28 October 2008

1923 Hillsborough Commuter Train

In the 1920s, the Lehigh Valley Railroad still had regularly scheduled passenger service between Easton, PA and New York City - including their signature "Black Diamond Express" whose only intermediate stop was at South Plainfield.

Hillsborough commuters had a choice of two station stops for boarding - Flagtown or South Somerville (previously named Royce Valley) - and you had to be on time because there was only one train each morning that stopped at these stations.

The train left Flagtown at 7:00 AM and South Somerville at 7:06, and arrived in New York at 8:43. The return trip in the evening was 3 minutes faster as the 5:22 PM train got into Flagtown at 7:02 PM.

Check out this schedule from 1923!


  1. It takes 75 to 85 minutes today to get from Somerville to NY Penn. At least in 80 some years we’ve make the trip quicker. If building a train station in Hillsborough is going to be successful I think they should make a goal of getting to NYPenn in under an hour! That means no transfer in Newark, less congestion on the lines, and fewer stops.

  2. Mike - I like your idea, but that would really take some doing!

    A better bet would be to somehow have Newark become a commuter destination again - the way Jersey City is for a lot of people in the financial area. If Newark were a place that people wanted to go to work and shop and entertain themselves - like they do in New York - then the West Trenton Line AND the Flemington Branch would both be instantly viable, with Newark reachable in less than an hour! Imagine two stations in Hillsborough, just like a century ago.