• Mystery railroads?

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by Mumphrey O. Yamm
I have a map of Philadelphia and its western outskirts as far west as Kennett Square from 1893, published by J.L. Smith of Philadelphia. On this map, there are two railroads I don’t know anything about, and that I can’t find anything out about, and I was hoping somebody here might have heard of them, or at least have some thoughts about where I might look further.

One of these railroads is called the Roxborough Railroad, and it branches to the west from what is now SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West line at Chelten Avenue Station, runs northwest, and meets the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Trenton Cutoff near Corson Station.

The other railroad is even weirder. I know about the Pennsylvania’s Newtown Square branch. In 1893, this wasn’t built yet, though on the map, it was drawn as a proposed railroad. What’s weird is that there is a railroad shown as existing in 1893 that runs east from West Chester, branching off from what is, I guess, still SEPTA’s inactive West Chester line, and it ends in western Haverford Township, just north of Broomall in Delaware County. It seems to be the Newtown Square Branch from where the Newtown Square Branch ended near the Delaware-Chester County line east to western Haverford Township, as I said above.

What seems to have happened, if this map is right, is that what later became the Newtown Square Branch was built from Fernwood to meet the already existing railroad near Broomall, and then later, the branch was abandoned from Newtown Square to West Chester. I can’t make out the name of this railroad on the map, but I was hoping somebody here might know something about it.

Anybody? Any thoughts?
  by Mumphrey O. Yamm
On looking a little more carefully, it looks like the railroad from West Chester to Haverford Township is called the Chester Railroad. Odd...
  by JimBoylan
My Great grandfather, who had been a Track Foreman on the Great Northern Rwy. (of Ireland) worked on the construction of part of the Roxborough RR that is now Henry Ave. It was never finished. On the Internet, I've seen a Pennsyvania RR Real Estate map of the property for this branch at Wissahickon Ave & Walnut La. I never knew where the outer end of the line was to be.
I'm surprised that the map doesn't show the Darby Creek Low Grade Line, from 62nd St. & Malvern Ave. to Malvern, Pa. Enough property was bought for it that you can still trace its proposed route by the odd shape of streets in Delaware County, especially near Brookline and West Overbrook.
  by JimBoylan
Way down on this link:

http://maggieblanck.com/Land/Philly.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

under the title "The Corner of Daniel and Hermit Streets 1923",
are 4 Official photos, a Real Estate Dept. plan, and some comments about the Roxborough branch of the Chestnut Hill branch of the PRR.
  by westernfalls
A proposed route for the Pennsylvania Railroad's Roxborough Branch is shown on the 1895 Atlas of the City of Philadelphia which can be viewed at http://www.philageohistory.org
  by bystander
There use to be a Ge diesel, maybe a 44 ton yard job, near Bly street in Phila. It was near one of the birdges to NJ. My son in law took us too see it. Someone later told me that it got stolend. Does anone know what hanneped to it? It i a mystery train.
  by JimBoylan
I suspect that you mean one of the small Diesels and locomotive cranes in Northern Metals, on the East side of I-95 Delaware Expwy, just North of Bleigh St., I don't know if they are still there, but ConRail hasn't had any traffic from them for a few years.
  by John Johnstone
The Roxborough Branch was proposed, but nothing was built off the PRR Chestnut Hill Branch. The terrain was deemed unsuitable and there was already a Ridge Avenue Railroad through Roxborough, running into Montgomery County.
  by westernfalls
John Johnstone wrote:The Roxborough Branch was proposed, but nothing was built...
At least a small portion was graded and is visible on the southeast side of Bells Mill Road.
John Johnstone wrote:...there was already a Ridge Avenue Railroad through Roxborough, running into Montgomery County.
A trolley line?
  by Flababo
As to the railroad from West Chester, I suspect it was a proposed extension of the Newtown Square branch by the PRR as a counter to the Philadelphia, Castle Rock and West Chester Railway, which was incorporated in 1892 and the subject of a famous crossing dispute in Llanerch in 1893. The PRR counter never went anywhere and we got the West Chester trolley in 1899.
  by dlagrua
The mystery RR that I m trying to figure out, once ran on the new RT 202 ROW starting South of Doylestown and running South for quite a distance. It may have been a Pennsylvania RR branch or passenger line but there are miles of rail trails along Rt 202 now. Does anyone know what railroad ran there , where it connected and when it was abandoned?
  by dlagrua
Clarification: I should have said what railroad ran along the Rt 202 parkway South of Doylestown. The rail train there is miles and miles long.
  by westernfalls
dlagrua wrote: ...what railroad ran along the Rt 202 parkway South of Doylestown. The rail trail there is miles and miles long.
It's just a trail, not a rail-trail, built new along with the parkway through virgin territory somewhat parallel with the old Route 202 and SEPTA's Doylestown Branch.
  by dlagrua
I was under the impression that there were former rail lines running in the Rt 202 parkway area and even a railroad bridge or two. In any event thank you for the clarification.