The Perkiomen Branch
The Perkiomen was one of the most seenic rail road routs that I have ever seen. NE of Ocks a mile and half of road bed is gong.When they put in 422 east and west it took a lot of track away. I have old picture's of the trusle's and right of way of the track befour it Arcolla Pa.
i know that some if not most of this line is still there.what i want to know is what n/s is going to do with it.it can be turned into a rail to trail.anyone has any information please let me know.thank you.when i mean still there i mean from oaks to mont clare.
The line is still an active line from East Greenville all the to Emmaus where it connects with Norfolk Southern. its run by the East Penn Railroad and see about 2-3 trains a week.
thank you for responding.originally from quakertown,i am very familiar with the east greenville area up to emmaus.i am asking about any rail or equipment from east greenville down to tho oaks area.i do not think there is any rail but i am aware of a bridge on the perkiomen creek in schwenksville which i think is still there.i also could have sworn i had seen a bridge below schwenksville off rte. 29 that was also abandoned.i know down in the oaks area there is rail,bridges and equipment.whether they are still there is anybody's guess.i also heard that septa is thinking of starting up possible rail service on the lower end of the line.i do not thik it is feasible for septa because it would cost too much and the ridership is not there.i did hear this from people who i can believe but do not want involved.if you hear of any of this please let me know.keep in touch.
The at grade crossing at oaks is with the PRR Schuylkill branch which heads towards Mont Clare. When most of the Perkiomen and Schuylkill Branches were pulled up they connected these two branches together to provide access to Phoenix Iron Company and other places along the old PRR Route.
Also In Schwenksville there is a restaurant that is housed in one of the old stations and if you look closely in the parking lot there is a set of rails with a tree growing between them.
thank you for the information.i am aware of a few abandoned rail bridges around the green lane area.i did see them on the maps i looked at.i do remember one bridge being in green lane park.i do not know if it is there anymore.the bridge above schwenksville is actually where the old i think it was a coal yard was.the bridge itself is really on a feeder stream,not the perkiomen.i do not even know if it is there.as for the abandoned rail,i would not mind taking a look myself.thanks.i am pretty sure that from below schwenksville there is nothing remaining of the rail line until you get down where it connects with the main rail line around oaks.looking at the map i do see rail and a bridge there.i will have to check this out eventually.keep in touch.
I sent an email with pictures of the Shwenksville area. Along with an old photo I found on the internet of one of the Reading T1's doing the Iron Horse Rambles at Shwenksville Station. Also in that email i added this link:
This person traced the line all the way from Oaks all the way to where it is still used today and found many of the remnants of the line. Looking at the map there is a bridge into oaks from the former Reading line at Perkiomen junction. It is here though that it now connects to the PRR Schuylkill Branch currently (according to 2012 bing maps). The PRR Schuylkill crossed over the Perkiomen branch near B.F. Goodrich (The New Convention Center at Oaks). The PRR Tracks came in between what is now the convention center and Arnolds. The PRR bridge is also still there but used as a back entrance to the convention center from Station Ave near Pawlings Rd. When The Schuylkill branch was ripped up they installed a switch where those two lines met so access phoenixville and the frazer branch could still be used.
andrew,you did your homework on this rail line.i do remember seeing what i know of.as for the oaks area,i did live on pawlings road and do remember walking the rail at that time which actually ran down to norristown.do you remember that?i have to get down to oaks and check the abandoned bridge and rail out.you mentioned a restaurant in schwenksville that has rail on the property.do you know the name,andrew?please let me know because i have been there and it is bugging the hell out of me trying to remember where i might have seen what you were talking about.keep in touch.
To be honest I am only 27, but have been really into looking up this stuff lately I also work up in Limerick often and I pass by the restaurant all the time. The name of the restaurant is now, Moccia's Main Street Station Eatery pretty much between the gas station and Firehouse
Here is 18 slides of the Perkiomen Branch from Emmaus to East Greenville when the BM&R ran freight on it in the late 80's and early 90's.
are those your pictures on the website greg because if they are,they answer alot of questions about the rail line mostly what is still there.keep in touch.
Yes they are George. I was Public Relations Director for the BM&R during this period.
great.i grew up near this rail line.i actually lived in lansdale.graduated from north penn class of 79.so i do alot of fishing on the schuykill river and perkiomen creek.i am always wondering what is going to happen with this rail line being that i grew up along that rail line.i did hear that it would possibly be turned into a trail or reactivated in the future.please let me know if you hear anything concerning this raile line.keep in touch.
greg I meant to say I grew up along the Quakertown-Bethlehem line.i do remember the rail line when I lived on pawlings road in Audubon back in the mid seventies.i did walk that line from oaks to Norristown at that time great exercise.as for the pictures about Schwenksville and the old rail equipment in oaks thanks.i do remember the old trestle behind the coal yard at sprimg mount road and rte.29.good fishing hole.keep in touch.
