Allentown and Auburn question

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Allentown and Auburn question

Postby frankgaron2 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:24 pm

It's a long shot but any chance anybody knows the exact route of the former Allentown and Auburn railroad west of Port Clinton where it crosses the Schuylkill River and heads towards Auburn?

I've been able to trace it to the eastern bank of the Schuylkill River a few miles west of Port Clinton and from there it seems to vanish into thin air. I literally have no idea what the alignment would've been from there on into Auburn.

We've been able to field inspect most all of the line from Allentown to Auburn with the exception of the last mile or so. You'd be surprised at how much of the right-of-way there still is to see.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, maps, photos, you name it!


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Re: Allentown and Auburn question

Postby pumpers » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:21 pm

Were any rails actually laid besides Topton to Kutztown? Nearly all that I know comes from the website of the current Allentown and Auburn tourist RR : . I just looked on a close up topo map (1:24000) from WIndsor Castle, and it shows the line as a dotted line (usually meaning abandoned) from there to the outskirts of Hamburg, with a tunnel just north of Windsor Castle. This must have been at least graded to get onto a topo map, I assume. Is the tunnel still there? But there are no dotted lines on modern topos , such as in Trexlertown, FWIW.

EDIT: More A&A details on another thread turned up using Google (by the original poster here!)
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Re: Allentown and Auburn question

Postby Nicolai3985 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:44 am

I use the "Lidar Hillshade" tool on the PASDA website to trace old railroad grades. Lines with cuts and fills stick out like sore thumbs, and even low-density branches on level ground can be seen with a little imagination and assistance from other sources.

Go to and zoom into your desired area. In the upper left corner of the page is the Display Imagery drop down. 5th from the bottom is Statewide Lidar Hillshade. Coverage is state-wide but dates back to the 2000-2010 period, so any newer construction is not reflected (for better or worse).

I'm not very familiar with the eastern portion of the state, but with some of the clues presented in this thread I was able to quickly find the tunnel site near Windsor Castle and find a lot of the grading in the surrounding area.

I lost the grading opposite where Stony Creek dumps into the Schuylkill River between Port Clinton and Auburn. Based on the angle of the grading's curve, I'd say they intended on following the east bank of the river for a distance upstream. Perhaps they intended on crossing the river closer to Auburn where a more advantageous angle for a bridge could be had? Could the Reading or the other railroad in this valley have reused some of the original earthwork and/or bridge crossing locations? All good questions. Good luck on finding answers. They sometimes pop up in the most unlikely of places.
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Re: Allentown and Auburn question

Postby one87th » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:58 pm

In response to "Were any rails actually laid besides Topton to Kutztown?" Yes. As per the book Railroads of the Lehigh River Valley by the Lehigh Valley Chapter NRHS: "In 1917 Philadelphia and Reading Railway company laid track on unused road bed of Allentown Railroad's proposed main line from East Penn Junction to the new plant of Mack Trucks Incorporated, at Tenth and Harrison streets in Allentown."

Also, I believe a portion of track that was laid from Trexlertown through Breinigsville to Lichty to access either ore pits or ore wharves was laid on a portion of the Allentown Railroad grade. This track was torn up in the 1940s.

I would suggest anyone interested in researching the old grade visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania's Library and Archives web page:
Type in the keyword "Allentown and Port Clinton" and there are about 20 photos of the old grade taken in 1940 and 1958, including shots of the tunnel excavation at Windsor Castle and partially completed bridge and fill work at Virginsville. Typing in the keyword "Breinigsville" will turn up a rural trackside photo from 1940 of the Breinigsville branch.
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