Although the grading of the road from Bordentown to Camden had been commenced in the summer of 1831, work on that end of the line was abandoned for about two years, the entire construction force being put on the work between Bordentown and South Amboy.
The road from Bordentown to Hightstown was completed by the middle of September, 1832, and from Hightstown to South Amboy in the December following. The “deep cut” at South Amboy, and the curves of the track there, gave the civil engineers great trouble.
THE FIRST AMERICAN STANDARD TRACK.
The laying of the track through the “deep cut” led to an event of great importance to future railway construction. The authorities at Sing Sing having failed to deliver the stone blocks rapidly enough, Mr. Stevens ordered hewn wooden cross ties to be laid temporarily, and the rail to be directly spiked thereto. A number of these ties were laid on the sharpest curves in the cut. They showed such satisfactory properties when the road began to be operated that they were permitted to remain, and the stone blocks already in the track were replaced by wooden ties as rapidly as practicable. Without doubt the piece of track in “deep cut” was the first in the world to be laid according to the present American practice of spiking the rail directly to the cross tie.
THE LINE OPENED BETWEEN BORDENTOWN AND SOUTH AMBOY.
Among the memoranda compiled by Benjamin Fish, published in his memoir, I find the following:
“First cars were put on the Camden and Amboy Railroad September 19, 1832. They were drawn by two horses. They took the directors and a few friends from Bordentown to Hightstown and back.
“On December 17, 1832,
the first passengers were taken from
Bordentown through to South Amboy. Fifty or sixty people went.
It was a rainy day.
“On January 24, 1833,
the first freight cars were put on the
railroad. There were three cars, drawn by one horse each, with
six or seven thousand pounds of freight on each car.
“Freight came from New York by steam boat to South Amboy. I drove the first car, John Twine drove the second car and Edmund Page the third one. We came to the Sand Hills (near Bordentown) by railroad, there loaded the goods on wagons (it was winter, and the river was frozen over), arriving in Philadelphia by sunrise next morning. The goods left New York at 12 o’clock, noon. This was done by the old firm of Hill, Fish & Abbe.”
Immediately after the road from Bordentown to South Amboy was completed, and as late as the summer of 1833, passengers were brought from Philadelphia to the wharf at White Hill by steamboat, and from there were rapidly driven to Amboy. Two horses were hitched to each car, and as they were driven continuously on the run, three changes of horses were required, the finest horses obtainable being purchased for this purpose. The time consumed in crossing the State (thirty-four miles) was from two and a half to three hours.