A History of the Whippany Railway Museum

“Preserving New Jersey’s Railroad History… Since 1965”

The Whippany Railway Museum has been bringing to life the history of New Jersey’s railroads to the public since 1965. However, the Museum’s age belies its heritage. The Museum is built upon over 50 years of preservation experience.

In 1965, Whippany was home to the Morris County Central, a steam tourist railroad.

Several employees and volunteers of the MCC banded together and cofounded the Morris County Central Railroad Museum. This group began displaying a small collection of railroad memorabilia in one half of the Morristown & Erie freight house, which at that time was directly alongside the stone passenger station.

In 1967, the excursion railroad funded the movement of the freight house across four tracks to its present site across from the passenger station.

From 1967 to 1973, the freight house and Museum were enjoyed by thousands of visitors who came to ride the excursion trains. However, a change was to take place: the Morris County Central decided to move its tourist operations to Newfoundland, NJ. The small Museum followed suit, and in 1974 was in operation again.

Now known as the Pequannock Valley Transportation Museum, it was based out of a converted railroad refrigerator car.

The economics of the late 1970’s had an adverse effect on the Morris County Central, and it ran its last train at the end of 1980. The Museum stayed on, however, but by the beginning of 1983, PVTM members were actively looking for a new home, preferably in a railroad structure.

The old museum building at Whippany was immediately considered, but its condition was one of extreme deterioration. Badly vandalized and covered with weeds, it was scheduled to be demolished. Undaunted, the members approached the Morristown & Erie Railway and received permission to rebuild the structure.

Much work was undertaken: the building was lifted up off its old foundation and placed on new firm cribbing. The loading platform was rebuilt, and inside and outside walls were refinished. By January of 1984, the last of the PVTM’s property was moved back down to Whippany. At the time, the Museum was reorganized as the Whippany Railway Museum to better reflect its new location. Work continued – painting, setting up the Gift Shop, creating displays – all throughout 1984 and 1985.

Finally, on October 26, 1985, the newly rebuilt Whippany Railway Museum held its Grand Opening to an enthusiastic public.

The Whippany Railway Museum has shown that it is indeed possible to have a quality operation through much hard work and the tremendous positive support of the public.

We hope to continue in our objective of preserving the history of railroading for generations to come, and we thank you for your continued support of the Museum – without it, we would cease to exist!