First-ever Phillipsburg Railroad Festival Celebrates 170 Years Since Rail Came to Town | Explore Warren


First-ever Phillipsburg Railroad Festival Celebrates 170 Years Since Rail Came to Town

Phillipsburg, NJ - Platinum Star Cleaning will present the first-ever Phillipsburg N.J. Railroad Festival, celebrating 170 years of railroad with music, food, vendors, and three walkable areas of railroad fun on Saturday, September 10, 2022, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The first railroad to arrive in Phillipsburg was the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ), which opened on July 2, 1852. Phillipsburg was once a major transportation hub, home to five major railroads with round houses and turntables as well as the Morris Canal.

Event presenter Aaron D. Coleman, who lives in Phillipsburg and owns Phillipsburg-based Platinum Star Cleaning, discovered in his research that the railroad was turning 170 years old this year. Coleman reached out to Mayor Todd Tersigni and said “We need to celebrate this historic milestone.” He then met with non-profit groups along the railroad and all were in agreement that a celebration was needed.

“I feel it's important for businesses to give back to the community and this is why I am presenting the event,” Coleman said.

Coleman is working on a plan he created to connect more than 51 acres of recreation from Walters Park to Delaware Park focusing on the town’s railroad heritage. In this master plan he hopes for a railroad museum, amphitheater, trolley rail service in the parks, and exhibits. “I believe promoting the rich railroad history with tourism is the revitalization Phillipsburg needs to bring back jobs and businesses,” Coleman remarked.

The festival, which will have three walkable areas, kicks off at 11 a.m. in Area 1, Shappell Park and the surrounding area, with food, crafts, vendors, exhibits and live music performed by Zaire. The mayors of Easton, PA and Phillipsburg, along with other officials from both states, will recognize the non-profit groups along the railroad, followed by a ribbon cutting celebrating 170 years of the rails coming to Phillipsburg.

Also nearby will be the Centerville and Southwestern Railroad (a.k.a. the Becker Farm Railroad), a miniature free train ride operated by the Phillipsburg Railroad Historians, and vintage buses on display from the Friends of the NJ Transportation Heritage Center. The National Museum of Industrial History (NMIH) in Bethlehem, PA is bringing TUG, the Museum's former Bethlehem Steel rubber-tired rail car mover to the Phillipsburg Railroad Festival. The park will also feature various train exhibitors and train vendors.

Area 2 is Phillipsburg Union Station, the former train station built in 1914. Currently under restoration, the station’s first floor will be open for tours with a photo exhibit of historic photos of the early days of the Phillipsburg Railroad and Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ). The station also will exhibit various antique railroad signs and artifacts. A short walk away is the Phillipsburg Union Tower. The former CNJ railroad switch tower in Phillipsburg has been undergoing a full restoration since 2007 with plans to be open for tours.

Area 3 is the location of Delaware River Railroad Excursions, where you can book a trip on The River Train, The Ol' Susquehanna Mine Train, or The Warren County Winery Train, beautiful rides on historic railroad equipment including an operating steam locomotive.

Free Trolley service will also be available from the Northampton Bridge also known as the Free Bridge to the Black Bridge which is near the train station. The festival will also
feature a “Then and Now” postcard card walk with enlarged vintage postcards placed in the areas where they were drawn.

Come and discover Phillipsburg’s rich railroad heritage and celebrate 170 years of railroad history!