Tour of SMS Rail Lines Locomotive Shop in Bridgeport, South Jersey

an Oliver Evans Chapter/SIA event

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Time: 10:30 am – noonish
Place: SMS Rail Service, 513 Sharptown Road, Logan Township, NJ 08085

Number of attendees is LIMITED, so advance registration is required. To register, please send email to Reese Davis at, or call him at 610-692-4456.

Paul Harland, director of passenger operations, will show us over the coal-fired ALCO No. 9 steam locomotive and talk about the work that has been done in the locomotive shop to restore the engine to service for a tourist operation through Salem County.

The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Co. in Schenectady, NY, in 1942, and was used to move military freight at Fort Dix, NJ. Retired by the U.S. Army in 1958, No. 9 was sold to Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (VBR) and was used in Virginia in freight service till 1964. Subsequently, it was purchased for tourist service on the New Hope & Ivyland RR (NH&I) in Pennsylvania, where it ran on and off until about 1981. In the mid-1990s the NH&I put No. 9 up for sale—and in 2009 Jeff Sutch, president of SMS Rail Lines, purchased it. Jeff Sutch, a lifelong railroader, had run the engine in the 1970s at the NH&I and had a soft spot for the locomotive.

Since then the engine has been restored at a cost of almost $1 million, in preparation for a return not only for freighting but also to pull tourists in restored antique cars, operating eventually as the Woodstown Central Railroad hauling passengers from Pilesgrove Twp to Swedesboro and back. The trips will commence at the end of this year, but on this tour we will get an early look at the engine before it leaves the shop. There is also a Baldwin diesel engine and passenger car in the shop.

Directions: From Philadelphia, cross the Walt Whitman Bridge and take 76 to 295 South. Stay on 295 for about 15 miles; take exit 10. At top of ramp take right fork toward Center Square and merge onto Center Square Road (County Rt 620); in about half a mile turn right onto Sharptown Road (Commerce Blvd is the left road—Sharptown Road on the right does not seem to be signposted) and continue to second driveway on the left after you cross the railroad tracks. There is a small sign for SMS there. (About 35-40 minutes)

From South Jersey, take 295 South to exit 10 toward Center Square then follow directions as above. (About 45 minutes from Burlington City)

From Philadelphia’s western suburbs, take 202 and 322 to cross the Commodore Barry Bridge. Once off the bridge, take 130 South for about 1.3 miles, then turn left onto High Hill Road and then, in about 1.8 miles, turn right onto Sharptown Road. The turn into SMS will be into the first of two conjoined driveways on your right, before the railroad lines. There is a small sign for SMS there. (About 35-40 minutes)