"Peoples Railroad" at Pottsville

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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"Peoples Railroad" at Pottsville

Postby salminkarkku » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:05 am

I've got this down as a RDG subsidiary, running from Union St at Pottsville, through the streets to 12th St, then to Minersville via York Farm Junction (connection with LV) then parallel with the RDG main line but crossing over E to W, south of Minersville.

I understand that the LV used it as a terminal to 12th St, and it was also electrified as part of the "East Pennsylvania" trolley system.

Is this right? Can anybody let me know the street route from Union St to 12th St?
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Postby CarterB » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:38 am

Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Postby choess » Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:52 pm

The Peoples' Ry. was chartered in 1865, opened its first line in 1872 (north and south), and the east and west line to Minersville in 1873. The original north and south line was abandoned by 1881.

Looking at the 1875 map of Pottsville at http://www.anthracitemaps.com/, we see the southern terminal of the original line at Main & Centre in Mount Carbon. It runs along Centre Street through Pottsville and then turns along Peacock Street to end at the old Pottsville Iron & Steel Company plant. The newer line runs from Market & Centre along Market to 12th, turns north up 12th, and runs onto private ROW at 12th & Russel. From thence it can be traced by the topo map. The line east of 12th & Russel was a horsecar line, and never worked by steam traction.

Taber says it was leased to a traction company and electrified c. 1898, but he doesn't say which. I doubt it's the pictures linked above: they have different corporate names, and trolley lines in Pennsylvania were usually broad gauge and could not interconnect with standard gauge railroads. The Reading took up the lease in 1923, and it was merged into the Reading in 1945.

The line beyond 12th & Russel probably went fairly early. It's not clear whether the whole line from Fishbach to Mount Carbon was abandoned in before 1881, or whether track was kept from Market & Centre to Union & Centre. This seems likely, as the old Reading station was at Union St. By the time the LV connected (after 1890), it had (per Taber) trackage rights from York Farm Jct. to both Minersville & 12th St. (12th & Russel), so that was probably the end of the line at the time. He says that (at an unspecified time), the line from York Farm Jct. to 12th St. was sold outright to the LV.

The SPV atlas is inaccurate first, in failing to show the LV line jumping over the Reading at Becks, then in duplicating the lines into Pottsville. Given that they don't show the early standard gauge horsecar lines in Philadelphia, probably only the line to 12th St. falls within their remit. Westwood Jct., Blackwood Jct., and York Farm Jct. were wyes; the atlas also fails to show the tight curve connecting People's Ry. and RDG at what it calls Westwood Switch, and omitting People's Ry. jumpover and separate line into Minersville, which came up the present Delaware Ave. and ended at Sunbury St. There are a few other errors on PA-21, omitting a few mine branches and the Danville & Pottsville RR, but this post is long enough as it is.
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Re: "Peoples Railroad" at Pottsville

Postby pumpers » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:02 pm

giving this thread a bump. Could it be that the bridge carrying the Peoples Railroad over the West Branch of the Schuylkill River, just south of Minersville, can still be seen on aerial photos!!?? THis is not the crossing of the Reading branch over the river to Minersville which is further north closer to Minersville. Take a look at
http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qsdd3n8nc1ng&lvl=19.43&dir=273.66&sty=b&where1=Minersville%2C%20PA&form=LMLTCC. YOu might have to rotate to look east to see it best. Just a few feet NW of the intersection of Maple Rd. and Route 901 (Pottsville/Minersville Highway) are the remnants. If you look at 1937-1942 Penn Pilot photos, the Peoples Railroad ROW and the Reading ROW are clear, if I'm not mixed up. Maple Rd on the east side of the river is already there so you can reference the location.
I'm an out of towner, so I can't look in person, but it sure looks suspicious.
JS
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