a lawyer, at age 28, became the second president of the Elizabeth and Somerville RR, reorganizing it as the Central RR of New Jersey (C RR of NJ) and began the push toward the Delaware River. He is credited with building the railroad from a 25-mile local passenger carrier to a 400-mile Anthracite coal carrier and one of the principal terminal railroads on New Jersey / New York Harbor. In the process, he must be given credit for creating much of the land which now makes up Liberty State Park. Johnston was the first to introduce uniforms for railroad employees and remained president until 1876. He later became the first president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Belgian block paved Johnston Avenue which was named for him has been more recently renamed Zapp Drive. Perhaps it should revert to Johnston Avenue...

Through cars of the C RR of NJ began running from Somerville to Elizabethtown and thence over the NJ RR to Jersey City.

Litigation arose over the desire of Jersey City to extend Hudson Street to tidewater through or over the Morris Canal Basin. On appeal, it was found that Jersey City did not have the authority to do so.

The first government-operated lifesaving station, a small building now preserved as a Coast Guard museum, was built in this year at Sandy Hook, NJ.


Freight containers were first used in this country on the Camden & Amboy RR.

The Newark Plank Road and Ferry Co., the first plank road organization, was incorporated to construct a highway from Newark to the Hudson River.

In 1849 the first 125 ton experimental canalboat was built on the Delaware & Hudson Canal at Honesdale, PA, but that canal enlargement had not progressed enough to move it by their canal to tidewater. The risky decision was therefore made to take advantage of the spring freshet and float it down the Lackawaxen and Delaware Rivers to Bulls Island, NJ where it entered the D&R Canal and was delivered to NY Harbor. Wayne County Herald, 5 February 1880.

As the local population grew and the 19th century industrial revolution reached Brooklyn, the need for larger navigational and docking facilities grew. In this year the NY Legislature authorized the construction of the Gowanus Canal by deepening Gowanus Creek, to transform it into a mile and a half long commercial waterway connected to Upper New York Bay. The full dredging of the Creek could not begin until a further act of the legislature in 1867. The Gowanus Canal became a hub for Brooklyn’s maritime and commercial shipping activity. It fostered the development of factories; warehouses; tanneries; coal yards; manufactured gas (from coal) plants; flour mills; cement works; lumber, stone and brick yards; factories for paint, ink and soap; machine shops; chemical plants; sulfur producers; and the first site where chemical fertilizers were manufactured - all of which emitted substantial water and airborne pollutants. By the 1900s the combination of industrial pollutants, runoff from storm water, and untreated sewage produced rank odors. After WW I, with six million annual tons of cargo produced and trafficked through the waterway, the Gowanus Canal became the nation’s busiest commercial canal, and arguably the most polluted. The sediment accumulations from industrial as well as sewage out-falls required regular dredging to keep the waterway navigable. With the decline in waterway activity, the US Army Corps of Engineers completed their last regular dredging of the Canal. NYC has an ongoing cleanup and renewal program for the Canal and surrounding area.

Of the 116 clipper ships which were owned in New York, 53 of them had been built in the port. They carried the gold rush pioneers to California and made roaring runs to the Far East for costly cargoes of tea and spices. It was not unusual for a clipper to pay for the entire cost of its construction with the profits from its maiden voyage on the lucrative California or Orient runs.

The West Side Line in NYC was built by the Hudson River Railroad and reached Peekskill on 29 September and reached Albany in 1851. The NYC terminus was at the junction of Chambers and Hudson Streets. The track was laid northward along Hudson, Canal, and West Streets, to Tenth Avenue, which it followed to the upper city station at 34th Street. Over this lower part of the right-of-way the rails were laid at grade along the streets. Locomotives were not permitted on this route so the cars were drawn by a dummy engine. While passing along the streets the trains were preceded by a man on horseback, known as a “West Side Cowboy” or “Tenth Avenue Cowboy” who gave notice of the approach of the train by blowing a horn.

Asloop load of hogs passed through the Delaware & Raritan Canal on 15 November on a one-way excursion to the butchers of New York. They appeared to be quite musically disposed and made a noise that would have done honor to a political meeting. Daily Trentonian, 16 November 1849.


On the morning of 28 January, three steam vessels with an aggregate cost of more than $1,000,000 were launched in succession, within an hour and a half, from the Manhattan shipyard of William H. Brown, at the foot of 12th Street, East River. They were: the New World, intended for navigating the rivers of California; the Arctic, belonging to the Collins Line of NY and Liverpool steam packets; and the Boston, intended to run on Sanford’s Line between Boston and Bangor. It was the first time more than one vessel had been launched from one yard in a day, and furthermore, their boilers were fired while they were still on the ways and as soon as they hit the water they propelled themselves. Some 20,000 people came to see the well advertised event.

On 4 March the steamer Charter Oak burned at NYC.

At this time more than 150 mostly steam vessels were traveling up and down the Hudson River ferrying as many as two million passengers annually.

Several consolidations of express companies led to the formation of American Express Co. Their first president was Henry Wells; V.P. was John Butterfield (of the Butterfield-Wasson Express Co.) and William G. Fargo was secretary. American Express organized a new company, Wells Fargo & Co. in order to gain entrance to the lucrative California trade.


The Erie RR was first to use the telegraph for directing train operations. (This occurred across the New Jersey border in the state of New York, but the Erie became a major freight and passenger carrier in New Jersey with an extensive marine fleet as well.)

The Cummings Car Works built railroad cars in Jersey City beginning in this year for 25 years.

The steamer Trojan burned at NY with 4 lost.

The New York & Hudson River RR opened from NYC to Albany in October.

USS Constitution was laid up in the Port of New York this year and into the next.


The C RR of NJ was completed to the Delaware River at Phillipsburg.

On 18 March, in NYC, Henry Wells and William Fargo and others began Wells, Fargo & Co. to do banking and express business in distant California. By 1888 they became the nation’s first nationwide express company, offering “Ocean to Ocean” service.

On 28 July the steamer Henry Clay, on its way from Albany to New York River was racing the steamer Armenia. All day long they were neck and neck, but as they reached the lower Hudson River the Henry Clay forged ahead. Suddenly fire was discovered - the excessive heat of the boilers or the stacks had ignited the woodwork of the vessel. The captain headed the Henry Clay for shore at Riverdale (Bronx) and ran her hard aground. But the passengers were mostly huddled at the stern, where the water was deep. Imprisoned there by the flames amidships, they panicked and fought for life preservers. Sixty died, including many prominent New Yorkers. Seven men were indicted for manslaughter in connection with that disaster. The subsequent widespread indignation sparked legislation for more stringent inspections and rules for steam vessels.


The 1853 / 1854 New York World’s Fair, called the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, was located on the site of Bryant Park in Manhattan.

On 29 March the British ship Clyde was reduced to a total loss at Sandy Hook.

The North River Iron Works was established in NYC by brothers William and Andrew Fletcher to design and manufacture high-quality steam engines.

The Steam Ferryboat William Wray which for many years plied between Camden and Philadelphia, passed through the D&R Canal on 6 September en-route to New York where it is to run between that city and Hoboken. The guards and paddle wheels of the boat were removed to admit of its passage through the locks of the canal. Daily True American (Trenton) 7 September 1853.

On 4 November the steamer James Rumsey burned at NYC. She was named for the American mechanical engineer of the same name, 1743-1792, chiefly known for exhibiting a boat propelled by machinery in 1787 on the Potomac River and for improving navigation on the river. Also see entry under 20 February 1891.

On December 27 three noble ships were destroyed on the East River waterfront by a fire that started from overheated ovens in a bakery a block away. The flames were fanned by a northwest wind and were not quenched until four days later. The most famous of the three ships was the largest and fastest of all clipper ships, the sidewheeler Great Republic, 325 feet long, of 53-foot beam, 38-foot depth, and 4,555 tons burden. She had been christened less that three months earlier and was nearly a total loss, but was rebuilt and sailed on for 17 years. The clipper Joseph Walker, 1,326 tons, built in NY in 1850, was almost ready to sail for Liverpool, but burned on the spot. The clipper White Squall burned to the water’s edge. The ships Whirlwind and Red Rover were towed aflame into the open river and were saved.


In January, the caloric engine steamer Ericsson, built by John Ericsson (builder of the Monitor, the famous ironclad of the Civil War) capsized in a squall in North River; $50,000 insurance was paid.

Breese, Kneeland & Co. of Jersey City began building steam locomotives. The firm built about 300 locomotives up to 1873, when they went out of business. The only known survivor built by this firm is on display in El Paso, Texas.

Steamboat service from NYC to the Long Branch Pier, via the outside route, began in this year.

The State of NJ prohibited transportation of freight on Sunday, by road, railroad, or canal.


Castle Garden, located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island was an immigration station administered by the state of New York until the Federal government took charge of receiving New York’s immigrants.

Wm. and Jos. Holmes announced that they had commenced running two Schooners, Parallax & President Jackson to carry Freight to and from Princeton, NJ and New York beginning 16 March. Princeton Paper.

On 8 September the upper tier of the double deck bridge over the Delaware River between Phillipsburg and Easton was opened for traffic. This allowed the C RR of NJ to connect with the Lehigh Valley RR (LV) thus opening for the first time an all rail route from the Pennsylvania coal fields to tidewater (at Elizabethport) which provided access to New York Harbor.


In January, the Columbus, one of five Vanderbilt steam ferryboats operating between Manhattan and Staten Island, had its hull crushed by ice, just off the Battery. Passengers walked off on the ice to Governor’s Island.

A third rail was installed on the C RR of NJ from Junction (New Hampton) to Elizabethport to facilitate movement of 6 foot gauge Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad (DL&W) coal trains from Scranton to tidewater. The DL&W built and opened their Warren RR from Delaware, NJ to Junction to complete the route.

The Allaire Iron Works supplied the twin 90-inch cylinder beam steam engines for the 3,360-ton SS Vanderbilt, believed to make her the fastest oceangoing ship operating from NYC.

The DL&W RR built coal chutes at Washington, NJ to facilitate the transfer of their coal, mined in the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys of Pennsylvania, into Morris Canal boats for delivery to Jersey City. In this first year only 25,375 tons of Scranton coal entered the Morris Canal, but by 1860 127,517 tons flowed via this route annually.

The Railroad Gazette was founded. In the following year it merged with the newly founded Railway Age. Today Railway Age is under the Simmons-Boardman umbrella and they are the world’s largest publisher of rail industry information under the guiding hand of the McGinnis family.

On 22 December the steamer Knoxville burned at her wharf in NYC and was a total loss.


Long Island Sound was entirely closed to navigation due to ice. No vessels passed through Hell Gate from 17 January to 24 February.

Breese, Kneeland & Co. of Jersey City built a 26-ton 4-4-0 steam locomotive for the Milwaukee & Mississippi RR. It later became the El Paso & Southwestern No. 1 an has been on display in El Paso since 1909.

On 21 August the steamer Splendid burned at Jersey City.

In this year Daniel Drew became a member of the board of directors of the Erie Railroad and used his position to manipulate the firm’s stock price.


William M. Tweed, a professional politician, became the “Grand Sachem” or “boss” of Tammany Hall, the Democratic Party political machine that played a major role in the politics of the 19th century New York City and State. At the height of his influence, Tweed was the third- largest landowner in NYC, a director of the Erie Railway, the Tenth National Bank, and the New York Printing Co. His power came from being an appointed member of a number of boards and commissions, his control over political patronage in NYC, and his ability to ensure the loyalty of voters through jobs he could create and dispense on city-related projects. Boss Tweed was convicted for stealing an amount estimated by an aldermen’s committee in 1877 at between $25 and $45 from NYC taxpayers through political corruption, although later estimates ranged as high as $200 million. He died in the Ludlow St., NYC jail.

On 14 May the steam towboat Hercules burned at Sandy Hook dock.

On 6 November the steam propeller Petrel exploded in the North River opposite the foot of Jay Street.


Jersey City again tried to extend Hudson Street over the Canal Basin, this time on a bridge. Although the litigation was valid, the street was not extended.

A.D. Hope had started Hope’s Express between Jersey City and Phillipsburg on the C RR of NJ and in April he sold the business to Adams Express Co. Adams expanded their service to cover all the main lines of the C RR of NJ.

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

Abram Stevens Hewitt is best known for his work with the Cooper Union which he aided Peter Cooper in founding in this year and for planning the financing and construction of the New York City subway system, for which he is considered the “Father of the NYC Subway System.” He was the son-in-law of industrialist, inventor and philanthropist, Peter Cooper. Hewitt was a teacher, lawyer, an iron manufacturer, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, US Congressman, and a mayor of NYC.

The Jersey City &Bergen RR Co., Jersey City's first street car company, began operating with horse power to the Court House and was soon extended south to Bayonne.

The Hoboken & Hudson City Horse Car RR Co. was organized.

Fort Hancock, a coastal artillery base, was built in this year on Sand Hook. It played an important part in the defense of NY Harbor. Between 1874 and 1919, Fort Hancock was operated in conjunction with the Army’s Sandy Hook Proving Ground. In 1893, Fort Hancock installed Battery Potter, the nation’s first disappearing gun battery. It also was important for the defense of the vital NY Harbor throughout WW II, preventing the entrance of German submarines into the harbor. In the late 1950's Project Nike antiaircraft missiles were based there. Fort Hancock was decommissioned in 1974 and the fort and its small museum are now managed as part of the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Parks Recreation area, and is part of National Parks of NY Harbor unit of the National Park System.


On 28 January the Tapscott Line clipper ship, Liverpool packet, John J. Boyd burned at Pier 8, North River and was a $60,000 loss.

The New Jersey legislature granted permission to the C RR of NJ to extend its line over Newark Bay to the Hudson River at Communipaw Cove, Jersey City, and construction began.

The C RR of NJ purchased the American Dock & Improvement Co., the owner of rights to the shore of the South Cove (Communipaw Bay) along the Hudson River. At the time this was a shallow fishing ground off the old section of Jersey City known as Communipaw, south of the Morris Canal Big Basin. A vast section of this wetland was filled in over a period of decades, partly with NYC ashes and garbage. The C RR of NJ’s Terminal yards were built on this fill. In terms of acreage, it was the largest waterfront terminal possessed by any of the railroads at the New Jersey / New York Harbor.

C RR of NJ predecessor, Raritan & Delaware Bay RR began steamboat service between NYC and the south shore of Raritan Bay. The service became to be known as the Sandy Hook Route or Sandy Hook Steamers - ‘The swift way across the bay.’

On 28 June the enormous British iron steamer, SS Great Eastern, first arrived at the foot of Hammond Street, NY, where she was visited by thousands of onlookers. At 693' in length,120' in width, and 58' depth of hull, she was the largest vessel ever built and kept that title for 31 years. She was designed by the celebrated railroad and marine architect and engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and had three means of propulsion: two 58' paddles, powered by four steam engines; a 24' propellor, powered by a James Watt engine; and, 6,500 square yards of sail on six masts. Her 30,000 iron plates and 3,000,000 rivets totaled about 10,000 tons. With a double bottom and water-tight compartments, she was one of the strongest ships ever built. Great Eastern carried twenty anchors and was the first vessel fitted with a steam-powered steering gear. She had the capacity to carry 4,000 passengers around the world without refueling, but never did. Great Eastern plied for several years as a passenger liner between Britain and America before being converted to a cable-laying ship and laying the first lasting transatlantic telegraph cable in 1866.

Thelast pirate ever hanged in New York – and probably in the US – was Albert Hicks of Rhode Island, who met his death on Gibbet Island on 13 July. Nearly four months earlier an oyster sloop, the E.A. Johnson, had been found abandoned between Sandy Hook and Coney Island, under circumstances which left no doubt that murder was involved. The oyster boat had earlier departed Catherine Market Slip, NY to head south. Hicks had murdered the entire crew to get $1,000 which the captain had to purchase his cargo.

The handsome, popular, Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, disembarked from the cutter Harriet Lane, at the water gate of Castle Garden, was welcomed by Mayor Fernando Wood and visited NYC.

The Morris Canal Directors took an excursion on their canal from Easton to Jersey City in one of their own boats which was comfortably fitted for the purpose. They were most favorably impressed with the importance of the canal and the trip was a success.

The first section of what became the Staten Island Railway, connecting Tompkinsville and Tottenville opened.

Michael Moran, an Irish immigrant, who began working on the Erie Canal in 1855, moved to NYC in 1860 where he set himself up as a tugboat agent. The family business grew to become the prosperous Moran Towing Corporation.

The population of Jersey City expanded from 3,000 in 1840 to 30,000.


The Abraham Lincoln inaugural train started from Springfield, IL and traveled through seven states in thirteen days en route to Washington in February. Intermediate cities passed through included: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany, NYC, then by ferryª to Jersey City, and train to New Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton, Philadelphia and Baltimore. The portion of the journey between Kingston and Trenton was along the bank of the D&R Canal. Trains Magazine, February, 2009. ªOn 21 February the ferryboat John P. Jackson carried president-elect Abraham Lincoln across the Hudson River en-route to his inauguration in Washington.

Following threats to safety at the outbreak of the Civil War, the Navy ordered the USS Constitution towed to New York. As preparations were being made for departure, a regiment of Massachusetts volunteers arrived in Boston Harbor aboard the steamer Maryland. Three companies of soldiers, including many from Marblehead, were placed on board her to help get under way. Unfortunately, both the Constitution and the Maryland, which was acting as a tow ship, ran aground in bad weather. In the darkness, and after some difficulty, the Constitution was towed by a third ship, the steamer Boston, to safety in deep water. On 26 April she left on the three-day trip to New York under tow by the steamer R.R. Cuyler.

A flotilla of fourteen Delaware & Raritan Canal steam transports were employed to carry 3,000 New Jersey troops and equipment south to the defense of the Capital at Washington, during May, early in the Civil War. The canal propellors which transported the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Regiments of the NJ Militia southward were: W. Woodward, Fannie Cadwalader, Delaware, Raritan, Trenton, Patroon, F. W. Brune, Elizabeth, Farmer, Franklin, J. B. Mollison, Eureka, Fanny Garner, and Octorara. Most of these vessels were employed in the freighting business through the D & R Canal to and from NY Harbor. Of the hundreds of vessels which aided the Civil War effort the following are some more which have been identified as being from the NY Harbor area: M. W. Chapin, of the CT, NY & PA Transportation Co. / U.S.S. Anacostia; New York, of the Philadelphia & NY Express Steamboat Co.; Utica, a steamboat built in NYC in 1836; Argo, a side-wheel steamboat built in NYC in 1844; Naugatuck; John T. Jenkins /USS Saffron / Clifton and the steam canalboats New Jersey & Parthenia.

During the Civil War the government called on the railroads to carry troops between New York and Washington via an alternate inland route due to the pressure of war demands. The route was via Phillipsburg, Allentown, Reading and Harrisburg to Baltimore utilizing the C RR of NJ, (LV), East Pennsylvania, Northern Central and Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) railroads. In this year over 26,000 troops plus a large amount of freight was carried south over this route.

The New Jersey RR and Transportation Co. reported that they had transported as many as 3,000 soldiers, with baggage, in one day and claimed they had the resources to carry 10,000 men in one day.

In November arrangements were made to run through trains between NY and Washington via the Camden and Amboy RR. The necessity of changing cars at the Susquehanna River was eliminated by running the cars themselves onto the ferry. This cut total travel times to 12 hours or less.

The C RR of NJ had more double-track railroad than any other New Jersey railroad at this time.

It had taken the Erie RR five years to blast their tunnel through Bergen Hill, using up to 700

workers, 57 of whom were killed by accidents, and the railroad was forced into receivership. Their 8,000 foot long tunnel blasted under Bergen Hill was the first in New Jersey.

The Pavonia Ferry Co. (Erie RR) opened their Jersey City to Chambers Street, Manhattan ferry.

John Ericcson designed and supervised the construction of the Union ironclad warship Monitor.

The C RR of NJ established its first office in NYC at 69 Wall Street, later moved to 103 Liberty Street, then 119 Liberty Street, and lastly into their own building at143 Liberty Street.


Congress authorized President Lincoln to take possession of any or all RR lines in the US.

A small ironclad steamer (and the first), the Naugatuck, was presented to the national government for the war effort by E.A.Stevens. She was rebuilt at Bordentown, received her armament at Hoboken, and traveled through the Delaware & Raritan Canal en route to Fort Monroe.

Paterson built locomotives, General (Rogers - 1855) and Texas (Danforth Cooke - 1856), were both involved in "the great locomotive chase" of the Civil War.

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

The C RR of NJ was advertised as a link in the shortest route to Chicago and the west (898 miles in 36 hours, via connecting railroads).

The Exchange Place, Jersey City, ferry to Desbrosses St., Manhattan, opened on 1 August.

The SS Great Eastern departed Liverpool with 1,530 passengers and a substantial amount of freight, which increased her draft to 30 feet. Upon arrival off Montauk Point, NY, on 27 August, the captain decided not to try to enter NY Bay over Sandy Hook bar with the ship’s deep draft. He took on a pilot and began moving into Long Island Sound to moor at Flushing Bay. About a mile east of Montauk a rumble was heard and the ship heeled slightly but they steamed on. At Flushing Bay it was discovered that their encounter with “Northeast Ripps” (later renamed “Great Eastern Rock”) had opened a gash in the outer double hull over 9 feet wide and 83 feet long - estimated to be 60 times the area of the RMS Titanic’s damage. Since there was no drydock in the US at the time which could handle the Great Eastern, temporary repairs were made in NY to get her back to Liverpool. However, the demands of the American Civil War caused delays in getting the iron plates required and the repairs took three months.

The steamer Union Star burned in NY on 16 October.

The C RR of NJ became the first railroad to use creosote to preserve ties and timber. An apparatus to creosote wood with oil of tar or "Burnetizing" it with chloride of zink, was built at Elizabethport. It was first used to preserve the timbers of the Newark Bay Bridge.

The first Hoboken (DL&W RR) rail / ferry terminal was built.

The Raritan and Delaware Bay RR opened their route from New York to Philadelphia. Steamboats departed from NYC for Port Monmouth where a transfer was made to their railroad. The route was via Red Bank, and Manchester to Atsion where a connection was made with the Camden and Atlantic RR for Camden and a ferry connection to Philadelphia. Early traffic was mostly Union soldiers and Army freight. Their route competed with the Camden & Amboy and was challenged by the latter.

The pilot boat James Funck was sunk in the Narrows by SS Union, but was raised. Two years later she was seized by Rebel privateer Tallahasee and used as a tender and a decoy, and finally destroyed.


The Union Transportation Co. began operating through freight service from the Midwest via the Raritan & Delaware Bay RR to New York. The impetus for the service came from the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne & Chicago RR which demanded direct access to New York.

Extensive and complicated litigation occurred when the C RR of NJ attempted to build their new Communipaw terminal south of the Morris Canal Co. basin. The canal company fought valiantly, but in the end, the C RR won out.

Draft riots in NYC killed an estimated 1,000.

A Mr. Lugar took a load of ship's knees to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a Durham boat and sold them to the government. He cut them in the Blue Mountains and along the Delaware River as far North as Columbia. Lugar's boat floated down the river and at Lambertville he entered the Delaware & Raritan Canal Feeder and was towed by mules to Trenton and New Brunswick. From there he was towed down the Raritan River, through Arthur Kill & Kill Van Kull, across NY Harbor and up the East River to the Navy Yard by steam tug.

In the 1850's, Cornelius Vanderbilt served on the boards of the Erie Railway, the C RR of NJ, the New Haven and Hartford, and the NY and Harlem. In 1863 he took control of the NY and Harlem in a famous stockmarket corner, and was elected its president. In the next year the Commodore sold his last ships, concentrating on railroads.

An old seafarer named Christopher Moss is said to have started the Penny Ferry service to carry workers from Washington Street, Jersey City across the Morris Canal basin to the new C RR of NJ “island” rail terminal then under construction. It was involved in the 1879 Jersey City Ferry War and was still running as late as 1928.

Michael Moran set himself up as a tugboat agent and bought a half interest in the Ida Miller, a stream-driven New York Harbor towboat. He had earned the money by working on the Erie Canal as a mule driver and then acquiring canalboats. His business became Moran Towing.

The first direct or through trains began operating from the Hudson River (Jersey City) opposite NYC to Washington, DC. They utilized the United Railroads of New Jersey to Philadelphia, the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore to Baltimore, and the Baltimore & Ohio RR to Washington.

The USS Saffron, on her way from Norfolk to New York, passed through the D&R Canal and stopped at Trenton. She was under the command of Ensign Daniel Merrill and had a crew of two engineers - Samuel D. Edwards and James Boyd - and sixteen men. She had been engaged in clearing the James River of torpedoes and carries a twelve pound howitzer. This tug was the first that went up the Dutch Gap Canal and returned. Daily True American, June 8, 1865. Note: Saffron was built on the D&R Canal at New Brunswick in 1863 as the John T. Jenkins, a wood hull, steam powered, screw propelled, vessel of 73 gross tons. After her Civil War service she was re-documented as the Clifton and worked around New York Harbor until she was lost in 1885.

On 22 October the steamer Oregon collided with the City of Boston and sank in NY Harbor.

On 29 October the brand-new luxury side-wheel steamboat, St. John, on the night run from NY to Albany, had a boiler explosion in which fifteen persons died. Known as a “floating palace” she continued on the Hudson for fifteen years as a after that, until she was finally destroyed by fire at her winter quarters at the foot of Canal Street in NYC. The St. John was 420 feet long and 51 feet at beam, the largest steamboat in the world at the time except the Great Eastern.

On 5 December the Isaac Newton, bound up-river, exploded and burned to the waters edge opposite Fort Lee, NJ. Nine died and seventeen were scalded. She was a fine steamboat: 405 feet long; 48 feet at beam; 1,540 tons; and splendidly furnished.


The American Submarine Co. was formed in April and Intelligent Whale, an experimental iron-hulled submarine, was built at Newark, NJ to the design of Scovel S. Merriam (per another report the designer was Oliver Halstead). However, they apparently encountered great difficulty in getting a crew to man her for her first test in Newark Bay. The Whale could be submerged by filling compartments with water, and then expelling the water by pomps and compressed air. It was estimated that the supply of compressed air inside could allow the boat to stay submerged for about 10 hours. Thirteen crewmen could be accommodated, but only six were needed to make her operational, motive power being furnished by a part of the crew cranking, attaining a speed of about four knots. The whale shape of the hull was very efficient. General Thomas William Sweeny, a colorful, decorated, veteran of the Mexican and Civil Wars, and two other men, tested the boat in April 1866. They submerged her in 16 feet of water, and Sweeny, clad in a diver’s suit, emerged from a hole in the bottom, placed a charge under a scow, and reentered the submarine. When Intelligent Whale was a safe distance away, Sweeny exploded the charge, blowing the scow to pieces. After litigation the boat became owned by an “Abe” Halstead and it was sold to the Navy Department on 29 October 1869. A trial of the Whale occurred at the NY Navy Yard, Brooklyn, NY, three years later. After sinking, it was found that the opening on top was leaking badly and she was quickly raised. She was displayed for a time at the NY Navy Yard and then the Washington Navy Yard, and is currently on display at the National Guard Militia Museum of New Jersey in Sea Girt. Some credit Intelligent Whale with inspiring John Holland to pursue submarine design. Robert J. Cressman, 10 October 2006,

The C RR of NJ bridge over Newark Bay and extension of line from Elizabethport to Communipaw (Jersey City) was opened for passenger traffic.

The C RR of NJ was extended nearly a mile across Communipaw Cove tidal flats on a wood piling trestle to the new Terminal building also supported by piles.

The C RR of NJ opened America's first prefabricated railroad station (terminal). It was built in sections in Bound Brook and transported by train to Jersey City where it was assembled.

Communipaw ferry connection to New York was re-established for steam operation with the ferryboats Central and Communipaw, terminating at Liberty Street.

Shipping magnate “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt acquired the Hudson River RR and soon added the New York Central RR, which at the time was only a link between Albany and Buffalo.

Daniel Drew struggled with Cornelius Vanderbilt, speculating on the stock of the New York and Harlem Railroad. Drew was selling the stock short, but Vanderbilt and his associates bought every share he sold, ultimately causing the stock price to rise from 90 to 285 in five months. Drew lost $500,000.

James Fisk, Jr. became a stock broker and financier in NYC and was employed by Daniel Drew as a buyer. He later aided Drew in the Erie War against Cornelius Vanderbilt for control of the Erie Railroad. This resulted in Fisk and Jay Gould becoming members of the Erie directorate, and subsequently, a well-planned raid netted Fisk and Gould Control of the railroad. Fisk became known variously as “Big Jim,” “Diamond Jim,” and “Jubilee Jim.”

The first US Railway Post Office east of the Alleghenies was inaugurated between NYC and Washington. It was also the last such route to be operated.

The operation of street cars by steam dummies was tried by the Jersey City & Bergen RR but was abandoned after six years.

The C RR of NJ began filling the tidal flats at Communipaw Cove to provide acreage for rail yards.

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

The C RR of NJ was the primary artery of westward travel for immigrants entering the US at Ellis Island. They ran one or two trains daily until the 1940's to convey recent immigrants westward.

The LV RR merged the Lehigh & Mahanoy RR into its system providing, in conjunction with the C RR of NJ, "the shortest and best route from Lake Erie to NYC."

McAllister Towing and Transportation Co., Inc,. one of the oldest and largest family-owned marine towing and transportation companies in the US was founded by Capt. James McAllister with a single sail lighter. The company has served the maritime community continuously, earning a reputation for unsurpassed excellence. Today the company operates a balanced and extensive fleet of tugs, barges, and ferries in the major ports on the US East Coast and in Puerto Rico. Capt. Brian A. McAllister is the President and great-grandson of the founder, representing the fourth generation of McAllisters at the helm. Four McAllisters of the fifth generation are also employed by the company. Capt. James McAllister started the first McAllister enterprise shortly after he arrived from Cushendall, County Antrim, Ireland. Together with his brothers and in-laws, McAllister formed Greenpoint Lighterage Co. They augmented the lighterage business with towing, with the acquisition of their first steam tug, the R.W. Burke, in the 1880's. In the early 20th Century, Capt. James was one of the first to convert a sail lighter into a bulk oil carrier, for the transport of oil around NY Harbor. The company also became known nationally for its salvage work, which extended from the West Indies, along the Atlantic Coast as far north as Maine. In 1909, the company acquired the Starin Fleet of steamboat excursion vessels, forming the McAllister Steamboat Co., which was one of the largest excursion boat operators in New York, with regular runs to the Statue of Liberty, Bear Mountain, Coney Island, and Long Island. After the death of Capt. James in 1916, his four sons, the second generation of McAllisters, assumed control of the company via a partnership. By 1918, the company had moved into the ocean towing business. McAllister inaugurated one of the first deep-sea tug-barge combinations with the 156-foot tugboat, C.W. Morse, carrying molasses from Cuba to New Orleans. Always an innovator, in 1927 McAllister installed a 375 hp diesel engine in the Daniel McAllister, making it the first diesel powered tug in NY Harbor. During WW I, Capt. James P. (Capt. Jim) McAllister served with honor on the Board of Embarkation for the US Government. He also held the post of Acting Director for the Army’s floating equipment. Between the Wars, a fleet of 27 ocean-going tankers was operated by McAllister to all parts of the world for the US Shipping Board. With the death of Capt. Jim in 1936, the third generation of McAllisters took the helm and are credited with not only pulling the company through the difficult Depression years, but also bringing the company to its present-day prominence. During the 1940's and 50's, the company expanded to include operations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Canada. Ca. the 1970's McAllister Tug and Barge Drydocks took over the former C RR of NJ marine repair yard in what became Liberty State Park. Today McAllister operations have expanded to include offices in Portland ME, Baltimore MD, Wilmington NC, Georgetown SC, Charleston SC, Jacksonville FL, Port Everglades FL, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, in addition to NYC, where their office is located at 17 Battery Place, the traditional location of maritime businesses. McAllister’s current fleet consists of over 70 tugboats, including 13 tractor tugs, and 12 barges. They also own and operate the Bridgeport (CT) & Port Jefferson (LI, NY) Steamboat Co. (ferry).

On 8 December the schooner William Penn, on a run from New Haven, CT to NY capsized at Hell Gate.

The first modern longshoremen’s union was formed in the Port of NY. It was called the Longshoremen’s Union Protective Association.

Sam Sloan became a director of the DL&W RR in this year; was president from 1867 to 1899; and was chairman until his death in 1907. During his administration, no trains were run on Sundays. His impressive bronze statue is at the ferry plaza, now facing Hoboken.


The Camden & Amboy Railroad & Transportation Co. occupied Pier No. 1, North River primarily for freight, which was received at all hours, and they advertised connections with various railroads for movement south and west. The steamboat William Cook made two round trips daily between Pier 1 and South Amboy where the freight was transferred to rail cars.

On 2 April the sloop Report was hit near Blackwell’s Island, East River by a lumber schooner which carried away her bulwarks and bowsprit.

The funeral train of Abraham Lincoln traveled across New Jersey to Jersey City on April 24th where his coffin was placed on a ferryboat to be carried to NYC. However, by this time the new Camden and Amboy straight main line between Trenton and New Brunswick was in service and the train went under the D&R at Trenton and over it at New Brunswick. Trains Magazine February, 2009. Lincoln’s final journey was our nation’s first national funeral. His casket as well as the remains of his son - little Willie Lincoln were carried in the elegant presidential car United States, also known as the Lincoln car, which had four 4-wheel trucks. Interestingly, it was never used by Lincoln when he was alive, but was used to carry his remains in the funeral train. “Last Sight of the Presidential Remains,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 1865; reprinted in Civil War Railroads & Models, by Edwin P. Alexander (1989).

On 10 May the NY to Philadelphia canal steamer E. L. Clark burned at the foot of Fifth Street, East River.

The Jersey City and Fort Lee RR was proposed to be built from the C RR of NJ’s new Communipaw depot to York Street, to Greene, to Pavonia Ave. to Hudson Street to the northern boundary of the city. The requirement of expensive, inconvenient, and dangerous drawbridges over the Morris Canal Basin helped to kill it.

On 31 July, the Long Branch and Sea Shore RR began service with steamboats to the Battery, connecting with their trains at Sandy Hook. Initially the service was offered only during the summer months.

On 4 August the steamer Arrow, a ferry between Haverstraw, Nyack, and NY, exploded off 30th Street, NYC, killing several persons.

On 13 August the sloop Planter of Sag Harbor with a cargo of bone dust, was a total loss on Hallett’s Point at Hell Gate, but the crew escaped.

The iron hull of the Camden & Amboy RR steamboat John Stevens which survived the fire of 17 July 1855 at Bordentwn was finally rebuilt and converted into a twin propeller freight boat with one deck and three masts. She entered freight service between NYC and South Amboy late in September. In 1871 she was conveyed to the Pennsylvania RR as part of their lease of the NJ RR & Transportation Co., and continued in the NY - South Amboy service until it was discontinued in 1874. In 1877 the P RR sold John Stevens to the Central Stock Yard and Transit Co. at Harsimus Cove, Jersey City.

On 3 November the schooner Chief from Rondout for Nantucket was run into at Hell Gate and sunk.

On 16 December the bark Nifadelos collided with the steamer Alabama and sank in NY Harbor.

By the end of this year the C RR of NJ passenger and ferry Terminal buildings, a freight house, and coal pockets in Jersey City had been completed. At Communipaw the engine house and machine shops were enlarged and a block of dwelling houses were erected.


The East River froze solid and the Hudson was also blocked. No boats could get across either river. There was a great uproar that winter for a bridge across the East River.

C RR of NJ began freight service at the Jersey City Terminal.

The first C RR of NJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was launched.

Johnston Avenue (it was named after C RR of NJ President, John Taylor Johnston and renamed Audrey Zapp Drive by Liberty State Park officials in the 1980's) was built with Belgian block from the former shore line to the C RR of NJ Terminal.

The Central Stockyard Transfer Co. built a huge facility, commonly called ‘the abattoir’ at the foot of Sixth Street in Jersey City. Jersey City's rail and water connections, especially from the western plains, made it one of the country's great meat centers after the Central Stockyard and Transit Co. built its "Abattoir" on the waterfront.

On 3 July 1866, the schooner Exchange, en-route from Rondout, NY to Providence, RI with a load of D&H coal was wrecked at Hell Gate.

Between this year and 1868, Daniel Drew engaged in the Erie (Railroad) War, in which Drew conspired with fellow directors James Fisk, Jr. (financier) and Jay Gould to issue more and more new stock to keep Cornelius Vanderbilt from gaining control of the Erie Railroad. Vanderbilt, unaware of the increase in outstanding shares, kept buying Erie stock and sustained heavy losses, eventually conceding control of the railroad to the trio. With his profits, Drew contributed to the founding of Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, NJ, which is now part of Drew University.

The steamer Tempest burned at NY on 1 October.

On 17 October, Ashbel Welch, Chief Engineer of the United New Jersey RR and Canal Co. read his “Report on Safety Signals” to the attendees at the railroad convention at the St. Nicholas Hotel in NYC. He had invented the banner box signal and installed it in the prior year on the main line of his railroad between Philadelphia and New Brunswick.

The Port Johnston Coal Docks were completed on Constable Hook in Bayonne by the C RR of NJ. The 2,750 foot-long coal dock was named after the president of the railroad, John Taylor Johnston. At the time it was the largest coal dock in the world and employed 200 men, mostly Irish immigrants. Their job was to empty coal from railroad cars onto barges for shipment across Upper New York Bay primarily to New York City.

On 12 November, the steamer T. A. Nickerbocker exploded at NY.

NY Yacht Club schooners Henrietta, Fleetwing, and Vesta raced from Sandy Hook, NJ to Needles, Isle of Wight for a $90,000 winner-take-all prize in a legendary “Transatlantic Race” in December. The Henrietta won the race in 13 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes.

The American brig Flying Scud, bound from Malaga, Spain, to NY with a cargo of fruit, went ashore on Rockaway Beach on 17 November with the loss of only one life. For days the beach was strewn with oranges, almonds and other unusual delicacies. Flying Scud was a clipper ship which once made the passage from NY to Melbourne in a record seventy-five days.

The British steamship Scotland, bound for NY from Liverpool, collided with an American sailing vessel, Kate Dyer, off Fire Island on 1 December. The 1,278 ton Dyer sank. The badly damaged Scotland tried to reach Sandy Hook, where the captain hoped to beach her, but he failed to make it and she sank also. Two years later, the Scotland Lightship, sister vessel of the Sandy Hook, was placed over the wreck, but later moved much farther out to sea.

The steamer J. D. Secor burned at Blackwell’s Island, NY on 7 December.

On 27 December, the 285-ton Danish bark Christiane coming to NY from Rio de Janeiro, was rammed by the outbound steamer North America and sunk. The latter rescued four members of the Christiane’s crew, and kept going. It was months before news of the disaster reached New York or Denmark.


C RR of NJ Directors decided to operate their railroad on Sundays. In protest, director William E. Dodge sold his stock and resigned.

On 22 January, the boiler on steam tug Enterprise exploded in the North River with three hurt.

The ship Dashing Wave from San Francisco to NY, sank at southwest split, NY Harbor. She was raised and finally arrived at the city on 13 September.

The first NJ / NY harbor RR floatbridge and carfloat operation was commenced by the C RR of NJ, but it did not initially involve interchange with other railroads. At first it was used as a way to deliver merchandise freight to NYC without first unloading it from boxcars. The cars were placed on carfloats which were then floated to pier stations around Manhattan. The freight was unloaded via the center platforms on the float and then into the pier-sheds.

On 2 April the schooner H.A. Barnes was run down and sunk off Riker’s Island, NY.

A battle erupted between the Morris Canal Co. and Jersey City over the plan of the city to extend Hudson Street across the canal basin. The Sugar House proprietors (Matthiessen and Wiechers) disputed the canal company’s title to the shipping basin constructed on M&W’s submerged lands. With the help of a powerful steam derrick, M&W tore up and destroyed by force steamboats and other boats in the canal basin, and probably tore into a few piers while they were about it.

The steamship Hibernian, bound for Liverpool, burned at Fulton Ferry on 2 May.

The schooner Reaper sank in the East River on 21 June.

The steamboat Blanche Page agreed to tow two Schuylkill canalboats, Cornelius Haggerty and John Hays loaded with anthracite coal, from New Brunswick to NYC on the morning of 5 July, by way of the Raritan River and the Kills. On reaching the mouth of the river, inside of which there was good anchorage and a safe harbor, there was found outside a high wind and a heavy sea. The steamer, however, went out, and, not being able to cross the flats, the tide being ebb, took a circuitous route by the channel, going by South Amboy and down around the buoy at the tail of the flats, and so around to Perth Amboy. While making this passage, two of the canalboats were sunk by the violence of the sea and the dashing of the boats against each other. Held, that it showed a want of ordinary care for the steamboat to venture out with such a tow when she did. Note: the Haggerty was never raised. Federal Cases Nos. 1,523 & 4, The BLANCHE PAGE, District Court, S.D. New York, May Term, 1870.

The sloop Vienna en-route from Elizabethport, NJ to Norwich, CT, sank at Hell Gate on 23 July.

National Storage Co. was organized and bought land north of Caven Point from the C RR of NJ’s American Dock & Improvement Co. to construct crude oil storage tanks. The oil came from Pennsylvania in railroad tank cars and was accumulated in the tanks and then loaded into barges that took it to the refinery which, at the time, was located in Queens. This activity produced much rail traffic for the C RR.

The Delaware & Raritan Canal Co., the Camden & Amboy RR & Transportation Co. and the New Jersey RR & Transportation Co. were authorized to consolidate their interests with each company retaining its separate organization. The new parent conglomerate was known as the United New Jersey RR and Canal Co.

The steamer King Philip burned at Jersey City on 16 November.

A track connection was made with the Lehigh and Susquehanna (L&S) RR at Easton on 25 November, making a through route to Wilkes-Barre, PA. The L&S became a principal supplier of coal to the C RR of NJ and later became a part of the C RR.

On 20 December the C RR of NJ issued General Order #2 prohibiting the operation of trains on Sundays except through express passenger trains, stock trains or those carrying perishables.


The C RR of NJ became the first railroad in America to introduce uniforms for employees. They consisted of a blue coat, pants, vest, cap with "C RR" and gilt buttons.

The Pavonia Ferry Co. opened W. 23rd Street service from Jersey City on 6 May.

The C RR of NJ advertised three daily express trains for the west beginning 11 May. Their route would require but one change of cars to Chicago or Cincinnati and but two changes to St. Louis. However, their route would save 60 to 130 miles and three hours travel time.

The schooner E. C. Knight, bound from Elizabethport to Boston sank at Hell Gate on 15 May.

The Stonington Steamship Co. steamer burned at NYC on 24 May after arrival from Providence, RI.

Cornelius Vanderbilt fell into a dispute with Daniel Drew, now treasurer of the Erie Railway. To get revenge Vanderbilt tried to corner Erie stock, which led to the so-called Erie War. This brought him into direct conflict with Jay Gould and James Fisk, Jr., who had just joined Drew on the Erie board. The latter defeated the corner by issuing “watered stock” in defiance of state law, which restricted the number of shares a company could issue. But Gould bribed the legislature to legalize the new stock. Vanderbilt used the leverage of a lawsuit to get his losses back, but he and Gould became public enemies.

On 5 September the schooner Washington, bound from South Amboy, NJ to New Bedford, MA, sunk in Hell Gate.

The sloop Ethan Allen, was sunk off Blackwell’s Island, NY on 20 September.

Two vessels burned at the Standard Oil Company yard at Hunter’s Point on Long Island on 25 October: the brig Lord Hartington, 170 tons, and the 467-ton steamer Kings County.

The Hoboken RR Terminal was replaced by a larger building.


A demonstration for an underground (subway) transit system in NYC was built by Alfred Ely Beach. His Beach Pneumatic Transit only extended 312 feet under Broadway in Lower Manhattan, but exhibited his idea for a subway propelled by pneumatic tube technology. It was never extended and was demolished when the BMT Broadway Line was built.

John A. Roebling had been appointed as engineer for the proposed Brooklyn Bridge in 1867. In this year, while engaged in determining the location of the Brooklyn tower, a ferryboat entering the slip thrust the timbers on which the great engineer stood, in such a was as to catch and crush his foot. He died of lockjaw sixteen days later. He was killed by the ferry which his bridge and later ones would eventually put out of business. His son, Washington A. Roebling, finished the bridge, which opened to great fanfare on 24 May 1883.

The Transcontinental RR was completed with a golden spike driven at Promontory, Utah on 10 May.

In mid-July the Newark and New York RR (a C RR of NJ project) opened between Newark and the Communipaw Ferry. They had tried to buy the Morris Canal bed in eastern Newark for the railroad, but were rebuffed.

The C RR of NJ was hard at work filling in more of Communipaw Bay (South Cove), destroying local fisheries and oyster beds and creating air and water pollution in the process. In summer months in order to minimize the smell of garbage, the dumping was done near Black Tom Island until that island grew to 20 acres. NY Times, 22 July 1869

The monopolistic provisions of the "Joint Companies" (United New Jersey RR and Canal Co.) eventually aroused so much public indignation that they were terminated. Without the special privileges conferred by the State the "Joint Companies" were no longer immune from competing transportation systems.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad put their first steam colliers in operation to move coal from Philadelphia to New England by the outside route. This allowed them to bypass the Delaware & Raritan Canal but some continued to go through NY Harbor and Long Island Sound.

Financial ‘Black Friday’ in NYC on 24 September was caused by an attempt to “corner” gold.

“Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt purchased properties between 42nd and 48th Streets, Lexington and Madison Avenues for construction of a new railroad depot which became the Grand Central Depot when finished in 1871. It was replaced by Grand Central Terminal in 1913.

The steam tug Quickstep, which was contracted to tow the canalboat Citizen from NY Harbor to New Brunswick did so through carelessness and mismanagement which caused the canalboat to be damaged and sink near the lighthouse on Robbins’ Reef. In the course of the difficulty, two other of the boats in the tow got loose. One of them cast anchor and was saved on the spot. The other, loaded with iron, drifted about all night and was picked up uninjured on the next morning. NY Supreme Court, December 1869, The Quickstep

The British steamship Russia, rammed and sank an Austrian ship at anchor off the Battery, NYC.

The ferryboats James Fisk, Jr. and the Jay Gould were built to carry passengers from the Erie RR waterfront terminal in Jersey City to West 23rd Street in NY. From his ferry Fisk ran a line of free omnibuses on the NY side. They ran past the Grand Opera House, which he had bought, to the old Fifth Avenue Hotel, which he had built.


On 30 January an oceangoing tug crashed into the side of the Hoboken to Manhattan ferry Union cutting a deep gash below the waterline, but she was salvaged.

The first regular elevated railway service in NYC was begun on 14 February along Greenwich Street and 9th Avenue. This was the very first rapid transit installation on the North American continent. Initial passenger service consisted of three cable-drawn cars powered by a stationary steam engine. Operations were suspended in nine months. “El’s” proliferated and were later built along 2nd, 3rd, 6th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan.

C RR of NJ Main Line tracks were relaid with steel rails replacing the former iron.

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

James Fisk, Jr. and Jay Gould betrayed Daniel Drew by manipulating the stock price of the Erie Railroad and causing him to lose $1.5 million. Drew was also later swindled out of $1,000,000 worth of Erie Railroad stock and the Panic of 1873 cost him still more. By 1876 he was bankrupt and died in 1879, dependent on his son for support.

In this year, Cornelius Vanderbilt consolidated his Hudson River Railroad, which he had acquired in 1864, and his New York Central Railroad, which he had acquired in 1867, into the NY Central and Hudson River Railroad, one of the first giant corporations in American history.

The Raritan & Delaware Bay RR became the NJ Southern RR and eventually a part of the C RR of NJ.

On Wednesday evening, 9 September, the tugboat Red Jacket took in tow two coal-barges at New Brunswick, and during the night proceeded toward New York. At 2 o’clock, while opposite Perth Amboy, the boiler of the tug exploded, tearing the boat to pieces and killing three men. Robert Brown, the pilot, was hurled into the air, and his body torn to pieces. The engineer, Daniel Thomas, of South Amboy, and a fireman named Strong, were almost instantly killed by flying fragments of the iron and woodwork. Three of the deck hands, though not known to have been killed, have not been seen, and it is supposed that they also are lost. The cause assigned for th accident is that the boiler was almost entirely empty, and upon its being filled with water exploded. The loss to the owners of the boat (tug) will probably be about $25,000 or $30,000. New York Times, 9 September 1870.

At the end of the eighteenth century the port of New York handled only 6 % of the value of all US foreign trade; by 1870 her share had risen to over one-half.

The C RR of NJ made attempts to bridge the “Water Gap” owned by the Morris Canal to allow the railroad a connection with the main section of Jersey City.


The properties of the United New Jersey RR and Canal Co. were leased to the Pennsylvania RR (P RR) for 999 years. The P RR grew to become the largest railroad in the world at its peak. It operated 28,000 miles of track, directly served half of the US, and hauled more freight and passengers than any other railroad in the world.

The C RR of NJ leased the Lehigh &Susquehanna RR from the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co., giving the C RR a continuous line from Jersey City to Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Manhattan’s original elevated line was reorganized as the West Side Patented Elevated Railway Company. Service was resumed on 20 April using diminutive steam-powered “dummy” engines hauling the prior passenger cars.

The schooner M. A. Longbery bound from Elizabethport, NJ to Bridgeport, CT sank at Hell Gate on 8 July.

On 12 July the schooner Ella bound from Rondout, NY to Boston was struck by lightning in North River and damaged.

The schooner Oscar C. Acken was run into and sunk at Hell Gate by the steamer Elm City on 18 July.

On 23 July cargo in the hold of the schooner Jenny exploded and she burned to the water’s edge in NY Harbor off the NJ flats.

Th sloop Thomas Ransen bound from Elizabethport to New Haven with a cargo of coal went ashore on Holmes Rock, Hell Gate, on 29 July.

The most appalling and spectacular explosion of a vessel in the NY area occurred on 30 July, at the foot of Whitehall Street in Manhattan. One hundred and four lives were lost and scores of injured were hospitalized. Just as the Staten Island ferry Westfield was about to depart her huge boiler exploded, scalded passengers or threw them into the water and wrecked the boat. The cause was later determined to be low water and boiler not in fit condition to run.

The LV RR leased the Morris Canal properties for 99 years.

The schooner Juno of Rockland, ME, with a cargo of lime, ran on Gridiron, Hell Gate on 21 August, caught fire and was a total loss.

On 21 August the steam tug Bordentown departed New Brunswick for New York towing fourteen canalboats, including the Christian Thaurman from the Delaware & Raritan Canal. At about 1am on the Tuesday the 22nd as the tow was at a place in the Raritan River called Point-no-Point, Middle Ground, some distance below New Brunswick, a collision occurred. The steam canal propeller Annie, Captain Steen, of the Wilmington and New York Freight Line, heading south, collided with one of the canalboats, Christian Thaurman, sinking her almost instantly. Aboard, and apparently sleeping, were Captain Thaurman, his sons, George and Henry, and his daughter Annie, who were all drowned. After the disaster, the steam canaller Annie, apparently unaware, kept on her course, passing New Brunswick without giving notice of the calamity. She came back from Wilmington on Friday, passing through New Brunswick at 10pm. She started back from NYC on a second trip and reached New Brunswick on Tuesday morning. An inquest over the four dead bodies took place before Coroner Paradin of New Brunswick and following testimony a verdict was reached. The verdict judged the collision to be accidental and no negligence was involved. NY Herald, NY, NY, 31 August 1871

The schooner Sarah of New Bedford, bound from Philadelphia to Portsmouth, NH, with a cargo of coal, went ashore on Romer Shoal off Sandy Hook on 14 September and went to pieces, but all hands were saved.

The steam tug Delaware was struck by Astoria ferry Williamsburg on 28 September and sank in Pot Cove.

On 29 September the schooner D.C. Hulse from Brookhaven, LI sank at Astoria.

The schooner pilot boat Moses H. Grinnell was run into by the Norwegian bark Ursa Minor off Governor’s Island on 4 October.

Grand Central Depot was opened in midtown Manhattan in October. It served the New York Central and Hudson River RR; the New York and Harlem RR; and the New York, New Haven, and Hartford RR.

On 1 November the 373-foot-long steamboat Bristol of the Fall River Line went ashore on the Gridiron, near Hell Gate carrying 842 passengers, but got off.

The bark J.H. McLaren, with a cargo of coal for Aspinwall, sank in Lower Bay off Staten Island on 25 November.

Not a good day: On 8 December the following occurred: The sloop J. Duryea, under tow in the East River, was run into by the steamer Elm City and was cut through amidships but the crew was rescued; The Fall River liner Providence grounded on a reef off Delancey St., NYC; and the steam tug Wilson D. Reed was run into off Pier 8, East River by an unknown steamer and sank..

P.T. Barnum purchased the older NY & Harlem RR station between 26th and 27th Streets, Manhattan, and converted it into Madison Square Garden – the first of several structures to bear that historic name.

This was the peak traffic year for the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Nearly 3 million tons of cargo passed through the canal in 13,215 canalboats, 1,545 steamboats, 668 sailing vessels, and 434 rafts. The D&R was a most important connection for water traffic between New York Harbor, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Albany, and Hartford.


The Easton & Amboy RR was chartered to build a double track line east from the Delaware River to link the LV with tidewater at Perth Amboy. The parent LV RR viewed the Morris Canal, which they leased, as a second-best option to reach NY Harbor. It is not surprising that when they were finally granted permission to construct the E&A they immediately requested permission to cease maintenance of the Morris Canal as a navigable waterway.

On 15 January the sloop G.J. Demorest bound from Oyster Bay to NYC with a cargo of bricks sank at Hell Gate.

The schooner Matthew Kinney inbound for NYC on 5 February had her bow stove in by ice in the Narrows and the vessel filled.

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

The schooner Belle inbound to NYC went ashore at Gridiron, Hell Gate, and filled on 1 April.

On 15 April the schooner Abby Morton bound from Elizabethport to Plymouth, MA with a cargo of coal, went ashore at Hell Gate and filled.

The schooner Henry Cole, bound from South Amboy to Providence, RI on 1 May with a cargo of coal, went ashore at Hog’s Back, Hell Gate.

On 2 May the schooner William R. Knapp of NY was rammed by the steamer City of Hartford between Hell Gate and Astoria. The whole of her stern was carried away and she sank immediately.

The schooner Trimmer bound from Albany, NY to Hartford, CT with a cargo of lumber struck a rock at Hell Gate on 6 May and filled, but was beached at Astoria by the steam tug Joe.

On 10 May the schooner William Butman, bound from Elizabethport to Boston struck a reef at Hell Gate and sank.

The steamer Harry Bumm exploded at NY on 27 May with a loss of 3 lives.

C RR of NJ stockholders voted to dissolve the merger with the DL&W made only six months prior.

On 9 June the steam tug N.S. Starbuck was badly damaged when it collided with the British SS City of London off the Battery.

On 20 July, the schooner Diadem of Sayville, Long Island, bound from Newburgh, NY, to Fall River, MA, with a cargo of coal, was run into in Hell Gate by the steamer Galenta. The Diadem sank within five minutes, off Ward’s Island Bluff, directly in the track of vessels passing through the Gate. Shortly afterward, the wreck of the Diadem was struck by the schooner Flagg of Greenwich, CT, which capsized.

Four vessels burned at the Standard Oil Company yard at Hunter’s Point on Long Island on 30 July: the Norwegian ship Eplis, 517 tons, bound for the Baltic, lay in the yard loaded with 4,200 barrels of oil when she was lost in a fire that started from a burning canal boat alongside. The American brig Roslyn, 382 tons, bound for Trieste; the British bark Edward, 575 tons, of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and the brig Max were also total losses.

On 18 August the schooner Black Diamond bound from Elizabethport to Providence with a cargo of coal, struck on North Brother Island, Hell Gate and sank.

The canal steamer Cathcart with a cargo of coal, collided with a government scow on 21 August at Hallett’s Point, Hell Gate and went ashore at College Point.

On 28 August the schooner C.L. Hulse bound from Rondout, with a cargo of D&H coal, to Providence collided and sank at Hell Gate.

The steamer City of Lawrence, the first Long Island Sound steamer with an iron hull, collided in the East River on 3 September with the schooner Empire State.

On 20 September the schooner Flagg struck the wreck of the schooner Diadem at Hell Gate and capsized.

The schooner Justice collided with the yacht Emily at Hell Gate on 21 September.

On 15 October Commodore Jim Fisk’s famous 373-foot-long Providence, a Fall River steamer, was going through Hell Gate when she collided with a drilling machine and was badly injured. Her passengers were transferred to the steamboat Stonington. A little later the Providence went aground after a week of fog. These two incidents followed two which occurred in the latter half of the prior year: On 3 August 1871 she collided with two schooners in Long Island Sound, and on 8 December she grounded on a reef off Delancey Street, NYC.

General George B. McClellan began his campaign for standardization of railroad gauges. He is credited with being the father of standard gauge, which placed the United States years ahead of Europe in transportation. For a time he was Chief Engineer for the Morris & Essex RR and lived in West Orange. He was later Governor of New Jersey.

Aboard the Honesty in 1872 is a delightful descriptive account of the experiences of George H. Weller (son of Hiram Weller) of Trenton and the week-long trip he took on an Erie Canalboat, the Honesty. At the time Coalport in Trenton was the largest coal trans-shipping port in the east. It was here that they took on a 250-ton load for Troy, NY, and went in a tow of 43 boats up the Hudson. After they unloaded the coal they took on a load of corn for Brooklyn, and finally returned to Trenton. Published in the “Trenton in Bygone Days” column of the Sunday Times Advertiser, May, 16, 1943.

The steamer Andrew Fletcher burned to the water’s edge at Quarantine landing, Staten Island on 20 December.


On 25 January the schooner Charles A. Grainer, Port Johnston, NJ, for Providence, sank at Hell Gate.

The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill which opened the state to railroads competing with the old Camden & Amboy (later P RR) monopoly between Jersey City and Philadelphia.

The Reading, in concert with the C RR of NJ, 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.

On 13 May, the steamer Hope, bound from Blackwell’s Island to Hart’s Island, was run down at Hell Gate by the steamer Americus. The Hope was cut in two and four men were lost.