Perkiomen Branch from Emmaus to East Greenville when the BM&R ran freight and occasional passenger excursions on it in the late 80's and early 90's.
as far as I know greg freight is still being run from Emmaus to east Greenville on that line.i talked to an employee of knoll corp. who told me freight is inbound and outbound from east Greenville.as for passenger excursions I never heard of that.keep in touch.
In the early 90's the Hobos had a gathering in Pennsburg, during that weekend excursion trains were run on the line pulled by a coal locomotive. I lived right there at the time, it was a really fun weekend.
My friends started a page on face book feel free to check it out Perkiomen Railroad Historical and Preservation Society
Here is some great research from Alex Charyna on the Perkiomen Branch. Lots of great photos here. I contacted him and he gave permission to post the link:
Would it be safe to say that the entire remaining southern portion of the "Perk" (Oaks to old Perkiomen Junction) is now out of service with the line to Devault now gone?
chris,i have not heard anything or read anything in the paper about this line being reactivated at all.of course if septa and Norfolk/southern do find it feasible then I am pretty sure the public will know.the big problem will be the cost.so I will say for now this line is actually out of service and will be for quite a while.as for the line to devault are you talking below Phoenixville?
Yes, referring to below Phoenixville -- the line that comes off the Perk at old "Creek" automatic interlocking, follows the PRR running (former Schuylkill Branch?), then from that over to Phoenixville and down to devault (ex PRR Frasier or Phoenixville Branch?) I was under the impression that the only thing keeping the last remaining lower section of the Perk around was its use as a connecting track so trains out of Abrams could get to Devault through Phoenixville.
I saw a news article on a rail-trail website that NS has expressed selling the Phoenixville - Devault ROW so it will probably be a trail and I could see what's left of the Perk from Oaks south to PK Junction becoming the same. I don't see SEPTA having any interest at all in any of that and no other rail operator seems to have worked a deal to keep it rail. It looks like parts of the line have been severed, crossings removed, overgrowth. Too much money to restore.
Side note -- I was doing some aerial viewing of the Perk and see that the bridge that carried the Graterford Prison siding across the Perkiomen Creek is now a highway bridge to access something.
Thanks for responding chris.As far as I know there was interest from septa in reopening up this line from oaks to Phoenixville for passenger traffic.That is as long as the ridership would be there.Evidently that fell through probably due to the ridership issue and the cost to rebuild that rail line for rail traffic.I do question this because the bridges haven't been used for many years and probably would have to be either removed or rebuilt.So I would definitely say this line will never see rail traffic unless a miracle happens.As for the devault section I did see rail and bridges on that section.I do also feel that section will stay abandoned.If you do hear anything concerning this abandoned rail line let me know.Thanks.
I was just looking at the map for this abandoned rail line and realized that there is not too many more areas to put a trail in especially around oaks.If anyone does hear anything let me know.Thanks.
I have a question that i might have asked before.where this line ends in oaks there is another abandoned rail line that runs up to phoenixville.This line originates in philly and runs along the schuykill river to phoenixville.It merges with the perkiomen line in oaks.Any help on identifying this abandoned rail line would be greatly appreciated.I remember walking this rail line back in the 70's when i lived in the area.
George, that is the old Pennsylvania RR Schuylkill Division Mainline!. They connected it with the Perkiomen so it could cross the River and connect with the N&S (old Reading Mainline. After crossing the high bridge back into Phoenixville it picked up the Phoenixville Branch of the PRR headed south to Default to the connection with the Penn-Central (Conrail) Mainline.
"After crossing the high bridge back into Phoenixville it picked up the Phoenixville Branch of the PRR headed south to Default to the connection with the Penn-Central (Conrail) Mainline." It also went west following the river, through Reading, and eventually to Pottsville. The current interchange was, if I understand correctly, originally there but there was a crossover diamond because the Schuylkill Division continued East to Philly. There's an old arch bridge that used to be PRR's before it was turned into a road/trail bridge.
Thanks James and Jason for your comments on this abandoned rail line i asked about.Now i know it isn't identified.James and Jason,i am very familiar with the Phoenixville to Devault rail line.Jason,you mentioned an old arch bridge.Where exactly are you talking about?
Jason is talking about the bridge over the Perkiomen Creek, only a mile or so downstream from the Rail bridge. The line on to Reading was abandoned long before the connection to Devault. They recently tore out the rails from Phoenxville to just outside of town, wrong, wrong wrong! I have some nice photos of these bridges but am not sure how I can share them on this site.
James,thanks for responding.I think i know which bridge you might be talking about.I am not sure because there are alot of abandoned bridges on this rail line and also on the PRR Schuykill rail line.I've also found an abandoned bridge off this rail line too.Might be more.I don't know for sure.You mentioned rail being removed.Where exactly did this happen?
