Auburn to Dauphin

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Looking west from Tulpehocken in Pine Grove; the old ROW is being used as a lane for several hundred yards in this area.

This 51-mile section was built in the 1800s and was knows as the Auburn and Susquehanna Bridge Railroad. It ended up as part of the Reading Railroad. It extended from Auburn, through Summit, to Pine Grove where it intersected the West End Branch of the Reading. The line then proceeded further southwest through Grantville, Manada, and Linglestown to Dauphin on the Susquehanna River where it intersected the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The line was abandoned in stages between 1937 and 1959. A remnant across Swatara Creek to a power plant in Pine Grove survived the longest. Sections of the old right-of-way can be made out in Pine Grove and in areas southwest of Pine Grove if you know what you are looking for. The raised former ROW crosses Tulpehocken Street in Pine Grove and played a big part in the Hurricane Agnes floods of 1972 — the ROW served to dam up water from the flooded Swatara Creek, but created worse problems.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD
Docket Number: 14745 Date: 10/25/1944 Section: 1
App. of Reading Company for abandonment of its Schuylkill and Susquehanna Branch in the Counties of Lebanon and Dauphin, extending from a point west of Rausch Gap to end of the branch at Rockville, approximately 22.584 miles and operation under trackage rights over the tracks of The Pennsylvania Railroad Company between Rockville and Harrisburg, a distance of 5.6 miles within Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
Length: 22.584 miles Citation:  

I'm not sure where the "Auburn & Susquehanna Bridge" name comes from; I've never seen that either in printed documents nor in newspaper reports. This really began as the "Dauphin & Susquehanna Coal Company", chartered in 1826, to build a canal along Stony Creek to the Susquehanna, and a railroad from the coal mines in the valley to the canal. In 1838, they got a change in their charter to go all-railroad (no canal) and surveyed in 1839, but they didn't start building until 1850.

They started by building up from Rockville through Dauphin and then up Stony Valley to the mines at Rausch Gap. Then they got another charter supplement (they may have bought the rights from the Pequea Railroad and Improvement Co.) to build further east to the Schuylkill Navigation and the Philadelphia & Reading at Auburn (via Pine Grove).

They then got involved in the "Allentown Railroad" scheme, projecting an extension from Auburn via Port Clinton and Hamburg to Allentown, most of which was graded. This plan came apart in the Panic of 1857. The company's over-extended finances collapsed, and it was foreclosed and reorganized in 1859 as the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad. In 1860, both the S&S and the Allentown Railroad were sold to the Reading.

The spur to the power plant in Pine Grove was never part of this line. It was on the northeast side of Pine Grove, whereas the Schuylkill & Susquehanna came in on the northwest side, paralleled and crossed the Reading, and then left via the southeast side.

The last parts to survive seem to have been a 0.3-mile section of track in Pine Grove (abd. 1965) and a 0.6-mile section at Auburn (abd. ?).

Chris Hoess
Stanton, DE
1/13/2013

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I made a FB Album just for the Schuylkill & Susquehanna Branch.

https://www.facebook.com/gregory.pawelski.9/media_set?set=a.855170441269245.1073741917.100003288929249&type=3

Gregory D. Pawelski
Wernersville, PA
12/3/2015

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/i0o
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