Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

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Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:40 am

The Freedom Train monument at the Bradley Beach NY&LB / NJCL freight yard, all but unknown and placed in a spot no one goes to, an overgrown patch of dirt next to Memorial Drive physically in Neptune, is being moved to the park adjacent to the Bradley Beach train station.

A ceremony to dedicate it in its new place will take place on October 20.

Several speakers will be featured, tentatively including Ross Rowland, who "invented" the American Freedom Train.

More info as I get it.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby CharlieL » Tue Oct 11, 2016 5:57 pm

Know exactly where it is. The train was physically parked there. Have pictures of my oldest sitting on the front of the engine.

It was there long enough that they let the engine go cold, I think.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:11 am

Update:

Thursday, October 20, at Noon.

Ceremony will take place in Riley Park, adjacent to the Bradley Beach NJT station.

In case of rain, it will be held in the Senior Center, next to the municipal building, next to the park.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby N91566 » Tue Oct 18, 2016 8:29 pm

I rode that train on it's trip between Point Pleasant (?) and AC. Steam engine derailed in the yard in South Amboy so the train proceed to AC with Diesel power.
I remember being so impressed with the train handling by the engineer on the PRSL. Just guessing he had not handled passenger equipment in years.....who knows.... guy had it nailed.
'566.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:12 am

What was great about its Bradley Beach visit was that it parked a whole four blocks from my house in Neptune City. My girlfriend and I would just walk over to see it on several occasions.

I remember it pulling in to Bradley Beach tender-first. It turned in Red Bank due to the Manasquan drawbridge being under repair and out of service preventing access to the Bay Head loop.

Researching the history of the Freedom Train, it appears that there was no other national celebration planned to mark our 200th birthday. Ross Rowland and the corporate sponsors he brought in took care of this. The government offered nothing. Three locomotives took this train around the 48 states.

Glad I was there to see it.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:16 pm

Nice event, good turnout.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:42 pm

Correction to the above statement that the government provided nothing. Ross went all the way to the White House and the Smithsonian was persuaded to provide the artifacts to be displayed in the cars. Otherwise, this was all privately-operated.

Here's the presentation I gave at the dedication ceremony:

At one time, this was a very busy beehive of railroad activity. It was appropriate that the Freedom Train visited here in September 1976.
Here is a little history of the railroad itself, to show just how busy it was in years past.
This section of railroad, previous known as the New York & Long Branch RR, now called the North Jersey Coast Line, was actually the New Egypt & Farmingdale RR. That’s right, New Egypt & Farmingdale.
The New York & Long Branch was originally chartered to run from Perth Amboy to Long Branch. The railroad ended at Cedar Avenue, opening for business in 1875.
The New Egypt & Farmingdale was chartered in 1869 to run between the named towns. Soon the charter was amended and the line was now to run between Farmingdale and Asbury Park, along the Neptune / Wall border, to what is now the Bradley Beach freight yard. The walking trail of Shark River Park that runs between Schoolhouse and Remsen Mills Roads is the actual grading of the line, but never completed.
With the influence of the New York & Long Branch RR, the New Egypt & Farmingdale amended its charter again, and was built from Cedar Avenue in Long Branch south 8.3 miles to Ocean Beach, now known as Belmar, opening just a year later in 1876. The NY&LB immediately leased the line and was operated by the Central Railroad of NJ. By 1881, this section of railroad, along with other extensions until the line reached Bay Head, were all absorbed into the NY&LB.
At one time, you could catch a Pennsylvania RR train right here at the Bradley Beach station, built in 1912, and travel south, termed railroad west, to Trenton and Camden / Philadelphia. Trains would turn at Sea Girt and run through Farmingdale, Freehold, and Jamesburg and on to Trenton. Other trains would run south of Bay Head down the barrier peninsula to Seaside Park and then turn west over Barnegat Bay, through Toms River and Whitings, and on to Camden and the ferry to Philly. And of course you could catch either a Jersey Central or Pennsy train and travel to Newark and New York right from here, as you can today.
The Asbury Park freight yard, physically located in Neptune, and called the Bradley Beach yard by the railroads, was a gateway for goods coming in to the area. General freight of all kinds, along with small parcels delivered by the Railway Express Agency, a forerunner of today’s UPS and FedEx, arrived at the Bradley Beach freight station, a large warehouse over a hundred feet long. Mail and newspapers were shipped to and from the freight house. There were five tracks in the yard to hold the cars coming to town. In the days before the widespread use of trucks, anything coming here came in freight cars.
In addition to the yard tracks, a long siding existed through the Neptune side of the station platform all the way to Fourth Avenue, with a loading dock at the end, mainly used for fresh produce being delivered to the large open-air produce market that existed on Fifth Avenue in Neptune City, where the ice cream trucks used to park. Hotels and rooming houses in Asbury, Ocean Grove, Bradley, Avon, and Belmar bought their fresh fruits and vegetables there. Another long siding ran on the Bradley Beach side all the way to Fifth Avenue, where the concrete loading dock still exists behind where the 7-11 is today.
Two long sidings ran behind the bowling alley to LaReine Avenue. These sidings were used to hold special Asbury Park excursion trains. Trains unloaded passengers at Asbury and then ran to Bay Head to turn on the loop, and were stored at the Bradley Beach yard until needed for the return trips. 1914 was a record year for passengers to Asbury Park, as well as baggage. Over 89,000 pieces of luggage were handled there, and not one piece was lost, or sent to Denver on the wrong train. In the summers of the 19-teens and Twenties, it wasn’t unusual to see up to 90 passenger trains, 40 to 45 in each direction, and up to five freight trains each day.
It is well known that the chain of Shore Area towns south of Long Branch were the result of comprehensive rail service. Resorts also became bedroom communities for those who could commute to work in the city. By 1893, all the towns served by this railroad were settled and incorporated. The major rail centers at Red Bank, Long Branch, and here in Bradley Beach helped to build the area into what it is today.
A bumper sticker of the era would probably say, “If you got it, a train brought it.”
So it was most appropriate that the American Freedom Train visited us in 1976, our nation’s 200th birthday.
Growing up over on Fourth Avenue in Neptune City, I’d often wander down to the freight yard to watch the crews shuffle the cars around. They got to know me and sometimes I’d be invited to ride in the locomotive as they worked the yard. I even caught a couple of caboose rides to Red Bank and then return on a passenger train. Simpler times, back when teenagers didn’t vandalize and set fire to things that didn’t belong to them.
In a related subject, how did our visitors from the north come to be called Bennys?
The term comes from the Jersey Central RR. There were luggage tags attached to the baggage that showed their origins and destinations. Cardboard tags had the letters BNENY displayed, for the terminal towns of Bayonne, Newark, Elizabeth, and New York. Baggage handlers called the luggage ”Benny bags”, and soon the owners of the baggage were given the moniker as well.
So now most of the Bennys travel “Down da Shore” on the traffic-choked Parkway, but many still come by train.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby RailsEast » Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:28 pm

I also remember the train vividly, although I had to get there via bicycle (my drivers license was a year away at the time). Many thanks, Gary, for the update and for your participation in the ceremony; it's good to remind the 'everyday folk' about the railroad history at the Shore. Keep up the good work, sir.......
Chris
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Re: Freedom Train Monument in Bradley Beach NJ

Postby GSC » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:19 am

Thanks for the compliment Chris!

I enjoy this stuff, and really like public speaking. Frustrated ham, perhaps.
Tonight's forecast - dark. Followed by scattered light in the morning.
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