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UCTC Special

The UCTC Special
June 9 - 15, 1980


An open letter from RVRR President, Bernard J. Cahill, to the passengers of the UCTC Special. Collection of Don Maxton

For one week in June of 1980 the Rahway Valley Railroad operated a passenger train for the first time in about sixty years.

Coincidentally, the reason for this passenger train was the same reason that the railroad was built: The Baltusrol Golf Club . From June 9th to June 15th, 1980 the U.S. Open was held at the golf club. Interest was raised in having a passenger train travel to the golf course, so in conjunction with the United Counties Trust Company , the Rahway Valley Railroad operated the UCTC Special between Kenilworth and Baltusrol for one week.

Passenger coaches were rented from the Delaware Otsego Corporation (mostly coming from their Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad), ironically the same company that would buy the Rahway Valley Railroad six years later.

Passengers were treated to a ride between Kenilworth and Baltusrol, and return. On board entertainment was provided as well as a meal. The coaches were powered by a generator held in a Rahway Valley boxcar placed in the middle of the train, as the railroad's 70 tonners (#16 and 17 ) were not equipped to power passenger coaches.

Andy Dick, who was a conductor on the UCTC Special, shares some insight on how the passenger train was operated over the course of that week: "We ran north in the morning, with an engine on each end. [Then we] stopped at Springfield where the north engine [was] cut off and went in the hole. We then shoved north with the other engine trailing. Once we were empty and tied down [in Baltusrol], the freight crew took off in the other engine to do work. They were driven back up for our southbound departure at [around] 4 or 4:30."

"Most days the crew would do their freight work and then be driven up to Baltusrol to bring the passenger train home. One day they were running late and were in the Union area so they just came north and we coupled the engines together for the ride back to Kenilworth."

The UCTC Special Pulls into Kenilworth.

The UCTC Special in Kenilworth (?)

#17 hauls the UCTC Special into Kenilworth over the main. #16 sits on a siding. Photo by Paul Carpenito.

The UCTC Special runs along the Galloping Hill Golf Course just below Michigan Ave. The train heads for Route 22. 6/11/1980. Photo by Paul Carpenito.

The UCTC Special crosses Route 22. 6/15/1980.
Photo by Paul Carpenito.

The train has just crossed the Rahway River Trestle and is riding along the drainage basin before crossing Meisel Avenue in Springfield. 6/15/1980. Photo by Paul Carpenito.

#17 works all by her lonesome to get the passenger train through Springfield. I believe this is now the soccer field on Meisel Ave. Photo by Paul Carpenito.

The UCTC Special rolls through the fields on Miesel Ave. in Springfield. Photo by Paul Carpenito.

The passenger train, on its way back from Baltusrol, crosses Mountain Avenue and passes Springfield Station. 6/15/1980. Photo by Carl Perelman.

#17, trailing on the rear, helps to get the UCTC Special across Mountain Ave. in Springfield.

#16 & 17 doublehead the train back down to Kenilworth (one unit powered the train while the other was along for the ride). The train is just leaving Baltusrol. The I-78 overpass can be seen in the background. 6/15/1980. Collection of Paul Carpenito

#16 sits in the Kenilworth Yards, sporting a pair of white flags, ready to head up another run to Baltusrol.

Head Back to the Station!