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Whippany Railway Museum
Whippany Railway Museum.png
Former name Pequannock Valley Transportation Museum
Established 1965 (1965)
Location Whippany, New Jersey
Type Railway museum

The Whippany Railway Museum is a railway museum and excursion train ride located in the Whippany section of Hanover Township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States.

History

In 1965, Whippany was the location of the Morris County Central Railroad, a steam excursion railroad. A group of employees of the Morris County Central Railroad came together to form the Morris County Central Railroad Museum and used half of the Morristown and Erie freight house. In 1967, the freight house was moved across the tracks to its present-day location. During the years from 1967 to 1973, the museum was visited by thousands of railfans who had come to ride the excursion trains. In 1973, due to financial pressures, the Morris County Central Railroad moved its operation to Newfoundland, NJ. One year later the Morris County Central Railroad Museum also moved to a restored refrigerator car at the Newfoundland, NJ, location where it operated as the Pequannock Valley Transportation Museum (PVTM).

The tough economics of the late 1970s, as well as several serious acts of vandalism and arson to the railroad's equipment and its facilities, caused the closure of the railroad. Morris County Central Railroad ran its last train on December 14, 1980, in heavy snow. However, the museum stayed open.

In 1983, the members of the Pequannock Valley Transportation Museum began looking for a new site, preferably in a railroad structure. The freight house at Whippany was immediately considered, but it was in very bad shape, having suffered from the ravages of nature and time, as well as vandalism. The building was scheduled to be demolished but the members of the Pequannock Valley Transportation Museum began cleaning up the site, as well as restoring the freight house building itself. Restoration included lifting the building up and replacing its crumbling foundation. In January 1984, the PVTM moved the last of its property down to Whippany. During this time, the Museum was reorganized as the Whippany Railway Museum to better reflect its new location. Work continued throughout 1984 and 1985, refinishing and setting up displays, as well as creating a gift shop. Finally, on October 26, 1985, the Whippany Railway Museum had its grand opening.

The museum has continued to flourish at its Whippany location, as well as expanding its collection of New Jersey railroad history. In early 2011, the Whippany Museum was recognized for its efforts in the preservation of this history by a proclamation from the New Jersey State Assembly. This proclamation applauded the efforts of the volunteers who preserve the history of railroading in the state of New Jersey for future generations, as well as recognizing the events and excursion rides that are regularly hosted by the museum.

Excursions

The Whippany Railway Museum runs several excursions all year round. Around March–April, it runs the Easter Bunny Express on two Sundays, consisting of several passenger cars. On four summer Sundays, it operates a caboose train consisting of the Jersey Coast Club car and several cabooses. In 2012, they added a Pumpkin-liner train on one Sunday in October, which is an add-on to an annual pumpkin festival at the museum. The museum used to run Christmas trains during December. However, starting in 2016, the Morristown and Erie began running their own Christmas excursion, The Polar Express. This loss has severely cut into the museums operations. In 2016, they appeared to add several family friendly non excursion activities, but those have since ended unexpectedly. Engines are provided by the Morristown and Erie Railway, which powers all Whippany excursions.

At other times, the Museum is open during Sundays from April through October, 12-4 PM.

Rolling stock

  • Jersey Coast ex CNJ Club Car (built 1927)
  • 4 ex NJ Transit Comet 1 Cars (3 Coaches and 1 Cab Car, built 1970 by Pullman Standard. 5120 involved in accident at Secaucus Junction in 1996.)

Locomotives

Builder Model Year built Type Current number Former numbers (if applicable) Operational status
GE 70-tonner 1951 Diesel-electric RV 16 Comet 1 Cosmetically restored
GE 70-tonner 1954 Diesel-electric RV 17 Awaiting cosmetic restoration
ALCO RS-1 1954 Diesel-electric ME 21 SOO 350; V&M 1; MDDE 21; MCER 21 Currently on display
EMD FL9 1956-1960 Electro-diesel MERR 488-489 AMTK 488-489 Operational
ALCO 0-6-0 1942 Steam Morris County Central 4039 U.S. Army 4039; Virginia Blue Ridge 5 Being operationally restored (due 2015)
Baldwin 2-8-0 1907 Steam Morris County Central 385 Southern Railway 385; Virginia Blue Ridge 6 Cosmetic restored as Southern No.385
H.K. Porter 0-4-0F 1937 Steam TX 7240 Texaco Fireless Cooker 7240 Cosmetic restoration completed
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