Cherry Blossom Special

The Hickory Creek speeding down the Northeast Corridor bound for New Orleans via Washington DC.About the Cherry Blossom Special

The URHS is proud to present its first-class service to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC. The Hickory Creek was built in the 1940s with two high standards in mind: speed and luxury. On this overnight, weekend journey, passengers will enjoy this classic, elegant form of travel on one of these two historic rail cars en route from New York City to the nation's capital. During the three hour journey to Washington, passengers will enjoy high-class service at their seat from the URHS volunteer staff, and on the return trip, passengers will sit down to a first-class, multiple course dinner as the train speeds along the world's busiest railroad at up to 110 miles per hour.

All proceeds from tickets go to benefit the preservation of the Hickory Creek as well as the URHS’s historic railroad collection. By purchasing a ticket, you will not only have the chance to relive history, but you can help save it as well.

April 4-5

Hickory Creek: $349

April 4-5

Tavern-Lounge: $289

On-board the Train

All of the following comes included with the purchase of a ticket on the Cherry Blossom Special:

Three members of the URHS volunteer team serving in the spirit off the 20th Century Limited: Chef Robert, Kevin, and Mark

A classic table setting reminiscent of the 1 class service aboard the original 20th Century Limited!

Southbound: On Saturday morning, guests aboard either car will enjoy a continental breakfast, fresh fruit, and mimosas, served by the URHS volunteer staff. All passengers will enjoy service at their seat while they enjoy the passing scenery from the lounge of the Hickory Creek's unique "lookout lounge."

Northbound: On the return trip to New York on Sunday evening, guests will sit down to a multiple course meal cooked on board the train by a professional chef. Guests will also enjoy complementary wine, beer, and soft drinks served to them at their seat throughout the ride.

Dress code for these trips will be Business Casual, with a sport jacket preferred for gentlemen.

The Hickory Creek will depart New York Penn Station at 7:05 a.m. and arrive in Washington DC at 10:25 a.m. on the tail of Amtrak’s Carolinian. Passengers will receive a special discounted rate at the Hyatt Place Washington, which is one Metro stop away from Union Station. Passengers will then have time to tour the nation’s capital at their leisure until the return trip, which departs Washington Union Station at 4:06 p.m. and arrives in New York at 8:47 p.m. 

Washington_C_D.C._Tidal_Basin_cherry_treesOff the train & at the Festival

The Cherry Blossom Special was named so because it will arrive in Washington DC for the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which celebrates the coming of  the Spring season and the gifting of the Cherry Blossom trees to the United States from Japan.

The will arrive in Washington in the late morning, giving guests plenty of time to tour the city at their leisure until the return trip on Sunday evening. During their time in the city, guests may choose to visit the festivities of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, or tour the landmarks and museums of Washington DC and enjoy the flowering trees during their stay.

The April 4-5 trip will coincide with the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. Visit www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org for more info on "The Nation's Greatest Springtime Celebration!"

Hotel Accommodations

Passengers riding the train will need to purchase a hotel room for the layover in Washington DC. Guests aboard the Cherry Blossom Special will receive a special rate at the Hyatt Place Washington for $149 for April 4-5. tickets must be purchased by March 14th to be eligible for the hotel discount.

Hyatt guests can begin making reservations either by calling into the central reservations number listed and asking for the “United Railroad Historical Society of NJ” Group Block or by using the booking links below. With these links you will still need to enter the dates and click “check availability” and it will then enter you into the block. April Block: http://www.washingtondcuscapitol.place.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html?corp_id=G-URSS

Hyatt Place Washington, DC/US Capitol, 33 New York Avenue, Washington, DC N.E., 20002, Tel: 202 289 5593 Fax: 202 289 5591


 About the Hickory Creek

1-Forman 2 In 1948, America was riding high after the end of World War II, and the “streamliner era” was in full swing. The New York Central Railroad unveiled a brand new modernized train set for its famed “20th Century Limited.” It featured all the amenities that any first-class traveler of the day could ask for and was the train was considered the pinnacle of rail transportation at the time. Everyday, its all-private room consist skated along the shore of the Hudson River, beginning with its streamlined E8 diesels and ending with its crown-jewel “lookout lounge” observation car: the Hickory Creek.

