Tom’s Raritan River Railroad Page





of the

Raritan River Railroad


Click on the links to see the images full size. 

Most have a ton of details that can only be seen by seeing them full size!



Caboose Roster of the Raritan River Railroad



Year Obtained







4 wheel wood

Scrapped 1936




4 wheel wood

Scrapped 1936




4 wheel wood

Sold 1919 to Fox Films




4 wheel wood

Destroyed 1918 - Fire




8 wheel

steel underframe

1969 ran off S.R Draw Bridge, burned and scrapped on the spot




8 wheel

steel underframe

1980 Sold by Conrail,  Burned and Scrapped by Grafton & Upton RR 1994




8 wheel

steel underframe

1965 to Pine Creek RR at Alaire State Park – currently restored as office

7 (2nd)


Vermont Ry.


8 wheel

steel underframe

1980 Sold by Conrail




8 wheel

steel underframe

1980 Sold by Conrail, privately owned and located in Ivyland, PA



Penn Central

(ex-New Haven)

8 wheel - steel

1980 Transferred and used by Conrail as No. 19795



Penn Central

(ex-New Haven)

8 wheel - steel

1980 Transferred and used by Conrail as No. 19796











Raritan River Engine No.10 pulls a hopper full of coal, probably making a local delivery in South Amboy, pulling either Caboose No.1 or No.2, in the early to mid 1930s.   Joe Basara found this gem at a railroad show.





National Railway Historical Society Picture











A shot of Raritan River Caboose No.2 attached to RRRR Gondola No. 118. in early to mid 1930s. 

This was one of the 40 ton gondolas the Raritan ordered in 1910 to help serve the many sand and clay companies on the line. 

Before the 1930s, this was the main business on the Raritan River’s line.




Another pic of Caboose No.2.  Sorry about the water mark, maybe someday I can get a clean one.










Caboose No. 3 was sold to Fox Films, this would have been for the silent movie Checkers, where the caboose and a boxcar are set aflame
and sent down into the river off of the South River Swing Bridge! 


For more information about the silent movies made on the RRRR see my Movies Page here.





Cabooses 1-4 were purchased for union compliance, as well as demands of the First World War.


Cabooses No.3 and No.4 were both gone by the end of the war in 1919. 

Cabooses No.1 and No.2 were eventually scrapped in 1936.











Raritan River Railroad caboose No.5 in South River in front of the old Handkerchief Factory.

After Cabooses No.1 and No.2 were scrapped in 1936, No.5 was the first of the Lackawanna cabooses to show up in 1937. 

This shot could be late 1930s to late 1940s.  Note the absence of red window trim or black window boarders.

This may be the first official paint scheme.









This picture was taken in 1954 which is when the 4th caboose (No.8 – not in view) was purchased, used, from the Delaware Lackawanna and Western and added to the collection.

Cabooses No.5, No.6, and No.7 painted Yellow with RED around the window panes.  This may have been the second official color scheme. 

It would appear that the first three cabooses got a new coat of paint at that time too!






Eventually, the red window panes of the 50s would change to yellow and now the window boarders are black. 

It should also be noted that the sides are now covered with a smooth veneer, covering the wood strips. 

The bright yellow paint has also faded or changed to a lighter yellow by now.  The Parlin station is behind Raritan River Caboose No.5.








Cabooses No.5 and No.6, with red window trim, in the South Amboy shops area. 

Note the old shop building in the back right of the cabooses. 

This is where the original shops were before the current shops and round house were built in 1919.

Also note the cab of engine No.11 is visible to the left of the cabooses.








Caboose No.5, with red windows, in the Sayreville Junction Yard.

Note the pole seen in the photo.  This pole, which still stands in the empty yard in 2010, has helped identify many shots!

Note the rare Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Box car, advertising “The Route of the Phoebe Snow”!








No.5 in the South Amboy Shops area, with the side of the roundhouse visible in the back right.









Old photograph of Raritan River Railroad Caboose No.5 (with red windows) in South Amboy.






Raritan River Railroad Caboose No.5, in its final paint scheme of red and white, after being pulled out of the South River in 1969.

She would be burned and scrapped after taking this plunge.

Note that you can see the original yellow wood under the red painted veneer under the name.


For more information on this exciting wreck:











George Votava photo/Rosenbaum collection


Caboose No.6, with red windows, in 1951, possibly at Crossmans or Sayre and Fisher.