The Morris & Essex RR Terminal at Hoboken was destroyed by fire in June.

Jason “Jay” Gould , a leading American railroad developer and speculator attempted to take control of the Erie Railroad by getting foreign investments from Lord Gordon-Gordon by offering $1 million in stock. However, Gordon-Gordon turned out to be a fraud, cashing the stock immediately. The convoluted incident resulted in Gould losing any possibility of his taking control of the Erie.

A canalboat was hired to carry a cargo of coal from Port Johnston, NJ to East Chester, CT. She was detained in loading, and, after loading proceeded to NY, where her consignees determined not to send her to East Chester, but to sell her cargo in the port of NY, which, after some delay, was done. It was decided that the owner of the canalboat was entitled to recover freight at the usual rate from Port Johnston to NY, and demurrage for the detention of the boat at Port Johnston, and also for the detention at NY, over and above the usual time for unloading a cargo of coal in that port. Federal Case No.14,298, Two Hundred and Thirteen Tons of Coal [7 Benedict 15], July 1873

A tornado struck and heavily damaged the pier being constructed for the New Hamburg Steamship Line at Hoboken on 6 July.

The Hudson Tunnel RR Co. (predecessor to the Hudson & Manhattan RR) was incorporated.

On 5 August the Australian brig Oscar, 402 tons, loading oil for Queenstown, New Zealand, was set afire at the Standard Oil Company yard at Hunter’s Point on Long Island and wrecked by a burning barge nearby.

The schooner Briton Cook, with a cargo of bricks was run into and sunk by the steamer Cornelius Vanderbilt in North River off Hoboken on 14 August.

On 7 September the steam tug Vixen was run into by the steamship Granite State near Hell Gate and was cut in half.

Banks failed and panic began in NYC on 20 September.

The Central Stock Yard and Transit Company of NJ began operating at Harsimus Cove, Jersey City under a contract and lease of property from the P RR. They constructed a large stock yard and abattoir (slaughter house) there. In 1877 the CSY & TC purchased from the P RR the John Stevens, a former C&A RR passenger steamboat, rebuilt into a freighter after burning. She now found herself a floating cattle barn servicing the ocean steamers exporting or importing cattle, and transporting cattle from the stockyards to Manhattan’s slaughterhouses. On 4 August 1904 the Nautical Gazette reported that the Stevens was being scrapped at Gregory’s yard in Perth Amboy. After 58 years of faithful service, it hardly seemed a fitting end for a steamboat once described as the “most elegant and fastest on the Delaware.” The John Bull-etin, Vol. V, No. II, Summer 2011

On 11 October the German bark A.J. Pope was run into by SS San Salvador in North River.

The schooner Shepard A. Mount, bound for Elizabethport was run into and badly damaged off City Island on 22 October by the steamer Isaac Bell.

On 25 October the schooner Leon of Derby, CT, struck Gridiron, Hell Gate and sank.

The sloop Gold Leaf was run into by the Houston Street ferry in the East River on 14 November and sank on Ravenswood Reef, Astoria.

On 23 November the steam tug Rescue burned on Sandy Hook bar; crew saved.

During this year New York City shipyards built 427 canalboats with a combined tonnage of 38,281. The industry began during the period of Dutch settlement. A great shipbuilding industry developed, primarily along the East River on the east side of Manhattan.


On 13 February the schooner Rodney Parker bound from Baltimore to NY with a cargo of coal went ashore on Romer Shoals, was bilged and abandoned.

The barge Joseph E. Dow with a cargo of ice for Brooklyn went ashore on Gridiron, Hell Gate on 18 February.

Dewitt Clinton Haskins raised sufficient funds to begin work on a trans-Hudson tunnel, which eventually became the Hudson & Manhattan RR. The DL&W RR obtained an injunction which halted construction for 5 years.

The steam tug R.S. Carter was run into and sunk on 19 March in the East River by the ferry Baltic.

On 20 March the schooner Elizabeth B. bound from Elizabethport to Providence with a cargo of coal went ashore at Hallett’s Point, Hell Gate and was filled.

The brig A.R. Storer ran into the German bark Christel in North River on 22 March.

The Jersey City Wagon Elevator, or inclined plane, was built to elevate horse cars, their teams, and a full compliment of passengers up to Jersey City Heights by steam power. It was considered one of the construction wonders of that age. In1886 North Hudson County Ry opened the elevator to public vehicles. This first effort to scale the ramparts of the Palisades had a 480' incline, a 102' rise, and was abandoned in 1928.

The Central Stockyard Transfer Co. enlarged their huge facility, at the foot of Sixth Street in Jersey City, and by 1880 they were processing more than 1,500,000 animals – beef cattle, lambs and hogs annually.

On 13 June the lighter Ohio, with a cargo of tobacco was run into in the East River by the ferry Winona and sank.

The sloop Caroline, with a cargo of coal, was run into and sunk off the Battery by the steamer Providence on 24 June.

Nathaniel Holmes Bishop journeyed 2,500 miles from Quebec via the St. Lawrence River, Richelieu River, Chambly Canal, Lake Champlain, Champlain Canal, Hudson River, Upper NY Bay, Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill, Raritan River, Delaware & Raritan Canal, Delaware River, and other portions of inland waterway to the Gulf of Mexico in his “paper canoe.” Bishop. Nathaniel Homes, Voyage of the Paper Canoe, Boston: Lee and Shepard: 1878

On 13 July the schooner China, carrying a cargo of Oak timber was run into in the East River and sank off Williamsburg.

The schooner Martha Jane struck a rock in Hell Gate on 22 August and filled.

On 3 September the steamer River Belle of the NJ Southern RR & Steamboat Line burned and sank at Pier 8, North River; later raised and refloated.

The British steamer Adriatic collided in NY Bay with the steamer Parthia on 24 October. Both were bound for Liverpool and both were damaged.

The steam tug Lilly blew up and sank at Hell Gate on 17 November.

The schooner Fanny Fern was sunk at Hell Gate in December. She was raised and taken to Hallett’s Cove. Later she was being towed through Hell Gate alongside the tug D. S. Stetson when she slewed onto Middle Ground, knocking a hole in her bottom. The tug cast off its towlines and refused to render assistance. The Fanny Fern sank in twenty minutes.

On 11 December the steam tug L. Markle blew up and sank off Randall’s Island.

The C RR of NJ presented each of their employees with a Christmas turkey.

In this year 196 canalboats were built in NYC.


On 1 January the DL&W RR moved their coal depot from Elizabethport on the C RR of NJ to their own property in Hoboken.

The steam lighter Sentinel was crushed by ice and sank at Peck Slip on 16 January.

On 18 January the British ship Roslin Castle, bound from Calcutta to NY, was struck by a field of ice in NY Harbor and carried to Brooklyn.

The schooner Eliza Pharo bound from Port Johnston to Providence with a cargo of coal was forced ashore at Bedloe’s Island by ice and sunk on 7 February.

For ten days in February even the big Long Island Sound steamboats could not get through the thick ice in Hell Gate. Four of the boats were locked in the ice. The forty-year-old schooner Oakwood, bound with coal from South Amboy, NJ to Narragansett, RI, was frozen in for two weeks at Whitestone on the East River. Captain Walter R. Hazard of the Sound steamer City of Lowell, who once commanded the Oakwood, tried to go to her aid. A sudden fissure in the ice opened up, causing the prow of the Lowell to cut into the side of the schooner. The crew jumped off onto the ice and the Oakwood sank.

On 10 February the British ship Ambassador, outbound to London, was driven ashore by ice near Bedloe’s Island.

The brand-new, 1,900-ton steamer Cornwall of the Great Western Steamship Line, from Bristol, England, was entering the East River on 14 February, with 450 passengers, when she was forced by the ice toward Governor’s Island. She struck bottom off Castle William, but was later hauled off.

In March the brig Rapide, bound from NY to London, was cut into by ice while anchored off Robbins Reef. She was towed to Red Hook and sank, but was later raised by the Coast Wrecking Co.

On 15 March the steam tug Mary collided with the Harlem passenger boat Shady Side; Mary sank; crew saved.

NY Harbor still had ice on 14 April, when the German bark Aeolus from Antwerp was caught be ice floes off the Battery and was carried down the bay, where she collided with the British brig Annie Wharton and lost her mizzentopmast.

On 30 April Swiftsure Line iron steamer Vulcan (built in NYC by Hogg & Delamater of the Phoenix Foundry to designs furnished by John Ericcson for the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co. in 1842), bound from Hartford to Philadelphia, via the D&R, with a cargo of machinery, struck a rock between Robbins Reef and Bedloe’s Island and sank.

John H. Starin of NYC began supplying excursion vessels for groups wanting an outing. He bought or built a number of double-decked excursion barges to be towed by steamers. Next, his Starin Line acquired picnic grounds and groves: Alpine Grove; Hudson Grove; Alderny Park on Kill von Kull, Staten Island; Highland Park Grove at Bay View, NJ; and the 50 acre Starin’s Glen Island, New Rochelle, NY. By 1880 Starin was transporting 3,000,000 New Yorkers seasonally to his pleasure resorts.

On 25 June, the C RR of NJ operated a special excursion train to tour the just completed NY & Long Branch RR. President Grant helped to inaugurate the new line. His private car was attached to a train which traveled from Jersey City to Long Branch. The bridge built for this line over the Raritan River was called a “mammoth triumph of civil engineering.”

The steamer W.W. Coit, in Long Island RR service between eastern Long Island and NYC was run into by the Stonington Line steamer Rhode Island in Hell Gate on 30 June and damaged.

The Erie RR inaugurated a through train service over its own and connecting lines between New York and Chicago. George Pullman offered the Erie exclusive use of his equipment. They jumped at the opportunity and immediately launched an advertising and publicity campaign with this announcement: “From the first of November, 1875, the Pullman hotel and drawing room coaches... ...with new and increased improvements will hereafter run exclusively on the Erie - forming the first and only Pullman hotel coach line between Chicago and New York.”

The William F. Havemeyer became the first fireboat owned by NYC.


The USS Trenton, a wooden-hull screw propelled steam warship launched at the New York Navy Yard on 1 January. Named for the capital city of New Jersey, she was the first ship wired for electrical lighting.

Construction of the Statue of Liberty began with the assistance of Gustave Eiffel. Newspaper publisher, Joseph Pulitzer helped raise the final $100,000 for the statue’s foundation and base.

The P RR attempted to halt the Delaware & Bound Brook RR (which became the Reading RR) from crossing their Mercer & Somerset RR at Hopewell. The resulting skirmish which became known as the "Frog War" was quelled by the New Jersey Militia. The D&BB RR was allowed to finish their line which connected with the C RR of NJ. The monopoly of the United Companies was finally broken.

The large ferryboat Maryland commenced carrying trains of the New York and New England RR, with their passengers aboard, from their terminal at 130th Street and the Harlem River to the P RR at Jersey City. This permitted a journey from Boston to Philadelphia and beyond without change of cars. Later freight cars were also transported. At the peak of these operations there were dozens of carfloat routes crisscrossing the NJ / NY port area. The sole remaining NY Harbor carfloat is operated by NY NJ Rail, LLC between Jersey City (Greenville) and Brooklyn.

After being rebuffed by the US Navy, NJ inventor John Holland constructed a thirty-inch model of an undersea boat propelled by a spring and a clockwork mechanism. A demonstration was arranged at Coney Island for American members of the Fenian Society, the Irish Republican Brotherhood. When the tiny model did all the things Holland claimed it would, they set aside $6,000 from their skirmishing fund to build Boat No. 1, John Holland’s first working submarine.

The Bergen Point to Port Richmond, SI, NY ferry began service on 15 July.

The P RR operated the longest non-stop run - from Jersey City to Pittsburgh. A baggage car was fitted to reinforce the coal and water supply carried in the tender.

The DL&W RR completed their first two-track tunnel under Bergen Hill.

The C RR of NJ, in cooperation with the Philadelphia and Reading RR (Delaware & Bound Brook RR, later the Reading), began operating through trains between Jersey City and Philadelphia via Bound Brook.

An interesting speed run was that of the transcontinental special which originated on the P RR at Jersey City and ended triumphantly at San Francisco. The trip was made in a record eighty-three hours and thirty-four minutes.

Following a big decline in the price of coal, John Taylor Johnston, president (an office he held for 28 years) of the C RR of NJ resigned on 5 October.

Washington Roebling, the eldest son of John A. Roebling who took over supervision of Brooklyn Bridge construction after his father’s death in 1869, became physically and emotionally ill during the construction. His condition was so precarious that he was unable to make the trip to see the bridge by train, his nervous state being such that he could not endure that much speed or vibration or the crowds of people. So it was arranged for him to go the whole way by canalboat and tug from Trenton where he resided. As he came up the bay and into the East River, he saw the bridge in October, 1876 for the first time in three years. The Great Bridge, by David McCullough

On 11 November a C RR of NJ train ran overboard at their Terminal at Communipaw and an engine and two cars went into the drink.

On 16 December the Exchange was one of 36 canalboats forming a tow which was made up in New Brunswick, on the Raritan River for New York. The tow started with the tug Bordentown, a large and powerful side-wheel steamer, in advance, followed by two smaller tugs, Harry and Willie, which were connected to the tow by four hawser lines. The Exchange was the starboard boat on the hawser tier, which was formed of four large canalboats. The tow started out at seven in the morning. The day was fine, but cold. During the forenoon the wind increased, and at ten o’clock it blew a violent gale. About that time the Blue Bonnet, a powerful propeller tug also belonging to the Pennsylvania RR, which had arrived at New Brunswick from New York after the Bordentown’s tow started, and had been sent down river to assist it, overtook the tow, and took the place of the Bordentown, being better able to keep the tow in the channel, because she presented less surface to the wind. The tow proceeded without accident till about eleven o’clock, when in turning at a bend in the river at a place called “Middle Grounds” one of the port hawsers broke, the tow sheered to port, and four of the boats and the tug Harry got aground on the north bank of the river. The tow was completely broken up. The tug Willie got separated from the Harry, and lay helpless in the river for want of a rudder, which she had lost a few days before. The wind and the tide carried the boats, which were still afloat, down stream, and the Exchange broke away from the other boats in the hawser tier, and drifted down against Willie, and received an injury by the collision on her starboard side at and below the water line, the planks being broken and forced in. She was laden with coal. By the assistance of men from the tugs she was listed to port by shoveling the coal to that side, and the injury was temporarily repaired with oakum and tallow, and covered over. A board was afterwards nailed over the place, and in this condition, so far as that injury was concerned, she remained till her arrival at South Amboy. Meanwhile the Bordentown had gone down the river to a place called “Crow’s Mills.” The Blue Bonnet took hold of the boats afloat as they drifted down, and reformed the tow, the Exchange being still the starboard boat in the hawser tier; and the tow came down tail first to Crow’s Mills without further accident. There they tied up at a pier, and waited for the flood tide, not thinking it prudent to attempt to go through the bridge below Crow’s Mills till the change in the tide. Except near New Brunswick, where the new ice had formed, about an inch or two in thickness, the tow had met with no obstruction from the ice up to this point; but from a short distance below Crow’s Mills to the bridge drift ice had become packed in so as to make the navigation with the tow difficult and dangerous. It was after dark when the tow left Crow’s Mills. The Exchange was still the starboard boat of the hawser tier. They started out with the Blue Bonnet and Willie lashed together, ahead, followed by the Bordentown and the tow, now consisting of thirty-two boats. Most of the boats were what are called “chunkers,” smaller than ordinary canalboats, and less strongly built. They had only got a few hundred yards from Crow’s Mills when they got into the ice, and the Blue Bonnet found it impossible to push through encumbered with the Willie by her side and the tow behind. The Bordentown therefore was cast off. The Willie was put astern of the Blue Bonnet, and these two tugs made their way through the ice to South Amboy, where the Willie was left. The objective of this movement was to get Willie out of the way. The Bordentown then undertook to draw the tow through the ice alone, but had not proceeded far when the ice and the tide turned her around to starboard, and drove her against the starboard side of the tow. She struck violently against the starboard side of the Exchange, and inflicted a serious injury to her near the stern and three or four feet from the bottom, partly forcing in the planks, and causing her to leak. The testimony of those who examined the Exchange after she was raised shows clearly that this injury, which was the principal cause of the leaking of the Exchange, was not caused by the ice, but by some blunt point or projection violently pressed and moved along her side, and it cannot be accounted for except as having been caused by this collision; and the evidence I think shows that it was caused by this collision with the Bordentown. The tow was rescued from this immediate peril by the Bordentown’s coming to anchor, and waiting for the return of the Blue Bonnet. After a while the Blue Bonnet returned, and she and the Bordentown succeeded in drawing the tow through the ice, and they arrived at South Amboy between eleven and twelve o’clock that night, without other accident, except that one or more of the hawsers broke while going through the ice. During this passage the Exchange leaked, and the libelant was frequently pumping. At South Amboy the tow was brought around to be moored at a pier, and to be held there by the Bordentown, the Blue Bonnet having cast off; and the tow swung round, heading towards New Brunswick, with the tide. The Bordentown had just got her lines on the pier and made fast, when the captain of the Blue Bonnet called to the captain of the Bordentown to know if he was all right. The captain of the Bordentown replied that he was. The Blue Bonnet then started to go up river again to bring off the boats left aground, the intention being to leave the tow at South Amboy for the night, and proceed to New York in the morning. The Blue Bonnet left without any inquiry being made by anybody connected with the tugs as to the condition of the Exchange or the other boats. About the time the Blue Bonnet left, the libelant, finding that his boat was taking water, hailed the Bordentown and called for help. He continued to pump, but the water gained on him. He shouted again to the Bordentown that his boat was sinking. They answered that they could not help him, and ordered him to cast off the lines, which was done, and they were fastened to the other boats in the tow. In twenty minutes to half an hour the Exchange sank. Various acts of negligence are alleged and relied on by the libelant, – that the tow was too large; that the hawser lines were insufficient; that the Willie had no rudder; that the Exchange was not fit to leave Crow’s Mills that night, with so much ice in the river; that she was especially unfit, in her injured condition, to be put on the starboard side of the hawser tier, ths most exposed place in the tow; that the Bordentown improperly attempted alone to draw the tow through the ice; that the injuries to the Exchange, from the effect of which she was lost, were caused by these and other acts of negligence in the management of the tow, and not by the ice; and that the Blue Bonnet was allowed to leave, and no inquiry made as to the condition of the tow, nor any attempt made to save the Exchange by beaching her. The decree was for the libelant, with costs, and reference to compute damages. Federal Case Nos. 5,448a and 5,448b, Gilooley v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., District Court, S.D. New York, March 26, 1879. (Federal Case No. 5,448b details the circumstances and conditions affecting the value of the claimed losses of the boat, contents of the cabin, and the cargo. As the saying goes, they made a Federal Case out of it!) In a later case in Admiralty, again involving the Bordentown, Judge J. Brown writes: The libel in this case was filed to recover damages for the loss of the canalboat J. H. Gillingham, with a cargo of 214 tons of coal. She was one of a fleet of 18 boats, in five tiers, in tow of the Bordentown, from New Brunswick to the Stakes, near Jersey City, by way of the Raritan River and Kill Van Kull. She was in the head tier, the second boat from the starboard side. The tow was considerably belated, and passed New Brighton, in leaving the Kills, about half-past 6, on March 27, 1877. On coming out into the bay she encountered an ebb tide, and shortly afterwards a high wind from the north-west, which made the water considerably rough, so as to break over the bows of the head tier, and shortly before arriving at Jersey City the Gillingham sank, bows first, from filling with water. Without entering into the details of the testimony the conclusions to which I have come are as follows: 1. The weight of evidence does not show that the time of passing New Brighton and coming out into the bay there was any such high wind of sign of rough weather as should charge the Bordentown with negligence of carelessness in proceeding on her way, but that the high wind arose suddenly, and increased rapidly some time after she had got out into the bay, being at 9pm 23 miles per hour. 2. The progress of the Bordentown was slow, –only about one mile an hour; and the evidence does not satisfy me that after the high north-west wind arose there was anything she could have done better than to keep her course as she did. 3. The Gillingham was an old boat; not stout or staunch, but weakened from age, and loaded within 15 to 18 inches of the water’s edge, –several inches deeper than the other boats. 4. Prior to reaching Perth Amboy, she had been in the second tier. Upon some other boats being there left behind she was placed by those having charge of the tow in the head tier, against the protest of the libelant, but without any express notice that he regarded her as unfit to encounter the hazards of a trip across the bay in the head tier, or any objection to going on in that position. 5. The captain of the Bordentown knew that she was an old and comparatively weak boat. 6. The immediate cause of her sinking was the chafing of the boats against each other in the rough water, starting and lifting her sheer-plank, causing her to leak and take in water, which came over her bows and on her decks faster than she could be kept clear by her pumps. 7. No other boat was injured among the 18 in tow of the Bordentown, and none of the 12 others that were in tow of the tug Cahill, which followed shortly behind, and arrived at the same station an hour later. From these principal facts, and others not necessary to be enumerated, I find that the defendants, knowing that she was an old and weak boat and more deeply laden than the others, in transferring the Gillingham from the second to the head tier of boats, did not act with that reasonable and ordinary care which a prudent man exercises for the preservation of his own property, and which they were bound to bestow upon the libelant’s boat, and were therefore chargeable with negligence in so doing. ...It is an ancient practice of admiralty to scrutinize closely claims resting on the loss of old or weak vessels. ...the owner of a barge, unfit for the trip or for the position assigned her on the tow, must be held required to show at least that he dissented to proceeding upon the voyage, in order to absolve him from his share of the responsibility in case of subsequent loss. Nor can it be suffered that old barges be run until they sink, and the whole loss be then charged upon the tug. Judgment may be entered for the libelant for one-half his damages, with costs with a reference to compute the amount. The BORDENTOWN, etc., District Court, S. D. New York, April 14, 1883.

The C RR of NJ built the largest petroleum transfer and storage facilities in the United States at Jersey City.

The all-rail “Air Line” route from NYC to Boston was completed.

The DL&W RR completed conversion to standard gauge.

The Lehigh and Wilkes Barre Coal Company purchased the Port Johnston Coal Docks from the C RR of NJ. Within months the new owner cut the wages of the workers in a effort to save money. The dock workers walked off the job and the first full scale strike occurred. The owner fired all the workers and brought in German immigrants from NYC. They quit after one day and the strike was settled in a little over a month.


The C RR of NJ filed for receivership on 13 February. They were involved in bankruptcy reorganization for much of the next decade.

On 17 March Belgian Red Star steamer Rusland was blown ashore south of Staten Island and plowed into the sunken wreck of the Dutch freighter Adonis (sunk in 1859). Rusland was a total loss, but all 204 aboard were saved by Life Savers and citizens ashore.

After raising freight rates in the east, four major lines - the P RR, the New York Central & Hudson River RR, the Erie Railroad and the B&O RR - set up a rate control pool, and then, to increase profits, decided to cut their workers’ pay by ten percent. Other companies, representing over half of the total mileage in the country, agreed to take the same action. The stage was set for the first national strike. The Great National RR Strike grew into the largest mass labor action in American history and was accompanied by monumental violence. "The Great Upheaval" was also the worst in the history of the state of New Jersey.

A new ferry service commenced between Exchange Place (formerly known as Paulus Hook), Jersey City and the foot of Fulton Street, Brooklyn.

The P RR completed the laying of steel rail on their Jersey City to Pittsburgh main line.

On 27 November the steamer C.H. Northam burned to the waters edge at her East River pier.


The boiler of the steamer William E. Cheney exploded in North River on 28 January.

On 31 January the schooner Nellie Bloomfield bound for Greenwich, CT with a cargo of brick was wrecked off City Island, NY.

On 3 February a fire at the Communipaw Terminal of the C RR of NJ destroyed the Empire Express Co.’s building and several empty freight cars.

The brig Carrie Winslow, inbound from Montevideo with a cargo of wool and hides was wrecked in NY Bay on 11 February.

On 23 February, the ferryboat James Fisk, Jr. was crossing from the Erie RR Pavonia, NJ terminal, when off West 13th Street, North River, she collided with the Staten Island - NY ferryboat Castleton, both crossing without passengers. Each boat lost one man and each was partially wrecked. The Fisk survived to become the Passaic and later the Broadway.

New Jersey engineer and inventor, John Holland, had his first working submarine called Boat No. 1 built in New York. The strange looking craft was only fourteen feet long and tapered to a point at both ends. Looking like a seagoing tank, it was hauled to the Passaic River on a wagon pulled by sixteen stallions borrowed from a locomotive works. (These would have been one of the teams used to haul completed steam locomotives through the streets of Paterson from the works to the nearest railhead.) The launching of Boat No. 1 into the river proved challenging and with no one aboard it sank slowly out of sight - the drain plugs had not been screwed in... Once raised, pumped out and refloated, however, the boat performed passably. Holland repeated his dive several times. The Fenians and onlookers were duly impressed. The experimental craft, having served her purpose, was carefully stripped of all usable equipment and the shell scuttled near Falls Bridge. This vessel was later raised and in now on display in the Paterson Museum, which, interestingly, is housed in the former Rogers Locomotive Works.

On 1 June William Baxter’s steam canal boat (US Patent #154,978) arrived at Newark from Washington, Warren County and proceeded to Jersey City to discharge her cargo. Newark Daily Advertiser, 1 June 1878; US Patent Office, Improvement in Steam Canal-Boats, Patent #151978

The first sections of the Third Avenue El opened in Manhattan with small steam locomotives pulling the trains.

The side-wheel summer excursion steamboat, Grand Republic, was built in Brooklyn for the Knockerbocker Steamboat Company. She was a sister ship to the ill-fated General Slocum

and was normally used on the summer Rockaway run.


On 14 January the Wall Street Annex ferry George T. Oliphant ran into the Grand Street ferry Warren off Broome Street; Oliphant’s bow was broken and she sank, but her 70 passengers were removed.

The C RR of NJ gained control of both the NJ Southern and the NY & Long Branch RRs and with them the Sandy Hook Route steamboats from the south shore of Raritan Bay to NYC. The Sandy Hook Route became a popular excursion route. Meals were served on board – broiled sirloin steak for $1.25 and a lobster dinner for $1.50 – and a Sandy Hook or Blue Comet cocktail could be had for 35¢!

A steamboat pier was built at Atlantic Highlands. Connecting C RR of NJ steamboats began using this pier in 1883.

The Tidewater Oil Co. built a pipeline from their oil wells near Titusville, PA to Williamsport. The C RR of NJ then carried their oil in tank cars to the Tidewater refinery in Bayonne.

The P RR became the first railroad at New Jersey / New York harbor to establish a marine department when it bought out National Storage, the firm which had been handling their lighterage.

On 24 May the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel, “Arrived home in New York.” She later sailed the Atlantic from West Indies to Nova Scotia as a training ship for apprentices until 1881 when her career on the high seas ended. Constitution was launched at Boston on 21 October 1797 and is truly a national ship. USS Constitution History Timeline

The first recorded C RR of NJ sponsored employee outing utilized the C RR steamboat Kill von Kull to take railroad families from Jersey City Terminal to Coney Island for the day.

The C RR of NJ and the B&O RR attempted to have Washington Street extended south on a bridge over the Morris Canal property. The maneuver was blocked by the combined efforts of the Canal Co., the Lehigh Valley RR and the Matthiessen & Weicher Sugar Refinery.

Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors in history, invented and demonstrated the first commercially practical incandescent light bulb in December.


C RR of NJ locomotive #507 set a world speed record running the 89.4 miles between Jersey City and Philadelphia in 98 minutes.

The Jersey City and Communipaw RR (and entity of the C RR of NJ) tried to get Morris Canal lands condemned to build a railway connection from the steel works at the foot of Warren Street to the C RR Depot in Communipaw and were thwarted. They next proposed to build a 2,150-foot-long tunnel under the canal basin, but did not.

A blow-out during the construction of the Hudson & Manhattan rail tunnel in Jersey City killed 20 workers and delayed completion of the project for 26 years.

On 23 June the steamship City of New York burned with her cargo and sank in the East River.

The 612-ton, 230-foot long, side paddle-wheel steamer Sewanhaka, which plied between Peck Slip in NYC and Glen Cove and Sea Cliff, Long Island, burned to her keel on 28 June in the East River off Ward’s Island. Crowded with some 300 homeward bound commuters, Captain Charles D. Smith guided the stricken vessel and beached her broadside at Sunken Meadows so passengers could jump off in relative safety, in spite of being frightfully burned himself.

The Staten Island Rapid Transit was incorporated and leased the Staten Island Railway in 1884.

The NJ Southern RR came under the control of the C RR of NJ.

The canalboat Mary McConkey made three round trips in this year between Steelton, PA and Rouse’s Point, NY, via five canals, and passing through NY Harbor. Steel rails were transported north and iron ore south on this nearly 1,000 mile round trip.

The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York was incorporated on 17 December, to develop and install a central generating station.

The population of Jersey City reached 120,000, and immigrants represented most of the growth.


Five out of a tow of six boats that left NY on 20 January for South Amboy, went down off Sandy Hook two days later. Only one boat in the tow reached Raritan Bay. Two men were missing from the towboat Heath and two each from the Gardner and the G. Brothers.

On 17 February the British ship Star of India, bound for London, was damaged by ice in the East River and went ashore near Bedloe’s Island.

On 1 March: the German bark Auguste, with a cargo of sugar went ashore on Romer Shoals, Lower Bay, NY; The schooner Carrie S. Webb inbound with a cargo of sugar and molasses sank alongside Auguste and was wrecked

The steam tug G.H. Lapham collided with the steam tug Amos Barstow in the East River on 2 March. Lapham was cut in two and sank.

On 3 March the Italian bark Ajace, inbound from Antwerp, was wrecked on Rockaway Shoals (Coney Island) and was a total loss, including 13 of 14 crew members.

The British steamer Titania collided in the Narrows with the bark Hypatia on 19 April.

The Standard Oil Co. constructed a 315 mile pipeline from Olean, NY to Bayonne, NJ to move crude oil to tidewater and refineries. It was 6" in diameter and was laid to a depth of 18 inches.

After many delays, in May NJ inventor and engineer, John Holland, launched his second submarine, the Fenian Ram into the Hudson River. The Fenians - the Irish patriots - had come up with more money for a larger boat “suitable for use in war.” It had been built at the Delamater Iron Works in NYC. It was thirty-one feet long; powered by a two cylinder Brayton internal combustion engine; had a bow torpedo tube operated by compressed air; and could fire a projectile when submerged or on the surface. She underwent her first trials near Jersey City in June and dove to a depth of fourteen feet. Holland surfaced and returned to the dock to find a large cheering crowd. The next day, on a bet, he took the Ram down and kept her down for two and a half hours. She was later tested in the waters of New York Harbor, passing beneath ships and strings of barges, and at one point descending to a depth of forth feet. The air gun was successfully fired several times, using projectiles designed by Captain John Ericsson, who had built the Monitor.

The P RR invented the "limited" train. The Pennsylvania Limited operated between Jersey City & Chicago on a schedule of 26 hours and 40 minutes. It was the world's first through deluxe express train. It was the first train to carry a diner and to introduce the vestibule. It later became the first train in the world to be illuminated by electricity.

The Iron Steamboat Co. began offering frequent seasonal day trips from points in Manhattan to Coney Island with a fleet of brand new (mostly wooden) vessels. They also operated to Long Branch, NJ in some years.

The Pennsylvania RR acquired the National Storage Co., an oil storage facility, in the Black Tom Island area of what is now the south east corner of Liberty State Park. The P RR also started the National Docks RR Co. to build a line from Bergen Cut (now called Journal Square), down to the National Storage plant. The C RR of NJ tried to oppose this as it would mean a loss of traffic for them, but they lost out. Two years later the National Docks RR opened and the P RR sold a half interest to the LV RR which wanted it to reach their Morris Canal Big Basin terminal. One pier on Black Tom Island had been completed; a double track trestle led over the tidal flats to the pier; and a warehouse was completed on the pier utilizing recycled portions of Machinery Hall which was at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876. A new reinforced concrete grain elevator was built in 1913 and was used into the 1950s, primarily to deliver grain to Schaeffer’s Brewery in Williamsburg. The P RR apparently never did serve National Storage at Black Tom, but the LV RR did until retirement of its facilities in 1966. Today a remnant of the Black Tom track serves the Daily News printing plant at the south end of Liberty State Park.

The schooner Commander, inbound from Baltimore with a cargo of coal, sank at Sandy Hook on 30 December.


The West Side line of the Hudson River Railroad crossed Spuyten Duyvil Creek on a draw bridge. A fatal wreck occurred at this point on 13 January when the Atlantic Express stopped and was rear-ended by a local train, telescoping the last two Palace cars. Stoves and lamps were upset and started a fire.

The schooner Thomas W.H. White, inbound from Virginia with a cargo of wood went ashore at Sandy Hook on 12 April.

The first P RR passenger car to be illuminated by electricity was put into service and they also began lounge car service.

USS Constitution, “Old Ironsides,” spent the better part of this year at the NY Navy Yard and was then towed to Portsmouth, NH Navy Yard to serve as a receiving ship. A barracks was built on top of the hull and she was towed to Boston. The barracks remained until she was extensively restored in 1907.

Thomas A. Edison’s first electric power generating system, the Pearl Street Station in NYC, went into operation on 4 September.

The schooner Ada Taylor, of Jersey City, on a pleasure trip, grounded on Sandy Hook Point on 15 October and was a total loss.

On 21 October, the City of Worcester, a new iron steamboat of the Norwich and Worcester Line, bound to New London, was on her way up the East River in dense fog, at night, when she “struck on a reef that makes out from the New York shore called ‘Governor’s Table’ where she remained about three hours in a very perilous position, after which she was assisted to a vacant dock in a leaking condition.” Also, the sloop Hannah Ann, with a cargo of hickory wood, went on the rocks at Hell Gate and was a total loss.

The inbound steamer Salier of Bremen, Germany, went ashore at Sandy Hook on 11 December, but all 341 on board were saved.

An excellent, detailed description of the wood canalboat construction industry in the NY Harbor area was published by the US Census Bureau: Hall, Henry, Report on the Ship Building Industry of the US, Washington, DC, US Bureau of the Census, 1882.


On 16 February, the steamer City of Richmond, inbound to NYC went ashore at Sandy Hook. All 425 aboard were saved.

The C RR of NJ leased all of its railroads to the Reading. Shortly thereafter, the Reading itself became insolvent.

The Daft Electric Light Co., located in Greenville (now a section of Jersey City), conducted experiments on the successful and commercial application of electricity to motors, including those powering street cars. He built the first successful standard gauge electric locomotive in the US, the Ampere, for the Saratoga and Mt. McGregor RR. Leo Daft is buried in a cemetery in North Arlington, NJ.

The Tidewater Oil Co. pipeline was completed by this year from Corryville, PA through Warren County to Hampton, NJ and ultimately to Bayonne.

The Brooklyn Bridge opened on 24 May. Six days later panic on the bridge caused 12 pedestrians to be trampled to death.

Michael Moran, the head of Moran Towing was asked to serve as commodore of the tugboat division for the ship parade in NY Harbor celebrating the centennial of the British evacuation during the Revolutionary War. After the parade, Michael continued to use the title “Commodore.”

On 30 August a special family excursion up the Hudson to West Point and Newburgh, NY was sponsored by the Neptune Steam (Fire) Engine Co., No. 2, of Asbury Park. Their special train, which began at 6:22 am at Point Pleasant, ran north making a dozen local stops on the NY & Long Branch RR, to Sandy Hook, where they transferred to either the Iron Steamboat Taurus or Cygnus. The all-day excursion fare was $1.75 for adults and $1 for children.

On a dark night a group of disgruntled Fenians, using a pass forged with John Holland’s signature, stole the Fenian Ram from her New Jersey mooring place, along with a smaller, 16-foot experimental craft built in Jersey City the prior year, and towed them up Long Island Sound to New Haven, CT. The smaller boat sank in 110 feet of water during the passage, but the Ram finally reached New Haven. There the amateur submariner Fenians hauled the Ram out of the water and abandoned her. Holland and Fenians parted ways. Holland went to work for the Pneumatic Gun Company in New York and began talking about submarines - so persuasively that he managed to enlist the help of his employers in setting up the Nautilus Submarine Boat Company.

The King of Italy sent four white camels for presentation to John W. Garratt, President of the B&O RR. They were transported south from NYC in 1883 on a Baltimore Line steam propeller and attracted considerable attention along the D&R Canal. Daily True American, October 1,1883.

On 18 November the railroads of the US created four broad longitudinal zones across the US and adopted standard time. A great benefit was increased safety for railroad operations.

The ferry Garden City caught fire on 13 December as she left her berth at James Slip for Long Island City. Thirty passengers and ferry hands were saved but four horses were burned.

After this year the “new” immigration brought people to the US mostly from southern and eastern Europe, from Poland, Italy, Hungary, Greece and elsewhere.


The West Shore RR Weehawken to 42nd Street ferry commenced operation on 1 January.

Construction was begun on the first elevated cable road in the United States, to span the two miles from Hoboken Ferry to Jersey City Heights by the North Hudson Railway Co. Passenger service was begun in January 1886. By the end of 1892 electric trolleys were operating from the Hoboken Ferry to the Hudson County Courthouse.

On 19 April the Guion Liner Oregon (which later became Cunard), went ashore on Sandy Hook – the 713 on board were saved.

Thomas A. Edison introduced the central generation of electric power which soon propelled New Jersey into a major manufacturing state.

The Elephant Hotel opened as Coney Island’s first amusement.

The Fall River Line paddle steamer Pilgrim hit an uncharted rock off Blackwell’s (now Welfare) Island and cut a 125-foot gash in her bottom. She made the dock unaided, being the first American steamship to be double-hulled, with transverse bulkheads.

The Baltimore & Ohio RR took control of the Staten Island Rapid Transit RR Co. and their ferry to Manhattan on 31 July. The railroad was quickly extended north from Clifton to Tompkinsville, and to Elm Park along the north shore in 1886. At St. George, the tip of the island closest to Manhattan, the SIRT built a combined railroad and ferry terminal consolidating all service there on 8 March 1886. The B&O took advantage of its control of the SIRT to bring the ferries of another of its subsidiaries, the C RR of NJ, into the Whitehall Street terminal. This arrangement, although it involved a longer voyage than the C RR’s direct crossing, had the advantage of direct access by covered passageway to the four Manhattan elevated lines which terminated there. Thus passengers from B&O trains arriving at the C RR’s Jersey City Terminal might have access to midtown Manhattan without exposure to the elements.

The state of NJ imposed additional taxes on railroads, costing the C RR of NJ $200,000 more annually.

An earthquake of 7 intensity on 10 August was centered around Jamaica, NY and was felt strongly in NYC.

The view “Making up a tow at the Battery” appeared in the 27 September 1884 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. The towboat Cayuga, pictured, was built in NYC in 1849.

One Broadway, a neoclassical building, at Bowling Green, NYC was completed. George Washington’s even earlier revolutionary headquarters was an even earlier occupant of the site. It was purchased in 1920 by the International Mercantile Marine Company, known eventually as the United States Line. The new owners incorporated many marine symbols in a 1921 facade update. The grand entryway is surrounded by shells and sea icons, and the second floor windows alternate with colorful Venetian mosaic shields of great port cities. There are two side doors depicting “First Class” and “Cabin Class” entrances. Inside, two gigantic murals depict shipping lanes and a compass dominates the marble floor. The booking room is modeled after an 18th century ballroom. It is a regal setting with columns and fanciful iron mezzanine railings at either end and four impressive chandeliers. The current tenant, CitiBank, uses it as its banking floor.


On 24 January the People’s Line side-wheel steamer St. John, the night boat to Albany, was destroyed by fire at her winter quarters at Canal Street.

In this year both the fully rigged cargo ship Wavertree and the steel hull schooner, Pioneer, were launched. Both ships are now in the South Street Seaport, NYC, vessel collection, the largest privately owned fleet of historic ships in the country. Other vessels in their fleet are: Peking, a 1911 four masted barque; Lettie G. Howard, an 1893 schooner; Ambrose, a 1908 lightship; Helen McAllister, a 1900 tugboat; W.O. Decker, a 1930 tugboat; and Marion M., a 1932 chandelry lighter.

On 7 September a flotilla of 400 vessels (carrying an estimated 50,000 people) assembled off Sandy Hook to witness the America’s Cup Race between the Genesta and the Puritan. In this magnificent marine spectacle were a number of steam vessels that often made the NY to NJ run. Included were the Cygnus, Columbia, Empire State, Grand Republic, Kill Von Kull, and Taurus. Newspapers on the following day reported: “The big excursion steamboat Columbia puffed up to the (West 23rd Street) wharf about half past seven A.M. and before the ropes were made fast to the posts, half a thousand young men and girls clambered on board. The steamer left the wharf a half an hour later than the time announced. Nevertheless there were 500 people (still) waiting to get on board, all of whom rushed down to the Tenth Street Wharf, the next and last landing place of the boat. When the Columbia got there, the amateur yachtsmen pushed each other on board in a reckless was, but fortunately no one was spilled overboard.” “...the excursion boats were black with people. On the Old Dominion steamer Richmond crowds even swarmed in the rigging; the steamboat Elm City brought a large contingent from New Haven, and the Empire City, which was in her prime ‘when the world was fresh and golden,’ had come to the tryst with a large gathering from Boston. Then the Sirius was there and so were her sister boats, the Cygnus and Cepheus, and the Columbia and the Grand Republic with their three decks laden, and the Eliza Hancox, and the Sylvan Grove, and the Kill Von Kull, and in fact everything with steam power that could float. And in what gay plumage they had decked themselves! From rail to masthead they were in bunting. Brilliant beyond description was the spectacle...” Moss, George H., Jr. Steamboat to the Shore: A Pictorial History of the Steamboat Era in Monmouth County, NJ

The steamship Empire State went aground on Sandy Hook on 9 September with no loss of 560 passengers and little damage.

On October 10th one of the worst hazards to navigation at Hell Gate, Flood Rock, was blown up. Four miles of tunnels were mined inside the rock and loaded with explosives. Nine acres of solid rock were demolished. The explosion was heard forty miles away at West Point. The channel width was doubled to 1,200 feet and the depth increased to 26 feet. Between 1852 and 1918 the Federal government spent over $6.5 million on the East River project, mostly blasting at the treacherous Hell Gate.

The B&O RR acquired control of the Staten Island Rapid Transit in November.


The Nautilus Submarine Boat Company was reinforced by additional backers brought in by Lieutenant Edward Zalinski, an artillery officer well known as an inventor of military devices and a friend of John Holland. In this year, at Fort Lafayette, near New York City, where Zalinski was stationed, Holland proceeded to build his third submarine. The Zalinski Boat as it came to be known was about 40 feet long, powered by a second hand Brayton engine, and armed with Zalinski’s new “dynamite gun,” which by compressed air hurled a heavy charge of dynamite a considerable distance. However, disaster struck: the ways collapsed just as the boat started toward the water. She was almost a complete loss. The accident set back the development of the submarine at least ten years because it was that long before Holland was able to secure backing to construct another boat.

The completed Statue of Liberty was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland. It was the tallest structure in NYC at the time. Sculptor Fredric-Auguste Bartholdi modeled her after the goddess Libertus, but instead of a sword, she grasps the light of enlightenment in her right hand. For the interior framing Bartholdi consulted Gustave Eiffel, and in fact, it is very suggestive of the Eiffel Tower. The 151-foot statue was pre-assembled in Paris and then broken down into 300 pieces, packed into 214 crates, and shipped to NY Harbor, where it was re-erected atop the 10-story stone base on the site the sculptor chose - Bedloes Island. The original name of the statue given by the sculptor was “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It was America’s tallest lighthouse and was the first to be powered by electricity. The statue later became the outstanding logo for the C RR of NJ and Jersey Central Lines (and Liberty Historic Railway).

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

The Hoboken Elevated, with its spectacular trestle, initially opened as a cable railway from the Hoboken Ferry to Jersey City Heights.

A group of artists from Century Magazine chartered a canalboat in NY Harbor and fitted it out with luxurious furniture as it was to be their gallery and home for several weeks. They cruised the Hudson River, Lake Champlain and the Delaware & Raritan Canal. Smith, F. Hopkinson and J.B. Millet, “Snubbin’ Thro’ Jersey,” The Century Magazine. Part I: Vol. 34, No. 4, August 1887, and Part II, Vol. 34, No. 5, September 1887


The Interstate Commerce Commission Act was signed into law on 4 February. It established the ICC as an independent agency of the US government to oversee increasingly fractious modes of transport including the motorcoach industry.

Olympic (amusement) Park, on the border between Irvington and Maplewood, NJ opened to the public. It was heavily utilized by the urban residents of Newark and vicinity and was readily accessed by the streetcars operating on nearby Springfield Avenue via the 43rd Street loop. It gave the trolley company increased ridership on Summer weekends and in the evenings. Trolley service was converted to All-Service Vehicles on 27 June 1937. Olympic Park closed in 1965.

The P RR began operating their Pennsylvania Limited, a Pullman train from Exchange Place, Jersey City to Chicago.

The C RR of NJ broke their lease with the Reading RR and became independent.

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

A coal trans-shipping pier was built by North River Coal and Wharf Co. at the Jersey City waterfront on land leased to it by the C RR of NJ.

The Erie RR was the first to transport California fresh fruit to the New York market. A Central Pacific carload of deciduous fruit from Vaccaville, CA arrived at the Erie’s Jersey City Terminal on 28 June.

The Tidewater Pipe Co. completed their 6" crude oil pipeline from Titusville, PA to Bayonne, NJ. It was the longest pipeline built to date.

C RR of NJ began using Woodruff Parlor Cars on trains.

The South Brooklyn RR and Terminal Co. was incorporated on 30 September to build from the end of the Brooklyn, Bath, and West End RR (West End Line) at 38th Street and 9th Avenue northwest to the foot of 38th Street. It was leased to the BB&WE, allowing BB&WE trains to run to the 39th Street Ferry. The Prospect Park and South Brooklyn RR connected the Prospect Park and Coney Island Railroad (Culver Line) to the South Brooklyn RR in 1890. The company was reorganized as the South Brooklyn Railway on 13 January 1890. The South Brooklyn Ry (SBRy) was leased to the Brooklyn Heights RR on 1 July 1903, but on 28 February 1907 it began operating independently, and leased the Prospect Park and Coney Island RR, which included the Prospect Park and South Brooklyn RR, giving it a line to Coney Island. The SBRy, along with other non-rapid transit properties of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp. were transferred to the NYC Board of Transportation in 1940 and to NYC Transit Authority in 1953. The SBRy currently provides one of only two track connections between the NYC Subway system and the rest of the American rail network.

During October the tug American Eagle was damaged when she collided with the steamer George W. Beale in NY Harbor.

The fare for the Staten Island Ferry was established at 5¢ and lasted until 1972.

One of the first battery-operated street car lines was developed by the Jersey City and Bergen Railway.

Elevators and a viaduct to Eldorado Park were constructed by the North Hudson County Railway Co. at Weehawken to allow ferry passengers to access the railway.

On 24 December the schooner George Temple of Mystic, CT went ashore on Romer Shoals; 8 saved.


The legendary Blizzard of ‘88 struck on 11 March and especially victimized the railroads. The C RR of NJ fared better than rivals to the north or west of the Watchung Mountains, where 40 to 50 mile-per-hour winds piled snows to second floor windows and filled every cut. The trains arrived at Jersey City with passengers jammed in aisles like giant upright sardines. But the ferry ride was scary. The craft was buffeted by winds, waves and ice. It took an eternity, but she made it. The Pennsy’s Chicago Limited stalled in the Jersey meadows, and other trains derailed in the deep snow of the Bergen Cut. The worst situation was with the Lackawanna (a/k/a DL&W) with a dozen trains stalled between Orange and South Orange. In three separate tragedies multiple engined drift breaking trains on the LV, C RR of NJ and M&E (DL&W) railroads were wrecked, killing five and injuring several others. Without trains, mobs of passengers accumulated in stations and terminals. The Erie moved sleeping cars into their Jersey City Terminal for stranded women.

During the blizzard of 11-12 March, “the colossus of storms,” not a vessel entered or left the Port of New York. Thirteen vessels were blown ashore along the NJ coast near Sandy Hook, sunk or damaged; twenty in NY Harbor and along the NY coast; six vessels were identified, abandoned at sea; seven nameless derelicts were sighted after the storm; nine Pilot boats were lost; and seventeen pilots perished.

On 28 March the North German Lloyd steamer Saale bound fro Bremen, went ashore at Swash Channel, a mile and a half from Sandy Hook Station – all saved.

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

The B&O RR / Staten Island Rapid Transit opened their new bridge over Arthur Kill to give them a connection to the National RR system. At St. George they provided carfloat service to all points in the NJ / NY Harbor.

The Hoboken Ferry was the first line to use screw propellers. The ferryboat Bergen, the first single shaft, double end, screw propelled ferry in the world, was delivered to the Hoboken Ferry Co., a subsidiary of the DL&W RR (it was scrapped in 1953).

The US Navy held open design competitions for submarines in this year and in 1889. John Holland won both over some of the leading submarine designers of the day, but no contracts followed.

The P RR Jersey City train shed, spanning 252 feet, was completed. It was the largest steel arch shed built in New Jersey.

The New Depot (or terminal) of the C RR of NJ at Jersey City was described. in the 6 October issue of Engineering News, Vol. 20, p. 264-65

The Edgewater (Undercliff) to 125th Street, NYC ferry was opened by the Hudson River Ry and Ferry Co. on 13 December.

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


The 260-foot steamer, Sandy Hook, was built for the C RR of NJ for express passenger service between Cedar Street, Manhattan and Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

The ferry Kill Van Kull burned at Elizabethport on 3 March.

The current C RR of NJ terminal in Jersey City, designed by Peabody & Sterns, was completed and opened, and the four track main line was completed to Bound Brook.

A great celebration was held at NY Harbor on 29 April marking the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration in the city. A large fleet of vessels, awaiting the arrival of President Benjamin Harrison, assembled on the East River south of the Brooklyn Bridge.

With capital provided by the B&O RR, the Staten Island Rapid Transit opened its first connection with the mainland rail network on 13 June over the first bridge over the Arthur Kill waterway.

The LV completed their own railroad line between Roselle and Jersey City withdrawing from use of the C RR of NJ.

The C RR of NJ established a new ferry route between Bergen Point and Coney Island for the benefit of persons residing along their road.

A new office building was being erected for the C RR of NJ on West Street, NYC.

Ellis Island was designated an immigration station.

On 26 December the schooner David Crowell capsized at Hell Gate.


William and Andrew Fletcher acquired waterfront property in the northern part of Hoboken which had previously been known as Elysian Fields, a resort developed by the Stevens family for New Yorkers. The new site provided larger facilities for their North River Iron Works which designed and built high quality steam engines. It also allowed their W. & A. Fletcher Co. to take on more extensive contracts. Entire vessels – except for the hulls – were fabricated and constructed in their Hoboken yards, including wooden steamers, tugs, and ferries. Fletcher was best known for its production of river and coastal steamboats, including the elegant, 440-foot Priscilla, a side-wheeler created in 1893 for the Fall River Line, know as the Queen of Long Island Sound. She was decorated with ornate paneling and a grand staircase connected her five-deck superstructure. For 43 years Priscilla’s Indo-Moorish decor and working fireplaces signified luxurious passage for travelers between NY and Boston.

The steamer Ann Jane Laughlin of NY caught fire; was adrift; and was a total loss (with six saved) in Sandy Hook Bay on 14 April.

Royal Blue Line trains, a cooperative arrangement between the C RR of NJ, Reading and B&O Railroads inaugurated service between Jersey City and Washington.

The C RR of NJ began the finest short Sunday excursions – from Jersey City to Nolan’s Point on Lake Hopatcong. As many as 60,000 people took the recreational trips every summer!

Gustav Kobbe wrote a guidebook to the C RR of NJ. In it he described the amenities at Lake Hopatcong: “the railroad has laid out excursion grounds with dancing pavilions, flying horses and swings, steam launch tours of the lake are available for 25¢ and boat rentals at 25¢ an hour.” He also touted the Hurd (iron) Mine, whose shaft then ran 3,800 feet into the mountain, to a depth of 1,800 feet.

C RR of NJ business car Atlas was the first railroad car in the United States to be fitted with electric lights, generator and regulator.

Wells Fargo constructed a stable and storage facility for their horses and city carts at 299 Pavonia Avenue, Jersey City. In 1982 the building became a 31 unit condominium.

The 384-foot World Building was completed in Manhattan and was the tallest structure in NYC until 1899. It was the first building to surpass the 284-foot spire of Trinity Church.

On 6 October the schooner Scotia of New London was a total loss off Sandy Hook; 10 saved.


The New Yorker, a fireboat commissioned on 1 February with a pumping capacity of 16,000 gpm, was the most powerful fireboat of her era and one of the first to be especially built for firefighting.

The bark Mascotta was wrecked in a collision in NY Harbor on 18 February.

On 20 February the steamer James Rumsey sank in NY Harbor. Also see entry under 4 November 1853.

The City of Richmond of the NY & Hartford Steamship Co., burned at her NYC wharf on 5 March. Her remains were rebuilt and renamed William C. Edgerton, later renamed Glen Island.

On 13 March the Italian bark Umberto I, inbound from Argentina with a cargo of wool and hides ran onto Romer Shoals; 12 saved; $112,000 loss.

The new C RR of NJ office building at 143 Liberty Street at West Street, NYC opened. It was constructed of red granite and light colored brick. Additional stories were later added, with a restaurant on the top floor, giving it a total of ten stories. This building also served as the NYC office for several other anthracite railroads, including the Reading and the LV RR. It was removed for the construction of the World Trade Center complex.

The first scheduled mile-a-minute passenger train in the US operated across New Jersey on the Philadelphia & Reading RR. Their locomotive #206 also pulled the first train to reach a certified speed of 90mph between Philadelphia and Jersey City.

New Jersey established the Commission of Public Roads and became the first state to grant funds for the construction of public roads.

The Pennsylvania RR ferryboat Cincinnati was built at Elizabethport, NJ and was the first double-decked, screw-propelled ferry in NY Harbor.

On 14 April a LV RR locomotive crossed over the Morris Canal on a bridge near Pacific Avenue, Jersey City. Unfortunately the bridge had not been properly closed and the bridge and the locomotive were dumped into the canal together. The Evening Journal, Jersey City, 14 April 1891

Colonel Frank N. Barksdale, head of the P RR's advertising department invented the Limited booklet. His Pennsylvania Limited booklet documented the services of the P RR's fastest train beginning with the Hudson River ferry and ending with a view of the observation platform, with illustrations by Joseph Fleming, Charles Howard Johnson, and Charles Dana Gibson. It was referred to as "one of the cleverest little booklets devoted to advertising."

For many years the C RR of NJ charged canalboat captains wharfage fees at Communipaw Bay.

In this year the Jersey City Evening Journal published a story that the boatmen were under no obligation to pay the railroad as the waters and wharves belonged to Jersey City and the C RR of NJ was caught in an embarrassing situation..

The Terminal Warehouse - Central Stores Building was opened in Manhattan on 11th Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets. Freight was delivered by the NYC RR via surface tracks on 11th Avenue and a siding into the building. When the West Side Freight Line replaced the street trackage railcars were delivered into the west end of the building by the Erie and the Lehigh Valley Railroads from carfloats. Rail service ended in the early 1970s but the building has been adaptively reused.

On 24 November, the schooner Adele Trudell from Cape May, NJ to NY with sand ran onto Romer Shoals and was a total loss; 8 saved.


The Ellis Island Immigration Station opened as the principal immigration station in the US. It is estimated that 12 million immigrants entered the US through Ellis Island. Two thirds of the immigrants who boarded ferries for the mainland were taken to the CRR of NJ Jersey City Terminal where they were led to trains that would take them to their new homes.

On 24 January the fireboat Zophar Mills collided with the fireboat New Yorker in a heavy fog. The crew of the New Yorker managed to keep the Mills pumped out until she could be berthed in a shipyard.

C RR of NJ locomotive #385 rocketed from Jersey City to Philadelphia and back in four hours and 25 minutes. It set a world speed record of 105 miles per hour between Plainfield and Westfield. Current speed on that stretch of line, now operated by NJ Transit is 79 miles per hour.

The C RR of NJ was leased to the Port Reading RR, a subsidiary of the Reading.

The C RR of NJ completed a new 2,400-foot pier at Atlantic Highlands which gradually overshadowed all other Raritan Bay steamboat landings and was destined to play a major role in the economy of the Jersey Shore for the next 73 years. They moved their rail terminus from Sandy Hook to Atlantic Highlands.

The Weehawken Ferry & Guttenberg RR was completed and opened on 20 April. It was built on top of the Palisades and an 873-foot-long steel viaduct was constructed from the Palisades eastward to and 148 feet above the West Shore RR (NY Central RR) Weehawken Terminal. Three hydraulic Otis elevators, each capable of carrying 120 passengers, ascended from the ferry terminal to the Guttenberg Ry terminal. There, passengers could either board the steam railroad north to Nungesser’s Guttenberg Race Track in North Bergen or walk to the El Dorado Amusement / Pleasure Park that had been built a year earlier. The line, which became known as the Palisades RR, was a little under two miles in length and was operated with four Porter steam locomotives and twenty Gilbert coaches. The steel viaduct and the elevator were abandoned on 30 June 1895, after Pershing (Hill) Road was built up the side of the Palisades. Service from Weehawken Ferry Terminal up to the Palisades was converted to electric trolley, then electric All-Service Vehicles (buses) and finally to motor bus.

The widespread introduction of miniature steam locomotives and trains for pleasure resorts is credited to the Cagney brothers. They began business in Buffalo, NY, but moved to Jersey City and finally Leonardo, NJ. Their "Smallest steam railroad train in the world" won praises and gold medals. Scientific American considered it one of the greatest inventions of the 19th century. The Cagney Brothers went on to produce over 1,200 steam trains used around the world. Several of them survive and some are in operating condition.

The Hoboken Elevated was extended west to the Hudson County Court House in Jersey City for electric trolley operation and the original section to the Hoboken ferry was converted from cable to trolley operation.

