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The Hibernia Mine Railroad

The Hibernia Mine Railroad was charted in 1863 to carry oar from the mines of Hibernia to a connection with the Morris Canal. In the original charter, the HMRR had to restrict its motive power to horses, this was later amended to allow the use of steam engines.

Construction began in 1863 between the mines and the canal. After reaching the canal in 1865, the railroad exercised its right to build a connection to the Morris & Essex Railroad. Construction of this portion continued until 1868. The railroad now reached its charted length. This connection also gave the railroad the right to start using steam power.

The Railroad's first engine was a small 0-4-0 named Hibernia. This engine, along with the connection with the M&E allowed this shortline to attain outstanding financial results. Due to its low overhead, the HMRR became the most lucrative railroad in the state.

In 1880, the Dover & Rockaway railroad was chartered to build a connection from the CNJ to the HMRR in the town of Rockaway. A year later, the HMRR now had two interchange partners, the DL&W (now the owner to the M&E) along with the CNJ.

With these interchanges established, the HMRR started to run some passenger service. This service never amounted to much, but did continue operating on the branch for a few years after a fateful date in 1890. This is the year that the CNJ leased the entire road, and thus ended the separate existence of the HMRR.

During this period, the CNJ & DL&W began buying up most of these small mining railroads. The DL&W became the winner....this is due to the fact that the CNJ purchased most of the roads. All of these branches became a heavy burden for the CNJ once the NJ mining industry collapsed a few years later.

The CNJ abandoned the road north of Glenn Ridge in 1947. The rest of the railroad remains as a small branch line serving some light industry. None of the structures remain.

The Hibernia Mine Railroad: 1863-1890

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(c) 1999 - Phil Paone


See also: The Ogden Mine Railroad & Mount Hope Mineral Railroad.