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New Jersey Herald - October 11, 1928 issue
Railroad Problem Views Expressed
Worthy Careful and Deliberate Consideration--Comment and Discussion Invited

Take care, if you ever go cityward either to Paterson, Newark, or to New York, that some slight delay will not find you homeless! Our Lackawanna railroad lacks service from those points after sunset.

There is no train scheduled from New York after 5:30 P.M.; from Newark after 4:59 P.M.; from Morristown after 6:05 P.M.; from Paterson after 5:53 P.M. Even Washington, N.J. has a train that leaves Hoboken at 6:45 P.M., a whole hour later than Newton's connections.

Imagine a town of Newton's size, on a fine busy line of railway, (4.2 miles of branch from Andover, after which point the Lackawanna receives revenue from the Lehigh and Hudson River freight; only 13.6 miles from the main line connection at Port Morris) with a heavy local business, including a large milk haulage, with service suited to Yapp's Crossing, or Prairie Dog.

A town today MUST have frequent, fast rail service if it is to attract permanent residents. Take a look at Morris Plains, at Chatham, at Dover, towns which are fast developing into residential centers for city workers in Paterson, in the Newark zone, in New York City. Shall we assume that Newton is too far from Paterson, too far from Newark, or even from New York, that it cannot hope to attract residents who will own homes, rent homes, and eventually apartments, as the demand grows? Do you realize that the great growth of Essex county FORCES many house owners to sell; for their investments have so been enhanced that they can't afford to pay assessments taxes; that they are unwilling to live near large apartment houses, that they wish to be in quiet communities?

What is Newton, a town admirably suited for residence the year round, doing to get its share of these people? Certainly little if it does not see that adequate train service is furnished thruout (sic) the whole year. Don't think that business men are going to motor to work for such distances all the year to Morristown, to Paterson, to Newark, to the Oranges, to New York. What they want is a reasonably adequate rail service.

The Lackawanna cannot plead inability to round out a balanced service. They have a branch one track line from Summit to Gladstone that does not serve any large community like Newton, but merely a well developed region of country residences, and estates. This branch is over twenty miles long, and has fourteen stops, four of which are little better than flag stations. Yet the service on this road gives four trains between 6 A.M. and 8 A.M. running to New York City by 9 A.M.; and in the evening six trains, the last leaving Hoboken at 8 P.M. This count includes only trains leaving Hoboken after 4:15 P.M.

The railway here has the maintenance of twenty miles of branch to originate its business, and on the other hand on the Sussex Branch it can properly charge no longer than from Stanhope which makes 12.1 miles to Newton, and on this latter line it, as we have mentioned has a good revenue from freight hauled to Andover Jct. by the L. & H. R. Ry. And you can't get a train to Newton at night from the city except either the 4:45 or the 5:30.

We invite comment and suggestions. Remember the railway MUST give adequate service, if it is shown that it is INADEQUATE. We well know that they can haul out a sheaf of the cost of running steam trains that will break your heart with pity for the charity they bestow! Yet they fail to mention that motor-coaches have been successfully operated for several years by the Lehigh Valley, by the Erie R. R., by the Boston and Main; all companies that must serve far less business on the lines in question than the dullest hours on the Sussex Branch. And the motor-coach is just what we need out here to make main line connections at Stanhope-Netcong, and at Dover, particularly, so that Newton will cease to be cut off from the world of business, of commerce and trade.

Just one instance: train 469 from Hoboken, goes through to Washington, stopping at Netcong at 8:35 P.M. A connection for Newton, would reach here at 9 P.M., merely involving the operation of a motor-rail-car for 12 miles. What is the reason they cannot try a car on the Sussex Branch to supplement the steam trains? It would give twice as many connections and surely in a reasonable time would pay expenses. The branch train, locomotive, and two cars, calls for a crew of driver, fireman, conductor and brakeman. This same crew could operate two motor-coaches. The service would include, of course, Branchville, with an augmentation of service on the Franklin line.

Again, the railway may contend that they must haul milk cars, and also freight cars. Well they can get motor-rail-cars that can pull two or three milk cars. So that bluff has no comeback. And as for gradients, etc., the rail-car, once its former steam-locomotive driver gets the hang of it, will be far snappier in its pick-up (acceleration).

We will not rest until Newton has a railway service suited to its present and its potential needs. The service will not involve undue burdens upon the railway. It will from its beginning be a great convenience, a help to the region, and in time induce many desirable people to make Newton their year-round home. With consequent benefit to all, with loss to none.


Newton, N.J., R.F.D. No. 4