No.6 would show up with No.5 in 1937.  From 1937 to 1951, the Raritan would only have 2 cabooses.








No.6 in South Amboy Shops area with Engine No.





Two shots of No.6 in South Amboy, with red windows.  Note the fact that engine No.11 in visible in the back left.

Also note the late 1940s automobile. 






By the 1960s the windows received black trip paint.






Here is No.6 in front of the 2nd No.7 taken in the South Amboy shops area in 1966.  By now the yellow paint is faded and looking bad. 








By the late 1960s the cabooses would get a new red and white paint scheme to match the engines.





Eventually, a decade later in the late 1970s, this paint would begin to peel.  By this time, the remaining workable steel under frame cabooses (No. 6 and No. 7) were having a hard time with the newer heaver cars. 

The newer all steel ex-NH cars No.9 and No.10 would be used on most runs now.






No.6 and No.8 (by this time a MOW car) sit in the back of the South Amboy Yard as a young Joe Basara takes their picture in about 1980.









In 1980 Conrail sold No.6.  Eventually it landed on the Grafton and Upton Railroad, and was scrapped in 1994.

The car was photographed in the Hopedale, Massachusetts yard by Mark Beebe.







Another picture of poor No.6 has shown up, taken right after the fire.







No.7  First






The first No.7 showed up in 1951.  It was probably immediately painted into the yellow and red paint scheme.  This shot was taken in 1954 when the new EMD Sw900s would show up.






In the late 1950s or early 1960s No.7 would also loose the red paint and get black window trim.






In 1965, the Vermont Railway would send the Raritan River an Ex-Rutland caboose, and the Raritan would send their old and dilapidated No.7 caboose to the Pine Creek Railway, in Alaire State Park.  The caboose was be refinished and proudly stands today as the yard office.



No.7 Second






Ex-Rutland caboose No.35 built in 1924, was traded in a 3 way trade, that would get the RRRR a more updated caboose, while the Raritan’s No.7 would go to the Pine Creek RR.

Its interesting to see that for a brief time, the 2nd No.7 caboose was painted in the yellow and black paint scheme.





Eventually, like the other cabooses, the 2nd No.7 would be painted in the red and white paint scheme.






Being a newer and better caboose, the 2nd No.7 was used more often then the older DL&W cabooses in the 1970s. 






No.7 sits in the South Amboy yard.  By this point, the all steel (and much stronger and safer) ex-NH cabooses had showed up and would be used on the daily runs.  No.7 would be used, only as needed.







A nice shot of No.7 in the South Amboy shops area.  Note the debris and scrap lying around. As the decade of the 1970s ended, maintenance and yard cleanup were hard to justify.  It should be noted that for the years 1977 and 1978, the Raritan River actually lost money, and was operating in the red.









Joe Basara takes the last picture of Raritan River Caboose No.7 in 1980.  By this point, traffic levels had fallen greatly, and No.7 was probably not used anymore.


She would be sold by Conrail immediately in 1980, possibly to the Grafton and Upton RR, just like No.6.


More details and source:





No. 8





This is a great shot of No.8, taken in 1954.  She just arrived and was just painted in the yellow and red scheme.  In fact, if you click on the line, it looks like the paint is still WET on the top!







No.8 still in the yellow and red paint scheme, although by now beginning to show her age.









This shot of No.8 in the shops area in South Amboy taken in 1966.

The “hack track” area still looks clean and neat, with green kept to a minimum.


This shot is part of a larger panoramic shot that was taken in 1966:




I accidentally discovered this panoramic shot when looking through the collection of Bob Kipp’s slides (Last VP and GM of RRRR). 

The slides were not in order, and I got lucky when I realized that the crane pic lined up with the caboose pic, then I had to find the rest!


It is absolutely worth the time to download the large version and look at the cabooses and all the detail from 1966.










Very close to the time it was painted red and white, Caboose No.8 was involved in an accident, and lost its coupler.

The Raritan River added the deck seen here, and used the car on inspection trips and for spraying weed killer.






This is the most famous shot of No.8 on the Gillespie Branch.  Used on a CNJ inspection trip in about 1973.





The inspection train with Caboose No.8 takes a stop for a photo on the freshly painted South River Swing Bridge in 1973.

This is the last manual swing bridge in New Jersey, and is still used by Conrail Shared Assests in 2010.


See more info on this great little bridge here:







Eventually as the 1970s passed, No.8 would get sidelined and would loose its number.  Joe, again, takes the last picture.









