The Texas and New Jersey Railroad

The Texas & New Jersey Railroad (The Jersey Line) is a mythical railroad which has its main terminals in Dallas, Texas and Flemington, New Jersey. With a long history, it is a mixed passenger and freight line, moving bagels, breadcrumbs, other Italian necessities, cranky people, and Shih-Tzus from New Jersey to Texas on an (rather) irregular schedule. It went into service in 2000 and ended in 2002, when the main passenger relocated to Dallas. The original services were seasonal, Southbound in the Fall, and Northbound in the Spring.

There are three main lines on the original TX&NJ – the Northern Line, the Southern Line and the original Jersey Line, which routed through much of Tennessee. The routes were later extended by the Texas & Ohio (history), the Texas Central (history) and the Texas Coastal.

Because the main passenger was an Italian grandmother who refused to fly (with a Shih-Tzu in tow),  and there was no obvious ocean route, airlines and cruise ships were out of the question, This left railroads (and Amtrak did not allow pets at that time, and the Shih-Tzu really couldn’t fake being a service animal) or the automobile. She did not have a drivers license, so we drove. (If only Uber had been around.)

When spending hours in a garlic-scented automobile, crawling through torrential rain in Tennessee with 18-wheelers sliding towards you, and the grandmother’s daughter screaming “Look out!” every twelve seconds, it’s easy to imagine what it would be like to just be able to ride the train station-to-station.

In 2014, another grandmother decided she didn’t want to fly by herself any longer, and so the Texas Central railroad was put back into service to accommodate this traffic. This relocated the Southern terminus about 350 miles south, to D’Hanis, TX. The Texas Central had been in use from the 1960s to the 1970s, but was supplanted by Southwest Airlines. Reintroducing service on the Texas Central added kolaches and sausages to the freight manifests.

In 2015, the Texas Central began providing services to Houston and Galveston on the Coastal Line, interconnecting with Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line routes to the Western Caribbean. These were the first intermodal route in the line.

In 2018, yet another grandmother (who used to bring her Mom on the Jersey Line) decided driving to see her grandkids would be “fun” or “an adventure.”  This created the Texas & Ohio which added a second northern terminus in Cedarville, Ohio. The Cedarville Line follows the Jersey Line to Nashville, and then heads north on new trackage to Ohio. (The existing Northern Line passes within twenty-five miles or so of Cedarville, which was an interesting coincidence, so there is a new spur line from Columbus to Cedarville to provide an alternate route.)

You will notice that since this is a private railroad, it was not required to take passengers to Chicago before going anywhere else. This saved time and money.