Wall Township in Monmouth County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Stone Blocks from the Camden and Amboy Railroad
These stone blocks, which were cut by hand by prisoners at Sing Sing Prison, were originally intended to support wooden rails, topped with iron straps, as was common practice at the time (c. 1830). This would have sufficed if the traffic consisted of light, horse-drawn vehicles. One of the founders, Robert Stevens, intending to use locomotive power, realized that iron rails would be needed to support the greater weight involved, set about designing the first “T” rails, similar to those currently in use. After much trial and error, the first iron rails were rolled in Wales, and shipped to Bordentown, where construction began. Stevens also designed the hook-headed spike, similar to those still in use today, to anchor the rails in place.
At one point, the stone blocks could not be supplied fast enough to keep up with construction, so rails had to be laid on wooden cross-ties, just as is currently done. This proved to be a great improvement, being not only more cost-effective, but also resulting in a track which kept its line and surface better, and was smoother riding and less damaging to the rolling stock. In this way, the basics of modern railroad design and construction could be attributed to the early experiences of the Camden and Amboy Railroad.
The C & A, through its manipulations of the State Legislature
For further enlightenment, read “Railroads in New Jersey, the Formative Years”, by John T. Cunningham. ISBN 0-89359-015-0.
These stone blocks were recovered near Hightstown, N.J., where they had remained buried under a railroad embankment for many years.
Erected by New Jersey Museum of Transportation and the Pine Creek Railroad.
Location. 40° 9.552′ N, 74° 7.834′ W. Marker is in Wall Township, New Jersey, in Monmouth County. Marker can be reached from County Route 524, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located in the NJ Museum of Transportation, Pine Creek Railroad in Allaire State Park. Marker is in this post office area: Farmingdale NJ 07727, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 3-Sided Watchman’s Shanty (within shouting distance of this marker); Freneau Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Newsstand (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); PRR Watchman’s Shanty (about 400 feet away); Allentown Station Church (about 700 feet away); Songs Of The Season (approx. 0.2 miles away); Allaire Village (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Wall Township.
Also see . . . A History of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation and the Pine Creek Railroad. The New Jersey Museum of Transportation website. (Submitted on March 4, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 573 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on March 4, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.