West Jersey and Seashore Railroad

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West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S)
PRSL on US map cropped.png
System map (West Jersey and Seashore Railroad lines in red, Atlantic City Railroad lines in purple)
Locale Camden and Winslow Junction to Atlantic City and Millville/Cape May, New Jersey
Dates of operation 1896–1933
Successor P-RSL
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification 600 V DC overhead lines
Headquarters Camden, New Jersey

The West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S) was a Pennsylvania Railroad subsidiary that became part of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines in 1933. At the end of 1925 it operated 379 miles (610 km) of road on 717 miles (1,154 km) of track; that year it reported 166 million ton-miles of revenue freight and 332 million passenger-miles.

History[edit]

On May 4, 1896 the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) consolidated all its railroads and several smaller properties in southern New Jersey into the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad (WJ&S).

The WJ&S, as a subsidiary of the PRR, had two lines coming from its Federal Street Terminal in Camden, New Jersey:

  • The Main Line to Atlantic City and to other shore points via Winslow Junction using trackage rights on ACRR's Cape May Branch to Woodbine Junction and its Cape May line to Ocean City, Wildwood and Cape May.
  • The Millville Line via Woodbury to Millville and splitting off at Newfield to Atlantic City was electrified with 650v DC 3rd rail and overhead wire.
  • A line branching off at Millville
  • Branches going to Salem, and Deep Water Point from Woodbury and Bridgeton from Glassboro.

On October 28, 1906 an accident in Atlantic City killed 53 people when a three-car train plunged off an open swing bridge.

Predecessor railroads[edit]

Camden and Atlantic Railroad[edit]

Card promoting an 1880 excursion on the railroad.

[1] This railroad was granted its charter by the state of New Jersey on March 19, 1852.

The line was built from Camden to Atlantic City via Berlin. In late June 1854, it was completed sans the drawbridge over the Thorofare outside of Atlantic City; regular passenger service started on July 4. This line is currently used for passenger service by PATCO and NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line.

The PRR gained control of the Camden and Amboy Railroad (C&A) through its subsidiary West Jersey Railroad on January 1, 1883.

West Jersey Railroad[edit]

The West Jersey Railroad (WJ) was granted its charter by the state of New Jersey on February 5, 1853 to build a line from Camden, New Jersey to Cape May, New Jersey. The line was then built with the backing of the C&A from Camden to Glassboro. The first 8.2 miles (13.2 km) of the line used the abandoned right-of-way built by the Camden and Woodbury Railroad. The line was completed in 1863. In that year the WJ directors decided to build a line to Bridgeton NJ, and later build the line from Glassboro to Millville and Cape May. The right of way is now South Jersey/Philadelphia Shared Assets Operations Vineland Secondary freight rail line. The northern section is slated to become the light-rail Glassboro–Camden Line.

Millville and Glassboro Railroad[edit]

The Millville and Glassboro Railroad (M&G) was built by a group of Millville businessmen independently of the West Jersey Railroad. Incorporated in March 1859, the M&G was completed in October 1860, and was later leased to the WJ in 1869. The M&G started to build a line from Millville to Cape May, but funds dried up and the line was not completed.

Cape May and Millville Railroad[edit]

In 1863, a group of Cape May County investors was granted a charter by the state of New Jersey on March 9, 1863 to build the Cape May & Millville Railroad (CM&M). Construction was completed in 1867, and leased to the WJ in 1869.

Salem Railroad[edit]

The Salem Railroad was incorporated on March 14, 1856, stretching from Elmer to Salem, New Jersey. Construction was completed in 1863, and leased to the WJ on January 1, 1868.

Swedesboro Railroad[edit]

The Swedesboro Railroad was built from Woodbury to Swedesboro 10.8 miles (17.4 km) by the WJ. Construction started in 1867 and was completed in October 1869.

Woodstown and Swedesboro Railroad[edit]

On January 21, 1882, the WJ built a linr from the end of the Swedesboro Railroad to Riddleton Junction on the Salem Railroad upon request of agricultural interests in Woodstown. Construction was in February 1883. This effectively gave the WJ two different routes into Salem.

Maurice River Railroad[edit]

The Maurice River Railroad was built by the WJ to obtain a share of the lucrative Delaware Bay oyster business. Incorporated on June 17, 1887, the 9.76-mile (15.71 km) long line stretched from Manumuskin to Maurice River. It was completed on November 1, 1887.

West Jersey and Atlantic Railroad[edit]

In 1879, the PRR directed the WJ to build a line from Newfield to Atlantic City via Mays Landing, New Jersey. It was incorporated on November 6, 1879 and was completed on June 16, 1880. This railroad was ultimately leased to the WJ.[1]

The line was abandoned from Newfield to Mays Landing on December 31, 1958. The segment from Mays Landing to McKee City followed on August 18, 1966.[1] In 2003, a portion of the line from Egg Harbor Township to Mays Landing was converted to a rail trail as part of the Atlantic County Bikeway.

Philadelphia Marlton and Medford Railroad[edit]

This railroad was incorporated in January 1880. The railroad was completed from Haddonfield to Medford by July 1881. In January 1885 it was operated by the Camden and Atlantic, and later as a part of the West Jersey & Seashore Railroad when it was operated as the Medford Branch until its abandonment on November 2, 1931.

Delaware River Railroad[edit]

The Delaware River Railroad (DRR) was incorporated on February 20, 1873 as the Delaware Shore Railroad to build a line from Woodbury to Penns Grove. The line was opened in July 1876, but declared bankruptcy in January 1879 and reincorporated as the DRR.[1] On April 30, 1900, the WJ&S acquired the DRR.[2] Conrail's Penns Grove Secondary operates along the right of way.

Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines[edit]

On November 2, 1932, the PRR and Reading Company (RDG) merged their southern New Jersey railroad lines into one company, the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL). Duplicative lines were abandoned as part of the consolidation. The PRR had a 2/3 ownership, and the RDG maintained 1/3 ownership.[1]

On July 15, 1933, the Atlantic City Railroad (a subsidy of the RDG) leased the WJ&S railroad and joined the PRSL.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Gladulich, Richard M. (1986). By rail to the boardwalk. Glendale, Calif.: Trans Anglo Books. ISBN 0-87046-076-5. 
  2. ^ "PRR Chronology" (PDF). PRR Research. Philadelphia Chapter Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. January 2005. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 

Book Sources/References[edit]

  • Trans-Anglo Books By Rail to the Boardwalk (1986) Richard M. Gladulich ISBN 0-87046-076-5
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails (1983) NRHS
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails II (1985) NRHS
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS West Jersey Rails III (2002) NRHS
  • Crusader Press Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (1980) ISBN 0-937156-02-7
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Reading Seashore Lines (2007) LIbrary of Congress Control Number 2005936161
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS Atlantic City Railroad (1980) Library of Congress Control Number 77-79997
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Philadelphia Marlton and Medford Railroad Co. 1881 - 1931 (1973)
  • West Jersey Chapter-NRHS The Trains to America's Playground (1988) Morning Sun Books Inc.
  • Pennsylvania- Reading Seashores Lines In Color (1996) ISBN 1-87887-57-2
  • Robert Stanton The Railroads of Camden New Jersey (2006)
  • Robert Stanton Trolley Days in Camden New Jersey (2004)

External links[edit]