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About Us

The Story Of Black River & Western Railroad

a train on a steel track

Black River & Western Railroad

Black River & Western Railroad is an independently owned and operated Class III common-carrier railroad located in rural Hunterdon County New Jersey. From South to North, the railroad connects the towns of Lambertville, Ringoes, Flemington, and Three Bridges. Freight is interchanged with the Norfolk Southern Railway at Three Bridges.

Black River & Western Railroad is part of the Black River Railroad System (BDRV) which operates freight services on several shortline railroads in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as locomotive leasing throughout the United States. It is the little-railroad-that-could, serving the community for over 50 years!


Black River & Western Railroad was founded in the early 1960s by a group of friends with an interest in steam railroading. The first passenger trains between Flemington and Ringoes operated under a lease agreement with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Eventually, the Black River & Western Railroad purchased the line from Lambertville to Flemington, and later added the former Central Railroad of New Jersey line from Flemington to Three Bridges. Once Black River & Western Railroad owned the railroad outright, we got into the freight business!

a vintage photo of an old train engine

a group of people standing next to a train

Black River Railroad Historical Trust

The Black River Railroad Historical Trust (BRRHT) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which manages the public passenger trains and events on the Black River & Western Railroad. While we are independent, we work closely with the railroad in order to fulfill our mission to preserve railroad history and educate the public about railroading.

All passenger trains are staffed by the volunteer railroaders of the BRRHT. You can join the organization with no prior railroad experience and take advantage of our comprehensive training program to learn all railroad crafts, including maintenance of way, train service positions, equipment restoration and more. Interested in joining? You may click here to get started!


Black River & Western Railroad has been a fixture of Hunterdon County for over 50 years – and the rail line has been in continuous operation for over 160 years! That’s a lot of history to keep track of – but the resident historians do a great job! The next time you ride a Black River & Western Railroad train to Ringoes, NJ, don’t forget to stop by the museum car.

The museum is housed in Central Railroad of New Jersey baggage car #420,, right next to Ringoes Station. Inside, displays and artifacts tell the story of the volunteer railroaders who keep Black River & Western Railroad alive, the railroad and transportation history of Hunterdon County, and so much more. There’s even an operating model railroad!

a train on a steel track