Introduction

 

I grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey in the early 80ís, long after the Raritan River Railroad got absorbed into Conrail.I never got to see her Red and Grey colors, or hear her EMDs rumbling over the South River Swing Bridge to New Brunswick.But ever since I realized that a great little short line ran through the center of my town, I have been obsessed with gathering as much information as possible on this little line.Early on, I was shocked to learn that not much information exists on the little line.The line was small, some 12 miles from South Amboy to New Brunswick.Compared to the hundreds of miles of mainline of the class one railroads, the Raritan River RR barely owned up to being a branch line in their eyes.But, it was that smallness, that uniqueness, which allowed them to survive, and thrive, (and remain profitable) up until their ultimate demise when they finally got absorbed into Conrail in 1980.††

 

This web site will explain the history of the line, and its current state of its Right-of-Way, and any current surviving rolling stock.I will hope to clear up much of the erroneous and false information that exists on the Web today.Since the RRRR was small, and information scarce (only one book is known to exist; Fred Diebertís Rails up the Raritan), it is very believable that false information can get published by accident.I have spent many hours researching the line.I have personally found some long lost rolling stock, and hope to continue to document and trace the existing pieces and stations that still exist.Every year some rail fans and I walk some of the line, tracing and documenting what we see, noting its history and hopefully preserving it in pictures and writings as best we can.

 

Since published information is so hard to come by, I hope that after gathering the many stories and pictures from those that actually worked with and knew the railroad, someday a new book can be complied for all to read.(I have since abandoned the idea of publishing a book, as a web site is easy to access and free for all).If you have stories or information you would like to share, or have any photos or documents I can post on this site, please donít hesitate to contact me.I would love to hear anyoneís story if they have one to tell.

 

I can be reached at Tom_E_Reynolds at Yahoo.com

 

Update 2010.

 

Since I wrote that introduction in 2004, many new and exciting things have happened in my quest to learn all there was about the little Raritan River Railroad. (and a few sad ones too.)I have been in contact with many employees of the line, or their siblings.I had the privilege and honor to meet the late Jack Toth and Bob Kipp, last General Manager and Vice President of the Raritan River Railroad.And the best was yet to come.††

 

You see, Bob was the last one out in 1980 when Conrail came in.Bob gave them the keys and took everything home that Conrail didnít want, and put it in his basement and forgot about it.Boxes and boxes of timetables, revenue statements, income statements, even the old official pass book.Maps too.But not just any maps, Bob had the set from 1912, 1940s, and the 1960s.†† Dozens of slides, showing engines, cars, wrecks, just about everything.They sat down there until he met me.

 

Previously, after buying some timetables on Ebay (actually I may have bought ALL the timetablesÖ) I contacted the seller and he had owner call me.It was Bob, beginning to liquidate his stuff.It was time.†† So after a few phone calls, I met Bob at his house, and Bob gave me a tour of what he had.I couldnít believe what was there.

 

I also knew I needed to act quickly.Bob wanted to sell, but was kind enough to let me copy (digitize) his collection.†† Papers, maps, slides.I had them all digitized as quickly as I could.That way they can never get lost, burned, moldy, or destroyed.Bobís collection will live in cyberspace forever.It cost a fortune, but will forever preserve the history and legend of the Raritan River Railroad.

 

Bob Kipp passed away shortly after, but will forever be remembered by me and other Raritan River fans as the kind and generous man who kept the memory (and the details) of the Raritan in his basement.