Both are 44-ton diesel-electric locomotives built in 1947 by General Electric’s plant in Erie, Pennsylvania. Middletown & New Jersey No. 2 was acquired used in 1963 by the 15 Mile Railroad, which was built from Middletown to Unionville, New York in 1868). Originally painted a solid red, No. 2 became the only locomotive in service on the railroad from 1981 to 2007 in a brighter yellow and blue paint scheme. It is the only surviving piece of equipment from the first 139 years of M&NJ history.
Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad No. 700 was built to operate along the 1.5 mile railroad along the bustling Hoboken, New Jersey waterfront. This line was built in 1897 with the support of the grandsons of John Stevens III, who held the first charter of a railroad in the United States. The No.700 wore the Stevens Institute of Technology colors – red and gray – to signify the connection between the railroad and Hoboken’s founding family, but it was later repainted in a striking green and yellow scheme. The engine operated for the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad and its successor, the Hoboken Shore Railroad, until the latter railway closed in 1976. The No. 700 is the only remaining piece of railway equipment from the Hoboken Manufacturers Railroad.
Regional Rail, LLC of Kennett Square, Pa., Now owns both locomotives and has recognized their historical and regional significance. The company contacted New York’s Operation Toy Train and the Tri-State Railway Historical Society to put them both in a state of conservation upon retirement. The sale price of the two locomotives, which graciously included a supply of spare parts, was not disclosed.
M&NJ No. 2 will join the Operation Toy Train of New York rail equipment exhibit at the new Port Jervis Transportation History Center in Port Jervis, New York, while HMRR No. 700 will be added to the railroad from the Tri-State Railway Historical Society collection in the restoration and storage facilities of the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey in Boonton, New Jersey. Both engines are slated for full mechanical and aesthetic restorations once they have been trucked to their respective new homes.
âThe Middletown & New Jersey Railroad operated from Middletown, NY to the New Jersey State Line, with the entire 15 mile line passing within 20 miles of Port Jervis,â said Rudy Garbely, Director of Operations. Toy Train. “When No. 2 became available it made perfect sense to keep it at the Port Jervis Transport History Center as a perfect example of a local railway outfitting.”
âWe are returning to House No. 700 in New Jersey after an absence of forty-five years,â said Richie King, treasurer of the Tri-State Railway Historical Society. “This locomotive is the last piece of equipment on a railroad with close ties to Hoboken, the Stevens family, the Stevens Institute, and New Jersey’s industrial heritage – it had to be saved, without a doubt.” King will become president of Tri-State on January 1.
The two organizations have launched a joint campaign, called Operation 88, to raise $ 15,000 to complete the project. These funds will be used to cover the remaining freight costs, mechanical upgrades and painting of the locomotives in their historic liveries. Funding for the acquisition and initial transportation costs was provided by Liberty Historic Railway, Inc., a New Jersey-based nonprofit that has funded numerous preservation efforts over the past years, as well as contributions from private donors. To learn more about the project and to donate for the restoration of the two locomotives, visit Operation 88 online.