brought an increase in residential neighborhoods, sometimes even right along the rail lines. A certain fate would emerge on many of the branch lines serving this country. Unit trains along with diminished domestic manufacturing led to declines in branch line rail traffic and the NYS&W was not immune to this. The NYS&W was a well-established railroad in the late nineteenth century. Established in 1881 from the New Jersey Midland Railway the Susquehanna would go on to serve a heavily industrialized North East region. They carried commerce to and from the coal fields of Eastern Pennsylvania into the metropolitan markets of New York City. Aside from freight, the NYS&W also carried passengers to and from major cities in Northern New Jersey. This vital freight line would soon become the life line for sprawling businesses in Bergen, Passaic, Sussex and Hudson Counties. NYS&W’s Passaic Industrial Branch The story of the Passaic Industrial Branch starts in July of 1885 within the growing city of Passaic. Bird Spencer, Richard Morrell, David Campbell Jr., Richard Outwater, Dr. Cornelius Van Riper and Thomas Moore were a group of businessmen looking to expand their assets in Passaic. They came together and formed the Equitable Land Company. The Equitable Land Company purchased large parcels of land between the current streets of Monroe and Harrison in Passaic and slated to sell the property for mill and factory development. The land would also be used for building residential properties required to house the influx of future mill NYSW Alco powered RS1 238 and 240 with a cut of box cars at the sharp curve and switch leading onto the line that heads to the Passaic Junction yard. This section of the railroad lies on the Garfield/Elmwood Park (East Paterson) border. Ray Wetzel photo NYSW 1802 having recently cleared Market Street is shoving empty boxcars down the Passaic Industrial. This section of track runs through the "Cherry Hill" section of Elmwood Park. Brian Cronk photo, 1998 5 workers. In order to entice the industrial land buyers, transportation systems within and into the city needed improvement. Well before the Equitable Land Company was conceived, Passaic was reliant on canal boat to transport commodities for businesses. The Passaic River (originally named the Acquackanonk River) provided a direct means of transport from other port cities such as Newark and New York. Canal boat transportation was slow and difficult, especially during colder seasons of the year. Truck and wagon service was also available, but roadways were not fully developed for efficient service. Railroads existed in the late 1800’s with the Erie Railroad and the New York Susquehanna and Western as the forerunners of local freight transport into and around Passaic. Unfortunately the main lines of both the Erie Railroad and the New York Susquehanna and Western avoided the heart of Passaic, where Equitable Land wanted to market their industrial property. These men sought to change that with the construction of the Passaic and New York Railroad. It was in 1885 that the modern day Passaic Industrial Branch was laid. As their railroad name implied, Passaic and New York Railroad, the Equitable Land Company wanted to reach the lucrative markets of New York. New York offered so much in the way of commerce and marketing. It was a gateway for worldwide commerce. In order to reach these markets their short line needed to connect with a much larger railroad in

6 Publizr Home

You need flash player to view this online publication