Chester to Crum Creek

The Crum Creek Branch

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Remnants of a small railroad bridge of the Crum Creek Branch. Photo by Joe Sharretts, January 2011.

The Crum Creek Branch originally started out as a railroad spur built by the Leiper family in 1852. The Leipers owned a number of rock quarries in the area surrounding Ridley and Nether townships in Pennsylvania. The spur replaced a family-built water canal that transported quarried rocks and stone to Ridley Creek, which allowed access to the Delaware River and beyond. (The canal itself replaced the original Leiper Railroad, the oldest permanent railroad in the United States.) As canals were falling out of favor, the Leipers wanted to take advantage of railroads' gaining popularity, and built a 3-mile spur from the nearby Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad (a property of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad) to Crum Creek, where stones would be loaded onto awaiting rail cars.

It was not long before the B&P purchased the railroad spur outright in 1887, and began regular revenue service to the Leiper's quarries. The B&O continued servicing the Leiper quarries until the 1930s, when trucks began finding favor with shippers. Despite the request of the Leiper family to continue rail service, the B&O abandoned and removed a portion of the line (up to MacDade Boulevard) in 1943. The B&O continued using the remainder of the line until abandonment of the entire line in the 1950s.

Up until the 1980s, remnants of the railroad were easily visible, but a new highway, Interstate 476, was built alongside the right-of-way during the 1980s, obliterating most of it. Very little evidence remains of the railroad line today, and can only be found if one knows where to look.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

BALTIMORE & PHILADELPHIA RAILROAD
Docket Number: AB-19 Sub 7 Date: 2/21/1973 Section: 1(18)
Applic. for auth. to aband. a line by The Baltimore and Philadelphia RR, Co., and aband. operations by The B&O from VS 85+86 to end of the branch at VS 129+60, approx, 1.05 mi., near Eddystone, Delaware County, Pa., Crum Creek Br.
Length: 1.05 miles Citation:  

also known as the second leiper railroad the b&o purchased it from the leiper family in the 1870s

joe sharretts
wilmington, DE
7/21/2011

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i was looking at the map and think i saw an abandoned bridge.any information on abandoned rail or bridges would be greatly appreciated.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
5/25/2013

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i can show you a stone wall were the train cross crum creek in woodlyn in back of my mom and dads house my # is 484-574-1510

chris hladish
aston,pa., PA
12/17/2013

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thank you for the phone number chris.i will keep it in my phone for future reference.when i eventually get down that way i will get in touch with you concerning the abandoned bridges and possible rail i have seen on the map.right now i am in the midst of trying to set up a business which is taking up alot of my time plus trying to get my license back after a dui.stupid mistake.i know.i did write down in a notebook where i did see the bridges and possible rail along the abandoned rail line.since you know the area better than i,you could show me where everything possibly is.looking forward to meeting you and going what i call exploring.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
12/18/2013

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I'd also like to comment that this line also provided Baltimore and Ohio with a way to get to Baldwin Locomotive Works right in Eddystone,Pa. This was probably the other main use of this line. All Three railroads (PRR, Reading, B&O) had tracks that led up to the facilities so they could pick up their steam engines (and diesel and electrics later on) after they were completed. All that is really left of the massive Baldwin Complex is Baldwin Tower which is used as a office building. This line also tied into what is now csx line (which was formerly B&O) that parallels I95 on the southbound side.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
2/4/2014

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thanks andrew for the info.interesting that i never knew there was a locomotive shop in that area.it is a shame that the business is not there anymore.know what i mean?i will have to check the area out very closely when i go down there.never know what you might find.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
2/5/2014

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The Baldwin Eddystone Plant consisted of 600 acres for the manufacturing of locomotives. Their Steam Locomotives are all over the country/world. Check out this link:

http://baldwinlocomotiveworks-eddystone.com/html/the_eddystone_plant.html

You can see to the north where Baltimore and Ohio's tracks has a branch off (which is this branch) to Baldwin Locomotive Works. It joins up with a network of tracks belonging to the locomotive works to allow for easy transporting between the different building/shops in the complex. You can also see that Reading, PRR, and B&O all had service entrances to pick up their stuff as well as deliver materials to build these amazing steam locomotives.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
2/5/2014

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thanks andrew for the info and the website address.will look at that and also thanks for the info on the locomotive shop.it is all greatly appreciated.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
2/6/2014

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I have records showing that a Richard Crosby owned a plantation and quarries near or at this exact location dating 1770. (source free eBook via Google, page 208 https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=5Kg-AAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&hl=en -- and The Pennsylvania Gazette 26 July 1770)

Grace D
Spring, TX
6/2/2016

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