Monday, August 3, 2009

The Summer Station - Cape May, NJ

Wouldn't you love to get off a train and be facing the beautiful Cape May beach? Back in the day the City of Cape May had two stations and you could step off the train and be within walking distance to the surf. ( there was a second competing railroad line but it is not part of this post or story)

The Jackson Street Winter station, which was located in the vicinity of the current day strip mall near the eastern end of the Washington Street pedestrian mall, ran a spur to Grant Street and Beach Drive. The Grant Street Station or the Summer Station as it was known was in operation during the summer season until the early part of the twentieth century.

It was a bit complicated but when the powerful West Jersey and Seashore Railroad ( owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad ) took over control of major train service to Cape May they compensated the smaller Cape May, Delaware Bay and Sewell's Point Railroad by permitting them to run the 0.63 mile track connection between the Winter Station and the Summer Station on Grant Street at the beach. The Cape May, Delaware Bay and Sewell's Point Railroad owned and operated the electric trolley tracks that ran from the steamboat landing on Cape May Point ( Sunset Beach ), past the lighthouse, along the boardwalk to Sewell's Point in eastern Cape May. You can see the trolley and tracks in many vintage photos of the Cape May beach or boardwalk.

I am posting two great images here. The first is the actual Grant Street or Summer Station at the beach when it was in operation. The second is an aerial shot of Cape May from approximately 1926 where you can see the station near the beach in the lower center of the photograph. If you look carefully you can see the Winter Station in the center of the image and follow the tracks from one station to the other. Must have been something to experience.