The Brandywine Summit Branch

Chadds Ford to Brandywine Summit, Pennsylvania

This picture shows signs of the right-of-way just off US Route 202, near the breakoff at Chadds Ford. The tracks to the Chester Creek Branch can still be seen in the winter. Photo by Joe Sharretts.
The former grade crossing is evidenced by the rise in Ridge Road. Photo by Joe Sharretts.
A USGS topographical map from 1904 shows the Brandywine Summit Branch (highlighted). It branches from The Chester Creek Branch at the top part of the map, crosses what would become US Route 202 twice via a horseshoe curve, and heads to kaolin mines to the south. Click on the map for a larger view.

This was a short branch off of The Chester Creek Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. It switched off at Chadds Ford Junction, made a huge horseshoe curve crossing US Route 202 twice, and finally crossed Ridge Road. Built in 1888, it ran for only 1.6 miles.

The time of its abandonment is in question. Two sources tell us that it was abandoned either in 1922 or in 1972, when the Chester Creek Branch was abandoned. Nobody seems to know which date is correct. It is believed to have been abandoned in 1922 since traces of the line are nearly impossible to find today.

Thanks to Joe Sharretts for contributing information.

—  User Comments  —

The branch was abandoned in 1972 after Hurricane Agnes

The Wawa and Condordville tourist line ran there until 1968

Tom Delaney
Chadds Ford, PA

BTW this was the branch that NC Wyeth was killed on. His car was struck at the cross at Ring Road

Tom Delaney
Chadds Ford, PA

I believe the purpose of the branch was to reach the kaolin mines around Brandywine Summit. Some of the mining pits are ponds around that area.

Steve McClellan
Brandywine, PA

i believe that this is the branch that is found at a grissmill near branywine,PA

christopher palmer
aston, PA

If you look on, the line does not show up on the 1963 topo or later, and the rails are not evident in the adjacent open fields (between 202 and Ridge Road) as of the 1950 aerial pictures. This is consistent with a 1922 abandonment, not a 1972 abandonment. If you could actually get to the old kaolin mines, the roadbed may be intact in that area.

Michael K.
New Hope, PA

Remember as a kid crossing the rail's on 202 just south of route 1 when going to Wilmington in the early 60's, also a neighbor told me when he was going into the service durning World War Two he took a train on this line to boot camp.

Bill Farrell
West Chester, PA