Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, more commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines, or CNJ, was a regional railroad with beginnings in the 1830s that lasted until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail.
The main line ran from Jersey City, New Jersey across the state to Phillipsburg, then across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Division ran from the Delaware River Bridge at Easton, Pennsylvania, through the Lehigh River Valley , and up to Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Southern Division ran from Red Bank, New Jersey (on the New York and Long Branch Railroad, which was jointly owned by the CNJ and the Pennsylvania Railroad) to Bridgeton, New Jersey, and carried millions of tons of glass sand and construction sand . In 1961 the 'Central' purchased two portions of the shutting down Lehigh and New England Railroad, from the Lehigh Coal and Navigation (which also owned the CNJ's Pa Division, and leased it to them). This became the Lehigh and New England Railway , with two segments--Lansford to Tamaqua, Pa., connecting coal mines to the Reading Railroad, and Bethlehem to Bath and Uhlers, Pa., connecting cement mills to the CNJ and Lehigh Valley Railroads.
Paralleling the Lehigh Valley Railroad from New York Harbor to Scranton, the Jersey Central was a fierce competitor for coal and freight. With heavy commuter traffic and short freight hauls, the company was in and out of bankruptcy throughout its history. In 1967, bankruptcy was declared for the last time, and the company was folded into Conrail in 1976.
Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey is located on the site of the Jersey City terminal of the company.
In late 1917, the following companies were absorbed into the CNJ:
- Buena Vista Railroad
- Carteret and Sewaren Railroad
- Carteret Extension Railroad
- Cumberland and Maurice River Railroad
- Cumberland and Maurice River Extension Railroad
- Elizabeth Exrension Railroad
- Freehold and Atlantic Highlands Railroad
- Lafayette Railroad
- Manufacturers' Extension Railroad
- Middle Brook Railroad
- New Jersey Terminal Railroad
- New Jersey Southern Railroad
- Navesink Railroad
- Passaic River Extension Railroad
- Raritan North Shore Railroad
- Sound Shore Railroad
- Toms River Railroad
- Toms River and Barnegat Railroad
- Vineland Railroad
- Vineland Branch Railway
- West Side Connecting Railroad
- West End Railroad
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