Transportation Heritage Festival

Transportation Heritage Festival

Sunday, September 22, 2013 10 am – 4 pm

In our original Lackawanna West Boonton Yard this year will be Norfolk Southern’s Lacka­wanna Heritage Locomotive #1074! Click images to enlarge!

Night Photo Session 9/21 — several years in the making!

This will be a professionally-organized photo shoot featuring our restored equipment & DL&W Heritage loco #1074. Admission is $20 – limited tickets available. More info!

Come join the United Railroad Historical Society for the Annual Transportation Heritage Festival! For the third year, we welcome the public to come and explore our normally private Boonton Yard Restoration Facility. This year promises to be bigger and better than last year with more displays, more equipment, and a special guest! Norfolk Southern’s locomotive will sit alongside several members of our collection including:

Reading F-7 #284

New Jersey DOT E8a #4253

Equipment on display:

  • New Jersey Department Of Transportation E-8a #4253 (left)
  • Norfolk Southern Lackawanna Heritage unit SD-70 #1074
  • General Electric 100 Ton & General Electric 45 Ton (right)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 #4877 (below)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 #4879
  • Central Railroad of New Jersey GP-7p #1524
  • Reading Railroad F-7p #284 (right)

Click to enlarge pictures!

more pictures

This year will include a new feature — our train tour

CNJ 'DeVico' #1178 May-23-2009 Boonton, NJ

Guests will be able to tour the interior of Reading Railroad F-7p #284 (above) and several cars including our Pennsylvania Railroad Baggage Car #9286 (below), Pennsylvania Railroad Coach #1547, and the Observation Car ‘DeVico’ from the Central Railroad of New Jersey’s First Class luxury train ‘The Blue Comet’ aka #1178 (right).

From the display train, guests will also be able to walk into a real locomotive to see how it works up close and personal.

The Transportation Heritage Festival will also include displays of many other forms of transit

Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 #4877

This will include buses, trucks, cars, and military vehicles.

Guests will also be welcome to enjoy presentations in the Lackawanna freight house outside the yard, and see informational booths and souvenir tables outside.

Inside the yard, the URHS will be selling lunch including hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, and many other snacks and treats for you to enjoy while you spend a few hours enjoying our collection.

Our event will be held at the URHS of New Jersey West Boonton Yard Restoration Facility in at 100 Morris Avenue, Boonton, New Jersey 07005.

There is no parking at the yard.


A vintage bus will shuttle visitors between the Plane Street Parking Lot and the festival or from the Boonton NJ Transit train station lot you may walk 0.3 miles to it on the side­walks. The festival is less than one block west of Main Street on Morris Avenue. There is no parking on Morris Avenue. There is, however on-street meter parking on Main Street.

DIRECTIONS – To Plane Street parking lot

From the central and southern NJ via Route I-80: Take I-287 North to the Main Street exit, #44. Cross the bridge to Main Street. In 433 feet at angled intersection bear left onto Plane Street (Boonton Smoke & Deli on left). After 0.2 miles is the parking lot at 6 Plane Street on the left.

From northern New Jersey: Take I-287 south to the Myrtle Avenue exit, #45. Travel 0.2 miles and then turn left onto Myrtle Avenue. Continue for 0.8 mile. Take the second right onto Main Street. In 433 feet at angled intersection bear left onto Plane Street (Boonton Smoke & Deli on left). After 0.2 miles is the parking lot on the left.

The vintage bus will shuttle visitors between this parking lot ONLY and the festival.

DIRECTIONS – To NJ Transit train station parking lot

From the central and southern NJ via Route I-80: Take I-287 North to the Main Street exit, #44. Cross the bridge over I-287. At light turn left onto Myrtle Avenue extension. Parking lot entrance is on the right.

From northern New Jersey: Take I-287 south to the Myrtle Avenue exit, #45. Travel 0.2 miles and then turn left onto Myrtle Avenue. Continue for 0.8 mile to Main Street. Sign: I-287 South → at this intersection. Cross Main Street and road becomes Myrtle Avenue extension. Station lot entrance is on the right.

Walking directions

Walk back from the lot towards the bridge over the tracks. Turn left towards Main Street. Cross this bridge and continue walking towards Morris Avenue. Turn left on Morris Avenue. Follow the sidewalk one block to the festival. Total walk approximately .3 miles.

Sunday bus service to/from Boonton via Lakeland Bus summary.

Buy your return ticket in NYC prior to embarking – Boonton ticket agent is a local business and it MAY NOT be open when you choose to leave!

NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal to Boonton – 7:30am, 8:30am, 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm…. Arrive in Boonton 55 minutes later.

Boonton to NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal – 11:25am, 12:25pm, 1:25pm, 2:25pm, 3:25pm, 4:25pm, 5:25pm, 6:25pm, 7:25pm, 8:25pm, 9:25pm, 10:25pm, 11:55pm – last bus ’till morning!

Tickets – Port Authority Bus Terminal – Windows 1-10 and all vending machines.

Tickets – Boonton – Bobby’s News & Gifts (Sunday hours 9:30am – 2:00pm).

Printable schedules and more info www.LakelandBus.Com Phone : 973-366-0600.

Admission to the event is a donation of $5 per person, or $10 per family

All proceeds will go to further preserving New Jersey’s rich transportation heritage. The United Railroad Historical Society of NJ is a non-profit 501(c)3 educational organization.

Sponsored by the United Railroad Historical Society of NJ

To learn more about the URHS visit: United Railroad Historical Society of NJ Inc.

This page last updated September 3, 2013.

May 2013 URHS news

Did you hear the arm twisting from your house? Are you thinking what is he talking about? Well…. After Frank Reilly made clear he was not looking to run for the President’s position of the URHS again a few long time representatives approached me about doing the job. At first I said no, but after seeing that no one else was going to do it and believe it or not my wife, Carol, suggested that maybe I should do it, I consented although with a few caveats. The first is that I will only do the job for one year and the second that the URHS elect a few Vice Presidents and allow me to appoint others when needed to keep the time I need to spend on the job to a minimum. Well they agreed and at the April meeting I was elected President.

So now what? Well we now have Larry Gross as Operations VP, Ken Brown as VP and General Counsel, the VRA’s own Carolyn Hoffman as Secretary and Fred Heide as Treasurer and together we will work towards making sure the URHS has a successful year. But these people cannot do the work alone, it is going to take all of the other representatives and most importantly the member groups own members to see the URHS succeed. So when the time comes I ask you all to help when you can, it is not only rewarding it is also a heck of a lot of fun and you get to meet some good people.

As for current projects, we have 2 National Train Day events, the first is the one on the Cape May Seashore Lines (mentioned in the VP’s Report and elsewhere) and the second is that our 2 restored and Amtrak operational cars, the Hickory Creek and NYC 43, will be in Grand Central Terminal to take part in the 100th anniversary celebration taking place on May 10th through the 12th. If you are unable to join us on the CMSL be sure to take part of a day and go visit Grand Central.

Boonton yard should be busy this spring and summer as we get ready for our open house on September 22nd. Our yard foremen Steve Gerritsen and Larry Gross have plans to work on the Pennsylvania Railroad Flat car – #469521, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR Cement Car (hopper) – #19525, Swift Company Refrigerated Box Car – SRLX #025048 and get the second prime mover in the General Electric 100-tonner – PSE&G #100 running again.

The Site Committee has been hard at work looking at potential sites and hopes to have a location or multiple locations picked out to start working on in the coming months. In the meantime, the Heritage Trail committee is working on collection data on various historical rail sites around NJ in hopes of creating multiple self-guided tours.

The URHS is looking into the sale and lease of a few of its passenger cars and if that happens there will be a need for volunteers to help prepare the cars to leave Boonton. As with all the other projects, volunteers are the back bone of anything they do and your help is requested and appreciated.

One final item, the gentleman who has volunteered for many years to do the URHS’s taxes has asked that he be relieved of his duties.
So a new accountant is needed, preferably one who will volunteer their time. If you know of anyone who fits that job description let me know.

See you around the railroad,
KC Smith

Boonton Yard Highlights – May 2013

By Steve Gerritsen It’s been a productive couple of months to start 2013 in the yard. There was a meeting to discuss projects for the year, out of which came a plan to finish the PRR flat car, restore the DL&W cement hopper, and hopefully a paint job on the 100 tonner. Along with that for the 100 tonner, the charging system should be figured out and reinstalled, and we have been able to un-seize the one engine, so we are one step closer to rebuilding it. A handful of us were on hand one weekend to really tackle the downed trees from the last few storms and made a huge dent it them.

I am going to make a big effort to get most of the supplies needed for these projects donated to these projects. If anyone would like to donate their time in the yard to help out, or donate to these projects please contact me. All help is greatly appreciated as I would like to finish these before the next open house this September!

