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New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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   Author  Topic: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR  (Read 78 times)
Flemington Flyer
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New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« on: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:12pm »
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One "lost" shortline here in New Jersey that I am really amazed a few certain persons have yet to mention, is the Rockaway Valley RR, which ran from "nowhere to nowhere" (Whitehouse Station and Watnong) across New Jersey's Hunterdon, Somerset, and Morris Counties (more or less located in the northern middle of the state for those of you not familiar with New Jersey's geography, and don't feel like looking at a map), from 1888 and 1917.  
 
Never a real money maker for various reasons, the railroad was hampered by poor building techniques and lack of online revenue for the most part. Without regurgitating the excellent Wikipedia entry - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockaway_Valley_Railroad
I instead direct you to read it if you are so inclined, as well as I hope to share some more links and photos as I come across them, in as FEW posts as I can.
 
I hope that if you chose to read info the railroad's history further, that you find it as captivating as I do.
 


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« Last Edit: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:27pm by Flemington Flyer » Logged

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Flemington Flyer
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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« Reply #1 on: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:25pm »
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The funniest thing about the railroad, was that if you know (or look up) "Rockaway, NJ", you will not find this railroad in, or anywhere within a 10 mile radius of it, because it was named for a local creek which stems from a Lenni Lenape word variously said to mean "place of sands", "creek between two hills", or "bushy"/"difficult to cross". (Wikipedia).
 
I however digress......
 
There is, to my knowledge, one book that has been written on the railroad and is considered the "tome", by Thomas T. Taber III in 1972, and has never been improved upon.
 
http://inmendham.com/train.htm
 
Today, most of the railroad bed is a county park system-maintained trail called Patriot's Path, but not all of the system is on RR property.
 
http://www.njskylands.com/odhikerailrock
 
Some of it has been built upon, and some of it is on private property, but there is much of it to walk on, just not much to see of infrastructure, as the nature of it's poor upkeep and all-out abandonment took care of leaving any trace (other than its path) left to see.
 
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=127&t=94627
 
 
 
 


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« Last Edit: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:26pm by Flemington Flyer » Logged

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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« Reply #2 on: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:29pm »
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As you can see, the RVRR (not to be confused with New Jersey's OTHER RVRR, the Rahway Valley RR, located to the east) was very what I would call (MA&PA RR-ish), as they had sharp curves, steep grades, and timber trestles, like the one pictured here.

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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« Reply #3 on: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:35pm »
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As you can see in this first photo, the ROW was EXTREMELY rural, and is still today (where McMansions , condo developments and highways haven't been built upon it). When it was built, this was farm country, and now it's where you live, assuming you make 6-7 digit salaries, so large tracts (mostly horse farms) help maintain the area from too much over-expansion.

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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« Reply #4 on: Apr 4th, 2016, 3:39pm »
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And today, the trail is as rural, or more so, as it is not as wide open to farming and has been allowed to go back to nature in many spots. This particular view is a little bit past the halfway point in Far Hills, NJ on a County-maintained arboretum that was once an estate. I have walked this section, not realizing at the time though, that this was the RVRR, even though I knew about the RR and owned said book by Tabor! As you can see, it's beautiful country to take a walk on. What was difficult for trains to traverse, is easy for humans, even where it crosses streams.

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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
 
« Reply #5 on: Apr 6th, 2016, 9:55am »
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This line is a tough one to locate and follow since the tracks were basically laid on the ground with minimum fill work. A few bridge abutments still exist and the famous coal dock, but unless you know where to look, I agree it is tough to find.  
 
The same person who built the Rockaway Valley also built the Whippany River RR (M&E) which basically had to be rebuilt and relocated at a later date.
 
Years ago I went to the Far Hills NJ library to read their copy of Taber's book since it was out of print (1990's). I made copies of maps and photos on their copy machine (the copy could not leave the library) so I could figure out where it ran. A bank in Bernardsville had an old map on the wall that clearly showed where the RR ran through Pottersville NJ. Later I came across a copy of the book and was able to purchase it.
 
Two main features of the RR were the trestle that you have pictured and the "horseshoe" curve that was used to gain elevation near Pottersville. I have located the trestle site but not the "horseshoe". I think of it every time I drive up Rt 206 toward Chester.
 
The CNJ and the M&E both looked at purchasing the RVRR, but it's poorly built row was deemed too expensive to rebuild.  It is amazing that the RR lasted as long as it did.
 
One mystery to me was why the RR changed it's name to "New York and Pennsylvania" in later years.


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Flemington Flyer
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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
 
« Reply #6 on: Apr 6th, 2016, 3:27pm »
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I may be able to help you with finding the "horseshoe curve".......If its where I THINK it is, a lot of it is build upon, but it is in between Daly Rd off Rt 206 (which is built on the ROW of 206 at this point), then crossing Daly Rd., crossing Longview Rd at Bamboo Ln, and then entering the property of Willowwood Arboretum.
 
I have here at work a large drawing (have to go look at the date) showing the RR, and before 206 was blasted through the area. Give me a day or two and I'll take a photo and post it.


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Flemington Flyer
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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
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« Reply #7 on: Apr 6th, 2016, 3:32pm »
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Here's one for now....when I post the other, we can compare and contrast.

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NEFAN
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Re: New Jersey's Rockaway Valley RR
 
« Reply #8 on: Apr 7th, 2016, 7:28pm »
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interesting - thanks.

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