Remembering the Past: Railroad Past

by Diane Norek Harrison

PERTH AMBOY-This is taken from “Historical Highlights of the Central Railroad Company of New Jersey and its Veterans Employees Association” which was given to me by reader Jerry Celecki:

NEW YORK & LONG BRANCH RAILROAD- The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey served almost every NJ seaside resort area north of Toms River, partly by its own lines and partly by the New York & Long Branch Railroad, chartered in 1868 and opened for service between Perth Amboy and Long Branch in 1875

The CNJ saw potential for considerable new business from the New York & Long Branch RR, so in Oct. 1873, almost two full years before the NY&LB opened, the CNJ obtained an exclusive right to operate all trains on this new railroad. Once the line opened, the traffic generated exceeded all expectations and work to extend the line forged ahead. It was opened to Ocean Beach (now Belmar) and to Sea Girt in 1876, to Point Pleasant in 1880 and to Bay Head Junction in 1882. But this is not the end to our brief history of the NY&LB RR.

The CNJ’s most formidable rival for passenger business in New Jersey was the long-entrenched Pennsylvania RR (PRR), whose officials became so infuriated over losing so much lucrative seashore traffic to the CNJ wisely compromising. They entered an agreement in 1888 that gave both the CNJ and PRR trackage rights over the entire NY&LB trackage rights to the New Jersey Southern Railroad (acquired by the CNJ a few months later) to use NY&LB trackage between Red Bank and Perth Amboy, where connection was made to the CNJ’s Perth Amboy branch.

THE VETERANS EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (VETS’)-In 1973 the Vets’ celebrated their 70th Anniversary. In that year, Bertha Jenico, was president of the Vets’-started the popular practice of having a picnic in the summer along with a dinner dance in the fall. The fall affair that year was the “70th Birthday Ball” held at the Seven Arches in Perth Amboy, It drew 375 members, their families, and friends, the largest crowd assembled at any Vets’ social function since its reactivation in 1969.

I am hoping to hear from more readers who have memories or past information for Perth Amboy. You all know by now what I am looking for: organization history, school, mom and pop stores, stores that gave out H & S Green Stamps or other incentives, parades, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter, summer, sports, other holidays, etc. What activities went on in the town that no longer do? Send what you remember!

If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at send “copies” of your material to me at CMD Media P.O. Box 1061 Rahway, N.J. 07065.

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