Miss Elizabeth Alice Austin, a woman pioneer in American photography, began a journey with friends southward from Staten Island, entering the Delaware & Raritan Canal at New Brunswick on 18 October 1892. Her vessel for the trip was the Wabun, a two masted saliboat.

The C RR of NJ terminal on Sandy Hook was moved to Atlantic Highlands.

The C RR of NJ began changing the colors of its equipment. Passenger cars went from yellow to dark green; freight cars were changed from yellow to brown; and its Hudson River ferries were changed from white or cream to dark green.

On 2 December, the bark Prince Frederick of Norway, bound for Antwerp with a cargo of petroleum went ashore at False Hook, Sandy Hook station; 19 saved.


The wooden, double-ended ferry Shackamaxon, operating between Ellis Island and Whitehall Street was damaged in three collisions.

On 19 February the schooner James Butler from Perth Amboy sank at Sandy Hook with a cargo of coal.

The C RR of NJ attempted to put a new railroad bridge across the Morris Canal at the foot of Jersey Avenue. The LV RR decided not to permit the bridge to be built and sent out a crew to remove it. A LV RR locomotive was sent and chains attached to the bridge and pilings, removing them. Likewise the locomotive was attached to the flatboat which the C RR had used to bring the piling and beams to the site. In spite of its being frozen in by ice, the locomotive had no difficulty in towing it from the scene.

The venerable John Bull, the first locomotive to operate in New Jersey and inoperative for 20 years, was taken out of the Smithsonian Institution and brought to Jersey City to be renovated for the longest trip of it’s life – to haul two vintage coaches a thousand miles from Jersey City to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Before departure the train was exhibited on Hudson Street, Jersey City. The special train, powered by the John Bull departed the Jersey City Terminal on 17 April and arrived in Chicago on 22 April. While at the exposition, visitors were offered rides on the train. The return trip brought the train through Baltimore to Washington D.C., on 13 December, where it was returned to the Smithsonian.

The P RR began operation of The 20-Hour Special between Jersey City and Chicago to provide deluxe transportation for passengers going to the Columbian Exposition.

During Summer months the P RR ran one daily round trip between Jersey City and Atlantic City with coaches and parlor cars.

The Jersey City, Newark and Western Ry opened their new bridge across Newark Bay to Bayonne. It was soon absorbed by the Lehigh Valley Terminal Ry (LV RR) and was used by the P RR to reach their Greenville Yards and carfloat operations.

Consolidated Traction Co. was incorporated and within a couple of years acquired most of the street railways of Essex, Union and Hudson Counties.


Thomas A. Edison’s kinetoscope (movie predecessor) was given its first public viewing at 1155 Broadway, NYC.

Simon Lake, a distinguished marine engineer, played a major part in the development of the submarine as a practical device. Inspired by Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Lake designed and submitted plans to the Navy in 1892, and two years later built his first experimental submarine, the Argonaut, Jr. She was successfully demonstrated at Atlantic Highlands, NJ, near Sandy Hook. This success led to the formation of the Lake Submarine Co. of NJ in 1895, which built the Argonaut, the first submarine to operate successfully in the open sea in 1898. In 1901, the Lake Torpedo Boat Co. was formed in NJ and became the main company that built numerous submarines for the US and foreign countries. Simon Lake is credited with the development of the basic submarine technologies which are essential for safe and successful operation of the submarine; such as, even-keel hydroplanes, ballast tanks, diver’s compartment, periscope, twin-hull design, and much more. No modern submarine could operate today without using the advancements made by Simon Lake, and which were adopted worldwide by the early 1900's. Lake, originally referred to as a “Pioneer Submarine Inventor, is today regarded as “The Father of the Modern Submarine.”

The steamer City of Albany burned at NY on 9 October.

On 22 November the schooner F. Greenville Russell bound from Portland to Philadelphia with a cargo of stone was a total loss on Romer Shoals; six saved.


On 7 March the North German Lloyd steamer Havel inbound from Bremen went ashore on Sandy Hook; her 680 passengers were safe.

The speedy Moran tug, F.W. Vosburgh, was bound from NY to Sandy Hook on 12 March when she struck Romer Shoals in a thick northeast snowstorm. Her captain and the six-man crew were rescued by men from the Sandy Hook Life Saving Station.

The P RR began operating through trains from Jersey City to Atlantic City via Camden and the West Jersey & Seashore RR.

John Holland won another submarine competition in 1893 and finally, in 1895 the US Navy signed its first submarine contract, for $150,000. The contractor was the John P. Holland Torpedo Boat Company, but Navy engineers took command and His fourth boat, the Plunger, was so over-engineered that it became a dismal failure which was eventually abandoned.

The Harlem Ship Canal was completed and within a decade sightseeing boats began circumnavigation of Manhattan Island.

The Hazard Manufacturing Co. of Wilkes-Barre, PA manufactured a 62-ton cable for the Metropolitan Street Railway of NYC. It was transported by the Lehigh Valley RR, in a specially constructed car and by carfloat to Manhattan. It was drawn to the cable railway powerhouse by 40 horses.

On 18 September the steamer General A.E. Burnside burned at NYC.

The steamer F.A. Sharp, aiding Irrawaddy wrecked off Asbury Park, ran aground on Sandy Hook; six saved.

On 23 November the schooner Cornelia M. Kingsland of Greenport, LI, bound from Fire Island to NYC with fish ran onto Romer Shoals and was a total loss; 9 saved.


The B&O RR, a C RR of NJ tenant at Jersey City Terminal, wanted ferry service to Whitehall Street, Manhattan, so its passengers could have a direct connection to Third Avenue Elevated trains. The C RR obliged and the new service was known as The Royal Blue Ferry.

The LV RR Black Diamond Express began her long career as a luxury daylight train between Jersey City and Buffalo (with a link to Niagara Falls) on 16 or 18? May. This train enhanced the LV's reputation as a caterer to the matrimonial trade. The "Honeymoon Line's" Black Diamond became known as "The Handsomest Train in the World."

By September, John Holland had completed plans for his fifth boat, the Holland and secured financing.


On 19 January the British steamship Alvena, inbound from Haiti was run down and cut through by British freighter at entrance to Gedney Channel, off Sandy Hook. She was beached and passengers and crew were rescued by the pilot boat Walter Adams.

A fire destroyed the main structures at Ellis Island.

Steeplechase (amusement) Park opened in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn. It was one of the leading attractions of its day and one of the most influential amusement parks of all time. A fire destroyed most of the Park in 1907, but it was rebuilt. Less destructive fires occurred in 1936 and 1939, and each time it was rebuilt. It finally closed in 1964.

John Holland’s fifth submarine, the Holland was launched at Lewis Nixon’s Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, NJ on 17 May. It took nine months to complete the installation of the 45 hp gasoline engine (which gave it a surface cruising range of about 1,000 miles); battery-operated electric motor for running underwater; a torpedo tube; and two inclined dynamite guns. She passed many successful tests. However, the US Navy dragged its feet and did nothing for another two years...

The steam tug George L. Garlick (owned in 1883 by Michael Moran’s agency) was wrecked at Coney Island on 25 May; ten saved.

On 3 June, the Postmaster General awarded the Starin Transportation Line of New York a four year, $29,740 contract for performing the newly instituted NY harbor mail service. This provides for a vessel to carry the mails from Quarantine station to the Government pier near the Battery, to the Pennsylvania RR station in Jersey City, and to a point adjacent to Grand Central Station in NYC.

Ocean liner SS Bremen departed on 5 June on her maiden voyage from Bremen, Germany to Hoboken. Three years later she was badly damaged in a dockside fire at her pier in Hoboken. She was rebuilt and lengthened and reentered service in October 1901.

The Hoboken Railroad Warehouse & Steamship Connecting Company, incorporated on 17 September 1895, began operation as an electric railway along the Hoboken waterfront with overhead trolley wire in this year. Initially only connecting with the Erie RR, they soon constructed a carfloat pier that could accept carfloats from the DL&W RR at the foot of Eleventh Street, Hoboken. The Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad was incorporated in 1902, and in 1954 they adopted their nickname and officially became the Hoboken Shore Railroad.

The Philadelphia & Reading RR took delivery of the 158-foot Catawissa last of her class of large, ocean-going steam and auxiliary sail tugboats. She was built to tow coal laden schooner barges from Philadelphia primarily to New England. Some time after that service ended she was acquired by Standard Tank Cleaning Co. (the woman proprietor of STC was commonly referred to as the “Dragon Lady”) of Bayonne and converted to a mobile steam supply vessel for tank cleaning. Catawissa was last regularly used for that purpose at the Federal Shipyards at South Kearny when the US Navy reserve fleet was being scrapped. She was scrapped in 2006 at Staten Island.

Wooden side-wheeler ferry Kings County, which ran from James Slip and East 34th Street to the Long Island RR Terminal, which was then at Long Island City, burned on 26 October at Hunter’s Point.

The steamboat John E. Moore, on an excursion with 150 fishermen, went aground on Roamer Shoal in November and was filled. Passengers were rescued by the pilot boat Walter Adams.

On Thanksgiving Day the steamboat John E. Moore took 150 men on a fishing excursion when the vessel ran aground in a fog on Romer Shoal and began to take on water. The Pilot boat Walter Adams came to their rescue and took them all off. The Moore was hauled off, repaired, and returned to its previous service of transferring immigrants from incoming steamers to Ellis Island.

The P RR opened an Exchange Place, Jersey City to Fulton Street, Brooklyn (Annex) ferry route on 1 December.


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.

Staten Island gained political strength by incorporation into the City of NY.

John Stephenson Car Co. moved from NYC to Elizabeth (the location is now in Linden). They started business in NYC in 1831 and were one of the largest builders of omnibuses, horse cars and later electric street and interurban cars for many companies.

A New Jersey picnic ground became one of the greatest amusement parks of the metropolitan area, with a view of Manhattan. It was located at the top of the Palisades in Cliffside Park and Fort Lee. Palisades Amusement Park began as an attraction for the local trolley company, Bergen Traction Co., designed to increase weekend ridership. The trolley company also owned and operated their own ferry from their trolley terminal at Edgewater across the Hudson to 130th Street which attracted NYC residents in droves. In 1910 the Schenck brothers purchased the park and soon added the world’s largest outdoor salt water pool. At its peak, under the Rosenthal brothers, the park had a carousel, tunnel of love, various rides, a roller coaster, dozens of other attractions and rides, and boasted legendary entertainers and performers. It closed at the end of the 1971 season to make way for condominiums.

On 11 August, hundreds of Jersey City’s African-Americans cheered as an all-black regiment disembarked at the C RR of NJ Terminal for service in Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

The North River Iron Works at Hoboken built several boilers for Old Dominion Line steamers constructed at Delaware River Ship and Engine Building Co’s yard at Chester, PA. The boilers were sent through the D&R in large open deck canalboats in 1898. Nautical Gazette / Seaboard, New York, August 25, 1898.

The superstructure of Erie RR caboose #4259 was brought to Jersey City and hoisted onto and secured to the deck of explorer Capt. Robert E. Peary's steamship Windward in NY Harbor. It served as a deckhouse, his headquarters and a living room. The following year the caboose was hauled ashore at Etah, Greenland and dragged up to the top of a cliff. Following Peary's exploration of northern Greenland the caboose was placed back on the ship and returned to the Erie RR when they got back in the NY area in 1902.

"The Book of the Royal Blue," a monthly publication for passengers and the general public began to be published by the B&O RR. Although created and oriented to stimulating business on the New York line, it also served as a general public relations medium for the railroad. The B&O's Royal Limited was advertised as the "Finest Daylight Train in the World."

“A Canal-Boat Voyage on the Hudson,” by Clifton Johnson, with illustrations by the author, is a wonderful descriptive story of life aboard a tow of canalboats being towed from Albany to NYC. Outlook Magazine, Vol. 60, pg 309-318, 1 October 1898

Thwarted in their effort to gain passage to Liberia in Africa, a group of 104 African-Americans from Oklahoma spent nine days and nights in two C RR of NJ passenger cars at the Jersey City Terminal before a train took them to Matawan, NJ, where a brick company offered employment to the men and boys of the group.

The Delaware & Hudson Canal ended its useful life as a coal carrier on 5 November when the last canalboat left Honesale, PA for Rondout on the Hudson River.


On 13 February, the David A. Boody, second Brooklyn fireboat, was returning from a fire when she rammed ice and sank in the East River at the foot of Corlears Street. She was raised, reconditioned, and served until 1914.

Professor John P. Holland’s fifth submarine, the Holland, was towed south through the Delaware & Raritan and Chesapeake & Delaware canals by the steam yacht Josephine for trials by the US Navy in the Washington area. Pontoons, secured to the sides of the submarine were required to raise her enough to clear the bottom of the canal.

E. W. Deming made a round trip in his new gasoline yacht, Zeta (#28137), from New Orleans, up the Mississippi, across the Great Lakes, through the Erie Canal, down the Hudson, through NY Harbor, through the Delaware & Raritan Canal, and the inland waterway to Florida and return to New Orleans.

The pleasure boat Dragoon, traveled from NY Harbor south to Savannah via the Delaware & Raritan Canal and other inland waterways. Davis, Charles G., Outing Magazine, Vol. XXXV, No. 5, February 1900

The Long Island RR established The Cannonball train, which runs from Long Island City to Montauk via Jamaica. The original Greenport section was discontinued in 1942. It is the only currently named LIRR passenger train and operates on Friday evenings – a twelve car train offering two all reserved parlor cars with full bar service. It runs express between Jamaica and Westhampton Beach.

The USS Sandoval, and sister ship Alvarado, captured when Santiago, Cuba fell during the Spanish-American War both traveled north to Portsmouth, NH via the Delaware & Raritan Canal and NY Harbor.

On 10 September, while in Gibraltar Admiral Dewey reported that he was allowing extra time for the Atlantic crossing, as one of USS Olympia’s screws was partially disabled. She arrived at Sandy Hook, NY on 26 September.

A gala naval review, part of the Dewey Celebration, was held in NY Bay and the lower Hudson River. It honored the admiral who conquered the Spanish fleet at Manilla. The spectator fleet included the J.S. Warden a wooden-hulled side-wheeler with vertical-beam engines, built as the Eliza Hancock by M.S. Allison in Jersey City in 1863. The 400' armored cruiser Brooklyn, the flagship of Admiral Schley, headed the parade. Admiral Dewey received a hero’s welcome home celebration in NYC with a parade lasting two days.

On 8 November, the USS Olympia was decommissioned for overhaul at New York. She was updated, her torpedo tubes removed, hawsepipes relocated, and her bow ornament was replaced with ornate gilt scroll-work and figurehead, among other changes. She was re-commissioned in 1902 and served as the flagship of the Caribbean. Olympia, built in 1895, is the sole surviving US Naval vessel of its era, and one of only four major warships in the world from the period from 1890 to 1914. Since 1957 the ex-USS Olympia has been moored at Philadelphia as a museum ship and is currently in great peril, facing a bill in excess of $10,000,000 to fully restore her. Her hull suffers from extensive corrosion and is in dire need of drydocking and repairs.

The Plymouth of the Fall River Line grounded on the rocks at Riker’s Island in a fog, at very low tide. The 600 passengers were taken off, the vessel was a partial loss.

Iron ore traffic between Port Henry on Lake Champlain and Wilmington, DE ceased. It had traveled in canalboats via the Champlain Canal, Hudson River, NY Harbor, Delaware & Raritan Canal and Delaware River.

The DL&W RR began operating their Lackawanna Limited from Hoboken to Buffalo.


Beginning in this year the C RR of NJ filled in the remainder of Communipaw Bay using old Morris Canal boats, filled with rock to form a bulkhead. This would expand its filling of tidal flats and shallow water southward as far as Black Tom Island in several stages.

The main building at Ellis Island was completed, replacing structures destroyed in a fire three years earlier.

On 2 March, C RR of NJ locomotive #457 pulled a train consisting of a baggage car and the private cars of the presidents of the C RR of NJ, Reading and B&O Railroads to take Garret A. Hobart from Jersey City to Washington, DC to be sworn in as Vice President of the United States.

Work began on NYC’s subway system on 24 March.

Following rigorous tests John Holland’s Holland submarine was purchased by the US Navy on 11 April and on 12 October was commissioned as the USS Holland. Six more of Holland’s submarines were ordered to be built at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, NJ by the Electric Boat Company which was founded on 7 February 1899. The Holland design was also adopted by others, including the Royal Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy. He also designed the Holland II and Holland III prototype submarines. John Holland died in Newark in 1914 and is interred at the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Totowa, NJ.

In May the C RR of NJ began to operate its Jersey City-Atlantic City Special via Winslow Junction.

Fire on 30 June on Hoboken piers used by North German Lloyd steamships spread to four vessels: Kaiser Wilhelm was saved; Bremen crowded with visitors, drifted away from the burning docks and became a torch to all shipping and wharves with which she came in contact – carried to the NY shore, she imperiled docks on that side of the river – one lighter passed her, caught fire, and drifted alongside the B&O RR wharf, which promptly caught fire – Bremen was finally run aground in shallow water off Weehawken and was later rebuilt; Saale sank, and Main was damaged. Many smaller craft – coal barges, lighters and canalboats were also destroyed. The devastation killed 326 people and caused $5 million damage.

The coal schooner Charles L. Davenport, bound for Bangor, ME, had a spontaneous combustion fire off Sandy Hook in July, but was saved.

On 8 September, C RR of NJ side-wheel ferry Plainfield burned at Communipaw and was the first of their sidewheelers to be disposed of.

The schooner Grover Cleveland, of Port Jefferson, LI, sank at Sandy Hook with a cargo of lumber on 9 November.

On 14 November the schooner Margaretta sank off Riker’s Island.

Expansion and renovations were completed and the Grand Central Station (Terminal) was reborn in Manhattan.

In this year, as many as 30,000 electric cars took to the roads, including a fleet of NYC taxis. But, the electric car couldn’t compete with mass production of gasoline-powered autos, which cost half as much and could travel further at faster speeds.


The Long Island Sound steamer Idlewild, which operated on the NYC - Glen Cove route, burned in her winter quarters at Brooklyn in January; with 8 lost.

The C RR of NJ opened their two track bascule bridge across Newark Bay, replacing the prior wooden structure.

On 14 June as the Staten Island Ferry Northfield was leaving Whitehall Street, she was struck by the inbound C RR of NJ ferry Mauch Chunk and sank immediately. Of the 995 passengers aboard the Northfield, only 5 were lost.

On the same day, US Army transport Ingalls, toppled over in dry dock, Erie Basin, Brooklyn with 185 workers on board. One was killed and 32 badly injured. She was later raised and refloated.

Work on the Hudson & Manhattan RR tunnel between NJ & NY was restarted by William Gibbs McAdoo.

On 10 September a NY Times article announced “The largest grain elevator in the world with a capacity of 4,000,000 bushels is to be built at Weehawken for the West Shore Line of the New York Central RR.” Known as Pier 7, it was completed about a year later, but only had a capacity of 2,000,000 bushels.

Joshua Lionel Cohen (later changed to Cowan) sold his first electric train to a store owner in Manhattan, intending to use the train to call attention to other merchandise. The store owner returned the next day to order six more trains, because customers wanted to buy the store display. Although he and a partner had founded the Lionel Manufacturing Company (after 1918, Lionel Corporation) in 1900 to manufacture various products, by 1902 Lionel was primarily a toy train producer. He established factories in Irvington and Hillside, NJ and by 1953 became the largest toy manufacturer in the world.

The first C RR of NJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was destroyed in a spectacular fire at Jersey City on 22 October.

The P RR and Southern Railway inaugurated a limited train, "the most magnificent and luxurious train in the world," between New York and Florida.

When President McKinley was shot at Buffalo, a special DL&W RR train with a heart specialist made the 395 mile run from Hoboken in 405 minutes - a rail record which still stands.

The NY Yacht Club opened their primary, but landlocked, clubhouse at 37 West 44th Street in midtown Manhattan, a six-storied Beaux-Arts landmark with a nautical-themed limestone facade. The centerpiece of the clubhouse is the “Model Room,” which contains the world’s largest collection of full and half hull models. After the club outgrew their original little building established in Hoboken in 1845, they moved to Staten Island and Glen Cove, NY; Mystic, CT; and now maintain a second clubhouse, “Harbour Court,” on the water in Newport, RI.


The problematic steam locomotive operation to and from Grand Central Terminal was highlighted on 8 January when a collision occurred in the smoke-filled Park Avenue Tunnel killed 17 and injured 38. This caused a public outcry and increasing demand for conversion to electric train operation. One week later the NY Central and Hudson River RR announced plans to improve the tunnel and expand Grand Central. By the end of the year plans were in development to demolish the existing station and create a new double level terminal for electric trains.

The C RR of NJ inaugurated the Queen of the Valley, an express passenger train between Jersey City and Harrisburg, PA.

A speed record between the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC of 226 miles in 4 hours and 7 minutes, including stops for locomotive changes and stations, was set during a heavy snow storm by the B&O.

On 26 April the three-masted schooner Cornelia Soule, en-route from Maine to Philadelphia (via the D&R Canal) with a cargo of granite, sank off Rockaway Point - all 6 crewmen were rescued.

Although they had begun running through trains from Jersey City to Atlantic City in the 1890's, by this year the C RR of NJ was operating two high-speed trips daily, all year round, with coaches and parlor cars.

By this year more than 96% of all anthracite coal lands were controlled by the railroads, with 91% of deposits owned outright. Following the depression of 1893-7, the J.P. Morgan interests made a final drive to control the industry. The bankrupt Philadelphia & Reading RR, along with its mining operations, was reorganized as the Reading Co., a holding company. The Reading then purchased the C RR of NJ, giving them control of one-third of all anthracite mined in Pennsylvania. Another major anthracite shipper, the Erie RR, gained control over several carriers and mining enterprises. Then the five leading carriers jointly acquired the LV RR and organized interlocking directorates in order to coordinate their activities. As a result of the combination, the railroad companies were able to fix the price of coal, determine production levels, and establish tonnage quotas. The entire anthracite region became, in effect, an economic colony of the powerful financial interests located in New York and Philadelphia. Both coal and profits flowed out of the region to immensely wealthy absentee owners.

The Queen of the Valley a joint C RR of NJ / RDG passenger train began operating between Jersey City and Harrisburg on 18 May.

The P RR began operating their Broadway Limited train from Jersey City to Chicago on 15 June.

The 20th Century Limited, an express passenger train began to be operated by the NY Central Railroad, between NYC and Chicago and ran until 1967. It became known as a “National Institution” and the “Most Famous Train in the World.” It was inaugurated as direct competition to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Beginning on 15 June 1938, with the inauguration of its first streamlined equipment, it made the 960-mile journey in 16 hours. United Railroad Historical Society of NJ owns and has restored the former 20th Century Limited observation-lounge car Hickory Creek for operation.

The steamer Dutchess burned at NY on 26 August.

The Lionel Manufacturing Co., issued one of their earliest known catalogs for its “Miniature Electric Cars.” At the time they were located at 24 & 26 Murray Street, NYC.

Wales Hard Coal (about 1,200 tons) went through the D&R Canal bound for New York in November. The coal was brought to Philadelphia on a big ship and trans-loaded into canalboats. One of the boats, the George B. Roberts, when she arrived at Bordentown carried 275 tons, 35 of which had to be unloaded as the Roberts drew 8 feet of water and the canal admits only vessels of 7 feet draft. Bordentown Register, November 7, 1902.

The Bush Company terminal business was started in Brooklyn, along Gowanus Bay in the 1890s by Irving T. Bush, but was incorporated in this year as the Bush Terminal Co. It was a massive, 200 acre, intermodal shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing center and rail-marine terminal – America’s first completely integrated manufacturing, cargo, and warehousing facility, served by both rail and water transportation, under a unified management – the largest of its kind in the NY Harbor area and the largest multi-tenant industrial property in the US. As of 1910, Bush Terminal handled 10% of all steamships arriving at New York. Eventually, Bush Terminal handled 50,000 rail freight cars per year and had eight piers that docked vessels from 25 steamship operators. The company also operated the Bush Terminal Railroad Co., which had about 20 miles of track within the terminal and two miles of track through Brooklyn to connect with the P RR. Their rail yard was six blocks long and could hold about 1,000 freight cars. The railway greatly declined after WW II, and Bush Terminal Railway went defunct in the 1970's, its operations continued by the NY Dock Railroad. The remaining rail yard and car floats are now operated by NY NJ Rail LLC, and used occasionally to deliver NYC subway cars via the South Brooklyn Railway. The Helmsley real estate group bought Bush Terminal in 1963. The complex maintained 95% occupancy through the middle of the 1970's, when 25,000 people were employed by the terminal company or tenants. Renamed Industrial City, by the mid-1980s the facility housed the largest concentration of garment manufacturers in NYC outside of Manhattan. The 16 buildings of up to 12 stories tall were still mostly occupied in the 1990s.


By this year, the repeated consolidations throughout New Jersey had yielded 12 large, independent traction (trolley) companies. These dozen firms represented the amalgamation of 96 smaller, separate trolley companies, most of which were short of capital.

On 19 February, due to lack of safety devices and equipment, a trolley car in Newark did not stop at a grade crossing in Newark and was broadsided by a Lackawanna Railroad train. Nine school children died and more than 20 were desperately injured. The investigation concluded that the North Jersey Street Railway Company was foundering financially.

On 19 March, the outbound Fall River Line steamer, Plymouth, was struck in a fog by the westbound freighter City of Taunton

The C RR of NJ Employees Association was founded - the first such organization in the nation.

The first automobile trip across the US was made from San Francisco to NYC, 23 May to 1 August.

Luna (amusement) Park opened at Coney Island on the site of the former Sea Lion Park. After a pair of fires in 1944 Luna Park closed. A reincarnation of Luna Park, on the former site of the nearby Astroland amusement park opened on 29 May 2010.

On 2 June the Hamburg-American liner Deutschland, outbound to Hamburg and carrying gold for the Paris and Berlin markets, stranded at Gedney Channel, Sandy Hook. She was hauled off by the tug I. J. Merritt.

A successful young lawyer, Thomas N. McCarter, recently named New Jersey’s attorney general, was right in the middle of the 19 February trolley accident probe. He saw the need for a revitalization of the shaky financial condition of the trolley companies, as well as a potential for profit. He resigned as attorney general; put together an initial $10-million capitalization program that was to continue for almost a decade; and took over the formation of a new trolley utility, Public Service Corporation of New Jersey, in June. It inherited two ferry companies and a pair of former horsecar inclined elevators in Hudson County used to haul horse-drawn wagons and trucks up the face of the Palisades.

The Liberty Bell made its last trip away from Philadelphia when it traveled across New Jersey on 15 June on a special train on the Pennsylvania RR and was floated across NY Harbor on a carfloat to connect with the New Haven RR on its way to the Battle of Bunker Hill celebration at Boston.

In June newspaper men and their wives enjoyed a trial trip on the C RR of NJ’s Asbury Park, the new boat of the Sandy Hook Route. The total number of guests on the trip up the Hudson River to Tarrytown was about 650.

On 26 July, Dr. H. Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker departed San Francisco in Jackson’s open air Winton Touring car. Sixty-three days later they arrived in NYC.

In 1903 Captain James Hughes owned a fleet of 49 vessels of varied descriptions, including several steam tugs and a number of ships and barges of many sizes; he had the largest ship building plant in the New Brunswick vicinity; his yard, with over 60 workers, was doing more work in 1903 than was done by everyone else in the business there in the last ten years; he also was doing an extensive towing business and had his main office in NYC. New Brunswick Daily Press, August 29, 1903.

Middlesex Transportation Co. was a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Co. and operated freight service between NY & New Brunswick beginning in 1903 and gradually growing with the steam freighters Trenton, Robert W. Johnson, James W. Johnson, Denny Brothers, and Frank M. Riley. “Get Your Goods by Boat: Steamer R.W. Johnson leaves New Pier No. 1, North River, 3:30P.M. daily, Sunday excepted, for New Brunswick. Freight received up to 5:30P.M.” All J&J boats carried a distinctive red cross on their white stacks and primarily served the manufacturing facilities of their parent company on the banks of the D&R Canal.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Swedish engineer John Ericcson, a memorial statue of him was installed at Battery Park in NYC. In 1829 he and John Braithwaite entered their steam locomotive Novelty in the famous Rainhill trials of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and although it was the fastest, it had boiler problems and did not win. He came to NYC in 1839 and revolutionized naval history with his invention of the screw propeller. Ericsson’s propeller was installed in the little steam tugboat, Robert F. Stockton, built in the UK for the Delaware & Raritan Canal Co. She was the first iron hull vessel to cross the Atlantic and the first commercially successful screw propelled vessel. He also designed the USS Monitor, the ship that ensured Union naval supremacy during the Civil War.

Thomas N. McCarter became the first president of Public Service Corporation of New Jersey and its only one for the next 36 years. Under the leadership of McCarter, PS began taking delivery of 150 new trolley cars in November and ordered 150 more. They hired several of the nation’s most respected railway managers; purchased 1,200 tons of rail for renewals; undertook streamlining and coordination of the many different systems to form one company; began a remodeling of the electric power generation system; planned construction of a new Marion Generating Station; etc.

The Williamsburg Bridge, connecting the Lower East Side of Manhattan with the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn was opened on 19 December. At the time it was the longest suspension bridge on Earth. The record fell in 1924 when the Bear Mountain Bridge was completed. In addition to the two tracks of the NYC Subway system it carries to this day, the bridge also once carried two sets of streetcar tracks.


On 31 January the British steel steamship, Boston City, collided in Lower Bay, NY with Colorado of the Wilson Line.

The second C RR of NJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was built.

On 13 May, a brand new trolley car inaugurated regular through service between Exchange Place Terminal, Jersey City and Trenton. The 72 mile journey via Newark, Elizabeth, Bound Brook, and New Brunswick, took 5½ hours. The Public Service route could not begin to compete with that of the P RR, and ended two years later. Coincidentally, A Trolley Honeymoon From Delaware to Maine, by Clinton William Lucas and published in 1904, in part describes this route across New Jersey, as well as the journey from Exchange Place to 23rd Street, NYC via the P RR ferry.

The Dreamland amusement park at Coney Island was about to open for business. During pre-opening preparations on 27 May 1911, a fire started which destroyed the entire park. It was not rebuilt and was abandoned.

The Whitehall building, a 20-story skyscraper located at 17 Battery Place, next to Battery Park in lower Manhattan was completed. It received its name from Peter Stuyvesant’s 17th-century home, “White Hall,” which had been located nearby. For many years the Whitehall Building housed offices of many towing and marine companies active in NY harbor. It was converted into apartments in 1999. In response to the success of the speculative Whitehall Building, the larger annex, known as Greater Whitehall was completed in 1910 next door to it at 26 Washington Street. The latter, 31-story building, was the largest office building in NYC at the time.

The LV RR opened their Bellewood Park, a 50 acre amusement park, complete with a dining pavilion, farm house restaurant (on top of the mountain with service by uniformed Pullman porters), dance pavilion, German beer garden, carousel (the largest in NJ) with a band organ, a steam-driven roller coaster, giant toboggan slide, Ferris wheel, miniature train ride (The Little Black Diamond), the Mystic Maze fun house, shooting gallery, bowling alley, Joe Horn's flying circus, spook house, Harvard "boat race," penny arcade, ring the bell, the spider lady, photo studio, seesaws, swings, tree-house, ball field, spring houses, picnic areas and a tunnel of love. Admission to the park was free, amusement rides were 5¢ and a good dinner could be bought for 40 to 50¢. It was located at the east end of Pattenburg Tunnel and was a popular destination for 10 to 15 daily excursion trains from NY (Jersey City), the populated areas of NJ to the east and the Lehigh Valley to the west.

The SS General Slocum caught fire and burned in the East River on 15 June with a loss of over 1,000 lives, mostly children on a Sunday School outing.

A trolley car bound from North Bergen to Hoboken had reached Clinton Avenue and Cortlandt Street, West Hoboken, when, with a flash, the controller box burned out. The car at that moment was traveling at full speed and the smoke and flames were carried back into the car. Instantly there was panic, and before the motorman, himself badly injured, could bring the car to a stop, thirty or more, fully half of those on the car, had jumped. Those who jumped first were the worst injured... New York Times, 6 July 1904

The New York and New Jersey RR, successor to the Hudson Tunnel RR Co., broke through to the tunnel constructed from the New York side. Chief engineer, Charles Jacobs, and workmen walked from NJ to NY through what became the “uptown” tunnel.

The first NYC subway, the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) Ninth Avenue Line, opened on 27 October.

The DL&W RR began to use Phoebe Snow, a fictitious lady traveler, dressed in white, to advertise the clean burning qualities of anthracite coal in their locomotives.

The Hoboken Ferry Co. 14th Street, Hoboken to W. 23rd Street, Manhattan ferry was opened on 1 November.

During November the ferry Columbia was rammed and sunk in the East River by the steamboat City of Lowell.

The 340-foot long, 3,625 gross ton British tramp steamship, Drumelzier, was scheduled to depart Atlantic Docks, Brooklyn the day after Christmas and the 32 crew members had high hopes of intensive celebrating ashore before she departed. However, the captain decided to depart a day early with his entire and sober crew. This did not set well with the crew. That evening, proceeding at 12 knots in a heavy snowfall with fog, the Drumelzier, piled headlong onto a bar - only eight hours after leaving her Brooklyn berth. Four days later the last of her crew, and a parrot, two cats and a goat were removed and the nine year-old vessel was a total loss.


The DL&W RR launched and put into service a new 231-foot, steam, ferryboat, Binghamton, which was retired in 1967. She was sold in 1969, converted into a restaurant / nightclub of the same name, and moved to Edgewater, NJ where she remains, but is now closed.

The C RR of NJ purchased the lighterage company that had formerly delivered its freight to NYC and began to perform the maritime work itself. It was about the last railroad at the Port to do so.

The joint Reading RR / C RR of NJ dining car department was organized in April. Six café cars were acquired, primarily for line service between Philadelphia and Jersey City (NYC) and service began on 12 June.

The C RR of NJ Athletic Association was established and a large tract of land was set aside near the Jersey City Terminal for an athletic field.

The Robert W. Johnson is the handsome new boat which is being built at Noank, CT to carry freight for the Middlesex Transportation Co. between New Brunswick and New York was launched July 10th and will be in service soon. The new 120-foot, 150-ton capacity boat has twin-screws powered by a 500 hp Sullivan engine, steam steering gear, a steam hoist, electric lights and a search light. New Brunswick Daily Times, July 12 and October 21, 1905.

The Royal Blue Ferry service of the C RR of NJ ended following the purchase of the Staten Island Ferry from the B&O RR by the City of NY, and their order that the C RR vacate the Whitehall slips.

Just before midnight on 7 August a fire began on the DL&W RR ferry Hopatcong and before it could be pulled from her slip, the ferry shed caught fire and eventually the entire transportation complex burned to the ground. Fortunately, the brand new Binghamton, which also caught fire was saved by her crew and rebuilt, and in the end is the last survivor of the DL&W fleet. The 1907 replacement terminal at Hoboken was the finest on New Jersey waterfront, and remains in use by NJ Transit.

The P RR established their Pennsylvania Special train in June, running from New York (Jersey City) and Chicago in 18 hours and declaring it “The Fastest Long Distance Train in the World.”

The Hoboken Ferry Co. opened a Hudson Place Terminal to W. 28th Street, Manhattan route on 2 September.

The Binghamton class ferries (Binghamton, Elmira, Ithaca, Pocono and Scranton) began to be delivered to the DL&W RR.

The W. & A. Fletcher Co. and their allied North River Iron Works, both of Hoboken manufactured the boilers and engines, and supervised construction of the Lake Champlain sidewheel passenger steamboat Ticonderoga in 1905. Since the 220-foot vessel was too large to get through the Champlain Canal, the boat was assembled on the lake with the sections and equipment brought north from Hoboken by canalboats. Ticonderoga was retired in the early 1950's and by 1955 had been winched over land (and a railroad) from the lake to her final resting place at the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT.

Construction began on a new mile square freight yard costing $1,500,000 adjoining the C RR of NJ’s holdings at Communipaw on 4 November. The yard extended south to a point opposite Phillip Street and was expected to take one and a half years to complete. NJ State Gazette

After prolonged dickering, NYC assumed ownership of the Staten Island ferry on 25 October. The City took title to the terminal facilities and promptly ejected the B&O (C RR of NJ) ferries from the Whitehall Street Terminal. The City purchased the boats, paying the most ($320,000) for the Robert Garrett which was 236 feet long; built in 1888; and licensed for 4,000 passengers. Interestingly, John W. Garrett was president of the B&O RR from 1858 to 1884 and the ferry was obviously named for a family member. The City had made arrangements for the acquisition of a new fleet of ferryboats and the Robert Garrett was renamed Stapleton. Soon she was on a run to 39th Street, Brooklyn, along with Castleton and Westfield II. In 1909 the Stapleton and Castleton were assigned to a newly-established vehicular ferry from the Battery to the foot of Canal Street, Stapleton. This service proved ill-advised and was discontinued on 13 December 1913. Castleton was then sold at public auction, and the Stapleton became a floating tuberculosis sanitarium for the City.

The City of NY, in preparation for operation of the Staten Island Ferry had ordered a fleet of five new boats named for the five boroughs. They were the Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Richmond and were 250' long, the biggest ferries on the east coast. Four were built at Sparrows Point, MD, but the Richmond was built at Staten Island. The “Five Boroughs” fleet were put into service at noon on 25 October, replacing all of the former railroad ferries.

On 20 December, painters at the DL&W’s 23rd Street ferry terminal in Manhattan started a fire which, fanned by winds quickly spread to the adjoining C RR of NJ ferry terminal, destroying both.

On 27 December, the schooner Bessie Whiting sunk two barges in Swash Channel, south of Romer Shoals, that had been in tow by the tugboat John Flemming. Later that day the incoming Clyde Line steamer, Comanche struck a submerged wreck in Swash Channel and listed, but little damage was found. It was believed that the barges had shifted position toward the center of the channel. Late in December, the coastwise steamer City of Atlanta, struck a submerged barge in Swash Channel, heeled far over to port, and had to put back to her North River Pier.


The Electric Railway Journal stated in January: "The Public Service Corporation now controls... practically all of the electrical lighting, power, gas and street railway utilities of the larger portion of the State of New Jersey... The benefits to the public... resulted in lower rates for light and power, better street railway facilities and longer rides, and a far more reliable and dependable service in the supplying of electric light, power, gas, and electric railway transportation."

The C RR of NJ published "In the New Jersey Foot-Hills: A Brief Summary of the Section of New Jersey where one Finds Health and Pleasure in Out Door Life." It focused on the Warren, Hunterdon and Morris County areas served by the RR with photos of the rural scenery and lists of hotels and their proprietors to entice the masses from NYC, Jersey City and eastern NJ.

The C RR of NJ, having acquired newer propeller driven ferryboats, retired their last two sidewheelers, the Communipaw and the Fanwood. Both were burned in a Perth Amboy “bone yard” on 4 July.

The RMS Mauretania was launched and was at the time the largest and fastest ocean liner in the world. She held the New York to England speed record for 22 years and was used as a troop ship during WW I. Her final NY to Southampton crossing was in 1934 and Cunard Line scrapped her soon thereafter.

Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal was organized as a marine and navigation company independent of the railroad operations of the East River Terminal Railroad, incorporated the following year. Its predecessor was the Palmer’s Docks Company, the first apparent rail-marine terminal to operate in Brooklyn. In 1915 the railroad, marine operations and freight terminals were combined. BEDT only had a total of 11 miles of track, but had many locomotives and was 100% steam operated until 1963. At one time BEDT had a float bridge terminal operation on the north side of the Morris Canal Basin in Jersey City. It was the largest of the four independent rail-marine terminals in Brooklyn and operated until 1983.

A full page advertisement in The Chicago Sunday Tribune of 8 July (complete with a coupon to order shares) announced the launch of the Chicago - New York Electric Air Line RR. The line was to be almost straight as an arrow, avoiding all major cities, electrified, and would cut across northern NJ to reach NYC. Some 15,000 people purchased shares during the first 6 months, but only 20 miles of track was ever built (in Indiana).

On 19 August The Sunday Tribune published an advertisement for the NY, Boston & Chicago Electric RR. It was to be more practical, with stops at many cities including Paterson and Hackensack. It also claimed to make the trip from Chicago to NYC in ten hours or less.

The first cars of the structurally unique Stillwell design were ordered for the Hudson & Manhattan RR. Lewis B. Stillwell made his home at Princeton, NJ. He was chief electrical engineer of Westinghouse Electric at 27, worked on a half-dozen important railway electrification projects, and designed some of the ruggedest passenger cars ever built. The Erie RR and the NY Westchester & Boston RR both also acquired passenger cars of the Stillwell design.

Abraham Lincoln Bush designed and began building his first reinforced concrete train sheds for the DL&W RR at Hoboken Terminal.

The SS Etruria collided with a canalboat on her way out of NY Harbor. A towing tug had left two canalboats adrift in mid-Hudson River opposite NYC in a fog while she was delivering a third canalboat. The Etruria could not see the boats before it was too late and the tug was held in fault for the collision.

In December the inbound Italian liner Liguria collided in NY Bay with the outbound Peconic.

On 15 December the pilot boat Hermit was cut in two and sunk by the Ward Line steamship Monterey off Sandy Hook Lightship.

John Stephenson built in his shop, then located in Elizabeth, NJ, a small fleet of wooden bodied, double truck streetcars for export to Lisbon, Portugal. They operated there until 1996. One, No. 346 was acquired by the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center and returned to NJ.

During this year an electric trolley bus was demonstrated in front of the Empire Theater on Newark’s Washington Street. It had a single trolley pole and the current return was through chains which dragged on the streetcar rails.


In this year it was found that the Palisades near Fort Lee and Coytesville, NJ could be used for “Wild West” scenes and other outdoor scenes for movies. Ft. Lee is considered to be the birthplace of the film industry and was the movie capital of the world before Hollywood. Even Thomas Edison used the cliffs of the Palisades for the exterior of Rescued from an Eagle’s Nest.

April 17th was the busiest day in the history of the Ellis Island immigration station – 11,747 immigrants passed through.

By this year the C RR of NJ, in cooperation with the Reading RR, was offering “A Train On The Hour – Every Hour For Philadelphia From New York” (7am to 6pm).

Seeking better rail service for immigrants, the US Immigration Commissioner filed accusations that the C RR of NJ and six other railroads had been charging immigrants nearly first-class fares but provided inferior service.

The C RR of NJ opened their new Bronx freight terminal along the Harlem River on 16 August. Freight cars were moved between Jersey City and the terminal by carfloat.

William Kissam Vanderbilt, Jr. with his wife and their guest William Barton, all of New York, visited Trenton while passing through on the D&R Canal in his famous steam yacht Tarantula. The 28-knot craft had a captain and a crew of eighteen. They were on their way to Jamestown and the Exposition. Trenton Times, May 17, 1907. Mr. Vanderbilt, the son of the famous millionaire, was vice president, a director, and chairman of the board of New York Central RR for many years.

New York Yacht Club fleet numbering 200 vessels was reported to have traveled through the Delaware & Raritan Canal on Aug., 24, 1907, en-route to the Jamestown Exposition. Trenton in Bygone Days, Trenton Times Advertiser, Sept. 11, 1956. Several photos which recorded the journey exist.

Cunard Line’s SS Lusitania, the first quadruple screw ocean liner arrived in NYC on her maiden voyage on 7 September 1907.

Standard Oil Co. founder, John D. Rockefeller acquired several hundred acres between Linden and Elizabeth as the site for his latest refinery. Within two years the refinery was in operation. Now known as the Bayway Refinery, the facility processes about 240,000 barrels of crude oil per day into gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and heating oil. It also produces 775 million pounds per year of polypropylene. Its products are delivered to East Coast customers via pipeline, barges, railcars and trucks.

The P RR completed their Greenville Yard, Jersey City. At the time it was the largest rail-marine terminal in the US.

Public Service Railway, the separate streetcar operating subsidiary of PS of NJ was formed. Their advertising motto was ‘Joining Jersey’s busy cities and thriving towns.’

The premiere 23 story office skyscraper building at 140 Barclay Street / 90 West Street, in lower Manhattan was completed for the shipping and railroad industries. For many years the DL&W RR leased the 17th floor for their executive offices. The architect, Cass Gilbert, used Gothic inspiration to create a granite and terra cotta-sheathed landmark with imposing gargoyles – one of which is now in the lobby – pointed arches and a distinguished mansard roof. The structure was heavily damaged in the 2001 WTC attacks. Nearly 1,000 people were evacuated, but two perished, trapped in an elevator. Fires on 14 floors raged for 2 days and large sections of one of the hijacked airplanes were found on the roof. It was fully restored and reopened in 2005 as a luxury residential apartment building.

Freight steamer Bunker Hill, inbound from Boston, collided with the New Haven RR tug Transfer No. 3 in the East River; both vessels sank with one lost on each.

On 10 December Commodore Jim Fisk’s famous 373-foot-long Providence, a Fall River steamer, crashed into the crowded East River ferryboat Baltic in a thick fog. One Brooklyn-bound passenger was drowned when the liner’s steel prow almost tore away the women’s cabin of the ferry.

The first Hudson & Manhattan RR train operated between Hoboken and Morton St.,

NYC on 28 December.


Matthias N. Forney died in NYC, NY on 14 January. He was an American steam locomotive designer and builder most well known for the design of the “Forney” type locomotive. Some 300 of his small 0-4-4T Forney locomotives served the elevated railroads of NYC for many years until the system was converted to electric power.

President Theodore Roosevelt, sitting in the White House, sent a ceremonial telegram to the Hudson & Manhattan RR Power House in Jersey City to signal the start of the first direct rail service between New York and New Jersey (Hoboken) by tunnel under the Hudson River on Feb. 25th. This historical event connected the island of Manhattan with NJ by rail for the very first time.

On 16 April the Ward Line steamship Monterey, bound for Havana and Mexico, rammed the Danish ship United States in the main NY ship channel. The latter was holed, flooded, and run aground to prevent sinking.

George W. Johnson, a New Yorker, made a 1,200-mile trip via the inland canal route from St. Augustine, FL to the Nonpareil Boat Club on the Harlem River, NYC. His single scull rowboat was made entirely of paper in about twenty layers in thickness. He clipped headlines and pasted them along the outside. New York Times, June 16, 1908.

Rear Admiral Robert Peary was an American explorer who claimed to have been the first person to reach the geographic North Pole. For his final assault on the pole, he and 23 men set off from New York City aboard the Roosevelt on 6 July 1908. Following several attempts over the years, Peary claimed to have reached the Pole on 7 April 1909. Although his claim was widely credited for most of the 20th century, though it was criticized even in its own day and is today widely doubted.

Lightship Ambrose, was the name given to multiple lightships that served as the sentinel beacon marking Ambrose Channel, which is the main shipping channel for NY Harbor. LV-87 Ambrose was launched in this year and was retired in 1964. In 1968 she was given to South Street Seaport Museum and has been moored at Pier 16, East River ever since.

A new electro-pneumatic interlocking plant was completed by the DL&W RR to control all train movements at their Hoboken Terminal. It was one of the largest railway signal and interlocking plants in the world. It had 99 working “armstrong” levers operating 36 switches; 23 double slips with moveable frogs; one single slip with moveable point frog; and 105 signals. The Signal Engineer, August 1908

The United Fruit Co. Steamship Admiral Dewey, inbound from Jamaica, West Indies, smashed into steamer Mount Desert off Coney Island on 22 November. There was a mad rush for safety.

In thick fog one mile east of Sandy Hook Point, the stout steel White Star Line freighter, over 10,000 tons, Georgic, rammed and sank the Panama Railroad Company steamer Finance on 26 November. The outward bound Finance which had 85 passengers, went down within ten minutes, carrying three to their death.

Also in November, the captain of the 271-foot-long Metropolitan Line steamer, H. M. Whitney, had to choose between sinking two barges in Hell Gate or striking hard on a menacing rock. He chose the rock, and Whitney foundered on the rocks at Sunken Meadow, just west of the Gate. She was raised months later.

Two competing railway industry periodicals merged in this year to form Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corp., headquartered in NYC. The Railroad Gazette (founded in 1856) merged with The Railway Age (founded in 1857). Today, Simmons-Boardman remains the world’s largest publisher of rail industry information under the guiding hand of the McGinnis family.


Hudson & Manhattan RR service was inaugurated between Hudson Terminal, New York and Exchange Place, Jersey City. Special ladies only cars were introduced on the Hudson & Manhattan RR.

Munson Line freighter Cubana, at anchor at Quarantine with a cargo of sugar from Matanzas, was rammed by the inbound Ward liner Havana on 7 April.

On 27 May the North German Lloyd steamship Prinzess Alice, outbound for Bremen, in fog with 1,720 on board, grounded on sand ledge off Fort Wadsworth, SI, but was refloated.

The first automobile rides under the Hudson River were made on 21 June when two autos were lowered into one of the partially completed PRR tunnels at Weehawken and driven through to 10th Avenue in Manhattan. On the return trip to NJ a delegation of engineers and P RR officials, including Samuel Rea and Charles Jacobs were driven through.

Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. developed the largest electric locomotive at the time for the P RR electrification into NYC. It weighed 166 tons, developed 4,000hp and was powered by two of the largest electric railway motors ever constructed.

The Hudson - Fulton Celebration was probably the greatest pageant ever staged in New York Harbor. The viewers saw 742 vessels steam into New York Harbor and up the Hudson River in the parade.

The C RR of NJ operated 11 excursion trains to Mauch Chunk, Glen Onoka and the Switchback RR on one August day at a fare of $1.50, round trip.

On 17 August the three-masted schooner Arlington of Boston left New York with 800 tons of (Anthracite) pea coal. She stranded in a heavy easterly gale off Long Beach, Long Island with the crew of nine hanging onto the above water bowsprit for dear life. The Long Beach Life Saving crew brought only eight ashore. The ninth man, the mate, had gone off on a floating hatch, with ropes tied in the hoisting rings to hold him erect. He drifted for two days, then was washed up on the beach at Asbury Park, NJ, drowned.

A motor truck show was held in Madison Square Garden, NYC.

The Jay Street Connecting Railroad, the smallest of the Brooklyn rail-marine terminals, was incorporated on 9 October. The Jay Street Extension Railroad was incorporated on 8 January 1916, and both firms were consolidated and reincorporated on 3 April 1916. They were located on both sides of, and ran under, the Manhattan Bridge.

The Manhattan Bridge, a suspension structure connecting Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn, was opened on 31 December. The upper level which originally had streetcars, now has four vehicle lanes. The lower level has four subway tracks; three vehicle lanes; a walkway and a bikeway.


Service through the Hudson River tunnels into their NYC station was begun by the P RR. The P RR New York extension, including the Greenville Yards was the largest engineering project undertaken by a private company to date. It has also been called the most complex engineering feat attempted by any railroad before or since. (Railroad History, Autumn 2000) The American Society of Civil Engineers devoted 800 pages to the project's technical aspects. Included was the electrification from Sunnyside, Long Island to Manhattan Transfer, just east of Newark. This was the first main line electrification for heavy-duty service.

Public Service Railway opened their Hudson Place Terminal at Hoboken. It facilitated the connection of their street car lines with the Hudson & Manhattan tubes and the DL&W ferries.

The Keansburg Steamboat Co. began service from the Battery in Manhattan to Keansburg, which became one of the most popular vacation spots on the Jersey Shore (actually Raritan Bay). The service ended when their Atlantic Highlands “Racetrack Pier” was destroyed by fire on 6 May 1966. Their vessel, City of Keansburg, then went into the ‘round Manhattan sightseeing cruise business.

The Erie RR opened their Bergen Cut (a/k/a Bergen Arches) on 13 June. It had taken four years to remove 160,000 cubic yards of earth and 250,000 pounds of dynamite to blast through 800,000 cubic yards of trap rock to complete the cut. An estimated 400 men either perished or suffered crippling injuries during the four years of construction.

The Great Adam Forpaugh and Sells Brothers Enormous Shows United railroad cars were transported by the C RR of NJ from Elizabeth to Jersey City and then moved by carfloat to the Bush Terminal Co. at New York on 13 June. Hundreds of other similar moves were made over the years.

The retail coal pockets and trestle along Johnston Avenue, Jersey City, which were leased to Communipaw Coal Co., were destroyed by fire.

Fort Wadsworth fired a 21-gun salute to former President Theodore Roosevelt as his ship passed through the Narrows on his return from a nearly year-long trip to Africa and Europe.

By this year the C RR of NJ was offering Sunday and holiday excursions from Jersey City (New York), Elizabeth, Newark, and other stations to Lake Hopatcong, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Glen Onoko, The Switchback Gravity RR, Lakewood, Atlantic City, as well as to Atlantic Highlands, Long Branch, Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Belmar, Spring Lake, Point Pleasant, and numerous points along the North Jersey Shore. The Sandy Hook Route offered vacationers a “Half Sail – Half Rail” way to travel to the North Jersey Coast Resorts. The C RR of NJ’s steamboat service operated from the NY metropolitan area to their Atlantic Highlands Pier. The alternative routing was the C RR of NJ ferry from Manhattan and their train to Atlantic Highlands Pier with rail connections to many additional Jersey Shore resorts. The Sandy Hook Route was abandoned on 16 September 1941.

A grand row of nine ocean liner piers was completed on the west side of Manhattan. They were a frequent port of call for the great ships that sailed during the heyday of transatlantic voyages. It also served as a base for warships during both WW I and WW II. Piers 59 to 62 remain and are now called Chelsea Piers.

On 26 November the four-masted freighting schooner Emily Baxter was passing a dredge in Hell Gate at dark which had failed to put out a lantern. The Baxter ran into the chains and in three minutes was upside down with the captain and crew sitting on her keel.

A new C RR of NJ covered lighterage Pier 11 was completed at Jersey City at a cost of $426,100.

A new C RR of NJ Pier 12 at Jersey City opened.

New C RR of NJ Pier 14 for handling cattle at Jersey City was completed at a cost of $12,284.25.

Public Service Railway opened their Hudson Place Terminal at Hoboken. It facilitated the connection of their street car lines with the Hudson & Manhattan tubes and the DL&W


The Hudson & Manhattan RR opened their Henderson Street Car Shop in Jersey City.

The 50,000th steam locomotive constructed by the American Locomotive Co. was demonstrated on several roads and finally purchased by the Erie RR. It became their K-3 class #2509 and was used in Northern New Jersey commuter service. It represented the most advanced design of the 4-6-2 type ever seen in the US.

The NY Central RR Weehawken to Courtland Street, Manhattan ferry opened on 1 December.

New York Dock Railway, a firm closely related to the New York Dock Company, was incorporated. The latter was a rail-marine terminal identical in operation to that of Bush Terminal – being that both NYD & BT had carfloating operations, carload and less-than-carload contract terminals, direct bulk offloading of ships to railcars and had large storage warehouses. NYD owned Fulton, Baltic & Atlantic pier terminals (with rail access) and warehouses in Red Hook without rail access. NYD took over Bush Terminal in 1972 and merged with Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal in 1978. NYD Ry ceased operations on 17 August 1983, but Bush and Atlantic Terminal operations continued under NY Cross Harbor RR.

Early 1900's

The Caven Point Army Depot was a large US Army installation built on the former tidal flats of Jersey City. During both WW I and WW II, Caven Point’s proximity to key rail networks and the piers of New York and New Jersey made it invaluable for the marshaling of troops, munitions and materials heading for front lines in Europe. A long pier allowed for loading of deep-draft ships.


By this year, Public Service Railway had purchased or itself constructed 948 new trolley cars, and had a fleet of 2,380 cars, including sprinkler, sand, and snow removal cars.

The 30-odd miles of Manhattan Elevated lines had nearly 200 structures, including stations, towers and switch-houses, requiring heat supplied by coal stoves. About 200 tons of egg or stove coal was required per week in the heating season. Deliveries were made and ashes were collected by trains of small-12-ton coal cars. The coal was delivered and ashes were removed by boats at the upper Eighth Avenue waterfront terminal. Coal Trade Journal, 11 January 1911

The P RR inaugurated refrigerated barge service in NY harbor to facilitate the handling of dressed meats, provisions and other perishable freight. (Railroad Mans Magazine, Vol. XIV, No. 1, Feb. 1911)

The P RR, in connection with the Missouri Pacific RR began a fast mail train (24 hours) between NYC and Kansas City. Railway Age, April 1911

A new 6,000-ton capacity concrete retail coal pocket and trestle facility was completed near the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal to replace the one destroyed in 1910. It was leased by C RR of NJ to Burns Brothers. Coal was delivered from the pockets to locations in NYC via horse-drawn wagons and later by trucks using the C RR of NJ ferries.

The RMS Titanic, the largest passenger steamship in the world was launched on 31 May. Less than a year later on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York she hit an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic and sank in three hours with a loss of 1, 517 lives - one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. The steamship Carpathia arrived at Manhattan’s Pier 54 with 675 survivors from the sinking of the Titanic.

In June the German steamship Imperator docked at Hoboken on her maiden voyage arrival in NY Harbor. Five steam tugboats assisted with her docking.

The C RR of NJ completed new car shops at Elizabethport and a freight house and team tracks at Jersey Avenue in Jersey City by 30 June.

The Lehigh Valley RR ordered Western Union telephone equipment in July to complete installation of a system to handle railroad traffic along its entire Jersey City to Buffalo line.

The Hudson River (electric railway ) Line, built by A. Merritt Taylor of the New Jersey & Hudson River RR & Ferry Co., was sold to Public Service.

The first transcontinental airplane flight (with numerous stops) was made by C.P. Rodgers from NY to Pasadena, California.

Hudson & Manhattan RR began regular train service between Hudson Terminal and Newark on 28 November.


On 13 May, pilot boat Ambrose Snow was rammed and sunk by Clyde Line SS Delaware in Lower Bay; all saved.

The French Line’s Hudson, inbound from Bordeaux with 83 passengers was rammed in NY Harbor on 29 May by the freighter Berwind, of the NY-Puerto Rico Line. Hudson’s bow stove in and began to sink creating panic.

The NY, Westchester and Boston Railway opened for business, connecting southern Bronx with Mt. Vernon, White Plains, and Port Chester, NY. It went bankrupt in 1935 and was abandoned. A four-mile section of the original line was taken over and began to be used by the IRT Dyre Avenue Line subway on 15 May 1941.

