Tom’s Raritan River Railroad Page




Joe Basara’s Pictures


Joe grew up on Serviss Avenue in South River during the 70s.  He saw the red Raritan River Railroad switchers running behind his house on a regular basis.  Joe was even around shortly after the fire that leveled the shops complex shortly after Conrail took over.  He was allowed inside some of the Cabooses, got to know the engineers really well, even saw RRRR Crane #3 get cut up.

Here are some of Joe’s pictures and photos to document his life along the old Ricky.


Click on each picture or link to see a full 640x800 picture




Early Years



Post Card from 1953 shows Steam Locomotive #19


Later Years



Diesel Tank in South Amboy - 1983


Shops complex in SA - 1983

Shortly after this picture was taken, the


The shops complex is abandoned by this point.  Conrail took over in 1981, and immediately shut down the shops.  The existing EMD SW900 switchers were left unprotected and running in Parlin to the annoyance of the town and its residents.  


Minimal maintenance was done on them, and after two years of abuse, the switchers were scrapped in 1983.  About the same time, the shops complex was torched (burned to the ground), and the Parlin Station was needlessly torn down.


Both the Shops and the Parlin Station could have been rented out.  In fact even the SW900s, had they not been abused and non-maintained, could have been sold off as working engines. 


Funny how when Conrail wanted to make a point, nothing stood in their way.



Shops Complex shortly after the fire - 1983



RRRR hopper car, used for sand - 1980



Parlin Station - 1980



Parlin Station shortly before its torn down.


The Parlin Station is also abandoned at this point.  Torn down shortly after this picture was taken.



Joe on Caboose #6



Joe in Caboose #6


RRRR #6 behind Joe’s House along the South River Branch



Joe’s laundry in his backyard as RRRR #6 heads down the South River Branch

Shots of the RRRR on the South River Branch are rare and hard to come by!



Joe stands along RRRR Crane #3 shortly before its cut up. - 1980




RRRR Crane #3 is no more!



RRRR Crane #3 continues to get cut up - 1983



Raritan River Inspection Train – 1973


See related story here:  Caboose #8





Caboose #8


See related story here:  Caboose #8




Caboose #7 (1nd)

Currently at Pine Creek RR at Alaire State Park, NJ



(during the late 1960’s, a Vermont Railway caboose was on its way to Alaire State park to be parked as a static display.  The RRRR realizing that this Vermont Railway caboose was in better shape then their current #7 decided to swap the cabooses.  That’s how the RRRR Caboose #7 made it to Alaire State Park)




Caboose Number 7 (2st)




Caboose #6 and #8



See related story here:  Caboose #8





Caboose #6







EMD #1


EMD #2


EMD #3


EMD #4 - postcard


EMD #4


EMD #5


EMD #6 and Caboose #7

This is a great shot! 


Check out this super large scan of the above picture!  Its 1160x760 in size so you can see ALL the details!




EMD #1 - 1975




RRRR Box Car 100


This car was never used in interchange service.  It was rebuilt after a fire in the early 70’s and used strictly for online customer needs.

See the fascinating story and current location of Box Car 100 here:



For a SUPER SIZED shot of the super rare Box Car 100, click here:

Warning, I scanned it in at 600dpi, so its at least 2048x1500




Conrail years on the old Ricky



CR 8686 - 1982




Conrail in Parlin at Sayreville Jct - 1982



Conrail GP-15 on SR Swing Bridge – 1982

This was noted as the largest engine ever on the line due to a power shortage by Conrail.




Conrail Caboose 18814 in Browns Yard in the snow – 1983





Conrail Caboose 18698 – Parlin – 1983





Conrail 9017 at Parlin – 1983


CR 1931 switching Dupont at Parlin - 1983




Conrail – Browns Yard in the snow




CR 8671 - 1984



CR 8686 - 1982



Conrail 8686 – 1982


CR 8686 – Al Ust – engineer – 1982



CR 8989 - 1983






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