The Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc. is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey's rich railroad heritage. As a chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS), and a founding member group of the United Railroad Historical Society of New Jersey , Tri-State is a team player in railroad preservation both at the state and national levels.
To PRESERVE and RESTORE historic railroad equipment, documents, and artifacts.
To COLLECT and PUBLISH written railroad history.
To ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT the increased use of rail transportation.
To PROVIDE a monthly membership forum for ideas and projects.
What we do:
Tri-State volunteers get their hands dirty restoring real-life pieces of history. Our collection of cabooses has been masterfully restored by volunteers so that they can operate and haul passengers, which they have done at the Whippany Railway Museum and the annual Rockaway Days celebration. Our Lackawanna F3 no. 663 hauls passengers on a regular basis for the National Park Service at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA. Restoration projects, like our bay window Erie caboose, are always ongoing and need motivated volunteers to work on them in Boonton, NJ.
The Block Line, Tri-State's newsmagazine, has been a staple in New Jersey railroad preservation for four decades. Researchers, writers, and photographers are always encouraged to participate in the production of articles and features for our magazine. Tri-State also continues to publish and reprint several railroad history books that provide a more in-depth analysis of the railroad heritage of the Garden State.
Tri-State hosts public events which bring together both our members and the railroad enthusiast community. Tri-State holds monthly membership meetings at the Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre in Morristown, NJ that feature an hour of railroad-oriented entertainment, guest speakers, and photography exhibitions. Between excursion trains, our annual "Tri-State Train Show," and events we participate in via the URHS, Tri-State keeps an active public presence. Our major annual fundraiser is our Santa Train in December in Wayne, NJ, which is staffed by volunteers and, of course, Santa himself. Tri-State has also sponsored several local youths to attend NRHS Railcamp.
Tri-State RHS began in 1964, with a few members meeting in a railroad freight house. The society grew to become the largest NRHS chapter in the late 1970s, and its activities often broke new ground among similar groups. Tri-State was the first in the area to preserve a working locomotive, Lackawanna F3 #663, which is housed at Steamtown National Historical Site in Scranton, PA. Tri-State was the first in the area to identify, procure, and save equipment significant to New Jersey. Today, many of these pieces of equipment remain in Tri-State's collection as part of the over 100 historic locomotives and cars preserved in New Jersey.