Philadelphia to Delano Junction

The Schuylkill Branch

(Forwarded from the Pottsville & Mahanoy Railroad)

The abandoned railroad route between Philadelphia and Delano Junction, known as The Schuylkill Branch, was once operated in Pennsylvania by Pottsville & Mahanoy Railroad, the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD
Docket Number: 23736 Date: 7/16/1965 Section: 1(18)
Application for authority to abandon all operations over that portion of the branch north of Pottsville to Gowen, a distance of 40.86 miles, in the following manner: abandon (1) physically that portion of its Schuylkill Branch extending northerly from M.P. 95/2391 above Pottsville to M.P. 101/4690 at Morea, a distance of 6.46 miles, (2) all operations over the Schuylkill Branch and over connecting Catawissa Branch from M.P. 95/2391 at Pottsville to Catawissa Branch M.P. 43 at Tomhicken, a distance of 36.01 miles; (3)trackage rights over (a) Lehigh Valley RR. from Delano west to Mt. Carmel, a distance of 22.80 miles and (b) over the Reading Co. from Wetherill Junction west to Frackville, a distance of 3.08 miles and; (4) to sell to Lehigh Valley the segment from Morea to Newton (the Morea Branch), and also the northern-most portion from Tomhicken to Gowen, and certain inactive trackage rights which are collateral to and indirectly related to the above operation and which have not been used during the last few
Length: 40.86 miles Citation:  
Also under this filing: The Catawissa Branch   

I have some photos of the line in Auburn, PA. Sections of it in Hamburg and Auburn have been turned into the Bartram Rail trail. There is an old bridge at what I beleive is MP 105 and a signal at MP 105

Matt Lebo
Fleetwood, PA
10/3/2010

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This branch ran from 52nd Street in Phila to and beyond Reading PA. A few small portions are still in use:

1. 52nd street to Cynwyd Station -- by SEPTA Commuter trains.

2. Oaks, PA to Phoenixville -- links to the PRR Devault Branch using the Reading Perkiomen Branch Schuylkill River bridge in Oaks (Near the Expo Center).

3. West of Phoenixville a bridge over the Schuylkill and a small stretch of the PRR serves PECo Cromby Generating Staton(Which is scheduled to close).

A large portion of the abandoned parts are now a Rail-Trail.

There are some nice bridges and a few visible ruins along the trail.

Doug G
Jeffersonville, PA
1/25/2011

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The right of way for the Schuylkill Branch is visible behin Main Street in Spring City (Chester County) and along PA Route 724. A bridge that carried the branch over the Schuylkill River west of Douglasville (Berks County) is also visible along Route 724.

Richard L. Lindberg
Pottstown, PA
7/18/2011

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Many crossings on the Devault branch have recently been removed between Phoenixville and Devault. NS was storing cars on the Schuylkill branch between Oaks and Phoenixville last year but it looks pretty rough now (small washout at Oaks). A PRR bridge just East of Oaks has been converted into a highway bridge providing a back way into the Expo/shopping area.

McDoak
Phoenixville, PA
7/24/2012

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Pennsylvania Railroad Schuylkill Branch

https://www.facebook.com/gregory.pawelski.9/media_set?set=a.486145348171758.1073741856.100003288929249&type=3

Gregory D. Pawelski
Wernersville, PA
5/10/2014

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There are a couple of questions I need to ask about this abandoned rail line.Is there a map of this rail line from beginning to end and what connection does this rail line have with the Catawissa branch?The Catawissa branch is nowhere near this branch.Also I was told the penncoyd viaduct is on this abandoned rail line.Is that true?I am also wondering if this is the same branch that ran past Norristown on the Montgomery county side of the schuykill river?Anybody can answer any or all of these questions would be greatly appreciated.

george oakley
reading, PA
7/25/2015

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I just read in the reading eagle dated 7-29-15 that the schuykill river trail from oaks to Phoenixville has been completed.I take it that the abandoned rail line on this section will not be used for a trail.If anyone hears anything concerning this supposedly last section of this rail line let me know.Thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
7/30/2015

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I have an interesting question.What constitutes an abandoned rail car?The local paper here in reading pa. the reading eagle printed on 10-13-15 an article on rail car storage on railroad track.I am wondering about abandoned rail cars.Any information would be very helpful.Thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/13/2015

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It seems to me what constitutes an abandoned rail car is being located on an abandoned rail line. The 13-mile former PRR Schuylkill Branch between Temple and Hamburg is not abandoned.

