Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Kinkora Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad

The Columbus Kinkora & Springfield Railroad was chartered in 1870 to connect New Lisbon, NJ with Kinkora, NJ, 14 miles northwest. The right of way followed the earlier Delaware & Atlantic Railroad, a much earlier rail line ran along a similar right of way, first surveyed in 1827. (Right-of-Way)

Image: New Jersey Department of Transportation
Constructed and in service by the end of 1838, "the line used mule drawn carts riding on iron strapped wood rails primarily to haul wood and charcoal between New Lisbon and Kinkora." (Springfield Township Historical Society)

The line was abandoned at an unknown date before 1870, and the CK&S used its right of way.

Almost immediately after the Columbus Kinkora & Springfield Railroad was completed, it was leased in perpetuity to the Pennsylvania Railroad, becoming the Kinkora Branch after a complicated series of mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies early in its existence. It officially opened in 1872.

Image: Jobstown Station, Springfield Township Historical Society
Just nine years into its existence, about 3 miles of the line were abandoned between Lewistown and New Lisbon at the line's south end. The line rarely served much in the way of traffic until World War I, when its proximity to Fort Dix allowed it to transport troops to/from the base. World War II would once again enhance the line's viability for much the same reason.

After the Second World War, traffic declined once again, but the line would survive until the Penn Central Railroad petitioned for its abandonment in 1971. Abandonment was not granted until Conrail had assumed Penn Central's operations, finally ending the Kinkora Branch in 1982.

Image: Ben Kranefeld, "Though not the original underpass under Rt 130, the Kinkora Branch untilized this route under the state hwy. This newer concrete bridge was created in hopes of creating a "Rails to Trails" pathway" RR Picture Archives


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