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New Jersey Short Line Railroads

Published: April 21, 2023

By: Adam Burns

Belvidere & Delaware River Railway

(reporting mark, BDRV):  This short line began service in 1995 when it acquired former Conrail trackage in western New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania between West Easton, Phillipsburg, and Milford

Black River & Western Railroad

(reporting mark, BRW): This short line was started in 1961, initially as a tourist railroad planned by a father and son. Today, it is owned by the Black River Railroad (headquartered in Ringoes, New Jersey) and has since expanded to offer common-carrier freight service operating a former CNJ branch between Flemington and Three Bridges. .

Cape May Seashore Lines

(reporting mark, CMSL): This freight line and tourist railroad operates former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines trackage acquired from Conrail in 1983 totaling about 27 miles in Cape May County.  

Dover & Delaware River Railroad

(reporting mark, DD):  A division of Chesapeake & Delaware, LLC this short line launched in early 2019 by leasing 109 miles of Norfolk Southern/New Jersey Transit trackage east of Phillipsburg, New Jersey. 

At Morristown it interchanges with historic short line Morristown & Erie.  Other connections include Newark, Berkeley Heights, Totowa, Succasunna, and Dover.

Dover & Rockaway River Railroad

(reporting mark, DRRV):  This short line began service on July 1, 2017 when it took over freight operations on three branches owned by Morris County.  These lines had previously been operated by the Morristown & Erie.

Its lines include the Chester Branch (Lake Junction-Succasunna, ex-Lackawanna/Erie-Lackawanna/Conrail), High Bridge Branch (diverges from the Chester Branch at Ferromonte Junction and ends at Bartley Road near Flanders, ex-Jersey Central/Conrail), and the Dover & Rockaway Branch (Wharton-Rockaway, ex-Jersey Central).

East Jersey Railroad & Terminal Company

(reporting mark, EJR): This small terminal road operates about 2 miles of trackage in Bayonne, switching local customers and interchanging with CSX.

Hainesport Industrial Railroad

(reporting mark, HIRR):  This terminal road provides service in the Hainesport area shipping steel, aggregates, lumber, wallboard, trash, and other freight while also offering transload services.

New Jersey Rail Carriers, LLC

(reporting mark, NJRC): This terminal railroad provides switching services for industries located in or near Kearny.  Its primary freight includes lumber, aggregates, and manufacturing. 

New York New Jersey Rail, LLC

(reporting mark, NYNJ): This terminal railroad provides switching services between Jersey City, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. It is the last surviving carfloat railroad remaining on the harbor (years ago there were dozens).

The railroad has been in operation since 2006 taking over for what was previously known as the New York Cross Harbor Railroad but further history traces the property back to the classic waterfront lines like the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Company (BEDT).

New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway

(reporting mark, NYSW): This historic regional, also affectionately known as the "Susie-Q", dates back to 1881 and today connects New Jersey, New York, and extreme northeastern Pennsylvania (the railroad reaches as far north as Utica and Syracuse) via trackage rights over Norfolk Southern.  

The road handles a wide range of freight from agriculture to intermodal.  It is a division of the Delaware Otsego Corporation, which also owns the Central New York Railroad (reporting mark, CNYK).  This subsidiary provides local service over the 123 miles of the former Erie Railroad's "Southern Tier" main line between Port Jervis and Binghamton.

Raritan Central Railway

(reporting mark, RCRY):  This short line is based in Edison, New Jersey and services customers along the Raritan River located within the Raritan Center and Heller Industrial Parks.  The road interchanges with both NS and CSX.

SMS Rail Service, Inc.

(reporting mark, SLRS): Also known as SMS Lines, this short line provides rail service for the Bridgeport, New Jersey region as well as Guilderland, New York.  

It has been in operation since 1994 and services three industrial parks at Morrisville (Pennsylvania), Pureland (New Jersey), and Guilderland Center (New York).  It interchanges with both CSX and CP.  The road is well-known in the railfan community for its use, and affinity for, Baldwin road-switchers.  


Southern Railroad Company Of New Jersey

(reporting mark, SRNJ):  This road, owned by J.P. Rail, Inc., initiated service in 1991 on ex-Jersey Central trackage between Winslow and Vineland, about 15.5 miles.  It also operates about 31 miles between Winslow and Pleasantville along with a section of the former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines between Salem and Swedesboro.

Morristown & Erie Railway

(reporting mark, ME):  The historic Morristown & Erie dates back to 1903, formed via merger of the Whippany & Passaic River and Whippany River Railroads.  These two systems formed a network running between Whippany, Morristown, and Essex Falls.  

Today, these line runs only as far as Roseland but the M&E has since acquired a handful of short branches from Conrail during the 1980s.  With trackage rights the road operates between Hackettstown and Waldwick via Newark handling a wide range of freight.

Winchester & Western Railroad

(reporting mark, WW): See Maryland.

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