Approximate time: 4 hours
This series of 7 boxes is located near stations on the light rail service in South Jersey which runs from Camden to Trenton. The series is designed to be searched for while a passenger on the train, and the train’s ticket system easily allows this: park your car in one of the lots (many offer free parking, check in advance), purchase a ticket on the platform, validate it, and then you can ride the train for 2 hours. The ticket price is very reasonable – a fraction of a gallon of gas – and so though you have to buy two tickets to find all the boxes, it is still cheaper than driving from box to box. Plus, you can take the time to enjoy the scenery without the hassle of finding each station (trust us, it’s MUCH easier on the train!). If you want to make a day of the search, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes near some of the stations. Build in some time to explore the neat towns and other attractions you can reach via the rail!
You will need to do a little research to figure out where each box is hidden. They are not necessarily in order on the train map, as we placed these while riding the train and hopped around a little from north to south depending on which train came first.
A note about the finished image: this light rail service does not run at night, because freight trains use the same track. The stamp image is an homage to freight trains and a family favorite board book of the same name. The stamps are designed to link together to form a total image of 8 inches in length, with the caboose on the left and the engine on the right.
*** The majority of these boxes are in urban-type locations. The use of stealth is a must, given that you might have people on the platform or general vicinity (including the drivers of connecting buses) who have nothing better to do than watch you. To help with the stealth aspect, we have only included a logbook in the “Black Steam Engine” box, though this series counts as 7 separate finds (in case that matters to you). Each box has its own ink pad. Please be careful and rehide well.
Red Caboose Box
Did you catch a glimpse of Palmyra Cove Nature Center from the train? This station is located just south of the nature center and the bridge it is under. Once in the station, you will see a large detention basin in the parking lot, directly opposite the platform as you are facing south. The entire basin is surrounded by a guard rail. Walk to the far right corner of the basin. The box is hidden in the guard rail, in the corner on the south side.
Orange Tank Car Box: RETIRED
Due to construction around the park, this box has been retired until the renovations are completed.
Yellow Hopper Car Box
This town was the home of the Philadelphia Watch Case Company, once an internationally-renowned producer of watch cases. Unfortunately, as the popularity of pocket watches waned, so did the fortunes of this company, and you can see the ruin of the building next to the station where this box is located. Once off the train, head towards the station’s parking lot east of the station. In the back left corner of the parking lot (due east), you will see a pair of evergreen bushes. This box is hidden at the base of the left-hand tree.
Green Cattle Car Box
The name of this station derives from an Indian word which means “sweet water”; the reference was to a grove of sugar maples which used to be in the township. From the west end of the platform, sight 300 degrees across the street to a four-trunked tree set slightly back from the road. The box is hidden in the center of the tree.
Blue Gondola Car Box
The historical highlight of this township is the company town where the Black Tender Box is located. The station named for the township wherein the company town is found is located near a non-descript industrial park. After getting off the train, walk to the parking lot located to the north of the tracks (usually less used than the one to the south, with many tire tracks to attest to its attraction for local teen-agers). There is only one light pole located on the eastern edge of this parking lot. Ten steps at 60 degrees from the light pole is a pine tree. The box is lodged in the branches of this tree, about five feet from the ground.
Purple Box Car Box
This city was the first recorded European settlement in New Jersey and, as you might imagine, has the historical chops to match such a distinction. It served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and was the site of many firsts. You will want to look in the south for this box, but if you have time, don’t neglect the center for many sites of historical significance (a great map online will help you find 40+ places, all within one square mile). Once you are done touring this amazing city, get off the train in the south and cross the street toward a tributary of the Delaware River. Once across the street, sight 200 degrees to a tree with 10 trunks. The box is in the hollow in the middle of all the trunks.
Black Tender Box
Stop at the station that is located in a former company town; the company in question made steel cable used in the Brooklyn Bridge and many other projects. The company was a major employer in Trenton but needed a larger facility, and so built its huge plant on former farmland south of the city. After disembarking the train, climb the hill located to the north of the parking lot to get a better view of the amazing former manufacturing plant, now a fenced-off superfund site. You will see two water towers; turn toward the one on the left, and go down the hill to the corner of the fence located closest to that tower. An animal has made a tunnel under the fence. Reach through the tunnel and to the right. The box is hidden in the grass on the other side of the fence.
Black Steam Engine Box: REPLACED 1/29/07
Napolean Bonaparte’s brother, Joseph, built a mansion named Point Breeze in this town. Disembark at the station and walk through the parking lot to the adjacent road. (Don’t miss the great weathervane/sculptures at the end of the platform; our favorite was the “Trenton Makes” bridge.) Make a left on the road, towards the Delaware River. Cross under the train tracks. Once you are out in the open again, glance to your left. A large stone block is sitting next to the embankment, just before the stream. The box is hidden under the SE corner of the block and some rocks. You can use the block to stamp in but please be careful when retrieving and rehiding as there is a strong police and muggle presence in the area. (Ask us how we know.)