#1161 and #1166 are both all steel 72ft suburban coaches built for the Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1927. Of the 544 similar coaches owned by the CNJ, they are part of the 115 built by the Harlan & Hollingsworth/Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Wilmington, DE. The coaches were used for commuter service throughout the CNJ system in NJ and PA.
Ownership of #1161 was known to be transferred from the Central Railroad of New Jersey to the Central Railroad of Pennsylvania from 1946 to 1952. This was to avoid New Jersey Tax on equipment used in Pennsylvania.
In the late 1970’s both coaches were bought by the Steamtown Foundation in Bellows Falls, VT before being relocated to Scranton, PA in 1984-1985. While the coaches were used in excursion service in Bellows Falls, it is believed that they were out of service before they left for Scranton. Sometime after going out of service the majority of #1166’s wood interior was ripped out, along with various other parts from both coaches.
In the early 2000’s the coaches were bought by Railway Restoration Project 113 in Minersville, PA. The plan was to restore them and run them with their steam locomotive CNJ 113.
Soon after the Allentown and Auburn Railroad acquired the lease for the railroad in 2013, both coaches were bought from Project 113. Work began right away on the more complete coach, #1161. The car proudly wears the Reading’s two tone green paint scheme, while still being lettered for the Allentown and Auburn Railroad.
ALLN 1161, while still a work in progress, has been used on almost every passenger trip on the railroad since its debut on September 24, 2016. ALLN 1166 sits in storage till time, money, and parts permit a proper restoration.