Long Branch Railroad Images
The city’s train system …
At its peak, according to a 1907 Asbury Park Press report, the city of Long Branch had 5 train stations along its 3.2-mile stretch operating year-around: North Long Branch, Branchport, East Long Branch, West End and Elberon.
I did a bit of digging to learn more about the stations and the trains. If others have better info or more photos, I’d be grateful for the sharing — HERE.
The trains began the last day in July 1865 when the Long Branch & Sea Shore Railroad opened running from Spermaceti Cove on Sandy Hook to Long Branch (in 1884 the line was stretched to Bayhead junction). It was the great railman himself, President Abraham Lincoln, who allowed the creation of the first railroad to reach the north Jersey Shore. The Central Railroad of New Jersey acquired this line in 1882.
As getting to the beach by auto grew, railroad executives sought to eliminate the line’s “profitless commuter” service which had been in great decline for years. In November 1945, the Central Railroad of NJ ended service from Highland Beach to East Long Branch.
The train line that still serves the city today, started out as the New York & Long Branch Railroad in 1875. It was built mainly as a tourist line for Jersey Shore beach resorts. The NY & LB Railroad had some clout local too. Its 25-year superintendent, Rufus Blodgett was a US Senator for NJ — in between several terms as Long Branch mayor. The Central Railroad of NJ took control of the NY & LB railroad in 1929. Today it’s all part of the NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line.
About Long Branch railroad stations:
• According to Benjamin Bernhart’s 2004 book, Historic Journeys By Rail: Central Railroad of New Jersey Stations, Structures, & Marine Equipment, the first North Long Branch depot was constructed in 1874. A November 1904 fire took that station. In 1907, a new depot opened and would last until 1980 when it was wrecked to make way for the new Ocean Blvd-state highway project. Station Agent Dan Hennessey worked there from 1907 to the day it closed in 1945.
• The original train station on Third Avenue was opened in 1878 by the New York & Long Branch Railroad. That structure was replaced in June 1955 with a new two-story brick station. When the $150,000 depot opened it was agreed that both the West End and Branchport train stations would discontinue service. The current LB station on Third Avenue was opened by NJ Transit in 1988 after electrification was completed. Is it me — does the appearance of this station get dimmer?
• I found little about the Brancnhport train station. Other then it was located at Washington and Joline Avenues and it closed in 1954. It was damaged in a July 1956 fire at which point the city fire chief called the building “worthless.” One suggestion is that there are station remnants in the form a deteriorating red building along the NJ Transit tracks. Not certain though.
• The West End Train Station (sometimes called the Hollywood station) was badly damaged in an August 1921 fire and abandoned after an October 1954 fire. The Long Branch Trust Company acquired the property and opened a new drive-in bank branch in July 1955. Today, it is a Chase Bank branch.
• The original Elberon train stop dates back in 1877. The first stone and brick depot was opened in 1903. It was touched with sad history — President James Garfield passed through on his way to his summer home for a hopeful recuperation after being shot in July 1881 (at the railroad station in Washington, DC); he died in Elberon two months later. The station was gutted by a spectacular fire in May 1988 during a major renovation. By June 1996, a new $3 million Elberon depot was opened.
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