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New Jersey Railroad Information
The Elizabethtown & Somerville was chartered in 1831 as the "Elizabeth-town and Somerville Rail-road Company". Construction started on the eastern end in Elizabeth and gradually worked its way west in 1835 when the railroad had enough money to begin. In spite of the flat land with little natural obsticals, construction proceeded slowly. The first piece, from Elizabeth to Cranford (then Crane's Ford) was completed the following year. Service was started under horse power.
Construction continued and allowed the railroad to reach Plainfield in 1839. The E&S begin running revenue service between Elizabethport and Plainfield. The motive power at this time consisted of a single Locomotive named "Eagle" - a 4-2-0 built by Baldwin.
The E&S continued to build westward as it passed through lightly populated farming communities on its way to Bound Brook. In 1840, the construction paused as the Railroad reached just outside the town of Bound Brook. It also picked up a second locomotive and some rolling stock around this time. The final push into Somerville completed in 1842. Two more locomotives was acquired from Baldwin, all very similar in design.
On the eastern end, the E&S has a connection with a Ferry service. The allowed goods and people to move easily into New York. However, the light on-line traffic and lack of a west-end connection was still lacking to take advantage of this. The E&S found its financial situation worsening as it could not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of construction.
In 1847, the Railroad declared bankruptcy. It was purchased by John Sterns and Coffin Colket and reorganized under a new charted as "The Centrail Railroad of New Jersey". The right of way started by the E&S would server the CNJ for a century and with little changes, is still used by New Jersey Transit and NS/CSX.
The Elizabethtown & Somerville Railroad: 2/9/1831 - 2/20/1847