New Jersey TransitNew Jersey
Transit I grew up in New Jersey, living in
the Morris County towns of Towaco and Whippany. My grandfather
had built a house in Towaco back in the 1930s and he, and my father
when we lived there in the 1950s, walked a half mile or so through the
woods and along a couple of streets to the Delaware, Lackawanna and
Western's station, from which they took steam-hauled commuter trains
into Hoboken, where they caught ferries to Manhattan. After we moved to
Whippany my father took the train from Convent Station, near
Morristown. As time went on the Lackawanna was merged into the
Erie Railroad to become the Erie Lackawanna.
Though I have occasionally visited the Hoboken terminal for
photography, I have only returned to my old stomping grounds three
1961, 1966 and 2009 with a camera. My last visit was a happy
experience. The NJ Transit trains were on time, clean, and colorful.
Quite a contrast to the MBTA commuter trains around the Boston area,
where I live.
shots were taken from a platform at the Morristown station
in 1961. They show two intercity Erie-Lackawanna trains, the
inbound one of which was probably the Erie Lackawanna Limited,
which was once the Hoboken-Buffalo Phoebe Snow, and which a couple of
years later would be temporarily resurrected as the Phoebe Snow until
1966. The train passing it on the right was the Lake Cities, on its way
to Chicago. These were workaday
expresses with little flair, but reliable in terms of service. When I
was in high school I remember riding the Phoebe Snow up to the Poconos,
where our church group went every winter to enjoy a snow trip. Later,
when I went to college in the midwest, I once rode the Phoebe Snow to
Buffalo, where I picked up a Nickel Plate train to Chicago.
three 1966 photos of commuter runs on the Montclair-Boonton line (with
some trains going on to Hacketstown) Bottom left is a train from
Hoboken arriving in Boonton. Bottom right is another outbound
The next photo was probably taken in Denville, near Dover. E-L commonly
carried club cars with open observation areas on the rear. There,
one could have a drink and have a cigar in a style which lasted through
much of the 20th century on this line.
My first stop on my trip to North Jersey in 2009 (I was attending my
50th Hanover Park High School reunion) was Towaco, where the grungy
station of my youth had been restored nicely, though without a ticket
It's always a happy day when a train pulls into the station, and I was
lucky to have an outbound one arrive. Smooth and quiet it was.
Now on to Morristown, just a couple of miles from my home in Whipppany.