M&E HISTORY


The Morristown & Erie Railway is a short line freight railroad serving customers in Morris, Essex, and Union Counties in New Jersey.

For over a century, the Morristown & Erie Railway has maintained one slogan: "Service Is Our Business!" Today, the Morristown & Erie still follows that motto, offering shipping services catered to fit its customers' needs with the same personal attention and professionalism that the railroad was founded on.

The M&E traces its roots back to the four-mile Whippany River Railroad. Incorporated in 1895, the small railroad served the lucrative paper mills and industrial area between Whippany and Morristown. In 1902, the Whippany & Passaic River Railroad was incorporated to build east from Whippany six miles to Essex Fells, connecting there with the Erie Railroad. This gave the industries of Hanover access to two major railroads and the cost savings of competition. The Whippany & Passaic River Railroad and the Whippany River Railroad merged to form the Morristown & Erie Railroad in 1903.

In the coming decades, the railroad remained a well-run, profitable freight railroad. During the busy years, two crews were on duty six days a week on the tiny 10-mile line. With its continued success, the company became the only railroad in the United States to pay off all of its debts during the Great Depression.

Following World War II, trucking made more inroads into rail traffic, and some companies were simply closing or moving elsewhere. The conversion from steam to diesel locomotives in 1952 helped keep the M&E financially stable through the 1960s as business continued to decline. By the 1970s, the mills were shutting down, and shipments were dropping off. The railroad was hauling fewer than a dozen cars in a single week, and the M&E declared bankruptcy in 1978.

In 1982, four investors purchased the bankrupt railroad. The reorganized company was named the Morristown & Erie Railway, Inc. The new management revitalized the business, purchased new locomotives, and improved the track and facilities. With their efforts, the traffic began to return.

The M&E received permission to operate over New Jersey Transit's trackage in order to serve its new operating contracts for the Chester Branch (1983), the High Bridge Branch (1986), and the Dover & Rockaway Branch (1986). The M&E's most aggressive expansion occurred in 1995 when the M&E’s Bayshore Terminal Company became the contract switcher at the Bayway Refinery in Linden, NJ.

After over a century of operation, the Morristown & Erie is still dedicated to service. The M&E continues to do business with the same enthusiasm and good business practices that have served the company well since 1895.



For additional history of the Morristown & Erie and more early photos,
visit the Whippany Railroad Museum's page on our history!