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New Jersey Herald - September 2, 1962 issue

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 Commission.

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.