The Hickory Creek’s raised floor and over-sized windows made for a ride that was unparalleled by any train in the eastern United States. It was only natural that this train earned the name “The most famous train in the world!” The United Railroad Historical Society purchased this car and had it restored so that passengers can enjoy the classic 20th Century Limited experience in the 21st Century. Today, the Hickory Creek is fully restored and updated to modern Amtrak standards, but still retains the glory is its 1948 appearance inside and out.


About the Route

The Cherry Blossom Special will run on the tail of Amtrak's Carolinian. The train's route between New York and Washington DC runs on the original Pennsylvania Railroad main line. For decades, this route has been the standard for passengers traveling to many of the cities along the eastern seaboard. This line is where the URHS's GG1s 4877 and 4879 clocked millions of miles across a 45-year career. This trip will offer a special opportunity to retrace the steps of these famous locomotives from another piece of URHS-restored equipment.

Project to Refurbish Track Ringoes Towards Lambertville NJ

A beatup old NJTransit coach serves as a toolcar for the track gangURHS member BRRHT progress to date includes the track vegetation clearing, selected tie replace­ment and bridge repairs which allowed on Decem­ber 21st the first train movement to two miles south of Ringoes since 2003.  This trackage has been officially out of service since 1997.  This is a project run exclusively by the Black River Railroad Histor­ical Trust [aka BRRHT].  The BR&W Railroad is sep­arately engaged in track and infrastructure improvements on the active portion of the line between Ringoes, Flemington and the Three Bridges interchange with Norfolk Southern. More details and photos at:  http://www.blackriverrailroad.com/alexauken-division.html

Fundraising effort brings the last U34CH to Boonton Yard for restoration

With an equipment move funded entirely by donations from rail enthusiasts, the world’s last surviving U34CH, owned by the United Railroad Historical Society, has been delivered to Boonton, NJ for restoration. SONY DSCThis move completed Stage One of “Project U-Boat,” the URHS’s fundraising campaign to restore Erie Lackawanna 3372 to operation. On October 29, the Morristown & Erie Railway, under contract by the URHS, moved Erie Lackawanna 3372 from the New York & Greenwood Lake’s yard in Passaic, NJ to West Boonton Yard, the URHS’s restoration facility. "We owe a big thank you to everyone who has donated to make this move possible.  Now that 3372 is home in Boonton, we can give it a full mechanical evaluation, continue fundraising, and schedule a plan for operational and cosmetic restoration," said Steve Gerritsen, Vice President of Operations for the URHS. 3372 had been stored in Passaic since 2000, when the Morristown & Erie delivered it to NY&GL. While the locomotive has remained in good shape structurally, vandals have cut out and stolen several of its traction motor cables. This expensive damage prompted the URHS to remove the locomotive from NY&GL property, and a fundraising campaign was implemented in October of 2013. By March of 2014, the URHS had reached its $2500 goal to rescue engine and bring it to the URHS facility at Boonton Yard. In August, the Morristown & Erie Railway was contracted to carry out the equipment move. The rescue required operating over the former Erie Dundee spur, which is the NY&GL’s mile-long branch through Garfield and Passaic. This branch is most notable for its right-of-way which runs down the center of Monroe Street in Garfield. The line has not seen any traffic in more than five years and has been minimally maintained. URHS volunteers spent several days clearing the overgrown portions of the line in addition to making the necessary mechanical repairs to move 3372. On the day of the move, Morristown & Erie dispatched both of their Alco C-424s, 18 and 19, to bookend the U34CH for the return trip to Boonton. The M&E has trackage rights on NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Line, Main & Bergen County Lines and Montclair-Boonton Line. With pilots from NJT and NY&GL, the locomotives were able to successfully perform the operation which utilized over 60 miles of track. The route was made up almost entirely of territory which was originally served by the U34CH on Erie Lackawanna with the exception of the “Montclair Connection.” This was a seldom seen freight move for this portion of the line, and a first for the U34CH. The locomotive was pushed into the yard by the M&E and was positioned behind the shop where volunteers can evaluate it mechanically. The goal of the URHS is to restore 3372 to operation and return it to its original NJDOT/EL blue, red, and silver paint scheme so that it can be used for excursion service in New Jersey. URHS President Larry Gross said, “This move would not have been possible without the cooperation of all four participating railroads: Morristown & Erie, NJ Transit, New York & Greenwood Lake, and Norfolk Southern. We also have to thank the many supporters who have donated to fund what we have done so far. This restoration project would not be possible without the continuing financial support of the countless U-Boat fans from New Jersey and beyond.” The URHS intends for this project to be funded primarily by the support of local rail enthusiasts with an interest in the U34CH. Donations can be made to this restoration effort at URHS.org. The URHS intends to host an open house fundraiser during which Boonton Yard and 3372 will be open to the public for tours. The United Railroad Historical Society of NJ is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by 15 New Jersey-based railroad preservation groups. The mission of the URHS is to build a railroad museum in the state of New Jersey to house its over 60-piece collection and to raise funds to restore and protect the collection until a permanent site can be acquired.

