Rocky Hill Branch (NJ)

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Rocky Hill Branch (NJ)

Postby David Hutchinson » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:39 pm

I just got a 1953 Hagstrom map of Middlesex County. It shows the Rocky Hill line going to Kingston and then north to Rocky Hill. It also shows the line going south out of Kingston, running along the river for miles and then terminating at no particular town. Can anyone out there shed some light on this?
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Re: Rocky Hill Branch (NJ)

Postby amtrakhogger » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:39 pm

David Hutchinson wrote:I just got a 1953 Hagstrom map of Middlesex County. It shows the Rocky Hill line going to Kingston and then north to Rocky Hill. It also shows the line going south out of Kingston, running along the river for miles and then terminating at no particular town. Can anyone out there shed some light on this?


Perhaps a remnant of the original r.o.w. of the PRR that was built before the current alignment in the early to mid 1800's? IIRC, the original main line ran through Princeton to the Rocky Hill area.
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Re: Rocky Hill Branch (NJ)

Postby Statkowski » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:22 pm

One excellent source for tracking old lines is the USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer. Pop in where you want to search and you can then overlay older USGS maps on top to see what used to be there.

http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/
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Re: Rocky Hill Branch (NJ)

Postby pumpers » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:24 pm

amtrakhogger wrote:
David Hutchinson wrote:I just got a 1953 Hagstrom map of Middlesex County. It shows the Rocky Hill line going to Kingston and then north to Rocky Hill. It also shows the line going south out of Kingston, running along the river for miles and then terminating at no particular town. Can anyone out there shed some light on this?


Perhaps a remnant of the original r.o.w. of the PRR that was built before the current alignment in the early to mid 1800's? IIRC, the original main line ran through Princeton to the Rocky Hill area.

I am very familiar with the history in this area (There was a good historical RR talk at the Kingston firehouse just around November). Amtrakhogger has the only idea I can think of, but the map must then have been nearly 100 years out of date!!! The original New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company line followed the east berm of the canal from Kingston through Princeton to Trenton (opposite the side of the towpath), opened in 1839.
When the modern alignment from just south of Deans (a mile or so north of today's Monmouth Junction), south through what is now Princeton Junction to Trenton (and the Princeton branch to access Princeton) were built in the early to mid 1860's , the line along the canal going south of Kingston in the region you describe lasted only a few years at most. (The Trenton end has existed all these years still for freight traffic, although I am not sure if it is currently active.)
There is a good history and a map showing the old line along the canal at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_New ... al_Company
JS

PS One interesting point may be if your map shows the original Kingston to Deans alignment, which coming west from New Brunwick had only a very minor turn at Deans to go to Kingston, or the alignment I am familiar with the 1900's, where the now branch to Kingston was accessed from the current Monmouth Junction, and the northern (eastern) part of the original line was abandoned. Not sure when that change actually happened though. If you look at the topo map of Monmouth Junction at http://mapper.acme.com close-up this might make more sense.
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