Photos of the trains that ran through Sea Bright …
Also, how a town train nearly killed a jet age pioneer.
The railroad and Sea Bright had a strong connection during the town’s resort glory age. To get an idea of summer rail volume when Sea Bright was a leading summer resort (August 1889), 84 trains were running between Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright every day. What ultimately doomed rail transport were the frequent assaults by storms and high tides through the years.
The first train station in Sea Bright was built in 1871 and then replaced with another in 1900, according to Benjamin Bernhart’s 2004 book, Historic Journeys By Rail: Central Railroad of New Jersey Stations, Structures, & Marine Equipment. Sea Bright also had train stations at Normandie and Low Moor and in Highland Beach through the years.
Train travel in the area officially began in August 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 rail man himself, President Abraham Lincoln, who allowed the creation of the first train to serve the north Jersey Shore. The Central Railroad of New Jersey acquired this line in 1882.
As getting to the beach by car grew, railroad executives sought to eliminate the line’s “profitless commuter” service which had been in steady decline. In November 1945, the Central Railroad of NJ ended service from Highland Beach to East Long Branch.
When the trains stopped rolling, the station fell into serious decay (the local American Legion used it as a clubhouse for a bit). It was removed in the late 1940s to make way for the new Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge then under construction. In 1950, part of the old SB rail station was disassembled and moved to Red Bank for use by the Monmouth Boat Club.
Over the Labor Day weekend of 1899, Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan American World Airways and a Sea Bright native, was nearly killed there in a train accident.
Sea Bright Railroad train, September 1944.
Sea Bright Railroad tracks looking south, Sept. 1944.
Sea Bright Railroad tracks after storm damage, September 1944. The Ship Ahoy Beach Club is to the left.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1909.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1907.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1911.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1910s.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, early 1900s.
Sea Bright railroad tracks looking south, 1910s. The fence was built in 1893 by the CRNJ to separate Ocean Avenue right of way.
Sea Bright Railroad Station (l) and Seabright Beach Club (r), 1930.
Central Railroad of New Jersey history in Sea Bright.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1908. Opened in 1901.
“Break in the Railroad” (Between Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach), 1890s.
Central RR of New Jersey passenger ticket, September 1915.
Clock that hung in the old Sea Bright Railroad Station. The depot was torn down in 1950.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1900.
Sea Bright seen from the river, early 1900s. The train station is visible to the right.
Sea Bright railroad tracks near the Hotel Pannaci, early 1900s.
Sea Bright Railroad Station with the Seabright Beach Club behind, early 1900s. Image taken from the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge.
A Central Railroad of NJ train roars through Sea Bright, 1930s. (John Schneider Photo).
A Central Railroad of NJ train leaves Highland Beach toward the Highlands-Sea Bright bridge, 1910s.
Railroad tracks cut through the center of Sea Bright, late 1800s. The train station is at upper right.
The Sea Bright railway, 1912. The view is from North Beach looking to Sandy Hook.
Railroad tracks cut through the center of Sea Bright, 1901.
Sea Bright Railroad Station, 1916.
SB Railroad Station, early 1900s.
SB Railroad Station, after two consecutive major storms in 1913-14.
Train in Sea Bright under water, 1889.
SB Train Station, early 1900s.
Monmouth Beach Railroad Images / Long Branch Railroad Images
SB Train Station on Ocean Avenue looking north, 1930.
SB Railroad Station, early 1900s.
Storm damage to SB railroad tracks, 1914.
Central Jersey train coming through SB, 1940s. (Painting by Andy Romano)
SB train tracks near Dixie Bowser’s Esso Service Station (l), 1930s.
The Peninsula House in background; railroad tracks in foreground, 1925.
Railroad running through Highland Beach, 1910s.
Low Moor railroad station after a storm, 1917.
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.
The founder of Pan American World Airways, Juan Trippe, was the surviving baby in the story. He had been born in Sea Bright that June. Asbury Park Press, September 1899.
Sea Bright Express …Part of the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The line end in 1944.
Highland Beach Railroad Station, 1939. Renamed North Sea Bright, the station was wrecked in the Great Atlantic Hurricane of September 1944.
Railroad Station. From the Highland Beach Resort brochure, 1888.
Highland Beach Railroad Station, 1906. Once called “Aquarium” — it was the home of Ferdinand Fish.