• Philadelphia Bethelham and New England Railroad Steel Mill switching line long name?

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by sextant
In Bethelham PA Bethelham steel owned this short line that is still in buisness serving the Intermodal Yard there. But why the long name? The PB&NE never left the Valley was there some intention of growing up to be a super railroad when it was founded? There is evidence of this in that it’s bridges are overbuilt
  by obsessed railfan
The name of Philadelphia, Bethlehem, and New England can be traced back to the railroad's original inception in the early 1900s. The railroad was originally envisioned as a route connecting to the Pennsylvania Railroad's Bel-Del line across the Delaware River from Durham Furnace, then to Bethlehem, and on to Nazareth and an interchange with Lehigh & New England. This explains the rather grand name because the railroad would have had connections to Philly via the PRR; Bethlehem, a major area served due to Bethlehem Steel; and connections to New England via the L&NE.

I think it would have been very interesting if the railroad would have been built as planned, instead of ultimately becoming a terminal switching operation for Bethlehem Steel. The original route would have required two river crossings at Durham Furnace and Bethlehem respectively. Perhaps this planned line could have come to fruition if only the planners had acquired the Quakertown & Eastern Railroad's right of way which was defunct at that time, to use in their planned route. It is mentioned in the book "Railroads In The Lehigh River Valley" that a group did in fact survey the route, but nothing ever became of the original plan. Coincidentally around that time, a slag recycling operation was started at Durham, and the defunct Q&E property was reorganized as the Quakertown & Bethlehem Railroad, to haul the crushed slag out of Durham. The Q&B ceased to operate once the slag operation ended in the mid 1930s.