pumpers wrote: ↑Thu May 13, 2021 8:51 am
Komarovsky wrote: ↑Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:35 am
Was grandpa adventurous and cheap? He could have hopped the Rahway Valley to CNJ and then jumped on whatever was going down the B&O to Staten Island
Komarovsky, one more post on the topic. Grandpa was more like "desperate and poor". When he was 18 (and the 3rd son ) and times were tough in the old country, he got on a boat for New York with one change of clothes and train fare to a distant uncle, not many years before the depression, and never could afford a trip back to see his parents again. A common story in New Jersey back then, for sure.
But getting back to your post, look what I found last night at : http://www.trainweb.org/rahwayvalley/ro ... eights.htm . Just like you were thinking!
a 1921 passenger train schedule notes no scheduled stops at Newark Heights although "labor trains" are noted... They consisted of the regular freight bedecked with men going to work, in the cab, on the tops of cars, and on the pilot"
Pumpers, I'd never heard about the "labor trains" on the Maplewood branch! That neighborhood in Maplewood(and many others) were being built from the early 20s to the mid 30s and the area immediately along the branch was industrial until the 70s. In the same timeframe, that area was only connected to the other, more blue collar towns, by the Springfield Ave streetcar. I have a feeling a lot of the guys riding these trains were a lot like your grandpa, adventurous, and some combination of desperate, poor and cheap.
My Rahway Valley story for you. Growing up in Maplewood, my parents had picked up the contract for oil from Wooley because the previous owners had been customers since for 50 years(and Woolley offered to continue the old owners service contract/insurance without any rate increase). One time something must have gone wrong with a delivery and I ended up going to their office with my parents to sort something out. At the time, they had a bunch of old photos on the walls, including a few photos of hopper cars being unloaded into the coal silos.
My dad asked if they were still using trains to get the oil they were selling, and the gentleman, who was on the older side(or at least looked that way to me as a kid) told him how the trains were long gone. He lamented that it was too bad because even in the worst winter weather, the trains reliably delivered the coal, vs the fuel oil trucks that were sometimes kept off the roads and couldn't make deliveries.