The Forgotten Railways of Cape May, New Jersey
The Sometimes Train Tracks of Sunset Beach, as Atlas Obscura refers to them as, are old news to anyone whose followed abandoned railroad tracks for any length of time, but in 2014, it was one of the most fascinating stories I had followed that year. In that year, the railroad history of Cape May was revealed in the washing ashore of a former beach track of the Delaware Bay & Cape May Railroad. In low tides, the tracks have been revealed a couple times after their initial rediscovery as well.
The fact that railroad tracks could randomly appear on a beach with little explanation was an amazing thought to me, and definitely impacted my eventual study into the abandoned railroad network of the world. Even stranger, they aren't the only "sometimes train tracks"; the phenomena also occurred as recently as 1997 at Illinois Beach.
So what is the story behind these sometimes tracks, nearly seven years after they first erupted from the southern New Jersey sand?
|Beach Tracks in 2014 via WHYY|
|Image: Reading Electric Locomotive. I don't think this was the exact locomotive that was used here, though. App.com via Weird NJ|
|Right of way of the lines which terminated at the Cape May and Millville Railroad (in Blue). The CM&S ran east while the DB&CM ran to the west. Another unrelated spur in red inland is shown that was owned by the Reading Railroad.|