The Gladstone Branch (also known as the Gladstone Line) is a branch of New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Lines. The Gladstone Branch primarily serves commuter trains; freight service is no longer operated. Out of 24 inbound and 24 outbound daily weekday trains, 2 peak-hour inbound and 2 peak-hour outbound trains use the Kearny Connection (opened June 10, 1996) to New York Penn Station, all bypassing Secaucus Junction. The rest go to Hoboken Terminal. The part of the line west of Summit is single-tracked with passing sidings at Murray Hill, Stirling, and west of Far Hills and operates in peak-direction only on weekday peak hours, except for some service operating reverse-peak from Murray Hill in the PM peak. Bernardsville also has a passing siding, but is no longer used, as the Far Hills one is currently in use. On weekends the line operates Gladstone-Summit service hourly along the branch. The line is colored pale green on system maps and its symbol is a horse.
The branch received severe damage from Hurricane Sandy on October 29–30, 2012, especially to the catenary and signal system, causing a suspension of service for one month. High winds brought down five tall catenary poles (whose replacements had to be custom-made), approximately five miles of catenary, and 49 trees across the tracks. Gladstone service resumed on Monday, December 3 with electric Midtown Direct trains to Penn Station and diesel-powered trains to Hoboken; full electric operation was impractical until substation damage near Hoboken was repaired in early 2013.
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The only part of the New Jersey West Line Railroad that was completed was from Summit west to Bernardsville. The New Jersey West Line Railroad was dissolved in 1878 and the assets were sold off. The Summit to Bernardsville line was then purchased by the Passaic and Delaware Railroad. The Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) leased the line on November 1, 1882 as a branch of the Morris and Essex. The Passaic and Delaware Extension Railroad was chartered in 1890 and opened later that year, extending the line to its current terminus in Gladstone, New Jersey. The DL&W continued to operate this line throughout its lifespan as the Passaic and Delaware Branch, later becoming labelled the Gladstone Branch. In 1960, the DL&W merged with the Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railway, who took over the branch line. In 1983, New Jersey Transit assumed control of the line, and continues to operate it to this day.
The Gladstone Branch begins at Hoboken Terminal, with the exception of two weekday trains which run in and out of New York Penn Station. The line parallels the Morristown Line all the way from Hoboken or New York to Summit. At Summit, schedules are timed for most Morristown trains and Gladstone branch trains for easy transfers across the platform or one right after the other.
Just west of Summit, the Morristown Line separates and the line curves left at the Summit substation before entering New Providence. After New Providence, the line passes its first grade crossing at a 4 way intersection of Central Avenue and Livingston Avenue. This crossing is one of the few 4 way crossing along NJ Transit rail lines. The line then continues, crossing Foley Place and entering Murray Hill station. At Murray Hill, the track splits in two to allow eastbound trains and westbound to pass each other, since most of the line is single tracked. There is a wooden plank at Murray Hill to allow passengers on westbound trains to get off before the eastbound train arrives on the track closest to the station platform. Schedules are timed for a convenient meetup at Murray Hill. After Murray Hill, the line passes three more grade crossings: at Warner Field Path, at Union Avenue, and at Snyder Avenue. Just west of the Snyder Avenue crossing, a track splits into a siding for the general Chemical Company plant.
The line crosses Plainfield Avenue and enters Berkeley Heights station, which also contains a siding for parking equipment. The line then continues and crosses the Passaic River a second time and enters Morris County.
There are three stations in Long Hill Township. The first is Gillette station. After Gillette, the line crosses Morristown Road and enters Stirling station. At Stirling, the track splits in two, to again allow eastbound and westbound trains to pass each other. The line also crosses Central Avenue at the station. Continuing westward, the line crosses Northfield Road by Millington Elementary School before banking right and crossing Division Avenue and entering Millington station. At Millington, there used to be another gateless crossing on the other side of the platform, where the line will cross River Road, a small connection road between Commerce Street and Long Hill Road, but this crossing was closed off sometime around 2014-2015.
The line continues westward, crossing the Passaic River a third time before entering Somerset County and Bernards Township and crossing Pond Hill Road. After this crossing, the Millington quarry can be seen on the left (going westbound). Here, the track splits in two for a short period of time, acting as a siding, although trains going opposite directions can also pass each other here, but this area is not usually used for that. Lyons station is the next stop. The line enters the station after crossing a bridge over South Finley Avenue. After another crossing at Lake Road near Ridge High School and another bridge over West Oak Street, the line enters Basking Ridge station at the crossing at Ridge Street. Something interesting at the Basking Ridge station is that the former semaphore signal from its DL&W years is still attached atop building's canopy over the platform.
