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New Jersey Railroad Information
The Belvidere Delaware Railroad (Bel-Del)
The Belvidere Delaware Railroad
The Belvidere Delaware Railroad was formed on March 2, 1836. On this date the required charter was approved by New Jersey and endorsed by the Camden and Amboy. The original intent was to provide access to the coal and iron traffic from Pennsylvania and route it to the C&A. The intended route would run from the small town of Belvidere thru Philipsburg and connect with the C&A in Trenton.
A mere 14 years later, in 1850, actual construction of the Bel-Del began. Construction was to begin at the southern end in Trenton and proceed to Lambertville in the first phase. Revenue service began on February 7th, 1851 under steam power.
Following this first link, construction proceeded through the towns of Milford, Philispburg and finally to Belvidere in 1855. At P-burg, a connection with the DL&W was made. Due to the fact that the DL&W was wide gauge road at that time, the connection was delayed a few years.
At this point, the Bel-Del was becoming a general purpose railroad. Through trains carried passengers all the way to Philadelphia, via the C&A. Freight traffic had evolved to include produce, lumber, merchandise as well as the expected coal and iron products.
In 1854, the Bel-Del extended its reach to Flemington, when it assumed operations of the fledgling Flemington Railroad. This short line ran from Lambertville to Flemington and is now better known as the right of way of the Black River and Western. This was also the last expansion of the railroad.
By 1871, the railroad was doing well. It had 2 dozen engines, a small passenger fleet and hundreds of pieces of rolling stock. This is when the Pennsylvania railroad leased the Bel-Del and incorporated into the Pennsylvania family.
There are still signs of the Bel-Del. The most visible is the beautiful passenger station in Lambertville, NJ. It is now a nice restaurant. In addition, the Flemington branch still remains, as mentioned above.
Belvidere Delaware Railroad: 1838-1871
Belvidere Delaware Railroad
(c) 1999 - Phil Paone