Shifting sands uncovered a rusty relic on a Cape May County beach last week.
A portion of railroad tracks surfaced on Sunset Beach along the Delaware Bay in Lower Township, N.J. after being buried by sand decades ago.
They last appeared in November 2014 (the gallery above contains images from that time).
The tracks comprising the Cape May Point Branch of the Atlantic City Royal Route were used to transport sand from a Cape May Sand Company plant in the early 1900s, according to local historian W. George Cook.
Years later, officials in Cape May stopped the company from shipping sand off the beach at Cape May Point, fearing that it was the reason why the swimming beach was disappearing, Cook said.
But that wasn’t the case, he said.
“The stopping of the railroad shipment did not change the natural movement of sand that moved away from the beaches from Sewell Point to Cape May Point,” said Cook. “Nature changes things just like this one storm that exposed the trestle track work.”
The wood pilings connected to a trestle are likely buried under the exposed railroad tracks, the historian added.
The discovery has become a tourist attraction, generating a flurry of off-season activity over the Thanksgiving holiday, according to postings on the Facebook group, Cool Cape May.
“So grateful to have had the opportunity to witness these tracks today before they disappear again,” Kaitlynn Hammerstein wrote in the group.
Click above to listen to a radio report on the railroad tracks from November 2014.