Author Topic: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)  (Read 47164 times)

Offline Editor

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Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« on: June 28, 2006, 12:11:34 PM »
These photos are from Bob Hooper of the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society. Thanks to Charles Wrenge for forwarding them and for the descriptions below.
 
The Sand Hill substation on Hudson Street was used for the northern part of the "Bergen Line" since the line could not cross the RR in Little Ferry. Cars were taken across by the "jumper" tracks and kept North of the RR. You got off the Northern section car at Little Ferry, walked across tracks and boarded a southern section car to get to Hoboken. The Building was later converted to a bus garage. It was on Hudson Street, north of Moonachie Road on East Side when going North on Hudson Street.



The photo below shows the car in Hackensack where the same situation existed until the tracks finally connected. Until then, another car ran from the RR tracks on Main Street north to Cherry Hill (now River Edge, .90 of a mile). While tracks did not cross, the overhead wire did.





(Click here for larger map)



More about these photos will be posted soon.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2006, 02:20:02 PM by Editor »



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Hackensack Street Cars (Photos)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2006, 01:35:37 PM »
"Big Red Trolley", "Kangaroo Line", "Rag-Time Trolley" and "Toonerville Trolley"
Hackensack's Street Cars: 1894-1938


On August 5, 2006, it will be almost 70 years since street cars operated in Hackensack. On August 5, 1938, car 3540 (complete with a banner: Last trolley Off the Hudson River Line") made the last run from Paterson, to Hackensack and then to Edgewater, ending 44 years of trolley service to Hackensack.  Although 14 years old at the time, the author remembers them even as if it were yesterday. This brief article will inform present day Hackensack residents of the successes and failures in building these transportation systems.

Hackensack was served (over the years) by four trolley lines:  the Hudson River line, described by its patrons as the "Big Red " trolley cars as they were painted a bright red with gold letters on the side; "Hudson River", the Bergen Turnpike line (later designated as "Bergen"), which the passengers called the "Kangaroo Line." This referred to the five gaps in the line as it crossed several railroads.

In the early years these gaps resulted in the cars being isolated in five segments requiring passengers to change from one car to the other. The passengers had to "hop" from car to car thus the term "Kangaroo Line." The two gaps in Hackensack (at the New York Susquehanna & Western and the New Jersey and New York Railroad) were closed by June, 1906 (a photograph of car 915 on February 16, 1906, before the gap was closed, is above). The gap at the West shore railroad in Little Ferry was never closed. Hackensack cars were stored at the Sand Hill Substation (toll Gate no.5 on the Bergen Turnpike) on South Hudson Street, Hackensack.  The Hackensack line approached Hackensack from Rutherford.  It followed a twisted route over several farms, had poor tracks and (for some time) old cars.  The BERGEN RECORD called it "the rag-time trolley line which winds its way over a jagged course...." It originally entered Hackensack from Grandview Boulevard, Hasbrouck Heights, via Lodi Road, then via private right of way yo Essex Street.

Later it came off Summit avenue, on the south side of the NYS&WRR, terminating as Mercer and Mill Streets. It did not reach Newark until August, 1904, the Lodi line (also called the "Main" line) originally ran from Passaic through Lodi to Lodi Avenue in Lodi.  By  May  1904, it reached Mercer Street  in Hackensack. Because of the twisted route, via single track, it was called the "Toonerville" line by its patrons.

Ownership of these lines varied. The Bergen County Traction, in 1894, was controlled primarily by Philadelphians, including William H. Clark, a banker and brother-in-law of Frederick W. Taylor (famous as the "father of Scientific Management"). It built an impressive private right of way up the side of the Palisades from the Edgewater Ferry and lines to Fort Lee, Leonia and Englewood. It then headed west to Hackensack over Overpeck Creek, through a strip of land called the Fyke, and then via Degraw Avenue to Bogota and then Hackensack. The entrance to Hackensack was via a drawbridge with a 60 foot draw (required by the war Department).  In 1900 , it was the largest drawbrisge in the United states used exclusively by street cars.

The first through car from Edgewater to Hackensack reached Hackensack on June 21, 1900. (a photograph of the bridge, taken in 1900 before a second track was installed, looking west is above). On February 27, 1900 the New Jersey and Hudson River and Ferry Company was formed to take control of the Bergen County Traction.  The new officals were A. Merritt Taylor of the Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Company, a progressive company whose route today is still in operation under the Southeastern Passenger Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and Ford, Bacon & Davis, New York engineering consultants. William H. Clark was now first vice president. Under their management.