Conrail would quickly sell No.8 in 1980, and by 2004 it would land in Ivyland, PA.  This shot shows it in the process of being restored.  The wooden veneer was taken off long ago, and the wood was painted green.  Someone added a third window at the top.  The old green wood is now being taken off and replaced by new wood, and painted red.





No. 9




In 1969 the Raritan River acquired two all steel cabooses from the Penn Central and numbered them 9 and 10,  They were ex-Hew Haven cars and were significantly better then the Raritan’s dilapidated fleet of ex-DL&W cars.  They were quickly painted red and white and put into service as the primary cabooses.  As per the old DL&W cars, No.5 was gone by this point, No.6 was sidelined, No.8 was labeled as a MOW car.  No.7, the ex-Rutland caboose would be the backup to No.9 and No.10, if needed.




Engine No.2 and Caboose No.9 get ready to pull a small train from the Sayreville Junction yard. 

Note the Raritan River boxcar in the line of cars. 

Note the pole in the yard.



In 1980 Caboose No.9 would get renumbered into the Conrail System as 19795. 


Current location unknown.





1380 kennypete_edited


Engine No.2 and Caboose No.10 switch cars in Sayreville Junction in the late 1970s. 

Note that No.10 had a special RR logo on the side.

Note the high grassed in the yard. 

Quite a different view as compared to the shot of No.5 in the same yard 20 years earlier.









Two shots from the John Sabotka Collection


83079   3-6_edited


Engine No.5 and No.6 pull out on the South Amboy interchange with Caboose No.10.



Very quickly in 1980, No.10 would also get renumbered into the Conrail System as 19796. 








Rich Wisneski from the Tri-State NRHS Chapter ( ) emailed me to give me the missing pieces of Raritan River Caboose No.10:



I enjoy your RRRR site.  I am a member of Tri-State NRHS and we own the RRRR #10. It is now in running condition and based in Whippany, NJ
 and was used a number of times this summer on caboose train rides at the Whippany Railway Museum and on the former CNJ Dover & Rockaway line.  Perhaps you can come up to New Jersey next year and go for a ride on it.

In doing some research I tried to determine the heritage of the car; I knew it was a
 New Haven car but didn't know more than that.  Apparently, someone at Tri-State had done this research in the past, because I was recently given a photocopy of a RRRR memo dated May 7, 1969 which references the purchase and refurbishment of the two "Penn Central Cabin Cars" for the RRRR.  I will scan the document for you and send separately.

The two cars are ex New Haven C559 and C682.  The total price was $1,400 to acquire the two cars, and $2,000 in freight costs plus repairs, for a total cost of $3,400.

559 is an NE-5 Class car, which became RRRR #10, later Conrail 19796.  Conrail used the caboose until 1984 when it was stored at the ex Reading Rutherford, PA yard.  Tri-State's caboose committee found the car there and included it in a request for donation from
 Conrail(Tri-State got 3 cars from Conrail sometime in 1986, the LNE 580, DLW 896 and RR10).

The 559 was built at the Pullman plant in Wocester, Mass (former Osgood-Bradley plant) in 1942.

C682, a class NE-6, became RRRR #9, Conrail #19795.  I don't know what ever became of the #9 after it was absorbed into Conrail.

Hope this is of interest

Rich Wisneski




Update from Rich, June 2010:


The RR #10 has not yet been lettered.  The Caboose committee recently completed the lettering and herald on the LNE 580, so I expect they will work on the RR car later this year and into next year.


It is located in Whippany.  It generally is borrowed by the Whippany Railway Museum for use on their caboose trains, so any time they are running those trains you could come by and ride on the car.




Maybe our next RRRR field trip should be a ride on old number 10?




Miscellaneous Cabooses on the RRRR


6 1958


The CNJ would sometimes supply cabooses on the Raritan, probably for special deliveries.








Very quickly after Conrail took over in 1980, the old cabooses were off the property, either sold or renumbered, and more modern Conrail cabooses were brought in.  Here, a number of Raritan River Engines sit on the Dupont spur next to a Conrail caboose, directly in front of the Parlin Station.





Bill Burke Collection




Bill Burke Collection


I believe these to be water colored.  What a great picture!  Engine No.20 and a yellow caboose pulling to South River, NJ.

By 1954 this image would be lost, as the EMD sw900s would show up, and the steam engines would get scrapped.









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