Ephrata Station and Branch

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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Ephrata Station and Branch

Postby jfrey40535 » Sat Dec 11, 2004 7:49 pm

I was touring Lancaster today and decided to take a side trip to Ephrata, where by chance I discovered the old Reading Ephrata station. What a wonderful discovery.

The station is beautiful, but the ROW is now a parking lot, and all of the tracks and infrastructure is gone. I consulted by Rail Atlas, which shows this as part of a old branch that ran to Leesport. Looks like parts of it are still active.

Does anyone have any data or pictures on this branch? Such as when service stopped, etc. Thanks to anyone who can contribute.

If anyone has pictures, please email them to jfrey40535@hotmail.com
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Postby joshuahouse » Sat Dec 18, 2004 10:39 pm

I think theres still some back threads on the branch under the PA forum. I've been told that the thrift store next to the station is the former freight house.
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Postby gp80mac » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:33 am

That's the old Reading & Columbia branch, which runs between its namesake towns. Its all divided up, and to best describe it, we'll take it segment-by-segment, starting in Columbia:

From the interchange in Columbia with NS (former PRR Columbia branch), to just outside of the borough limits of Columbia (approx. 2.5 miles): being reconstructed so that a new shortline can start service on it soon. Brush has been removed, and some crossings rehabilitated.

From just outside of Columbia to Silver Springs, PA: gone; just the ROW and poleline left in the corn fields.

From Silver Spring to the Amtrak (PRR) main line: owned and operated by the Landisville RR. Used to be a tank car refurbishing place here , now just some car storage, and a lumber yard that gets in a couple of cars.

The Reading used to cross the PRR here at grade, but that's long gone.

The next 2 miles of line between the Amtrak line and Lancaster Junction is now a rail-trail.

From Lancaster Junction to Lititz: NS Lititz secondary, serves industry in Manheim and Lititz, including Wilbur Chocolate.

Past Lititz, I believe there is another rail-trail, and proposals to extend it further.

I don't think anything is left until you get to Denver, Pa.

Between Denver and Sinking Springs: the line is owned & operated by Penn Eastern RR. (former Lancaster Northern).

I believe that's all...if anyone has any corrections, let us know.
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R&C stations

Postby JJSmith » Sat Jan 15, 2005 11:11 pm

Other than the Ephrata station the following R&C branch stations still exist:


Manheim- restored and owned by the Manheim Historical Society
Lititz- rebuilt in 3/4 size and is a visitors center
Petersburg (now East Petersburg)- moved to the Strasburg RR
Reinholds- owned by the Lancaster and Northern Shortline
Jeffrey J. Smith
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Postby jfrey40535 » Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:48 am

Thanks for the info guys. I have a pic of the Ephrata station, I'll try and get it online.
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Postby Schuylkill Valley » Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:47 am

Hello all,
Historical Information.

On May 19, 1857 the Reading & Columbia Railroad was chartered to construct a line from Reading, Berks County to Columbia, Lancaster County. After the construction of the Lebanon Valley Railroad, the R&C RR`s charter was amended to make Sinking Spring the eastern terminus. Before the construction of the Outer Station in 1874, Reading & Columbia Railroad maintained an office on what would become the Lebanon Valley train shed.
The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad controlled the R&C RR through stock ownership. The P&R RR operated the branch as part of their Wilmington & Columbia Division and latter as part of the Reading Division.
On December 31, 1945 the R&C RR Co. was dissolved when it was officially merged into the Reading Company.

Sataion on the line

Reading Jct., Wyomissing Jct., Sinking Spring Jct., Montello, Fritztown, Shreiners, Vinemont, Reinholds, Denver, Stevens, Ephrata, Akron, Millway,Rothsville, Lititz, Lime Rock, Kellers, Manheim Jct., Sellers, Lancaster Jct., Landisville, Marietta Jct. , Buckarts, Hempfield, Cordelia, Columbia Jct. The end.