Me and my fiancee drove past Knight Lake on RTE.29 ON 4-2-16 which is part of Green Lane Reservoir and i saw that the railroad trestle that crosses Knight Lake is still standing.Hasn't been removed yet.Don't know if it will since it is in a park.
Well, its been standing there since it was abandoned in the 70's so I don't think it going anywhere anytime soon. Other remnants other than the roadbed in Green Lane include another bride used by the trail and the base of a water tower.
Jason,i agree the trestle over knight lake is probably not going anywhere anytime soon unless it becomes a hazard.When i am down in the area next month i am going to check out the bridge off of Hopperville rd.-Lumber st. which is off of Rte.29 in Green Lane.The bridge crosses Macoby Creek.I was passing through Boyertown yesterday on my way back to Reading and saw a caboose on the Colebrookedale tracks.Is that for the Colebrookedale railroad?
Are you refering to the Pennsy N5b sitting just North of the Bridge over 4th streetin town?
Yeah that's the one.Does it need any work or is it ready to go?
Jason,unfortunately i couldn't check out that bridge i was talking about in a prior post because my fiancee wasn't feeling good and today 5-8-16 being mothers day i went to visit my mother.Anyway,while driving through Boyertown i saw the caboose was moved from where i saw it last time we were down in Boyertown.Do you know if the caboose is being used by the Colebrookedale railroad Jason?Seems to be in pretty good shape from looking at it.
Sorry, I didn't see the other question. Yes it is fully restored to operation and is on some days in use on regular trains. I wouldn't expect to see it on normal trains until the passing siding is extended because they have opted to include their Pullman heavyweights instead of the added length of the caboose because of their greater capacity.
Jason,thanks for clearing that up.I do have a question which i don't think ever asking.Is it possible that the Perkiomen Branch could at one time been connected to the rail line that runs through Boyertown to Pottstown?I know the Boyertown line ended at Bally but it does look like it could have possibly connected further north.
George, actually the old Reading line never made to Bally. It ended just south in Barto. There was a wye located in between Barto Rd and Guppy Lane, and just on the east side of Hwy 100.
Thanks Walter.I wasn't sure.That's why I asked because the 2 rail lines are not too far from each other.
Interestingly, in the 1920's there was a proposal to connect the Catasaqua and Fogelsville with the Colebrookdale Branch at the village of Rittenhouse Gap, near Huffs Church.The proposed route would have closely followed the valley created by the West Branch of the Perkiomen Creek and some grading for the line was completed before the project fell through.
Thanks Jason.That's some interesting information that i didn't know.
Jason,just saw a picture in The Reading Eagle this morning that showed a steam engine being used on the Colebrookedale rail line which was part of Boyertowns 150th year celebration.Also i saw that caboose i was asking about hooked up behind the engine.That answers that question i was asking about the rail line using that caboose.
Jason,been a long time since i last talked to you.Did you ever hear of a book series called'The Passing Scene'?I happened to be looking through volume 24 and saw a lot of pictures of the Colebrookedale rail line when it originally ran up to Barto where it ended.Very informational.Since i saw these pictures in this book i will probably look through the other volumes which could shed some light on other abandoned rail lines nobody knows about.These books only cover Berks County.
Jason,long time i haven't talked to you.I have a question.Have you ever heard of a book series called 'The Passing Scene'?In volume 24 of this series they show pictures and mention the Colebrookedale Railroad which ended at Barto Pa.The article goes into detail on this rail line.Let me know if you know of or have looked at these books which cover Berks County exclusively.
I have hear of that series (I have a few floating around the basement) but I never took notice of that, thank you. Keeping on topic, I have found a great resource for tracking almost any abandoned railroad anywhere. USGS has a historical map overlay website that you can select a map from many time periods and you can adjust the transparency above a google-esque map view. http://historicalmaps.arcgis.com/usgs/
Thanks for responding.There are 24 books in that series and i plan at looking at most if not all of them.It was interesting finding out about the Colebrookedale rail line that ran to Barto from Boyertown.Thanks for the website you mentioned.I will have to check it out.
Montgomery County did an excellent job in turning this into a beautiful Rail Trail that runs from Oaks through Collegeville to Graterford, Schwenksville and up into Green Lane. In Oaks it connects with the Schuylkill River Trail in Valley Forge National Park, the old Reading Main Line.
Good morning,Harry.When did Montgomery County put the trail in from Oaks to Green Lane?I didn't hear nothing about a trail being opened up.I'm from the area and know that rail line very well being that I'm from Lansdale.Please respond and let me know where I can get information on this rail to trail.Thanks.
I don't know the year they did the trail from Oaks to Green Lane, but here is the official website of the trail with a ton of information including trail maps.
Oops forgot the link
Thanks,Harry.I'll take a look at the site.
Harry,i just looked at the map and noticed the trail doesn't quite follow the original row.Still,it looks nice on the map.