The world's first battery train was assembled at Ralph H. Beach's Federal Storage Battery Car Co. at Silver Lake, NJ and powered with Thomas A. Edison storage batteries. Initial test runs of the three car train were made on the Erie RR between West Orange, Silver Lake and Jersey City.


On 2 February, the NY Central RR completed and opened their extensively rebuilt Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan. The new terminal was visited by more than 150,000 people on opening day. It became the busiest train station in the country. An explosion of real-estate development followed with many new office buildings, hotels, and apartment buildings built on RR property and air rights above their property, which covers an area of 48 acres. It is the largest train station in the world by number of platforms – 44, served by 67 tracks. Grand Central also contains many restaurants, non-chain fast food outlets, delis, bakeries, newstands, a gourmet and fresh food market, an annex of the New York Transit Museum and more than forty retail stores. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark, and a NY City Landmark.

The SS Wyckoff collided with the Heroine in NY Harbor; two were lost.

LV RR passenger trains began using the C RR of NJ between Oak Island Junction, Newark and C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal.

The new C RR of NJ engine terminal at Communipaw was described as follows in the Newark Sunday Call on 13 June: The reinforced concrete coaling station had a capacity of 1,600 tons of coal which could be loaded into locomotive tenders on any of eight tracks; The building for drying and storage of sand for locomotives was 103 feet long and 16 feet wide; Two steel water tanks had a capacity of 100,000 gallons each; Two cinder pits were each 200 feet long and 33 feet wide; And ten miles of track were installed for the parking of locomotives and their movement to and from the roundhouses, which were apparently already in place.

On 13 June the original wooden LV / P RR Newark Bay bridge was mostly destroyed by fire. It was replaced three months later in what was considered a formidable feat of being rebuilt in twelve days after construction had started.

The canalboat Vincent J. Sullivan sank with a load of bagged cement near Hell Gate and Merritt and Chapman Derrick and Wrecking Company raised and unloaded her.

The Morris Canal Investigating Committee (a commission appointed by the NJ Legislature) toured the waterway from Jersey City to Phillipsburg to examine its condition and possible uses. Fred G. Stickel, Jr. kept a journal of the trip.

Ground was broken by President William Howard Taft for a proposed National American Indian Memorial that was to be built on the site of Fort Tompkins. The monument was to include a 165-foot-tall statue of an American Indian on the bluff overlooking the Narrows, but difficulties in fundraising and the advent of WW I precluded fruition of the plan.

Day Line steamboat Robert Fulton made the final regular service voyage from Albany to NYC on 13 September.

In November the Fall River Line steamer, Plymouth, struck an uncharted rock at Hell Gate and gashed her bottom. She was later rebuilt.

The Hudson & Manhattan RR began carrying mail between Hudson Terminal, NYC and Manhattan Transfer, NJ on 17 November.

The steam screw propelled Buffalo burned off Staten Island; 3 saved.

By 1913 the Lincoln Highway segment from Jersey City to Trenton had become the most heavily traveled route in the nation. Lincoln Highway route predecessors included the Assanpink Trail, the Old Dutch Road and Kings Highway.

Public Service Railroad, a separate new subsidiary of Public Service Corporation was created to construct the new Short Route of the Newark to Trenton Fast Line which opened in this year. In 1914 the PS RR constructed its branch to Perth Amboy and in 1915 its shuttle to Roosevelt / Chrome / Carteret.


On 24 January the steam screw propelled William Dinsdale collided with the SS Concho in NY Harbor with the loss of two.

The Lizzie Harvey sank in Gowanus Canal on 16 February.

The Lackawanna RR ferry Ithaca collided with a C RR of NJ carfloat on 16 March and 3 were lost.

Sections 2 and 3 of the C RR of NJ’s filling of Communipaw Bay were completed, giving the railroad a huge site for future development of rail yards and industry, with over a mile along the waterfront. This C RR of NJ activity is responsible for the majority of the land area of the present day Liberty State Park.

The floatage charges for movement of the Frank A. Robbins Circus train from Long Island City to Weehawken were $91 and the NY Ontario & Western RR charged $276 to move the train by rail from Weehawken to Ellenville, NY.

Expansion of the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal, including the construction of the world’s largest Abraham Lincoln Bush Train Shed, and a double decked ferry shed was completed.

New Locomotive terminal facilities completed for the C RR of NJ, at Communipaw, N.J. were described in the 6 June 1914 issue of Railway Review, 54, p. 822-28

The LV RR had wooden covered lighter #79 constructed at Perth Amboy in this year. It has been kept afloat and in use by the Hudson Waterfront Museum & Showboat Barge which was founded in 1986. It is the last vessel of its kind and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Longshoremen’s Union Protective Association was absorbed into the International Longshoremen’s Association and the latter grew in membership.

In December, the Motor Truck Club of New Jersey, forerunner of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association was organized.


Privately owned, unregulated NJ Jitney operators caused a substantial loss of revenue to the trolley operator, Public Service.

The first transcontinental telephone talk (NYC to San Francisco) was made by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson on 25 January.

The first successful wireless communication was made from a moving DL&W train to a station on 7 February.

Joshua Lionel Cowen, tired of commuting to NYC, moved his toy train factory to Newark, NJ. Soon they needed more room and moved to the first of several plants in nearby Irvington.

For seven and a half years Cunard Line’s SS Lusitania crossed the rugged Atlantic with punctuality and dependability. She departed NYC for Liverpool on 7 May, on her 202nd trip - her final voyage across the Atlantic, when off the coast of Ireland she was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank in 20 minutes with the loss of 1,198 lives. The event turned public opinion against Germany and contributed to the US entering into WW I.

On 19 June, the Brooklyn Fulton Ferry Nassau hit pier, 1 killed, 3 hurt.

The British steamer Craigside with a cargo of sugar, was loading at West 23rd Street Pier when a fire erupted on 23 July – a bomb was suspected.

The C RR of NJ claimed there were 60,000 passengers per day passing through their Jersey City Terminal in this year. Peak numbers exceeded 100,000 during special events and trains for some of these happenings had to be run in as many as 28 sections to handle all the riders.

About 1,000 horses awaiting shipment to Allied cavalry during World War I were stampeded from their C RR of NJ corrals in Jersey City before dawn on 25 August. German agents were suspected.

A moving picture was made of the first transcontinental highway, the 3,389 mile Lincoln Highway which passed through NJ via Hudson County and opened in this year.

William H. Todd purchased Robins Dry Dock and repair Co. (the former Erie Basin Dry Dock Co.) and the Tietjen & Land Dry Dock Co. of Hoboken. This was the beginning of Todd Shipyards Corp. which rose to the top of the ship building industry in the US.

On 8 December, the North Star of the Eastern Steamship Corp. collided with the double deck cattle barge El Paso which was being towed. The barge sank off the Battery. The crew was taken ashore, but one hundred steers, calves and sheep drowned. Other animals struggling in the water were seized in the dark and taken away.

The barge Virginia, carrying horses for the French government, sank in the Hudson River; probable sabotage.


The Black Tom explosion, south of the Jersey City Terminal involved scores of boatloads and carloads of ammunition delivered by the C RR of NJ and LV RR. The blast wave extensively damaged and weakened the two-year-old C RR of NJ Train Shed and destroyed piers, 13 warehouses, 161 railroad cars, barges and canalboats. The magnitude of the shock wave was estimated to be 5.5 on the Richter Scale. Property damage was estimated at $20 million in what was thought, at the time, to be one of the worst acts of terrorism in American history.

The Public Service Terminal Building in Newark was opened with great public fanfare on 30 April. It proved to be one of the most important milestones of the entire American traction (trolley) era. Prior to this, trolley traffic congestion, especially at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets, became intolerable with 527 cars scheduled to cross in the single 5pm to 6pm rush hour. The terminal had a lower level loop terminal accessed from Washington Street on the west via the short Cedar Street Subway and an upper level loop terminal on the second floor of the Terminal accessed via a ramp from Mulberry Street on the east. New track connections in the downtown area allowed some 200 of the rush hour trips of 10 lines into the central business district to be diverted to the off street Terminal. In subsequent years abandonment of trolley lines in Newark reduced usage of the Terminal. The final trolleys to use the Terminal were on the Jersey City Line No. 43, which ran into the lower level of the Terminal until 1 May 1938. Buses continued to use the lower level Terminal until 1958, when all transit operations into the Terminal ended and were transferred to terminal points on city streets and at the Newark Penn RR Station.

Bullingers published maps and information on “Suburban Trolley Lines within 50 miles of New York City” in June for 10¢.

The Hell Gate Bridge was opened on 30 September (the official opening was 9 March 1917), linking the Pennsylvania RR through Penn Station, NYC with New England via the New Haven RR. Built across the Hell Gate of the East River, it was the world’s longest steel arch bridge until the Bayonne Bridge was opened in 1931.

Pouch Terminal was founded by William H. Pouch and occupied Piers 19 to 21 on the east side of Staten Island at Clifton. There was a ownership / financial connection between Pouch and American Dock Co. Pouch was a pier and 15 warehouse complex offering lighterage service but with no float-bridge service, although it was connected to the Staten Island Railway (operated by the B&O). Current tenants are Oriental Navigation, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Livermore Dearborne & Co. Pouch Terminal 30 ton switching locomotive #2 was built by Mack Truck Co. in 1936. It was powered by two Mack 6 cylinder gasoline engines, totaling 270 hp, with electric drive. Ca. 1980, #2 was donated to NJ Museum of Transportation at Allaire State Park, where it remains on display indoors.

Bethlehem Steel operated a shipyard in Elizabeth from 1916 to 1921.

In early December, on the eve of WW I, Henry Ford chartered the Scandinavian-American ocean liner Oscar II in a much-ridiculed attempt to stop the European war. He hoped his intensive peace activities would result in the assembly of a group of the biggest and most influential peace advocates in the country, who could get away on his ship on short notice. Although some dropped out at the last moment, Oscar II departed from its Hoboken pier where a crowd estimated at 15,000 had gathered. She arrived in Oslo, Norway on 18 December, but Henry Ford was ill, never made any appearances and departed for the US on 23 December. The crusade which cost Ford $465,00 had failed... American Heritage, Vol. IX, No. 2, February 1958


The Canadian (railroad) Car and Foundry Company built an enormous factory in the NJ Meadowlands at Kingsland (now Lyndhurst) to manufacture shells for the UK and Russia. On 11 January, a fire started in one of the buildings and in four hours an estimated 500,000 pieces of 76mm (3") high explosive shells were discharged. The entire plant was destroyed. It was said to have been a spectacle more magnificent than the explosion at Black Tom which preceded it. It is generally accepted that both incidents were acts of sabotage carried out by the Germans. Interestingly, the site later became a shop complex for the Lackawanna RR.

Eighteen ships were frozen in the ice at one time in February, off Bush Terminal piers in Brooklyn. Gravesend Bay was closed to navigation from Fort Hamilton to Sea Gate. Recruits from Fort Slocum on David’s Island crossed to the mainland on the ice.

War between the US and Germany was declared on 6 April. The first overt act of was made by US Coast Guard cutters stationed in NY and troops from Governor’s Island. Eighteen minutes after the declaration of war, a battalion of infantry was ordered aboard several cutters to seize all German ships and their crews in NY Harbor. By noon the Coast Guard had taken all eighteen ships then in the Port of NY; five of them had been anchored in the Hudson off 135th Street. The vessels were interned and the enemy crewmen were put on Ellis Island. For two years Ellis Island served as a detention center for enemy aliens, a way station for Navy personnel, and a hospital for the Army.

During WW I NY Harbor became the busiest port in the world. Over one million troops were shipped overseas, as well as huge amounts of food, clothing, and munitions; even 90-ton locomotives were sent to France, complete, so that within a few hours after a vessel’s arrival they were on tracks, hauling trains.

A steel net was strung across the Narrows to keep U-boats from entering the Upper Bay. Soon the German submarines planted mines around Sandy Hook, in the path of outbound ships. Sixteen tugs based at Staten Island were converted to minesweepers. Working in pairs, they swept the ocean every day for 100 miles out from Sandy Hook, finding and exploding a large number of floating mines.

Fort Tilden was established about the time of American involvement in WW I. It was preceded by a number of temporary military installations on or near the location dating as far back as the War of 1812, and ending with Naval Air Station Rockaway. It was the departure point of the first transatlantic flight. It is located on the Rockaway Peninsula between Jacob Riis Park to the east and Breezy Point to the west and is now a part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Fort Tilden today is largely a natural area of beach, dunes and maritime forest. Most of the old military installations are abandoned.. Atop one of the old batteries, Battery Harris East, is a viewing platform offering 360-degree views that encompass the city, NY Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean. The area is popular with bird-watchers and other nature-lovers and is widely used for fishing.

The greatest traffic tie-up in NJ history occurred during WW I. With manpower shortages, the worst winter in history and a German U-boat campaign against commercial shipping, 180,000 loaded railroad cars sat in NJ yards waiting for unloading space at NY piers. A food and coal shortage resulted in northern NJ.

The US Government took over all railroads for the duration of World War I. At this time the federal government also took control of the Great Northern Express Co., Northern Express Co., Western Express Co., Adams Express Co., American Express Co., Wells Fargo, Inc., and Southern Express Companies and merged them into one giant company to be known as “American Railway Express Co.”

Six converted yachts sailed from New York to form the nucleus of a US patrol squadron in European waters on 9 June.

On 14 June the first contingent of American Expeditionary Force sailed from NYC under Navy convoy.

On 15 June the USS Olympia ran aground in Long Island Sound and was put in for repairs at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which along with the replacement of her four-inch guns with 5-inch guns, took eight months.

The US Government utilized the D&R Canal for the transportation of boilers and other naval equipment from the League Island Navy Yard in Philadelphia to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

During World War I a continual procession of submarine chasers bound for the Brooklyn Navy Yard from the Annapolis Navy Yard, or vice versa, went through the D & R canal. In fact, this was one of its chief strategic advantages. In times of uncertain weather, it was possible for a boat of none too excellent navigating qualities to leave Baltimore in the morning and by going through the canal(s) arrive in New York not later than the evening of the next day. This obviated the necessity of making the dangerous trip up the coast and around Sandy Hook. (During wartime the inside canal route avoided the perils of enemy submarines off the Jersey coast.) The Sunday Times, New Brunswick, July 3, 1927.

The tug John E. McAllister sank in the East River on 7 July.

On 14 July the Standard Oil launch, Delivery was sunk in the East River by the lighter Valvoovian with the loss of two.

The war effort increased employment at the W & A Fletcher Co. Hoboken Shipyard to nearly 3,500 workers. During July discontent at low wages precipitated a walkout by 4,000 workers from the Fletcher and nearby Tietjin and Lang yards.

The Holland-America Line’s SS Vaterland was launched in 1913 at Hamburg, Germany and was the largest passenger ship in the world at the time. She had made only a few trips across the Atlantic when WW I broke out as she arrived at Hoboken, NJ. There she spent the next three years. When the US entered WW I in 1917 she was turned over to the US Navy and renamed USS Leviathan on 6 September. She carried up to 14,000 persons on each trip to Brest, France, a total of over 119,000 fighting men before the armistice on 11 November 1918. Thereafter she made 9 westward crossings, reversing the flow of men and finally tying up at Hoboken again in September 1919. Seven weeks later Leviathan was decommissioned and acquired by US Lines.

On 3 December the US destroyer McCall collided with the Clyde liner Comanche below the Narrows in high wind.

The pilot boat Pilot from Maryland got caught in the submarine net off NY and was rammed and sunk by the Merchants and Miners Line steamer Berkshire.

The NJ Legislature created a State Highway Department which began with the designation of 15 routes.

Public Service Railway Company organized a subsidiary, the New Jersey Transportation Company, to operate buses.

The last horsecar line (in the US), on Bleeker Street, NYC, ceased operation.


Through passenger trains of the B&O and LV Railroads were shifted from the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal to Pennsylvania Station in NYC by the United States RR Administration. B&O freight trains continued using the C RR of NJ. LV commuter trains were routed to the P RR Exchange Place Terminal.

Frank Hague became mayor of Jersey City and he and his political machine stayed in power for 30 years. He was a working-class hero and was termed the ultimate Irish political boss in a time of rough and tumble politics. His arch enemies were the railroads, the public utilities and the oil companies. Shortly after taking office he increased the tax assessments on the Standard Oil Company from $1,500,000 to $14,000,000; on the Public Service Corporation from $3,000,000 to $30,000,000 and on the railroads from $67,000,000 to $160,000,000. The corporations rushed to the state Board of Taxes and Assessments in Trenton. The board cancelled all Hague’s escalations.

Red Star tug Westchester, towing a coal barge, capsized coming out of Pot Cove, East River with the loss of two men.

On 25 April the liner St. Paul rolled over at her pier with the loss of three lives; refloated in September.

The T. A. Gillespie Shell Loading Plant explosion on 4 October triggered a fire and subsequent series of explosions which continued for three days. The ammunition facility in the Morgan area of Sayreville, NJ was destroyed, along with more than 300 buildings, and over 100 were killed.

On 15 October, just before departing for another trip, carrying US service personnel across the Atlantic to France, the USS America accidently sank alongside her pier at Hoboken with the loss of six men. She was raised and four months later returned to service to begin the first of eight round-trip voyages that brought nearly 47,000 Americans home from the former European war zone. Interestingly, this vessel was launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1905 as the German passenger liner Amerika. When WW I began in August 1914 she was laid up at Boston until the US entered the conflict in April 1917. She was then seized and turned over to the Navy for conversion to a troop transport.

The transport America sank at her pier in Hoboken with two lost on 18 October.

The Malbone Street Wreck occurred on the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Co. at a sharp curve approaching the tunnel at Malbone Street, Brooklyn. A Brighton Beach train, made up of five wooden cars of the oldest type in use, was speeding with a rush hour crowd to make up lost time on its way from park Row to Coney Island. The train derailed on the sharp curve and plowed into a concrete structure. Nearly every one in the first car was killed and most of those in the second car were either killed or badly injured. However, the 29 year-old motorman survived, was in his home, was arrested, and brought to the local police station for questioning. It was uncovered that he was a dispatcher and had never run a train over the Brighton Beach Line before. He was pressed into service in the rush hour without proper training or qualification because of a strike of motormen.

On 2 December Cunard Lines RMS Mauretania arrived in NYC with the first US troops returning from Europe in WW I.

On 4 December President Wilson sailed from NYC on the USS George Washington for the Paris peace conference.

The Brooklyn Army Terminal a/k/a US Army Military Ocean Terminal - Brooklyn Army Base, or the NY Port of Embarkation, was designed by Cass Gilbert and built in this year. It is a large complex of piers, docks, warehouses, cranes, rail sidings and cargo loading equipment on 95 acres between 58th and 63rd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. During WW II, the terminal was responsible for shipment of 85% of army equipment and personnel overseas; 38,000,000 tons of supplies and over 3 million soldiers. The facility was sold to NYC in 1981; has been totally renovated; and reopened as an industrial park. It is now leased and managed by the NYC Economic Development Corporation. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The enlargement of the NY State Barge Canal System was completed, providing 12' depth throughout and locks of 50' by 300' long. Traffic increased for many years after the enlargement, but in the 21st century very little freight of any kind is carried. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway took away most of the freight traffic of the NY Canal System The total distance from Buffalo to NY Harbor is 507 miles and the trip which took 5 weeks when mules were used, could be completed in 10 days with steam towed barges at the time. Great volumes of grain flowed to NY Harbor and coal moved west. From NY Harbor to the Canadian border via the Champlain route is 321.5 miles and the trip to Quebec took 3 to 5 weeks. On the latter route it was very common to carry lumber south to NY Harbor and coal north.


On 11 March, the Amalgamated Association of Street and Electric Railway Employees of America, seeking ten hours of pay for nine hours of work from Public Service Railway, which the company said it could not afford, ordered their members to walk out. Private jitney buses helped fill the transportation gap. In Jersey City, ninety emergency jitney licenses were granted to swell the number of buses already in operation to about three hundred. In Newark the number of jitneys grew to 400. The strike ended peacefully, five months later.

The inbound Long Island Sound passenger steamer Lexington collided with and sank the tug Jameson in the East River on a foggy 17 March morning. The tug’s crew was rescued. Also, the US Shipping Board freighter Waubesa, with grain for England and Holland, collided the ferries Mayor Gaynor and Queens. While the Waubesa sank in NY Harbor, the ferries were only damaged.

The US Lightship, LV-51, Sandy Hook, was rammed and sunk by a Standard Oil barge on 24 April at the entrance to NY Harbor.

C RR of NJ’s Pier 18, one of the most modern coal re-shipping facilities in the world was completed at Jersey City. It was 950' long and was equipped with two McMyler car dumpers, each with an unloading capacity of 40 cars per hour. The work was described in an article “The Jersey Central is building a modern coal pier” which appeared in the 29 August issue of Railway Age, Vol. 67, p. 388-392. A further article, “Design and operation of modern car dump coal pier” appeared in the 15 April 1920 issue of Engineering News-Record, Vol. 84, p. 759-62. Ethne M. Kennedy, wrote an article, “Big Mac,” which appeared in the November 1951 issue of Railroad Magazine, 56, p. 47-53. And, Robert F. Fischer wrote an article: “The Jersey Central’s ‘Big Mac’ coal unloaders” which appeared in the April 2009 issue of Model Railroad Craftsman.

On 6 October, the Long Island Sound passenger steamer Lexington was rammed at Hell Gate by US Navy submarine 0-7, putting a hole in the bow of the Lexington.

The steamer Chicago City sunk in a collision off Staten Island on 20 October.

The White Star liner Adriatic rammed the St. Michael which was at anchor in fog off the Statue of Liberty on 29 November.

On 5 December the schooner Mary E. Lynch was sunk by a tug in the North River with 4 dead.

American Railway Express pioneered and developed the first full-scale air-express service between New York and Chicago.

The Cunard Line opened their new headquarters, with a Renaissance-inspired limestone exterior building at 25 Broadway, NYC. A lavish vestibule leads to a great hall where transatlantic voyages were booked. The hall is awash in things marine: starfish, seahorses, shells, sirens, an albatross, and the vessels of Columbus and others. Legendary sea creatures still flourish and Cunard’s steamship routes beckon on the walls. All are celebrated in paintings, murals, and medallions. The grandly presented theme underscores the power and reach of the Cunard Line at the time. New York City had become the largest city and busiest port in the world. For years the NY Central RR leased office space in the Cunard building. In 1976 the US Postal Service leased the ornate first floor, but it is in 2011 sadly vacant.


On 4 February the 310-foot-long, 2,395 ton, steel liner Maine of the Providence and Stonington Steamship Co. became a total loss on Execution Rocks due to floating ice and a blinding snow storm. Her passengers and horses were marooned for three days. A half a dozen other steamers, as well as fishing smacks and tugs, were ice-blockaded in that vicinity for days.

On 5 February the American screw steamer Princess Anne of the Old Dominion Line was approaching NY Harbor from Norfolk, VA. A snowstorm was raging, with a northeast gale - it was the worst storm around NY in twenty years. Long Island Sound steamboat lines stopped all movement of their vessels from terminals. Six steamers were jammed in the ice off Larchmont, NY. On the south shore of Long Island, wreckage was strewn for miles. On land all roads were blocked. The captain of the Princess Anne had missed two buoys at the east entrance to Ambrose Channel. A Pilot boat chased after the errant vessel, trying to warn her with its whistle and searchlight, but the captain of the Anne paid no attention to the blowing and flashing. (Coastal ships didn’t have to take a pilot.) At 2:30 am the following morning she grounded on West Bar, three-quarters of a mile southwest of Rockaway Point. Due to the weather they couldn’t launch lifeboats, and no one could reach them. Several days later rescue attempts finally succeeded. Soon the vessel broke in two and was a total loss.

The USS Olympia was reclassified from C-6 to CA-15 and prepared for another tour of duty in the Adriatic, departing from NY on 14 February.

The schooner B. F. Jayne was adrift for three weeks in the East River in February.

The P RR began experimenting with radio communications on its tugs in New York Harbor.

US Government operation of railroads ended.

On 19 April the first German submarine brought to the US after WW I, U-111, arrived in NYC.

A Supreme Court decision of 26 April ordered the complete segregation of the Reading RR and the C RR of NJ, and their two coal subsidiaries.

The LV RR built their Claremont Terminal on the east side of Jersey City. It was used to unload South American iron ore from freighters for delivery by rail to the Bethlehem Steel mills in Bethlehem, PA to the end of WW II. It was then re-purposed for the loading of US Army troopships and transports and in conjunction with the Caven Point Army Terminal provided much of the material used by US forces in the early years of the Korean War. After years of vacancy Clermont Terminal came under the ownership of CSX after the split-up of Conrail in 1987. It is now almost exclusively used as a steel and ferrous metals scrap export facility.

The US government built reinforced concrete canalboats during WW I for the New York Canal and Great Lakes Corporation to increase inland shipping capacity. In 1920 concrete canalboats #101, #108, #115, and #118 were transferred south to the Intracoastal Division via NY Harbor. The self-propelled steel barge Rockland (#220137) towed them via the Delaware & Raritan and Chesapeake & Delaware Canals for service between Baltimore, Norfolk, and New Bern, NC.

On 29 December, the lighter John C. Craven was sunk by the Niew Amsterdam off the Battery with two crewmen lost.

Radio Corporation of America built a high power station along the Delaware & Raritan Canal west of New Brunswick to establish the first continuously reliable radio telegraph service. It was powered by 200kw Alexanderson radio frequency alternators and motors built by the General Electric Company of Schenectady, NY, which were transported to New Brunswick by canalboats.

In this year there were fewer than 25 thousand trucks registered in NJ; by the end of the decade, registrations had increased to over 130 thousand.


Hudson County, NJ was established on 30 April.

C RR of NJ provided a special train for their annual Veteran Employees Assn. outing. The train departed Scranton at 2 AM, picking up 734 employees and their family members along the way to Jersey City, where the continued on to the Bear Mountain Inn for lunch via steamboat.

The bi-state Port of New York Authority (later renamed the Port of New York and New Jersey Authority) was created by New York and New Jersey on 30 April and ratified by Congress to jointly build important transportation related projects. PONYA was the first "Port Authority" in the US and the second in the world.

Stephan Schaffan began the Atlas Tool and Die Co. which became a leader in the worldwide model railroad industry. Atlas was one of the first companies to mass produce HO gauge track products. Now known as Atlas Model Railroad Co., they are located in Hillside, NJ and continue to produce hundreds of model items.

On 8 October trolley bus (trolley coach or trackless trolley) service began on Staten Island.

An iron-hulled, 136' 6," steam ferry, the Machigonne, was built in Philadelphia in 1907 and first served in Portland, ME and then Boston. In 1917, she was acquired by the US Navy and became USS Machigonne (SP-1043); two one-pounder guns were added to the luxury vessel for defense and she was used to transport men and supplies between Boston and Bumpkin Island Training Station during WW I. After two years she returned to ferry duties, transporting passengers between Boston and Provincetown, MA. In 1921 the ship voyaged to New York where she became an Ellis Island ferry used to transport newly arrived immigrants to Manhattan and to the C RR of NJ Terminal at Jersey City. She was also used to ferry tourists to the Statue of Liberty. In 1929 she was sold to Capt. Daniel F. McAllister, renamed Hook Mountain, and operated as a tour boat, carrying passengers from Battery Park to Bedloe’s Island and Governor’s Island. In 1939 she was sold to a RI company and renamed Block Island. She also operated under the name League Island when requisitioned for WW II service. In 1947 she was renamed Yankee and had her original steam propulsion system replaced with a 900hp GM diesel from an LST, and was used to transport tourists and vacationers from Providence to Block Island. After the 1983 summer season Yankee was laid up, neglected, in CT and RI. In 1990 the dilapidated Yankee was rescued and towed back to New York by Jimmy Gallagher, who began restoration to turn her into a fully functioning residence. She was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. In 2003 he sold Yankee to artists Victoria and Richard Mackenzie-Childs for $365,000 and they kept her docked at the same Pier 25 in Tribeca, on the west side of Manhattan, where Gallagher had docked. They were forced to find a new home when Pier 25 was rebuilt for Hudson River Park in 2006. Yankee is now docked in a marina at 12th Street, Hoboken where they periodically host open house tours to benefit the Hoboken Historical Museum.

The number of trolley cars operated by Public Service reached a peak of 2,500.


On 12 January the five-masted auxiliary schooner Marie De Ronde collided with barges off Staten Island and was damaged.

The British motor schooner Bertha A., a rum-runner from the Bahamas, collided at Quarantine Station with the British steamer Sheaf Field on 18 January and was damaged; the captain of the rum-runner was arrested.

On 2 February the ferry Bronx collided in fog at Quarantine Station with the ferry Queens, then with a coal tow. On the same day the British steamship Empress of Scotland suffered an explosion at Pier 59, North River and 8 were badly burned.

The lighter Mary A. Kenny, with a cargo of sugar, caught fire in Erie Basin, Brooklyn on 9 February. The fire was extinguished by fireboats, but the cargo was destroyed.

On 10 February the barge Whitehaven collided with the steamer El Valle from Galveston and the barge sank off Red Hook.

The Morris Canal properties passed into the hands of the State of New Jersey. The Jersey City Big and Little Basin properties were excluded and remained a part of LV rail and marine operations for many more years. They are now part of Liberty State Park.


The great Public Service trolley strike began on 1 August, lasted 51 days, and was finally ended by a court order. Public Service made an abrupt turnabout and decided to acquire independent bus operations. In the next six years it bought out more than 1,300 operating permits.

The first sound-on-film moving picture, “phonofilm” was shown by Lee de Forest at the Rivoli Theater in NYC.


Ingersoll-Rand demonstrator diesel (GE #8835) was released for demonstration service. It made its first appearance on the NY Central RR West Side Line. The 300 HP 60 ton locomotive moved a 93 car train on level track for 36 minutes! No. 8835 was also successful in a tug-of-war with one of NYC's shrouded Shay steam locomotives used on street trackage in Manhattan. The I-R engine hauled the thrashing, smoking, Shay away without spinning a wheel. In the summer and fall further demonstrations of 8835 were made mostly in the NY / NJ area on the B&O RR, C RR of NJ, NY NH & H RR, and Long Island RR into 1925 followed by the Reading RR, DL&W RR, and Hoboken Manufacturers (Shore) RR. Because the diesel was twice as expensive as a steam locomotive, no orders were generated until a law was passed which would prohibit steam locomotives in NYC. Undaunted I-R proceeded to manufacture engines for future sale.

The Nixon Nitration Works disaster was an explosion and fire that began on 1 March in about twelve square miles of former WW I munitions plants along the Raritan River east of New Brunswick. Twenty people were killed; forty buildings were destroyed and the industrial town of Nixon was demolished. Firefighters fortunately prevented the spread of flames to the nearby Raritan Arsenal where 500,000 high-explosive shells were stored.

On 25 April the steamboat Grand Republic and the excursion steamers Highlander and Nassau were all destroyed by fire in their winter quarters on the Hudson River.

The graceful 338-foot-long, side-wheel, steam, excursion boat, Alexander Hamilton was built for the Hudson River Day Line (their last paddler). She was propelled by an unusual 3,400hp inclined triple expansion engine which gave her a top speed of 21mph. Hamilton, which had a capacity of 3,717 and a crew of 50, was operated on various Hudson River excursion runs north from Pier 81, Manhattan. She ceased operating in 1971 and was later beached near Atlantic Highlands. Finally she was moved to the east side of the Earle Naval Weapons Station Pier in Raritan Bay and on 8 November sank during a storm.

Work began on the electrification of Staten Island’s three passenger railway lines.

The North Jersey Rapid Transit Commission and the Transit Commission of NYC proposed to extend the NYC subway system to provide connections with Erie and Lackawanna Railroads on the West side of Jersey City. It was never built.

The Statue of Liberty was Declared a National Monument on 15 October.

“The Yacht Alice,” by Henry Howard, Boston: Lauriat, 1926, describes a trip “Through Inland Waterways from New York to Florida” in October, 1924. ALICE was a brand new, ketch rigged, 52-foot, yacht with an auxiliary Bolinder oil engine, designed by Commodore R. M. Munroe and built by A.C. Brown & Sons at Tottenville, Staten Island.

The current, 50-foot diameter, Colgate Clock was installed atop the Colgate-Palmolive works south of Exchange Place, Jersey City. When Colgate left New Jersey and the buildings were demolished, the clock was moved and installed on and empty river-front lot, further south. When the Goldman Sachs Tower was built the clock was moved further south and is now on the north side of the Morris Canal Little Basin. It is currently maintained by Goldman Sachs and Bob Barth is the technician.

The Fulton Fish Market sold 384 million pounds of fish – 25% of all seafood sold in the US.

The famous “Brute,” was the largest model locomotive ever produced by Lionel, measuring 28 inches in length. It was built in Italy in this year and the articulated electric loco had six axles; three motors; dummy pantographs; and a track gauge of 3¼ inches. The hand made sample model was displayed for years at Lionel’s NYC showroom, but was never put into production.


The first commercially successful diesel-electric locomotive in America, with an American Locomotive Co. carbody, powered by an Ingersoll-Rand diesel was completed by General Electric, in Erie, PA and operated under its own power to the Ingersoll-Rand Phillipsburg plant. In the next 13 months it worked on 13 railroads, including the C RR of NJ; the Philadelphia, Bethlehem & New England (Bethlehem Steel) @ Bethlehem, PA; the DL&W RR; the Hoboken Manufacturers RR; and the Chestnut Ridge RR (NJ Zink Co. @ Palmerton, PA). Shortly after NY City banned the use of steam locomotives, the first unit (#9681) was sold to the C NJ RR as their #1000 in July. It was delivered under its own power from Phillipsburg to Jersey City and soon went to work in their Bronx carfloat yard and it operated successfully until 1952. Number 1000 survives in the B&O RR Museum in Baltimore. Two other 60-tonners were soon sold to the B&O and LV Railroads to work in yards on the west side of Manhattan.

Showboat cruises started aboard the McAllister Steamboat Company’s Bear Mountain as part of its cruises on the Hudson River. The vessel started from the Battery at lower Manhattan, stopped for more passengers at West 132nd Street, then proceeded up river – returning after a 3 or 4 hour cruise. A fare of $1 admitted one to the boat where facilities for dancing, dining and drinks were available. A “Broadway review” and variety of vaudeville acts usually climaxed the evening or afternoon outing. Other excursion boats quickly followed the pattern. By the early 1930's, nearly every excursion boat on the Hudson and carrying passengers to Coney Island or other recreational landings offered some form of entertainment while the vessel was under way. Several of the more popular boats were still promoting “moonlight showboat” cruises during the early 1950's. Prominent among the advertised luxury services were: Hudson River Day line with: Hendrick Hudson, Robert Fulton, Alexander Hamilton, and Peter Stuyvesant; Meseck Line with: Americana (billed as “Showboat of America”), Wauketa, and Westchester; and Wilson Line with Liberty Belle, Hudson Belle, and State of Delaware. Showboat Centennials, No. 17, March 1986

Louis B. Miller and C.I. Hansen departed the Western Union telegraph office, two blocks from the Cortland Street ferry in NYC at 1pm on 14 July in Miller's new Wills Sainte Claire roadster. They followed the Lincoln Highway to Oakland, CA, 3,423 miles, in a record breaking 102 hours and 45 minutes.

Mack rail cars No. 0102 & 0304 operated in tandem during October & November on the LV RR. They maintained regular LV local schedules between Newark and Mauch Chunk and from Easton to Jersey City. The gasoline cars consistently bettered the best performance of the regular steam locomotive drawn train.

A 600 HP Ingersoll-Rand / GE / Alco switcher was sold to the Long Island RR. It pulled a seven car train from Erie, PA to Jersey City on its delivery move.

Public Service ordered 333 gasoline-electric (gasoline engines drove a generator which powered electric traction motors) buses from Yellow Truck & Coach Co. with electric components from General Electric Co. This was, at the time, the largest single order of buses in this country. In the next four years the PS fleet of gas-electric buses grew to nearly 1,000.

The NY Central RR began working on grade separation for their West Side Freight Line to eliminate street running, grade crossings and steam locomotive operation. The work involved the removal of 640 buildings and 350 separate property agreements – one of the most extensive property deals ever undertaken by private interests in NYC.

Congress for the first time sharply restricted entry (immigration) into the US.


On 16 February, after being battered by big Atlantic Ocean rollers for 31 days, the British freighter, Errington Court, finally arrived at Weehawken and began to discharge her cargo of 6,500 tons of Welsh coal. The unlucky vessel passed through three storms of hurricane force, during which the chief officer was killed and the steering gear was twice put out of commission. At least five other vessels went to the bottom during this period. Because of the Marconi operator’s strike in England they had sailed without one. NY Times, 17 February 1926

The steamer City of Keansburg, was built and operated by the Keansburg Steamboat Co. from the Battery to Point Comfort Beach, Keansburg. There passengers could ride down the long pier on a miniature railway.

The North Jersey Transit Commission published a report RAPID TRANSIT for Northern New Jersey. The major recommendations were for an interstate loop line between Manhattan and a new Meadows Transfer Station to provide access and connections to Manhattan for the various commuter railroads including the C RR of NJ.

The C RR of NJ opened their new Newark Bay bridge. At 1.4 miles it was the longest four track bridge of its type in the world.

The Holland Tunnel was under construction on 1 June, when the Washington Irving of the Hudson River Day Line (the largest excursion steamer ever built, 3,104 tons, with 6,000 passenger capacity) sank right over the tunnel. The Irving and the barge Seaboard Oil No. 415 in tow of the steam tug Thomas E. Moran, collided in the Hudson River in heavy fog. Captain Deming of the Irving managed to land passengers and crew at Pier 9, Jersey City; but two lives were lost when she settled to the bottom with only her hurricane deck above water. Work on the tunnel was stopped until the vessel could be removed.

The NY area terminal for Baltimore & Ohio passenger trains was changed from NY Penn Station to the Jersey City Terminal of the C RR of NJ on August 29th due to the refusal of the P RR to extend the B&O's lease. The C RR of NJ assigned the B&O the two most northerly platforms in the terminal. Tracks 2 and 3 were removed from between the platforms and paved over as a driveway for the B&O Train Connection motor coach service which commenced in August. A short turntable was installed at the west end of this driveway to turn the motor coaches. A fleet of Deluxe motor coaches carried B&O passengers from train side via the Jersey Central ferries to several routes in New York City. This was the first railroad operated train-side motor coach connection. The buses used the C RR of NJ ferries and at peak terminated at four points in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. In addition there was a B&O Train Connection motor coach from the C RR Elizabeth station to Newark, operated by Public Service. The service was described in the Official Guide to the Railroads as well as in an article “Baltimore & Ohio RR Train Connection Buses (at C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal)” which appeared in the 27 February 1932 issue of Railway Age Magazine, p. 367+

The NY Society of Model Engineers was founded in NYC and is the oldest model railroad club in the US. They started out on the eighth floor of the Knickerbocker building; then moved to their basement; next to 34th Street; and then the Science building on 32nd Street. Their next location was a large room on the upper ferry concourse of the DL&W RR Hoboken Terminal. When the DL&W evicted them in 1958 the NYSME purchased their own building in Carlstadt, NJ where they have been ever since.

The last tow south on the Hudson River for the season had 55 canalboats and five tugs. Blocked by ice, four additional tugs were summoned to get the tow to NY Harbor.

The C RR of NJ earned an all-time high of over $60 million, with over 42 million tons of freight carried.

The original Victory Bridge over the Raritan River opened to traffic. It carried Route 35 between Perth Amboy and Sayreville and, at 360 feet, had the longest swing span in New Jersey.

Matthew R. Boylan, VP of Public Service Railway Company and affiliated companies stated that they were third largest in track mileage in the world and that Public Service Transport Company operated the largest number of buses in the US.


The tanker Black Sea exploded at Pier 5, Bayonne, NJ on 23 February. Burning gasoline poured through a hole in the tanker’s side, endangering other ships and piers. The fireboat John Purroy Mitchel made fast to the burning vessel while the fireboat William L. Strong poured streams over surrounding waters to prevent the fire’s spread, but the Mitchel caught fire. Its crew was forced below before they could cut the lines, but the two fireboats smothered the blaze. The Black Sea’s captain and three men were fatally burned before the arrival of the fireboats.

A major fire in the P RR's Pier K in Jersey City destroyed 35 freight cars on 3 March.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey moved its circus show train 1,323 miles from Sarasota, FL to NYC each spring in this year and for the next 31 years.

On 21 May, the three-masted schooner William H. Babcock, which was once in the China trade, sank at her mooring at Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

The Holland Tunnel, connecting Jersey City with NYC was completed at a cost of $48 million. It was the first, and for many years the longest underwater vehicular tunnel. The 1.6 mile road tunnel was the first built to handle the ventilation problems associated with automotive traffic. Besides being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been named a National Historic Landmark, a National Civil Engineering Landmark, and a Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Charles Lindbergh made the first solo flight across the North Atlantic in his Spirit of St. Louis.

The Lindbergh special train traveled on the P RR between Washington (through NJ) and New York at an average speed of 74mph.

On 1 July, NJ became the 45th state to pass a gasoline tax. It was 2¢ on each gallon purchased.

On 16 July, a well used 12-passenger Flxible bodied Buick sedan bus departed NYC, passed through the then-new Holland Tunnel and traveled across New Jersey to Trenton, en-route west. Four days later the bus arrived in Los Angeles.

On 16 October trolley bus (trolley coach or trackless trolley) operations on Staten Island were abandoned.

This was busiest year for the Hudson & Manhattan RR - 113,141,729 passengers were carried.

Public Service carried a record 450 million trolley and bus passengers statewide in this year.


The C RR of NJ began operation of its own shipyard, just south of Pier 18, the McMyler coal dumpers. The Marine Repair Yard had two floating dry docks and made major and minor repairs to the 167 vessel C RR of NJ fleet as well as the steamers, ferryboats, tugboats, carfloats, barges, lighters, etc. of other railroads and private industries. Some 400 men repaired over 400 vessels per year.

Public Service Coordinated Transport, the transit arm of Public Service Corporation, was formed to operate trolley and bus lines in most of New Jersey, succeeding Public Service Railway Co. (trolley) and Public Service Transportation Company (bus) on 31 January.

The first all-talking picture, Lights of New York, was presented at the Strand theater, NYC.

The Staten Island Ferry, Bronx, departed Whitehall Street with her usual evening capacity load of 2,000 passengers and full gangways of vehicles on 27 April. Just after passing Robins Reef Light, she turned to starboard, as usual, to take advantage of the tide flowing out of Kill Van Kull to make her berthing at St. George. For reasons which were never explained, the Bronx began to dive to starboard, inundating the men’s cabin under some five feet of water. Five passengers were swept overboard, of whom three drowned. The ferry righted herself as soon as she was stopped.

On 30 April, the tug James A. Cox sank in Jamaica Bay; the captain drowned, but five were saved.

The US dredge Navesink collided in NY Harbor with a barge in tow of the tug Auburn which sank with the loss of 18 on 7 May.

Leonor F. Loree, president of the Delaware & Hudson Co., announced that his RR had purchased a controlling interest in the LV and Wabash railroads and asked the ICC for permission to make this the nucleus for another trunk line. The ICC refused permission and ordered the D&H to sell the stocks. Loree sold the stocks to the P RR at a profit of $23,000,000 to the D&H. Both the LV and Wabash were very hard hit in the 1929 crash and their stocks were later only a small fraction of their earlier value.

Ingersoll-Rand sold their first tri-power diesel-electric / electric / battery switcher to the NY Central RR, primarily for use on their elevated Manhattan West Side freight line.

During August, the steamboat Chester W. Chapin of the Fall River Line was inbound to NYC from Providence, RI when she collided with and sank the fifty-year-old tug Volunteer in Hell Gate. The Chapin became mired on a sandbar but was later hauled off.

Public Service initiated interstate bus service between Newark and NYC via Jersey City.

The first revenue-service cross country bus line departed San Francisco and arrived in NYC in five days, 14 hours. The Pioneer Yelloway Stage, operated through New Jersey state via Camden, Newark and Jersey City.

Beginning on 14 October, special trains were operated under contract to the American Zeppelin Transport Co. to carry zeppelin passengers and mail between Lakehurst and the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal with ferry connection to NYC. The C RR of NJ also operated special trains for sightseers to each arriving and departing zeppelin.

On 17 October the steamer N. B. Starbuck burned at NY.

The term “Subway Series” was first used to describe Major League World Series Baseball games played between teams based in NYC. By the 1920s, the subway had become an important form of public transport in the city and provided a convenient form of travel between the three city ballparks: the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan; Yankee Stadium in the Bronx; and Ebbets Field in Brooklyn The 155th Street elevated and subway stations, the 161st Street Station and the Prospect Park station, respectively, served the ballparks at that time.

The W. & A. Fletcher Hoboken Shipyard succumbed to the drop in business after WW I, the decline in steamboat travel, and an economic depression, closing their doors as an independent shipyard. The company merged with several other small yards into United Dry Docks, making the latter the largest in the NY / NJ Harbor.

Public Service street cars and buses established a new record for total miles covered in regular operation in one year when the total for this year reached 102,405,081 miles. Of that number, their 1,538 buses were running a total of 5,000,000 miles per month.

The Jersey City Wagon Elevator was abandoned by Public Service.

Senator William H. Reynolds, (1868-1931) of Brooklyn, NY went through the D&R Canal in the late 1920's in his 126-foot-long, 23-foot-beam, 323-gross ton wood-hull yacht, Daydream. She was designed by John Trumpy and built by Mathis Yacht Building Co. of Camden in 1928 with two six-cylinder Winton diesel engines. Reynolds was the developer, builder, and president of Dreamland Park, one of Coney Island’s three major amusement parks. He opened it in 1904, sold it at auction in 1910 and it burned in 1911. The senator also was the real estate developer of Long Beach, NY and other projects.

Newark Airport opened on 1 November.

Wright family motor freight vessels carried three lunch wagons from the NY Harbor area south via the Delaware & Raritan Canal to Camden, Millville and Wildwood. The diners projected over the bow, requiring the mast to be removed. At other times they transported dyestuff from the DuPont Deepwater plant to NYC for transshipment to Dollar Line steamships.


By this year Public Service had built up a fleet of about 2,300 buses on 150 routes, one of the largest fleets in the world.

On 6 January, the barge Belfast foundered off Frying Pan Shoals, but the crew was rescued.

The tug Manut collided with a Lackawanna RR tug in the East River with one crew-member drowned on 17 February.

The tug Mutual collided with the Erie RR ferry Youngstown and sank on 30 April. Youngstown was built in 1922 at Mariners Harbor, NY and was sold to the Lackawanna RR in 1957.

In this year 69 railroads organized the Railway Express Agency and purchased American Railway Express on 1 March.

The B&O RR introduced their first lounge cars and the first air-conditioned test coach on trains operated through New Jersey.

The C RR of NJ Blue Comet train with fine quality dining service was established in Spring between Jersey City Terminal and Atlantic City via Elizabethport and Winslow Junction. It was designed by C RR of NJ president R. B. White in 1928. The colors chosen for the locomotive and train were ultramarine, for the sea and sky, cream for the sandy coastal beaches, and nickel. A special deep toned whistle (described as a cross between a steamboat whistle and a cathedral organ) was installed on each Blue Comet locomotive. Tickets for the train were blue, dining car chairs were upholstered in blue, and the porters were dressed in blue as well. It was the first all reserved seat, all coach fare, named train and the first east of the Mississippi to be equipped with roller bearings.

Robert Gaston Herbert, Jr. sent the Editor a typewritten copy of the log of his trip through the D&R Canal on April 30 and May 1, 1929. It was his delivery trip of the sloop Comet from the builder in Annapolis, MD to her owner at City Island, NY. The craft was a 21-foot day sailer, powered by an outboard engine and the “ship’s company” consisted of Robert as captain and his father as crew. The log is very unusual in that it documents the minute by minute detailed timing of the transit. Total elapsed time was 24 hrs., 14 min.; total delay time was 15 hrs., 47 min. including 11 hrs., 10 min. night layover; average speed was 5.17 mph. South Street Seaport Library / Archives

A. H. Ramsey and Sons of Miami completed a 1,600-mile endurance run of a 15-foot boat powered by two Lockwood Racing Chief outboard motors. The trip up the inter-coastal waterway and the D&R Canal to the Battery at NYC took 24 days. Outboard Motor Boating, June, 1929.

The SS (also known as TS - for Turbine Ship) Bremen arrived in Hoboken on her maiden crossing of the Atlantic from Bremerhaven. With an average speed of 51.54 km/hr she captured the westbound Blue Riband from the RMS Mauretania. This voyage also marked the first time mail was carried by a ship-launched plane for delivery before the ship’s arrival. A Heinkel HE 12 was launched, from a catapult on the upper deck, a few hours before arrival in New York with a number of mail bags. On her next voyage Bremen took the eastbound Blue Riband with a time of 4 days, 14 hours and 30 minutes.

On 31 August the auxiliary schooner Abacena burned off Belden Point, City Island, NY.

The first edition of the new Jersey Central News, for C RR of NJ employees was produced.

The New London, CT - NYC steamer New Hampshire rammed a dredge in the East River in October, causing a 70-foot gash near the waterline.

The stock market crash of 29 October was the beginning of the worst American depression and was a harbinger of Port of New York decline. Within five days the quoted value of stocks dropped from $87 billion to $57 billion.

The C RR of NJ Bullet train was established between Wilkes-Barre and Jersey City Terminal on 7 November.

The Reading Transportation Co. extended their Harrisburg to Allentown bus route to the new Central Union Bus Terminal in the Dixie Hotel in NYC. East of Allentown the route and service was conducted "on behalf of" the Jersey Central Transportation Co.

The British passenger and cargo ship Fort Victoria, bound from NY to Bermuda on 18 December, was rammed by the Clyde liner Algonquin and sank in Ambrose Channel at the entrance to NY Harbor with 400 passengers aboard. Pilot boats New York and Sandy Hook rescued Victoria’s passengers and crew.

Hudson & Manhattan RR ridership peaked at 112.3 million


The tug Thomas J. Howard sank in the East River after a collision.

The P RR Exchange Place to Desbrosses St. ferry was discontinued on 31 January.

On 11 February the North German Lloyd steamship Munchen was badly damaged by fire at NY. NYC fireboat Thomas Willett, piloted by John J. Harvey, came to the aid of the steamship Muenchen, on fire at Pier 42. Part of the smoldering cargo was unreported explosive material. The subsequent explosion blew the pilot house off the Willett, killing Harvey. The Muenchen continued to burn for an additional 24 hours. When crews finally boarded the half sunken vessel they discovered seven thousand canaries alive and chirping in Hold Four. A year later when construction was started on a new fireboat it was named the John J. Harvey, which is now preserved in NY Harbor. Munchen was rebuilt the next year and renamed General von Steuben.

An explosion and fire occurred at the Standard Oil Co. Bayway Refinery on 18 February, killing at least 10 workers, when a naphtha pipe broke.

Pure Oil Co. Tanker No. 5 exploded at Kearny, NJ on 7 March with three missing.

On 1 April the barge North River was rammed by the lighter Pilot Light in the East River and sank; 12 were saved.

The Williamsporter train, jointly operated by the C RR of NJ and Reading RR, was established between Williamsport, PA and Jersey City Terminal and Railway Post Office service was begun on that train.

On 31 May the schooner M. J. Taylor rammed a fishing launch off City Island with one missing.

Floyd Bennett Field, NYC’s first municipal airport was dedicated on 26 June. The site was a nearly 400-acre marsh with 33 small islands in Jamaica Bay, off the southeastern shore of Brooklyn. Six million cubic yards of sand were dredged from Jamaica Bay to connect the islands and raise the level of the site to 16 feet above the high tide mark. The new airfield’s modern, electrically illuminated, concrete runways and comfortable terminal facilities made it among the most advanced of its day. It was designated an historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it has among the largest collection and best representatives of commercial aviation architecture from the period, as well as the significant contributions to civil and military aviation made there. It was included as part of the Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972, managed by the National Park Service. The only present aviation use is as a base for NY Police Dept. helicopters.

The B&O was the first railroad in the east to introduce reclining-seat cars - July.

On 23 July trolley bus (trolley coach or trackless trolley) service began in Brooklyn.

Edwards Lakes-to-Sea-System was advertising a bus route via connecting carriers from NY to Chicago. NJ Rt. 29 (which became US 22) was utilized through NJ.

A pioneering coast to coast transportation service was begun using B&O passenger trains at night time and Boeing Air Transport and Northwest Airways airplanes during daylight hours because it was too dangerous to fly at night at the time.

The LV / P RR completed their replacement bridge over Newark Bay between Oak Island Yard and Bayonne. It is now maintained by the Conrail Shared Assets Organization.

The C RR of NJ 1889 steamboat Sandy Hook was damaged by fire and was rebuilt with a new 2,400 capacity steel superstructure.

Edward B. Cummerford, a Marine Surveyor and Vessel Broker obtained enrollment papers, bill of sale, title, inspection, etc. and handled the transfer of ownership and arranged for the towing of the tank barge Pioneer from Philadelphia area to NYC. This vessel was towed through the D&R Canal in mid-October by the gasoline tugboat Start; its Captain, Royal Tilford was paid $75 for his service. The vessel later worked in New England and was more recently extensively rebuilt and sails were installed for day-sail trips at South Street Seaport, where it remains to this day. Cummerford’s logs/diaries are in the South Street Seaport Library, NYC.

Manhattan’s Chrysler Building was completed. It was the first building in the world to rise higher than 1,000 feet. However, It’s record stood only one year, until the Empire State Building was completed.

The Electric Railway President’s Conference Committee, with a staff of 30 persons was formed. Much of the field work was done at Brooklyn, using the facilities of the Brooklyn & Queens Transit Corp., which was considered an ideal location. At the time the greater NY metropolitan area was served by about 10,000 streetcars, 8,000 rapid transit cars and 2,000 electric commuter cars, or about one of every three electric railway vehicles operating at the time in North America.

The Ford Motor Company opened a new 400,000 square foot auto assembly plant on a 1,500 foot-long pier on the Hudson in Edgewater, NJ. It built Model A and B cars; the 1936 Ford Coupe; the 1938 Ford Deluxe Convertible Coupe; the 1938 Ford Mercury; as well as countless military vehicles through the war years. The plant closed in 1955 and is now the Independence Harbor condo complex.


On 10 February the motor boat Ewscray burned and sank near Romer Shoals in Lower NY Bay.

The tug Joyce Card exploded and sank in Erie Basin, killing five on 7 March.

On 17 March the drill boat North River sank at Hell Gate.

The NY to Norfolk steamer Arminda collided in the Narrows with the British motor vessel Silveryew and both were damaged.

The George Washington bridge was completed over the Hudson to Fort Lee, NJ. With a span of 3,500 feet it was the longest suspension bridge completed to date. It was designed to be able to accommodate rail transit with a connection to the NYC 8th Avenue subway line but that was never accomplished.

The B&O RR inaugurated "Rail - Air Passenger Service" between the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and Los Angeles / San Francisco.

The Empire State Building opened on 1 May. At 102 stories it was the tallest building in the world until construction of the World Trade Center’s North Tower was completed in 1972. Following the destruction of the WTC in 2001, the Empire State Building once again became the tallest building in NYC.

The B&O RR introduced the world's first completely air-conditioned deluxe intercity passenger train, the Columbian, between Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC in May.

The P RR opened their 2,371,000 sq. ft. Rail-to-Keel Terminal (a/k/a Harborside Terminal) at Jersey City. It was said to be the largest, most modern, and most unusual waterfront terminal in the country. Included in the complex were two piers, warehouses, a cold storage plant, offices and stores. The facility has been converted to office occupancy and is now known as Harborside Financial Center.

The USS Constitution, after an extensive restoration, left Boston on 2 July for the first time in a half a century for a goodwill tour of 90 ports on both the east and west coasts, NYC included. She was towed by the minesweepers USS Grebe and Bushnell on the tour. At the end of this tour, in 1934, “Old Ironsides,” America’s ship representing Naval Heritage, returned to Boston, where she has remained ever since.

C RR of NJ’s The Bullet train stopped running between Jersey City and Wilkes-Barre on 12 July.

SeaTrain Lines, which had begun hauling railroad freight cars between New Orleans and Havana, Cuba, on 5 January 1929, expanded their innovative operations and began operating from 15th Street, Hoboken. On 7 October SeaTrain New York inaugurated service to New Orleans. At the time SeaTrain owned the Hoboken Manufacturers RR. Entire railroad freight cars were hoisted aboard their specially equipped steamships first at Hoboken, later Edgewater and transported to and from Savannah, New Orleans, Texas and Cuba.

The Erie RR placed four new diesel-electric tugs in service in New York Harbor.

The DL&W RR suburban electrification was completed. Thomas Edison was at the controls of the first train. It was the first use of 3000-volt DC Multiple Unit cars on a large scale and the first major all-rectifier 3000-volt electrification. Their 3000-volt DC catenary system also was the last of its type installed on a US railroad.

After a disastrous fire at her lay-up berth south of Jersey City Terminal on 28 October, the charred wreck of C RR of NJ Sandy Hook Route steamboat Sandy Hook sank. She was rebuilt and modernized with a new steel superstructure.

The Bayonne Bridge, spanning Kill Van Kull between Bayonne and Staten Island was the longest steel arch bridge at the time of its opening on 15 November. It is now the fourth longest in the world.


The C RR of NJ began serving breakfast in January on its ferryboats between 7am and 9:22am following a week’s experiment on two boats. It was such a success that the DL&W RR began selling breakfast on its ferryboats on 15 February, and the NYC - West Shore RR ferryboats followed suit in April.

On 13 April the US Coast Guard cutter Manhattan collided with freighter Guayaquil at NY Harbor; one drowned, 6 hurt.

The B&O RR introduced the first completely air-conditioned through sleeping-car train, the National Limited, on 20 April. Plans for this new service were kept a closely guarded secret until 2 days before the trip.

On 6 May a spectacular fire destroyed the Cunard White Star Pier 54. It was the worst pier fire in NYC up to that date. The Iron Steamboat Co. went out of business using the same fleet of vessels they began operation with in 1881.

