I was born in
1941 and grew up in a two family house on Wantage Avenue in Branchville
across the street from what was then the Tanis Farm grain and coal
storage buildings where the Sussex Branch ended. The tracks went to
two of the Tanis buildings and the Roy Company. Further toward Broad
Street the tracks converged to the single track that passed between
the siding for the Borden creamery and the train station. In warmer
months when we slept with the windows open, we would hear the trucks
bringing the cans of milk from area farms to the creamery very early
in the morning.
They would deliver
the cans to a track with rollers that led into the creamery. They
would whack the underside of the can lid with a hammer to loosen them
before they entered the creamery. That was our alarm clock. The trucks
would then pull forward to another track with rollers that the cans
exited the creamery on. They would load the cans back on the trucks
and deliver them back to the farmers. I know of a few people that
had trucks that picked up and delivered the cans for several farmers
in their area. That was how they made their living.
On the other
side of Broad Street, heading towards Newton, there was a siding on
the left to the GLF (Agway) store, now Montague Tool, and to the right,
first for the Decker and Simmons Co. a coal and lumber dealer, and
then another siding at Hoos and Fletcher, another coal and lumber
I can remember
the steam trains in the forties and fifties, especially on cold winter
mornings when the steam would hiss and freeze in the air. I can remember
as a very small child, driving with my Dad when he took my Uncle to
the station where my Uncle boarded the train on the first leg of his
journey as a Marine to serve in the Pacific.
I also remember
the damage to the tracks after the hurricane in 1955. The hurricane
was in the week of the Sussex County Fair in August and the track
wasn't opened until October.
I also remember
riding the train to Newton with my younger brother and our Mother
followed in our car. She was at the crossing at Becker's creamery
when the train passed and she was at the Newton station when the train
arrived. She did not have a lead foot, the train had to change milk
cars at Beckers and had to go through Lafayette.