Cape May Seashore Lines

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Cape May Seashore Lines
Tuckahoe Station Cape May.JPG
Reporting markCMSL
LocaleCape May County and Atlantic County, New Jersey
Dates of operation1984–present
PredecessorPennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length27 miles (43 km)
HeadquartersTuckahoe, New Jersey

Cape May Seashore Lines (reporting mark CMSL) is a short line railroad in southern New Jersey. It offers two excursion services; a 30-mile round trip between Richland and Tuckahoe, and a 14-mile round trip between Rio Grande, Cold Spring Village, and Cape May City. The track is owned by NJ Transit and leased to the Seashore Lines. Connections are provided with Conrail's Beesley's Point Secondary, owned jointly by CSX and Norfolk Southern, at the north end in Tuckahoe. Tony Macrie has been president of the Seashore Lines since he formed the railroad in 1984.

CMSL operates both freight trains and excursion trains.


Predecessor lines[edit]

The line to Cape May was built in 1863 by the Tuckahoe and Cape May Railroad, and operated by the Philadelphia and Reading Railway's Atlantic City Railroad and later Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL). At one time, the rail line was known as "The Steel Speedway To The Shore”. Eventually it became part of Conrail, which ended passenger service on the line in 1981, ended freight service on October 10, 1983 and sold the line to New Jersey Transit as their Cape May Branch.[1]

Establishment of CMSL[edit]

The Seashore Lines was founded by Tony Macrie (CEO) in January 1984. Regular train service between Cape May Court House and Cold Spring Village began in 1996. Service was extended in Cape May City in 1999 after repairs to the swing bridge crossing the Cape May Canal were completed.[2]

In 2005, mechanical issues with the Cape May Canal swing bridge prevented trains from entering the city of Cape May. Strangely, in August of that year a train consisting of #7000, #1523, and the NY Central Tavern Lounge Coach #37 which was pulled by steam locomotive BEDT #15 (a replica of Thomas the Tank Engine from the Strasburg Rail Road) took an alternative route into the city. A video of this occurrence was uploaded to the website YouTube where it has went viral. Although the bridge was repaired a year later, a severe storm in April 2007 damaged the tracks and left locomotives stranded in Tuckahoe. Passenger train service between Rio Grande and Cape May City resumed on October 12, 2009.[2]

New Jersey Seashore Lines[edit]

New Jersey Seashore Lines (NJSL) is a subsidiary of Cape May Seashore Lines. New Jersey Seashore Lines was created by Cape May Seashore Lines in conjunction with the Clayton Sand Co. in Chatsworth, NJ. Using state and federal grants New Jersey Seashore Lines has rehabilitated 13 miles of track between Lakehurst and the Woodmansie section of Chatsworth, NJ (which itself is part of Woodland Township, NJ), where Clayton has a sand mine. New Jersey Seashore Lines had originally planned to operate rail service to transport sand and gravel from Clayton and serve the needs of any other customers that might need rail service along the line. The line was originally owned by the Central Railroad of New Jersey and was once part of the route of the famed Blue Comet. As of 2020 NJSL has yet to operate a train on the line as part of revenue or non revenue service and there is no known plans to operate any trains in the future. Should service begin there is currently no ability to interchange with any other railroad as the tracks between Lakehurst and north to South Lakewood are no longer in service. The owners and operators of the line New Jersey Transit and Conrail Shared Assets have no plans to rehabilitate this section of track to usable condition. South of Woodmansie the tracks are abandoned leaving no connection from the south. Neither CMSL, their subsidiary NJSL or Clayton Sand Co. have released any information on the current or future plans for the line and if or when operation may begin. [3]


Current Service[edit]

The Seashore Lines currently operates excursion trains on 15 miles of Conrail's Beesley's Point Secondary between Tuckahoe and Richland. Current passenger train operations include the VALENTINE'S EXPRESS, ST. PATRICK'S EXPRESS, FALL FOLIAGE EXPRESS, SANTA EXPRESS, SANTA EXPRESS FLYER and WINTER FLYER. Train sets primarily consist of the railroad's two GP38 diesel locomotives, as well as ex. New York Central Cafe Car car no. 37, RPCX lounge car no. 2786 and two to four coach cars. The Seashore Lines also operates occasional passenger excursions for the Buena Vista Township / Richland Village Festival.

2012 vandalism[edit]

On March 1, 2012, the Seashore Lines received a telephone call from the New Jersey State Police, advising them that theft of track material had occurred on their Cape May Branch, in an area between Woodbine and Dennisville. This is the Seashore Lines’ main line between Tuckahoe and Cape May City. The investigating trooper informed them that several individuals associated with the theft had been arrested and charged with indictable offenses. Arrested on Monday, March 5, were a father and son team from the Villas section of Lower Township, New Jersey, along with a third individual from Rio Grande.[4]

Several days later, Macrie and two Seashore Lines employees conducted a detailed track inspection of the entire area of the theft, which consisted primarily of the removal of tie plates and spikes. This inspection concluded that the area of the theft encompassed approximately 6,800 feet, or 75 percent of the total number of tie plates and spikes in that particular section of track. In their actions to remove the tie plates and spikes, the perpetrators also damaged and destroyed numerous cross ties.[citation needed]

Excursion trains did not run during the summer of 2012 due to the damage from the vandalism.[5] The company offered rides to the public on railroad speeder vehicles along several miles of track at the Cape May City end of the line. Macrie had stated that CMSL planned to have train service restored in 2013. As of early 2019, service to Cape May has not resumed.[6]


The Seashore Lines owns and leases a large roster of equipment:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "History of Trains to the Shore." Cape May Seashore Lines Page. Accessed 2012-11-05.
  2. ^ a b Degener, Richard (2010-08-18). "Seashore Line resumes train service to Cape May as tourist attraction". Press of Atlantic City. Pleasantville, NJ.
  3. ^ Larsen, Erik (2016-12-09). "'Blue Comet' line being restored in Ocean County". Asbury Park Press. Manchester, NJ.
  4. ^ Degener, Richard (2012-03-21). "3 arrested in thefts of metal pieces used to fasten railroad track to ties". Press of Atlantic City.
  5. ^ Degener, Richard (2012-07-20). "Van Drew investigation shows Cape May Seashore Lines didn't misuse funds, but the future of train uncertain". Press of Atlantic City.
  6. ^ Degener, Richard (2012-08-26). "Former railroad maintenance cars, or 'speeders,' offer scenic tours of Cape May marshland, rail history". Press of Atlantic City.

External links[edit]