Raritan Valley Line
By Alan Braunstein
Updated by Peggy Darlington
the Raritan line diverges into a right of way built by the
Central Railroad of New Jersey and we enter our first station,
Union which has a high island platform surrounded
by the two tracks. A station house is at street level to the
South of the tracks
Roselle Park station was built in the late
1960's as part of the Aldene project which rerouted the Central
Railroad of New Jersey main line from its Jersey City terminal
into Newark Penn Station.
Part of the project was to remove the grade crossings from
the Lehigh Valley line in the Roselle Park and Union area. The
station is an island platform station. On the Eastbound side
there is a gauntlet track to allow freight trains to pass the
high level platform safely. Access to the platform is through
the embankment. There is very heavy freight traffic through this
Cranford was built on an embankment in the mid
1930's. A ticket office is downstairs and has been rebuilt and
is very Well maintained. The station building has a small
waiting area. It is also used for other offices. There is space
for six tracks. The two inner tracks and two outer tracks have
been removed over the years. Previously, there were island
platforms but now all that remain are two side platforms facing
the two remaining tracks. Platforms are accessed through a
tunnel and are high level. There are small waiting areas on the
platform. In the tunnel to the platforms there are photographs
from the history of Cranford.
Garwood is just two paved low
level side platforms with bus shelter type waiting areas.
Westfield has two high-level
side platforms. The main station house is on the eastbound side.
This building contains a ticket office and a small waiting area
and has been restored to its 1930's condition. There is a
building on the westbound side, also restored, used by nonprofit
organizations. There is an access tunnel that connects the
eastbound and westbound platforms. Similar to Cranford, there
are historic photographs of the Westfield area in the tunnel.
Fanwood/Scotch Plains is another
historic Central Railroad of New Jersey station. The westbound
station building is Victorian in design and is used by a
nonprofit organization, like at Westfield. The eastbound station
is a plain station just used as a ticket office. This station
has two low-level side platforms..
Netherwood is located in the
eastern portion of the city of Plainfield. Once again we find a
well-maintained station house with two low-level side platforms.
Plainfield Along with Netherwood, t
serves the city of Plainfield, this time on the western side of
the city. There is an eastbound and westbound station house with
two new high platforms. The eastbound station house contains the
ticket office and small waiting area.
There is evidence of a closed station at Clinton Avenue.
Dunellen is another pre-New
Jersey Transit station. This station is built into the
embankment. On the ground level we find a ticket office and
small waiting area. Upstairs there are two low-level platforms
trackside. The station also serves New Jersey Transit bus
operations to both Newark and New York City.
Bound Brook The Bound Brook station buildings are
constructed of brick, with the westbound building now being used
as a restaurant. The eastbound station house is not used for
public purposes. There are two low-level platforms with a tunnel
access to the eastbound side. On the eastbound side there is
also a local freight track which passengers must cross to get to
the main platform. Behind the eastbound side you also can find
the mainline of Conrail's Lehigh line. This is a fairly
heavily-used freight line leading to the Oak Island freight
yards in Newark. You will find many Norfolk Southern and CSX
trains moving through this area.
Bridgewater has two low wall platforms with a cross
under. At one time this station has two wall platforms and an
island platform and four tracks but the south half is no longer
used. A plan for a West Trenton Line would use this space. The
station was slated for closing but was saved and renovated due
to the efforts of the New Jersey Association of Rail passengers.
The original name was Calco.
Finderne is better known as the Invisible Station. It has
no station house and no platform. Sources have advised that it
is in a freight yard and only 1-2 trains per day stop there. The
station is simply a pole in the freight yard. It was closed on
10/27/2006 . Your webmaster expected this closing since the
first trip on the line. AN NJT Raritan conductor volunteered
that NJT posted a notice of closing on a steel utility pole for
a public hearing and no one showed up!
Somerville has two new high low-level
platforms. The station house here has been restored and is in
use by a law firm. At track level there is space for four
railroad tracks that have been removed over time.
Raritan is the terminal for most of the trains on the
Raritan Valley line. The station here was built in the late
1800s and has been designated a national landmark. The building
is made out of stone and has been restored to its original
condition. There are two low-level platforms here. This is the
only station on the line that is at ground level (as opposed to
up on an embankment). There are two grade crossings, one at each
end of the platforms, which are protected with flashing lights
and gates. The trains continue to the Raritan yard, which is
about three-quarters of a mile down the tracks. This yard is
used for layovers during the day and storing the trains at
night. NJT has added passing sidings to allow for additional
service to High Bridge.
Departing Raritan, the line continues westward with very
limited weekday only service, via a one track right of way. The
next station at North Branch is of minimal
feature, simply a bus shelter on the low platform on the south
side of the tracks. The platform is very short. There is visible
evidence of a removed second track south of the existing one.
has a single low platform on the south
side of the track, but this time with a nice station house
featuring eyebrow windows and arched doors. Departing the
station, the track climbs into the hills and the surroundings
become very woodsy.
Lebanon has a second track in place and there is a
station house on the north side of the north track. The southern
track is disused and ends at a bumper west of the station.
Departing Lebanon the tracks start a steep descent and then
level off a bit before descending at a lesser grade.
Annandale has three tracks in the
station, with the southernmost track totally overgrown, and
evidence of a possible removed far north track. The station has
two low platforms with bus shelters. There is an old station
house now in commercial use.
High Bridge Reverting to a single track for the
journey to High Bridge, the station itself has two tracks with
only the southern one in use. There is a low-level platform on
the south side.
Elizabeth The Elizabeth station, while not an active
station, was part of the original Central Railroad of New Jersey
line into Jersey City. The station house has been rebuilt and is
going to be used as part of an urban development project. The
station can be seen from the Northeast Corridor mainline which
crosses over the old main line at this station. There are no
longer any active tracks at this location.
The Fallen Flag
Railroads of New Jersey