• "Lancaster & Northern", 1913-19?

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by salminkarkku
 
Has anyone come across this one? It was listed as "operating" by the ICC from 1913 to 1919, and I've come across a reference to it purchasing land at Ephrata near Lancaster. For the ICC to be interested it couldn't have been a trolley line.
  by choess
 
There's some useful information in Google Books. Inc. April 5, 1906 (Taber) to connect the PRR at or near Lancaster and the Reading at Millway. (Essentially, it would have cut off the loop the Reading swung to approach Lancaster.) This would have been about 10 miles; the Lancaster & Northern built and laid rail on 3.5 miles, but was never operated. There was some litigation over ownership of the rails later, and based on the localities mentioned, I suspect the 3.5 miles were laid south from Millway or a point somewhat to the east. (I would hazard to guess that it would have followed the Cocalico and the Conestoga towards Lancaster.) In fact, looking at the aerials, I think this map may show the old grade diverging south along the Cocalico; there's a treeline that doesn't match any road feature and connects with the Reading.
  by RussNelson
 
choess wrote:In fact, looking at the aerials, I think this map may show the old grade diverging south along the Cocalico; there's a treeline that doesn't match any road feature and connects with the Reading.
I agree, it sure looks like a railbed to me.
  by salminkarkku
 
Thanks, that's the answer.

This is one of several cases of ephemeral railroads that the ICC listed as "operating" but which seem never to have run a revenue train. Another one in PA was the "Schylkill & Conestoga Valley" at Gibraltar. I wonder if the ICC relied on the honesty of railroad officials in making statistical returns, without (as I would expect) requiring evidence like a printed timetable or tariff to accompany notification of a new railroad?

Or was it that having the status of a common carrier when building your railroad meant that you had better rates when freighting in materials?
  by JimBoylan
 
salminkarkku wrote:was it that having the status of a common carrier when building your railroad meant that
you could use Eminent Domain to condemn or force the sale of land to the future railroad.
  by choess
 
I have an interesting and long-overdue followup on the lines mentioned here. The Lancaster & Northern and Schuylkill & Conestoga Valley shared interlocking directorates. Both were part of a promotion by Easton investors, many of them prominent in business and law, to establish a cement plant near Lancaster. Easton is adjacent to the cement belt, and one of the investors, George F. Coffin, was already prominent in the Nazareth Cement Company. He and others organized the Conestoga Portland Cement Co. to exploit deposits of stone suitable for cement near Brownstown, PA (north of Lancaster). The Lancaster & Northern was chartered in 1906 to built the line which would bring in construction materials for the company's mill and haul out the cement; it would connect the mill with the PRR to the south, somewhere near its crossing of Conestoga Creek, and with the Reading to the north near Millway.

Conestoga Portland doesn't seem, as far as I can tell, to have finished its mill; it was still "in process of erection" in 1911. By then (in 1910), the Schuylkill & Conestoga Valley had been chartered to run from the Lancaster & Northern near the mill at Brownstown up to Gibraltar, where it could connect with the PRR Schuylkill Valley Branch. Contemporary papers (Reading Eagle, August & September 1912) talked of backing from the PRR, extension up through Catasauqua and Shoenersville to the cement belt, and a branch from Shoenersville to South Bethlehem, the Bethlehem Steel mill at Hellertown, and to the Delaware River at Coffeetown (with, presumably, a connection to the PRR Bel-Del branch), but the charter filed doesn't seem to cover that, and it's doubtful that the PRR was very interested in such a dramatic expansion.

By 1914, the treasurer and director of the Lancaster & Northern and Conestoga Portland was William H. Vreeland, a Bayonne glue manufacturer and banker. The state reported that the Lancaster & Northern and Schuylkill & Conestoga Valley were still "inchoate" in October 1916, with offices at Easton, but the annual report for that year declares them "out of existence--unable to locate".