The abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad: Part 3

Success!!! The Rahway Valley Rails!

You may or may not remember that I went hunting for the Rahway Valley Railroad a few weeks ago (as I mentioned in Part 1 and Part 2 of this saga).

To recap, the Rahway Valley Railroad was a short set of tracks that shuttled between the modern-day Morris & Essex line and Raritan Valley line. It was formed in 1904 and closed in 1992 after a long decline.

Rahway Valley Railroad, shown in context of modern NJTransit lines

Morris & Essex in green; Raritan Valley in orange; Rahway Valley (defunct) in pink


When I explored a few weeks ago, I did not succeed in finding the tracks.

But this week, I took a roundabout route, all the way through the long Hidden Valley Park (which lies adjacent to the area of interest, and it is an official Union County Park and therefore legal for me to traverse. Look, they publish a PDF map and everything, it’s got to be okay).


Incidentally, now that I’ve traveled the path, if I were to do it again, I’d start behind the Knights of Columbus; there’s a sort of a trail head behind their parking lot, which is much closer to the tracks. I’d also bring a friend; I got a really creepy vibe from those woods. (No human remains [that I saw], don’t worry.)



(This is part 3 in a series of posts on the Rahway Valley Railroad. Click here for Part 1, or click here for Part 2.

12 Responses to “The abandoned Rahway Valley Railroad: Part 3”

  1. Great photograph! I’m so glad you found the tracks! Woods creep me out as well, but that’s probably because I’ve watched the “Evil Dead” film trilogy too many times lol… well, that and the news. Anyways, do you have a dog? I’d probably bring my dog if I were to go on the same adventure. Sounds fun and I hope you do return and capture another beautiful photograph, rich with history! Great post! 🙂

  2. LOL.. I posted last month about the town of Savage Mills. Well I decided to walk along the Little Patuxent river and I ended up deep in the woods. The day had started off sunny but after about 2 hours of walking I realized that the clouds moved in and the woods were a lot darker than when I started. Next thing I know I started hearing little sounds all around me. I actually thought about uploading my coordinates to facebook just in case something happened to me lol.. Anyways I hightailed it out there and said next time I will have to bring a friend.

  3. Hello. I work at Celgene Corp and I can provide you with photos of the portion of the tracks that run through the office campus. It’s not the very beginning of the line. According to a map I found, the line started at the southern end of the current Summit station, cut across Broad Street, then went through some residential streets (where the elevated track still stands), then continues southeast of the recreation center and through the Celgene campus, before starting a curve heading northeast through the northern edge of Hidden Valley Park and past the Knights of Columbus. Please email me if you would like me to send the photos to you.

  4. Dear L, I am a lifetime member of the Summit Historical Society and have a question for you regarding the Celgene headquarters. It was originally constructed by the city of Summit in the 1930s as Edison Junior School but soon thereafter was sold to Celanese and then to Celgene.

    I interviewed several people in the 1980s who attended school there and indicated there were Works Progress Administration murals in the building. Is there an auditorium or anything in the building with any architectural or decorative details that reflect back on its original use?

  5. I remember when the RVRR was still in use, though I was fairly young at the time (late 70’s, early 80s). A few things I can note for those who want to explore:

    1. There is (was?) an old bridge just east of Meisel Ave in Springfield just south of Riverside Dr by what I figure is a flooding overflow basin (i.e. large grass area that looks like an empty lake). I think it was surrounded by a fence years ago and is most likely unsafe to walk on. However, the crossing signal on Meisel Ave was effectively abandoned when the railroad went under. The lights (or ‘ding dings’ as my toddler calls them) just slowly rot away over the years until I think the rusted pole remains were removed probably in the early 2000’s.

    2. Briant Park in Summit is bordered by the RVRR. In fact, I think there might even be a crude wooden staircase to the old tracks at one location. They’re still there and dated 1924 Lackawanna, I believe.

    3. There is a synagogue on Temple Way near Baultusrol just next to route 24 which has a parking lot that runs along the line as well. The line is wedged between that and the apartments on Troy Dr.

    4. I never explored past the Springfield / Meisel areas, but I know that it did cut across Route 22 in that patch next to the junk yard and Maxon car dealership. There were crossing lights there for many years but I don’t recall seeing them in the 2000’s. I think there is probably still a lot of track around there, most likely north of Route 22. You can probably pull into the car dealership and see since I’m sure the property line was the track and they’d probably line their inventory on that.

  6. Hello again! I just came back to this blog after a couple of years and saw the questions that Scott Schnipper wrote to me. Scott, I hope you see this or have the settings set to receive comments via email (I don’t think I did so that’s why I never saw your post). I don’t know of any murals in the original school building. The walls are typical office walls, painted, and hung with either scenic artwork or Celgene-related materials. As for architectural details – there is no auditorium here, but some of the stairways seem original. The stairs themselves may have been redone, but the space they occupy and the doors with glass panes that lead too them, are very school-like. The next time I go over that way (I’m in one of the other buildings) I’ll look for any distinguishing details, but from my recollection, those stairways are very plain.

  7. Thanks L,

    Is there a cornerstone anywhere on the original Celgene building which identifies it as having been constructed as Edison Junior High School?

  8. Did you find the RR tracks that lie between Troy Drive and Baltusrol Way? I happened upon them today.


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