Gregory D. Pawelski
Wernersville, PA
10/13/2015

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Thanks greg for responding to my question about rail cars.I know the rail line from reading to Pottsville is not abandoned but active.Evidently you saw the article I was talking about in the reading eagle.I've seen pictures of abandoned rail cars but did not wonder if the rail was abandoned also.I did happen to find a couple of abandoned rail cars outside of reading on the Pottsville line.I know they were abandoned because the rail is not connected to the main rail.Now I know from what you said is true.again,thanks greg.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/14/2015

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Greg,i looked on the maps and saw that the rail line to hamburg deadended at hamburg.I was unaware of this.Also does reading and northern own this rail line?Iwas also unaware that rail companies charge storage fees for the rail cars.Get in touch with me about these issues.Thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/15/2015

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Yes, the Schuykill Division does dead end in Hamburg. This was formerly the terminal of Blue Mountain & Reading. This was the forerunner of the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern, a.k.a the Reading & Northern which now owns the line. There is a book on the BM&R as well as one specifically on the history of the Schuylkill Division. According to a Reading & Northern employee I know, Andy Muller has filled in almost every available siding and yard track with cars I storage. He also said that, and this may be exaggerated, the R&N is making over $20,000 per day.

Jason M.
Boyertown, PA
10/23/2015

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Thanks Jason for letting me know about the schuykill division and also about rail car storage on the tracks mentioned.I was down in Quakertown yesterday and saw rail cars also stored on that rail.Whether they are abandoned I do not know.If you or anybody hear anything that might be of interest concerning the rails we talked about it would be greatly appreciated.

george oakley
reading, OR
10/25/2015

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Quakertown would be the Bethlehem Branch of the Reading which is itself abandoned from Saucon Creek enginehouse, the last Reading enginehouse, south of Bethlehem, to between Quakertown and Coopersburg. The tracks and ROW are property of SEPTA and are leased by East Penn. The cars in question are either in storage or part of East Penn's freight service. There is a caboose (?) and a couple of boxcars on an abandoned siding in an industrial area, cut off from active track by a paved over road crossing that can be found here:

Jason M.
Boyertown, PA
10/25/2015

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http://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=OIP.M9c564c3aab655cba738d512bb83cff31o0&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0

Jason M.
Boyertown, PA
10/25/2015

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Jason,the rail cars on the quakertown rail line i mentioned have been there for a very long,long time.It is probably proper to assume that they are in storage because when i went down this past saturday i was surprised they were still there.You are correct about the septa line that ran from bethlehem to quakertown.Being from quakertown which is my hometown i know that there is abandoned rail from california road to coopersburg.I have actually been on it and have seen the abandoned rail along with other equipment.Above coopersburg the rail has been removed and a trail put in.The caboose and cars you were talking about.They wouldn't be the ones sitting off of california road across from the industrial park,would they?If they are,they are the only ones i know of.I dont remember a caboose though.Please let me know if i'm right.Thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/26/2015

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Those would be the ones. I'm not sure what to identify the first car as, something of a MOW car. Copy paste the link, to get the picture. Do you have any ideas as to what railroads the boxcars are, or their age?

Jason M.
Boyertown, PA
10/26/2015

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Thanks for responding Jason.I never really took a close look at the cars.That rail siding served that building which was a hardee's warehouse originally.Now they do steel work there.When I do get down there the next time I am in Quakertown or richlandtown I will take a very close look at the rail cars.I could be wrong but I don't remember seeing a boxcar.Looked more like rail repair cars left there.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/27/2015

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