In our hearts and prayers - the victims of September 11th....
The Freehold and Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad
Early railroads in New Jersey were built for two reasons. Raw materials for industry and hauling of the state's bountiful agricultural products. The F&J was in the later category, as the name would imply.
The F&J was formed from several smaller lines in the area. The original railroad was chartered in 1851. The Farmingdale & Squan Village Railroad Company along with the Squankum and Freehold Marl Company were merged into the F&J in 1879. This gave the F&J a total of 27 1/2 miles of track.
The F&J began operations in 1853 to carry produce from the farms of Monmouth country to the city markets. It ran from Freehold to Jamesburg where it connected with the Camden & Amboy. East from Freehold, the line ran to Farmingdale and an eventual connection to the Delaware & Raritan Bay Railroad.
From its headquarters in Jamesburg, the railroad made stops at Jamesburg, Hoffman, Tennent, Freehold, Farmingdale, Allaire and Sea Girt. The Squankum branch also contained a station.
The little railroad was leased by the Pennsylvania in 1880 (-I think) and became part of that system. Freight and passenger traffic continued under Pennsylvania ownership.
The last passenger train ran in the 1960s. This was one of the last places that the Pennsylvania used the Doodlebug. Freight service continues to this day west of Freehold. And, there is talk about resuming passenger service.
The tracks are in occasional use from Freehold to Jamesburg. As amazing it seems, there are still some tracks left on the old ROW east of Freehold. There is a standing station at Howell, NJ on private property. There is also a passenger station in downtown Freehold, but I'm not sure it is the original station. When I lived in Freehold, the entire trackage was in place, including all the grade crossing and a bridge over Rt. 18.
The Freehold and Jamesburg Agricultural Railroad: 1851-1880 -I'm not sure about the end date.
(c) 2000 - Phil Paone