station at Netcong, New Jersey was festooned with patriotic bunting
in preparation for the nation's bi-centennial. Across the tracks from
the station was the converted freight depot which had been converted
into the museum of the Sussex County Railroad. An air horn blast in
the distance alerted the handful of excursionists. They quickly exited
the museum and crossed the tracks to the boarding platform.
The black, RS-3 diesel locomotive trundled into view a few moments
later. It was returning from the morning trip to Newton. It parked
its pair of coaches along the concrete platform of the brick passenger
station. After the engine unhooked from them and pulled forward, Joey,
the youthful, dark-haired guide/conductor came down the steps of the
rear coach and helped passengers onto the platform.
Joey was young, but had a commanding voice. "Everyone please
stay behind the yellow line on the platform, for your own safety,"
he called. The handful of passengers waiting to board, as well as
those who just detrained, obeyed immediately, keeping a respectful
distance from the coaches
Joey walked down the platform to the end of the train and looked on
with some pride as the locomotive moved alongside the coaches to reach
the other end of the train. He had assisted in painting the yellow
letters reading 'SUSSEX COUNTY RAILROAD' on the long hood of the engine.
For a moment, his attention was drawn away by the arrival of the silver
limousine in the parking lot. The chauffeur opened the door and a
lone, well-dressed man stepped out, a wooden walking stick with a
shiny brass knob in his hand.