The Rahway Valley Railroad's longest
branch was a three mile spur that broke off the mainline at Branch
Junction, just north of the Route 22 crossing, and headed northeast
There were three bridges on the branch
crossing Morris Avenue, Vauxhall Road, and Stanley Terrace before
the line entered Maplewood and crossed Rutgers Street at
It is interesting to note that the
branch line, which had a multitude of names including the Unionbury
Branch, the Maplewood Spur, and so on, was actually a separate
company from the rest of the Rahway Valley Railroad Company. The
branch line was owned by the Rahway Valley Line which, along with
the Rahway Valley Railroad Co. (which owned the rest of the
railroad), was leased and operated by the Rahway Valley Company,
Lessee, just business tactics in an attempt to reduce
The Rahway Valley Line was
incorporated in 1914 and was constructed over a period from 1915 to
1918. Evidently, regular passenger service was never offered on this
branch line, however an April, 1921 schedule mentions "labor trains"
on the spur.
The Rahway Valley Line served a large
number of varying customers over the years, but up until the 1950s
and 1960s the main commodity shipped over the branch line was coal.
Shipments of anthracite coal were delivered to a number of coal
dealers that had sidings along the spur, including Woolley Coal
Company (later Woolley Fuel), Falk Coal, Jaeger Coal and Supply
(later Jaeger Lumber), and Heller Coal and Supply, among others.
George Clark once referred to the branch line as, "a great place for
By 1962 the drop in coal shipments
over the Rahway Valley Line hurt the RVRR so badly that the line
reported a deficit that year. George Clark said of the slip, "Our
biggest jolt was when the anthracite coal market dropped a few years
ago. Eighty percent of our business was coal. But when homes
switched to other fuels, we were hurt" and went on to say, "When the
men see a train carrying coal now, they all stop work to
During the early 1970s, Interstate 78
was being constructed through the area. Two portions of the RVRR lay
in the path of the new highway: a piece of track just beyond the
Baltusrol Station in Springfield, and a piece of track near
Hollywood Memorial Park in Union. The piece of track in Springfield
would remain untouched, the same could not be said for the stretch
of track in Union. By 1973 the only customer beyond the piece of
track in question was Maplewood Building Specialties, who
occasionally shipped a carload of slate. While the railroad had the
right-of-way and could have forced I-78 to leave their track
untouched, the time and effort was just not worth the
The Rahway Valley Company, Lessee
filed for the abandonment of the Rahway Valley Line, between
Hollywood Memorial Park and the end of track in Maplewood, with the
Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) in 1973. The line was
subsequently cut back to just past the J.L. Hammett Co. siding,
behind Hollywood Memorial Park.
As customers on the branch line
dwindled, the Rahway Valley Line was slowly chopped back more and
more until it extended just past the Morris Avenue bridge in Union.
The last customer, on the once busy and vibrant spur, was Jaeger
Lumber on Morris Avenue. Service to Jaeger was discontinued in
February of 1991 by Delaware Otsego, due to poor track condition.
The Rahway Valley Line was subsequently embargoed.