• Quakertown and Eastern

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by nrkrupp
Does anyone have any information on the Quakertown and Eastern that ran from Quakertown to Riegelsville? I can see the ROW while driving along route 212 towards Durham and it peaked my interest. Thanks!


  by Aa3rt
Hello Russ,

A brief history of the Quakertown and Eastern covers two pages in the book Railroads In The Lehigh River Valley, first published in 1956, revised in 1962, by the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Some of the more salient points from the book:

The Quakertown and Eastern was chartered in July 1896 with construction beginning in August of that same year. The line interchanged with the Philadelphia and Reading's Bethlehem Branch in Quakertown. There were grandiose plans to extend the line to Easton and a connection with the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway to shorten the connection between the Poughkeepsie Bridge and Philadelphia by 23 miles.

The line finally reached Riegelsville, the roads' terminus, five years after construction began, in August of 1901.

The iron furnaces in Durham closed temporarily in 1906 which, in turn, caused the Q&E to shutdown. The iron furnaces shut down permanently in 1908 after 181 years of operation.

A local doctor, John J. Ott, had a four-wheeled gasoline propelled vehicle built using a 1902 Oldsmobile engine. He attempted to use this vehicle to carry local produce over the line between 1908 & 1910 but the experiment was a failure. The doctor also operated a smaller car for charter retention purposes.

The line was reorganized in 1911 as the Quakertown and Delaware River Railroad. This line suspended operation in early 1916.

The line went to a sheriff's sale in July of 1917 and was reorganized once again, this time going back to the original name of Quakertown and Eastern. In 1930 the Q&E rehabilitated track in conjunction with the opening of a sand pit and quarry in Riegelsville. This upturn in traffic was brief and in July 1936 the Q&E applied to the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission for abandonment with operations ceasing on December 18, 1936.

This line operated some unique equipment. The few photos show an 0-4-0T pulling a combine (passenger car with baggage compartment) in 1916. Another photo shows a smaller tank engine pulling a train of three former Washington, DC four-wheel trolleys. Two of these trolleys were later outfitted with marine gasoline engines and were operated as self-propelled units. The line leased numerous steam locos from the Reading over its history. It did own one 2-6-0 that was only used for about one year before it was returned to the builder (Baldwin Locomotive Works) due to the frequent derailments-the loco was too long for the sharp curves on the line. A later loco was reclaimed by Baldwin in 1907 due to failure by the Q&E to make payments. The last two locos on the line were 0-6-0s purchased from the Union Railroad (near Pittsburgh, PA).

Hope this helps.

  by salminkarkku
Here are the original passenger stops:

Quakertown (RDG), Richlandtown, Pullen, Pleasant Valley, Schleifer, Gehman, Springtown, Witte, Durham, Hewitt, Riegelsville.

This was one short line which was damaged by the interurbans. The "Philadelphia & Easton" built through Riegelsville on its direct line between Doylestown and Easton, and the "Lehigh Valley Traction" built a line between Quakerstown and Richlandtown. These two lines made any passenger service on the QB rather pointless.
  by sneezehorse
I just hiked the Q&E as closely as possible from Rieglesville to Quakertown today. We ended up doing 20.75 miles! Right in Rieglesville it's in bad shape, there's where it used to cross the creek at Durham Furnace, still bridge abutments, then it follows a side road and goes through some yards. It crossed Cooks Creek twice, bridge pieres still intact, and is nearly farmed out of existance on the way to Durham. Beyond there there's not much you can get to until you reach Rt 212. There's pull off parking where it crossed. Much of it is in bad shape in there, but it can be walked through weeds out to Pleasant Valley pretty easily. From Pleasant Valley it can be followed easily almost out to Richlandtown...but it becomes tough to follow once it turns away from Cook's Creek. It follows a driveway for a bit, but after that it's really tough through the fields.
Overall an awesome walk. Some places were really especially nice.