It’s hard to talk about the town of Manville without talking about the railroads. Awhile back I posted a photo of a Lehigh Valley steam engine passing through the Main street railroad intersection. This photo was an important one, when talking about the esthetic history of the town as well as the industrial one. Geographically Manville is sort of nestled in between two lines of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroads as you can see in the map above…
If you look at the map and find the area where the red and green lines connect just southwest of bound brook you will be looking at Port Reading Junction… right next to the current Manville Yard. If you can imagine a line going south from Finderne that would pretty much be Main Street. The “green” line that heads southwest was a shortline called the Deleware & Bound Brook, which served the Weston-Manville stop. The Deleware & Bound Brook Passenger line provided easy access to West Trenton Junction and Bound Brook where you could get a connection to New York City or Philadelphia. The “red” line going west is the Lehigh Valley Line, which passes through the center of town… and served Johns Manville and the Main Street Train station. The other green line to the north is the line that served the Manville Finderne Station and also provided easy access to New York… this passenger line still runs, but service was shut down to the stop in 2006. At some point in the 70’s all three abandoned stations were still standing… here are some photos. These are all by Bob Pinnisi… again I hope he doesnt mind, but these are great photos.
MAIN STREET L.V. DEPOT (WAS ON THE LEFT OF THAT ABANDONED STREET BETWEEN THE CHESTER HOUSE AND THE TRACKS)
It’s hard for me to understand why there isn’t a single passenger line serving Manville at the moment given all the tracks around town. Someone told me that they were talking about starting service up again, but I just haven’t seen anything serious happening. Growing up in Manville the trains become ingrained in you… it’s the way of life. I lived across the street from the tracks most of my life, watching freight trains go by every day… I used to dream about where they were going… later in life I got on one and found out. When I moved out of my old house I had a hard time sleeping without the proverbial late night rumbling. When it comes down to it Manville’s relationship with the railroads was crucial, amazing, and occasionally a burden… overall I believe that Manville could not have flourished as a town or a player in the industrial revoloution without them. Here is one last photo by Neal Ranauro…
A LEHIGH VALLEY STEAM ENGINE PULLING THROUGH THE MAIN STREET INTERSECTION (PRE-UNDERPASS)