PHILLIPSBURG RAILROAD HISTORIANS
A 501c3 NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION
If you missed the history of the PRRH first decade it can be seen here.
PRRH CELEBRATES 30 YEARS - 1990 to 2020
Part 2 - 2000 to 2009
2000 - Carshop construction and a nasty let down
- In the spring, thanks in part to monies from the Town of Phillipsburg, a pole building was constructed east of the coal pockets. The building was designed with sufficient height to allow full size rolling stock and engines to be stored. The length and width was ample in size to accommodate 4 full size cars/engines as well as the Centerville and Southwestern engines and an 9 car trainset. Up to this time the C&S consist would have to be broken up and stored on multiple tracks in shipping containers. However before rolling stock of any size could be moved into the building tracks would have to be laid.
- 2000 also saw the first piece of visiting equipment moved to our rails. The Anthracite Railroads Historical Society had obtained a X-29 boxcar and was in need of a place to store it. The Central Railroad of New Jersey car was used to move dry goods like bagged cement and most certainly visited the Phillipsburg Yard during its years in service. Unfortunately the rigger hired to lift the car didn't place his cables properly and the car was dropped about 15 feet which slightly bent its frame. Nonetheless the move continued. PRRH has subsequently been given ownership of the car and it sits at our site to this day.
2000 wasn't a year without some fun! We conducted a field trip starting at the the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. After ample time to explore the museum and grounds we took a light rail trip to Hunt Valley and then back to the MTA Light Rail shops for a tour of the facility including the dispatch center. Our last stop of the day took us to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum where we had the opportunity to ride on vintage street cars, some dating back to the 1880's.
- On September 30th we conducted our first official open house. The C&S track ran from the ticket booth to the end of the coal pocket, not a long ride but finally the C&S was available for the public.
2001- Trolley- Trees- Santa and more back-breaking work
- Early in 2001 the first car to enter the engine house arrived on a flatbed. The car was Public Service Trolley 2651 which saw various assignments on the Public Service Railway Company in and around Newark, NJ from 1917 until the 1940's. The trolley is owned by the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society and was placed in the engine house for restoration work. It was intended to be used at the NJ Transportation Heritage Center that many had hoped would be built in Phillipsburg.
- Restoration work began on CNJ caboose 91197.
A beautification project was begun to plant shade trees in the area of the museum and platform. The tree planted in the platform area was dedicated to the late Tom Corcoran who served as Phillipsburg NJ mayor from 1996 to 2000.
- The C&S track relocation project was completed. The track now ran along the south side of the museum and terminated adjacent to the front door. A C&S bypass track was built by the station platform to allow two train operation.
- Work continued throughout the year on expanding and connecting sections of standard gauge track.
- We sponsored 2 field trips, one to the Mid Hudson Valley in NY and one to Strasburg PA.
- We ran our first Santa Train, a tradition that has brought smiles to the faces of young and old every year since.
2002- Oral History- Mack Railbus- The Becker's Visit
- 2002 was another busy year at PRRH. We did our first oral history discussing the experiences of the Brosky family, wife and children of a deceased CNJ engineer.
- We spiced up our open house events, the late Earle Brotzman displayed his miniature circus for the first time. The Military Transport Association brought vintage military vehicles for display.
- The north track was completed through the engine house.
- In July we opened our engine house once again to an outside historical group, this time to house a vintage 1922 Mack Railbus. Owned by the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, a spot was made available for the restoration of the unique vehicle that once ran on the Chestnut Ridge Railroad in Palmerton, PA.
- The highlight of the year was the surprise visit by Gene and Pauline Becker during our September Open House. Gene had the opportunity to once again sit at the throttle of the 1503 and our mechanical staff had the opportunity to ask him many questions about the miniature railroad that ran for decades on his Roseland NJ farm.
- Our annual field trip filled 2 buses headed for the Hudson Valley of New York.
2003- Juice in the Carshop- Lease extended- Hard Work and Horseplay
- After much delay, electricity was brought to the carshop. This eliminated the need for generators for those working on projects in the building.
- Town Council extended our lease on the property for and additional 20 years.
- The Centerville and Southwestern ticket office was repainted and new roof shingles applied enabling us to put it into use for our open house days. Clean up work was also done in the museum and a sliding exterior door was installed on the north side of the building.
- The Lehigh Valley Chapter, NRHS and the NJERA enhanced the visitor experience by giving tours of their respective equipment. Member Glenn Terminelli brought some of his collection of antique farm tractors to our May open house.
- We ran 2 field trips this year, one returning to the Hudson Valley and another to the East Broad Top Railroad in Rockhill Furnace, PA.
- We added open house dates to coincide with 2 city events, the Ole Towne Festival and the Pumpkin Festival.