The steamer Sea Bird burned at NY on 9 May.

On 25 August the barge Red Fox sank at Perth Amboy drowning the captain.

Jersey City’s Mayor Hague blundered to the brink of disaster by backing Alfred E. Smith against Franklin D. Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. When F.D.R won the nomination, Hague quickly recanted and promised “the largest political rally ever held in the US” on 27 August at Sea Girt, the summer home of New Jersey’s governor. Commandeering most of the rolling stock of the C RR of NJ, plus squadrons of buses and cars, Hague assembled a total of 150,000 faithful. In the little resort town, sixty miles from Jersey City, they swarmed around the Roosevelt home and cheered their lungs out for F.D.R. when he appeared on the platform to congratulate “my friend, Mayor Hague,” for his overwhelming demonstration of Democratic muscle. Hague slammed his Hudson County political dynamo to full throttle and produced an astonishing 184,000 votes for Roosevelt on Election Day. Subsequently, all the federal patronage for New Jersey passed through Hague’s City Hall. Some $47,000,000 in W.P.A. funds alone poured into Jersey City, enabling Hague to complete his huge medical center.

The wooden excursion steamer Observation exploded approaching its Southeast Bronx pier, with the loss of 72 lives and 8 missing on 9 September.

The Port Authority of the City of NY opened their new Union Inland Freight Station on the block bounded by 8th & 9th Avenues and W. 15th & W. 16th Streets. Space was leased to the P RR, LV, B&O, Erie, DL&W, C RR of NJ, NY Central, NY NH & H railroads and the Railway Express Agency. It had 14 floors, 82 truck docks, 12 freight elevators (with four capable of lifting a 20 ton truck up to building tenants).

The first line of the NYC-owned and operated Independent Subway System (IND) opened. It was intended to compete with the private systems and allow some fo the elevated railways to be torn down.

The Pulaski Skyway was completed connecting the industrial heart of northern New Jersey with the Holland Tunnel.

The 19 story, 1.8 million square foot, Starrett Lehigh warehouse and manufacturing building was completed in Manhattan. It is bounded by 26th & 27th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues. It was served by rail via float bridges on the nearby Hudson River. It had two inside tracks on the south side and one open platform track on the north side. Rail service ceased years ago and Martha Stewart Enterprises is now a tenant.

The Hudson & Manhattan Railroad paid its last dividend.


The P RR completed electrification of their main line between Manhattan Transfer and Trenton on 1 January. This permitted through main line trains to run between New York and Wilmington or Paoli, PA with electric locomotives. It also replaced the third rail powered operations between NYC and Manhattan Transfer.

The Reading assumed control of the C RR of NJ under Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) authorization.

The Hudson River Day Line acquired a financial interest in the Buccaneer, a barkentine which had been modified amidship for the addition of a theater facility and arranged for her to be anchored near Dobbs Ferry, about 20 miles up the Hudson River from Manhattan’s midtown. The Day Line and other excursion boats would stop alongside the showboat, and transfer passengers who sought (as the ads indicated) an evening of rollicking entertainment. After the show, they were returned to their boarding locations. Buccaneer was moved down river to Pier 16 at the foot of 14th Street, Hoboken. During the years 1936 to 40, the vessel served as a W.P.A. Federal Theater. The Buccaneer was last serving as the bulkhead for the Hastings Yacht Club. Showboat Centennials, No. 17, March 1986

The C RR of NJ’s Sandy Hook Route steamer Sandy Hook began to offer “Evening Dinner” and “Moonlight” sails from NYC.

The steamer Express sank at Manhattan Beach. She was raised and later became the Mandalay.

On 11 May, the steamer Louise foundered at Brooklyn.

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

On 17 November the SS Deutschland rammed the SS Munargo off the Statue of Liberty. The Munargo was beached at Bedloe’s Island.

The SS Ohioan collided with the SS Liberty in Ambrose Channel and settled down on shoals; crew rescued.

The Statue of Liberty was placed under the management of the National Park Service.


Public Service converted their first electric-drive bus to an "All-Service Vehicle" (by installation of dual trolley poles to allow it to also be powered from overhead trolley wire) and tested it on Pershing Road Hill in Weehawken on 11 January. Those present included Public Service President, Thomas N. McCarter; other PS officials; representatives from General Motors and General Electric and local officials. Eventually, a large fleet of new A-SV’s were acquired and 226 older gas-electric buses were converted for A-SV operation primarily to replace trolley car / railway operations.

The Transport Workers Union was established in NYC on 12 April among the primarily Irish subway workers of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Irish-born Michael J. Quill, a charismatic leader, rose to become president of the TWU within a couple of years.

The first prototype of the famous 100mph GG1 electric locomotives, streamlined by Raymond Loewy, and built by Baldwin Locomotive Works, was completed in August and entered test service on the P RR. They were the first streamlined electric locomotives. Eventually, by 1943, a total of 139 GG1's were built. Two have been preserved in the United RR Historical Society of NJ collection.

The Ward Line’s luxurious liner, SS Moro Castle, en-route from Havana, Cuba to New York caught fire off the Jersey Coast on 8 September and she later came ashore at Asbury Park, NJ. The crack Furness liner, Monarch of Bermuda, raced full speed to the Moro Castle and brought 70 living and one dead to New York. The Andrea F. Luckenbach, which also reached the blazing liner’s side in time, carried 22 persons to New York, where they were rushed to many hospitals, through police cleared streets. Thirty three bodies were recovered at Manasquan, and 17 were washed ashore at Point Pleasant. All told 251 of the liner’s 558 passengers and crew were dead or unaccounted for. A special train left for Asbury Park to bring back to hospitals 100 of the survivors on the beach – all of them members of the crew, save for five women and three men. Later investigations uncovered numerous fire deficiencies and protection shortcomings.

On 8 September the tug W. J. Tracy foundered in the Narrows with two missing.

In October, the Union Pacific’s new light-weight, streamlined train – 10001 ran from Los Angeles to NYC, a distance of 3,248 miles, in 56 hours and 55 minutes. It attained a maximum speed of 120 miles an hour and ran 506 miles at an average of 82.7 m.p.h.

A bulk cement handling plant to transfer cement from covered hopper cars to barges, with a capacity of 4 cars per hour, was erected by the C RR of NJ on Dock 10 at Jersey City.

Under an October agreement, the C RR of NJ and the B&O RR pooled all their marine equipment (which remained separately owned) and based the entire operation out of Jersey City under C RR management.

The elevated NYC RR West Side Freight Line, now known as the High Line, was completed with operation by electric and/or diesel-electric locomotives. Third rail electric power system extended south to 30th street. The elevated structure between 10th and 11th Avenues crossed about 40 intersecting streets on overhead bridges for 1.5 miles south of 34th Street. The southern terminus was the St. Johns Freight Terminal which spanned four blocks between Spring, Clarkson, Washington, & West Streets. It had eight tracks with a capacity of nearly 200 freight cars and 150 street level truck docks.

The Electric Railroaders Association was founded in 1934 in NYC and has moved several times, including 143 Greenwich Street, NYC; Hoboken, NJ; and finally to Grand Central Station, where their national headquarters has been located for many years.


On 2 January, the Colonial Line steamer Lexington was bound from NY to Providence, RI with 125 passengers on board. As she was heading up the East River between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, she was split in two by the 409-foot long, 3,500 ton, tramp Arrow Line freighter Jane Christensen of San Francisco and sank in 20 minutes. The doomed ship was quickly surrounded by tugboats and the Pennsylvania RR tug Elmira rescued many passengers. Half of the Lexington (246 feet long, of 46-foot beam, and 2,249 tons) floated to the foot of Grand Street, a quarter of a mile from where she was rammed. The other half sank off Market Street. Seven Lexington crew members were lost.

The former Danish, full-rigged, 100-foot, training ship, Georg Stage was purchased by Alan Villiers, renamed the Joseph Conrad, and taken on cruise which ended in NY Harbor on 2 January. Her anchor chain snapped during a squall; she drifted across the harbor and smashed on the rocks at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn; and was badly holed. Merritt, Chapman & Scott refloated her and repairs were made in preparation for an around the world trip. Joseph Conrad is now berthed at Mystic Seaport and used as a base for Sea Scouts and Girl Mariners taking courses in maritime subjects.

On 11 January the trawler Alert sank after collision with a scow off Sandy Hook.

The tug Allentown cut the barge Nimrod in two in NY Harbor on 16 February.

On 11 March the SS Abangarez collided with SS Cherokee in fog in Gravesend Bay.

Franklin D. Roosevelt made the first presidential trip over the newly electrified main line of the P RR. The GG-1 powered train set a speed record of 2 hours and 53 minutes from Washington to New York.

On a test run between Jersey City and Philadelphia, a Reading RR streamlined "Pacific" locomotive covered the 90 miles in 88 minutes including three station stops.

On 16 May the freighter Charles H. Cramp collided in Kill Van Kull with the tanker Leonard.

The maiden voyage of the French Line’s SS Normandie departed Le Harve on 29 May and arrived in New York four days, three hours, and 14 minutes later. Her average speed was 30 knots (56 km/h), taking the Blue Riband from the Italian liner Rex. Normandy was the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat and she was the most powerful steam turbo-electric propelled passenger ship ever built. Her tonnage was exceeded by the RMS Queen Mary in a year. Normandy then had renovations which put her tonnage above Queen Mary. In August 1936, Queen Mary captured the Blue Riband, and with the arrival of RMS Queen Elizabeth in 1940, Normandie was no longer the largest in terms of gross tonnage.

The C RR of NJ’s Sandy Hook Line observed its 75th Anniversary. Six hour dinner and moonlight sails on their steamboats Monmouth and Sandy Hook were offered at $2.50 for steak and $3.00 for lobster. Or, for the budget conscious, a three-hour sail around NY Harbor and Sandy Hook Bay could be had for just $1.

The P RR began operating a premier train, named the Nellie Bly on their New York to Atlantic City run via Trenton and Burlington on 23 June.

Tom Tabor organized a rail excursion for the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society on the DL&W RR on 17 July. It began at Hoboken and went to Scranton via the old main line using locomotive #1035, a 4-6-0 Camelback and returned via the Cut-off.

The B&O introduced its new streamlined Royal Blue train between the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC, employing the first streamlined diesel electric locomotives in long distance service in the US. The first trip between the (C RR of NJ) Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC with the new Electro-Motive Corp. boxcab diesel No. 50 was made on 22 August. This unit was later donated to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis.

Public Service Coordinated Transport began replacement of street cars with the new hybrid gasoline-electric All-Service Vehicle. Starting in this year the more than 400 of the new ASVs (trolley buses) were transported east to NJ on flat cars via the C RR of NJ Main Line.

The Pinstch gas generating house for passenger car gas lights at Jersey City was retired.

Aristo-Craft (model) trains was founded in Jersey City by Nathan Polk. They are currently located in Irvington, NJ.

The Port of NY Authority published a 38" x 50" railroad terminal map of NY Harbor. Rail lines and facilities are shown in red.

As of 31 December, Public Service Coordinated Transport and its subsidiary companies had in operation 162 motor bus lines, 32 street car lines, two ferries and were providing taxicab service in seven municipalities. Equipment on the same date included 2,178 motor buses, 1,220 street cars, 61 All-Service Vehicles, 401 taxicabs and 7 ferry-boats.


The first air-conditioned buses (cooling provided by blocks of ice) were operated by the B&O RR between the Jersey City Terminal and NYC.

Cunard Line’s RMS Queen Mary, on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic, arrived in NY Harbor and docked at Pier 90 in NYC on 1 June.

The Keansburg Steamboat Co. acquired a former P RR Chesapeake steamer and she joined their City of Keansburg making excursion runs between Manhattan and Keansburg.

Brooklyn & Queens Transit Corp. had participated in the President’s Conference Committee (PCC) development work and provided laboratory space in their 9th Avenue, Brooklyn carbarn as well as trackage for testing of various vehicles and equipment. B&QT placed the very first orders for PCC cars totaling 100 units. As they arrived from the builders, they were placed in service beginning on 1 October on three routes: 67 Seventh Avenue, 68 Smith-Coney Island, and 69 McDonald-Vanderbilt. The service was inaugurated at the Park Row Terminal on the Brooklyn Bridge with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with New York’s Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia and Brooklyn Manhattan Transit’s President William S. Menden, officiating.

On Sunday, 2 August, 15,490 passengers were carried by the C RR of NJ on the 8th annual excursion of the Donohoe League from Bayonne to Asbury Park. It took 16 trains of 12 cars each to accommodate all of them. Reading - CNJ employee magazine, September 1936

It is said that Joshua Lionel Cowen frequently rode the C RR of NJ Blue Comet train between Jersey City and Atlantic City. His Lionel Corp. produced, between 1936 and 1939, a Standard Gauge model of the famous train using their 2-4-2 model 263 engine and 263w tender. In spite of the fact that both the locomotive and the tender were inaccurate, the original $70 set commands a current price of over $9,000!

New Jersey’s Public Service Coordinated Transport was the only large member of the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee to experience changes in traffic patterns so profound as to warrant the substitution of rubber-tired vehicles on most of its streetcar lines by the time the PCC car had proven itself in nearby Brooklyn.

On 11 October a P RR "Off the Beaten Track" excursion was operated from NY via South Amboy Jct., Jamesburg, Bordentown, Trenton, the Bel Del to Stroudsburg and return to NY via Trenton.

An inspection tour to the LV RR, Sayre, PA shops was organized under the auspices of the NY Chapter, Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, Inc. and Railroad Stories Magazine on 29 October. It operated across NJ on the route of the LV RR Black Diamond.

The ferryboat Meadville was built for the Erie RR. She was the last and largest ferry built for trans-Hudson River service.

Pioneer railfan, Thomas T. Taber, organized the first chartered railfan train on a Class 1 railroad - DL&W RR locomotive #1035 hauled the excursion from Hoboken to Scranton and return. (Railroad History Bulletin #171) The DL&W RR became far and away number one in hosting fan trips, and the road's management actually welcomed such opportunities to exhibit their equipment to the public.

On Sunday, 8 November, the C RR of NJ operated their first sightseeing excursion. The all-day 325 mile low cost tour was only $3.25 per person. It began at Jersey City (NYC by ferry) and covered their main line through Phillipsburg to Mauch Chunk, then Tamaqua, Pottsville, Reading, Valley Forge, Philadelphia and back to NY. The trip was narrated via a public address system through the entire train, a first in railroad history.

A party of 63 Reading Co. boosters of Reading, PA traveled to Jersey City in a special car attached to the Queen of the Valley train. At Allentown a diner was attached for the group. Their destination was a tour of the C RR of NJ Marine Dept. at Jersey City, to which they were transported by tug boat #29. After the tour they were returned by the tug to the C RR Jersey City Terminal and back to Reading on the Queen of the Valley.

The Wilson Line excursion steamer State of Delaware operated in the NY Harbor area from this year until 1941.

Pilings of the old Fulton Fish Market failed and the building slid into the East River.


The Mike Quill and his Transport Workers Union launched a two-day sit-down strike of Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp. workers which resulted in a solidification of TWU support with BMT workers as well as helping to bring thousands of other transit employees into the TWU. Within four months the TWU became a part of the Congress of Industrial Organizations union.

The Port of New York Authority released a report of their study of the development of what was to be an extension of the Hudson and Manhattan rapid transit system on C RR of NJ tracks through Jersey City and Bayonne as well as extensions to Staten Island and Paterson. It would have provided rail connections directly into Manhattan for C RR of NJ passengers. The plan was not implemented.

The Reading introduced a train with new streamlined (the first in the east), stainless steel, light weight, air conditioned cars between Philadelphia and C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal via Bound Brook. A month later, in the new year a contest produced the name for it – the Crusader. It had reclining, swivel, armchair seats, porter service, wide vision windows, an observation club car, a luxury diner, smoking lounges, a cocktail lounge, and scientific lighting – all with no extra fare.

General Motors, Electro-Motive Corporation developed the first streamlined independent road-going diesel-electric locomotive. It was powered by four 12-cylinder, 900hp diesel engines housed in two carbodies. It was first sold to the B&O RR and made its official debut hauling their Royal Blue train across New Jersey to and from the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal on 25 May.

On 27 June the first of the three famed P RR "Off the Beaten Track" Poughkeepsie Bridge trips was run. It departed Philadelphia at 7:22 AM via Trenton, Phillipsburg, Maybrook, Poughkeepsie, Danbury, South Norwalk, Hell Gate Bridge, NYC and back to Philadelphia. The trip was sold out and the lengthy train required double headed K-4 locomotives. A special $1 dinner was available in the diner en-route.

On 25 July Railroad Magazine and the NY chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society sponsored an excursion on the DL&W RR from Hoboken to East Binghamton, NY and return on the same day. The 14 car special trip was billed by the DL&W as an Educational Inspection Tour. From Scranton west the special was hauled by double-headed, newly stream-styled Pacific locomotives #1136 and 1123. The excursion is regarded by many as the Greatest Rail Fan Trip of all time.

The P RR operated the "Finest, Fastest and Farthest" railroad inspection tour ever operated - from NYC and Newark to their Juniata shops at Altoona and return.

The Reading RR placed their new, five car, bi-directional Crusader train into service. It was the first stainless steel train in the east.

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

On 15 August a special trolley tour, organized by Howard Johnston, was made over Public Service lines. It began in the Newark Terminal; ran out and back on the Newark City Subway; to Jersey City via Harrison; to Palisade Station; the Hoboken Elevated; south to the Bergen Point ferry in Bayonne; and back to Newark, where it ended at the Roseville carhouse.

The retired Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn, became a mechanical arts workshop, moored first at McWilliams’ Shipyard, Staten Island, and later at Peck Slip, NYC. During WW II she was used by the Coast Guard for training of merchant seamen.

Steamboat service from NYC to the Long Branch Pier, via the outside route, ended in this year. The vessels used in this service over the years had included: Adelaide, City of Richmond, Columbia, Cygnus, Plymouth Rock (built in NYC in 1854, and, at 330 feet and 1,752 tons, the largest of the fleet), and Taurus.

Our nations’ billions of dollars of gold bullion reserves were moved from lower Manhattan to a new gold vault at Fort Knox. The heavily guarded shipments continued for two years and were alternated between the C RR of NJ and the P RR so as not to establish a pattern. The movements were made using armored vehicles from NYC via their ferryboats to Jersey City Terminal where they were transferred to special trains via the C RR of NJ main line for the first part of the journey.

The Muller Boat Works was established. The family business is still in business at 2214 East 69th Street, Brooklyn maintaining and repairing boats, yachts, sailing vessels, ferries and other marine transports.

With the destruction of the zeppelin Hindenberg at Lakehurst, the special C RR of NJ connecting trains ceased.

The Railroad Enthusiasts’ Williamson Archival Library was founded in Grand Central Terminal by Frederick Ely Williamson, president of the New York Central Railroad from 1935 to 1944.

Air express for all airlines was being handled by Railway Express Agency.

The 1.5 mile Lincoln Tunnel opened for traffic in December, becoming the second subaqueous vehicle tunnel to connect New Jersey and New York.


The freighter Southland was beached after colliding with Panama City in NY Bay on 10 January.

The first chartered trip of any streamlined train was from Reading, PA, to Jersey City, using the new Crusader equipment.

The North Jersey Chapter, NRHS sponsored a multiple-car excursion covering the remaining trolley divisions on 27 March. The tour included an inspection of the then new Newark Penn Station, the Newark City Subway, the Cedar Street Subway, the Union City Car House, Edgewater Ferry Terminal, the Hudson River line to Paterson, and return to Newark.

Brooklyn & Queens Transit inaugurated through PCC car service from Boro Hall, Brooklyn to the New York World’s Fair Grounds in Flushing on April 30th.

The Railroad Enthusiasts, Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, and Railroad Magazine sponsored an advertised trip over the B&O from the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal, 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...

The P RR introduced their all-new lightweight NY to Chicago Broadway Limited train.

On 14 May the auxiliary schooner Quita sank at City Island, NY with one dead and 2 missing.

A railfan excursion was operated from Weehawken, NJ on the New York, Ontario & Western Railway on 15 May.

On 28 May 350 picnickers were on board the Mandalay, coming back from Atlantic Highlands, NJ, drifting in NY Harbor in a heavy fog when the Bermuda-bound liner Acadia, with 115 passengers on board, collided with the Mandalay. The excursionists were helped across to safety, then the Acadia backed away. Soon the keel of the Mandalay was in the mud at the bottom of the harbor. She had been the former RR ferryboat Express which had been turned into and excursion steamer. She had been built in 1889 with a broad bow, to carry Pullman rail passengers bound from Boston to Washington, from the Harlem RR yard down the East River to the Pennsylvania RR Terminal in Jersey City, in the middle of the night.

On 19 June the National Railway Historical Society and the C RR of NJ operated an "Out-of-the-way Places" excursion for $2.50 using 4-6-2 #812. It ran from Jersey City to Phillipsburg; Easton, PA; the L&HR to Andover Jct. & Port Morris; the DL&W to Lake Jct.; the Wharton & Northern to Green Pond Jct. & return; and the C RR of NJ back to High Bridge and Jersey City.

Also on 19 June, two special steam-powered excursions were operated on the Staten Island Railway from St. George for the 50th anniversary celebration of the passing of the founder of Mount Loretto, a large Roman Catholic orphanage located in an isolated area of Staten Island. Twenty B&O RR Class A-14 wooden coaches which were delivered and returned via Cranford Jct. were used. Ed Bommer

North Jersey Chapter, National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) announced an "Extraordinary Excursion" over the C RR of NJ from Jersey City Terminal to Bridgeton, Bivalve, Lakehurst, Tuckerton (former Tuckerton RR) and the Raritan River RR to New Brunswick and return. Blue Comet equipment, including diner was to be used and a sightseeing gondola was to be attached to the train. Fare was to be about $2.50... The C RR of NJ 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.

Bethlehem Steel acquired the United Dry Docks shipyards, including the W. & A. Fletcher Hoboken yard. Soon after the US entered WW II, it began to upgrade and expand its Hoboken property, taking control of the 14th Street Lackawanna ferry property after the government demanded its seizure as a wartime necessity. Four new piers were built at the former Fletcher yard and the upgraded shipyard was ready to handle the massive shipbuilding program required for the war effort. Over 4,000 vessels were serviced at the Bethlehem Steel yards, including aircraft carriers, landing craft, supply ships and destroyers. As many as 10,000 workers were employed night and day to fill government orders.

The fishing boat Scud capsized at Sandy Hook on 11 August with one missing and two saved.

On 14 August the P RR sponsored a two train "Off the Beaten Track" trip from their Broad St., Philadelphia station, over the Pocono Mountains to Avoca / Scranton and return. The first train traveled to Trenton; up the Bel Del through Phillipsburg and Manunka Chunk; the DL&W through the Delaware Water Gap and their route to Scranton / Avoca; return was via the Wilkes-Barre & Eastern and Susquehanna to Jersey City and then via the P RR for the return to Philadelphia. The second train took the reverse journey from Trenton, going to Jersey City first. The two trains met and passed at Ash Gap, west of Pocono Summit. The fare for the 400 mile figure 8 trips, which departed Philadelphia at about 6:30 AM, was $4.

The Erie RR hauled the largest steel girder ever made from Transfer, PA to Weehawken, NJ. The 100 ton, 144' long, 17' 5" high beam was built by the American Shipbuilding Co. for the Lincoln Tunnel approach.

The forecast for 21 September was: Rain, probably heavy today and tomorrow, cooler, fresh southerly winds. Weather bureaus were caught completely off balance. A 150 mile-wide hurricane, moving at an incredible forward speed of 60mph, with gusts of over 150mph struck Long Island at about 4pm, then Connecticut and Rhode Island. The lack of warning was as responsible for the widespread damage as were the gales, the storm waves, and the devastating floods that followed them. Deaths were estimated at six hundred, including about one hundred people who were simply never found. Another 1,754 were injured, and 93,122 households suffered losses of one sort or another. Nearly 7,000 summer cottages and 2,000 permanent houses were destroyed. American Heritage, Vol. XX, No. 5, August 1969

Through sleeping car service between Jersey City Terminal and New Orleans was begun by the B&O RR in cooperation with the C RR of NJ, Reading, and Louisville & Nashville Railroads.

Many of Public Service’s strongest North Jersey trolley routes focused on ferry crossings of the Hudson River. The opening of multiple-lane highways to new bridges and tunnels over and under the river in the late 1920s and 30s forced PSCT to either run its own buses into New York or surrender its traffic to fledgling bus operators willing to serve the public necessity. By 1938 the one-time operator of 850 miles of track in the Garden State was left with only eight rail routes and 74 miles of track in Hoboken, Jersey City, Newark and its suburbs.

Riverside (NY) and Fort Lee Ferry Co. (NJ) purchased a ferryboat built in 1926 for the Reading RR. After a long career as a ferryboat for the Public Service subsidiary, it was converted to and re-documented as a luxury houseboat, the Thomas N. McCarter, the name of the long-time president of Public Service.

Firefighter, the most powerful fireboat in pumping capacity in the world joined the Fire Department of New York fleet.

Bethlehem Steel operated a shipyard at Mariners Harbor, Staten Island, NY from 1938 to 1960.



On 22 January S & H No. 6 tug, towing scows Bouker No. 65 & 70 overturned in the East River but was later raised. The Coast Guard saved all hands.

The British motor ship Silver Ash burned at Brooklyn and sank on 23 January, but was later raised.

The state of NJ had become a notorious taxer of railroad property; in fact, its railroad taxes were claimed to be the country’s highest, and were a factor in the C RR of NJ’s bankruptcy. The C RR filed a petition for reorganization under federal bankruptcy statues. At this time they were controlled by the Reading RR, which in turn was controlled by the B&O RR.

For one year, beginning 1 February 1939 to 1940, the LV RR operated their long distance accommodation train, the Asa Packer, to and from their Jersey City yard / terminus (immediately north of the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal). It went west via the LV RR’s National Docks branch to New Jersey Jct. thru the cut at Waldo Avenue to the P RR’s “SC” interlocking (Journal Square) then west on the P RR Jersey City branch (H&M RR) to the P RR mainline at Hudson where it continued on to Newark Penn Station. West of Penn Station the Asa Packer returned to LV RR rails at Hunter interlocking.

A NY RR Enthusiasts inspection trip was organized by Bob Collins on the NYO&W RR to Cadosia, NY and return on 5 February. An observation parlor car was attached to the regular train for their group.

On 5 February the Erie ferry Youngstown rammed their own ferry Meadville at Jersey City; both damaged. Both vessels were sold to the DL&W RR in 1957.

The ferry Miss New York crashed into a slip at the Battery on 9 February.

On 11 March the SI ferry Gold Star Mother collided in fog in NY Harbor with tanker Newberne.

Paterson-built (in 1861 by NJ Locomotive & Machine Works) 4-4-0 William Crooks traveled under steam 1,500 miles from St. Paul, MN to the New York World's Fair. At its birthplace - Paterson - it was accorded a civic reception.

The NY World’s Fair, the first to be based on the future, opened this year and again in 1940. It covered 1,216 acres and was the second largest American World’s Fair of all time. A total of over 44 million people attended its exhibits. Railroads had a significant presence.

On 20 May intermodal passenger service from Manhattan, NY to Marseilles, France was begun, using the Long Island RR to Port Washington, NY and Pan American Airways Yankee Clipper to France. Roy L. Hudson

On 21 May the Railroad Enthusiasts and Railroad Magazine operated an "Off-the-Beaten-Track" excursion from Washington Street Terminal of the Lehigh Valley RR in Jersey City (adjacent to the C RR of NJ Terminal) via Oak Island Yards and Phillipsburg with a stop at the LV Easton Station. The Easton & Northern branch was traversed to Stockertown, the L&NE RR Nazareth Branch to Pen Argyl where a two hour stop was made to inspect locomotives on display, then on to Tamaqua. From there a Reading Branch was used to Quakake to return via the LV RR to Phillipsburg and Jersey City. LV RR 2-8-2 #406 was used from Easton to Quakake.

The cruiser Bilot capsized and sank in the East River on 28 May with 3 lost, but 25 saved.

In June the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS), then only five years old, had a two-day convention in NYC. On Saturday they rode in special cars between Grand Central Terminal and Harmon, NY for a tour of the steam and electric locomotive facilities and returned for a banquet. On Sunday the group chartered an open car on the Brooklyn and Queens Transit Lines, which included a trip over the Brooklyn Bridge and lines to Corona and the NY World’s Fair.

On 19 June the newly organized Railroadians of America operated their first inspection train, the first using a 4-4-0 in the NY area. DL&W locomotive #970 hauled the six car train, including the first gondola to be used on such a train in the NY area. From Hoboken they traveled to Morristown; via the Morristown & Erie RR to Essex Fells & return; next to Port Morris, then Andover Jct.; the L&HR RR to Warwick and south to Phillipsburg / Easton where the train was backed over the C RR of NJ bridge to Phillipsburg; the return to Hoboken was via Madison. Robert F. (Bob) Collins handled the reservations (at $3.75 each & limited to 150) and a special 85¢ lunch was available in the air conditioned diner.

Their Majesties, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England made a special tour by train of Canada and the US. The Royal train took an interesting detour on its American itinerary, en-route from Washington, DC to NYC. It left the P RR main line at Monmouth Junction, and followed a routing through Jamesburg (where a steam locomotive was exchanged for the electric), Freehold, and Sea Girt to Red Bank. A pilot train ran ahead of the blue-and-silver painted Royal Train, carrying members of the press. The Royal Train arrived at Red Bank at 7am on 10 June. The King and Queen detrained there and traveled by automobile to Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, where they boarded the destroyer USS Warrington for the trip to NYC.

North Jersey Chapter, NRHS, arranged an "Excursion" over the C RR of NJ 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.

On 22 August the SS Bremen began her last voyage to New York (Hoboken) with almost 190 transatlantic voyages completed. Two days from New York, all German merchant ships were ordered to head to German ports immediately. Bremen’s captain decided to continue to NY to disembark her 1770 passengers. She left NY without passengers and on 1 September, coincident with the start of the Second World War, was ordered to make for the Russian port of Murmansk. With the outbreak of the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, on 10 December, Bremen made a dash to Bremerhaven.

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.

Susquehanna Transfer was opened in North Bergen adjacent to the entrance ramp leading to the Lincoln Tunnel. It allowed Susquehanna RR passengers to transfer to buses providing connecting service into midtown Manhattan and later the Port Authority Bus Terminal via the Lincoln Tunnel. This routing saved half an hour for passengers en route to midtown NY over the Jersey City-Erie Terminal-ferry-subway routing that was required prior to the bus connection. Public Service buses under contract with the NYS&W RR were painted in the same maroon and grey colors connected with the trains.

A LV RR barge sank at Jersey City on 15 September with a cargo of flour - sabotage was suspected.

The Fulton Fish Market began using new buildings south of the Brooklyn Bridge, at and above Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. By the 1950's, most of the Market’s fish was trucked in rather than delivered by boats.

On 11 November a derrick barge with a cargo of two bombers for Great Britain sank in NY Harbor, but was salvaged.

Ellis Island was used as a Coast Guard Station from this date to 1946.


On 30 January the tug Harry R. Connors collided in the East River with the tug Mexpet causing a fire; one died and seven were hurt.

The tug S. H. 5 was sunk at Brooklyn by ice floes on 5 February; one dead, one saved.

On 18 February the tug Amy Keller sank at Hoboken with one missing.

The RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched on 27 September 1938 and was the largest passenger liner ever built at the time and held that title for fifty-six more years. At the start of WW II, it was decided that the Queen Elizabeth was so vital to the war effort that she could not have her movements tracked by German spies operating in the Clydebank area where she was built. Therefore, an elaborate rouse was fabricated involving her sailing to Southampton to complete her fitting out. Her Cunard colors were painted over with battleship grey and on the morning of 3 March she quietly left the Clyde and proceeded down the coast where she was met by the Kings Messenger, who presented sealed orders directly to the captain. He discovered that he was to take the untested vessel directly to New York, without stopping, without dropping off the Southampton harbor pilot, maintaining strict radio silence and to zig-zag across the Atlantic at speed to avoid German U-boats. Later that day, at the time the Queen Elizabeth was due to arrive at Southampton, the city was bombed by the German Luftwaffe. Upon safe arrival at New York, six days later, she found herself moored alongside both her sister Cunard liner Queen Mary and the French Line’s Normandie. This would be the only time all three of the world’s largest liners would be berthed together.

On 30 June the schooner Scarlet II collided with an unidentified barge in the East River; one missing, 4 saved.

The lighter Denville capsized off Stapleton, SI, NY on 5 August.

On 30 August the Staten Island ferry, Miss New York, was rammed by the tanker Magnolia in NY Harbor with 5 injured.

The C RR of NJ, which was under reorganization in Federal Court, was ordered to pay 60% of its $3,464,000 NJ tax levy for this year.

The two privately owned systems, Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corp. (BMT), and the Interborough Rapid Transit Co. (IRT) were bought by the City of New York ands some elevated lines closed immediately while others closed soon after. Integration was slow, but several connections were built between the IND and BMT, and now operate as one division, called the B Division. Since the IRT tunnel segments are too small and stations too narrow to accommodate B Division cars, and contain curves too sharp for B Division cars, the IRT remains its own division, A Division.

The C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal Restaurant began offering new club breakfast combinations at the bargain price of 20 to 40 cents.

On 13 December the tug J. A. Reynolds collided with SS Shawnee in NY Harbor; crew saved.


Construction began on a US Naval Supply Depot at a man-made peninsula of the eastern end of Bayonne. During WW II a dry dock was built to accommodate Essex class aircraft carriers and Iowa class battle ships. It became one of the busiest facilities of its type, especially during the Gulf War, and was later known as Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne.

On 15 May US launch Q 11 collided with a freight boat in the East River and sank, drowning three.

The NY Chapter of the Railroad Enthusiasts organized an excursion for about 225 railfans on 25 May. Their special train departed from the Jersey City terminal of the LV RR (adjacent to the C RR of NJ Terminal) and two diners were added at Easton, PA. Upon reaching Wilkes-Barre the group boarded the electric cars of the Laurel Line and were whisked to Scranton. At Scranton waiting buses took them to a New York, Ontario & Western special train which was waiting for them on the other side of town. The O&W train made a fast run to Cadosia, and on to Middletown, NY where they stopped for lunch at the depot lunch room. They departed Middletown about 8pm for Weehawken, taking ferries and trains back to their NY or NJ starting points. (The O&W Observer, July, 1941)

A massive waterfront conflagration which began at the foot of 6th Street in Jersey City on 31 May resulted in the loss of 1500 head of cattle, two grain elevators, an engine house, a pier, 11 barges, warehouses and 15 freight cars. Known as the “Stockyards Fire,” the properties destroyed were owned by the Erie RR.

On 18 August the American freighter SS Panuco, docked at Pier 27 in Brooklyn caught fire. The crew tried to control the fire themselves and delayed turning in an alarm. The ship, its cargo of sisal, and the pier were all burning when the alarm box was pulled. A thousand barrels of oil on the pier went off like fireworks, exploding every few minutes. The Panuco was towed to shallow water and beached. Thirty-four lives were lost and the ship was destroyed.

Last run of the C RR of NJ, NY to Atlantic City Blue Comet train was made on 28 September. All three of the observation cars used on this train survive: No. 1169, Tempel, @ Tuckahoe, NJ; No. 1178, De Vico, @ in the United RR Historical Society (URHS) collection partially restored @ West Boonton Yard; and No. 1179, Biela, @Clinton Station Diner, I-78 West of Clinton. Several Blue Comet coaches also survive.

The 1889 steamer Sandy Hook made its last trip for the C RR of NJ as their steamboat service from NYC to Atlantic Highlands Pier ended. The steamboat was requisitioned by the government for transport service.

On 11 November the lighter J. J. Rudolf sank at Atlantic Basin Pier, Brooklyn.

The fishing boat Ruth Lucille sank after colliding with the collier Charles O’Connor off Sandy Hook; all saved.

The C RR of NJ discontinued their West 23rd Street ferry line on 14 November, leaving only the Liberty Street run.

On 8 December, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the US declared war on Japan. America entered WW II. On 11 - 13 December Nazi Germany and its Axis partners declared war on the US. The US reciprocated by declaring war on Germany and Italy. The Port of NY / NJ became the greatest point of embarkation for troops, vehicles, materials and supplies destined for the front lines in Europe.

The Caven Point Army Depot in Jersey City became one of the major points of embarkation or US soldiers heading overseas, and was also one of the major East Coast Prisoner of War processing points for captured German and Italian troops during the war. Following the cessation of hostilities, Caven Point was a key receiving point for homeward bound American servicemen, and again used its proximity to US rail lines to send tens of thousands of troops on their way home.

Railroads carried 97% of domestic troop movements in the US during the war.

Jersey City’s Mayor Frank Hague and his political machine demanded that all railroads pay all of their back taxes with 12% interest. The C RR of NJ was one of the largest tax debtors.


On 14 January the 6,007-ton tanker Norness, under Panamanian registry, was sunk in deep water between the NJ and Long Island shores. It heralded the beginning of the German submarine warfare.

World War II caused gasoline and tire shortages and the cessation of automobile production for the general public. The use of public transit and ridership numbers exploded. Many serviceable streetcars were taken out of storage by Public Service Coordinated Transport and put back into use to transport the war-swollen throngs.

New South Kearny and Federal streetcar lines were opened to serve the multitudes of war workers at the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Corporation and the Western Electric Co. in South Kearny from Exchange Place and Journal Square in Jersey City. The former route lasted until 1948, but the latter ended in 1945.

A blaze broke out on 8 January in the NYC RR Pier 83 at 42nd Street, Manhattan, reaching 5 alarms before it was brought under control.

The SS Normandie burned, capsized and sank at a NY pier while it was being converted to a troop ship on 9 February. WW II found the ship tied up in New York. After the fall of France, the US had seized the ocean liner under the right of angary and renamed her USS Lafayette. At the beginning of the conversion, woodwork and flammable materials had not been removed, but the fire protection system had been disconnected and the pumping system deactivated. Furthermore, the NYC fire department’s hoses did not fit the ship’s French inlets.

On 20 March the battleship USS South Dakota (BB-57), built at Camden, NJ, was commissioned at NYC. She was heavily involved in numerous campaigns in the Pacific and was present in Tokyo Bay during the formal surrender of Japan.

A long time Hudson and Manhattan motorman was at the controls of an eastbound train from Newark when it entered the Journal Square station at full speed on 26 April. Most of the cars derailed and did a tremendous amount of damage to them, the tracks, the station, telephone and communication cables, injuring 200 and killing 5 passengers. The motorman was later convicted of manslaughter and operating a train while under the influence of liquor.

The Hoboken Ferry Co's 14th St. - W. 23rd St., Manhattan, ferry was discontinued on 27 April.

The Dyckman St. - Englewood Cliffs ferry was discontinued on 21 May.

Wartime "PT" boats were built by the Electric Launch Co. in Bayonne. The sleek, multi-engined, high horsepower, high speed, "ELCO" vessels were tested in the open waters of Newark Bay and New York Harbor.

On the eve of WW II the battleship North Carolina was constructed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which contained more than 5 miles of paved streets, four drydocks, two steel shipways, six pontoons and floats for salvage work, barracks for Marines, a power plant, radio station, a railway network, foundries, machine shops, and warehouses. The battleship Iowa was completed in 1942, followed by the Missouri. The Brooklyn Navy Yard also fitted out PT 109, the vessel which was commanded by a young Lt. John F. Kennedy in the Pacific.

The Naval Supply Depot, Bayonne, NJ was established on 1 July.

The P RR Greenville Yard, Jersey City to NH RR, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn carfloat route had the highest volume in the US - 90 railroad cars per hour. (TOM FLAGG)

On 24 November, the US cargo ship Nathaniel Bacon and the M/V ESSO Belgium were both damaged in a collision in NY Harbor.

The 727th Railway Operating Battalion departed Hattiesburg, MS for staging at Fort Dix, NJ in late November. By 12 December the battalion was loaded on three ships and left the Port of NY for service in North Africa. By the end of December they docked at Mers El Kebir, Algeria and three weeks later assumed operation of the meter gauge railway lines in eastern Algeria and Tunisia.

On 16 December the US Naval minesweeper YMS No. 12 was damaged in a collision in NY Harbor.


On 15 February, the 506-foot freighter Lanarkshire collided in the Main Ship Channel, Upper Bay with the 384-foot US Destroyer Hobby. Both vessels were without a NY Harbor pilot.

The world's largest railroad tank car yard opened at Tremley in Linden, NJ on the C RR of NJ.

On 3 March the schooner America collided with the tug Johnson City in the East River; one dead, two hurt.

On 24 April, just as the loading of 1,365 tons of bombs, depth charges, and ammunition was completed, a fire began in the engine room of the steamship El Estero while at the Caven Point pier. Only heroic efforts of the US Coast Guard, NY fireboats John J. Harvey and Firefighter, and the Jersey City Fire Department prevented a catastrophic explosion which surely would have involved two nearby ammo ships and rail cars with another 5,000 tons of explosives. El Estero was finally towed ½ mile west of Robbins Reef lighthouse where it was sunk. This event caused the removal of all such hazardous operations to the new Naval Weapons Station at Earle.

By summer movement of petroleum to the East by rail reached the unprecedented volume of 1,000,000 barrels per day. This was necessary because German submarines were sinking many ships transporting oil from the Gulf of Mexico to the east coast. This was done under the control of the Office of Defense Transportation, making possible the largest movement of petroleum by rail in the history of transportation. The pre-war movement had averaged only 5,000 barrels per day.

The "Big Inch" oil pipeline of 24" diameter was completed from Longview, TX and across New Jersey to the New York Harbor area. at Tremley, in Linden, NJ.

The US office of Defense Transportation ordered the C RR of NJ to discontinue 68 of 338 weekday suburban passenger trains due to shortages caused by World War II. President Roosevelt, acting through Secretary of War Stimson, took possession of the C RR of NJ and other railroads to avoid a threatened interruption of vital transportation service.

A 2,000hp Baldwin Locomotive Works - Westinghouse demonstrator diesel-electric road locomotive was operated in passenger service on the C RR of NJ.

On 1 October the coal barge Alice Sheridan sank in NY Harbor after colliding with SS Curacao.

The US Army 712th Railway Transportation Group, sponsored by the C RR of NJ and Reading RR, was activated on 25 October.

The C RR of NJ’s Sandy Hook Route steamer Sandy Hook was taken over by the Army and used to ferry troops from the NY Harbor railheads where they arrived by troop trains to waiting troop transports and between waterside military installations such as Fort Jay, Fort Hancock, Fort Tilden, and Fort Totten. She also functioned as a party boat for Army brass.

At one point in this year there were 543 oceangoing merchant ships in NY Harbor.

The C RR of NJ’s Pier 18, McMyler coal dumpers trans-loaded over 19,000,000 tons of coal from rail cars to marine vessels in this year. Over 70 tidewater customers received the coal which was handled. As much as 25% of the annual revenue of the RR was generated with the coal traffic handled by the dumpers well into the 1950's. In addition to the C RR of NJ’s own cars, coal cars from the B&O, Cambria & Indiana, DL&W, Delaware & Hudson, Erie, Franklin & Indiana, Lehigh & New England, Lehigh Valley, Monongahela, NY Central, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, Pittsburgh & Shawmut, Pittsburgh & West Virginia, Reading, Western Maryland, and West Pittston-Exeter Railroads were also handled by the McMyler dumpers at Jersey City.

The annual tax bill for the C RR of NJ soared to $5 million due to the new state franchise tax.


On 3 January, the one year old, 348-foot, 1,700-ton destroyer USS Turner, exploded as she lay at anchor north of Ambrose Channel Fairway buoy, almost midway between the tip of Sandy Hook, NJ and the Coast Guard Artillery base at Rockaway, Long Island. Ammunition was being brought up from the magazines, preparatory to unloading that day. A massive rescue effort was launched but 138 men lost their lives. Subsequent explosions doomed the ship and she sank in 45 feet of water. Six months later the submerged wreckage was blown up as a menace to navigation in NY Harbor.

The USS Missouri (BB-63 “Big Mo”) was built at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and launched on 29 January. She was the last battleship built by the US; served in WW II, the Korean War, & the Gulf War, and is now a memorial at Pearl Harbor. At its peak during WW II, the Brooklyn Navy Yard employed 70,000 people and operated 24 hours per day.

The 712th Railway Transportation Group embarked for England and thence to France and Germany, serving as a part of the most effective method for transportation of men and materials to the front lines.

On 7 March the barge Wesley Bellis was rammed by a Navy landing ship in fog in the East River with the loss of the barge captain.

Landing Craft Infantry #646 was built by the New Jersey Shipbuilding Company at Barber, NJ, and sent to Europe for use in the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944. After the war she returned and was converted for the NYC excursion service as Circle Line VI. She was retired in 1967 and served briefly as a floating recreation center for New Brunswick’s senior citizens, moored in the outlet lock of the Delaware & Raritan Canal.

On 24 May the tanker Petersburg exploded at Constable Hook, Bayonne, NJ with one dead and 13 injured.

The C RR of NJ adopted its most famous symbol, a new Statue of Liberty emblem, which was applied to all railroad and marine equipment in place of the former “New Jersey Central” logo. This new logo was used with the words “Jersey Central Lines” as well as “Central Railroad Company of New Jersey,” and the latter continued to be used on formal documents such as annual reports, notices, etc. “Jersey Central Lines” or simply “CNJ” was also lettered on the sides of some equipment. In the latter years of the life of the railroad the Statue of Liberty logo appeared with the words “Central Railroad Company of New Jersey.” However, the railroad was popularly known as the “Jersey Central” and reporting marks on freight equipment used “CNJ.”

The Big Inch and its companion project, Little Big Inch, are petroleum pipelines constructed during 1942 and 1943 from Texas to (Linden) New Jersey as an emergency war measure. Until WW II, petroleum products had been transported from the oil fields of Texas to the northeastern US by oil tanker. With the entry of the US into the war, this vital link was attacked by enemy U-boats, threatening both the supplies to the eastern US and onward transhipment to Europe. The Inch pipelines were conceived as a way to transport increased quantities of petroleum by a secure, interior route, with the additional benefit of freeing tankers for other tasks. At the time of their construction, they were the longest petroleum pipelines ever built; were capable of transporting in excess of 300,000 barrels of oil per day; the lines were among the largest industrial consumers of electricity in the US; and they remain in use.

On 9 July the Del Rio of Eastern Transportation Co., with tug Agnes Moran collided near Hell Gate with barges Luther Hooper and Charles T. Ryan in tow of tug Goliah. The latter were all damaged.

A US Navy escort vessel exploded at Tompkinsville, SI, NY on 22 July, killing two and injuring one.

The CNJ inaugurated their employee magazine, The Coupler.

A severe hurricane passed directly over the Jersey City area and the CNJ ferry Bound Brook slipped her moorings and was driven aground on Liberty Island on 14 September. About the same time the ferry Richmond capsized at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

On 20 September the South American ship Choapa, which was anchored, was hit by the tanker British Harmony in the channel approaching NY Harbor in fog. The next day Choapa was hit by tankers Vico and Empire Garrick, which had also collided with the John P. Poe. Choapa


On Christmas eve, CNJ’s massive Pier 18, Jersey City, No. 1 McMyler coal dumper broke down under the strain of an 18 to 20 hour a day work schedule. Repairs took nearly three months and cost about $60,000.

During this year the processing plant of the New York Port of Embarkation, located at Port Johnston, NJ, handled a total of almost 90,000 units of equipment (vehicles, tanks, etc.) destined for the European war front.

A NY Harbor tugboat strike lasted 12 days.


The tanker Sunoco exploded and burned off Sandy Hook on 2 January with 3 dead, 7 missing and 6 hurt.

On 5 February, the tanker Springhill, carrying 110,000 barrels of high-test aviation gasoline, caught fire and later exploded in Lower NY Bay just off Bushwick Basin following a collision that involved the SS Clio, and eventually a Norwegian tanker, Vivi, a NYC fireboat, the William L. Strong, and a Coast Guard vessel. Seventeen were lost and 122 injured.

The second tube of the Lincoln Tunnel was completed and opened in February.

The CNJ’s Williamsporter trains between Jersey City and Williamsport, PA, were terminated on 28 February.

The last trip of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt over the CNJ was from the Jersey City Terminal to Warm Springs, GA, where he died two weeks later. He had made 142 unpublished trips over the CNJ since he was first elected President in 1932.

The two section Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus trains departed Sarasota, FL on 26 March, and arrived at the P RR Greenville yards, Jersey City where the cars were put on carfloats for Mott Haven yards where the animals and equipment for Madison Square Garden were unloaded on 29 March. Along the way they had to make feed and water stops.

Several sightseeing boat operations were merged to form the Circle Line operating from Battery Park.

V-J Day ended World War II. During the 45 months of war (December 1941-August 1945), railroads moved 90% of all Army and Navy freight and more than 97% of all military personnel in organized groups within the US. This included the operation of 113,891 special troop trains.

Following WW II, the Caven Point Army Depot in Jersey City became a dedicated troop facility, and its long finger pier became a storage point for US Army and Military Sea Transport Service troopships when they were not in active service. Caven Point was again called to action during both the Korean & Vietnam Wars, and also served as a transfer point for US personnel being returned stateside from foreign posts during the Cold War. The depot was drastically reduced in size during the late 1970's and the shoreside facilities were converted into a US Army Reserve Base which is still in operation today. The outermost section of the pier is now used by the US Army Corps of Engineers as their NY Harbor headquarters.

A US Air Force B-25 crashed into the Empire State building, killing 14 in thick fog on 28 July.

Small steam generators began to be installed on CNJ steam locomotive tenders to supply electricity for lighting in coaches.

In this peak war year, 110 million travelers used NY Penn Station.

The CNJ went into the red again due to increased state franchise taxes.


The CNJ placed into service new 2,000hp, double ended Baldwin diesel locomotives. They were the first diesel-electric units to be used in suburban passenger service by any railroad in the world. They were the only double cab units in the US and replaced 4-6-2 steam power on their long distance trains to and from their Jersey City Terminal. These units were named for former railroad employees killed in WW II and the CNJ was the first railroad to so honor employees.

The Hudson River National Defense Reserve Fleet was established by an act of Congress to support the military effort at the outset of any war. It was first located off Tarrytown and on 30 April moved north to Jones point.

On 30 April the destroyer escort, USS Solar, exploded while loading munitions. Seven sailors were killed and 30 dock workers were injured.

The CNJ became the first railroad in the nation to provide a meeting place for the Boy Scouts of America by presenting the East Long Branch railroad station to Troop 39 of Long Branch.

The 75,000th locomotive built by the American Locomotive Co. was PA model, A & B unit diesel demonstrator #51 completed in September. It hauled the Lehigh Valley’s Black Diamond train.

The 1889 vintage former CNJ steamboat Sandy Hook was released by the government after WW II and the Meseck Line used her for service from Pier 10, North River to Playland, Rye Beach, for which she was not suited. The next two years found the aging steamer back on her old run for new owners, Sandy Hook Lines and was then scrapped.

The collier Jagger Seam rammed the CNJ’s Hackensack River Bridge, putting it out of commission. This ended rail service between the Jersey City Terminal and the Newark Station.

On 1 April, United Mine Workers went out on strike and coal stockpiles dwindled causing the CNJ to discontinue176 trains 6 weeks later.

A nationwide strike of engineers and trainmen began on 23 May. The effects of the strike were immediate and drastic. Within a week President Truman had forced workers to return. However, payroll costs of the CNJ increased $5.5 million a year.

President Truman secured a settlement of the coal strike on 29 May.

Circle Line began offering rides around Manhattan in their “Sightseeing Boats.”

An excursion scheduled over the CNJ from NY to their Ashley Planes was sponsored by the Railroadians of America, RR Enthusiasts, NRHS, Electric Railroaders Association and the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

A fire broke out on 25 June at the St. George Terminal of the Staten Island ferry, which quickly spread, destroying a large portion of the terminal, slips, and railroad cars. A temporary terminal was completed by mid-winter, but the present new terminal didn’t open until 1951.

Following service during WW II, Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown was loaned by the government to the City of NY where she became a floating nautical high school, the only one in the US. The ship served in that capacity until 1982, graduating thousands of students prepared to begin careers in the Merchant Marine, the US Navy and the US Coast Guard. She is now a museum ship based at Baltimore, MD.

On 2 August, the Barnegat express was rammed from the rear in Bayonne by the Freehold local.

Twelve commuter trains were backed up in the yards outside Jersey City Terminal.

Encyclopedia Britannica Films released The Bus Driver, an educational movie of a trip from NYC to Pittsburgh on Greyhound Lines bus #4045, a GMC ‘Silversides,’ including up the Lincoln Tunnel Weehawken spiral, west on Rt. 22 via Somerville and under the CNJ bridge at Bloomsbury (with a CNJ steam train passing over).

Coal miners walked out again on 20 November and within a week the CNJ was forced to drop a total of 100 scheduled trains. On 7 December the strike was called off.

The DL&W RR provided space for the NY Society of Model Engineers railroad layout on the upper ferry concourse at Hoboken Terminal.

A NY Harbor tugboat strike lasted 8 days.

A 326' x 40' steel carfloat displacing 1,024 tons was built for the Lackawanna RR (later merged with the Erie RR to form Erie Lackawanna Ry.) and served like hundreds of others to ferry railroad cars from point to point between railroads and around NY Harbor. It is now the gem of Hudson River Park at Pier 66a at the foot of W. 26th Street, Manhattan, three blocks north of the Chelsea Piers. It is connected to land by a restored wood truss floatbridge, and hosts the retired fireboat John J. Harvey and the lightship Frying Pan, a seasonal bar & grill.

On 11 December the US Army launch Mill Rock sank in the East River with two missing after a collision with the tug Edward J. Berwind.

The W. 23rd St. ferry terminal was closed with the discontinuance of the last DL&W ferry from 14th St. Hoboken on 31 December.


A report on a Proposed Union Terminal and Airport Project was completed by L. Alfred Jenny, a consulting engineer from Dumont, NJ. It envisioned connecting all major NJ railroads with a huge new airport in the meadows north of Secaucus; and a new Union Passenger Terminal in NYC near Grand Central Terminal via a new Hudson River Tunnel. The passenger terminal of the airport was to be close to a major rail junction station at North Bergen. It suggested a later extension via a new subway from the Union Passenger Terminal to the Battery with a tunnel connection to the Jersey Central Jersey City Terminal. Later improvements included extension of electrification to most North Jersey rail commuter routes.

On 7 March, a fire started aboard the US Maritime Commission’s John Ericsson, the former Swedish-American liner Kungsholm, docked on the north side of Pier 90, North River, Manhattan. Crew members had tried to extinguish the fore for twenty minutes before turning in an alarm. The 600-foot twin motorship of 20,000 toms became a total loss. She was to have sailed for Europe the following day.

The tug Invader capsized in the East River on 18 March with 1 missing and 3 saved.

On 20 March the Army transport George Washington caught fire at a Jersey City pier. The fire was extinguished by fireboats, the Coast Guard and the JC FD.

After WW II the Meseck Line acquired the former Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard ferry steamer Naushon which Hoboken’s Todd Shipyard rebuilt into a 3,200 passenger excursion boat renamed the John A. Meseck. It operated from Exchange Place, Jersey City to Manhattan, Rye Beach, NY, and Bridgeport, CT. Interestingly, this vessel, built in 1929, was acquired by the British Government during WW II and steamed to the UK for use as a Channel transport, training ship and eventually became Hospital Ship 49 during the Normandy Invasion. After the war it was returned to the US. The Meseck Line had began excursion operations in the 1930's with the steamer Americana which it also operated from NJ & NY to CT.

The battleship USS New Jersey came home to Bayonne for a rousing fourth birthday party on 23 May and was inactivated at New York Naval Shipyard and within a year was decommissioned at Bayonne.

The CNJ sold their steamer Sandy Hook to an independent operator which began operating her between NYC and the Atlantic Highlands pier with shuttle buses to the new Monmouth Park

The CNJ adopted a new slogan - “The BIG Little Railroad” - and shortly thereafter released a promotional sound color motion picture bearing that title.

Fresh Kills Landfill was opened in a rural agricultural area along the banks of Fresh Kills estuary in western Staten Island. It was to be a temporary facility, but eventually, at 2,200 acres, became New York City’s principal landfill and once was the largest landfill in the world. At its peak of operation, the contents of twenty barges arriving via Arthur Kill - each carrying 650 tons of garbage - were added to the site every day. In March 2001 when the landfill was initially closed it was 25 meters taller than the Statue of Liberty. In 2009, reclamation and redevelopment of the site began to transform it into Freshkills Park.

In this year the site in southwest Edison, NJ, which became Kin-Buc Landfill began to be used for dumping of municipal, industrial and hazardous waste and grew to 220 acres. From 1971 to 1976 the site was approved by the State of NJ for dumping of liquid and solid wastes, but state approval was revoked in 1976 due to violations of state and federal environmental laws. Large quantities of PCBs were dumped without proper containment, and PCBs consequently leaked into Edmonds Creek, a tributary of the Raritan River. At the peak of activity 500,000 gallons per day of liquids were dumped. Over the years a total 90,000,000 gallons of liquid wastes and a million tons of solid waste were dumped at Kin-Buc. It is one of the largest Superfund sites in NJ; cleanup was begun in 1980.

During WW II all of SeaTrain Lines ships were used by the US Military to carry war supplies. Service resumed in March of this year at a new pier at Edgewater on land purchased from the NYS&W RR. Their NJ operations had begun in Hoboken in 1931.

The second CNJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was scrapped.

The Freedom Train began a country-wide tour on 17 September. It made several stops in New Jersey and then went on to NYC. It made a Jersey City stop in October 1948.

The CNJ purchased ten new GM-EMD F-3 A and 5 F-3 B unit diesel locomotives. They were delivered via the B&O and Reading RRs and were used to replace steam power on Jersey City to Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) and Allentown freight runs. They were painted in a new EMD-designed orange and blue paint scheme with gold logo and lettering.

Fire on Grace Line’s Pier 57, North River exceeded the 1932 pier fire damage which was the worst in New York up to that time.

The General Motors Train of Tomorrow made several stops in New Jersey, near GM plants.