NJ & NY Toys For Tots trains: December 6, 7, 13, 14 2014

The Middletown & NJ RR is proud to announce that on December 7th we will operate our Third Annual “Operation Toy Train” in the Hudson Valley Area. Our mission is to collect donated toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation. “Operation Toy Train” has been a program since 2009 in NJ. In 2013, more than 10,000 toys were collected on the train. All toys collected will be distributed to needy families in the area. Along the route, the train will stop at 5 locations in NY where members of the public can drop off toys, see Santa Claus, experience a variety of working railroad equipment, and meet members of the Marine Corps. Members of the public are encouraged to drop off new, unwrapped toys at various collection points along the route in the first two weeks of December. At each stop, one or more businesses or organizations has a large collection box. All information will be posted to https://www.facebook.com/OperationToyTrain On Saturday, December 6th, the train will stop in Rochelle Park, Hawthorne, Wortendyke, Wyckoff, Oakland, Pompton Lakes, and Butler along the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway. Schedule below. Operation-Toy-Train-NYSW-schedule-2014Sunday, December 7th the train will start off in Warwick, and continue on to Sugar Loaf, Campbell Hall, Montgomery, and Walden along the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad. The schedule for December 7th is as follows: Train will be parked in Warwick overnight December 6th, and the collection of toys will begin in Warwick on December 7th at 9 am. We will depart Warwick at 10 am and arrive in Sugarloaf at 10:20 am. The train will depart Sugarloaf at 11:15 am and arrive in Campbell Hall at 12:05 pm. It will depart at 12:50 pm and head to Montgomery and arrive at 1:15 pm. It will then arrive for its last stop in Walden at 2:35 pm. The train will depart Walden at 3:20 pm. On Saturday, December 13th, the train will stop in Flanders, Ledgewood, Kenvil, Dover, and Rockaway along the Morristown & Erie Railway, and parked in Roxbury for a collection on the 14th. New this year: A new Morris County schedule! We will run the train in reverse for the December 13th date. Here is the new schedule: Rockaway (Potbelly's Cafe): 9am-9:30 am; Dover (Town Hall): 10am-10:30am; Kenvil (Morris Marine): 11:30am-12:00pm; Ledgewood (Sleepy's Mattress): 12:15pm-1:00pm; Flanders (Flanders Fire Dept): 1:30pm-2:30pm. On December 14, 2014, Kuiken Brothers in Succasunna, NJ has been kind enough to open their doors once again and host our train from 10:00am - 4:00pm. The public is welcome to come and meet Santa and his helpers, enjoy baked goods and hot chocolate, take pictures with the Marines, Santa, and the train. The area Girl Scouts will be collecting toys and dropping off their loot to Kuiken. Please stop by and see us! The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November, and December each year and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community where the campaign is conducted. Five railroads are loaning engines, rolling stock, and use of their tracks to “Operation Toy Train”. They are the Morristown & Erie, New York, Susquehanna & Western, Norfolk Southern, Middletown & New Jersey, and New Jersey Transit. In addition to the Marines Corps Reserve, volunteers from the Military Transport Association of Northern NJ, United Railroad Historical Society of NJ and the Volunteer Railroaders Association will help run the event. Operation-Toy-Train-sponsors-2014 For more information contact:Frank Eichenlaub, 845-514-8412 feichenlaub@mnjrr.com

Hickory Creek on the Travel Channel, 11-16 at 9pm & 10pm