- The Mack Motor Museum in Allentown lent us a vintage Mack Truck for a day to be displayed beside the Mack Railbus being worked on in our carshop.
- We acquired historic Centerville and Southwestern photos and materials from the Becker's.
- Members of The Anthracite Railroads Historical Society visited to check out their X-29 boxcar and to see what we had to offer.
- Work also continued laying standard gauge with the goal of connecting the carshop to the display track adjacent to the museum.
2004- A Lease- a Scrapbook- A Grant- More Ballast
- Standard gauge track work continued. A second track parallel to the original track and associated switches were also being laid.
- Our field trip took us to Scranton PA to visit a coal mine, Steamtown and ride the interurban trolley.
- The Lehigh and Hudson River flanger got a temporary roof.
- The Town of Phillipsburg did work to stabilize the wall below the coal pockets. After that was completed we installed wood and fencing along the base next to the C&S track.
- A formal lease was signed with the city allowing us to operate the Centerville and Southwestern Railroad for 20 years.
- Pauline Becker donates a scrap book, photo's and other items to PRRH.
- Stone is put down in the carshop.
- PRRH is awarded a grant from the Warren County Department of Land Preservation - Municipal & Charitable Conservancy Trust Fund for $12,500. This will allow a renovation of the museum building in 2005.
2005- Museum Makeover- Tank Car- Switch Work
- The museum building gets a complete make-over. A fire in the building many years prior weakened part of the roof and the outside plywood was starting to rot. Thanks to a grant from Warren County we were able to have that all replaced.
- This years field trip took us to Cumberland MD to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
- We held a special late afternoon/evening open house with rides on the Centerville and Southwestern, chocolate milk (a must for those who rode it when it was on the Becker Dairy Farm) and discussions with slides about the railroad when it was still on the farm.
- We moved a vintage 40 foot riveted tank car from Bayonne NJ to our site. This 1920's period car was donated to us by the International-Matex Tank Terminals.
- We premiered our second oral history video about the life of George Michener Hart. George was on the selection committee to pick a location for the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum and subsequently became its first managing director.
2006- Collection grows- More track-work
- The PRR Keystone that once was in the Jersey City Yard Office is installed in the floor of the museum just inside the door.
- Bob and Cheryl Dahmer donated a small tie crane with a 20 foot boom which is still in use to lift rail, ties and other heavy objects.
- A DL&W bumper post was donated by the Dally Slate Quarry in Pen Argyl PA.
- Our field trip took us to Grand Central Terminal for a guided tour then on to the Danbury Railroad Museum and ended in Kent Furnace CT at the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association.
- Work was completed on the switches connecting the south track in the yard area west of the carshop to the mainline north track. Cars could now be shuffled around as needed.
- Track was laid in the south bay of the carshop.
- Member Rich Frantz built and installed a diorama depicting the PRRH grounds complete with kit-bashed, custom painted models of the C&S rolling stock and standard gauge equipment.
- A C&S track rehab project was completed. Bad ties were replaced.
2007- Overhead lights- New signs- Mainline track completed
- In January a narrow gauge dump car and track diamond were rescued from the weeds and joined our collection. The car and track panel were donated by the Dally Slate Company of Pen Argyl.
- Restoration work began on our CNJ tool car and Chestnut Ridge tie crane.
- We added a cement phone booth to our collection.
- New signs were hung on the museum building.
- Overhead lights were hung in the carshop.
- CNJ tool car restoration completed.
- In October mainline track-work was completed linking the carshop with the west end track. The railbus made several trips from the carshop to the museum.
- The museum received a complete upgrade of the electrical wiring including new emergency lights and exit signs.
2008- New Library- Let there be light- South bay connected
- A decision was made to build a bypass track along the southern wall of the carshop eliminating the need for C&S riders to pass through the building. Some concrete piers leading up to the coal pockets will need to be removed prior to building the bypass.
- A library with a new window and a small kitchen area was built in the museum building.
- Overhead lights in the carshop are wired and made functional.
- Track-work was completed linking the south bay of the carshop with the mainline track giving us 2 additional spots in the building for rolling stock.
- A new motor was mounted on the Chestnut Hill tie crane making it functional. It was displayed during the September open house.
2009- A new engine- A new long right of way
- New Jersey Transit approves the lease allowing us to extend the C&S right of way westward to the O'Donnell Apartments property line. Negotiations for this lease began in 2002.
- We purchased and moved a 25 ton GE engine from Johnson Trucking in Easton. With a functioning engine equipment moves will be easier and safer.
- Our field trip took us to 3 locations in the Catskills including rides on 2 short line railroads.
- The major focus of the year was constructing the bypass track on the south side of the carshop and extending it past the storage containers. This project was completed after sunset on November 24th.
for the 2010 to 2019 history.
Page last updated: 11-09-20