Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Clamtown Sail Car

While researching the Tuckerton Railroad, I came across an amusing legend. Until 1886, nearby Long Beach Island was reached by boat. A few small steamers plied the area, ferrying people from the mainland to the Island. To better accommodate customers, the Tuckerton Railroad ran a spur line from the Tuckerton - Parkersville area to Edge Cove on the Bay. Steamboats such as the Pohatcong and Barclay took passengers from the Cove to Long Beach Island. Edge Cove was also used by baymen to bring their catches of fish, clams and oysters ashore. Because of the abundant shellfish, Turckerton had at one time been called Clamtown.

Regular rail service on the Tuckerton commenced in 1872.

Demand for a railroad connection started the long process of building a rail link to the island Several attempts were considered. The Pennsylvania Railroad reorganized its Pemberton and Sea shore Railroad charter in 1879. This allowed the effort for a rail link to begin. The link ran from Manahawkin to Barnegat City Junction on Long Beach. From there, the line ran North to Barnegat City and south to Beach Haven. The completed line ended a need for steamboat ferries from Edge Cove. As a result ,the Edge Cove spur was abandoned in 1886.

According to the local legend, some of the baymen fitted an abandoned flat car with a mast and a sail. The "Clamtown Sail Car" used wind power to run from Edge Cove to Tuckerton. They used it to haul their catch. Apparently, the thing ran for severle years until someone took it on an unauthorized trip and wrecked the sailcar.

The track from Tuckerton to Edge Cove remained in place for many years. A photo here circa 1890 shows a family riding an old side car drawn by a horse toward Edge Cove. There must have been a few pieces of obsolete rolling stock abandoned by the railroad.

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