The Landenburg Branch
This line was built as the Delaware and Western Railroad between 1867 and 1872. It connected with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad mainline in Wilmington, DE, at Landenburg Junction, and proceeded through Green Bank, Hockessin and westward into Landenburg, where it connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline. The line went through ownership changes during the ensuing years, first as the Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad, and was eventually bought by the B&O in 1886, who named this line the Landenburg Branch.
The line was abandoned in stages; first between Landenburg and Southwood in the 1940s, and then between Southwood and Hockessin in the 1950s.
Today, the Wilmington and Western operates a tourist line from Hockessin to Wilmington, DE, on the remaining portion of the line. In addition, in 2013, the portion of the line up to Hockessin has been reopened for active service.
Thanks to Joe Sharretts for contributing information.
|Baltimore & Ohio Railroad|
|Docket: AB-19 Sub 3||4/13/1972||Section: 1(18)|
|Applic for authority to abandon its Landenberg Branch, from VS 63+00 to the end of the branch at VS 537+78, a distance of 8.99 miles, all in New Castle County, Dela.|
|Length: 8.990 miles||Citation:|
The wilmington and western recentley operated on the line a little north of hockesion.
It's hard to trace for a short period, but if you go along Egypt Run Road, you can see massive ruins and where they cut into the hillside for the tracks. I'll take a camera there later.
Some history/info and corrections;
The line was built as the Wilmington & Western Rail Road (Chartered in 1867 as the Wilmington & Chester County Railroad Co, name changed to Wilm & Western in 1869), later reorganized as the Delaware Western Railroad Co. (note no "and") with controlling interests in the DW bought by the Balt. & Phila. in 1883, which turned operations over to the B&O in 1886 after the Main Line was built. The B&O abandoned the portion from Landenberg to Southwood De. in 1942 after fire destroyed a portion of the 800 foot long Broad Run Trestle, they then shortened to Valley Road in Hockessin in 1957 after removing about 100 stored hoppers and gondolas on the portion from Valley Road to the State Line/Southwood.
The 4 miles of the route all the way into Landenberg, with a very tiny exception just west of Valley Road where 3 houses sit on the Old ROW, is still very much existent and visible if you know where to look. (better from the air than the ground)
There is also about a 6 mile portion of the original W&W line from east of their Interchange to the water front in Wilmington that is either abandoned completely or in use by CSX.
This 20 mile branch played a very important roll in the building of the B&O's main line from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Without the original charter rights of the Wilmington & Western, which was the only railroad other than the Pennsy controlled Phila, Wilm. & Balt. to hold charter rights for additional building of RR in the State of Delaware at the time, the B&O would have had no way to cut across the State and compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad's direct route to Philadelphia and Wilmington Ports.
The Landenberg Branch was also the B&O's most profitable branch on its system up through the 1920's and provided much ballast for the building of the new Main Line.