Afterwards, the line crosses over Interstate 287 before curving left and entering Bernardsville station after crossing under Mount Airy Road. At Bernardsville, the track splits in two again to allow trains to pass each other if necessary and the line crosses Depot Place. Continuing westward, the line parallels U.S. Route 202 and crosses Old Quarry Road, Meeker Road, and Whitenack Road. At Whitenack Road is the site of the former Mine Brook station, a former flag stop from the line's DL&W years. Mine Brook is the only station that was never rebuilt or even acquired by New Jersey Transit. Today, all that is left of the station is gravel where the platform used to be and a small gravel road where the parking used to be. The line then crosses Route 202 and enters Far Hills station, which has a station depot and a freight house to the west. Just west of the station near the freight house, the track splits in two again to allow eastbound and westbound trains to pass each other.
After Far Hills, the line snakes through the Far Hills area before entering the borough of Peapack and Gladstone while crossing over the North Branch Raritan River and under Peapack Road. Peapack station is next at the crossing at Holland Avenue. The line then crosses a walkway in Liberty Park before entering Gladstone yard. At Gladstone yard, the track splits into 5 to allow for parking of trains. One of the tracks switches back to condense into one or can act as a siding, while the other 4 tracks condense back into one. West of the yard, the tracks enter Gladstone station and its freight house. One track leads to the freight house, while two lead to the station.
Something to note is that the timetables are arranged so that most of the trains meet at Far Hills and Murray Hill. While Bernardsville and Stirling each have two tracks at the station, the second track is less commonly used unless a train is running late.
Most service is provided by Arrow III electric cars built by General Electric and Avco in 1978. The two weekday round trips to New York use Bombardier MultiLevel Coach or Comet coaches powered by ALP-46, ALP-45DP Electric Mode locomotives, since Arrows cannot make the voltage change at the Kearny Connection. In the months following Hurricane Sandy, service to Hoboken used Comet trains powered by ALP-45DP locomotives.
At the time of NJT acquisition, freight service was operated by the Conrail. Upon the breakup of that company, the Norfolk Southern Railway inherited the business. Customers on the line dwindled, and the last customer, the Reheis Chemical Company, was bought out by the General Chemical Company and planned to close down in 2008. The apparent last freight train made its run on November 7, 2008; however, seven months later the facility began receiving shipments again, on June 19, 2009. Although this industry is east of the Berkeley Heights station, the freight trains actually operate as far west as Stirling, where the engine uses the siding to run around the train to reverse direction.
Like the Morristown Line, the Gladstone Branch is electrified using overhead catenary at 25 kV 60 Hz. Traction power comes from the NJT substation at Summit, NJ, which also powers much of the Morristown Line. The Summit substation is located north of New Providence on the Morristown Line, between the Summit and Chatham stations, and receives power from the nearby Summit Utility substation. In addition to the NJT Summit traction substation, three other switching facilities are located along the line.