The Hudson river Line was extended through Maywood, Arcola, Warren Point, in Saddle River Township, making a junction with the Paterson tracks of the Jersey City, Hoboken  & Paterson Street Railway Company on March 31, 1903. Under the NJ&HR control, the "Hudson River" line became the most efficient and modern trolley system in the United States.

The Bergen Pike line was an outgrowth of the Bergen Turnpike Company, formed in 1802. In 1893, Andrew Zabriskie of Hackensack became president of the company and applied for permission to build a horse car line from Little Ferry, along the turnpike to Hackensack.  The commissioners gave their permission so the line only was built from Little Ferry to the New Barbadoes Townshio line. Here the construction people were forced to stop and the line was never constructed. In June, 1900 the Turnpike company was reorganized 1901 by the JCH&P, with the principal stockholders being from Hudson County, but also David A. Pell, Samuel Taylor and Andrew Zabriskie of Hackensack.  Under their management, an electric line was built from Little Ferry to Hackensack, reaching Mercer Street on April 1903 and Cherry Hill  (at Coles Brook), by June 11, 1906.

The two remaing trolley lines serving Hackensack never reached the smooth operations of the Hudson River or Bergen Pike lines. The Hackensack line was in trouble from its creation on November 2, 1894, as the Union Traction Company, the incorporators were from Rutherford, East Rutherford and Carlstadt, New York City and Brookline, Massachusetts. The company began with expansive plans, but soon ran into financial difficulties. By October 18, 1895 they were in receivership. They were reorganized in February, 1896, with the new officers including Henry C. Adams of Hackensack as president and David A. Pell (also of the Bergen Turnpike) as treasurer. The company began a track laying program and ordered 16 new street cars. 

Again, by January, 1899, more financial problems arose and the company was reorganized on February 23, 1899, as the Newark & Hackensack Traction Company.  The new officers did not include any Hackensack citizens, they were William G. McCormick of Chicago and William Giles and John H. Coon of Brooklyn. Ten of the new cars were sold for $8,000 to pay off debts and replaced by 6 old second-hand cars from the Brooklyn Heights Railway. It was these cars that were to give the line its "rag-time" trolley name due to their poor riding qualities on inadequate track. The line, however, was built to Essex Street Hackensack.  In 1902 the NJ&HR company gained control of the company. The Hudson River Traction was formed on March 21, 1902, with A, Merritt Taylor of NJ&HR as president. The N&H was sold by the County Sheriff at Hackensack on September 1, 1903, purchased by the Hudson River Traction and now part of the Hudson River Line. In 1902 the line began running from First Street, Hackensack, to Summit Avenue and then south to Hasbrouck Heights.   

The last Hackensack line, the Lodi Line, never reached any form of smooth operation. It was incorporated as the Saddle River Traction Company on June 22, 1807, to build a line from the Garfield bridge over the Passic River to Lodi. Problems began immediately when the company wished to cross the Erie's Bergen County railroad. The railroad refused and the solution was an underpass costing $24,000.  The line opened on December 24, 1899, in a terrible rain storm, but derailed in the underpass.

At the time of its opening the Saddle River Traction Company was part of the JCH&P and in 1900, plans were made to build to Hackensack. Part of the route was achieved by building east on Charles Street, Passaic Street and Main Street to Union Street and then via private right of way to the Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights. The return route in Lodi was west on Arnot Street and South on Westminster Street to Harrison Avenue.  This was a single track operation and soon called the "Toonerville Line". The line reached  Mercer Hackensack on May 16, 1904. Public Service acquired the JCH&P in 1907. The Lodi line was renamed the Main line and extended to Paterson.

(cont. below)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2006, 07:29:29 PM by Editor »

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars Photos
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2006, 01:36:02 PM »
(cont. from above)

Equipment

A brief note must be made on the street cars used on these four Hackensack lines. The Hudson River Line always had a large inventory of equipment.  When it was acquired by Public Service, none of its cars were less than ten years old. It had a large number of maintenance and service cars. Public Service introduced 7 "Jumbo" cars in 1911 and in 1912 built the 3500 series for use on the Hudson River Line.  These were powerful cars and in 1927 rebuilt as deluxe cars with leather ross seats and cherry wood interiors. They remained on the line until the final day of operation. The Bergen Turnpike used a number of different cars.