The CNJ sold their office building at 143 Liberty Street, NYC for $850,000, retaining a 10 year lease on all offices still remaining in the building.

On 23 November the tug St. Vincent was damaged in NY Harbor in collision with a freighter; one missing, one hurt.

The loaded tanker Port Republic, going through Hell Gate on 31 December with two tugs, the St. John and the St. Charles, was struck by the latter and went aground at Steep Rocks.

The rule and political machine of Jersey City’s mayor Frank Hague came to an end after 30 years.

In this year, over 65 million people – the equivalent of 40% of the population of the US – traveled the rails via Grand Central Terminal.


First run of the Reading RR Wall Street train was made between Jersey City Terminal and Philadelphia.

The ferry Dongan Hills was damaged in a collision on 9 January with the ferry Knickerbocker off St. George, SI, NY and two were injured.

On 13 February, the CNJ sold their office building and land at 143 Liberty Street for $850,000 while leasing back the space they would need for their offices for ten years.

Newark International Airport was taken over by the Port Authority of NJ & NY.

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

The massive Wilson Line steamboat State of Pennsylvania, with a 3,200 passenger capacity, came to NY Harbor from the Delaware River. She was used in daily service between Jersey City’s Pier 1 and Rockaway Beach, making two trips a day. A weekly sail from Yonkers and tri-weekly moonlights from Jersey City and 43rd Street were also featured. It was a happy ship, with dance music provided by the Jack Constance orchestra.

On 6 May the CNJ officially abandoned the portion of their Newark to NY Branch between Communipaw Avenue Station and Kearny, NJ.

Fire and explosions in the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel destroyed 10 trucks, damaged 13 other vehicles and injured 66 drivers and fire fighters on 13 May. Fortunately, three busloads of children and several autos were able to back out of the tube and there was no loss of life.

The SS Magellan arrived at the Erie RR Weehawken piers with 49 "Gratitude Train Cars" from France. New Jersey's 40 et 8 "Merci" boxcar was unfortunately later destroyed by fire and no one knows what happened to the contents.

The seventh annual CNJ employee boat ride and outing from Jersey City Terminal to Playland, Rye Beach, NY occurred on 12 September. The same two Meseck Lines excursion steamers, Americana and John A. Meseck, which were used in 1947 were again used. The fare was $1.50 for adults and 65¢ for children five to twelve.

On 1 October the tug Ann Marie Tracy sank after a collision with the freighter Eliza J. Nicholson in the Hudson River; 6 dead, 3 missing.

The New Jersey Legislature created the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in October.

The Railroad Hour, a radio series of musical dramas and comedies was sponsored by the Association of American Railroads. The first of the series was broadcast on ABC, track-side from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal under the Train Shed on 4 October.

President Harry S. Truman traveled from Baltimore via Reading and Allentown to Elizabeth and Jersey City over the Jersey Central on one of his whistlestop campaigns on 7 October. The train was operated via a telephone system installed from the engine to the last car.

On 17 October a CNJ steam powered railfan trip over the High Bridge Branch and the Wharton & Northern RR from Jersey City ran to Green Pond Jct. (connection with the NYS&W RR) - fare was $4.25.

The DL&W RR renamed their premier main line train the Phoebe Snow.

The Erie RR’s first diesel tugboat, Paterson, was built.

The pioneer of the postwar ultra-lightweight trains, the Talgo, a low slung speedster was built by the American Car & Foundry Co. It was tested on the DL&W RR between Hoboken and Denville.

The CNJ produced a promotional motion picture, The Big Little Railroad: A Trip over the Jersey Central Lines.

The American Freedom Train made a stop in Jersey City.

The CNJ conveyed to the City of Jersey City eight parcels of waterfront and other terminal land aggregating 150 acres. The annual tax savings on the unneeded properties were approximately $250,000.

The P RR Exchange Place to Courtland St. ferry service ended on 31 December.

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major US law to address water pollution.

The Jersey Central reported a loss of $9,923,182 on intrastate passenger service.


The Wilson Line motor-ship Liberty Belle, with a 2,900 passenger capacity and all steel construction, came to New York and began handling the Jersey City-Battery-Rockaway Beach run until 1955 when she was transferred to a new route from Pier 80, Manhattan, to Playland, Rye Beach. In 1957 she resumed the Rockaway Beach service for one year, after which she was sold.

The ICC approved a plan of reorganization for the CNJ and they emerged from a 10-year bankruptcy.

On 9 April the Joint Railfan Trip Committee (led by Edward Gibbs of Jersey City) organized a special train from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal, at 1:30pm, to St. George on the Staten Island Rapid Transit. CNJ power was to be a steam locomotive with stops at the Communipaw roundhouse, Elizabethport Interlocking Tower and Cranford Jct. SIRT diesel locomotive #485 pulled the CNJ coaches on the B&O / SIRT line where photo stops were made. The trip was “one way” for $2.75 fare, with participants returning on their own from St. George to Jersey City. Railfan Trips, Vol. 1, No. 8, April 1949

On 15 April DL&W 4-8-4 Pocono #1641 headed a Rail-Camera Safari excursion. It traveled from Hoboken via Washington and Phillipsburg; the Jersey Central to Bethlehem (where #1641 was turned on the CNJ turntable) and the L&NE to Pen Argyl (where new L&NE Alco diesels were on display for the railfans). The return was via Portland and Oxford.

A truckload of prohibited chemicals caused a major fire in the Holland Tunnel causing extensive damage to the tube. Ten trucks were destroyed, 13 damaged, 66 people were injured, and one later died.

A railfan trip operated over the DL&W RR and CNJ from Hoboken to Bethlehem, PA.

The NY, Ontario & Western RR passenger service became summer-seasonal only to Roscoe, NY, from Weehawken but this only lasted until 1953 when all passenger service was discontinued.

The last Public Service Hudson Division trolley routes (which used the Hoboken to Jersey City Heights elevated) were abandoned on 7 August. Buses took over on former trolley routes 7, 8, 17, 19, and 37. Shortly thereafter the elevated structure, which had provided passenger service since 1886, was razed.

The US Army seized all railroads on 27 August on President Truman's order to prevent a general strike. Two years later they were returned to their owners.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the C RR of NJ corporate name the Jersey Central Lines published a 16 page ‘Historical Highlights’ brochure.

The Jersey Central Lines emerged from a decade of bankruptcy on 1 October. A gala ceremony commemorating the event and their 100th anniversary was held in the Jersey City passenger terminal two days later.

On 14 October, a 10,000-ton collier, owned by Mystic Steamship of Boston, rammed the Vernon Avenue bridge over Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Long Island City. The bridge was put out of operation for two weeks and a temporary free ferry had to be paid for by Mystic.

At the request of CNJ management the employee’s Big Little Railroad Show vocalists sang carols and popular songs of the season for several hours each Christmas eve afternoon in the Jersey City Terminal. They performed from the balcony for commuters and employees on their way home annually until the Terminal closed.

The LV RR launched their tug Cornell, the first of a fleet of six new diesel-electric tugboats to move carfloats and other railroad vessels around NJ / NY Harbor and based at Jersey City just north of the CNJ Terminal. She was retired in 1971 and eventually, in 2007 purchased for preservation and repainted into former LV RR colors. Although now based out of Kingston, NY she frequently visits NJ / NY Harbor.

Existing CNJ facilities for the thawing of frozen coal cars at the Pier 18 coal dumpers in Jersey City were completely renovated and improved with an additional thaw shed of 12 car capacity being added. Four new 3-track, 17-car capacity carfloats were acquired at as cost of $684,177.

A model railroad layout which was installed in the Lionel company’s headquarters on Madison Avenue in NYC attracted train lovers for decades. When they moved to Michigan, in the early 1960's, the layout was moved to a New Jersey warehouse which later collapsed and destroyed the exhibit.

The Public Service Railway Co. discontinued its Edgewater to 129th St., Manhattan ferry route on 15 December.

On 16 December the inbound Swedish motor vessel Ekefors, collided at the Narrows with Seatrain Texas, and was badly damaged.

1 1950

On 6 March the last NY City Transit System (former Brooklyn & Queens Transit) PCC cars operated over the stately Brooklyn Bridge completed by Roebling in 1883. Trolley service to the Park Row Terminal, just east of City Hall, ended and the PCC cars served out their final years on three routes in Brooklyn.

In heavy fog with visibility of less than 150 feet, the hull of the Lightship Ambrose was hit and punctured by the SS Santa Monica of the Grace Line on 28 March. None of the crew of fifteen of the Lightship was injured and she was towed to Marine Basin Shipyard in Gravesend Bay the next day for repairs.

On 19 May an explosion of munitions and dynamite occurred at a P RR South Amboy, NJ pier while they were being transferred from freight cars to lighters. Known locally as the “Powder Pier,” it extended into the Raritan River from the P RR coal yard. The detonation caused extensive damage to rail cars, vessels (many lighters, coal barges and other vessels were destroyed or heavily damaged), structures and dwellings in not only the nearby area, but extending to Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, and Staten Island. Thirty-one were killed; 52 were admitted to hospitals and 150 received emergency first aid treatment. US Coast Guard Investigation of 30 June 1950

The Philadelphia Flyer and Scranton Flyer trains serving the CNJ Jersey City Terminal were discontinued.

The third CNJ ferryboat named Elizabeth was rebuilt from the deck up on the hull of the ferryboat Lakewood after a huge fire in this year. She was purchased by Public Service Electric & Gas Co.; towed south along the Jersey coast; around Cape May; into Delaware Bay; and up the Delaware River to Salem where she was renamed The Second Sun and became a floating energy information center at the PSE&G Salem Nuclear Generating Station. When this service ended she was to be towed back to her former slips at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal where her outfitting as an educational center with a built in theater could be put to good use. However, the State of NJ failed to act and the former Elizabeth III later became a floating restaurant on the Delaware River at Philadelphia. Then she was abandoned and was finally towed to sea off the NJ coast and sunk as part of a fishing reef in 2005.

A P RR “Off the Beaten Track” excursion on 4 June from Philadelphia went over the Camden & Amboy to South Amboy; thence to Greenville Yards, Jersey City, opposite the Statue of Liberty. The return was via the LV RR main to Phillipsburg; the Bel Del to Trenton and Philadelphia. Fare was $5.

On 27 June, the 416-foot long, 9,350 ton Excalibur of the American Export Line collided with the 452-foot long, 5,146 ton inbound Danish motor freighter, Columbia. The Excalibur was off for a Mediterranean cruise with 114 passengers and a cargo of medical supplies. It was brought out in court that the captain of the Excalibur, who lived in Bay Ridge, had swung over to the Brooklyn side of the channel in order to wave at his wife as he went by. The bow of the Columbia struck the Excalibur (still going full speed) just forward of her passenger quarters. The Excalibur was beached on Gowanus Flats, her bow on the mud off Bay Ridge, very close to his waving wife...

The collier Melrose collided with the dredge Sandcraft on 2 July at the entrance to the Narrows, NY Harbor and the latter was sunk, but crew saved.

The Reading Crusader trains had their steam locomotives replaced with shiny new black and green painted diesel engines.

The US Army 712th Railway Transportation Group, sponsored by the CNJ and Reading RR was recalled for duty for the Korean War where they operated and upgraded approximately 500 miles of railroad.

The US Army seized all railroads on 27 August, on orders of President Truman to prevent a general strike after unions rejected terms of an 18-cents-an-hour raise for yardmen but none for trainmen. The roads were returned to their owners on 23 May 1952 after a new contract was signed.

The Port of New York Authority completed the Newark Union Motor Truck Terminal near the Port Newark Marine Terminal. With 160 truck berths, it was the largest truck terminal in the world. It was a consolidating terminal at which less-than-truckload, common carrier mixed merchandise shipments were received and sorted for interchange between line-haul and local carriers.

On 21 November the USS New Jersey was re-commissioned at Bayonne and went to assist the war effort in Korea.

A storm of hurricane proportions occurred on 25 November, which raised the tide at Jersey City a foot above all previous high water records, flooding the CNJ Jersey City Terminal and surrounding yard areas. Jersey Central Lines Annual Report 31 December 1950

The new Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan opened on 15 December, and with direct connections to the Lincoln Tunnel and the new toll roads in NJ, bus lines operating in CNJ territory could achieve speeds that were competitive with the railroad.

The P RR ferry service between Exchange Place, Jersey City and Cortlandt Street, Manhattan was abandoned on 31 December.

The South Ferry spur of the Third Avenue El in Manhattan was closed.

In this era the Railway Express Agency occupied the long, three story, brick building on the north side of the CNJs Jersey City Terminal. The Johnston Avenue side of the building had a continuous line of truck docks. Over 18,000 parcels were handled daily via the CNJ, B&O and Reading routes in 10 to 12 carloads of about 1,500 pieces each. In addition, individual packages went on any train which had an express car.

The US Army Corps of Engineers 525-foot hopper dredge Essayons was built especially for the maintenance of NY Harbor channels. With 8,000 cubic yard capacity hoppers and twin dredging pumps of 1,850 hp, she was the largest dredge of that type at the time.


The New York-Keansburg-Long Branch Bus Co., a division of Keansburg Steamboat Co., began operations.

The Woodbridge train wreck occurred on 6 February at Woodbridge, NJ when the engineer of a crowded, speeding, Pennsylvania RR express train, The Broker, failed to observe a slow order over a temporary wooden trestle. It was the third worst train disaster in American history. The train, which originated in Exchange Place, Jersey City, was carrying many passengers from the strike-bound CNJ railroad.

On 6 May, the Railroad Enthusiasts organized an excursion from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal to North Jersey, including the branches around Dover. The trip was hauled by 4-6-2 # 814, the final steam locomotive acquired by the CNJ.

The May issue of Trains Magazine advertised an “Inspection trip over Staten Island Rapid Transit by diesel on 20 May. May be last trip over much of system. Photo stops in such places as the seldom-used Mt. Loretto spur. Trip leaves Cranford Jct. 10 am and ends 5 pm at St. George. Free transportation back to Cranford Jct. Fare $3 in advance, $4 on train.” This trip was apparently postponed for two months. On 22 July the trip described, including the South Beach Branch and the main line to Tottenville was operated with an SIRT Alco S-2 locomotive #488 and three Jersey Central coaches. Per conversation with Ira Deutsch, who was 24 at the time and has documentary photos.

A railfan excursion was operated on the Erie RR from Jersey City to Scranton and return on 24 June.

On 28 July the fishing boat Betty B. Exploded and sank in Lower NY Bay; one missing, 4 rescued.

The USS Wisconsin was freed after grounding on mud flats in NY Harbor on 22 August.

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

The former CNJ steamer Sandy Hook broke her main shaft and was scrapped.


CNJ canceled all passenger service west of Allentown.

The CNJ Jersey City yards were relieved of 50% of their westbound classification work, which was transferred to the CNJ’s newly modernized freight classification yards at Allentown, PA.

American Airlines Flight 6780, a Convair 240 was on final approach to runway 6 at Newark Airport on 22 January using the instrument landing system. It crashed into a house in Elizabeth, 3.4 miles southeast of Newark. All 23 occupants of the plane, plus 7 people on the ground were killed in the crash and ensuing fire. The cause of the crash was never determined. Newark Airport suffered its third major aircraft crash in three months. The airport closed for eight months while investigations were conducted.

On 30 March streetcar service on the PSCT Bloomfield Avenue Line ended, leaving the No. 7 City Subway Line as the last trolley operation in NJ.

The Bloomfield Junior High School Model Railroad Club, guided by teacher, Mr. Cahill, and including the Editor, walked to the DL&W Bloomfield Station to take a MU train to Hoboken and ferry to Barclay St., NY, where they walked to Liberty St. to take the CNJ ferry to the Jersey City Terminal. There they were given a tour of the carfloat operations, a ride to the Yardmaster’s tower on Alco diesel switcher #1020, where they ascended to the top level for photos, and permitted to inspect the locomotive servicing facilities at Communipaw engine terminal.

On 17 May a railfan excursion was operated on the DL&W RR from Hoboken, via Washington, NJ to Phillipsburg; the CNJ from Easton, to Mauch Chunk, Ashley, Wilkes Barre and Scranton; with return via the DL&W RR.

The excursion boat New Yorker rammed a bulkhead on the Hudson River injuring 32 on 10 June.

On 22 June a railroad enthusiasts excursion was operated on the Erie RR from Jersey City to Carbondale, PA and return.

On 19 July, fireboats and helicopters fought the blaze when the Poling Bros. No. 18 tanker exploded and burned in the East River off 73rd Street. Three crewmen were rescued; one was lost. On the same day, the Black Gull, a Norwegian freighter with a cargo of zinc, tin and castor oil, was set afire by naphthalene and subsequently abandoned sixty-five miles southeast of Montauk Point. The Merritt-Chapman & Scott vessel Curb left Staten Island to go to her assistance. The freighter was towed through rough seas to NY and she arrived in the lower bay on 21 July, still smouldering. NYC fireboats poured in streams and put out the fire, but Black Gull sank in 23 feet of water. She was refloated on 29 July and some of her cargo salvaged but the ship was scrapped.

On 27 July a “Rip Van Winkle Flyer” excursion was operated over the NYC RR from Weehawken via the West Shore RR to Kingston, NY and then the Ulster & Delaware RR to Stanford, NY and return.

The New Jersey Highway Authority was created to commence building the Garden State Parkway.

During July the NYC RR ferryboat Catskill burned at Rodermond’s yard in the Morris Canal Big Basin at Jersey City.

On her maiden voyage from the NJ / NY port area to the UK on 4 July, the SS United States, with its 268,000-shaft horsepower set a trans-Atlantic speed record: three days, 10 hours and 42 minutes. Her top speed was 44mph and she held the Blue Riband for her entire 17 year service career, being the fastest ocean liner to cross the Atlantic in either direction. The SS US was the largest ocean liner constructed entirely in the US and her service ended in 1969. Since 1996 she has been tied up at Pier 82, Delaware River, Philadelphia with an uncertain future. There was a proposal to bring her to Jersey City in 2010, but financing and cost of restoration were the major unsurmountable problems.

CNJ’s first diesel locomotive, No. 1000, after working at their Bronx Terminal for 27 years was returned to New Jersey and worked intermittently at their Jersey City Terminal.

The Port of New York Authority took over operation of the Hoboken Marine Terminal.

The CNJ took delivery of the first of four new diesel tugboats for its marine operations in NY Harbor. They were part of a $27,000,000 improvement program which included 93 locomotives, 625 freight cars, 22 lighters, 4 carfloats and other improvements.

All CNJ ferryboats were equipped with short-range radar as an aid to safe and dependable operations regardless of fog and other conditions that effect visibility.

On 4 December the Queen Elizabeth collided with a tug in NY Harbor but was only slightly damaged.


The freighter American Veteran, collided in fog off Governor’s Island with the SI ferry Gold Star Mother on 5 January; 5 passengers were hurt.

On 15 January the freighter American Leader collided in fog with the freighter Chickasaw in NY Harbor

New York Airways, the first helicopter airline in the world, inaugurated mail, express, freight and passenger service between Newark & NY area airports and Teterboro, New Brunswick and Trenton.

The DL&W RR purchased the first order of ten H-24-66 Train Master locomotives at $250,000 each from the Fairbanks-Morse Co. They were the highest horsepower per unit locomotives available and were used to replace the last DL&W steam locomotives in New Jersey.

On 15 May the Ellerman Lines City of Calcutta, at anchor SSE of Craven Shoal buoy, was hit by tug Brooklyn and three scows, the last of which sank.

The Northeast Region of the National Model RR Assn. operated a round trip excursion from Grand Central Terminal to the NMRA convention at Syracuse, NY utilizing electric, steam and diesel power, on 16-17 May.

North Jersey Chapter, NRHS sponsored a Gala Spring Trip from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal to Green Pond Junction covering the Wharton & Northern, Mount Hope Mineral RR and the High Bridge Branch on Sunday, 17 May. The eight car train with 497 passengers was pulled by CNJ Pacific (4-6-2) locomotive #810. (This was the first railfan trip taken by the Editor, who got to go for the $2.50 half fare rate.)

The last steam locomotives on the Lackawanna RR, used on commuter trains operating out of Hoboken Terminal, were replaced by diesel locomotives on 6 June.

Circle Line began operating boats to the Statue of Liberty.

The Day Line entered the around Manhattan sightseeing boat business.

The Railroad Enthusiasts organized a Scenic Tour from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal to West Milton, PA via the CNJ and the Reading Co. on 20 June. The Editor got to go for $4 - half fare.

Due to replacement of steam locomotives by diesel locomotives, one-half of the former steam locomotive facilities at Communipaw were dedicated to diesel locos or were abandoned. Up until this time the B&O RR kept a spare engine or two at Communipaw as backups for their steam powered passenger trains.

CNJ 0-6-0 steam locomotive No. 113, which worked in the Jersey City Terminal coal yards for most of its life was sold to the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co. for use at Mt. Carmel, PA. The locomotive was eventually acquired by the RR Project 113 of Minersville, PA and after 55 years of dereliction was restored to steam operation in 2010.

A smog event in the NYC area was blamed for 170 to 260 deaths.

Steam coil switch heaters at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal were replaced by electric-heating units, using electricity supplied by CNJ diesel locomotives. In addition, oil heating units replaced steam in the coal-thawing sheds at Pier 18; electricity replaced steam for producing compressed air; and enough other changes and improvements in the Jersey City Terminal area were made to permit the closing of the Johnson Avenue Power Plant, saving more than $200,000 annually.

On 17 September the NYC fireboat George B. McClellan suffered an explosion in the East River, killing the marine engineer.

The North Jersey Chapter, NRHS organized a farewell tour on the NY, New Haven & Hartford RR on Sunday, 4 October, from Grand Central Terminal to New Canaan and Danbury, CT using open-platform M.U. equipment about to be retired. At Danbury, Sperry Rail Service rail detector car #126 was open for inspection. The Editor participated on the trip with ticket #38.

The NY Society of Model Engineers and the Railroad Enthusiasts cooperated in organizing a Rail-Camera Safari on Saturday, 24 October from Hoboken Terminal via the Lackawanna RR and the Delaware & Hudson RR to Nineveh, NY. Two rather new Fairbanks-Moorse Trainmaster locomotives were used to and from Scranton and two Alco Road Switchers were used on the D&H. The Editor was a passenger.

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

CNJ diesel tugboat Communipaw was completed at RTC Shipyard in Camden. She operated in NJ / NY Harbor until 1973. In 2011 she was working in Port-Au-Prince Haiti, now named the Mack Point.

The City Hall spur of the Third Avenue El in Manhattan closed.

The NYC Transit Authority was created to take over subway, bus and streetcar operations within the city.

The Waterfront Commission of NY Harbor was created to address the allegedly corrupt International Longshoremens Association union via a compact between NY & NJ.

With revenues of $33 million, the Lionel Corporation became the world’s biggest toy company.


On 8 January, Public Service Coordinated Transport began to replace their vintage trolley cars on the Newark City Subway with five to seven-year-old PCC cars acquired second hand from Twin Cities Rapid Transit Company of Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN.

The tanker Verdon collided in the East River on 14 January with the freighter Bethcoaster. The Verdon sank.

The Metropolitan Philadelphia Railway Assn. organized a Newark City Subway tour utilizing cars #2667 and PCC #16 on 17 January. Line car #5221 flat car #2683 were brought out for photographers. The Editor was on this trip.

On 20 January the SI ferry Verrazano rammed the freighter Norlindo off Bedloe’s Island injuring seven.

During January Arthur Godfrey buzzed the tower at Teterboro, NJ Airport in his DC-3 aircraft, which resulted in the suspension of his pilot’s license. He was a radio and TV broadcaster and entertainer who was born in NYC in 1903 and died there in 1983. Teterboro is the oldest operating airport in the NYC metropolitan area.

On 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day, Rogers built K-1 4-6-2 #2530 pulled the last regularly scheduled steam-powered train on the Erie RR, from Spring Valley, NY to Jersey City.

The last CNJ camelback steam locomotive in scheduled service, No. 773, departed the Jersey City Terminal on 23 April with train No. 709 for Dunellen. None of the 4-6-0 camelbacks were saved. The last one, #774, was scrapped in March 1956.

CNJ 4-4-2 Camelback steam locomotive No. 592 departed Jersey City Terminal on loan to the B&O RR Museum on1 May. A diesel locomotive towed #592 and a vintage passenger coach south to Baltimore, MD where they remain on display.

On 17 May President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

The Transit Improvement Assn. organized a tour of the Newark City Subway using car #17 on Sunday, 23 May. The Editor was on board.

The tug Brooklyn sank at the Battery on 1 June, drowning one crew member.

An authentic floating theater came again to the New Jersey - New York waterways in 1954 with the construction of Driftwood by Edward Furbush who converted a freight barge into a 200-seat auditorium with dressing rooms and other accommodations for a full compliment of artists and staff for a luxury showboat. During the seasons of 1955 through 1969, Driftwood toured the waterways around northern New Jersey and Staten Island. Programs were usually time-tested melodramas with between acts vaudeville or specialty acts, such as Tom McGuire (then Captain of the Driftwood) astounding the patrons with his magic and illusions. Showboat Centennials, No. 17, March 1986

The North Jersey Chapter, NRHS sponsored a Farewell To The Camelback Engine Tour using the last operating camelback locomotive in America, CNJ #774, from their Jersey City Terminal via Elizabethport to Freehold, Bay Head Junction, and Atlantic Highlands on Sunday, 11 July. Adult fare for the day was $4.50! The Editor was on this trip.

CNJ camelback locomotive #774 was moved to West Point, NY to participate in the filming of the American drama film, The Long Grey Line, about West Point Military Academy, starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara. The film was released on 22 January 1955.

In New Jersey the highway trailer on railroad flat car service leader was the P RR. On 14 July it inaugurated the Pennsy TrucTrain Service between New York (South Kearny), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The Hudson & Manhattan RR filed for bankruptcy on 11 August.

On 7 September the steam lighter Express burned off Bedloe’s Island.

A Brooklyn Trolley Tour was organized by the Transit Improvement Assn. on Saturday, 30 October. A PCC car was used in the morning and double ended car No. 8361 in the afternoon. The Editor was on board.

On Sunday, 31 October the Branford Electric Railway Assn. organized an all steam excursion on the Long Island RR from Jamaica to Bay Ridge, LI City, Oyster Bay, Valley Stream and Salisbury. LI RR G-5 (4-6-0) locomotive #50 was used in the morning and 2-8-0 #111 was used in the afternoon. The Editor was on board.

The Ellis Island Immigration Station closed on 12 November. During its 62 years of operation, 17 million immigrants were processed. Most boarded trains at the nearby CNJ Terminal to travel to their new homes across the US. The ferry, Ellis Island, which provided reliable service for 50 years between the island and Immigration Slip at South Ferry, NYC was tied up at the Ellis Island slip, and finally sank in 1962.

Wilson Line’s steamboat State of Pennsylvania made its last runs in NY Harbor and was taken back to the Delaware River.

The Metropolitan Philadelphia Railway Assn. operated a Brooklyn Trolley Tour over their entire system on 21 Nov. Experimental Clark car #1,000; PCC #1001; and a third car were used on the Coney Island Ave., Church Ave., and McDonald Ave. lines. The Editor was a participant.

Ten percent fare increases were put in place by the CNJ, Erie, LV, NJ&NY, and Pennsylvania railroads on 21 November.

On the Waterfront is an American drama film about mob violence and corruption among longshoremen. This story of mob informers was based upon a number of true stories and filmed in and around the docks of Hoboken, NJ. The film received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

New Jersey taxes took $2.29 for each $1 earned by railroads in the state before taxes.

American Airlines replaced the P RR as the country's largest passenger common carrier. Prior to WW II the P RR boasted that they carried 19% of all passengers in America and had the largest fleet of air-conditioned trains in the world.

The Metropolitan Transportation Club hosted what was to be the “Last Fantrip on the 3rd Avenue El” on Sunday 19 December from the 149th Street Station. There was at least one more “Last Trip” on 27 March 1955...


The P RR cut one day travel time off the schedule of their NF-6 livestock train from Chicago to Jersey City. This allowed them to skip a mid-way stop to feed and water the animals.

On Sunday, 27 March, the Metropolitan Transportation Club organized the “Last Fantrip” over the Third Avenue Elevated. The special train made two round trips from 149th Street to Chatham Square over both local and express tracks, with many photo stops and a lunch stop.

The DL&W RR Christopher St. ferry service ended on 30 March.

On 2 April, a railfan excursion on the CNJ from Jersey City to Bridgeton was powered by 4-6-0 camelback locomotive #774.

Paul Renault (of the South Jersey winery family) and E. White collaborated to save Brooklyn and Queens Transit double ended Peter Witt car No. 8361, built by J.G. Brill in 1925. The Editor photographed 8361 as she arrived at Stapleton, SI on a P RR flat car on a carfloat and was brought onto land by SIRT diesel #489. The car was placed on the SIRT trackage on the recently abandoned SIRT South Beach line, where they hoped to erect a carbarn and operate it. It was the first car to be saved by the then new Trolley Museum of NY, but never operated on SI. The car is now in the carbarn, erected by a donation from the estate of Paul Renault, awaiting restoration at the TM of NY at Kingston, NY.

On 24 April the Electric Railroader’s Association, North Jersey Division operated a Bi-State Trolley Tour, covering the Queensboro Bridge Railway (in car 603) in the morning and the Public Service Newark City Subway (in car 20) in the afternoon. The Editor was aboard both trips.

The P RR initiated their WC-1, Harsimus Cove, Jersey City to the West Coast freight train.

The Wilson Line excursion motorship, the former Delaware Belle was transferred from the Delaware River to NY Harbor and renamed Hudson Belle. With a passenger capacity of 3,400 and a 16 mph cruising speed, she was ideal for the Pier 80, Manhattan, 69th Street, Brooklyn to Atlantic Highlands-Monmouth Park Race Track run formerly made by the Day Line’s Peter Stuyvesant. She also made charter trips and moonlight “Showboat” cruises featuring top name movie stars and entertainers. Music was provided by the famous Meyer Davis orchestra. Her spacious dance floor was often referred to as “The largest marine ballroom afloat.” She last ran in New York in 1961 and later became the George Washington on Potomac River excursion service.

Circle Line sightseeing cruises began operating at its current Pier 83 location.

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

Railroad Enthusiasts sponsored a steam trip using CNJ #774 from Jersey City, Elizabeth and Plainfield to Allentown and Jim Thorpe with B&O dining car service on 24 (25?) September. This was the final steam excursion run of the last CNJ steam locomotive. Despite the efforts of noted rail photographer Don Wood and others, the necessary $5,500 to preserve her wasn’t raised and #774 was unceremoniously towed to scrap at Luria Brothers in March 1956.

On 27 September the tug F. A. Churchman was rammed by a barge and sank in Arthur Kill with two missing, but others saved.

The USS Wisconsin went aground for an hour on 18 October in the East River; no damage.

The Ford Motor Co. Edgewater assembly plant last built light trucks and closed in this year. Ford's Mahwah assembly plant opened.

A full day was cut from the schedule of the P RR's L(ess than) C(ar) L(oad)-1 freight train. From Jersey City, second morning delivery was made to Chicago.

Malcolm McLean sold his interest in McLean Trucking and formed McLean Industries; McLean Industries acquired Waterman Steamship Co. and formed Pan-Atlantic which later became Sea-Land Service. The firm grew to become the largest United States-based ocean carrier and a leader in the global shipping industry with 94 ships. For years their corporate offices were in New Jersey and their ships sailed from Port Newark / Elizabethport.

Service on the Third Avenue El ended in Manhattan and the structure was soon removed. The No. 1 line continues to operate on an elevated structure north of Dyckman Street to 225th Street.


The General Motors lightweight "Aerotrain" made its first run from Washington to Newark and return. It was displayed on track "A" at Newark's Penn Station. The cars were essentially GM bus bodies and interiors, each mounted on four railroad wheels. For a time the experimental train made a daily round trip between New York and Pittsburgh, but it did not last long.

The Budd Co. built "Tubular Train" began operating on the Pennsylvania RR between New York and Washington. The light weight coaches of the unique eight car train had a center of gravity only 39" above the rails.

The initial section of the Newark Airport, Newark Bay to Holland Tunnel extension of the NJ Turnpike was completed to Bayonne. Today it is a primary route for auto and bus traffic to reach Liberty State Park. Two interchanges are on the western edge of the Park.

The last steam locomotive on the CNJ roster, 4-6-0 #774, was scrapped in March.

Trucking entrepreneur Malcom McLean inaugurated the US container shipping industry by putting fifty-eight containers aboard a retrofitted surplus tanker ship, the Ideal-X, and sailing them from Port Newark to Houston.

On 20 May the cabin cruiser Escape II was run into by the tanker M. J. Derby II in the East River with the loss of one life.

On the fog-shrouded night of 23 July, the 486-foot American freighter Fairisle, inbound from Florida, collided with an outbound Panamanian tanker, San Jose II, about three and a half miles south of Ambrose Lightship. The Fairisle suffered a gaping hole in her port side at midship. Two days later, her engine room awash and four holds open to the sea, as she was being towed to Gravesend Bay, she settled on her starboard side in thirty feet of water, about a mile offshore of Brooklyn. Merritt-Chapman & Scott started salvage work in September and on 24 December Fairisle was refloated.

The B&O RR extended their trailer-on-flat-car service to 32 North Jersey points and NYC via the Reading and CNJ Railroads.

The excursion boat Sightseer IX rammed the Harlem River, Madison Avenue Bridge on 8 August, injuring 33.

On 13 October the Erie RR shifted most of its non-rush hour trains from it scruffy Pavonia Avenue station in Jersey City to the larger, more efficient, ans better equipped DL&W Terminal about 3,000 feet to the north.

Trolley service in Brooklyn ended with the retirement of PCC cars on the Coney Island, McDonald and Church Avenues routes at the end of October.

On 3 December, the Luckenbach pier in Brooklyn was on fire and the NY fireboat Fire Fighter was battling the flames. A devastating explosion was caused by the ignition of primacord detonating fuses. The blast killed many people on the pier, rocked the fireboat, injured several of her crew and damaged buildings in the area. It cost $1 million to restore Fire Fighter.

Farrell Line’s freighter African Star collided with freighter Alcoa Pilgrim in NY Harbor on 18 December. No lives were lost, but African Star sank.

The USS New Jersey returned to NY Naval Shipyard in December for inactivation and 8 months later was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Bayonne.


By this year a ship, SS Tropicana was bringing 1.5 million gallons of Tropicana orange juice from Florida to NYC each week.

A bulk wine terminal was constructed at Port Newark and the Angelo Petri, a wine tanker, inaugurated ocean service from California.

The Erie, DL&W & B&O Railroads raised commuter fares 5% while the CNJ increase was 10.4%.

The Hoboken Shore Railroad operated an excursion on their road for the local Chamber of Commerce members in February. The visitors were carried in a gondola which had been given an interior coating of white paint.

The NY, Ontario & Western RR became the first major rail carrier in the US to cease operations. The 541-mile line died at the age of 80 after a lingering insolvency which built up $100 million in debts. It was ordered liquidated by a US bankruptcy judge on 29 March. It connected the port city of Oswego on Lake Ontario with Weehawken, NJ which it accessed via trackage rights over the NY Central RR’s West Shore RR into NJ. The rails were quickly pulled up, but a line of their diesel locomotives were parked in the Erie’s Croxton Yard for some time before being scrapped.

The two heaviest loads ever handled by the DL&W RR were two roller mill housings weighing 231 and 261 tons. which they handled from the Brooklyn Navy yard by carfloat.

On 22 March the remaining Erie RR commuter trains (except those on the Northern Branch) were switched to the DL&W Terminal in Hoboken. This coordination plan resulted in a total of 444 trains arriving and departing every 24 hours with 28,000 passengers at Hoboken.

The DL&W RR inaugurated coast-to-coast piggyback service with the shipment of printing press equipment from Hoboken to California.

The full 173 miles of the Garden State Parkway was completed and opened to motorists. It became the longest and most modern barrier toll road in the country. It had more toll plazas per mile than any other toll road in America.

A strike by employees of the Hudson & Manhattan RR stopped service for their 65,000 riders for 32½ days beginning 28 March.

On 7 April the Queensboro Bridge trolley, which operated from Manhattan to Queensboro Plaza, with a stop for Roosevelt Avenue, ceased operation. The line, which had operated since the 1909 opening of the bridge, was the last trolley to operate in NY State.

The third tube of the Lincoln Tunnel opened on 25 May, giving it the status of the world's first triple tube underwater roadway.

For its last run, CNJ No. 1000 hauled a special passenger train from Jersey City Terminal to Elizabethport and return on 13 June. It was then displayed for two weeks in the Jersey City Terminal. Then, No. 1000, the first successful diesel-electric locomotive in America, departed the Jersey City Terminal on loan to the B&O museum at Baltimore, MD. It had been built in Erie, PA with the prime mover supplied by Ingersoll-Rand Co. of Phillipsburg; electrical equipment by General Electric; and carbody and trucks by American Locomotive Co.

Modern closed-circuit television was installed at Pier 18, Jersey City to speed handling of coal cars to the McMyler dumper.

Meseck Line sold their excursion steamer John A. Meseck to the Wilson Line Operating Co. which continued to run the vessel in the same service. Meseck’s Americana was retired in 1953.

The Metropolitan Rapid Transit Commission recommended that the NYC subway system be extended in a loop to serve the various New Jersey railroads. (The American City, September 1957)

On 6 October, Pan-Atlantic's Gateway City (one of six C-2 freighters converted to container ships and which became SeaLand Service), holding 226 containers made the first containership sailing from a pier at Foot Doremus Ave., Port Newark to Miami and Houston.

On 20 / 21October 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 RR at Staten Island Jct.

On 21 October, the Governors Island ferryboat Lieut. Samuel S. Coursen was used to bring Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip ashore from their royal yacht during a visit to NYC.

The DL&W RR purchased the former Erie RR ferryboat, Youngstown, and renamed her Chatham II. On 29 August 1960 she was struck amidships by SeaTrain Georgia ripping a large hole in the men’s cabin and her hull was damaged causing her to take on water. Chatham was helped to Chambers Street slips of the Erie and her passengers were discharged. She was scrapped in 1963.


Seventy-six of the P RR's 139 GG-1 locomotives were disabled when fine, wind blown snow entered their ventilation system, melted and caused short circuits. It took almost a week to get service back to normal.

Steers Sand & Gravel’s two year old diesel tug, Jim Steers, foundered on 19 January in an icy gale and rain between Kings Point and City Island with loss of the three man crew. The tug was found five weeks later.

On 8 February the tanker Tynefield collided off Staten Island with the ferry Dongan Hills, injuring 30.

On 6 March, Pan-Atlantic containership Bienville made the first trip from Port Newark to Puerto Rico where stevedores refused to unload containers; on 25 March the ship went to New Orleans where the cargo was placed on a break bulk ship for return to Puerto Rico. In May Pan-Atlantic General Offices were moved from Mobile, AL to Foot Doremus Ave., Port Newark. A San Juan stevedoring agreement was signed in July and containership service between Port Newark and Puerto Rico commenced.

NJ railroads were granted another round of passenger fare increases in March.

On 31 March the SS Albion Victory collided with the barge Sea Prince off Sandy Hook and the latter sank.

The CNJ completed the construction of a fifth carfloat transfer bridge at Jersey City, costing $450,000, which was necessary to accommodate increased Car Forwarder traffic originating at NY pier stations.

On 16 April the NY Central RR began Flexi-Van service between Weehawken, NJ and Chicago. The Flexi-Van was at the vanguard of the container revolution, and, while not widely adopted, found themselves later on the P RR (later Penn Central) between New York and Chicago in U.S. Mail service.

The B&O RR terminated all passenger service between Jersey City and Baltimore on 27 April. Thus ended nearly a century of luxurious Royal Blue trains and over 30 years of connecting bus service from the CNJ Jersey City terminal to NYC.

Morris Pesin launched his crusade for the establishment of what became Liberty State Park by a canoe ride with a Jersey Journal reporter from the Jersey City waterfront to the Statue of Liberty. His early plan included parking lots in the park and a tram line to transport visitors on a causeway to the Statue.

Eight NY fireboats and a tender, besides land units, US Coast Guard, and Police Dept. craft, were involved on 25 June, when two ships collided, exploded and caught fire in the East River opposite Pier 29, Manhattan, directly beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The two ships involved were the 438-foot motorship, Nebraska of Gothenberg, Sweeden, bound from New Haven, CT to Port Newark, NJ and the US tanker Empress Bay, a 189-foot steel motor vessel carrying 280,000 gallons of high-test gasoline from the Standard Oil Co. of NJ terminal in NJ to Mt. Vernon, NY. The bow of the Nebraska remained embedded in the Empress Bay for an hour and a half while the Nebraska maneuvered her engines to keep the vessel in the river, away from the piers. Heat radiation from the flames under the Manhattan Bridge started a second fire on the ties of the BMT subway line on the bridge. The fireboat William J. Gaynor, stationed only 500 yards from the collision, were at the scene in five minutes. She rescued 37 crew members in all, some with their clothes on fire. In the process the Gaynor’s hull was struck below the water line by the revolving blade of the Nebraska’s port propeller and the fireboat had to withdraw to prevent sinking. The tug Valmorac recovered several survivors from the water. The tug Dalzellera removed four men from the burning Nebraska and later pulled the two vessels apart. After the fire on the Nebraska had been brought under control, she was moved on 20 August to Liberty Island and partly raised. When the Empress Bay was separated from the Nebraska, her stern went under water and only her bow was visible. When the tug Dalzellera was pulling on the Empress Bay, trying to get her into shallower water, the motor vessel George Whitlock II , eastbound, tried to go between the tug and the Empress Bay, so that the tug had to drop the towline and the Whitlock collided with the stem of the Empress Bay and the latter became a total loss. The East River was closed until 20 August due to seepage of gasoline from the Empress Bay.

Herman T. Stichman, trustee of the bankrupt Hudson & Manhattan RR announced that they planned to drop 252 one-way train trips due to losses in the number of passengers.

The World's first production air-conditioned rapid transit cars, the Hudson & Manhattan RR "K" cars, went into service.

On 15 September, a NY & Long Branch train, heading to Jersey City Terminal passed a red signal east of Elizabethport, hit the open derail on the Newark Bay bridge, and bounced along the bridge timbers 500 feet from the opened drawbridge. Brakes on the train were not thrown into emergency until 8 feet before the bridge opening and the two locomotives and the fist two coaches went off the end of the bridge into the water, the third coach dangled for two hours before falling into the water and the two last coaches remained on the bridge. Forty-eight perished in New Jersey’s third worst rail disaster. The circumstances of the failure of the crew to stop the train in time remain a mystery...

After hard times hit the NYS&W RR they sold their four RDC cars to the CNJ.

The LV RR became the first major passenger carrier to petition for total discontinuance of passenger service.

The DL&W RR began planning to halt all commuter service as promptly as possible unless they were relieved of all New Jersey taxes on transportation property.

On the morning of 16 October, CNJ ferryboat Wilkes-Barre was nearly about to dock at Liberty Street, NYC, in very dense fog, when her captain put her into full reverse and laid on the whistle. The tugboat Cynthia Moran was heading at the ferry, apparently oblivious to its’ presence. The tug struck the lower passenger cabin, putting a four foot gash in the side of the Wilkes-Barre. Fortunately there were few injuries, but the CNJ decided they would no longer operate their ferries in fog. Their reason: radar, which helps guide vessels through fog actually contributed to the risk of collision by increasing traffic congestion in the harbor. Thus, the unique CNJ Fog Ticket began to be used to allow CNJ passengers to utilize the Pennsylvania Railroad to get into midtown Manhattan on foggy days. C RR of NJ Historical Society Newsletter # 40, December 2008

On 26 October the first commercial jet plane, Pan Am’s Clipper America departed NY for Paris.

The first domestic jet airline passenger service was begun by National Airlines on 10 December between NY and Miami.

Erie RR ferry service between their Pavonia Terminal in Jersey City and Chambers Street, Manhattan ended on 12 December after the Erie completed its consolidation with the DL&W RR at Hoboken.


The NY Central RR received permission to abandon both of its ferry lines: Weehawken to Cortlandt St. and 42nd Street.

On 6 January the tanker Atlantic Prince, bound from Stapleton, SI to Linden, NJ, collided in Kill Van Kull with the tanker Otco Bay; both were faulted.

The inbound tanker North Dakota collided off Bayonne, NJ on 26 January with the loaded US Army Corps. of Engineers hopper dredge Essayons.

The National Trailways Bus System opened their new travel plaza in the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal on 27 January.

On 1 March the tanker Jalanta collided with the liner Constitution in fog outside NY Harbor; both damaged.

The New Jersey Highway Department created a Division of Railroad Transportation in March.

The new Grace Line cruise ship. Santa Rosa, with 512 passengers aboard, inbound for NY, knifed into the American tanker Valchem on 26 March, 22 miles east of Atlantic City in patchy fog. The tanker was heavily damaged; four of the crew died; fires broke out on both ships; but the liner was able to tow the tanker to Brooklyn.

The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway on 25 April made the Erie Canal obsolete and diverted freight traffic from the DL&W, LV, Erie, NY Central and other railroads which served the NJ / NY Port..

The North Jersey Chapter, NRHS and the NY Division, Railroad Enthusiasts sponsored a Rail Camera Inspection Tour to the Reading RR, Reading, PA shops from the CNJ Jersey City Terminal, Elizabethport and Plainfield on 2 May. The train was powered by Fairbanks Morse Trainmaster #2409. Reading T1 class 4-8-4's in storage were available for photos at Reading.

A crew-less, runaway diesel locomotive, #1706 departed the CNJ Jersey City Terminal yards 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... The incident was later documented by Fales, E.D., Jr. in an article, “Runaway Engine on the Main Line!” in the October 1961 issue of Popular Science Magazine.

On 29 July the freighter American Hunter collided in fog in Lower NY Bay with Queen Elizabeth; both damaged, no injuries.

Morris Pesin, head of the Liberty Causeway and Park Association, began promoting a connecting road and causeway from Exit 14B of the NJ Turnpike to the Statue of Liberty. His plan included a miniature tram to shuttle passengers between the Statue of Liberty and large parking lots in what is now Liberty State Park.

A tugboat strike in NY Harbor caused a lengthy rerouting of P RR cars at Jersey City destined for Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. They were sent to Trenton, then via Phillipsburg, Maybrook, NY, the Poughkeepsie Bridge, Danbury & Norwalk, CT, and over the Hell Gate Bridge to Bay Ridge.

On 6 September the excursion boat Sightseer VIII hit the Harlem River, Madison Avenue bridge injuring 87.

A new vertical lift bridge over Arthur Kill from Staten Island replaced the original bridge. It carried freight until 1991. The bridge was restored to operation in 2006 and is now regularly used for freight service.

From the Terrace, a 20th Century Fox movie starring Joanne Woodward and Myrna Loy, was filmed at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal using Reading RR 4-8-4 steam locomotive #2124.

On 29 October the freighter American Press collided in NY Harbor with the liner Israel and the latter was towed to the Todd Yard in Brooklyn for repairs.

All passenger service on the NY Central’s West Shore RR was discontinued on 10 December.


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

On 24 June, Relief Lightship W.A.L. 505, taking the place of the Ambrose, was hit in a dense fog by the cargo vessel Green Bay, of the States Marine Lines. The Lightship, with a 12-foot hole in her side following the collision, sank at once. The crew of nine Coast Guardsmen was rescued by the Green Bay and brought back to NY Harbor.

The tanker Alkaid, under tow, hit a submerged object in the East River and her hull was ripped open. She was beached so as not to sink.

On 27 July trolley coach (trolley bus or trackless trolleys) operations in Brooklyn were abandoned.

The DL&W RR ferry Chatham collided on 29 August in fog in the Hudson River with SeaTrain Georgia, injuring 13.

The Red Star tug Devon collided in Hell Gate channel on 30 August with the tanker Craig Reinauer. The tug had been going to the aid of a small tank vessel, the Helen Miller, which was in a dangerous position. The Devon’s steering gear failed and the ebb tide carried her into the path of the tanker. The Devon sank near Hallett’s Point and lay on her side off the beach. She was raised and operated many more years.

Hurricane Donna produced an 11 foot storm surge in NY Harbor on 11-12 September which wrecked many local piers.

The NY Division of the Electric Railroaders Assn. advertised a special trip which they were to sponsor over the Jersey Central Lines and Staten Island Rapid Transit on 25 September. It was to depart the CNJ Jersey City Terminal, cover the CNJ Sound Shore Branch, the Arthur Kill Bridge, the SIRT Arlington Branch and their Main Line from St. George to Tottenville and return to Jersey City.

The Erie RR and the DL&W RR merged on 17 October, forming the Erie Lackawanna Railway.

First NJ state subsidy ($1,300,000) for money losing commuter train operation was given to the CNJ by the NJ Highway Department.

On 15 December the ferry Cornelius J. Kolff crashed into her Staten Island slip injuring 20.

The New York air disaster or Park Slope Plane Crash occurred on 16 December when two airliners collided over NYC with a total loss of life of 134. One plane landed in Park Slope, Brooklyn and the other in Staten Island.

A fire began aboard the huge aircraft carrier USS Constellation when an accident caused a leak of aviation fuel which was ignited by a construction torch on 19 December. The ship, one of the largest ever built (1,050' long; 252' wide at the flight deck and 22 stories tall at it highest point) was being fitted out at the New York Naval Ship Yard. At the time, 3,200 workers were aboard the ship. Some 580 firefighters helped evacuate the workers and brought the blaze under control, but the ship was severely damaged (the loss was estimated at $47 million), delaying her completion by seven months.

Approximately 2000 pedestrians were permitted to walk through the Lincoln Tunnel because vehicle movements were frozen by blizzards.


On 10 January, the 664 men who operated tugs and ferries in New York harbor for eleven railroads went on a strike which lasted fourteen days. Due to the strike the CNJ operated four Bay Head trains into the P RR Exchange Place Terminal where passengers could transfer to H&M / PATH trains for NYC. (In order to clear the third rail on the tracks common with the H&M, a few of the CNJ FM diesel locomotives had their lower steps and pilot torch cut.) All other CNJ NY&LB trains operated into CNJ’s Jersey City Terminal with advice to passengers to change at Elizabethport for a shuttle to the Ferry Street, Newark station, a short walk to the P RR Newark station where they could take P RR or Hudson & Manhattan / PATH trains to NYC. CNJ Main Line passengers were advised to get off at Elizabeth and catch P RR trains to NYC.

Texas Tower No. 4 collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean, 85 miles off NYC during a violent storm on the night of 15 January, killing all 28 on board. The towers were off-shore air defense radar facilities used by the US Air Force during the cold war. No. 4 was installed in 185' of water and suffered frequent stability problems.

The Elizabethport to Port Ivory, SI / Howland Hook ferry was discontinued on 31 January.

The last trip of the famous Reading Railroad stainless steel Crusader train was from Jersey City to Philadelphia on 31 March. The next day it was replaced with the Reading’s standard green intercity passenger equipment and it became a non-streamlined express train. Five years later, the train was replaced with Budd Co. Rail Diesel Cars. In 1963 the Crusader’s stainless steel streamlined train was sold to the Canadian National. One of the Crusader’s observation lounge cars is preserved in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg, PA. The other one was last used on the Spirit of Washington dinner train operating out of Renton, WA.

The P RR ended their Nellie Bly train between NYC and Atlantic City via Trenton on 29 April.

A maritime strike of officers and crewmen paralyzed shipping in NY and other ports.

The last passenger train departed from the P RR Exchange Place, Jersey City station. Service was begun on 15 September, 1834 by the New Jersey RR and Transportation Co.

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

Trailer On Flat Car (TOFC) freight service to and from Jersey City began over CNJ, Reading, and B&O Alphabet Route to the Midwest.

Service with RDC's was inaugurated between CNJ Jersey City Terminal and Allentown; but was discontinued in 1964.

American Telegraph & Telephone acquired the 511' cable-laying ship CS Long Lines, which was based at Weehawken Cove on the border of Hoboken and Weehawken. She was capable of holding 2,168 nautical miles of sub-marine communications cable and laid the third cable across the Atlantic and the first across the Pacific. AT&T sold her in 1997.

All CNJ offices remaining in NYC were moved to their Jersey City Terminal.

In the first full year of NJ state subsidy for commuter railroads, the CNJ got $1,420,310. CNJ Annual Report for 1961


On 1 January, the Gwendoline Steers, a 150-ton tug was lost in a gale and a blinding, freezing snowstorm en-route from the Bronx to Northport. One crew man was found frozen in a lifeboat; the other eight went down with the tug, which was not found until the next summer.

The French Line SS France arrived in NYC on her first crossing of the Atlantic on 3 February. Her tonnage stood as a record until being broken by the MS Sovereign of the Seas in 1990. France was the longest passenger ship ever built until the construction of the 345 meter RMS Queen Mary II in 2004. France was purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1979 and renamed SS Norway. She sailed out of NYC for the last time on 9 September 2001 and was finally scrapped in 2008.

Sunrise Ferrys discontinued the former Public Service Railway Co. Bergen Point, Bayonne to Port Richmond, Staten Island ferry.

The CNJ opened the Liberty Industrial Park on some of its former rail yard land, near exit 14 B on the NJ Turnpike extension to Jersey City and the Holland Tunnel. Today this is at the southwest corner of Liberty State Park.

In March Perry M. Shoemaker resigned as Chairman of the Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. and accepted the presidency of the ailing CNJ. He had been an ardent fighter for fairer taxation of the railroads in New Jersey, especially by Hudson County. At one time Jersey City derived over 50% of its taxes from the railroads.

On the afternoon of 10 May, fire erupted in a Sinclair Refining Company petroleum products warehouse at Mill Basin, Brooklyn. The blaze went to eight alarms and was extinguished with the aid of three FD NY fireboats. The NY FD fireboat Governor Alfred E. Smith caught fire en-route to the blaze.

Astroland amusement park on Coney Island opened with a ‘space-age’ theme. A fire on 12 July 1975 wiped out much of the park, but they were able to rebuild. It ceased operations on 7 September 2008. It was replaced by a new park called Dreamland Amusement Park in 2009.

The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH) was chartered by law and assumed ownership, operation and modernization of the Hudson & Manhattan RR "tube trains" on 1 September.

The Port Authority of NY & NJ opened Port Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the world's first all-container port facility - a prototype which other modern ports would copy. Elizabeth became known as "America's Container Capital."

A lower highway deck added to the George Washington Bridge opened on 28 August, making it the world's only 14 lane suspension bridge. The second deck was originally designed for rail rapid transit use.

The Russell No. 18, a 75-foot diesel tug, turned turtle in the new Elizabethport channel on 18 September, after pulling a freighter away from its berth. The tug was raised the next day, but the captain and two crew members drowned.

On 28 September the motor vessel Rio Jachal burned in a five-alarm fire at Pier 25, Manhattan.

Trips of the Keansburg Steamboat Co. on the City of Keansburg were shifted from the Keansburg Pier to the Atlantic Highlands Pier when the former was destroyed by a hurricane. When the Highlands pier burned in 1965 the Keansburg began operating New York Harbor sightseeing excursions.

The Port Authority of NY & NJ began plans to build the World Trade Center (WTC) in Manhattan. Minoru Yamasaki and Associates was hired as architect.

The Hoboken to Buffalo Phoebe Snow train was eliminated by the Erie Lackawanna Railway.

The former Erie RR Jersey City terminal was abandoned and remaining passenger service was discontinued.

The CNJ closed their Bronx freight terminal.

Public Service Coordinated Transport (NJ) emerged as the largest supplier of local transportation in the US.


The US Coast Guard’s 205 foot long oceangoing tug Tamaroa, was in drydock with her shaft out for her annual overhaul on 14 March, when she developed a 55 to 60 degree list to port. She slid down halfway under water, sinking aft, her bow remaining on the dock and her bottom was holed. Forty crewmen escaped but repairs were estimated at $1,000,000. A young boatswain was court-martialed, charged with opening valves of the floating drydock.

The Erie Lackawanna Ry resurrected the Phoebe Snow name for their re-established main passenger train, and extended its operation from Buffalo to Chicago with Hoboken as its eastern terminus as before.

The Pan Am Building at 200 Park Avenue, NYC was the largest commercial office building in the world when it opened on 7 March. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company bought the building from Pan Am in 1981 and in 2005 MetLife sold the building for $1.72 billion, the record price at the time for an office building in the US. Rooftop helicopter service to Kennedy Airport was provided between 1965 and 1968, and for a few months in 1977.

On 8 May, Royal Blue Coaches sold their Allentown, PA to NYC bus route to PSCT which renumbered it to their route 150.

Second day freight service was inaugurated between the CNJ’s Jersey City yard and Chicago.

On 8 June the Railroad Enthusiasts, NY Division, sponsored an excursion on the Erie Lackawanna Ry from Hoboken via Summit & Washington / Oxford to Scranton & Northumberland and return via the Cut-off & the Boonton Line.

CNJ diesel switching locomotive No. 1087 rolled off the floatbridge while removing freight cars from a carfloat at Jersey City on 10 June. Merritt Chapman & Scott steam derrick Monarch retrieved it from the shallow water and deposited it on land.

A smog event in the NYC area was blamed for 200 deaths.

On 7 September the 83-foot tugboat Flushing of the Red Star Towing & Transportation Co. capsized and sank in thirty seconds in 125 feet of water at Hell Gate. She was bound from Stamford, CT to Jersey City with Thresher, a flat, empty, 145 foot, coal barge. An eddy pulled the barge ahead of the tug, which keeled over on her side. The captain and three deckhands were lost; six crewmen were saved. A Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corp. diver made three unsuccessful attempts to attach cables to the Flushing and Red Star abandoned her. Capt. Edward Sanchez of New Bedford, MA, used skin divers to place the cables and the $100,000 Flushing was raised the same day President John F. Kennedy was shot. Sanchez got her main engine running the next day and restored his prize for his use.

The ferry Verrazano was damaged in a collision with coastal tanker Poling Bros. No. 8, off St. George, Staten Island on 23 September.

The Sunrise Ferry discontinued its former Staten Island RR Perth Amboy to Tottenville, Staten Island ferry on 17 October.

