The city of Boonton, New Jersey, was not the first location in the area to gain railroad access - quite the opposite. The station in this quiet city was completed in 1867, more than 25 years after many of the nearby population centers. Labeled "The Boonton Branch of the Morris & Essex RR", it dead-ended in Boonton and was just under five miles long. An entry from a Morristown newspaper, August 29th, 1867, documented its completion: "The branch road from Denville to Boonton, four and three quarter miles long, and as crooked as a ram's horn, is now in running order."
Today the station is a forgotten relic, replaced by a modern facility a mere stones throw away. The silence of the place is thick, but regularly shattered by the occasional passing of a train on the still-active tracks. Defunct train cars litter the yard. Why they have come here to die is not obvious, and many have pondered their existence for some time, given what little information available on the subject. Many speculated that perhaps these old cars were simply stored in a convenient place, or someone thought their placement would serve to keep the place from becoming an eyesore. The truth is a bit more strange, but no more logical. These brightly colored cars are what remains of a failed business venture wherein small shops were to operate out of the remodeled railway cars. On paper it sounds like a novel idea, but in practice it was far from. Though shops did operate for a short period, the limitations of using a rail-car to house a business were many, with key issues being awkward floor-plans, and less-than-ideal security on the cars when locked up for the evening.
It's now all abandoned, and the atmosphere of the station has taken on a surreal, unpleasant quality. The decrepit cars, bound in overgrowth, sit rusting to the tracks looking more-or-less as one would imagine a train would look whose destination was a child's nightmare, or perhaps the sunken city of R'lyeh.
The old landing canopy is more holes than roof.
The hazy winter sky blotted out the sun to an eerie white circular glow.
This car was full of trash, but those ceiling fans...
A view of the old station under clearing skies, taken from a nearby overpass.
In the spring of 2011 the city of Boonton destroyed and removed the derelict cars from the old station.