|Summit Traction Substation|
|Connections / notes|
|Northeast Corridor and City Terminal Zone continue east|
|1||New York – Penn Station
|0.0 (0.0)||1910|| Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter|
LIRR: Babylon, Belmont Park, City Terminal Zone, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
NJ Transit: Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Northeast Corridor, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast Lines
NYC Subway: (at 34th Street – Penn Station (Seventh Avenue))
(at 34th Street – Penn Station (Eighth Avenue))
NYCT Bus: M7, M20, M34 SBS, M34A, Q32
Academy Bus: SIM23, SIM24
Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach: New York Airport Service
Greyhound Lines: BoltBus, NeOn
Megabus: M21, M22, M23, M24, M27
|New York / Hudson county line|
|3.5 (5.6)||2003|| NJ Transit: Main, Meadowlands, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Northeast Corridor, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast Lines|
Metro-North: Port Jervis Line
NJT Bus: 2, 78, 129, 329, 353
|Hoboken Terminal||0.0 (0.0)||1903|| NJ Transit: Bergen County, Main, Meadowlands, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley, and North Jersey Coast Lines|
Metro-North: Port Jervis Line
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail: 8th Street-Hoboken, Hoboken-Tonnelle
PATH: HOB-WTC, HOB-33, JSQ-33 (via HOB)
NJT Bus: 22, 22X, 23, 68, 85, 87, 89, 126
New York Waterway to Battery Park City
|Harrison||7.13 (11.5)||1937||September 16, 1984|
|Hudson / Essex county line|
|Northeast Corridor (Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines) diverge at Kearny Connection|
Gladstone Branch service to Hoboken converges
|Newark – Broad Street||10.4 (16.7)||1836|| NJ Transit: Montclair-Boonton and Morristown Lines|
Newark Light Rail: Broad Street – Newark Penn
NJT Bus: 11, 13, 27, 28, go28, 29, 30, 41, 72, 76, 78, 108
|Montclair-Boonton Line diverges|
|Roseville Avenue||11.6 (18.7)||1905||September 16, 1984|
|Grove Street||12.2 (19.6)||April 7, 1991|
|East Orange||12.6 (20.3)|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch
NJT Bus: 21, 71, 73, 79, 94
Community Coach: 77
|Brick Church||13.2 (21.2)||1836|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 21, 71, 73, 79, 94, 97
Community Coach: 77
ONE Bus: 24
|Orange||14.1 (22.7)||1918|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 21, 41, 71, 73, 92
Community Coach: 77
ONE Bus: 24, 44
West Orange Community Shuttle
|5||Highland Avenue||14.8 (23.8)|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 92
ONE Bus: 44
|Mountain Station||15.7 (25.3)||1915|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 92
|South Orange||16.5 (26.6)||1916|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 92, 107
ONE Bus: 31
South Orange Community Shuttle
West Orange Community Shuttle
|Maplewood||17.8 (28.6)|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
Maplewood Community Shuttle
|7||Millburn||19.4 (32.2)||1837|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
NJT Bus: 70
|Short Hills||20.4 (32.8)||1838|| NJ Transit: Gladstone Branch|
Springfield Community Shuttle
|Essex / Union county line|
|9||Summit||22.7 (36.5)||1905|| NJ Transit: Morristown Line|
NJT Bus: 70, 986
Lakeland Bus: 78
|Morristown Line diverges|
|New Providence||24.4 (39.3)||1899|| NJT Bus: 986|
Lakeland Bus: 78
|10||Murray Hill||26.0 (41.8)||1890||NJT Bus: 986|
|11||Berkeley Heights||28.4 (45.7)||Lakeland Bus: 78|
|Union / Morris county line|
|14||Stirling||31.1 (50.1)||1872 (1974)|
|Millington||32.7 (52.6)||c. 1870|
|Morris / Somerset county line|
|Lyons||34.3 (55.2)||1931||Lakeland Bus: 78|
|16||Basking Ridge||36.2 (58.3)||January 29, 1872||Lakeland Bus: 78|
|Bernardsville||37.2 (59.9)||January 29, 1872||Lakeland Bus: 78|
|Mine Brook||A minor flag stop, and the only station along the Gladstone Branch not to be rebuilt/acquired by NJ Transit after dissolation of the DL&W. The former site can be seen from the Whitenack Road Crossing.|
|Far Hills||41.6 (66.9)||October 1890||Lakeland Bus: 78|
|18||Peapack||43.9 (70.7)||October 1890|
|Gladstone||44.9 (72.3)||October 1890|
- "Christie Administration Announces Gladstone Branch Rail Service to Resume on Monday, December 3". njtransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
- "Gladstone Branch Repairs To Be Completed Friday". njtransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
- Associated Press (December 13, 2012). "Hoboken station 2-plus months from electric power". Daily Record. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- "Morris & Essex Line Timetable" (PDF). New York, New York: New Jersey Transit. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
- Morris & Essex Lines Timetable (September 16, 1984 ed.). Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. 1984.
- Morris & Essex Lines Timetable (April 7, 1991 ed.). Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. 1991.
- "New Shelter [Photo]". The Echoes-Sentinel. Warren Township, New Jersey. August 29, 1974. p. 5. Retrieved January 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Stitcher, Felecia (January 27, 1972). "100 Years Ago Saturday the Iron Horse Arrived". The Bernardsville News. p. 42. Retrieved October 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Stuart, Sandy (April 26, 1990). "Competing Railroads Pulled Into Peapack 100 Years Ago Last week". The Bernardsville News. p. 3. Retrieved October 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.