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Newfoundland Station

In a key scene early in the novel, my hero railroad cop is heading to a place called Newfoundland Station to investigate a call of suspicious characters hanging out at the old depot.  This station is another “real” location detailed in the novel.  Here it is:

 

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This depot has been in this location since 1874!  That is very notable, as wood-framed buildings of that age in northern New Jersey simply didn’t survive as long as this one has, and almost no railroad structures of that age have continued to survive at the same location along the tracks that they had served.  Many times, depots are relocated away from the tracks as the track owners simply don’t want to be responsible for the structure, or be liable for any persons potentially being injured, or be liable for the property taxes levied on the structure.  Better to tear something like this down than leave it there, even if it’s unused.

The owner of this structure was the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad.  it saw very little use as a passenger station after World War 2.  It, along with several depots along the way, were sold off to be used by private individuals for whatever they wanted to use the depot as.  This depot went through several owners over the years.  It was used in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as the base for a steam tourist railroad operation, the legendary Morris County Central.  After the demise of that operation, the depot sat dormant, and was used as an office and a storage shed. It was then used as the focal point of the film The Station Agent, an offbeat story about a train enthusiast, who also happened to be a dwarf, who lived in the station after inheriting it from his friend, and the fellow lonely people he meets in the area.  Purchased again shortly after that film, the depot underwent a complete interior reconstruction, turning it into a studio-type apartment.  It continues to survive today, used by train enthusiasts as a focal point for gatherings, slide shows, and yes even a wedding, where the wedding party arrived aboard vintage track inspection vehicles!  This depot is a true Jersey survivor, weathering the ups, downs and rebirths of the railroad it once served, and is one of those unsung jewels of the state.  Naturally, this great little old structure had to be included in my novel. Rock on, Newfoundland depot!  May you stand another 140 years!

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