This postcard representation of the Plainfield Train Station was postmarked in 1906. It shows a locomotive from the Central Railroad of New Jersey, also commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines, passing between the east- and westbound stations at the Plainfield site located on Watchung Avenue between East Fifth and East Seventh streets.
Crossties, the transverse members that support the rails and hold them in alignment, were originally untreated timbers. Although concrete ties have become more common, the majority of new ties are wood treated with creosote or some other preservative injected under pressure.
In installations made early in the 20th century in the suburbs of New York City, power is distributed by means of a third rail. This method is still used on some railroads, although it limits power to 600 volts and live rail is dangerous. Today, on more than 95 percent of electrified railroads in the world, current is collected from overhead wires. The circuit is completed through the running rails, which must be grounded.