A line that never was...

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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A line that never was...

Postby BoxallsAccommodation » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:08 am

From the January 30, 1893 edition of the Philadelphia Record:

As soon as the short link between Logan and Olney is finished, the plant of the contractors will be moved to near Wister Station, on the Germantown branch of the Reading, and the work will be started on the new Philadelphia and Northern Railroad, which is to run from Wister Station to Glenside, on the North Penn Road, a distance of six or seven miles. The right of way for the entire distance has been secured, and the work will be pushed with energy. The construction of the road presents some difficulties, however, and it is not likely it will be finished this year. At Glenside connection will be made with the Northeast Pennsylvania Road, and ultimately this will be extended from New Hope to Easton, it is said, forming a new line between that city and Philadelphia.

I imagine one difficulty would have been how to get the line on a reasonable grade from Wister as that station sits in the old Wingohocking Valley.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby BuddCarToBethlehem » Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:29 pm

The Philadelphia & Reading going bankrupt that same year and the depression of 1893 were probably the main reasons it was never built.

Even today, there's not much between New Hope and Easton besides Reigelsville.

The grades coming into Easton are tough. The only way I could see it being built is along the Delaware Canal, or filling in the canal itself. It would have been prone to flooding. With the Bel-Del line across the river, would it be necessary?
Besides the P&R already controlled the North Penn and the Perkiomen railroads. Would a third line be necessary? They also controlled the CNJ so they had access to Easton although it was an awkward connection at best. Although if memory serves me correctly... I'm fairly certain that I once read that the North Penn was supposed to go to Easton, but they opted to terminate in Bethlehem. So I suppose that the P&R really had it sights on Easton for a long time!

It would have been interesting to see what would have come of the line in the latter half of the 20th century. I'm willing to bet that it would have been abandoned long before the formation of Conrail.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby limejuice » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:43 pm

I thought this proposed line was an alternative to the Tabor branch, not a supplement? Anyway, much of the right of way exists today as Ogontz Ave in Philly and Keswick Ave in Wyncote and Glenside. I'm guessing PTC purchased the right of way, as this was the route of the #6 trolley to Willow Grove. I'm no surveyor, but it seems to me like that route would've been a steep uphill grade all the way to Wyncote. But this was during the railroad boom when the whole country was building railroads, regardless of whether they made economic sense. Hmm, sounds familiar.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby BuddCarToBethlehem » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:58 am

limejuice wrote:I'm guessing PTC purchased the right of way, as this was the route of the #6 trolley to Willow Grove.


From what I've always understood, the route 6 line to Willow Grove was always a trolley undertaking because they owned Willow Grove Park, a very common practice by tractions companies in the late 19th century. Dorney Park was owned by the Allentown-Kutztown Traction Company, and the long gone Central Park in east Allentown was owned by Lehigh Valley Transit Co. Besides the New Hope branch, while not exactly paralleling the trolley route, went through Willow Grove as well.

I don't know how accurate the information is, but check out this site dedicated to Willow Grove Park. It has info on the construction of the line to Willow Grove:

http://www.wgpark.com/page.asp?page=5
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Jul 15, 2011 2:57 pm

The trolley tracks in Ogontz Ave. South of Chelten Ave. to Champlost St. were unused until about 1929, as the article states. That's when the tracks on Chanplost st. between Ogontz Ave. and Old York Rd. were laid to complete trolley Rte. 6. Was there an ownership problem with the Reading?
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby BoxallsAccommodation » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:31 am

What had me fascinated was from what I've since read that this was intended to be an elevated line from the old Wister Station (since moved up the branch several hundred feet) to get at least out of the Wingohocking Valley. I haven't found any indication of where intermediate stations between Wister and Glenside were to have been located. I did see a map where the junction with the North Penn line would occur just north of Glenside. I do agree that the economy of 1893 probably doomed the line. As for Reigelsville, it wasn't even a borough until 1916 but a village in Durham Township.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby delvyrails » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:27 am

JimBoylan wrote:The trolley tracks in Ogontz Ave. South of Chelten Ave. to Champlost St. were unused until about 1929, as the article states. That's when the tracks on Chanplost st. between Ogontz Ave. and Old York Rd. were laid to complete trolley Rte. 6. Was there an ownership problem with the Reading?


The tracks south of Chelten Avenue to just above Champlost were unused until the City determined whether the Broad Street Subway would extend northward via Broad Street (as decided) or via Belfield Avenue and Ogontz Avenue. Somewhere I've heard that the site of Central High School would have become the equivalent of the Fern Rock terminal property today.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby BoxallsAccommodation » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:06 am

delvyrails wrote:The tracks south of Chelten Avenue to just above Champlost were unused until the City determined whether the Broad Street Subway would extend northward via Broad Street (as decided) or via Belfield Avenue and Ogontz Avenue. Somewhere I've heard that the site of Central High School would have become the equivalent of the Fern Rock terminal property today.


According to the Barnwell Handbook (the publication given to every Central student), at least in my 1978 edition, states that when the school was looking to move from Broad and Green, one possible location was Stenton and Upsal.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby westernfalls » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:30 pm

Noticing a dotted line on a map, I thought it would be worth resurrecting this old topic.
G. Wm. Baist's Map Showing the Development of the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia, 1897
can be viewed on http://www.philageohistory.org
It shows that the Philadelphia & Reading still owned much of the property along the proposed route to Glenside.
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Re: A line that never was...

Postby RussNelson » Fri Jan 20, 2017 1:56 am

westernfalls wrote:Noticing a dotted line on a map, I thought it would be worth resurrecting this old topic.
G. Wm. Baist's Map Showing the Development of the City and Suburbs of Philadelphia, 1897
can be viewed on http://www.philageohistory.org
It shows that the Philadelphia & Reading still owned much of the property along the proposed route to Glenside.


Easy to check at the county clerk's office.
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