On October 28, demolition was begun on Penn Station in NYC to make room for Madison Square Garden. Trains continue to run below street level in the current-day Penn Station.

The George Washington Bridge Bus Station opened to primarily serve bus routes from northern New Jersey.

The RR Enthusiasts sponsored an excursion using three EL RR RS2's (Erie #910, 932?, & 928) and Erie Stillwell coaches on 19 October. It departed Hoboken and traversed the NYS&W to Passaic Jct., the Erie to Greycourt, NY, the L&HR RR south to Phillipsburg and to the CNJ Easton Station where engines ran around the train, and back to Hoboken via Washington and the Boonton Line.

Anthony “Tino” DeAngelis’s Bayonne-based Allied Crude Vegetable Oil Refining Corporation filed for bankruptcy on 19 November after he tried and failed to corner the market on soybean oil. Known as the “Salad Oil King,” Tino played a shell game with large quantities of oil which were supposed to be in his tank farm as security for huge loans. He was exposed when inspectors found water stored in most of the tanks. In the aftermath, investors (51 banks) learned that the King had bilked them out of about $175 million.

The National Maritime Historical Society, a not-for-profit organization was founded in NYC. Currently headquartered in Peekskill, NY, their mission is to raise awareness of our nation’s maritime heritage and the role seafaring has played in shaping civilization.


The excursion boat Teresa ran aground in NY Harbor on 10 April.

On 27 May a major pier fire occurred in the P RR waterfront facilities between 1st and 6th Streets, Jersey City. It was fought by 4 FD NY marine companies, including the John J. Harvey; 5 FD NY engine companies; 16 Jersey City FD companies (companies from Bayonne, Hoboken and West New York covered the Jersey City firehouses); 14 US Coast Guard vessels; and 21 P RR tugboats. The fire involved Piers H, J, K, L, M; float bridges 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7; the stock yard and an unused coal trestle.

A study of consolidated railroad marine and lighterage service for New York Harbor was completed in July by the Tri-State Transportation Committee. The Morris Canal Big Basin and the Lehigh Valley RR land and pier areas, north of Johnston Avenue, were proposed to become a consolidated lighterage terminal. A large new covered dock lighterage terminal was proposed to be built north of the CNJ Terminal.

The 1964 / 1965 New York World’s Fair opened on 22 April for the first of two six-month seasons. This, the third major world’s fair to be held in NYC, was at Flushing Meadows, Corona Park in the borough of Queens. It is best remembered as a showcase of mid-20th century American culture and technology.

Frank Braynard and Nils Hansell launched the world’s first Operation Sail, an extravaganza in which tall ships and naval vessels from around the world filled New York Harbor. It was also known as the World’s Fair Parade of Ships as it coincided with the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

On 21 June the freighter Santa Anna burned in a Hoboken, NJ shipyard.

Race riots occurred in Jersey City on 2-4 August and later in Paterson and Elizabeth.

On 24 October, in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association Annual Convention, an excursion was run on the Hoboken Shore RR. The train consisted of four EL gondolas and an EL caboose and was pulled south and then north alternately by one of their two GE 44 ton locomotives.

Eighteen hundred+ linear shelf feet of records of the DL&W RR, including 15,000 glass and film negatives from the Erie Lackawanna Railway Co. at Hoboken, Jersey City, NYC, Scranton and Cleveland were acquired by the George Arents research Library at Syracuse University.

The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island was the longest suspension bridge in the world when opened on 21 November. Its lower level was opened on 28 June 1969. In 1981 the Humber Bridge in the UK took the world record for length. The Verrazano remains the longest bridge span in the Americas.

The St. George, Staten Island to 69th Street, Brooklyn ferry, which had run for seventy-five years, went out of business on 25 November with the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The CNJ’s Red Bank and Plainfield ferries were retired and taken out of service.


Three new PATH "K" cars were delivered by GG-1 to Long Island City via Penn Station on 14 March. The following day they made test runs between Jamaica and Woodside towers.

The CNJ ferries Cranford and Wilkes Barre were retired and taken out of service.

In February the CNJ completed arrangements with the City of New York to lease two radar- and radio-equipped diesel-electric ferryboats – the Tides and the Narrows, formerly in service between 69th Street, Brooklyn, and Staten Island – for use until the Aldene Plan took effect. The move was made necessary by the technical (mechanical) collapse of one after another of the aged CNJ ferries.

Italian Line’s SS Michelangelo arrived in NYC on 12 May on her maiden voyage from Genoa.

Erie Lackawanna and CNJ ferries were halted when engineers called in sick in support of the strike against NYC's Staten Island ferry.

The Electric Railroaders annual convention was held in the NY area. On 5 July they sponsored a special trip on the "spanking-new, air-conditioned rapid transit cars" on PATH which covered all trackage including the Henderson St. shop in Jersey City and a high speed run to Newark.

The Hudson River National Defense Reserve Fleet reached its peak in July when 189 ships were anchored in rows of ten from Jones Point to several miles south. Large volumes of government-owned wheat was stored in many of the vessels between 1953 and 1963. During the Korean War 130 ships were taken from the Hudson River fleet leaving only 39 ships. During the Suez crises in 1956, 35 ships were temporarily put back into service. The Vietnam War required more than 40 ships. The ships were kept in condition and patrolled on a year-round basis by a crew of as many as 86 men. The Hudson River site was closed on 30 April 1971 but the last two ships, sold for scrap in Spain, finally departed on 8 July 1971.

The US Post Office cancelled mail service on the CNJ, causing the discontinuance of 18 trains systemwide.

With the delivery of 162 new PA-1 cars the Port Authority Trans-Hudson system became the first rail fleet in the country to be fully air-conditioned.

Directors of the Norfolk & Western Ry and the Chesapeake & Ohio Ry approved a proposal to merge and jointly acquire the el, D&H, B&M, CNJ and Reading Railroads in late August, but it did not happen.

Frank T. Reilly began working for the CNJ as a clerk-typist in their Communipaw roundhouse in Jersey City (now the site of Liberty Science Center). He was promoted to a management position in the Employee Relations Department and later became Freight Sales Manager. In 1972 he left the CNJ to create the Morris County Department of Transportation and became its executive director until retirement. Frank has held the offices of the president of the C RR of NJ Veteran Employees Association and president of the C RR of NJ Historical Society and is currently president of the United RR Historical Society of NJ.

The International Longshoremen’s Association leader, Teddy Gleason, negotiated what was at the time the longest lasting ILA contract in history. It was forward looking and focused on preserving jobs as automation and containerization increased. The ILA once again became a strong and powerful force in the world of labor.

Twelve trolley cars, originally built in the US were returned from Rio de Janeiro via the Port of NY / NJ. They were destined for various US trolley museums. At least half of the cars were moved on flat cars across New Jersey by the P RR, en-route to Orbisonia and Bloomsburg, PA.

The Hudson River Day Line’s Alexander Hamilton got a log jammed in one of her paddle wheels and was drifting off Spuyten Duyvil during Fall. Tugs Nancy Moran and Carol Moran came to the rescue and removed 1,350 passengers.

On 1 October the FD NY put their new Super Pumper System in service. The super pumper, built by Mack, could pump 8,800 gpm at 350 psi, enough to supply 35 hoselines and was the most powerful fire engine ever built. The system included a Super Tender, plus three Satellite hose and water cannon rigs. It was retired on 25 October 1982.

Ellis Island was added by Presidential Proclamation to the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Jersey City deeded 156 acres to the state of NJ, which became the first parcel of the future Liberty State Park.

A massive electric power failure blacked out most of the northeastern US and parts of two Canadian provinces on the night of 9-10 November. A population of 30 million were affected and over 800,000 were trapped in NYC subways for hours.

The lightship Frying Pan, LV-115 was retired from duty in 1964; served briefly as a relief ship at Cape May; and a year later was decommissioned. She sank in 1986; was raised a year later; restoration was begun in 1988; and in 1999 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Frying Pan is now moored at pier 66a, Hudson River Park, at the foot of W. 26th Street, Manhattan, along with the retired NYC fireboat John J. Harvey. The location is called Pier 66 Maritime and Frying Pan is a seasonal bar and grill.


CNJ coach No. 322 (built in 1927) was used to film part of the introductory scene to each of the 136 episodes of the American TV situation comedy “That Girl,” starring Marlo Thomas, that ran on ABC from this year to 1971. The coach was stripped of most of its seats so the cameras could be set up to film Marlo (as the title character, Ann Marie) sitting in the eastern-most seat as the train departed the CNJ, Jersey City Terminal with the NYC skyline in the background. That coach is now owned by the Black River RR Historical Trust and is the most luxurious and popular car on the Black River & Western RR excursion trains. It has been restored and features plush arm chairs, a bar, and table seating.

The 108-foot tug Patricia Moran went down in less than three minutes after a collision with the 225-foot tanker Morania Marlin on 12 January in Kill Van Kull, between Staten Island and Bayonne, NJ. The tug listed and heeled over after the impact. The tanker, in turn, was struck by a 200-foot barge being towed by the 105-foot tug Diana L. Moran. Four men were lost but six saved from the Patricia Moran.

On 23 January the 634-foot-long British “baby supertanker” Chelwood Beacon ran aground at the lower entrance to NY Harbor - two miles east of Sandy Hook Lighthouse - in a sleet storm with an eighteen-knot wind. Her captain reported that the ship was in danger of breaking up in waves fifteen to twenty-five feet high. There was a crack in the hull, the rudder post was unusable, and he was afraid the vessel might break in two. She carried 30,000 tons of crude oil from Venezuela and was headed for Perth Amboy, NJ. Although her draft was nearly 34 feet, she had strayed into water only 24 feet deep. By the next day all crew members were taken off. Two Moran tugs and a Merritt-Chapman & Scott salvage craft - with a combined total of 8,700hp - failed to move the Chelwood Beacon on 17 February, but she was eventually hauled off.

On 11 February the tanker Atlantic Engineer went aground at the entrance to Kill Van Kull, Staten Island, but was hauled off by tugs. On the same day the tanker Carbide City went aground at Sandy Hook Channel, but was refloated.

The State of New Jersey eliminated railroad right-of-way and rolling-stock taxes for passenger railroads.

Under the NJ Transportation Act, a new Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) absorbed the functions of the NJ State Highway Department. The Act also created the Commuter Operating Authority to administer rail carrier contracts and subsidies for capital improvements. It was the first legislation in the nation to combine funding for both highway and public transportation.

The 559-foot Grace Line cargo-passenger steamship Santa Isabel rammed the Raritan River drawbridge used by CNJ and P RR trains on 3 March. The center swing span of the bridge was knocked ten feet off its center pivot pin. Repairs took several weeks, during which time the thousands of daily passengers were transferred by bus between Perth Amboy and South Amboy. (Passenger shuttle trains were operated between Bay Head and South Amboy.) NY Times, 4 March 1966 During this period the CNJ combined all their freight to and from their Southern Division and the NY & Long Branch RR into a single train of about 100 cars in length. The route was from CNJ’s Newark & Elizabeth Branch at Oak Island Jct., Newark, making a reverse move there onto the P RR, then to Monmouth Jct. and Farmingdale where it reentered CNJ tracks; there the train was split in two with part going to Bay Head and the balance of the train going to Bridgeton via Red Bank and the CNJ Southern Division. It was usually hauled by to Fairbanks Morse 1500-series road switchers on one end and two Alco RS-3s on the other end with two cabooses.

NYC mayor John V. Lindsay took on Mike Quill and his Transport Workers Union, provoking a twelve-day strike, the first subway and bus strike in NYC. The world’s largest subway and bus systems, serving eight million people daily, came to a complete halt. The city obtained an injunction prohibiting the strike and succeeded in imprisoning Quill and seven other leaders. However, Quill won significant wage increases for his members, but he dropped dead of a heart attack at 60, three days after the union’s victory celebration. The walkout prompted the creation of NY’s Taylor law in 1967, which prohibits NY state public employees from striking. Violations mandated fines of two days pay for each day of strike.

On 12 April the Italian Line’s Michelangelo, encountered some very bad weather while steaming toward NY. An enormous wave, about 18 meters above the bow tore a great hole in the superstructure and smashed thick windows over 25 meters above normal sea level. Three were killed and 50 injured.

A spectacular fire destroyed the Atlantic Highlands steamboat pier on 6 May, marking the close of the steamboat era in Monmouth County.

In mid May, the freighter Washington struck the CNJ’s Newark Bay bridge, twisted truss trusses, knocking tracks out of alignment and jammed the northeast lift span in the open position. Passengers who could were advised to transfer to P RR trains. Shuttle bus service was provided between Elizabethport and West 8th Street, Bayonne via the Turnpike bridge, and the CNJ operated two five-car shuttle trains between Jersey City Terminal and W. 8th St. On 1 June, the two south tracks were reopened, but the north tracks and bridges were retired, creating bottleneck delays.

Two tankers, the 547 foot long British motor tanker Alva Cape, accompanied by two tugs, the Esso Massachusetts and the Esso Vermont, carrying 140,000 barrels of highly volatile naphtha, and the 604 foot long Texaco Massachusetts in ballast, with Texaco tug Latin America alongside, collided bow-on in Kill Van Kull between Bayonne and Staten Island (just west of New York Harbor) on 16 June. The five vessels soon sat in a lake of naphtha gushing from the Alva Cape. Three and a half minutes after the crash, the tug Latin America burst into flame, causing explosions and fire on five vessels which killed 33, hospitalized 60 and destroyed two tugs. Fireboats, a Coast Guard cutter, and tugs did heroic work. Seven Moran tugs were involved in the effort to pull the two tankers apart. The tug Helen L. Tracy also helped. Twelve days later as the remaining naphtha was being pumped out the Alva Cape was again racked by fire and explosions at Gravesend Bay. Four more workers were killed; twelve firemen were injured; and a fireboat severely damaged. On 2 July the burnt hulk of the Alva Cape was towed out of NY Harbor, still containing over a million gallons of naphtha, by the tugs Kerry Moran and Nancy Moran. The following day, fifty-seven rounds of five-inch shells fired from the US Coast Guard cutter Spencer sank the Alva Cape in 1,200 fathoms of water, 110 miles southeast of NY Harbor. She burned furiously as she went down...

A tricky, five-alarm fire nearly destroyed the Hamburg-American liner Hanseatic on 7 September, as she lay at her berth at Pier 84, Hudson River. She was 673 feet long and 30,000 tons, largest ship of the West German merchant marine, and was expected to leave in about four hours for Europe when the fire broke out. The fire started in the engine room and spread fast, going up ducts and igniting the upper decks. The ship fire sprinkler system had a power failure, making a bad situation worse. The combined efforts of three fireboats, 250 firemen, land based engine and ladder companies, and 100 policemen, six hours to extinguish the fire.

On 9 September the tug Dorothy McAllister, towing a Buchard oil barge struck the NY Central RR bridge at Spuyten Duyvil, blocking Harlem River through traffic for two weeks.

The Railroad Enthusiasts, NY Division, sponsored a Rail-Camera Excursion on the Erie Lackawanna Ry. They covered the following lines: Northern Branch; Piermont Branch; NJ & NY; Main Line, Newark Branch; Greenwood Lake Branch; Boonton Line; Morris & Essex out to Port Morris & Washington and back to Hoboken on 25 September.

The last special Monmouth Park trains from CNJ Jersey City Terminal to the horse races ended.

High Iron Co. along with Steamtown Foundation sponsored a Steam Safari (the first) using Canadian Pacific RR 4-6-2 #127 (really #1278) from Jersey City, to Jim Thorpe and return via the CNJ on 13 October. The train was assisted over the Hampton grade by FM Trainmaster #2404. Tom Kelcec, Walter Appel and Al Holleuffer sent letters of appreciation and suggestions for improvements. A second trip ran a week later, on 23 October, with CNJ RS-3 #1555 leading the steamer up grade through Lebanon.

Smog in the NYC area was blamed for 169 deaths.

The final run of the Erie Lackawanna's luxury Phoebe Snow train between Hoboken and Chicago, was on 27 November.

One of the original Hudson & Manhattan RR "black cars," #256, the last to be retired, was donated to the National Museum of Transport at St. Louis, MO by PATH.

The Fairland, one of the original six Sea-Land (Pan-Atlantic) container ships made the first containership voyage from Port Elizabeth to Europe.

The CNJ advertised that their Jersey City passenger terminal and the right-of-way leading to it would be auctioned on 17 November “subject to the implementation of the Aldene Plan.” The state of NJ stepped in and notified the CNJ that they would condemn the land before the sale and prohibited the CNJ from selling it. The state paid the CNJ $1.6 million for the land and the Terminal and took title to it on 29 December, with the stipulation that the CNJ could continue to use the land and passenger terminal until the Aldene Plan was implemented.

Construction began on the World Trade Center. First, 164 buildings on the 16 acre site were demolished; then 1.2 million cubic yards of earth were excavated and used to create 23.5 acres of land along the Hudson River – now Battery Park City.

The CNJ was the major carrier of steel for the World Trade Center complex. It was delivered to their “Steel Yard” in Jersey City and loaded by CNJ cranes onto trucks for delivery to NYC.

Brooklyn Navy Yard was decommissioned by the US Navy and sold to the City of New York.


The Reading RR’s Crusader and Wall Street trains were assigned second hand Rail Diesel Cars from the Boston & Maine RR in anticipation of their termination at Newark Penn Station and needed ease of reverse of direction.

An American President Line World Cruise Liner, the SS President Roosevelt, was the first passenger liner to dock at Port Newark in modern times on 20 March. The 573 foot vessel had 214 passengers on board.

On 23 March the Norwegian freighter Fernfield caught fire at her Clifton, Staten Island pier and most of her cargo of rubber, pepper, and sisal was destroyed.

The CNJ filed for its fourth and final bankruptcy on 22 March. Perry M. Shoemaker, CNJ President since 1962 and John E. Farrell became Trustees of the CNJ.

The last CNJ Queen of the Valley train departed for Allentown on 29 April. Passenger service between Jersey City Terminal and Allentown, PA was discontinued; cut back to Hampton, NJ.

The first push-pull trains in New Jersey and on the east coast were tested and put into use by the CNJ. They were accomplished using the first conversions of standard, single level coaches in the US. By having a locomotive on one end of the train and a “Cab Car” (from which the train could be operated), on the other end of the train, time and labor could be saved in reverse moves.

The use of “Fog Tickets” by the CNJ for alternative transportation for rail passengers when fog prevented operation of their ferry boats between the Jersey City Terminal and New York City ended.

Under the Aldene Plan, CNJ passenger service to Jersey City Terminal was rerouted to Newark Penn Station via the LV RR route with a new connection provided at Aldene and their Jersey City Terminal was closed.. At Newark passengers had the option of transferring to PATH trains for either downtown or uptown or taking the Penn Central RR into New York Penn Station. The end of CNJ Jersey City to Manhattan ferry operation brought to a close a 306-year service begun by William Jensen in 1661. A documentary article, “Jersey City Terminal closes: CNJ Ferries Make Last Run” appeared in Vol. 32, No. 3, 1967 issue of Bulletin of the National Railway Historical Society.

On 22 May, a head-on collision occurred between two freight trains on the NY Central RR West Side Line or 30th Street Branch, near 147th Street, Manhattan. As a result of the accident 6 train service employees were killed and 3 more were severely injured; 6 locomotives and 11 cars were destroyed; one other locomotive was extensively damaged and 5 other cars were damaged. The probable cause was the failure of the 72nd St. operator to restrict the speed of the north (west) bound 60 car freight with four locomotives.

Former Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 steam locomotive No. 1286, leased from Steamtown, was used on an excursion over the CNJ to Bridgeton, NJ and return on 25 June.

The LV RR declared bankruptcy on 24 July.

A massive electrical grid power failure which extended across most of New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and parts of Delaware and Maryland brought an abrupt halt to the normal activities of millions of persons.

On 22 November, the Erie Lackawanna RR terminated its ferry service from Hoboken to Manhattan and its passengers for NYC had to transfer to PATH at Hoboken. It was the last railroad operated commuter ferry service in the US.

Circle Line VI was built as Landing Craft Infantry #646 by the New Jersey Shipbuilding Co. at Barber, NJ, and sent to Europe for use in the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Converted after the war for use in New York excursion service, it was retired in 1967, towed into the New Brunswick Outlet Sloop Lock of the D&R Canal, and served briefly as a floating recreation center for New Brunswick’s senior citizens. Champlain to Chesapeake, by McKelvey.

On 2 August, NYC’s recently established Landmarks Preservation Commission – formed in response to the demolition of Pennsylvania Station – designated Grand Central Terminal as a landmark, subject to the protection of the law.

South Street Seaport was founded by Peter and Norma Stanford and two others. Peter was the first president.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard was leased by SeaTrain Shipbuilding, which was wholly owned by SeaTrain Lines. They built four Very Large Crude Carriers – the largest ships ever to be built in the yard.

Stevens Institute of Technology purchased the 15,000 ton, 473-foot, former American Export Lines, Mediterranean cruise ship, SS Exochorda; brought her to Hoboken and moored her beside the 8th Street Pier, near the Institute; renamed her the SS Stevens; and used her as a floating dormitory ship for 175 students. She was originally launched in 1944 as the USS Dauphin, a military attack transport. Stevens was retired in 1975 and scrapped in 1979.

In December the tanker Socony-Vacuum sank in NY Harbor, but was refloated.

The NY Central RR retired their famous NY to Chicago train, the Twentieth Century Limited. The United RR Historical Society of NJ owns and has restored the Hickory Creek, one of the Century’s observation lounge cars

On 11 December the Mobil Oil Corp. tanker Wapello went aground in NY Harbor, but was freed two days later by Moran tugs.

A jolly Christmas Eve party on board the 381-foot Norwegian tramp steamer Dianet, at anchor off West 89th Street in the Hudson River appeared to have been the cause of a blaze discovered at 4am on 25 December. The five-year-old vessel with a crew of 28 on board, was waiting for berth space in Yonkers to unload 8,020 tons of sugar. By daybreak the fire had been extinguished, but her superstructure was 80% wrecked. Three Moran tugs towed the Dianet to Pier 6 in Hoboken for repairs.


The P RR and the NY Central RR merged to form the Penn Central RR.

Columbia Pictures filmed Funny Girl, starring Barbara Streisand (her first film), at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal, with one scene taken on one of the railroad tugs, and other scenes filmed on the CNJ High Bridge Branch. The train used in the movie was hauled by a steam locomotive and was the last passenger train to depart from the Jersey City Terminal.

The CNJ Terminal and some of the harbor front properties were purchased with state and federal funds while the city of Jersey City donated 156 acres to help preserve this important piece of American history. This was the basis of Liberty Park which became Liberty State Park.

The NYC Transit Authority was placed under the control of the state-level Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The NYC subway system is the fourth busiest rapid transit system in the world in annual ridership. It has 468 stations, 656 miles of revenue track, and is one of the oldest and most extensive public transportation systems in the world.

Two barges being towed, Russell Barge No. 4 with a cargo of fuel oil collided with Texaco Barge No. 802 on 27 December in Kill Van Kull. The Russell exploded and was beached.

On 28 December, the Esso 31, a 2,400-ton oil barge caught fire off Quarantine Station in Rosebank, Staten Island, as it lay alongside a tanker unloading crude oil. The tug Dalzellera nosed it away to the main channel.

On 31 December the US Army Corps of Engineers outlined a plan to rid NY Harbor of abandoned hulls and dangerous floating debris. The removal of 149 deteriorated piers and 1,972 derelict vessels would cost $28, 848,000 and take eight years.


High-speed Metroliner rail service, with self propelled MU cars, was inaugurated between New York and Washington by Penn Central RR on 16 January.

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.

On 3 March the Swedish tanker Dan Bostrom struck an underwater obstacle off Port Newark, NJ and was damaged.

The 94-foot Red Star tug Ocean Queen, towing the barge Bouchard No. 110 with 20,000 barrels of petroleum was going up the East River on 12 March. The 572-foot tanker Four Lakes, of Texas City Refining Co., was going south when she rammed the Ocean Queen just below Hell Gate. The captain of the Queen went into the water and was never seen again; four men were rescued; the barge did not sink.

On 15 March the barge Michael B. Caught fire in the Arthur Kill off Port Reading, NJ; 2 missing, 2 burned.

USS New Jersey was towed from Bayonne and re-commissioned at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard on 6 April. Now a museum ship at Camden, she holds the distinction of being the most decorated battleship in naval history.

The NS Savannah became the first nuclear powered ship to dock in NYC. She was the centerpiece for a city-wide festival called “Nuclear Week” where thousands of persons toured the ship and visited the other special events. Savannah was funded by the US government as a demonstration project for the potential usage of nuclear energy, built at NY Shipbuilding at Camden, NJ, and launched on 15 July 1959. She made a few overnight sailings from NYC to Philadelphia and to Boston for a bargain $15 fare for a total of 60 lucky passengers on each trip. She was not commercially competitive in the freight business; was taken out of service on 10 January 1972; and is presently a museum ship in Baltimore Harbor.

On 2 June the Bronx Towing Line’s tug Gene Pope sank in Hell Gate, but her 5 crew members were rescued.

The High Iron Co. operated a steam excursion with Nickel Plate RR 4-8-2 locomotive #759 from the CNJ Elizabeth Station to Jim Thorpe, PA and return. By this time some vital tracks to the CNJ Jersey City Terminal had already been removed.

The Electric Railroaders Assn., NY Division, sponsored an inspection tour of the Hudson Tubes (PATH) on 21 June.

In response to impending severe cutbacks in bus service, on 1 July the New Jersey Commuter Operating Authority (NJ DOT) offered financial operating assistance to private bus carriers and new buses were purchased and leased to ailing motor carriers.

The British steam powered Flying Scotsman train traveled across New Jersey via the Penn Central RR on its tour to promote the trade of UK goods in America.

Nickel Plate RR steam locomotive #759 made a dead-head move from Lebanon to Somerville to Phillipsburg via the CNJ, and then to Hoboken via the Erie Lackawanna for the Hoboken Festival on 5 October.

The 106-foot long Hudson River Sloop Clearwater was built and launched through the efforts of folk music legend and environmental activist, Pete Seeger. The vessel, “America’s Environmental Flagship,” was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 for its role in the environmental movement. The non-profit Clearwater has visited Liberty State Park many times and usually returns annually.


The Erie Lackawanna Railway discontinued their Lake Cities, the last scheduled long distance passenger trains to and from Hoboken Terminal on 4 January. With the demise of trains #5 & #6, meal service on the railroad ended as well.

SeaTrain Lines carried their final railroad freight cars in January and thereafter carried only intermodal containers, concentrating their container operations at a new facility on former Erie RR property at Weehawken.

On 9 February the Liberian flag tanker Desert Princess went aground on Mill Rock, East River.

Millions of Americans participated in pro environment and anti-pollution demonstrations on 22 April to mark the first Earth Day.

On 30 April the tug Metropolitan No. 2, towing two scows, overturned in the channel between Staten Island and Elizabeth with the loss of 3 crew members.

The Penn Central Transportation Co. financial collapse – the largest business failure in American history – occurred on 21 June. They filed for reorganization under Section 77 after last-ditch efforts failed to secure Federal loan guarantees. The railroad was unable to pay about $200,000,000 in long term loans that were coming due.

The LV RR, an independently operated subsidiary of Penn Central, filed for reorganization under Section 77 after losing $125,000,000 in 1969. LV could not repay a $1,500,000 government loan due 15 August.

The Emergency Rail Services Act provided bankrupt railroads with $200 million in loan guarantees.

The first state of New Jersey funded U 34 CH locomotives rolled out of the General Electric, Erie, PA plant in November for service on the Erie Lackawanna’s non-electrified commuter lines radiating from Hoboken.

The exclusive contraflow bus lane (XBL) leading to the Lincoln tunnel was established on 18 December. It was the first such lane in the greater NY-NJ metropolitan region and one of the first contraflow bus lanes on a freeway in the United States.

The Port Jersey Railroad was established. It is a 2.4 mile terminal railroad within the Port Jersey distribution complex in Jersey City, connecting with Conrail Shared Assets at Greenville Yards.

The FBI began a probe of an explosion and fire which occurred at the Standard Oil Bayway Refinery on 5 December. An anonymous telephone call warning of a fire was received two hours before the incident. The shock of the explosion shook buildings at NYC, 25 miles distant.

The north tower of the World Trade Center was opened in December.


The CNJ’s ‘Blueprint for Survival’ outlined steps to restore profitability, including abandonment of operations in Pennsylvania.

Elephants, a pony, a zebra and a llama took an unscheduled march through the Lincoln Tunnel. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus was stranded by a national rail strike and this unorthodox route got them to their New York engagement on time.

The NJ DOT- purchased fleet of General Electric U 34 CH locomotives entered push-pull service on commuter lines radiating out of Hoboken. This type of locomotive was the first to utilize shaft driven head-end-power for providing electricity to the passenger cars for heat and air conditioning, and was the predecessor of this methodology currently used by Amtrak and other passenger carrying authorities.

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, more commonly known as Amtrak, the nation’s new rail passenger system which took over most of the remaining intercity passenger service in the United States from the individual railroads went into operation on 1 May with the goal to “get people back on trains.”

The Tropicana orange juice train began operating two 60-car unit trains between Bradenton, FL and Kearny, NJ on 7 June. It was the first unit train in the food industry. It utilized 100-ton, white-painted, insulated boxcars.

On 8 August Nickel Plate RR 2-8-4 steam locomotive #759 departed Bethlehem for Hoboken, NJ. The train traveled via Phillipsburg, the Washington and Boonton lines to Hoboken Terminal for a two day, 18 car, (14 & 15 August) excursion to Binghamton via Port Jervis and return via Scranton / Boonton line. The Editor was on board!

On 17 August #759 powered an Erie Lackawanna freight train from Hoboken to Binghamton.

The new World Trade Center terminal replaced the old Hudson Terminal in lower Manhattan. PATH’s new terminal was NYC’s first air conditioned subway terminal and the first rail terminal built in the NJ - NY Metropolitan area since 1937.

On 23 August, Public Service Coordinated Transport bus operations were taken over by Transport of New Jersey, also a subsidiary of Public Service Electric and Gas Co.

Circle Line Sightseeing, which had purchased the sidewheeler Alexander Hamilton under the company name Day Line, Inc. in 1962, last operated her on Labor Day and she was subsequently moved to South Street Seaport, then Harborside Terminal, and finally to Atlantic Highlands pier where she sank.

Passenger operations of the Staten Island Rapid Transit were acquired by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The Reading RR declared bankruptcy.


The CNJ increased passenger fares 20% on intrastate trips on 1 January.

A “Through Service Agreement” was negotiated and implemented 3 January between the Erie Lackawanna and the CNJ for run-through freight trains between Scranton and Elizabethport-Jersey City via an interchange at Lake Junction, NJ. Transit time between CNJ points and EL’s western gateways dropped by more than 24 hours. The service ended in 1976 with the Conrail takeover.

On 20 January the tanker Atlantic Prestige hit a submerged object in Arthur Kill near Carteret, NJ and was damaged.

The CNJ pulled out of the state of Pennsylvania in a cost cutting move on 31 March.

The second, south tower of the World Trade Center was opened in January. The pair were the world’s tallest buildings for only a short time until the Sears tower in Chicago was completed in May 1973.

Transport of New Jersey , the largest independently owned bus operation in the world, suffered a 75 day strike (the longest in the NJ transit industry) which ended on 15 May.

Day Line, Inc.’s new all steel excursion boat Dayliner was welcomed into New York Harbor on 8 June. She could carry 3,200 passengers; had a crew of 43; was powered by two 1750hp General Motors diesels; and continued the tradition of Hudson River excursions of her predecessor, Alexander Hamilton from Pier 81.

A CNJ / Reading RR pool freight train began operating between Jersey City and Harrisburg with the Reading using trackage rights between Allentown and Phillipsburg to connect with the CNJ.

The Erie Lackawanna Ry entered bankruptcy on 26 June. This then saddled New Jersey with six major bankrupt railroads: Penn Central, CNJ, LV, L&HR, Erie Lackawanna and Reading.

The Port Authority of New York changed its name to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The CNJ's first Land-Bridge unit train arrived at the new Portside Terminal, Elizabeth, from Long Beach, CA, with 52 cars carrying 104 containers.

The CNJ Pier 18 McMyler coal dumper property was put up for sale.

The CNJ adopted a new red with white trim livery for diesel locomotives.

The passage of the Green Acres Bond Act brought $3 million for purchases of land to be added to Liberty Park.

Gateway National Recreation Area was created by the US Congress. The park, which comprises 11 sites, is scattered over 26,607 acres in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, NY and Monmouth County, NJ. Ten million people visit Gateway annually. It is managed by the National Park Service.

CNJ’s Trustee, R.D. Timpany, on 13 December, submitted to the US Railway Association (the government entity given the task of finding a solution for the numerous bankrupt railroads of the Northeast) a proposal to transform existing rail trackage in NJ into a single terminal railroad, with CNJ trackage as the basic grid. At relatively small railroad rehabilitation and equipment costs, all industries requiring rail service would receive it in a non-discriminatory or “neutral” manner, with the neutral terminal company delivering the products of those industries to and from designated interchange points where the larger rail carriers could compete on equal terms for the (more profitable) long haul. USRA’s final plan adopted many of Timpany’s proposals and formed the basis for the Conrail Shared Assets Organization which survives to this day. How a Neutral Terminal Company Plan would Work, The (CNJ) Coupler, June 1975

Sailors’ Snug Harbor retirement facility and hospital for “aged, decrepit, and worn-out seamen” moved to North Carolina and sold the major portion of the property with over 50 buildings to NY City in this year. The 83-acre property is now home to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens. It is the largest on-going adaptive reuse project in America and is home to NYC’s first designated landmarks, which are considered the finest example of Greek Revival architecture in America. The Center, located at 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, is visited by over 250,000 people annually.


A fire started while interior repairs were being made to an “empty” Liquid Natural Gas storage tank on Staten Island in February. The resulting explosion lifted the reinforced concrete dome which then collapsed down inside the tank, like a piston, killing the 37 construction workers inside. The investigation found that they had serious problems with periods of combustible gas levels in the tank.

The governors of NJ and NY announced plans for a $650 million program of rail transportation improvements to be undertaken by The Port Authority of NY and NJ. The improvements included extension of PATH service from Newark Penn Station to Newark Airport and Plainfield; and provide rail service connections to NY Penn Station for Erie Lackawanna Railway riders at Kearny and Secaucus.

A PATH strike beginning on 1 April halted service for two months.

The containership Sea Witch collided with the tanker ESSO Brussels in New York Harbor resulting in an oil fire which killed 16 on 2 June.

One hundred and thirty-seven years of CNJ waterborne operations in NY harbor ended on 30 July. At the same time most of the trackage in what is now Liberty State Park was removed from service.

The Organization of the Oil Producing Countries (OPEC) implemented oil embargos which caused an oil crisis creating gasoline shortages and price escalation. It directed the attention of the public and politicians back to mass transit.

The NJ Turnpike smog accident was a series of multi-vehicle collisions and fires in Kearny, NJ. The first collision occurred at 11:20 pm EDT on 23 October and further accidents continued to occur until 2:45am the next day as cars plowed into the unseen accident ahead of them. Sixty-six vehicles were involved; nine people died; and 39 were injured. The primary cause of the accident was related to a fire consisting of burning garbage, aggravated by foggy conditions which produced extremely poor visibility.

In the fall of this year, Rutgers Professor of American Studies, Michael Aaron Rockland and Charles Woolfolk, also of Rutgers, took a canoe trip from Princeton, NJ to NYC. Their three-day journey was chronicled in a film “Three Days on Big City Waters.”

Governor Cahill revealed plans for a Liberty State Park, including a marina at the southeast corner, a transportation terminal, a mini rail shuttle line, a Bicentennial Festival Plaza, a visitor’s center, multi-level traveling exhibitions, a 5,000-seat indoor-outdoor amphitheater, an ecological center, a ceremonial plaza, botanical gardens, a children’s zoo, a pedestrian bridge over the Morris Canal basin, a fire museum, and a doll museum.

The Journal Square Transportation Center was opened in Jersey City.

Service on the remaining section of the NYC Third Avenue El in the Bronx ended.


The Morris Canal was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Regional Rail Reorganization Act (RRRA or 3R Act) was signed into law by President Nixon. The Federal government was forced to enact this law to prevent Judge Fullam from shutting down PC RR. The act established Consolidated Rail Corporation (ConRail) as "a financially self-sustaining rail service system" for the northeastern United States; and created U.S. Railway Association (USRA) to develop a plan for merging the bankrupt eastern railroads into ConRail at an estimated expense of $500,000,000, and thereafter managing federal investment in ConRail. PC got $85,000,000 to keep it running until ConRail took over.

A Federal court ruled that the CNJ, LV, Reading, and Penn Central Railroads were incapable of reorganizing making them eligible for inclusion in ConRail.

A “Blue Comet Nostalgia Special” was operated on 18 May using the CNJ open end observation car No. 1178, the last such car in regular main line service in the US. Participation was limited to the capacity of the car and the platform was open to passengers for the entire trip, including Larry Cohen, Trip Chairman; Frank Reilly, Historian; and others. The trip to Bay Head Junction began in Newark Penn Station and after a one hour layover, returned to Newark. A replica CNJ “Blue Comet” drumhead was used on the rear end. No. 1178, which was used on the famous Blue Comet train later became NJ Transit No. 1 and is now in the URHS collection.

The estimated $25 million restoration of the abandoned CNJ Terminal was begun. By this time nearly all track and signal bridges in the Liberty Park area had been removed. However, the ferry house, the yard towers, express building to the north of the Train Shed, coaling tower, round houses, and maintenance buildings were still standing. The ferry building contained a ferry concourse, offices and terminal support facilities, and provided cover for passengers between the Terminal and the ferry boats. Over objections of the architects, Geddes Brecher Qualls Cunningham, the state later demolished the 1914 ferry house which stood in front of the 1889 Terminal building and covered the floating bridges providing access to the ferryboats. The bridges, now exposed to the elements subsequently rotted and disintegrated.

Sea-Land's East Coast to Puerto Rico container ship service was sold to Navieras of Puerto Rico and that firm also later took over SeaTrain Lines of Edgewater, NJ.


The Railway Express Agency declared bankruptcy in February and by the end of the year operations were closed down and assets were liquidated. In its heyday, Railway Express Agency employed over 45,000 workers in 23,000 offices; operated over 190,000 miles of railway lines, 14,000 miles of shipping lines, 91,000 miles of air routings; 15,000 miles of trucking lines and 17,000 trucks handled over 300,000 separate shipments daily.

The Bankruptcy Court found Erie Lackawanna Ry incapable of reorganizing as a profitable business. The trustees requested EL's inclusion in ConRail.

The Special Appeals Court in Washington upheld the Erie Lackawanna Reorganization Court decision to allow late inclusion of EL Ry in Conrail. Prior to this, federal regulators had hoped EL would serve as a competitor to Conrail.

The USRA's preliminary system plan for restructuring bankrupt lines into Conrail was released. It offered a 15,000 mile system, but up to 6,200 miles of the bankrupt's route systems would be abandoned or sold.

The American Freedom Train made its official debut in Wilmington, DE on 1April and then passed through NJ on the Penn Central Main and River Lines to begin its two-year Bicentennial tour at Albany, NY.

The remaining C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal and the adjoining Train Concourse & Train Shed structures were added to the NJ and National Registers of Historic Places.

Eastern Airline flight 66, a Boeing 727 encountered adverse winds associated with a very strong thunderstorm, severe rain and poor visibility on approach to Kennedy Airport. The aircraft struck several light towers, crashed and disintegrated. Of the 124 on board only 11 survived.

The Phase One Progress Report for Liberty Park outlined proposed improvements and venues including: Historical Museum, Immigration Museum; Maritime Museum; Transportation Museum; Conservation Museum; Working restoration of a 19th century Carousel; Water Terminal for service to lover Manhattan; Pedestrian bridge across the Morris Canal Basin; Heliport; Direct connection to the PATH system; etc.

A special 14 car CNJ train carried cheering Lafayette University fans from Phillipsburg to Madison Square Garden in NYC and return. CNJ GP-40 diesels were exchanged for GG-1's at Newark.

The PATH Journal Square Transportation Center was dedicated in October. It included a new PATH station and Operations Control Center, an enclosed bus terminal, a 10-story office building, a shopping center and parking for over 600 cars.

NJ DOT received a $60 million grant to purchase 1,755 new buses.

Railroad enthusiast extraordinair, Thomas T. Taber of Madison, died. In his honor, the Erie Lackawanna Railway named their 5:30pm Hoboken to Dover commuter train the Tom Taber Express. This was the only known passenger train ever named for a railfan. The citizens of Madison later placed a bronze plaque honoring him in the Madison station and the legislature passed resolutions in recognition of his contributions to local transportation. (Railroad History Bulletin #171)

Mainline Steam Foundation sponsored a “Blue Comet Nostalgia Special” from Raritan via Elizabethport to Bay Head Junction, NJ and return on 6 December. It was promoted as the last steam trip ever on the CNJ before Conrail takeover and utilized the former Blue Comet open- platform observation car No. 1178. Double-headed power was to be ex-Florida East Coast RR No. 148 and ex-Canadian Pacific RR No. 972 with “several photo stops and runbys,” but the trip was run with only the 148. The trip was filmed and appeared in a Christmas special edition of the Tomorrow TV program with host Tom Snyder on 25 December. A photo of the crew posed at the front of 148 appeared, along with an article on the trip, in the January 1976 issue of The (CNJ) Coupler.

Late in December, the Brothers Two, private car of High Iron Company’s Ross Rowland, was moved to the CNJ’s Elizabethport Shops, where railroad crews put the car in shape for use in the American Freedom Train’s trek throughout the eastern part of the country in 1976. Shopmen brought its air brakes and journal boxes up to date so that the car can be interchanged with other railroads. In the Freedom Train the car was to carry the name Splendid Spirit 200.


Under the Emergency Rail Services Act of 1970 the CNJ received a $6 million loan guarantee on 15 January.

On 21 January the Concorde Supersonic airliner began operating between Kennedy Airport, New York and London or Paris. It profitably flew these routes at record speeds, in less than half the time of other airliners. It was the product of an Anglo-French government treaty and continued commercial flights for 27 years.

The NYS&W RR filed for bankruptcy on 22 January.

Conrail and USRA concluded a $2.026 billion startup agreement on 12 March.

Bankrupt northeast rail properties, including the Penn Central; Erie Lackawanna; LV; CNJ; Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines; Reading and Lehigh & Hudson River Railroads were conveyed to Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) on 1 April. B&O freight train operation over CNJ ended. LV RR freight operations alongside the Morris Canal Big Basin ended.

In order to preserve Eastern rail competition with a second carrier, the Delaware & Hudson Railway was given expanded trackage rights from Wilkes Barre, PA to Oak Island Yard, Newark. The D&H had the name with the longest continuity in the US transportation industry.

They were founded in 1823 as the D&H Canal Co.

The NJ DOT Commuter Operating Agency contracted with Conrail to operate the commuter rail system service in NJ.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway began operation on 17 May between the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island in the East River. At the time it was the first aerial commuter tramway in North America.

On the evening of 21 May the Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored a trip on the former Blue Comet open platform observation car #1178 on the regular evening commuter train from Newark Penn Station to Phillipsburg, mostly on the former Jersey Central main line. There a chartered bus met the group and brought them to the Chicago restaurant (which has had many names over the years and is now closed) on Rt. 22 in Whitehouse. They ate their dinner in one of the two former Erie RR Stillwell coaches and were then returned to Raritan for their return train. At the time 1178 was the only open ended car in regular service in the US and is now in the United Railroad Historical Society collection.

The first foreign-built electric locomotive in the US was placed in service between NY and Washington by Amtrak in "Metroliner Service." The 6,000 hp unit was built in Sweden by ASEA.

The State of New Jersey dedicated Liberty State Park (LSP - formerly known as Liberty Park) as New Jersey’s Bicentennial gift to the nation. The Park opened and restoration of the CNJ Terminal Building was begun. Restoration of the attached Train Shed was not included.

The celebration of our Nation's 200th birthday (the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence), featured Operation Sail, a grand parade of sixteen tall ships from around the world and the Nation’s Fourth International Naval Review all of which were paraded up NY Harbor and into the Hudson River past the George Washington Bridge. Over 40 naval vessels, a multitude of tugboats, and hundreds of private yachts and pleasure-boats participated and / or carried viewers. USCGC Eagle, America’s Tall Ship, participated in the American Bicentennial Op Sail. She had been built in Germany and launched on 13 June 1936 and was transferred to the US following WW II.

On 4 July the NYC Transit Exhibit opened in the unused Court Street subway station in Brooklyn. The temporary exhibit was so popular that it remained open and eventually became the permanent NY Transit Museum. They have many historic subway cars on exhibit and have vintage trains which are operated on the NYC subway system on special occasions. They also have a fleet of historic buses, including the one operated by Jackie Gleeson.

In commemoration of our Nation’s 200th anniversary, many local railroads painted locomotives and other equipment in special red, white and blue Bicentennial schemes.

The American Freedom Train made a stop at the Mennen Co. in Morristown. From there the train departed for the NY Belmont Park Racetrack on 26 July via NY Penn Station. However, the big 4-8-4 steam locomotive (former Reading No. 2101) had to detour via the former Erie Lackawanna Boonton - Greenwood Lake Line to Jersey City to the River Line and Selkirk, NY to rejoin the train at New London, CT.

The former CNJ Pier 18, McMyler coal dumpers at Jersey City were scrapped. Fischer, Robert F. Authored a documentary article, The Jersey Central’s “Big Mac” coal unloaders which appeared in Railroad Model Craftsman, Vol. 28, No. 4 (April 2009).

In December the National Register of Historic Places named Grand Central Terminal as a National Historic Landmark.


The Conrad Plan proposed a light rail line connecting Jersey City and LSP with Uptown NYC, Newark Airport and beyond.

On 16 May five were killed in a helicopter crash on the roof of the 59 story Pan Am building, once the largest commercial office building in the world. The helicopter had just landed when the right front landing gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to topple onto its side with the rotors still turning. One of the 20-foot blades broke off and flew into a crowd of passengers waiting to board. This event ended seven minute shuttle service between the building and Kennedy Airport.

Bus service between Journal Square and LSP was initiated.

After 113 years of continuous operation Railway Post Office service ended. The last run between New York (through NJ) and Washington finished on 1 July. At its height, RPO cars were used on over 9,000 train routes covering more than 700,000 route miles in North America.

The New York City blackout of 13-14 July was an electricity failure that was caused by several lightning strikes and equipment failures.

The Geddes plan for LSP proposed: Commercial development with shops and restaurants for the present marina area; a farm demonstration; plus an antique railroad and fire engine museum for the CNJ Terminal Train Shed area.

An International or World’s Fair was proposed for LSP to include The American Dream; Land of Sesame Street; Wonders of the World; the Great Fair and other commercial development. It drew great opposition from supporters of a non-commercial Liberty State Park and was stopped..

Scheduled service from Paris and London to NY’s J.F. Kennedy Airport was begun on 22 November with the Concorde supersonic passenger airliner. At 1,334 mph, more than twice the speed of conventional aircraft, flight time was 3.5 hours from NY to Paris.

The Clean Water Act amendments of 1977 produced a substantially toughened law.


The 1885 square rigged sailing ship, Wavertree was moved from South Street Seaport to a floating dry dock at Bethlehem Steel, Ship Building Division, Hoboken Yard for hull repairs and repainting.

The USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVB/CVA/CV-42), the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, was decommissioned on 30 September 1977 and was towed from Norfolk Naval Shipyard and arrived at River Terminal Development Co. at Kearny, NJ on 3 May and was scrapped in the same year. This was the same place where Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company had been located. Roosevelt had been launched on 29 April 1945 at NY Naval Shipyard, Camden, NJ and spent most of her career operating in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the US Sixth Fleet. Efforts to preserve Roosevelt as a museum ship in NYC failed.

A new ferry service between Liberty State Park (the Morris Canal big basin, near the C RR of NJ Terminal area in Jersey City) and the Statue of Liberty was established by Circle Line.

On 17 July an Auto-Train clearance test of the Conrail (former CNJ) / B&O Royal Blue route was made from EXCEE tower (Cranford), south. The A-T locomotive was turned at Elizabethport. The service to the A-T terminal in Sanford, FL was never begun.

The Citizens Committee of Hudson County proposed a transit system to extend the Cranford to Bayonne rail shuttle northward to Liberty State Park with connections to PATH and the former Erie Lackawanna Hoboken Terminal.

The Lionel Corp. issued (1978 to 1980) an “O” gauge version of the famous C RR of NJ Blue Comet train using their model 2046/646 Pacific (4-6-2) locomotive shell which was mechanically identical to their model 8702 from 1977.

The "Bayonne Scoot," passenger service between Bayonne and Cranford ended on 6 August, terminating 142 years of passenger service on parts of the line. The Newark Bay Draw Bridge was abandoned and later removed.

NJ DOT purchased NJ commuter lines from Conrail.

A revolution in Iran cut off that country’s oil exports and triggered a second international oil supply shock.

The Staten Island ferry American Legion crashed into the concrete seawall near the Statue of Liberty ferry dock in dense fog, injuring 173.

The Hudson & Manhattan RR (PATH) Tunnels were designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored The Pennsylvania Limited in cooperation with Amtrak. It operated from Penn Station, NYC to Harrisburg and return on 8 October.

An article by Galler, Michelle I. “From Old Rail Yard to New City Park” about the establishment of Liberty Park, at the time to be a Jersey City Park, appeared in Vol. 9, No. 7 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, October.

The acronym “DUMBO” (for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) began to be used in this year to describe a former mostly industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. The area has emerged as one of NYC’s premier arts districts. Until the 1890s the western part of the neighborhood was known as Fulton Landing, after the ferry slip that connected it to Manhattan before the Brooklyn Bridge opened. Fulton landing has many classy food establishments and is also home to Bargemusic, a floating venue for classical music. The NY Water taxi company operates a water ferry from the Fulton Slip at Fulton Landing. A convenient staircase connects the Brooklyn Bridge walkway to Washington Street, one of Dumbo’s main streets.

The Hoboken Shore RR was abandoned.


A proposal to locate a Hall of Fame for Great Americans in Liberty State Park was opposed by Morris Pesin, Chairman of the Coalition to save LSP.

The NJ DOT Commuter Operating Agency purchased most active commuter track, some inactive track and all rail stations not privately or municipally owned.

New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) was created by the state legislature, replacing the former (NJDOT) Commuter Operating Agency, and was charged with the responsibility of overseeing most bus and rail service in NJ. NJ Transit was also granted the power to acquire and operate private bus or rail carriers when it is deemed to be in the public's interest, or to contract with private carriers or counties to provide subsidized service. They are to this day the only state-wide transit agency in the US.

A second National trucker shutdown or strike lasted two weeks in June. It resulted in a federal mandatory fuel surcharge.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan was doubled in size.

The CNJ corporate existence officially ended when the CNJ came out of bankruptcy and the surviving entity became Central Jersey Industries on 14 September. The new company received $42.5 million from the Federal government for property the CNJ had conveyed to Conrail.

NJ Transit was created by the state Legislature and the Commuter Operating Authority was dissolved.

The Jersey Central Railway Historical Society, a National Railway Historical Society chapter was established. They adopted the CNJ’s Statue of Liberty logo with the words ‘Jersey Central Chapter,’ and they call their annual sell & swap the Jersey Central Train Show.

SeaTrain Lines and SeaTrain Shipbuilding went out of business, ending the history of shipbuilding at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard.


The Jersey Central Chapter (NRHS) began publishing a monthly news magazine called Jersey Central Lines.

For over a decade, Chemical Control Corp. had been taking in 55-gallon drums of hazardous, toxic, pesticides, plasticizers, nitric & picric acids, and flammable/explosive wastes on the apparent pretense of processing and / or neutralizing them. As they collected the disposal fees, the illegally massed volumes grew until about 35,000 drums accumulated on the site and the complaints of nearby Elizabeth neighbors about the fumes escalated. NJ’s DEP had been working to clean up the mess and had actually removed 10,000 drums of the most toxic and explosive chemicals. Late in April, near midnight, the area was rocked by two small explosions, followed by a third blast, which sent a fireball hundreds of feet into the air. The entire 250-man Elizabeth Fire Dept. battled the blaze for more than 10 hours and both NJ and Staten Island schools were closed – residents were advised to stay indoors and keep their windows closed. A large drain pipe was later discovered which was used to drain chemicals directly into Arthur Kill. Time Magazine, 5 May 1980

In May EBASCO Services, Inc., of Lyndhurst, NJ, produced the Liberty State Park Transportation Master Plan: Final Report.

The Bethlehem Steel Hoboken Shipyard was used by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan as a backdrop for a campaign commercial emphasizing his promise to bring back blue-collar jobs, but as he was being sworn in as president, Bethlehem Steel declared the total economic collapse of its marine operations, and the Hoboken division was closed.

The first stage of the demolition and removal of the former CNJ Newark Bay Bridge was begun with the removal of the center spans by the Coast Guard.

The Staggers Rail Act substantially eased governmental regulation, giving railroads the freedom to offer innovative rates and services like any other business.

A strike by Port Authority Trans-Hudson union employees immobilized the PATH rapid transit system from 12 June to 31 August.

The Jersey Central Railway Historical Society sponsored a four car RDC excursion over former DL&W Morris & Essex lines on 20 July. The cars were lettered for the Lackawanna Railroad.

The American Society of Civil Engineers designated the Morris Canal a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

The second ever strike against the NYC Transit Authority shut the subway and bus system for 11 days.

The Delaware Otsego Corp. took control of the financially ailing NY, Susquehanna & Western RR on 1 September and it was saved from almost certain abandonment.

On 1 October, Transport of New Jersey & Maplewood Equipment Co., the largest privately-owned bus company in the US was purchased by and began to be operated by NJ Transit as their bus subsidiary.

The elevated section of the West Side Freight Line below 34th Street in Manhattan was last used to deliver three carloads of frozen turkeys.

A Reuse Plan for the Central Railroad of New Jersey Marine Terminal, Liberty State Park: Jersey City, New Jersey was produced by Historic Conservation and Interpretation, Inc. of Newton, NJ in December.

The New Jersey Association of Rail Passengers was established.


An amusement theme park and 8,000 luxury condos proposed for Liberty State Park were stopped by supporters of Liberty State Park.

The CNJ ferryboat Cranford was towed to sea and sunk off the coast at Brielle. It had been a restaurant for many years at Brielle.

During April the last two lift spans of the CNJ Newark Bay drawbridge were demolished.

In dense fog on 6 May, the Norwegian cargo vessel MV Hoegh Orchid, inbound from the sea to Brooklyn, collided with the Staten Island ferry American Legion in Upper NY Bay. Of some 2,400 passengers on the ferry, 74 were injured and repair cost was $520,000.

On 31 May, over 500 people - Jersey Central Railway Historical Society (NRHS) members, the public, and Naval Weapons Station - Earle personnel enjoyed “open house” railway tours of the huge Naval facility, including runs out onto the Leonardo pier. The coaches used were borrowed former CNJ commuter coaches, pulled by US Navy Baldwin diesels.

Ferry service was re-established between Liberty State Park (Jersey Central Terminal area in Jersey City) and Ellis Island. Ferry service between the Jersey Central Terminal and nearby Ellis Island existed after 1890 when it was a US immigration station. Over the years, the ferry delivered thousands of immigrants to the terminal where they boarded trains to transport them west to their new homes in the new country.

The last vistage of the former CNJ - Reading service between Jersey City and Philadelphia ceased when SEPTA terminated the last trains between Philadelphia and Newark Penn Station on 31 July.

Conrail abruptly ended electric freight operation over the former Pennsylvania RR system. For a time through freight trains were operated with diesel locomotives, but eventually all through freight trains were moved to the former Reading West Trenton line.

The first Hoboken Terminal Renaissance Festival, sponsored by NJ Transit, was held on Saturday, 3 October. The celebration heralded the rededication of the historic terminal following a $4 million renovation program.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored an Erie Limited fall foliage excursion from Hoboken to Port Jervis and return on 18 October.

Circle Line and Statue Ferry became separate corporations.


The restoration of the Statue of Liberty was launched when President Ronald Reagan appointed Lee Iacocca to head up a private sector effort and raise the necessary $87 million. The resulting public / private partnership between the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. was the most successful such partnership in American history.

The NJ Rail Transition Task Force recommended that NJ Transit assume direct operation of the remaining rail commuter rail service. NJ Transit established a subsidiary NJ Transit Rail Operations, Inc.

On take-off from Idlewild Airport on 1 March a Boeing 707 crashed into Jamaica Bay with 95 fatalities. A rudder power control unit malfunctioned and led to full uncommanded deflection of the rudder and loss of control.

On 2 April the Delaware Otsego Corp. acquired a part of the former Lehigh & Hudson River RR, mostly in NY state and three years later they acquired the portion south to Sparta Jct. These moves gave them their own rail line into the NJ / NY Port area in competition with Conrail.

A commercial doll museum proposal for the historic CNJ Terminal was halted by supporters of Liberty State Park.

Bethlehem Steel sold the Hoboken Shipyard to a new operator, but within two years the property was up for sale again. It was purchased by a developer for a luxury housing complex, but his efforts were unsuccessful. In 1994 a successful Hoboken developer acquired the property primarily for residential development, but incorporated a river-front park, including a public walkway and recreational areas.

On 1 July NJ Transit Bus Operations, Inc. was formed to operate bus services and subsidize privately operated / controlled routes.

The Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum opened at Pier 86, Manhattan with the aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11) the centerpiece. It is now a national icon with nearly 1,000,000 visitors per year.

The Brooklyn Historic Railway, a non-profit organization, was formed to return trolleys to the streets of Brooklyn. They were successful in obtaining a charter and later grants to build and operate a trolley line on public streets in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, the first such approval in NYC since the 1920s. They acquired a fleet of 16 trolleys and occupied a donated building. Their plans were later terminated by NYC.

The retired 252-foot-long Staten Island ferryboat Mary Murray, named for a Revolutionary War heroine, was acquired by George R. Searle. He had her towed up the Raritan River and run into the bank just east of the NJ Turnpike in East Brunswick, where he planned to convert the vessel into a restaurant. His plans fell through and she was finally cut up for scrap beginning in 2007.

