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Summit | RV/DL&W Connection

The Rahway Valley Making Connections to the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western

Diagram showing the proposed switch connection between the DL&W and RV at Summit. The interchange would be fully operational by 1931.
Courtesy of the Steamtown National Historic Site.

This 1971 view shows RVRR tracks as they approach the Erie-Lackawanna (former DL&W) to make their connection.


See No Chance for a Switch Connection



As called for in the original plans for the Rahway Valley Railroad (as well as the NY&NO and NOFJ) an interchange was to be constructed in Summit between the Rahway Valley and the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad (MP 7.09) (DL&W/ Lackawanna).

The RV was completed to Summit in 1906, but the Rahway Valley Railroad was denied access to connect with the DL&W. The Lackawanna, which had its Summt Station just a stone's throw from where the Rahway Valley wished to connect, cited that such a connection would be "unsafe" on such a busy line.

Court cases ensued between 1908 and 1912. Claims and counterclaims were filed and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. According to lore a connection was let in 1912 but again broken by the end of World War I. The lack of this connection inhibited the Rahway Valley and limited the bulk of its freight traffic to its southern end.

Finally, once the Clarks arrived on the scene in 1919 talks were again established between the Rahway Valley and the Lackawanna. By 1929 things appeared to be making headway, but it wasn't until 1931 that the Rahway Valley finally made its connection to the DL&W in Summit. This connection changed the railroad into a bustling little "bridge line," connecting three major systems together, the DL&W, the CNJ, and the LV. This allowed the Rahway Valley to give its customers lower and more competitive shipping rates.

In 1960 the DL&W merged with the Erie Railroad , forming the Erie-Lackawanna Railway. Things remained relatively unchanged at Summit.

By 1969 only 2% of the Rahway Valley Railroad's interchange business was being done with the Erie-Lackawanna.

In 1976, Conrail was formed. This new railroad corporation absorbed all three of the Rahway Valley Railroad's interchange partners into one system. The Rahway Valley's previously three separate and competing interchange partners, were now one single company. The decision was then made by the Rahway Valley to close its Summit interchange in 1976.


#13 sits on the Lackawanna's tracks in Summit in this 1935 view. It had only been four years since the DL&W and RVRR had set their differences aside and made a connection. Photo taken by Homer Hill.

#13 hisses and steams on the Lackawanna in Summit. 9/20/1941. Gene Collora Photograph. Collection of Richard J. King.

#13 shuffles some freight cars around in the Lackawanna's yard while one of the Lackawanna's daily commuter trains passes in the background.

#15 and Caboose 102 are seen here on the Lackawanna's tracks in Summit.

A clean and shiny #16 works the DL&W interchange with Caboose #102. 8/25/1953.
Whippany Railway Museum Collection

#16 and Caboose 102 haul a string of empty tank cars that the RV moved for a few extra bucks.
Gene Collora Photograph. Collection of Richard J. King.


RV/DL&W Interchange Yard

Here is seen the Rahway Valley Railroad's connection with the DL&W. By the time this photo was taken it was Conrail. The RV's track, after crossing Broad Street, comes in on the right to connect with the old Lackawanna. Standing on the right is RV Brakeman Gary Cole.Photo taken by Jeff Jargosch .
In the distance can be seen the interchange yard used by the Rahway Valley Railroad on the DL&W. The RV used the three righthand tracks. Photo taken by Jeff Jargosch.

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