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The line was operated by the Black River & Western Railroad, a shortline railroad founded in 1955 when a man by the name of Bill Whitehead of Oldwick, NJ founded wanted trains to run through his village. But Oldwick was put in with an interstate in the early 70s and Bill Whitehead had to move to another location.
The former all American Pennsylvania Railroad gave Whitehead a route of the original PRR between Ringoes and Flemington, NJ. Sometime in 1976 the PRR gave all of the entire line between Three Bridges, and Lambertville, NJ; the railroad soon became a passenger tourist railroad.
Sadly, tourists trains between Flemington and Lambertville ceased operations in 1998 due to several factors. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRD) decided that the line south to Lambertville was "Exempted" and a quarry at the end of the line in the Crovan's Gate village of Lambertville called "Crovan's Gate Quarry Co." cancelled their contract with the BR&W and due to very little railroad interest there, the BR&W ultimately discontinued operations between Flemington and Lambertville.
Today the BR&W's line from Ringoes (the halfway point of the RR) south to Lambertville has been abandoned but still stays intact. Also the line to Lambertville crossed several times over what is now a bike trail "The Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath". and a station at Lambertville, is now a restaurant looking over the abandoned debris grown up over the BR&W. Today the station still stands but the tracks are "debried" (get it? Funny joke) and growned with weeds and plants over the tracks.
Imagine if the Northeast Corridor's entire line was abandoned today and no Amtrak, no Electric trains, nothing. All just plain green.
Well, be sure to take some photo shots of the old line in Lambertville.
Small note, the line from Lambertville to Flemington is the old PRR right of way, purchased from the PRR. Flemington to Three Bridges is the old CNJ right of way that ran nearby the Lehigh line of NS through Three Bridges to Neshanic Station, etc - abandoned in the 70s. A third railroad connected to the north side of Flemington. Lambertville lost it's mainline connection when Conrail pulled out in the 70s.
Also, the last train into Lambertville was 1999 or 2000 - but at that point they needed a flagman at the crossings. The line has a bad bridge that would need repair.
Unfortunately I just heard from BR&W that the line from Ringoes to Lambertville will be turned into a rails to trails in the next few years. So soon the old overgrown rails will be no more. It seems like just yesterday I rode the train from Lambertville to Ringoes...
It will be interesting to see if or how they will remove the two passenger coaches from the line south of the station.
The railroad between Ringoes and Lambertville is out-of-service and has not seen a revenue train since 1998. However, the line is NOT abandoned and has seen several movements of maintenance of way equipment, speeders, etc in the years it has been dormant.
This line is NOT being converted to a rail trail.
They're reactivating a couple miles of track towards the river. Track work is presently underway.
From this Old Timer: I was stationed at Fort Monmouth NJ from 1969 to 1970, to Vietnam. Returned in 1971 till 1972 when I discharged from the ARMY. I rode the Old BR&W from Flemington to Ringoes a number of times. Great train ride and the glassworks tour in Flemington was very interesting. I know in 45+ years, things change. I just recently discovered this site, logon to abandon rails of New Jersey, and was curious to see if this train excursion was still going. Sad to see, it was not.
South Milwaukee, WI
The Train ride is still up and running between Flemington and Ringoes most weekends - http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/ (just turned 50). The stretch between lambertville and ringoes is inactive at the moment but rehab work is started between Ringoes and Bowne station towards Lambertville with them getting further every year (the tracks are all there just overgrown after 15 years).
Great news about the BR&W.I had the impression it was gone.
Is the glassworks in Flemington still active? Would you know or have any access to the the old line that ran through FT Monmount, Eatontown and to the west?
South Milwaukee, WI
I think all will be pleased to know that they are working towards reopening this and are in the process of raising money as we speak!
I just viewed on TV, a on "Tracks Ahead" about the BR&W line from Ringoes to Lambertville. Nice to see that up and running. I can't recall, but do they still run to Flemington?
South Milwaukee , WI
Do you have any pictures or information about Ringoes to Lambertville? Please