Facebook Page
The RV Shuffle: Passenger Moves

The RV Shuffle - Passenger Moves
By Jeff Jargosch



In these two stunning views we see NOFJ #3 on her passenger run, consisting of a single time-worn combine. The first photo, on the left, shows the train at Aldene and the connection with the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The second photo, on the right, shows the train coming off the Lehigh Valley Railroad interchange at Roselle [Park]. This consist was typical of NY&NO, NOFJ, and RVRR passenger trains. Left photo from the collection of Jeff Jargosch. Right photo from the Springfield Public Library.

In the late 1890’s the Rahway Valley Railroad got its start. Only it wasn’t called Rahway Valley yet, it was called the New Orange Four Junction Railroad, and earlier the New York & New Orange Railroad. At its earliest, the NOFJ began to haul passengers from Aldene and Roselle (not yet called Roselle Park), to New Orange and later, under the Rahway Valley Railroad banner, to Springfield, and then up the hill to Summit. A connection was made with the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Aldene, where their new Cranford yard was beginning to come alive. Passenger service began to make commuting to the City and larger towns easier to local citizens. You could travel on RVRR trains from Springfield to Townley on the Lehigh Valley, or off the Lackawanna at Summit to Jersey City on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. This was real progress.

Here we see NOFJ #3 as she pulls her train into the New Orange Station. Had the train been heading to Aldene from here, the engine would have backed its train down. Photo courtesy of Don Maxton.

Seen here is NOFJ (earlier NY&NO) #2, with her train, meeting a passenger train of the CRRofNJ. #2 backed her train down from New Orange all the to Aldene. The track closest to the Aldene Station was property of the New Orange Four Junction Railroad (later RVRR). McCoy Collection, courtesy of Don Maxton.

The NOFJ (or NY&NO) had built a station in Aldene along the CRRofNJ mainline. From all indications NOFJ trains, usually a combine and coach, were backed down from New Orange, the engine running backward at the end of the train. Old records mention a crossing guard at Westfield Avenue (then North Avenue). Although traffic was light, mostly horse and wagon, a few early autos, and an occasional trolley, there were no air whistles and a flagman would have to guide the train across.

Locomotive #3 in the old photographs appears to be one of the ex-PRR 4-4-0’s. After meeting the CRRofNJ connection #3 would pull, locomotive leading back across Westfield Avenue, along Valley Road, and across Michigan to the junction. Again, #3 backs down to Colfax and Webster Avenues and around the curve into the track alongside the Lehigh Valley’s main. Passengers just crossed the tracks to the LV’s big Victorian depot for connecting trains, possibly swapping express or LCL.

Then it was off to New Orange and points west. At Springfield, the only passing siding on the line, the engine would uncouple and run around to the rear of the train and push the coaches up the steep hill, through Baltusrol, to Summit, protecting the cars from a runaway with the locomotive on the rear. There was an incident of the coaches getting away downhill prompting management to act to avoid future thrill rides.

These two views show how after the engine was runaround the train at Springfield, the train would be pushed up the hill to Summit. The photograph on the left shows #7 pushing a combine between Springfield and Baltusrol. The photograph on the right shows #7 and a train in Summit, with the engine on the east end. The locomotive had pushed the coaches up the mountain and into the spur that led to the RVRR's Summit Station. The Summit Station had three stub tracks but no runaround to move the engine around the train. Left photo taken by George Whitfield. Right photo courtesy of Don Maxton.

If the rails were wet, or the trains were particularly heavy, the locomotive would use the siding at Baltusrol to split the cars and take one or two at a time up the stiff grade, hence “doubling” the hill, obviously a time consuming process. I guess the schedule went out the window there!


Photos at Summit’s small terminal show the engines on the downhill end of the train. On reaching Springfield, and the flat land, the swap was again made and the cars led the way, engines running backward to the start. Remember, a 1906 timetable shows 10 trains a day were run in this fashion. Hoo-boy!

Here we see #7, and crew, out along the line with the passenger varnish, about to head out on another run.
McCoy Collection, courtesy of Don Maxton.

Head Back to the Station!