Reading's Herndon line?

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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Reading's Herndon line?

Postby Highball116 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:34 pm

I know there was a branch running from Shamokin to Trevorton and out to Dornsife, but while the system maps show the branch ending in Dornsife, the satellite photos seem to show the right-of-way extending all the way to the Pennsylvania Railroad north of Herndon. Can anyone tell me about this portion of the Reading? Specifically, I'd love to know when service ended and when the rails finally came up. Thanks so much.

Toby
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby choess » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:41 pm

This started out as a "lateral" coal railroad, the Trevorton, Mahanoy & Susquehanna, chartered in 1850 to haul coal from Zerbe's Run (Trevorton) down to the Susquehanna near the mouth of the Mahanoy (at Herndon). You can read a history of the early years of the line here. It once extended as far as Port Trevorton, giving the Reading a bridgehead on the west bank of the Susquehanna for a year or two. They contemplated using it as a jumping-off point for lines to Huntingdon and Centre County, I think, and the stillborn Selinsgrove and North Branch was to connect with the Reading there, but the bridge was in bad shape and was ripped up in 1870 and not rebuilt. After that, the coal mostly went the other direction, toward Shamokin, instead. The line west of Dornsife was abandoned in 1953, it was cut back to Dunklebergers in 1966, and Trevorton in 1973.
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby Highball116 » Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:18 pm

Thanks for all the great information. It's amazing that a bridge of that size would only last fifteen or twenty years. Any idea when the line was scrapped all the way back to Shamokin? I assume that was a Conrail job...
"Competition is the law of the jungle. Cooperation is the law of civilization." - Eldridge Cleaver
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby choess » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:12 pm

Cut back to Shamokin in 1983. (These figures from Taber's "Railroads of Pennsylvania", BTW.) Supposedly cattle-droving over the bridge (which was joint road-rail) contributed to the deterioration of the structure. In the contemporary literature there's the occasional expression of hope that the Reading would rebuild the bridge, but of course that didn't happen.
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby Highball116 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:02 pm

Thanks again for the great information. The grade coming out of Shamokin must have been totally unruly. I've ridden the highway there on a bicycle, and my legs felt like jelly by the time I got to Trevorton. I've heard good things about Taber's books; I might have to watch eBay over the next few months! Thanks again!

Toby
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby frankgaron2 » Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:31 pm

Port Treverton??? Wow - this is the first I'm hearing about the Reading crossing the Susquehanna at Herndon. Too cool! Anybody ever see a picture of the actual bridge?

Thanks to all who share so freely - very interesting material on a really interesting line.

Frank
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby Metal Man » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:21 pm

The remains of the bridge piers are visible from Rts 11&15.
I think this picture is the removal of the bridge at Dornsife.
Lots of great pictures on this site.
http://www.daladophotography.com/The-Thomas-Collection/Old-Trains/3333619_QcFBd/5/185595183_tEnbB/Medium
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Re: Reading's Herndon line?

Postby twinpop » Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:30 pm

Great information on this tiny line. I am familiar with the old right of way from Dornsife to the Susquehanna, but I didn't know when it was abandoned. My grandfather ran a small trucking business serving the small farmers in the valley just south of Dornsife in the 1930s & 40s (basically serving from Red Cross to Pitman) and he and my father routinely picked up loads of fertilizer and feed at the Dornsife station. It must have been bagged products, as I don't believe they had bulk handling facilities.
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