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The Mount Hope Mineral Railroad

The Mount Hope Mineral Railroad has what is probably the most interesting history of all the mining railroads that crossed Morris and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey.

The MHMRR was officially charted in 1866 to build from the Mt Hope mine to the Morris Canal. As seems to have been common for those days, the Morris & Essex railroad was also included as a destination in the charter.

Mineral transportation on the MHMRR began a year later. Traffic and profits were quite impressive during those early years. The MHMRR along with the Hibernia Mine Railroad continued to be among the most profitable railroads in New Jersey.

The MHMRR built its connection to the Morris & Essex. When the DL&W leased that road, the traffic continued to flow through the new partner. In 1886, the DL&W received some competition in the form of the CNJ. They built a connection off of the High Bridge branch which provided the MHMRR with new destinations.

In its later years as an independent, the MHMRR operated passenger service. This was not a serious effort and for the most part resulted in allowing the mine's employees an easier trek to work.

In 1899, the railroad changed owners to be included as common property with the mines. The new owners did retain the name, and the Mt. Hope continued along as a short line.

The MHMRR was purchased by the CNJ in 1930. This chapter does not quite end here though. This mine actually continued to operated for many years. When, in the mid-1960s, the mine stopped producing, it was the last of the iron mines in New Jersey still in service by a large margin.

There are some pieces of the ROW of the MHRR still in service. However, to the best of my knowledge no structures survive.

The Mount Hope Mineral Railroad: 1866-1899 (1930)

(c) 1999 - Phil Paone