Wilmington, Delaware

The Christiana Branch

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Map submitted by Christian B.

The Christiana Branch started out in 1849 when the Pusey & Jones Shipyard Co. was founded in Wilmington, DE and immediately needed a way to get freight and workers to the yards fast. Cars would not be around for about 60 more years so it was slow to get from Baltimore and Philadelphia to Wilmington. The PB&W built the line and opened the same year as the yard opened and connected to the Northeast Corridor. The line was extremely successful and brought more than 75% of the company's profits. In the 1860s and the 1870s the PRR and the RRR connected their NCC Cutoff and Millside Line to the area now known as Christiana Junction. The wild success of the line gained the interest of the PRR and they quickly bought out the company.

The PRR would make astonishing upgrades to the line and would make big money up until the 1950s after the war ended. The need for small war vessels and yachts was no longer needed and the company went out of business. The PRR did not abandon the line and bought the Millside Line to keep a profit. Serving small industries such as railroad car builders and goods manufacturers, the line could not turn a profit and in the summer of 1976 the line was abandoned.

Today the line still is in place at Christiana Junction but dead ends at the first crossing. The rails were not torn up by the PRR but instead were paved over when a new baseball stadium was built and the Riverfront project was put in place.

Thanks to Christian B. for contributing information about this route.

let's see some photos

Ross
NZ
6/21/2011

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Ill get some photos of it but its a very busy City and its hard to get around. I'll send some photos your way when there up. Sorry anout that.

Christian Bentley
Kirkwood, DE
8/2/2011

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Christian, From 1973-75 I commuted from Elkton to Archmere Academy in Claymont. Being a railbuff, I'd hop off I-95 and snoop around this industrial area. I believe the line connected with the Reading Wilmington and Northern Line. There used to be an engine house on the north side of the PRR and I-95 - maybe a two or three stall building. Driving to the river, in 1974, I vividly remember seeing two Canadian Pacific steam locomotives parked by a partially sunken river boat. I believe these two locomotives were the two that the historical buffs tried to save; but to their horror, were scrapped.

John Manley
High Springs, FL
9/29/2012

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John.

I've heard that the lines once connected together at some point but it's hard to find a historic map with this connection. I've seen a few where the tracks were historically abandoned but never connected. Thanks for your end of it though. A little history from someone who was there always helps :)

Christian B.
Kirkwood, DE
9/29/2012

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Yes I remember the old Steam Loco's stored at the old Dravo Ship yard (Called American Engineering at that time...1970)

The steam boat rolled on it's side was the old Wilson Line excursion boat the "State of Pennsylvania"...it was built at Pusey and Jones in 1923...it was rebuilt in 1948....It was last used in 1960 to riverview beach in NJ. It was docked for years after that at the 4th street dock in Wilmington then moved in 1969 to Dravo. It sunk in 1970 and rolled over. They scrapped it in about 1989 ???

The Steam Locomotives there were moved after All American Engineering went out of business in 1972 ??? Most were moved from the Penn Central Wilmington Shops in Edgemoor. They tore down the Old Engine house there near the turntable was where they stored in as part of the company's historical collection. Later they were all moved up to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum in Strausburg PA in about 1973 or 74

The old Engine houses and yard north side of I-95 was the Beech Street Reading Line Shops on the Wilmington Northern Branch...They were bulit in 1898 when reading bought the Wilmington and Noethern railroad that was started in 1867 to Wilmington and New Castle DE

John
New Castle , DE
6/30/2015

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This map above is really two railroads of trackage...the right side is Pennsy and the left is the Reading Lines rite of way in Wilmington. There use to be a yard above the Viaduct and Pusey and Jones shipyard. It was the origional 1850's Wilmington Shops...and had a engine house and turntable as well...in the 1880's a new engine house was built by Pennsy next to Hollings and Hollingsworth ship yard and later sold to that firm in 1902 when the new Wilmington Shops were built in Edgemoor. the second Round house was used after 1902 by H&H shipyard to repair and built rail cars and locomotives from all over.

John
New Castle , DE
6/30/2015

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