Choo choo choosing a home with personality

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:49

    Bill Halliday and Glory Hurley didn't see an old train station on Route 23 and Green Pond Road, they saw a home. They moved into the old Newfoundland building last July, and are hard at work to make it their comfortable, if slightly offbeat, living quarters. They currently rent the property from Bill Jentz, Glory's brother who has owned the property for 15 years, but are hoping to purchase it in the future. "We love it here, and it fits our personalities, states Glory. It has a ‘calming' effect. It's dripping with nostalgia, it's unique and old-fashioned, and there's a lot that we can do to make it even more comfortable than it is right now." It hasn't been lived in for a long time. Until about 15 or 20 years ago it was used as an antique, but mostly it's been vacant in recent years. In 2002 the building gained celebrity status when the independent film "The Station Agent" was filmed there. "We get a lot of visitors because of that, and we're not at all bothered by people stopping to take pictures. And, we get two or three Susquehanna freight trains passing through each day, and they're no problem at all either," according to Bill. Glory mentions that there are a lot of former railroad buildings being used for private homes or businesses. "In Closter, the former train depot has been completely renovated as a private residence with second floor bedrooms and 2.5 baths, but the basic building is somewhat larger than ours. People are doing these conversions for many reasons n their unique, one-of-a-kind architecture is the main reason, but also, the shortage of available housing is a factor too. Former churches and barns are potential restaurants, stores and residences also." The Newfoundland station is about 140 years old, and is thought to be the oldest train station in New Jersey. Situated on an acre of land, there are several other original outbuildings for equipment storage, ticket sales and a pump house. On a sidetrack, there are two cabooses, one that has been completely renovated for additional living space, the other not yet reconditioned. The concrete framework of the water tower is still standing. Bill is considering some creative possibilities for it. "It's not for everyone n with trains coming through here daily, it could be dangerous for a family with small children" added Glory. "The station is just 650 square feet, with an open floor plan and that's not enough space for a larger family. There's an attic, but we don't know yet if it can be used to expand the living space," said Bill.