1st Annual NJ Transportation Heritage Festival recap

Now that our 1st Annual NJ Transportation Heritage Festival is history, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Festival Committee (listed below) and the many other volunteers and participants who made the event a success. Even though we lost $52.53 on paper, it was still a major success, especially considering it was our first attempt and the many obstacles we had to overcome.

Some of the positive event outcomes are:

  • 1. Actually we didn't have a loss as URHS sales table is now well stocked for future income.
  • 2. John Ferante donated a large quantity of very old Trains magazines which we will sell at a premium in the future.
  • 3. NJT Operation Life Saver people were extremely pleased as they gave out 600 pencils and 750 coloring books, booked another event and were amazed that their presentations drew so many people.
  • 4. One of our kind and generous volunteers sent us a $500 donation after the event.
  • 5. Many people were asking about and encouraging us to have the Festival again next year.
  • 6. The Mayor of Boonton was most pleased that many attendees patronized other local businesses after our function.
  • 7. Six new volunteers signed up and some old ones were resurrected.
  • 8. We received nothing but positive feedback and NO complaints.
  • 9. All member group sales tables and Canal Society stated they were happy with results.
  • 10. The Military vehicle group raised well over $100 for their Toys for Tots program.

Other statistics: Attendance was approximately 2,400-2,500 or more. Income: Donations $2,126.84, Raffle $346, URHS Sales Table $1,907, Food Sales $1,349 and Sales table rental (NYCHS) $15.

Once again, on behalf of myself, the URHS and those who attended the Festival, I want to THANK all of you who worked so diligently, cooperatively and unselfishly and who together made our event a big success. Many, many THANKS.

Festival Committee: Frank Reilly – URHS President, Bill McKelvey – URHS Director, KC Smith – URHS Director, Frank Ball, Alan Bird, Steve Gerritsen, Larry Gross, Fred Heide, Carolyn Hoffman, Justin Kerstner, Dave Lindstrom & Matt Phalon.

Pete Hasler, URHS Event Chairman

NJ Transportation Heritage Festival 2012

By Frank Reilly, President, United RR Historical Society of NJ

This first of its kind event was held on Sunday, September 16 at the United Railroad Historical Society’s rail restoration and storage facility in Boonton. It was a huge success and the attendance was much larger than ever expected. Approximately 2,400 to 2,500 or more people attended, which was attributed to two factors; excellent weather (one of the 10 best days of the year) and extensive publicity.

Everyone who attended was delighted with the event, which included displays of electric and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, an NS locomotive and caboose, a “Friends” NJ Public Service bus, vintage military trucks and jeeps, vintage trucks, a magnificently restored and operating carousal full band organ, a model trolley car operating layout, several tables of railroadiana for sale by the URHS and URHS member groups, some antique automobiles.

Throughout the day there were several very well received 45 – 50 minute presentations by noted NJ railroad historians Bob Bahrs (the final days of the DL&W’s old electric mu’s), Mitch Dakelman (PRR’s movies on GG-1s and other vintage movies), Kathy Fisher (The Dam RR in Boonton – Rockaway River & Montville RR), Bill Greenburg (Morris County Traction Co.), Bill McKelvey (Rails along the Morris Canal and another on NJ’s street cars), and Frank Reilly (NJ’s railroads ca. 1950s & 1960s) as well as the on-going NJT Operation Lifesaver presentations by Grace Mancini-Introna. Operation Lifesaver gave out 600 pencils and 750 coloring books and other items.

The historical presentations were so popular that all seats were taken for each presentation and there were people standing around the sides and back of the room and out into the hallway! The local nature of the presentations were a big attraction!

Several hundred hamburgers and hot dogs plus drinks and sides were sold at reasonable prices and dining tables were set-up adjacent to the recently restored PRR GG-1 #4877. What a great place to have lunch!

Special presentations of appreciation were made by event chairman Pete Hasler to URHS Boonton rail yard volunteers Alan Bird, Larry Gross, and Phil Francis; to Boonton Mayor Cy Wekilsky; to John Sobotka (who heads the Toys for Tots trains in northern NJ each year), and to Bill McKelvey.

No admission was charged, but large donation jugs with donation signs were placed throughout the site. As people entered and departed they were channeled through a narrow area to assure they had to pass next to a donation jug and this worked very well. A raffle for a $50 Shop Rite gift card and one for a dinner for two at The Station at Mountain Lakes restaurant, a former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR station restaurant generated addition donations. Many guests made another donation as they left because they enjoyed the event so much!

Boonton Mayor Cy Wekilsky was very impressed with the huge number of attendees who patronized local businesses after our event. The URHS also received two $500 donations from two of generous volunteers after the event!