The former Bethlehem Steel Hoboken Shipyard closed.


Metro-North RR took over operation of Grand Central Terminal from Conrail, effective 1 January, and soon began a program of repairs.

A thunderous explosion ripped through three towering Texaco gasoline storage tanks north of Port Newark on 14 January. The cause was determined to be gasoline being blown out of vents due to overfilling.

The American Association of Private RR Car Owners, Inc. held their Eastern Regional Meeting during a trip with the Clover Colony and Lehigh Valley 353 from NY to Bay Head, NJ on 20 February. The editorial (for their bulletin Private Varnish) and business address of the organization was listed as Mountainside, NJ at the time.

On 25 February PATH celebrated their Diamond Jubilee, marking a milestone of 4.3 billion passengers carried since 1908.

The New York Cross Harbor RR was organized to continue the carfloating operations of the former NY Dock RR and the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal RR between Brooklyn and the former P RR Greenville yards in Jersey City. They were taken over by Mid Atlantic New England Rail LLC and renamed the former NYCH operation NY NJ Rail LLC in 2006. They remain the only carfloat operation in the NJ / NY Harbor area.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored West Shore Express trains from Hoboken to Selkirk, NY and return on 29 & 30 May.

A new Liberty State Park Master Plan called for the creation of a public corporation to expedite the building of facilities like a golf course, marinas, campgrounds, an amphitheater, an aquarium, a lodge, and a science center. The entity was to be known as the Liberty State Park Development Corporation.

Fire on 18 July reduced Pier 15 and other facilities at the foot of 12th Street, Jersey City to rubble. During the inferno, ropes securing floating dry docks burned and the flaming islands floated away.

Attempts to find a berth for the Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown in NJ / NY Harbor failed and she was towed south to the James River Reserve Fleet in July.

A labor strike halted NJ Transit rail service for 34 days

Pier 19, a film which documented the operations of McAllister Tug & Barge Drydocks (a former CNJ operation) at Jersey City was produced under the leadership of Ed Rutsch and his Historic Conservation and Interpretation Inc., of Newton, NJ..

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored their Erie Southern Tier Express from Hoboken to Susquehanna, PA and return on 13 November.

The last of the former P RR classic GG1 locomotives were retired from revenue service on 27 October by NJ Transit after 50 years of service. No. 4879 made the last revenue trip, but on the following day special ceremonial runs were made for enthusiasts.

Conrail became the most profitable railroad in the country.


A massive, multi-year re-electrification project of the NJ Transit (former DL&W) Morris & Essex commuter lines was completed. Work included replacement of catenary for change-over from 3000 volts DC to 25,000 volt AC current; replacement of substations; upgrading of signal systems, replacement of interlocking towers by centralized control; and station repair and upgrading.

After 54 years the old DL&W MU cars were replaced by new Arrow III electric MU cars.

Amtrak began operating "mail only" express trains between Boston and Washington.

The public Liberty State Park Development Corporation was created.

A former US Coast Guard Lightship, Winter Quarter, (No. 107, built in Bath, ME in 1923) was rescued from North American Metals ship-breakers yard in Bordentown, NJ and relocated to Liberty Landing Marina, where it served as the Lightship Barge and Grill for many years. The 132', 775 ton vessel now bears the name Liberty Landing Marina. It is located at the eastern end of the Morris Canal Big Basin and now houses Sandy Hook Yacht Sales and classrooms for Offshore Sailing School.

Ellis Island was closed for a major building restoration.

NJ Transit stopped operating the Allentown to NYC bus route their predecessor, Public Service purchased from Royal Blue Coaches. Trans-Bridge Lines began covering the route with their buses.

The Statue of Liberty was declared a United Nations World Heritage Site.

The USRA determined that Conrail was profitable, qualifying it for sale as a unit. The Federal government received bids for purchase of Conrail from unions, CSX, NS, and 11 others.

The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund was created to isolate money dedicated to transit maintenance, equipment and construction projects so state politicians couldn’t use it for some other purpose.


On 4 July Daryl Hall and John Oats played an outdoor benefit concert for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in front of an estimated 70,000 people at Liberty State Park.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored their Hudson River Streamliner excursion from Penn Station, Newark via Amtrak, NYC, Hell Gate Bridge, Metro North and Conrail to Selkirk, NY and return via the River Line on 11 August.

Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored an excursion to Jim Thorpe on 13 October.

The Nature Interpretive Center at Liberty State Park opened.

President Ronald Reagan honored the Liberty State Park efforts of Morris Pesin with a Volunteer Action Award at the White House.

Delaware Otsego Corp. announced that they would rebuild the Susquehanna main line east of Sparta Jct. in order to run their Sea-Land container trains to and from the dedicated Sea-Land yard at Little Ferry. This work was completed in the next year creating a new competitor for Conrail in the NY area.

Todd Shipyards moved their corporate headquarters from NYC to Jersey City as one of several cost-cutting measures. Two years later the firm entered bankruptcy.


The Liberty Stare Park Development Corporation began promoting Liberty Landing Marina which was later built in the former Morris Canal Big Basin. A battle over the building of a golf course ensued and the supporters of LSP as a green park defeated it.

The Squeeze, a Tri Star Pictures movie starring Michael Keaton, was filmed at both the CNJ Jersey City and NJ Transit Hoboken Terminals.

The CNJ Broad Street, Newark station was sold in midyear to Harry Grant, a developer who planned to convert the building into a bi-level shopping mall. The project was started, but not completed and the property became part of the Prudential Center for sports, concerts, and other events.

The completion of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty was completed in time for the celebration of its Centennial, July 4th. The massive project included replacing its torch, installing an elevator, and replacing the 1,600 wrought iron bands that hold the statue’s copper skin to its frame. The salute to the Statue of Liberty included a parade of 25 tall ships in New York Harbor.

CSX Corporation acquired Sea-Land Service.

Governor Thomas Kean rededicated the restored C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal at an event which was co-sponsored by the C RR of NJ Veteran Employees Assn.

Eastern Steam Spectacular, Erie Limited, trains sponsored by Tri-State and Jersey Central Railway Historical Societies, were powered by Nickel Plate Road #765 were operated on 2 & 3 August.

The Tri-State Railway Historical Society sponsored their first NY Harbor Rail Facility Cruise on 6 September using Circle Lines XVII.

The USS Intrepid at Pier 86, Manhattan became a National Historic Landmark.

The restored Statue of Liberty was rededicated on 28 October.

Ferry service between Weehawken and 38th Street, Manhattan was reestablished.

The Staten Island ferryboat American Legion was chartered in December for use in the Hollywood film Love You to Death. She managed to get stranded on a mud flat near Buttermilk Channel during the filming, throwing shooting schedules totally out of wack. The production company hastily chartered The Gov. Herbert H. Lehman and, with the name American Legion hastily affixed to one of her name-boards, she filled in for several hours of movie work, and even made few revenue trips out of Whitehall Street with different names on either end of the vessel.

In this year, a majority of the House of Representatives passed the amendment to stop the New York Home Port a/k/a Naval Station New York, Stapleton Pier, USS The Sullivans Pier at Stapleton, Staten Island. The US Navy’s 1,410' x 90', $60 million, Strategic Homeporting Berthing Pier was constructed in the late 1980's and was one of the largest marine structures ever built on the East Coast. NYC is a very expensive place to base ships. There was no strategic rationale for this home port. The decision to place a home port in Staten Island was always a political decision and never a military decision. The battleship Iowa was supposed to be berthed in this home port. However, she was subsequently mothballed and the home port had lost its purpose.

The LI RR completed their new West Side Yard to allow commuter trains to be laid up west of Penn Station, NYC.


United RR Historical Society of New Jersey (URHS) was incorporated by representatives from all of New Jersey's major railroad-interest organizations, in order to coordinate resources and avoid duplicative or conflicting historic preservation efforts.

The New Jersey RR and Transportation Museum Study Commission was created. The sites they focused on were lost to real estate development and conflicts.

NJ Transit ran a Shore Express train from Bergen County to the Jersey Shore via West End (Jersey City) on summer weekends.

NJ Transit opened a new rail Command (Dispatch) Center in Hoboken Terminal.

PATH purchased the Hackensack River bridge from Conrail. PATH predecessor, P RR had shared the bridge with commuter trains going through Journal Square to P RR’s Exchange Place Terminal.

Staten Island ferryboats Pvt. Joseph F. Merrell and Cornelius G. Kolff were converted to inmate dormatories for use at Riker’s Island, NYC.


The PA of NY & NJ concluded an agreement with NY Waterway as a public / private partnership to re-establish ferry service between Hoboken Terminal and Manhattan.

The Waterfront Transportation Office (later integrated into NJ Transit) was opened to formulate plans for the development of a light rail system to support economic development along New Jersey's Hudson River waterfront. The study recommended and received planning approval for a $1.2 billion Hudson-Bergen light rail line.

An $850 million Port Authority Trans-Hudson rehabilitation program brought the construction of a new maintenance shop and yard; power distribution improvements; major rehabilitation of stations; rehabilitation of 247 older PA cars and delivery of 95 new PA-4 cars which permitted retirement of the "K" cars.

The Friends of Liberty State Park was incorporated as an all volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space and the continued improvement of the Park.

A NY Harbor tugboat strike lasted over 170 days.

The removal of the CNJ Newark Bay bridge was completed.

On 7 December, the Governors Island ferryboat Lieut. Samuel S. Coursen, built in Camden, NJ in 1956, was used to carry Soviet premier Mikhail S. Gorbachev from Manhattan to Governors Island (and back) for a luncheon meeting with President Ronald Reagan and Vice-President George Bush.

The NJ DEP created the Coastal Zone Management Rules which outlined the regulations and specifications for construction of a walkway or promenade along the northeastern NJ waterfront. It became known as the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway (HRWW) and is complete along the entire length of Liberty State Park south to and through Port Liberte. A part of the East Coast Greenway, a project to create a nearly 3,000-mile urban path linking major cities along the Atlantic Coast will run concurrent with the HRWW.


Centennial and rededication of the C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal building was held. Governor Thomas H. Kean was the keynote speaker and is now a Champion for our Train Shed restoration iniative. At that event the C RR of NJ Vets Association presented a large bronze plaque to the Park which summarized the history of the CNJ in what had become Liberty State Park


The Friends of the New Jersey RR & Transportation Museum was formed and incorporated for individual membership and to expand the museum concept to include all surface common carrier modes of travel in NJ.


On 1 January the rupture of an underwater Exxon pipeline released 567,000 gallons of No 2 fuel oil into the Arthur Kill.

On 8 March the Cibro Savannah caused a major oil spill of oil into the Arthur Kill.

PATH opened their new, $205 million, state of the art, Harrison Car Maintenance Facility. It included the following shops: Periodic Inspection; Running Repair; Battery; Air Brake; Machine; Motor; Carpentry; Sheet Metal; Air Conditioning; Compressor; Truck; Wheel & Axle; Heavy Repair / Scheduled Overhaul; Electric Bench; Electronic; etc. situated on 57 acres with 12 miles of trackage.

An 811-foot British tanker ran aground attempting to dock in Bayonne spilling 260,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil, of which 40% was recovered.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed by Congress. It ushered in profound improvements in accessibility to public transportation for the disabled.

The private rail cars of the American European Express began operating through New Jersey en-route between NY and Chicago.

NJ Transit first purchased buses of foreign manufacture. A fleet of Volvo B10-M articulated buses were imported.

The National Park Service restored and reopened the Main Building on Ellis Island as an Immigration Museum, following a $140 million restoration.

The tugboat Pegasus, Captained by Pamela Hepburn, embarked from the Morris Canal Big Basin at Liberty State Park for a tour of NJ / NY Harbor. The event was sponsored by the Roebling Chapter, Society for Industrial Archeology and was narrated by Ed Rutsch and Tom Flagg. Denis Furbush was the videographer.


The Battleship New Jersey was decommissioned and efforts were made by the USS New Jersey Battleship Commission to locate the warship at Liberty State Park as a museum but it didn’t happen primarily because of the $25 million price tag. Later the Commission recommended locating her at the Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne with a $12 million cost.

A proposal by LSP Development Corporation for a 225 acre golf course was stopped by the actions of Friends of LSP.

On 7 April all Amtrak Empire Service trains began using the new Empire Connection into NY Penn Station instead of Grand Central Terminal. The new routing was across the Harlem River bridge at Spuyten Duyvil, down the West Side Line on the west side of Manhattan, and into a curved tunnel built under the LI RR West Side Yard leading east to Penn Station.

The NJ State Historic Preservation Office declared that the C RR of NJ Main Line Corridor Historic District was eligible for listing on the National Register


The Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) was passed. It committed our nation for the first time to building a balanced transportation system with seamless connections. It also provided federal funding for transportation-related restoration projects such as the grants URHS has received for restoration of rail cars for excursion service and Friends received for bus restoration. The program has been succeeded by and continues under the Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

Five blocks of the elevated portion of the West Side Freight Line in Manhattan were removed .

The American Merchant Mariners Memorial, created by artist Marisol Escobar, was dedicated on 8 October. It is located off-shore from the north end of Battery Park, NYC, on a rebuilt stone breakwater just south of Pier A. The bronze figural group and boat are based on an actual historical event; during WW II, a Nazi U-boat attacked a merchant marine vessel, and while the mariners clung to their sinking vessel, the Germans photographed their victims. In WW II alone it is estimated that 700 American merchant ships were lost, and 6,600 mariners gave their lives in this global conflict.


Amtrak began testing prototypes from Europe in preparation for ordering a new fleet of high-speed Boston to Washington trains.

A US jetliner crashed as it tried to take off from La Guardia Airport in a snowstorm on 22 March. It skidded off the runway and into Flushing Bay with a loss of 20 lives.

This year was the centennial of the opening of the Ellis Island Immigration Station.

Tall ships paraded into New York Harbor to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the landing of Christopher Columbus in America.

The Friends of the C RR of NJ Terminal, at Jersey City, was established and published their Vol. 1, No. 1 of Jersey Central News. Frank T. Reilly was their president and editor. In it they launched a proposal called “Rail Link” - to restore active railroad service into the Train Sheds using tracks 16 through 20 for static displays and operational trains. Phase one was to place a single track to connect Conrail (Phillips Street) with the restored C RR of NJ Terminal, passing Liberty Science Center. Phase two called for a rail shuttle between the Terminal and Liberty Science Center (Hudson Bergen Light Rail System was not yet a reality). Phase three proposed using historic trolley cars between the C RR of NJ Terminal and the south visitor area, paralleling the Hudson River with a stop near the Interpretive Center.

The Holland Tunnel was identified by the (US) Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark.

In conjunction with Hoboken Terminal Festival XII, the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners held its annual convention in Hoboken the same weekend. Twenty eight private cars were present. The day following the festival an 18 car special departed Hoboken for Chicago.

A Northeastern storm caused flood waters to overtop roadways and airport runways in December. Water levels at the Battery peaked at 8 feet above Mean Sea Level. Flood waters poured down staircases, filling the Hoboken PATH station (in the NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal) and tunnels. The system was so inundated that rapid transit service between NJ & NYC was interrupted for 10 days.


The new Liberty Science Center, constructed on the former site of the CNJ Communipaw roundhouse and locomotive servicing facilities, opened to the public.

The World Trade Center was bombed and heavily damaged by terrorists.

The WW II former Destroyer Escort, USS Slater, DE 766 was towed to NYC and berthed adjacent to the Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid. She had been commissioned in May 1944, was one of 563 Cannon class destroyer escort built 1943 -45, and was decommissioned in May 1947. The Slater was transferred to Greece on 1 March 1951, becoming the Aetos, and after 40 years was deactivated and stripped of all useable gear and equipment. In 1993 the then 15,000 members of the Destroyer Escort Sailors Assn. raised $290,000 to rescue the USS Slater and bring her home from Greece. Volunteer crews began the extensive work of restoration to her 1945 condition in NY Harbor. This massive effort continued after she was moved to Albany in 1997. Slater is now open as the Destroyer Escort Historical Museum and is the last such vessel remaining afloat in the US today.

A $5 million planning study, named "Access to the Region's Core", sponsored by the Port Authority, NJ Transit and the MTA, was funded.


The Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion and Fire occurred in Edison, NJ on 23 March when a 36" diameter gas pipeline broke and exploded into flames next to the Durham Woods apartment complex. The incident was caused by a local contractor who damaged the line and was exacerbated by ignorance of the location of the line; excessive operating pressures; brittle pipe steel; difficulty in reaching and operating the manual cut-off valves; and lack of automatic or remote-controlled shutoff valves. The resulting fire caused one death, and destroyed or severely damaged 14 of the apartment buildings leaving 100 residents homeless.

The C RR of NJ Historical Society was established. It superceded the Friends of the CNJ Terminal Historical Society. Both organizations were organized by Frank T. Reilly, who was president and newsletter editor of both.

Following three years of restoration in Baltimore and a return to steam power, Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown received Coast Guard Certification for coastwise ocean voyages and visited NY Harbor. She is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a floating museum in Baltimore making periodic Living History Day Cruises.

Lehigh Valley RR covered lighter No. 79, after spending seven years with ports of call at Hoboken, South Street Seaport, Piermont, and Liberty Landing Marina, the eastern end of the Morris Canal Big Basin in Jersey City, was moved to Pier 44, Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was built in 1914 and was rescued by David Sharps and his Waterfront Museum in 1985. It is the only surviving wooden example, of hundreds of its kind, still remaining afloat.

Chelsea Piers (#59, 60, 61, & 62), on the west side of Manhattan, were reborn when construction began on the restoration and revitalization of the Piers and the surrounding waterfront. Today, as a state-of-the-art sports complex, the Piers provide a vibrant environment, showcasing both historic architecture and the waterfront’s adaptability to New York’s changing needs.

The Brooklyn Historic Railway completed track in Red Hook and operated the first trolley car in NYC in 38 years. They subsequently ran into fiscal and political difficulties and ceased operation.

Conrail began operating dirt trains which moved fill for a year from Wayne to Liberty State Park to provide cover for nearly 400 contaminated acres east of Freedom Way in the Park.

The ship, Asphalt Trader, was being towed south on the Hackensack River by two tugs. One tug broke loose and the ship drifted into NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Line bridge damaging it. It was the peak rush hour and sixteen trains were held up, but NJT workers quickly made temporary repairs and put the bridge back in service in an hour.

The North River Historic Ship Society was chartered as a NY State not-for-profit organization devoted to the heritage and future of NY Harbor. They champion the vintage ships and workboats that tell the important story of NY’s maritime heritage. These vessels, some of which are more than a century old, keep that history alive by offering public trips and dockside tours that illustrate the harbor’s colorful past and its present-day vitality. The ships they work with are all eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are: Fireboat John J. Harvey; Lehigh Valley Covered Lighter No. 79; Lightship Frying Pan; Tug New York Central No. 13; Tug Pegasus; Tanker Mary Whalen; Steamer/lighthouse service vessel Lilac; and Lehigh Valley RR tug Cornell.


The C NJ Main Line was placed on the National Historic Register.

A presentation to promote the C NJ Jersey City Terminal as the site for the New Jersey RR and Transportation Museum was organized by made to the Museum Commission by member Ross Rowland. It was not supported by Jersey City and was rejected by NJ DEP Parks.

The Port Authority of NY & NJ (lead agency), NJ Transit, and NY's Metropolitan Transportation Authority jointly initiated a broad "Access to the Regions Core (ARC) Study" to examine the feasibility and advisability of adding new transit and freight capacity to connect northeastern New Jersey, midtown Manhattan, and Queens / Long Island.

A 150 acre golf course proposal by Liberty State Park Development Corporation was stopped by Friends of LSP.

Morris Canal boat Captain Dick Titus died on 25 June, less than a month before his 107th birthday. The was a national treasure of canal knowledge and history.

Amtrak’s Broadway Limited service between New York and Chicago made its final run on 9 September.


On 7 January Governor Christine Whitman issued a directive to close the entire length of the NJ Turnpike during the Blizzard of ‘96 was a first in the roadway’s history.

A NJ Transit eastbound train ran through a red signal and crashed into a westbound train in Jersey City 10 February, killing the engineer and two others. On two prior occasions the offending engineer had been suspended for passing red signals and on another occasion for derailing a train. The investigation pointed out that the dead engineer may have had a problem distinguishing colors due to diabetes and failing eyesight. When the split shift that the engineer had worked prior to the accident was indicated as a contributing cause, NJ Transit promptly discontinued the practice.

Ground was broken for the $1.1 billion Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system. NJ Transit was the first transportation agency in North America to opt for the Design, Build, Operate and Maintain (DBOM) method of construction.

A series of steam excursions from Hoboken to Port Jervis using Chesapeake & Ohio RR locomotive #614, produced by Iron Horse Enterprises were co-sponsored by the NJ RR & Transportation Museum Commission, URHS and Friends of the New Jersey Transportation Heritage Center in cooperation with NJ Transit. A total of 7,277 passengers were carried and seats on almost all excursions were sold out well before the first trip operated. URHS gained $30,000 toward equipment restoration from the excursion effort.

NJ Transit opened their Midtown Direct connection which allowed Morris & Essex Division trains access to NY Penn Station and produced a vast increase in ridership.

The Hudson River Valley National Heritage Corridor was designated by Congress.


A streetcar, built by John Stephenson in Elizabeth, NJ, for export to Lisbon, Portugal, was purchased by the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center for preservation and arrived back in NJ at Elizabethport.

CSX and NS filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) seeking authority for the acquisition, division and operation of Conrail. The 23 volume, almost 15,000 page application detailed nearly $1 billion in public benefits from the transaction. The STB accepted the CSX / NS $10.2 billion application.

The US Navy honored the memory of the five “Fighting Sullivan” brothers on 19 April as it accepted into commission the newest guided missile destroyer, USS The Sullivans (DDG 68), at Stapleton Pier, Staten Island, NY, and a year later the pier was renamed USS The Sullivans Pier.

FedEx Express Flight 14 crashed while landing at Newark Airport on 31 July due to pilot error. The aircraft came to a rest off the right side of the runway, on its back, and on fire. All five occupants escaped through a cockpit window. The airplane and its cargo were destroyed by fire.

PATH asked the Federal RR Administration to exempt them from their oversight to help reduce the PATH annual deficit. The FRA jurisdiction dated from the period when former Hudson & Manhattan trains shared track between Harrison and Journal Square with passenger trains of the P RR.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that most of Ellis Island (24 acres), located in the Hudson River next to the Statue of Liberty, falls under New Jersey’s jurisdiction.

NJ Transit was the first system in the nation to order hybrid-electric buses. The Orion VIs are powered electrically from batteries which are charged by an internal combustion engine which runs at constant rpm. Four buses were ordered by NJ Transit and the first was delivered, but the order was rejected because they were over the specified weight.

The Surface Transportation Board approved the NS - CSX takeover of Conrail on 8 June.

The first commuter ferry service between Jersey City and midtown Manhattan in more than a half century was begun by NY Waterway from Exchange Place on 1 September. It was the eighth regular cross-Hudson ferry route established by NY Waterway since 1986.


CSX and Norfolk Southern began operating the portions of Conrail which they purchased. A third entity, Conrail Shared Assets Organization, was created with joint NS & CSX ownership to operate in the complex port and industrial areas in North and South Jersey.

Liberty Landing Marina, in the Morris Canal Big Basin opened, bringing private yachts and boats to Liberty State Park.

A.P. Moller, Inc. of Copenhagen, Denmark, closed on its $800,000,000 acquisition of Sea-Land Service foreign flag ships / operations from CSX Corp. The deal included acquisition of 70 container ships, 200,000 containers and two dozen terminals. Moller merged Sea-Land and their Maersk Line subsidiary to form the world's largest ocean carrier, headquartered in Madison, NJ. The two hubs of their combined operations are Elizabethport, NJ and Long Beach, CA. Sea-Land was the venerable US flag carrier that perfected the now dominant technique of moving ocean cargo in containers that are easily transferred by cranes between ships and trailer chassis or railcars. Sea-Land's operations began at Port Newark.

The King Coal (Farewell to Conrail #2), excursion train sponsored by The Buy Miles Group of High Iron Travel Corp., Minneapolis, MN, was operated in cooperation with Conrail, Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern RR, Canadian Pacific and Amtrak on 7 to 10 May. The routing was 30th St. Station, Philadelphia; Reading; Port Clinton; Carson; Packerton; M&H Jct.; Crestwood; DuPont; Pittston; Minooka; Steamtown (with a side excursion to Analomik and return on 8 May on the Delaware-Lackawanna RR using 8 of the PV's); Binghamton; Cooperstown Jct., Albany; Rensselaer; Kingston; West Point; over the connection from the West Shore to former Erie Northern Branch; through Erie Bergen Tunnel; onto National Docks RR; Oak Island Yard; former LV RR to Bound Brook; and the Reading route back to Philadelphia.

A $9 million renovation of Hoboken Terminal waiting room was completed by NJ Transit. The Terminal is used by 37,000 passengers daily.

Military Ocean Terminal Bayonne was closed by Congress, and the property was turned over to the City of Bayonne.

PATH ridership was 67.3 million, highest since 1947.


After a lengthy fight to locate the Battleship New Jersey at the Camden waterfront in lieu of Bayonne, it was decided that the ship would go to Camden.

On 18 February, Curtis and Ginsberg Architects LLP of New York produced their report: Liberty State Park Train Shed Historic Preservation Plan: Preliminary Report. (ODC Project No. PO781-00.)

The new NJ Transit Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line initial operating segment opened for regular service with a dedication ceremony at the Liberty State Park station on 15 April. This was the first new "trolley" line in New Jersey in 58 years and 51 years after the last trolleys in Hudson County were abandoned. It was also New Jersey's largest public mass transportation project and the first public rail transit system to be deployed and operated through the Design Build Operate Maintain process.

Peregrine falcons first began to nest on the roof of 101 Hudson Street, Jersey City. A year later a live webcam (video camera) was installed to monitor the daily life of the birds via the NJ Department of Environmental Protection website and a monitor in the 101 Hudson Street lobby.

The Summer Millenium Celebration - International Naval Review brought 25 tall ships to New York Harbor on 4 July. Leading the parade of ships was the US CGC Eagle, the seventh US Navy or Coast Guard ship to bear the name in a line dating back to 1792. Often, Eagle makes calls at foreign ports as a goodwill ambassador. OpSail 2000 was the largest gathering of foreign and domestic sailing vessels and naval warships ever assembled. With more than 100 ships visiting from nearly 30 countries, plus a visit from President Clinton and the largest fireworks display in NY history, preparations for the event required a mammoth effort. More than 150 tall ships and classic craft, nearly three dozen naval warships, and more than 50,000 spectator boats filled NY Harbor. The USS The Sullivans Pier at Stapleton, Staten Island was used to berth the following ships: USS Elrod (frigate); USS Hue City (cruiser); USS Nassau (helicopter carrier); USS Underwood (frigate); as well as Brasil (a frigate from Brasil); HMCS Montreal (a frigate from Canada); Yuugiri (a destroyer from Japan); Endurance (a transport from Singapore); and Fatih (a frigate from Turkey).

Construction began on NYC’s Hudson River Park (HRP), along the west side of Manhattan north from Battery Place to West 59th Street where it connects with Riverside Park South. Amenities and activities include: Pier 25 for historic ships, marina mooring, basketball, tennis, boating programs, athletic fields, lawn areas, refreshments, beach volleyball, miniature golf, skate-parks and water play area; Pier 34, Public walkway out to Holland Tunnel ventilator shaft, and basketball; Tennis Courts; Pier 40, NY FD Marine Co. #1, tour boats, refreshments, boating, ball fields, dog walk, & parking; Christopher St. Water fountain; Pier 45, Lawn for sunbathing, seating areas, and refreshments; Pier 51, water playground and refreshments; Past Piers 52 & 53, NYC Dept. of Sanitation and NYC FD; Pier 54, River Rocks concerts; a carousel, a water playground; public gardens; Pier 57 - not yet developed; Piers 59 to 61, Chelsea Piers Sports & Entertainment Complex and refreshments; Pier 62 to 64 and Chelsea Waterside form the largest contiguous green space in HRP, with a carousel, skate-park, refreshments, basketball courts, ballfields, and a dog run; Pier 66, Maritime seasonal bar & grill, historic vessels, a working water wheel, and River Sports; Natural Habitat Garden; A Heliport at W. 30th St.; Jacob Javits Convention Center between W. 34th St., & W 39th St.; Pier 79, NY Waterway Ferry Terminal; Pier 81, World Yacht Cruises; Pier 83, Circle Line Cruises; Pier 84, Waterside Café, Water Taxi, Boathouse - free boat building programs, public events and programs, bike rentals, water play area, water fountain, and dog run; Pier 86, Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum; Past the active NYC Passenger Ship Terminals at Piers 88, 90, & 92; Pier 94, Unconvention Center; Pier 95, Clinton Cove - public exhibits; Pier 96, Boathouse - kayak programs; Pier 97 - under construction; and the Bikepath, for bicycles, skateboards and rollerblades, which runs the full length of the park. A full schedule of free Summer events are hosted at various HRP locations. HRP is the largest park to be built in Manhattan since the completion of Central Park. Twelve piers have been completely reconstructed and more are planned as funding becomes available. HRP does not receive any operating funds from the federal, state, or city government.

The New Jersey State Legislature approved a $3.75 billion transportation trust fund to fund mass transit and road projects. A key project was the $1 billion plus Portway project, actually a series of projects to greatly improve freight access between the seaport, railroads and motor carriers.

The Federal RR Administration decided that new PATH cars would not have to meet the stringent crash worthiness standards which apply to railroads. This ruling would save PATH 25% on the cost of new cars. The ruling paved the way for PATH, with the second oldest fleet of rapid transit cars in the US to purchase 295 new cars.

On 30 October the NY Yankees 2000 “Subway Series” victory parade through the “Canyon of Heroes” in lower Manhattan featured Kawasaki R-62 subway car #1415 on a float. The 51-foot stainless-steel subway car was designated as the No. 4, just like the IRT Woodlawn subway line that passed by Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

The NJ Transit board approved a $500 million order for 1,400 new MCI cruiser coaches over several years. This was the largest bus order in the US and the world.

The US Postal Service's "Celebrate the Century Express" exhibit train visited the NJ Transit "Try Transit Festival" at Hoboken Terminal.

Amtrak's new Acela Express high speed trains began operating on the Northeast Corridor through New Jersey.


PATH increased their fare from $1 to $1.50 on 25 March.

NJ Transit signed a $52 million contract to rehabilitate and upgrade the 1877 era DL&W north tube of the Bergen Tunnel.

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey approved the first phase of a $1 billion program to replace or rehabilitate all 340 aging PATH cars and install a new signal system that will improve reliability. This was the largest investment in PATH since the PA acquired the system in 1962.

A 10-week engagement of Cirque du Soleil occurred on the north east corner of Liberty State Park, north of the C RR of NJ Terminal, drawing a total of 200,000 attendees. Due to limitations of parking at LSP, most of the daily 12,000 or so attendees parked in Bayonne and traveled to LSP by ferry.

The Three Penny Ferry between the foot of Washington Street, Jersey City and Liberty State Park (across the Morris Canal big basin) was re-instituted at a greatly increased fare ($1.00) over the original three pennies.

In this year the former W. & A. Fletcher Co. / Union Dry Docks / Bethlehem Steel Hoboken Shipyard Machine Shop building adaptive reuse work was completed and the Hoboken Historical Museum became a permanent tenant. This 2½ story, thirty-six bay brick building, built in 1890, which extends from 12th to 14th Streets on Hudson Street is the oldest structure on Hoboken’s waterfront. Within its walls and surrounding outbuildings as many as 10,000 workers designed and repaired ships, transforming wood – and later steel – into river and ocean-going vessels.

Final ceremonial runs of NJ Transit Newark City Subway PCC cars were made on the evening of 24 August and all vehicles were moved to the new Bloomfield Vehicle Base Facility. These cars, purchased second hand from Twin Cities Rapid Transit Co. of Minneapolis / St. Paul served the City Subway well for over 47 years. Subsequently six of the cars were moved the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Vehicle Base Facility in Jersey City for a planned light rail connector line in Bayonne and three were donated to the NJ Transportation Heritage Center.

The last Hoboken Terminal Festival sponsored by NJ Transit on 8 September featured two rail excursions, rail displays including an Amtrak Acela train, a pair of DL&W RR livery E-8 diesel locomotives, NJ Transit, URHS, Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Morristown & Erie and PATH equipment. Newark City Subway PCC car #6 was on exhibit on the plaza north of the Terminal.

On 11 September terrorists hi-jacked four commercial passenger jet planes and crashed two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. The resulting fires caused the collapse of both 110 story towers as well as four adjacent office buildings. Many other nearby buildings were damaged. About twenty eight hundred lives were lost and 700 of these were New Jerseyians. Twenty three NY Waterway ferries rushed to the scene aiding in the rescue effort. In that first terrible day, NY Waterway evacuated 160,000 people, many of them injured, from Manhattan. Ferries were utilized to evacuate victims and transport rescuers to and from Liberty State Park and other points. The CNJ Terminal area was quickly put to use as a refuge for thousands fleeing lower Manhattan by boat. It played a part of the largest waterborne evacuation in U.S. history. PATH service to World Trade Center (WTC) and Exchange Place was terminated. To help fill transportation voids, new ferry services were established. One of them connected Liberty State Park with South Street Seaport for Academy, Suburban and NJ Transit bus passengers. A bus loading area was quickly constructed adjacent to the Liberty Landing Marina. Staten Island ferries were also used to evacuate Manhattan in addition to shuttling emergency personnel and their equipment, as well as military personnel and equipment (including tanks) to lower Manhattan and Governor’s Island. At the time of the destruction of the World Trade Center, the two towers were the 5th and 6th tallest buildings in the world. Some 50,000 people worked in the buildings. One empty PATH train of 8 cars (6 cars were destroyed and 2 were saved) were damaged by falling debris in the WTC station.

On 12 November, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens, NYC shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was the second deadliest US aviation accident to date with a loss of 265 lives.

The LSP Development Corporation proposal for a commercial amphitheater and a concert series in the Park was rejected by NJ DEP.

Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, the world’s largest trash landfill, was used for the disposal of debris from the World Trade Center and was then closed.


The state of Texas funded a $1.1 million restoration of the only known surviving locomotive of the some 300 built by Breese, Kneeland & Co. of Jersey City. The restored 4-4-0 steam locomotive, on display in El Paso since 1909 is now in the city's new Union Plaza Transit Terminal.

The NJ Transit Board of Directors exercised an option with 21st Century Rail Corp. for $101.4 million to purchase 34 additional Light Rail Vehicles for the extension of the Newark City Subway and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Systems.

The 31st Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial Archeology was held in Brooklyn.

On 9 July, Brian Kladko, a reporter from The Record (Hackensack, NJ), started walking west from Liberty State Park on the Liberty-Water Gap trail. On 19 July he arrived at the Delaware Water Gap. The story of his journey was published in eight segments in his paper during July.

The first annual Jersey Central RR Heritage Festival was held at the CNJ Jersey City Terminal and Concourse. As part of the festival a CNJ oral history project was begun by LSP officials.

The LSP Development Corporation was advised by NJ DEP that its plans for commercial development did not coincide with the mission of LSP.

NJ Transit approved a $250 million contract with Bombardier Transportation to build 100 bi-level passenger cars to ease overcrowding on its trains.

The Delaware Bay Schooner Project, focusing on the former 1928 oyster schooner A.J. Meerwald became the Bayshore Discovery Project. Each Summer she comes to Liberty State Park for a couple of weeks to offer day cruises. Meerwald is New Jersey’s official Tall Ship.

On 29 September service on the NJ Transit Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line was officially extended into the Hoboken Terminal.

Lionel LLC produced a new prototypical “O” gauge scale model Blue Comet passenger train set which included the G3s Pacific locomotive #831 and tender; a baggage car; two coaches; and an observation car. The limited edition of 1,000 was priced at $1,399.95 each.

On 14 October terrorism watch “If you see something, say something” posters began appearing in subways and buses throughout NYC.

The Liberty State Park Transportation Circulation Master Plan Update Study was completed by Vollmer Associates in October.


A heavy snow storm collapsed half of the roof of the B&O RR Museum roundhouse building in Baltimore on the morning of 17 February. Two CNJ locomotives, Camelback steamer #592 and Ingersoll-Rand diesel #1000, displayed in the historic structure, were only slightly damaged.

A four-week walkout, the largest dock strike in two decades, ended on 11 June. It was against Evergreen Marine, the world's third-largest container ship company. It centered on the unionization of a handful of "port captains," who eventually got their way.

The NJ Transit Board of Directors approved a $4.9 million study for two proposed new rail tunnels under the Hudson to Penn Station, NYC.

On 29 June, PATH service was restored to an enlarged, modernized Exchange Place Station in Jersey City for the first time since 9-11-01.

NJ Law Enforcement officials and Norfolk Southern police rounded up 24 members of a cargo theft gang known as the "Conrail Boyz" on 10 July. Using scanners, night-vision binoculars, walkie-talkies and cell phones to avoid the law, in the last decade the gang was responsible for multi-millions in losses in North Jersey, including a single merchandise theft of $5,000,000.

The world’s largest utility grid power failure occurred on the afternoon of 14 August. The outage, which affected all of NYC; most of NY state and New Jersey; Vermont, Connecticut; and most of Ontario, Canada, shut down more than 508 generating units at 265 power plants. It paralyzed the region’s transportation system, bringing electric rail service, including Amtrak, Metro North, Long Island RR, NJ Transit, PATH, Newark and Hudson Bergen Light Rail trains to a standstill for hours. It disrupted bus routes and rendered many roads dangerous because traffic lights were out. Because the Port Authority Bus Terminal was closed, NJ Transit operated a free bus shuttle to pick up passengers from curbside in NYC and brought them to a makeshift, open-air bus transfer station in the parking lot of Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford. NY Waterway ferries evacuated about 170,000 from Manhattan, almost six times their normal load. Many commuters waited for non-existent taxis.

On 15 October, the Staten Island ferry Andrew J. Barberi crashed into a maintenance pier at St. George causing great damage and 11 deaths.

In November Concorde supersonic airliner G-BOAD was moved on a barge under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, into NY Harbor and up the Hudson River for placement on the deck of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

PATH train service from NJ resumed to the former World Trade Center site on 23 November with the same cars which were in the last train to depart WTC before the collapse. Ferry service to Pier A in lower Manhattan was discontinued and other ferry service was curtailed.

The Liberty State Park Development Corporation was terminated by Governor McGreevey after a Coalition letter from 30 organizations and 5,000 post cards were sent.


In March, Royal Caribbean Cruises opened a passenger terminal at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, the former Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne. It is the home port for the 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas, which made the first departure. Subsequently their Empress of the Seas, and several ships of Royal Caribbean also call at the Bayonne port.

Construction on the first half of the new high level fixed Victory Bridge across the Raritan River was completed on 8 June and it was opened for traffic. The original Victory Bridge was then demolished and the new parallel northbound bridge was constructed in its place. It opened to traffic on 2 September 2005. Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center salvaged and preserved artifacts from the 1926 bridge, including: two segments of the center pier ring gear; the drive pinion; one of the several rollers which carried the 14,000 ton weight of the center span; and the roadway crash gates.

The S.S. Lilac, a former East Coast lighthouse service vessel, was brought to NY Harbor for preservation. The 173-foot Lilac was built in 1933; decommissioned in 1972; served as a training ship for the Seafarers International Union until 1988; and then languished in a Norfolk scrap yard.

The Goldman Sachs Tower was completed in Jersey City, along the Hudson River, just north of the Morris Canal Little Basin. At 42 stories it is the tallest building in NJ, and the tallest building in the US that is not in its metropolitan area’s largest city.


A PCC trolley shuttle was proposed for the former Marine Ocean Terminal, Bayonne to connect it with the Hudson Bergen Light Rail System. Eight former Newark City Subway cars were moved to the HBLR maintenance facility near Liberty State Park and cocooned to protect them from deterioration. Railpace Newsmagazine, March 2005 The project was stillborn.

Urbitran Associates of Montville, NJ produced a report on 30 June: Jersey City Liberty Access Study Alternative Projects, which focused on Liberty State Park, for the Jersey City Planning Department.

NYC Transit Security officials began the first random bag search on the NYC subway on 21 July. The NY Civil Liberties Union sued NYC but lost in the courts.

On 8 to 11 August the restored Hickory Creek, one of the observation lounge cars from the NY Central RR’s famous Twentieth Century Limited train made its first journey between NYC and Chicago over her former route since the train was discontinued in 1967. Hickory Creek is owned by United RR Historical Society of NJ and is operated by StarTrak, Inc.

The third CNJ ferryboat named Elizabeth, built in 1901 was towed to sea from Philadelphia and sunk off the coast of Cape May on 3 August to become part of an artificial reef for fishermen. The Elizabeth’s 45-ton, 17-foot tall vertical steam engine was removed and donated to the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia.

The “Floating Island” of the late Robert Smithson was launched in NY Harbor more than 40 years after it was conceived by Smithson, who died in a plane crash in 1973. It is the culmination of more than four decades of sporadic efforts to fund and build the floating artwork envisioned by Smithson. A collaboration between the Whitney Museum of American Art, Minetta Brook, Smithson’s estate, Smithson’s widow - artist Nancy Holt, the James Cohan Gallery, and many others funded and transformed a 30' x 90' flat decked barge, in a Staten Island marine yard, into a floating oasis which included 10 trees, 3 large rocks, shrubs, rolls of sod, and a whole lot of dirt. NY Times, 16 September 2005

The Lois McClure, a new build, full scale, 88 foot-long, replica of a wooden 1862 Lake Champlain canal schooner visited Liberty State Park on 16 September. She was constructed by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and launched in 2004. This type of vessel had masts which could be removed and centerboard raised to permit passage through canals. She was towed down the Hudson River by the tugboat C.L. Churchill.

After 183 years of operation in lower Manhattan, the Fulton Fish Market was relocated to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center in the Bronx. In its original location it was one of the last, and most significant, of the great wholesale food markets of New York. In its new location it handles millions of pounds of seafood daily, with annual sales exceeding one billion dollars, and is second in size worldwide only to Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

The Transport Workers Union called a strike (the third ever) against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority - New York City Transit Authority on 20 December, effectively halting all service on the NYC subway and bus system. Talking place during the busiest shopping week of the year, it disrupted and significantly affected the local economy. The strike ended on 22 December, with service restored by the morning commute of the 23rd. The local union president, Roger Toussaint was later sentenced to ten days in jail; the union was fined 2.5 million dollars; and the automatic deduction of dues from all members was suspended.


The USS Intrepid was moved from Pier 86, Manhattan to Staten Island for renovation and upgrading of exhibits.

Regular freight service to Staten Island was begun on 2 April following renovation of the Arthur Kill Vertical Lift Bridge which had been closed for 16 years. The reactivated line primarily hauls container freight from the Howland Hook Marine Terminal and waste from the Staten Island Transfer Station.

On 18 April an electrical failure on the Roosevelt Island Tramway trapped 69 people over the East River and it took over eleven hours to rescue the last passengers. Eight months earlier, 80 people were trapped on the tram for over 90 minutes. The tramway suspended operations after the April 2006 incident, reopening on 1 September 2006. The tram’s backup electrical systems were refurbished.

Metrovest Equities won approval of their proposed hotel / convention center on city-owned land (occupied by a sewage plant and a car pound) west of Liberty State Park; west of Phillip Drive and south of Jersey City Boulevard.

New York Cross Harbor RR, which had operated in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn since 1983, was taken over by New York New Jersey Rail, LLC (NYNJ) in this year. NYNJ is a switching and terminal railroad that operates the only car float operation across NY Harbor between Jersey City, NJ (where it connects with CSX and NS railroads) and Brooklyn, NY (where it connects with NY and Atlantic Ry and the South Brooklyn Ry.). In mid-November 2008, it was acquired by the Port Authority of NY & NJ for $16,000,000. Since freight trains are not allowed in Amtrak’s North River and the East River Tunnels, and the Poughkeepsie Bridge was closed in 1974, the rail ferry is the only freight crossing of the Hudson River south of the Alfred H. Smith Memorial Bridge, 140 miles north of NYC. It is the last remaining rail car float operation in the Port of NY and NJ.

A small private plane owned by NY Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, also occupied by his certified flight instructor, crashed into the Belaire Apartments on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on 11 October. Both occupants of the plane were killed and 21 people were injured, including 11 fire fighters.

The hulk of the former Reading RR steam and auxiliary sail tugboat Catawissa was scrapped at Garners Yard, Tottenville, Staten Island. After her last commercial use as a steam supply vessel for tank cleaning in the NY Harbor area she was acquired by a preservation group from Cleveland, OH. They attempted to move her west through the Erie Barge Canal but due to her dimensions, she could not get past lock 20. They then abandoned her and caused the Canal a lot of trouble. She was purchased for scrap (with the intention of preservation) by a gentleman who moved her to Rondout on the Hudson. Finally, due to staggering costs of restoration and no resources, Catawissa was towed to Garners Yard at Tottenville, Staten Island and scrapped in this year.


The C RR of NJ Veteran Employees Association unveiled their granite milepost monument to past employees of the CNJ between tracks 10 and 11 under the Train Shed. Speakers at the event called for restoration of tracks to bring rail equipment to the location for display, interpretation, and historic rail ride experiences.

On 2 May, many people around NY Harbor called 911 to report that a ship was sinking. The Dockwise Swan, a semi-submersible freighter was purposely partially sunk to off load a dredge vessel carried on it’s deck. After unloading, the Dockwise Swan was refloated.

Liberty Science Center reopened following a 22 month $109 million expansion and renewal project.

The US National Park Service terminated the Circle Line contract to serve the Statue of Liberty and awarded it to Hornblower Cruises. Since 1953 Circle Line had transported 70 million people to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

A new 225' clock tower, replicating the original built with the Lackawanna Railroad’s Hoboken Terminal a century ago was erected. The original tower was dismantled in the early 1950's due to structural damage and deterioration from weather. The replica tower has four-foot high copper letters spelling our “LACKAWANNA” which are illuminated at night. The terminal is considered a milestone in American transportation development, which combined commuter rail (and, prior to 4 January 1970, long distance rail passenger service), ferry, streetcar, rapid transit and pedestrian facilities in one of the most innovatively designed and engineered structures in the nation. The earlier streetcar service has been replaced by bus and light rail service.

The backhoe dredge New York came to NY Harbor. It was built by Liebherr (model #996), is owned by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. and is the third largest such dredge in the world. It spends considerable time in Newark Bay as near continuous dredging is required to maintain the depths required for modern super ships.


On 13 January the Cunard Line cruiseships Queen Elizabeth 2, the Queen Mary 2, and the (then) new Queen Victoria sailed out of New York Harbor together.

On 24 January the hull of the backhoe dredge New York was damaged when it was struck by the 669-foot juice freighter, Orange Sun. She was taken to Brooklyn Navy Yard for repairs.

Bill McKelvey and Bob Barth met with Frank Gallagher, Administrator of Liberty State Park to explore how to proceed with the iniative to return rail access to LSP. We were advised that a feasibility study would be required. With the assistance of members of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center the Rutgers University Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy was approached to enquire if they might do such a study for us. They agreed and a studio of 13 graduate students was formed and proceeded with a LSP Rail Access Feasibility Study.

PATH Celebrated their 100th anniversary of the opening in 1908 by the Hudson & Manhattan RR.

The All Points West music and arts festival / concert event drew nearly 65,000 attendees to Liberty State Park for the three day event, which was a partial fund-raiser for Friends of LSP. Most attendees arrived from NYC via ferry boats.

On 15 September the Lehman Brothers investment bank in NYC filed for the largest bankruptcy in US history, which helped plunge the global financial system into chaos.

Public presentations were made of the positive conclusions of the Bloustein Studio and a final report was completed. A heritage trolley connection between the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Station / Liberty Science Center and the CNJ Terminal / Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry Docks as well as a rail connection to facilitate display of rail equipment were recommended.

Metrovest Equities updated their hotel and convention center plans on the west side of Liberty State Park to include a main structure of 12 stories with 350 rooms, a 500 to 700 seat banquet facility, 80,000 sq. ft. of conference space and possibly 150 condos.

The USS Intrepid was returned to Pier 86, NYC following an overhaul.

The final departure of Queen Elizabeth 2 from New York Harbor was on 16 October.

The restored NY Central RR Twentieth Century Limited observation-lounge car, Hickory Creek returned to Grand Central Terminal on 25 and 26 October for the first time since the famous train was discontinued on 2 December 1967. She made two round trips between GCT and Albany. Hickory Creek is owned by United RR Historical Society of NJ and is operated by StarTrak, Inc.


On 15 January, US Airways Flight 1549 lost power in all engines shortly after take-off and almost hit the George Washington Bridge before it was skillfully maneuvered to crash-land the jet in the icy Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 people and injuring no-one on the ground. Veteran pilot Chesley Sullenberger, a former US Air Force fighter pilot, was swiftly dubbed ‘the hero of the Hudson’ for the soft landing and lauded by officials, aviation experts, President George W. Bush and the passengers whose lives were saved. The event became known as “The Miracle on the Hudson.”

The 22-hour round-the-clock recovery of the US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus A320 jetliner from the Hudson River was led by J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co. with Weeks Marine Inc. of Cranford, NJ. They used a 500-ton Clyde model 52 crane as well as a 115-ton Dravo model 37 marine crane to lift the plane intact from the water and load it onto a 250' x 75' wide barge for transport to Weeks’ marine yard in Jersey City. There the wings and tail were removed so Supor could move the plane by road to safe storage for further study by investigators.

MTA New York City Transit’s Staten Island Railway took delivery in February of four new diesel locomotives manufactured by the Brookville Equipment Corporation of Brookville, PA. They traveled by rail to Port Newark, were lifted by crane onto a barge and floated to the Stapleton, SI, Home Port. There the locos were lifted by crane and trucked to the Clifton, SI shop where they were again lifted by crane and placed onto SIR tracks. The new locomotives replaced four old second-hand units that dated from 1968 and the 1940's. They will be used year-round to support maintenance-of-way efforts in maintaining tracks, right-of-way and structures. They will be used daily during the autumn months to propel work equipment that steam-cleans the running rails and applies traction-enhancing gel. In addition, during winter months, they can be used to clear the line in the event of a major snowstorm. And, they may even be used to haul passenger trains to maintain limited service should there be a temporary third rail outage. Retired Staten Island Ry Alco S2 diesel switcher #821, built in 1943, was sold to and trucked to the Upper Hudson River RR of North Creek, NY and Alco S1 #407 was trucked to the Catskill Mountain RR near Kingston, NY

RU 27 Scarlet Knight was the first submersible robot glider to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It was launched off the coast of New Jersey on 27 April; traveled 7,409.6 kilometers; and reached Baionce, Spain in 221 days. It is torpedo-shaped, 93" long, and weighs 134 pounds. The journey was made under the auspices of Rutgers University, Coastal Ocean Observation Laboratory, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, New Brunswick, NJ.

The National Parks Service reopened the Statue of Liberty Crown for limited visitation.

Three additional Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning studio sessions with a few students focused on refinements to the original Rail Access Feasibility Study for Liberty State Park. The work was documented in an article by Vigrass, J. William and McKelvey, William J. “Rail access to Liberty State Park Feasibility Study Update” which appeared in New Jersey Transport Heritage, Vol. 18, No. 3, June. A version is also posted on the Liberty Historic Railway website:

On 8 June, the first section of the High Line Park, built on the former NYC RR elevated West Side (Manhattan) Freight Line, opened to the public.

A second All Points West festival / weekend concert at Liberty State Park did not attain attendee or profitability expectations due to a four-hour delay on Sunday caused by heavy rains.

A fleet of nineteen traditional Dutch leeboard vessels crossed the Atlantic and arrived in NY Harbor aboard a Dutch Freighter. They were celebrating the 400th anniversary and were the direct decendents of the vessels which sailed the Dutch coast; across the Atlantic to Manhattan and up the Hudson River in the 17th century.

On 9 August, a sightseeing helicopter and a low-flying small plane collided over the Hudson River, killing a total of 9 passengers on the two craft.

The Navy’s USS New York (LPD-21) arrived in New Jersey / New York Harbor for the first time. Her bow was constructed utilizing 7.5 tons of steel salvaged from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings.

The South Brooklyn Marine Terminal was renovated as a multipurpose cargo terminal for roll-on / roll-off and break-bulk cargoes. The 74-acre facility, operated by the Axis Group, Inc., is undergoing a modernization program, including a new berth, three large piersheds, from 50,000 to 100,000 square feet, and rail access to the national rail freight system via the Bay Ridge Line and Fresh Pond Junction. SBMT offers the shortest sailing time to the open ocean than any other facility in NY Harbor.

Documentary film maker, Rutgers, Camden, Professor Robert A. Emmons, Jr., produced a feature length documentary film De Luxe: The Tale of the Blue Comet in video format.


The work of continuing forward with the implementation of the LSP Rail Access Study with Martin Robins and Bill Vigrass as consultants was funded jointly by United RR Historical Society and Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center.

On 29 January, Liberty Historic Railway was established as a non-profit, public benefit corporation to provide rail shuttle connections within Liberty State Park; to allow appropriate historic transportation equipment to be displayed and interpreted; and to jump-start the restoration of the deteriorating C RR of NJ Jersey City Terminal Train Shed.

On 1 March the Roosevelt Island Tramway was closed for a $25 million upgrade and modernization. All components were replaced except for the three tower bases and it reopened on 30 November..

A reincarnation of Luna Park, on the former site of the nearby Astroland amusement park at Coney Island, opened on 29 May.

The Red Bull Air Race was held over harbor water between the CNJ Terminal and Ellis Island. Spectator bleachers were set up in LSP.

Former CNJ steam locomotive No. 113, which spent most of its life working at the Jersey City Terminal coal yards, now a part of Liberty State Park, was restored to steam operation by RR Project 113 at Minersville, PA.

The streetcar, built by John Stephenson in Elizabeth, NJ in 1906, for export to Lisbon, Portugal, purchased by the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center and returned to NJ in 1997, was donated to Liberty Historic Railway, Inc. for preservation and restoration.

The NJ DEP ruled out a proposal for a 3.6 mile Formula One Grand Prix race track at Liberty State Park.

During October, NJ Governor Chris Christie forced a termination of construction of the Access to the Region’s Core - Trans-Hudson rail tunnels due to the estimated billions in cost over-runs which would have to had been paid for by NJ taxpayers.

The MV Harmen Oldendorff, owned by global shipping company Oldendorff of Lubeck, Germany arrived at NY Harbor and traveled up the Hudson River to Newburgh, NY with a load of coal from Santa Marta, Columbia.“HO” is a gravity self unloader that can discharge without shore cranes.


On 13 January, fireworks and fanfare marked the first meeting of the iconic Cunard Line Queens – Queen Mary II, Queen Victoria, and the new Queen Elizabeth at the Port of NJ / NY.

During early February the 163-foot M/Y Arctic Sunrise, the smallest ship in the Greenpeace fleet tied up at Pier 59, Chelsea Piers on Manhattan’s west side to promote their “Quit Coal” iniative raising awareness of the health impacts of coal-burning power plants.

Jersey City was one of 15 metropolitan regions named as leaders in transportation innovation and smart transit, according to a study released by National Resources Defense Council. April Metro Magazine

On 11 May NJ Transit unveiled the first of its new 26 dual-powered passenger locomotives which will provide through service between non-electrified lines and New York Penn Station. They utilize diesel power on non-electrified lines and can also take power from overhead catenary on electrified lines.

On 4 June, J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co. began the movement of the damaged 120 foot-long fuselage of the US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus A320 “Miracle on the Hudson” jetliner south from Harrison, NJ by road to the Carolinas Aviation Museum, Charlotte, NC. The wings and tail section pieces followed on separate vehicles. The progress of the one week move could be followed on the Supor website via a GPS link.

On 5 June CNJ Alco RS-3, No. 1554, built in March 1953 and now owned by the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, was returned to service hauling two CNJ coaches at Steamtown National Historical Site. It received a major overhaul and repainting in the Delaware Lackawanna RR shop in Scranton.

East River ferry service, provided by NY Waterway, was extended north to include No. 6th Street / No. Williamsburg; India Street / Greenpoint; Hunters Point South / Long Island City; and E. 34th Street / Midtown on 13 June. This connected with existing service southward to Schaefer Landing / So. Williamsburg; Brooklyn Bridge Park / DUMBO; and Wall Street Pier 11 / Financial District.

A week-long heat wave produced record temperatures, including 108º in Newark on 22 July.

Our thanks to Arthur G. Adams, Ron Albury, Elaine Anderson, Raymond J. Baxter, Benjamin L. Bernhart, John Brinckmann, James & Margaret Cawley, Paul Carleton, Carl W. Condit, H. Jerome Cranmer, Brian J. Cudahy, John T. Cunningham, Rob Davis, Ira Deutsch, Paul Ditzel, Jessica DuLong, Mike Eagleson, Robert F. Fischer, Tom Flagg, Thomas J. Flemming, Edward T. Francis, William B. Gallagher, Tom Gallo, John Gillespie, Google dotCom, Bill Greenberg, Walt Grosselfinger, Herbert H. Harwood, Jr., Jules Heiliczer, Donald J. Heimburger, John Henderson, Capt. Pamela Hepburn, Linda Horton, Roy L. Hudson, Harry Johnson, Jill Jonnes, Barbara N. Kalata, John Kelly, Wheaton J. Lane, Warren F. Lee, Vernon Leslie, Frederick S. Lightfoot, Larry Lowenthal, Gary Mathews, Richard C. McKay, William J. McKelvey, Jr. (The Editor), Bill Miller, Robert Mohowski, George H. Moss, Jr., Bob Pennisi, Jeannette Edwards Rattray; Frank T. Reilly, Franklin B. Roberts, V. (Vic) S. Roseman, Clifford B. Ross, Theodore W. Scull, Rich Taylor, Al Trojanowitz, Jimmy Wales (en.wikipedia), David Wheeler, John H. White, Jr., Robert “Wire” Wyatt, Ellen Zander, and many, many others for their help with this compilation.

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Liberty Historic Railway, Inc.
103 Dogwood Lane
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