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Sussex Branch Timeline

A year by year listing of important events during the history of the Sussex Railroad/Sussex Branch. As time progresses, I'll link the events to any articles I find. If I've forgotten something, tell me (please source your information if possible.)

All citations are from: The Lackawanna Railroad in Northwest New Jersey unless otherwise noted.



1848 March 9 - Abram S. Hewitt obtains a charter for the Sussex Mine Rail Road.


1850 May 21 - Ground broken near Waterloo for mule road.

1851 August 23 - New Jersey Herald reports that three mules were killed by accident on the mule road.

1853 May 5 - Ground broken on the Sussex Railroad.

1854 September 25 - A steam locomotive reaches Andover in time to haul ore from the mine to the canal at Waterloo before it freezes for the winter.

1854 December 11 - First passenger train enters Newton.

1857 January - Snowstorm blocks slate cut and is cleared by citizens of Newton.

1858 - First arrangement made with the Morris & Essex for transporting milk to the city.


1866 September - Track gauge adjusted from 4'-10" to 4'-8 1/2". Continuation to Branchville begun under William 'Billy' Bell.

1868 - Work begun on line to Franklin.

1869 January 1 - First train ran over the Branchville line as far as Lafayette.

June - Trains able to run to Franklin as far as Fowler's Homestead.

July 3 - Line completed to Branchville.

Mid September - Regular service to Franklin commences.


1870 January - 28 - train car overturns in Andover

1870 July 14 - The depot at Franklin is finished.

1871 March - Track work begun on south Vernon branch.

1871 March - supplement added to charter allowing connection from south of Newton to Stanhope.

1872 May - track obstruction

1872 July 4 - Newton 'cutoff' completed.

June - Franklin line completed to McAfee (south Vernon branch.)

October - Work on Newton's Brick Depot begun.

November - McAfee Depot completed.

1873 June -New four stall engine house completed.

August - Newton's Brick depot opened. Prefab depot transported from Newton to Lafayette.

1879 early - slate quarry opened between Newton and Andover

Spring - replacing iron rails with steel.

July - telegraph line installed between Franklin and Waterloo

August - Waterloo siding extended.


1880 May - some trains discontinued.

November - new wye installed at Franklin

1881 May - Sussex Railroad closes its McAfee depot

July 27 - Lackawanna bought controlling interest in the Sussex Railroad.

1890's Boston flyer traverses Sussex County

1891 November: New turntable built in Newton.

1898 humble station shelter built at Cranberry Lake


1900 blast furnace at Franklin shut down

March 1 - schedule change.

July 12 - work on Stanhope cutoff begun.

1901 July 21 - Stanhope cutoff put into service.

July 25 - Camel-back locomotives running on the Sussex road.

August 5 - train wreck

1902 May - Cranberry Lake developed as a resort

1903 June 4 - New Jersey Herald story

Major improvements at Cranberry Lake

Waterside hotel built at Cranberry Lake

Ice house built at Cranberry Lake

1905 new Newton water tank erected

1906 - Newton's concrete freight station built.

1907 April 11 - Andover depot first lit by electricity. (NJH)

1909 - one arm electric semaphore signals installed.

December- Telephones being installed in all Sussex Branch stations.

1910 December 4 - hotel at Cranberry Lake destroyed by fire.

1911 November 24 - Branchville Junction station burns down.

1912 Lackawanna contributed half the cost of establishing a county agricultural agent in Sussex County

1915 Lackawanna inaugurates first solid-vestibule commuter train on the Sussex Branch.

1916 February 3 - 80lb rail has been laid as far as Augusta.


1922 Lackawanna receives permission to remove station agent in Waterloo.

1924 Lackawanna signs perpetual lease agreement of the Sussex Railroad


1932 February 23 - permission to discontinue service to Franklin granted by Public Utilities Commission

1933 October - Newton roundhouse torn down.

1934 May 26 - abandonment of Franklin branch approved by Interstate Commerce Commission

1938 Sussex County buys Franklin branch right-of-way


1941 July - new turntable pit blasted at Newton

October - new, 90' turntable installed at Newton

1944 January 27 - 130 lb. rail being laid from Stanhope to Andover Junction. 90 lb had been used previously.

1945 Sussex Railroad fully merged into the Lackawanna


1951 June - Hart & Iliff Lumber yard burns.

1953 June 5 - engine No. 1135 on Branchville Milk train No. 1050 made the final steam run on the Boonton Branch of the DL&W [DL&WRR in the 20th Century pg. 201]

1953 July 7 - Newton water tank dismantled

1955 April 12 - Wye track outside of Branchville taken out of service and replaced by run-around track.

August 19 - Hurricane Diane causes flash floods which burst two dams in Branchville washing out about a mile of the railroad.

October 10 - service restored to Branchville following hurricane Diane.

1958 January 1 - Franklin station destroyed by fire.

1959 January - Mail service delivery on the Sussex Branch comes to an end


1960 Erie and Lackawanna merged to become Erie Lackawanna

1962 January 12 - blocking signals taken out of service north of Andover

July 17 - Boiler explosion and fire in the Sussex Milk & Cream Co. closes the Branchville plant.

September 12 - Sussex Milk & Cream Co. Closes for good.

1964 November 30 - Becker's creamery at Strader's closes. Last milk train runs on the branch. [Sussex County Voice]

December 29 - remainder of blocking signals taken out of service on Sussex branch

1966 July 9 - Last fan trip runs up the Branch. It was sponsored by the Railroadians of America.

1966 July 10 - Last passenger train from Branchville to Hoboken.

July 13 - Last passenger train from Newton to Hoboken. Two Erie Stillwell coaches behind RS-3 #932 ended passenger service on the Sussex branch north of Andover Junction.

October 2 - Last passenger train from Andover ended all service on the Sussex Branch.

1969 Sussex branch completely out of service


1970 November 14, - The Newton Depot is taken down

1976 April 1 - Erie Lackawanna absorbed into Conrail

1977 July - track torn up between Andover and Stanhope


1994 January 22 - 8:15 A.M. - The roof of the Branchville station collapses under the weight of heavy snow, pushing out the end walls. (Crash heard by Dick Roy)

1998 September 26 - Plaque commemorating the Branchville station was dedicated as part of Branchville's 100th anniversary celebration.

1999 April 15 - My Sussex Branch Memorial site up and ready.

October 24, 2001: The Sussex Branch Memorial receives its domain name, 

May 5, 2003: I changed the domain name to

June 2003: The siding behind the G.L.F. (Agway) building in Branchville is relayed with track by the owners of Montague Tool & Supply to display a baggage car. The baggage car was set on the rails on July 1, 2003.