The city’s train system …
Make tracks …
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.
Monmouth Beach RR Images / Sea Bright RR Images
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.
NY & LB RR train coming through the city, 1894. Note the old city hall at back left.
East Long Branch Railroad Station, 1906. It was at the present day intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Cooper Avenue. The station closed in 1945. The old building was used by city boy scouts for several years.
East Long Branch railroad station, 1910s. The station was torn down in 1969.
East Long Branch railroad station sketch, 1878. Built in 1870.
Original North Long Branch train station, constructed in 1874.
North Long Branch Train Station, 1950s. The building housed an ice cream shop when trains stopped after WW II.
North Long Branch Train Station postcard, early 1900s.
North Long Branch Train Station, 1905. Built in the 1890s to accommodate the Long Branch & Seashore Railroad. All trains stopped in 1945.
Station Agent Daniel Hennessey (far right) at the North Long Branch Train Station, 1905.
North End Train Station (l) sits abandoned in its last days, late 1970s. By 1983, it would be wiped out by a new state highway connecting LB and MB. The roadway between the MB boundary and Joline Avenue was built by MJ Stavola for about $3 million and opened in 1985.
Branchport Railroad Station. When Al Matlaw, a Broadway auto dealer, acquired the property, APP, 1955.
Branchport Train Station (r), 1945. Dilger’s Market on Joline Avenue (l). In March 1954, the NJ Board of Public Utility Commissioners granted permission to close the Branchport Train Station.
Branchport Train Station, early 1900s.
Branchport train station, 1940s. The abandoned station had a serious fire in July 1956.
Third Avenue Railroad Station, 1890s.
Third Avenue train station, mid-1950s. The New York & Long Branch RR headquarters is the large one on the left.
Third Avenue rail station, early 1900s.
Long Branch Railroad Station on Third Avenue, 1940s. The New York & Long Branch Railroad opened the depot; its administration offices are to the left.
Third Avenue train depot in LB, 1906.
Waiting for a train at the Third Avenue depot in LB, 1910s.
Third Avenue train depot in LB, 1920s.
Third Avenue train depot in LB, 1904.
Third Avenue railroad station in LB, 1910s.
Third Avenue railroad station in LB, 1910.
LB train depot on Third Avenue postcard, 1905. It was torn down in the 1950s.
LB train depots on Third Avenue, 1950s. From left: old RR station, new RR station and the NY & LB Railroad divisional headquarters.
LB railroad station on Third Avenue under construction, 1955. The cost to build was $150,000.
Pennsylvania railroad train passes by Third Avenue station, 1950s.
LB railroad station on Third Avenue, 1970s. Opened in June 1955, it was torn down in the late 1980s and replaced with a new smaller station when electrification of the North Jersey Coast line was completed.
New LB railroad station on Third Avenue, APP 1955. A.B. Schurman Company was the builder.
Third Avenue RR trailer before depot construction, 19801.
Current LB railroad station on Third Avenue, 2010s.
A bustling West End train station, 1906.
West End Railroad Station, 1907.
West End Railroad Station, early 1900s.
West End Train Station, late 1900s.
West End Train Station, early 1900s.
Elberon Train Station, 1899.
Elberon Train Station, 1908.
Elberon Train Station, early 1900s.
Elberon Train Station, 2011.
Elberon Train Station, 1904.
Elberon Train Station, 1913.
Elberon Train Station, 1940s.
Elberon Train Station, 1909.
Elberon railroad station, 1974.
Elberon Train Station during a $350,000 renovation project, 1988.
New Elberon Train Station sketch proposal, 1993. It was a $3 million NJ Transit project. Cooper Construction & Management was the builder.
Elberon Train Station is engulfed in flames, May 1988.
Get me to the church … APP, November 1954.
NJ Central Railroad system around LB, 1941.
NJ railroad system around SB, MB and LB, 1887.
J.H. Schenck map of train tracks, 1868.
Cancellation notification by CJ Railroad ending stops in SB, MB, and LB, December 1945.
Back in the day, Summer 1887.