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Passenger Trains > Monmouth Junction

Date: 11/20/20 19:27
Monmouth Junction
Author: Mgoldman

Caught a westbound Keystone (IIRC), sprinting through Monmouth Junction, NJ, led by AMTK No. 664.

A station once stood here - likely more than one though history.

If you look to the right of the signal bridge you'll see the junction with a branch veering off east to Freehold, NJ.

The junction (and the town itself) named for the railroad junction that included the Camden Amboy Railroad
line from Kingston, the Pennsylvania Railroad New York to Philadelphia and the Jamesburg and Freehold
Agricultural Railroad in 1850.

Was wondering - does anyone know the timeline for station(s) built here, and when they were serviced / abandoned?  Looks like a small shack recently remained just past the switch but no longer.  Tyring to
picture how passengers got to the other side of the tracks during the later years?

What kind of traffic does the branch see?  Are there any remaining stations on it?


Date: 11/21/20 08:24
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: jeff56

I have the PRR Facilities Volume 2 book by Robert J. Yanosey; New York Division Lane to Torresdale.
There are 3 color pictures of the old 2 story Monmouth Jct station, it was built in 1897; and no mention
of a previous building. Located on the eastbound side it served both the main line and Jamesburg branch.
It was torn down in 1957 and replaced with a small brick building with a ticket office & waiting room on the
westbound side; with a small shelter on the eastbound side. The only redeeming aesthetic value was the
addition of red quoining.Passengers crossed the tracks via a wooden walkway. My grandparents lived on
Walnut St, which ended at the westbound side - where the new station was built. I was frequent visitor so to speak,
grandpop was an engineer for the PRR. I remember many a freight train using the Jamesburg branch; but today
that service is nill - nothing to my knowlege uses that line until you get to Herrod Blvd in Dayton - serviced from
Browns Yard in Sayerville. MJ had frequent commuter service back in the day - and it was all day lasting up to
1970. Today, Amtrak has pretty much fenced in access to the tracks on the westbound side with very noticable
NO TRESPASSING signs. I'm pretty sure you trespassed to get your picture; just be glad you were not in view
of Amtrak of South Brunswick police.

Date: 11/21/20 08:28
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: timz

Looks like a train stopped at Monmouth Jct
until 1971 anyway


Yeah, wonder until when were passengers allowed
to cross the tracks, here or elsewhere on the main.

Date: 11/21/20 09:31
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: jp1822

Ah, the Freehold & Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad - Monmouth County's FIRST railroad (chartered in 1850) and essentially an extension of the Camden and Amboy! It was about a 28 mile railroad from Monmouth Junction to Sea Girt, NJ, where it originally tied in to the NY&Long Branch Railroad (now NJ Transit's North Jersey Coast Line)..... major online stations included Jamesburg, Englishtown, Freehold (county seat), Farmingdale, Manasquan, and Sea Girt. Not sure if the Jamesburg RR Station still stands or not, but perhaps the only station that remains along the ROW, aside from Sea Girt (that also served the NY & LB), is the station at Freehold, NJ. It now serves as NJ Transit's bus station (and a convenience store). The Allenwood, NJ RR Station still exists, but was removed from its location at Allenwood, and now is a seasonal ticket office for the Pine Creek Railroad, located within nearby Allaire State Park. Allaire was even a stop on the Freehold & Jamesburg RR. 

The line serves occasional freight trains from Jamesburg to Freehold. From Freehold to Farmingdale, the tracks are still in place, but the line is officially "out of service." And from Farmingdale to Sea Girt, the line was abandoned and tracks tore up back in the late 1960s. The PRR was quick to rip those tracks up in fear it could get re-instated some how. 

In its heyday, this 28 mile RR served as Pennsy's "short cut" to the Jersey Shore. Trains out of Philadelphia travelled up to Trenton then from Monmouth Junction turned southeast to the Jersey Shore. It served heavy shore traffic in the 1920s and the Pennsy came close to double tracking the route - just before the Great Depression set in. It too was upgraded to a fine PRR "race track."  

This line had some other interesting history:

- Carried a mortally wounded Pres. Garfield to the Jersey Shore (to try to recuperate with the fresh salt air). It also returned Pres. Garfield back to Washington DC after he passed away!
- Carried the king and queen of England to the Jersey Shore during their "Royal Visit" to Canada and the US.
- Hosted circus trains travelling to Asbury Park. 
- PRR Doodlebugs closed out passenger rail in the mid-1960s (Trenton to Red Bank via Jamesburg and Freehold). 

Prior to 1965, the line was used to serve various detour routes. When the Raritan River Bridge went out of service for a period of time, and also the Matawan Trestle burned up unexpectedly, trains were re-routed from what is now the North Jersey Coast Line via CNJ's Southern Secondary and the Freehold & Jamesburg RR. 

A freight train derailment in the Metuchen area re-routed freight and passenger traffic down the North Jersey Coast Line and then the former Camden & Amboy RR to Monmouth Junction. Recall that from Monmouth Junction to South Amboy, via the Camden & Amboy - the railroad was still under energized catenary till the early 1980s! This was short lived detour till the repairs were done on the main line, but kinda interesting to see the Broadway Limiteds using the old Camden and Amboy Railroad!!!

Was involved in a rare opportunity to study the history of this line for an interesting project back in the early 2000's. 


Date: 11/21/20 09:59
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: Lackawanna484

Plans to restore commuter service to the portion between Monmouth Jct to ESSAY in South Amboy surface every election year.

Date: 11/21/20 14:23
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: Mgoldman

Amazed how little information about the former PRR /PC /NJT stop
exists via a Google search - sometimes I think the world wide web
is shrinking.

Thanks for the info and links - rather fascinating!  Sometimes I wish
time went backwards vs forwards.

Still can't seem to track down a few stats - construction and demolition
of the former stations - specifically the shelters and such as well as the
last day of service.

Triumph V - Philadelphia to New York 1830 - 2002 shows a two story
wood structure in 1875 when the line was two track.  A much larger
yet still two story structure bulit in 1897 is captured in a photo from 1953.
A photo from March 1957 shows a two toned small brick and concrete
block shelter - with a P5a-led train coming off the Jamesburg Branch.

Here are a few photos found on the Web - note the shelter in the last shot
assume its the same as the second, but painted green?  The second shot
is a photo from 1971 by Tom Nelligan via RP (Do a search on RP for some
absolutely fantastic images).  Not sure of the date on the first or last shot.



Date: 11/21/20 14:25
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: Mgoldman

Here's a cool shot from Andrew Blaszczyk featuring a Norfolk Southern
locomotive - dated as recent as 2009:


Date: 11/21/20 20:08
Re: Monmouth Junction
Author: timz

The 4/72 employee TT shows two westward
afternoon trains stopping at Monm Jct, and
one eastward morning train. Looks like it
doesn't appear in the public timetable
after 1971.

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