Under the Turnpike Company it had 16 cars built in 1901 and 1902. under Public service it first used cars cars built between 1898 and 1904, replacing them with special cars (built in 1910).  On October 10, 1921, eight old cars running from little Ferry to Hackensack were replaced by 10 new "Birney" single-truck, one man "safety cars".  They lasted until April 26, 1926, replaced by a new bus line. Car 7190 was the last car and a photograph of it with J. Pell Zabriski on the step is above.  The Hackensack Line used a number of marginal cars before it became Public Service. Although Union Traction ordered 10 new cars, it had to sell them to raise money. The N&H company purchased twelve old second hand cars from the Brooklyn Heights Railroad to replace them.

When the Hudson River Traction sought to acquire the N&H in 1902, Ford, Bacon and Davis studied the company, reporting that the cars were "short single-truck cars, which were purchased about 3 years ago, second-hand. These are in poor repair ...and...wholly unfit for modern first class operation." 

Public service replaced them with cars 1847 and 1876, built in 1910 and except for a few 1900 series cars, they were used until the end of operations.  The Lodi line used small single truck cars until acquired by Public Service. They replaced them with large double truck cars when they extended the line from Hackensack to Paterson in 1904. these cars were used until the termination of the line in 1924.

Abandonments of the four lines: The Hudson river line was abandoned on August 5, 1938, The Bergen Pike Line (Northern Section to Hackensack) April 26, 1926, The Hackensack Line (between Hackensack and North Arlington) December 2, 1928. The Lodi line August 31, 1924.

Sources: Charles D.Wrege and Ronald Greenwood, Frederick W. Taylor: Father of Scientific Management; Myth and Reality, Irwin Business One, New York, 1991.

B.H. Sennstrom and E.T. Francis Public Service Railway:Bergen Division. Harold R.Cox, , Forty Fort, PA, 1994
« Last Edit: July 17, 2006, 01:39:26 PM by Editor »

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Hackensack Trolleys/Street Cars (Photos)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2006, 06:26:04 PM »
Someone emailed me about the Lodi Line mentioned in the story above:

The oldtimers used to call it the Lodi dummy. Never found out why.
 
If you look on Franklin Street which runs off of Passaic Street by the gas station that used to be Joe's Amoco, you can usually see depressions or pot holes where the trolley tracks are still buried. If the pot holes are big enough you can still see the tracks.
 
I had been told that the tracks under Main Street and the other trolley "rights of way" were torn up and the steel used for the war effort in World War ll. This was the case in most cities where the trolleys were no longer in use.


Also- George Scudder's "Fairmount - 1915" mentions a place called "the end" at the northern end of town near Coles Brook.  This is where "the Trolley Car line ended and the motormen would pull down the pole from the end of Trolley and release the pole on the other end and guide the pulley onto the electric wire."  There is a photo fhe Trolley on Main Street on page 12 in Scudder's piece. You can also see the tracks on Main Street.  See the pictures here: http://www.hackensacknow.com/Fairmount2_1915.pdf

Scudder's "Historic Facts About Hackensack" also has a section on the trolleys that reads:

The Bergen County Traction Company was organized in 1896 to provide trolley service to Bergen County.  On February 24, 1899, the first trolley left Fort Lee bound for Paterson, through Hackensack.  This line later became known as the Hudson River Line.  Lines were later extended to Rutherford, Passaic and Newark.  In Summer it was a pleasure riding in the "open air" trolley from Leonia across the meadows to Hackensack.  The line going to Paterson ran alongside the Susquehanna tracks in Hackensack as far as First Street.  It then turned and ran under the trestle north of First Street to Passaic Street, then west on Passaic to Franklin Place, north to Hamilton Place where they went west over the hill into Pleasant Avenue, Maywood.  The line to Rutherford and Newark ran west through Hackensack as far as Summit Avenue then south through Hasbrouck Heights on the Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the Public Service Company was running a trolley line north and south through Hackensack.  The line terminated at the northern most boundaries on Main Street at Zabriskie's Pond.  From there it went down Main Street, Hudson Street and through Little Ferry, Ridgefield and all the way to Weehawken Ferry.  The cost of a trolley ride was five cents. 


One more picture:



Will history repeat itself?  Getting back on track (Recent Record article about light rail)

"There are so many good rail proposals in highly populated, poorly served areas of New Jersey...," said Jeff Zupan, senior transportation planner for the Regional Plan Association.

One plan would link Hawthorne and Paterson to Hackensack. Another would collect passengers in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties, the fastest-growing region in New Jersey and one of its slowest-moving. The Northern Branch line would connect Tenafly, Ridgefield and the terminus of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line in North Bergen for twice the cost of the cutoff.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2006, 10:30:12 PM by Editor »

Offline Skipx219

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2006, 03:27:26 PM »
 A related story;
 About 20 years ago, I was reading through the Fire Journals of the Teaneck Fire Depatments Station #3 located on Morningside Terr off De Graw Ave. I found that in the late 1930's they responded to a car fire on De Graw Ave by Queen Anne Rd. They stretched their hoses, started to put the fire out when the Trolly came along and sliced the hoses. The Trolly kept going and heads rolled when they returned to their Station.
 I found it somewhat amusing.

