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The Morristown & Erie Railroad

1) The Company

The Morristown and Erie Railroad was formed by a merger of two smaller railroads, The Whippany River Railroad and the Whippany & Passaic Railroad on August 28, 1903. The original railroad ran from a connection with the Lackawanna in Morristown to a connection with the Erie in Essex fells. The formation of the Whippany & Passaic was the extension needed for that second connection. This allowed for freight connections with both railroads and local passenger service with the DL&W. The passenger service continued in decreasing service until 1928 - excluding the occasional excursion service.

The railroad continued in this operation for most of the 20th Century. It was a well-run and profitable short line. It even continued to pay dividends during the depression at the same time that larger railroads were having trouble.

The merger of the Lackawanna and the Erie in 1960 had a negative impact on the short line. Instead of connecting with two competing railroads, it now had two connections with the same railroad. Gradually, the M&E heavily favored the Morristown connection. In the early 1970s, the Essex Fells connection was terminated and the track removed.

This didn't help too much as the condition of the track was declining as was the economy. The M&E was forced to declare bankruptcy for the first time in 1977. After five years in receivership, the company was returned to private ownership in 1982 under the new name of Morristown & Erie Railway.

Today, the railroad has picked up several sections of trackage that Conrail discarded. The former mainline has decreased in importance. But, the new trackage, former CNJ and Lackawanna in Morris county has helped the railroad to grow and continue to be a model of shortline operations.

2) The Equipment

Steam

  1. #1 - Alco 2-8-0 - Sold
  2. #2 - Alco 2-4-4 T - Scrapped 1936
  3. #3 - Alco 2-6-0 - Scrapped 1927
  4. #4 - Alco 0-4-6 T - Scrapped 1915
  5. #5 - Baldwin 0-6-0 - Scrapped 1914
  6. #6 - Baldwin 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1948
  7. #7 - Alco 2-4-0 - Scrapped 1952
  8. #8 - Baldwin 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1936
  9. #9 - Alco 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1947
  10. #10 - Alco 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1955
  11. #11 - Alco 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1955
  12. #12 - Alco 2-8-0 - Scrapped 1955

Diesel

The M&E seems to have loved Alco power. They purchased the first diesel in 1952 and scrapped the three remaining Steam Engines within three years.

Note: Did the M&E have a #13?

  1. #14 - Alco S-4
  2. #15 - Alco RS-1
  3. #16 - Alco C-430
  4. #17 - Alco C-430
  5. #18 - Alco C-424
  6. #19 - Alco C-424
  7. #20 - EMD SW-1500

Other

Railbus #10 - A bus on flanges. It was used to cover passenger service in the last years of scheduled passenger service.

3) What's Left

Most of the former mainline is still intact. See the map above for details. Only the former Essex Fells connection is removed. The yard and engine house were reconstructed after a fire, but they are on the same grounds as they have been for the last 100 years.

For More Information:

The Official M&E Website

The Morristown & Erie Railway - (c) 1986 Bob Pennisi

Rails Through the Hanover Hills - (c) 1998, Arcadia Press, Steven P. Hepler

The Morristown and Erie Railway 1903 -

(C) 2000 - Phil Paone