MONTVALE, N.J. – Today, Montvale is known as one of the last stops on N.J. Transit‘s Pascack Valley Line, but the town has an interesting railroad history dating to the early 1870s.

The origins of what is today the Pascack Valley Line date to 1856 when the Hackensack and New York Railroad (H&NY) was chartered. In 1871, the railroad extended its line to Montvale; it later reached Haverstraw, N.Y., but the line today terminates in Spring Valley, N.Y.

Interestingly, Montvale was not incorporated until 1894, when the town’s 300 residents seceded from Washington Township.

“Why the town fathers wanted independence is unclear,” The New York Times quoted the Borough Historian as saying in 1990. “At the time, so many little railroad stops were incorporating in the area that the newspapers regarded it as a disease, which they called boroughitis.”

Notable Happenings

  • May 2, 1892: A train struck a carriage, sending a man and his granddaughter flying, though neither was hurt
  • March 28, 1894: A New Jersey and New York Railroad train ran over a teamster who apparently fell asleep on the tracks about 500 yards south of the station
  • Oct. 11, 1921: The passenger station was practically destroyed by fire; a newspaper account of the time indicates an arsonist may have set the fire
  • 1927: The Erie Railroad sued a Montvale woman for $1.03 (a 92-cent fare and 11 cents in interest) when she boarded a train on Dec. 30, 1925, without her commutation card and did not pay the fare; a friend of the woman paid the fare about two months after the railroad filed the action

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