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The Lehigh Valley through Townley, Roselle Park, Roselle, and Cranford

"The Route of the Black Diamond"
Townley, Roselle Park, Roselle, Cranford

A trio of Lehigh Valley Railroad ALCo power is seen here heading a freight through Roselle Park. At the head end are, C-420 #413, RS11m #7640, and C-420 #415.  



The Lehigh Valley Railroad (LV) was a Class I railroad operating in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey up until the formation of Conrail in 1976. While the LV owned hundreds of miles of track, the focus of this page is a short stretch of the Lehigh Valley's two track mainline through Townley (Union), Roselle Park, Roselle, and Cranford, known today as the "Lehigh Line."

The LV, having origins in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, expanded eastward towards Jersey City and Newark, NJ during the latter part of the 19th century. The extension was constructed in five phases. To construct these portions the LV formed five subsidiary corporations, the Roselle & South Plainfield Railway, the Newark & Roselle Railway, the Jersey City & Western Railway, the Greenville & Hudson Railway, and the Jersey City Terminal Railway. The extension was opened in February of 1891.

In early times the LV was a level, at grade, route through this area and connected with the CNJ at Aldene with a set of switch connections. The LV then utilized trackage rights over the CNJ to their eastern terminals.

The CNJ/LV connection was broken when the LV constructed its extension between Aldene and Newark. A large truss bridge was constructed over the CNJ mainline at Aldene and for many years there was no interaction between the two railroads here.

The LV did however connect to two railroads in this area, the Rahway Valley Railroad (RV) at Roselle Park and the Staten Island Rapid Transit Railway (SIRT) at Staten Island Junction.

While the LV at Aldene was elevated, the remainder of the line remained at grade. This changed as part of the Aldene Plan of 1967. The plan, created as part of an attempt to save the CNJ from the brink of financial disaster, called for the rerouting of CNJ passenger trains at Aldene onto the LV main to Newark. To accomodate the increased traffic, all grade crossings were eliminated between Aldene and Newark on the LV main.

A connection, in the form of a ramp, was forged between the LV and CNJ at Aldene. The Aldene Plan was implemented on May 1, 1967.





Station: Townley


Station: Roselle Park

Roselle Park
Rahway Valley Railroad

Central Junction
Central Railroad of New Jersey


Interchange: Staten Island Junction
Staten Island Rapid Transit Ry.
(B&O owned)



The Route of the Black Diamond



In a similar view, a Lehigh Valley switcher heads up a freight. 12/31/1958.  Collection of Bob Krone.

A Lehigh Valley freight rolls over the big truss bridge that crosses the CNJ mainline. 4/1/1972.   Collection of Brian Woodruff.


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