• Colebrookdale Railroad Crane Restoration

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by Schuylkill Valley
Copied from RYPN.org

Finished in 1869, the Colebrookdale Railroad connected the sleepy town of "Boyer's Corner" with the rest of the industrial world. Boyertown, as it was to become, had quite the little rail yard. To help unload cars there was a crane installed. Typical of many cranes in many Reading Co towns, this Phoenix Iron Co. built crane is believed to have been built in 1867. It is among the oldest and largest Phoenix Columns left and most likely the only Phoenix Column crane still standing.

But what IS a Phoenix Column?

In the 1800's it was very difficult to build sturdy supports for structures. To combat this, the Phoenix Iron Co. of Phoenixville, Pa designed an iron version of the Greek column. Their engineers figured out that 4, 6, or 8 pieces of C channel riveted together in a circle could sustain much heavier loads than a cast or hollow column of one piece. Phoenix Columns became a favorite of pre-turn-of-the-century builders and were employed around the world.


Due to her relative rarity, The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust is cleaning up the Lady Phoenix of Boyertown where she had guarded the corner of Washington Street and Third for almost a century and a half. Her restoration is the kick off for the restoration of the Colebrookdale Railroad as a whole.

Time has been very kind to the old crane and only minimal pitting is evident. To stave off further rust, we coated it in a rust killing primer follower by a thicker primer sealer followed by a heavy duty gloss black enamel. The crane will the be pin striped much in the way hit-and-miss engines are to further enhance her beauty.

Special thanks to:
Nathaniel Guest, CRPT Pres.
Rich Tobin, CRPT
Roger Lehman
The Lions Club of Boyertown
The Borough of Boyertown
Trevor Bosler
The McEvoy Company employees

Please follow our Facebook page: Colebrookdale Railroad-The Secret Valley Line to find pictures of the project.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colebroo ... 8949655608
Photo taken by Len Shaner

Preston McEvoy
CRPT Corporate Secretary
Crane Restoration Project Manager