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1960's Mixed Trains on the Rahway Valley

1960's Mixed Trains on the Rahway Valley
By Jeff Jargosch (c) 2013

Link's ex-Rutland combine sits on a siding in Kenilworth, under a shroud of tarps, tucked behind the Rahway Valley's " Other Caboose ." Frank Froat can be seen in the pump house door, fueling up #17. October 30, 1967. Photo taken by Walt Switz.

All dressed up and ready to go, ex-Rutland combine #255 poses in front of the Kenilworth enginehouse. February, 1967.

Collection of Patty Clark Gilbride.



In the baggage compartment, O. Winston Link tends to the fire in the coach's stove.

In the late teens, as passenger service was coming to an end, an occasional “mixed” train was run. The Rahway Valley operation crew would tack on the old combine to the westbound freight to provide a minimal passenger accommodation. This was apparently run for a few years before giving up the moves to the rail cars. Finally even this basic service fell to the wayside.

But, in the mid-sixties the Rahway Valley Railroad revived mixed train moves . . . well, kind of.

O. Winston Link, the noted railfan, had an old 1898 wooden combine that he acquired around 1960. This was a short, 62 foot, truss rod car that had at one time worked for the Rutland Railroad in Vermont. Link had made arrangements to use a spur next to the Kenilworth enginehouse to restore his tired old car. The car arrived on the CNJ and was picked up at Aldene along with the interchange freight. The combine was spotted on the siding and Link began the restoration work. The yellow car, under a light green tarp, was a familiar sight to those passing on the Boulevard who cared to look and keep an eye on things.

An electric extension cord ran through a window into the shop. By the way, this was a sore spot with George Clark, as to “who was paying the electric bill.” But unknown to outsiders, who thought that little was being done, and that the car only sat, the crews on the RV freights were asked on two occasions to move the car, and take it to Union where it could be run around the wye and put back on the spur. This exposed the other side so that Link had room away from the enginehouse wall to work, yet still be close enough to keep his extension cord hooked up. At some later point at least one more run up across Route 22 to the wye was made.

When the car was finished (and admittedly a beautiful job), Link had the RV tow the car to the DL&W interchange in Summit. It was to be moved to Morristown and the Morristown & Erie Railroad. The M&E moved it to Whippany, although a frequent visitor to the M&E, I vaguely recall seeing it there wrapped in tarps.

So, at least five train movements towing a vintage 32 ton wooden combine took place on the Rahway Valley.

After resting in Whippany, NJ for a while, the 32 seat combine was on the road again. She made her way to Croghan, New York and into the collection of the Railway Historical Society of Northern New York. The combine is reported to need work and repair if it will ever run again.

At least two more passenger cars, a wooden and a stainless steel observation, were worked on in Kenilworth. Later on it was a haven to E-8 diesels, in for restoration.



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