The Reading & Columbia Railroad was built to connect the City of Reading to the Chesapeake Bay Region via the Susquehanna Tide Water Canal, and ran its first train along newly-laid rails in 1863. It transported mainly coal, iron ore, and general merchandise. During its heydey, the railroad expanded into Marietta and Lancaster, and carried as many as ten passenger trains a day.
Through the years, the railroad declined in use, until it was abandoned in 1985.
Today, because of efforts of many dedicated citizens, the right-of-way was bought by the County of Lancaster and made into a rail-trail. It was officially dedicated on October 14, 1987, and is managed by the Lancaster County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Thanks to Andrew Lueders for contributing information about this route.