Raritan River Railroad



The Raritan River Railroad is one of the few railroads in New Jersey that can still be called profitable. It began operating in 1888 and has grown between then and 1917 to its present size which maintains a 12.6 mile long mainline between South Amboy and New Brunswick. During World I the railroad carried approximately 9,000 passengers with the greater percentage of them being transported to the munitions plants in Parli­n and Gillespie. Its passenger service was terminated in 1938 having dwindled from a twenty car to a two car train. The Raritan River Railroad once owned fourteen Baldwin steam locomotives which were replaced by six Government Lima en­gines during World War II. These were finally replaced in 1954 by six EMD SW900’s which were purchased from the GM Corporation. These twenty year old engines are kept in fine operating condition today at the engine house and shop in South Amboy. The former turntable has been replaced. The line’s rolling stock consists of five cabooses which were purchased from the New Haven Railroad, one crane, one gondola, and one box car, all of which were rehabilitated in 1969. There are two interchanges, one in Sayreville with the Penn Cen­tral’s Amboy secondary track (the old Camden and Amboy Railroad), and the other with the Central Railroad of New Jersey in South Amboy. The Raritan River Railroad does sixty-percent of its freight interchange with the CNJ, and most of its drilling and classification at Sayreville Junction. It handles a freight volume of four to five thou­sand cars a year. Today the railroad has sixty em­ployees, and has its home office at 170 John Street, South Amboy. There are eighteen miles of track that have been augmented over the recent years by the arrival of new industries. The many branches that feed off the main line include the Kearney spur, the Sayreville, Gillespie, South River and East Brunswick Branches, and the Milltown spur, all of which have numerous sidings. In the sum­mer of 1969, the famed Metroliner made an his­toric trip over the Raritan River’s main line to a railroad exhibition in Milltown. Today the railroad offers indispensable service to the industries and communities along the Raritan River.




Railroads of New Jersey

By Richard Hyer & John Zec

Copyright 1975