Set Up Committee to Push for Sussex Railroad Link
Newton--The proposal to restore a 10 mile railroad
link between Augusta and Sussex Borough took a new lease on life Friday,
and supporters of the project have begun mapping plans to solicit financial
support from banks in Sussex County. The decision to proceed with plans
was made at a meeting in the county court house Friday morning by 24
persons including bankers, realtors, feed dealers, industrial, utility
and municipal representatives.
An "informal" committee was set up to canvass the banks
to determine their willingness to subscribe to about $186,000 in first
mortgage bonds to run for seven years at six percent interest. If this
part of the plan succeeds, the business people and general public will
be asked to buy about $100,000 in common stock of corporation to be
set up to operate the rail section.
Appointed to the committee were Lawrence Willson, of
Wantage and New York and William Gillespie, of Franklin, who have spearheaded
the project since last year. Harry Jones, Banker Calvin Carber, gas
company official, A.N. Lockwood and James Radcliffe, realtors, Ernest
Roy, feed dealer, and Stanley Pfeiffer, chairman of the Newton Industrial
A show of hands at the end of the two hour meeting
indicated 13 in favor of "pursuing the idea", three against and two
abstentions. Others had left the meeting by that time.
The Friday morning meeting was the sequel to a less
successful meeting held Tuesday night when only seven persons attended
and it was agreed to call one more meeting to determine if there was
enough interest to warrant continuing the project. Willson, who acted
as chairman of the meeting, expressed gratification with the turnout
Friday morning. After the vote was taken he said he would ask for further
delay in removal of the ties and other equipment from the roadbed from
which the rails have already been removed.
May Cost Less
Willson told the group that the railroad right of way
from Augusta to Sussex, bought by City Gas Company, Newton, will be
given without cost for restoration of the road, and the salvage companies
which removed the rails will restore the entire stretch to operating
condition for a maximum of $200,000. Willson predicted, however, that
the final cost will be "several thousands less than $200,000."
He also explained that the Erie Lackawanna Railroad
has promised to use the line to deliver freight to Sussex Borough, connecting
at Augusta. according to Willson, EL officials have promised to pay
as much as $45 a car, and that a net profit of $8,300 per year is anticipated
by the operating company if 900 cars a year are hauled over the line.
Willson repeatedly emphasized that if the Augusta-Sussex
line is not restored, the day comes closer when the Erie Lackawanna
will discontinue service between Andover Junction and Branchville. "Every
bank, every industry, every taxpayer has a lot at stake in this." he
declared. "The question at the moment is far more important to Newton,
Lafayette and Branchville than it is to Sussex," he added.