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2006, 04:31:12 PM »
If you'd like to read a real interesting book about Hackensack life in the 1920s with lots of local detail, find a 1969 book called "The Night We Stopped The Trolley" by Earl Schenck Miers.

The title refers to a humorous incident that was perpetrated on a trolley on Summit Ave on Halloween Night, but that's just a small part of the book.

Here are some of the subtitles within various chapters:

Union Street
State Street
High School
Beech Street
The Woods

The author lived at 113 First St and later worked for The Bergen Evening Record.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2006, 09:35:53 AM by Editor »
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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2006, 11:33:58 PM »
Hudson River Line Trolley in Hackensack:



(Thanks Bob)

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2006, 11:08:55 AM »
More Trolley pics. (Thanks again Bob)




This caption says: "Hudson River Car No. 3511 during a fasttrip at Hackensack, March 27, 1935."
« Last Edit: October 20, 2006, 11:26:58 AM by Editor »

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2007, 10:35:13 AM »
More about local trolleys and ferrys on the Bergen County Historical Society Boards:

http://bergencountyhistory.org/forums/index.php/topic,192.msg342.html#msg342

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2008, 05:24:43 AM »
Regarding the very first post in this string, where in Little Ferry is there a railroad.  Was there one that formerly existed, and has since been ripped up ? 

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Re: Hackensack Street Cars/Trolleys (Photos)
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2008, 04:39:47 PM »
These showed up on ebay here.

Vintage and Original collection of 6 negatives measuring 6.5x8.5 inch glass negatives of the Fort Lee, Hackensack and Engelwood New Jersey Trolley Line. This line brought people from Fort Lee to Manhattan.


Related story in The Record: Free trolleys will serve apartment buildings

Thanks to Bob Leafe.  Bob is wondering if any one can identify the street scene in the third picture below:

« Last Edit: September 08, 2008, 04:46:52 PM by Editor »

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Public Service trolley car "in the yard at Hackensack" 1934
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2010, 01:23:05 AM »
Description:

Public Service Railway line car #5218 in the yard at Hackensack, NJ on 6/3/34.



Anyone know exactly where in Hackensack this "yard" was? Is that the Peoples Trust building in the background? What other building in 1934 Hackensack was that big?



.
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Re: Public Service trolley car "in the yard at Hackensack" 1934
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2010, 09:01:27 AM »
I'm thinking that the trolley is on the Susquehanna Line and the houses are on Banta Place.  However, I'm not sure houses were on Banta in 1934, but it is possible.

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Re: Public Service trolley car "in the yard at Hackensack" 1934
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2010, 04:25:02 PM »
I'm thinking that the trolley is on the Susquehanna Line and the houses are on Banta Place.  However, I'm not sure houses were on Banta in 1934, but it is possible.

Trolleys didn't run on railroad tracks.

IF that's the Peoples Trust building, 2 sides of it are visible - split by a tree. Because of the number of windows per floor, the left half is a side wall and the right half is either the front or the rear wall. 

If the houses were on Banta place, the right side of the building would be the front, but since the houses' fronts are visible, they are parallel with the front of the building instead of perpendicular, so that rules out Banta Place.

By keeping the right half of the building as the front, a scenario can be created that places the houses on Railroad Ave by Clay St and the trolley on the Erie tracks. The angle fits, but there's one slight problem: as mentioned above, trolleys didn't run on railroad tracks.

So maybe there IS a trolley yard. It would have to be on Railroad Ave, which pushes the houses back a block to Park. The angle still works, but there's another minor problem: since the trolley's on tracks, those tracks would have to feed from somewhere, but there were no trolley lines running through the Clay St/Railroad Ave area.

So the premise that the front of the bank is visible must be faulty.

Let's say now that it's the back of the building. That places the houses on River St, facing east, just north of Mercer. It also places the trolley right next to the Hudson River Line tracks at a point just after it crosses the Hackensack River and just before it bends to go up Mercer St - a perfect place for a feeder track to a trolley yard.

It works!

On the below trolley map, I used a red arrow to show where the Peoples Trust building is and a green circle to indicate where I think the trolley yard had to be - east of river St and right next to the trolley tracks and Susquehanna RR tracks.
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