Hope that helps,
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Re: Ephrata Station and Branch

Postby skabat169 » Thu Nov 04, 2010 7:36 pm

Does anyone have a timetable for passenger trains on this branch? I was curios to travel times between Lancaster, Ephrata, and Reading. Thanks!
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Reading and Columbia

Postby jrevans » Fri Nov 05, 2010 8:43 am

Thanks for bringing this thread back up. I've been working in York for a few months now (commuting 75 miles from far Eastern Berks County) and cross over the former R&C ROW on Route 30 every day. It looks like it was a very interesting railroad, and I love how my GPS shows the line running in a big curve where Route 30 crosses over in the middle of the curve. You can clearly see the ROW in the field on the Southern side of Route 30, but I can't really see it on the Northern side. Maybe when all the leaves are down, I'll get a better view.
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Re: Ephrata Station and Branch

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:42 am

Intermediate history:
For a short time after the start of ConRail, the line was cut at Pa. Rte. 462, Lincoln Hwy. in Columbia. That way, the scrap yard in Columbia could be served from the Landisville end of the line! There was also a branch to Marietta, Pa. The junction was near the end of the present active track from Landisville.
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Re: Reading and Columbia

Postby GP30 5513 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:34 pm

jrevans wrote:Thanks for bringing this thread back up. I've been working in York for a few months now (commuting 75 miles from far Eastern Berks County) and cross over the former R&C ROW on Route 30 every day. It looks like it was a very interesting railroad, and I love how my GPS shows the line running in a big curve where Route 30 crosses over in the middle of the curve. You can clearly see the ROW in the field on the Southern side of Route 30, but I can't really see it on the Northern side. Maybe when all the leaves are down, I'll get a better view.


If you know where to look, during the winter months you can see the rails are still present on both sides of Route 30. Since I know where to look [been in Lancaster almost 29 years] I can see them in a passing glance. I would suggest someone not familiar with the area to pull over and look for them that way. I *think* the rails are still in place up the hill to close to Ironville. You can cross them on Malleable Road at grade[both beside and behind Anvil]; I know the brush was trimmed back last year somewhat, though I seem to remember chain link fencing blocking access to them on both sides...

JimBoylan wrote:Intermediate history:
For a short time after the start of ConRail, the line was cut at Pa. Rte. 462, Lincoln Hwy. in Columbia. That way, the scrap yard in Columbia could be served from the Landisville end of the line! There was also a branch to Marietta, Pa. The junction was near the end of the present active track from Landisville.


Where the Amhearst/Landisville Railroad yard is is where Marietta Junction was. The small business on the west side of the grade crossing on Nolt Road has a tree line at the edge of its property running along the field. This was the ROW for the Marietta Branch. The tracks now terminate in the tall grass near Stoney Battery Road.

On topic for the R&C, another station still surviving was not listed. The small white building along Amtrak's Keystone Line at Landisville Junction [where the Reading crossed the Pennsy via diamonds] is the old Landisville Station. It's more for storage now than anything and is not restored, it is at least still with us currently. Other surviving R&C stations not mentioned:

- Bruckhart's Station along the R&C ROW at Route 23/Marietta Avenue in Silver Spring.
- The original Reading & Columbia Depot along NS' Columbia Secondary on Bank Avenue, near the Route 441 grade crossing. Restored & used as storage for Columbia Borough Dept. of Public Works.
- Limerock Station, on Limerock Road just off of 772 at the grade crossing. It's now a private residence.
- Lititz Freight Depot on Water Street at the grade crossing. Unrestored & vacant, it has seen much better days.
- I'm also told the Cordelia [Ironville] Station still exist behind the ski shop, though I've not ventured over to find out.

Some of my co-workers can't pin down a year when the Ephrata section was removed, though they do recall waiting for trains to clear on Route 322 through Ephrata. There are rails still in place under the Route 272 overpass, along with a short siding/spur at the small feed mill at the bottom of Locust Bend Road. Hopefully that helps to inform those interested in this line.
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Re: Ephrata Station and Branch

Postby GP30 5513 » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:37 pm

I'll also add that there are two [that I'm aware of] remaining stone water towers along the line. One is in Manheim at the Wye and the other is across Route 897 from the Reinholds Station.
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Re: Ephrata Station and Branch

Postby choess » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:43 pm

Parts of the Marietta Branch grade (including, I think, at least one stone culvert) are still readily visible on the north side of Rt 23, to the west of Bridge Valley Rd.
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