Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Railroads

By EARL J. HEYDINGER

RLHS Bulletin  Vol 105, Pages 39 - 50

 

RAILROADS OF THE FIRST COAL FIELD CENTERING AT PlNE GROVE

 

Because of the five pioneer Schuylkill County Coal Field railroads only the Little Schuylkill Navigation, Railroad and Coal Company employed locomotives, too little attention has been paid to the heavy tonnage carriers in the First and Second Coal Fields. The development of these many coal roads forced the construction of the Philadelphia & Reading and the Lehigh Valley Railroads. While the first lines' traffic traveled only on favorable grades, Broad Mountain had been crossed in less than a decade. This paper will attempt to present the history development and contributions of these early roads as their importance deserves.

 

In the United States, as in England, the first railroads, with few exceptions, linked coal mines with waterways. Even as the Schuylkill Navigation Canal linked the Pottsville coal area in the First Coal Field with tidewater at Philadelphia, railroad advocates, on November 25th, 1825, proposed a link from Pottsville to the Susquehanna's forks at Sunbury. The Pottsville Miner's Journal, on March 25th, 1826, carried Strickland's diagram of the Hetton Railroad of England, illustrating inclined planes, contemporaneously with Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore and Boston papers. This wave of railroad interest generated two Pennsylvania charters in 1826; the Danville & Pottsville, surviving today as the P. R. R. from Sunbury to Shamokin; and the Union Canal Railroad, a 3.4-mile component of the Reading Company today, north of Pine Grove in western Schuylkill County, and the basis of that line's claim to an 18th century corporate origin.

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The Union Canal Railroad

 

The Union Canal Company, of 1811, a successor corporation to the Schuylkill and Susquehanna Canal of 1791, received legislative sanction on March 3rd, 1826, for a railroad from Pine Grove, the head of its branch canal on Swatara Creek, into the hard coal regions of western Schuylkill County. This branch canal had carried traffic from Pine Grove by December 3rd, 1830, three years after the main canal had opened. However, two years elapsed before the strap rail line carried coal to the canal from Lorberry Junction.

 

According to P. W. Schaefer, pioneer Schuylkill County mining engineer, the Union Canal, between 1833 and 1861, received over a million tons of anthracite over this tiny railroad, small tonnage, however, when compared with that carried by the L`. C. & N. Canal, the Schuylkill Canal, and the P. & R. Horses were the motive power for this road and its privately owned extensions into the coal fields until 1848. Traffic grew slowly. Competition through a pioneer Schuylkill Valley line, the Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven, crossed the feeder line, the Swatara R. R., in 1847, at Tremont. Peak tonnage of 72,146 tons in 1849 passed through a canal with locks only 8-1/2 feet by 75 feet.

 

 During 1849, coal producers in the Swatara region requested that the Union Canal R. R. be double-tracked with heavier rail so that Swatara locomotives might operate into Pine Grove and replace horsepower. These producers threatened to switch their tonnage to a proposed rail road via Fishing and Stony Creeks to the Susquehanna, the Dauphin & Susquehanna Coal Company's original line. By 1851, the Union Canal R. R. had laid 60-lb. rail. Enlargement during 1851 reduced the U. C. coal traffic to zero, but 1853 brought nearly 65,000 tons over their road. Canal traffic dropped 20,000 tons when the Lorberry Creek R. R., a feeder line financially interested in the D. & S. R. R., directed its coal westward from Pine Grove in 1854, and eastward to the P. & R. at Auburn, in 1855. By 1856, however, tonnage over the canal rose to nearly 80,000 tons, the all-time peak, despite the speedier rail transportation available at Pine Grove. Even with this traffic and 15 x 90 foot locks, the Union Canal was unable to earn six percent for its $3,000,000 enlargement bonds. Nature in the form of a flood, on June 4th, 1862, wiped out the branch Union Canal and its reservoirs above and below Pine Grove.

 

Less than a month later, July 26th, the Reading leased the U. C. R. R., linked to the P. & R. by their then-controlled Schuylkill & Susquehanna R. R. In January, 1866, the P. & R. purchased this railroad and the Union Canal right of way from Pine Grove to Jonestown. Subsequently the P. & R. built the Pine Grove & Lebanon and the Lebanon & Pine Grove Railroads, later the Lebanon & Tremont R. R., over this route.

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The Lorberry Creek Railroad

 

The Lorberry Creek Railroad, incorporated on March 30th, 1831, was the most profitable coal line linking with the Union Canal R. R. at Lorberry Jct., between Sharp and Second Mountains where coal began. This road had its financial backing in New England. Daniel Tyler, of Norwich, Conn., later a member of the Philadelphia coal firm of Tyler, Stone and Company, owned considerable coal acreage in the Swatara Region, and in the Dauphin & Susquehanna Coal and R. R. Company. The Lorberry Creek operated from Lorberry Jct. to Lorberry Colliery by 1835. That year the line requested permission for a toll increase in order to replace strap-and-wood rail with heavier iron. There were three collieries on the line by 1839.

 

Before 1840, the D. & S. Company cited the Lorberry Creek profits to promote sale of the D. & S. stock. Lorberry made $.75 a ton at the Pine Grove wharf, with coal selling at $2.50. Costs were $1.00 for mining, $.35 for hauling, $.25 for plane toll at the head of the Union Canal R. R. (this plane rose 150 feet in a half mile), $.35 for U. C. R. R. toll, and $.15 for miscellaneous expenses. Profits allowed replacement of strap with T-rail by September, 1841, and an eight percent dividend in the depression year of 1842.

 

The ability to earn an eight percent dividend in 1852 encouraged the Lorberry group to plan an extension of their line along Rausch and Fishing Creeks to join with the D. & S. and other Schuylkill County roads. (The Fishing Creek, Swatara, and Schuylkill Railroad had been incorporated in 1831 and 1844. There are three Rausch Creeks in the Swatara area.) The Lorberry-Tyler interests concentrated their investment in the D. & S. By 1858, Lower Rausch Creek Colliery added its coal to the line's traffic. The fact that George R. Roberts, later president of the P. R. R., was head of the L. C. R. R. for many years may account for its profitable operation.

 

A month after the P. & R. leased the U. C. R. R., it purchased 992 of 1041 Lorberry Creek shares, and independent operation of that road ceased. The productivity of this coal railroad and its coal lands is reflected in the coal furnished to the Federal Navy in 1862, by Tyler, Stone and Company. Because of slow government payments, this coal company owed the Reading over a quarter million dollars in freight. In this financial emergency the L. C. received an advance from the P. & R., which may later have influenced sale of the Lorberry Creek to the Reading.

 

The State Report of 1863 described the L. C. R. R. as extending 5.5 miles from Lorberry Jct. to Lorberry Mines, having 6.5 miles of 60-lb. rail, without ballast. Using P. & R. rolling stock, the line carried 179,030 tons of anthracite and 4433 tons of other items to produce $93441.94 in receipts, but at a loss of $5827.00. The Report of 1870 credited the road with a 13-mile main line from the Junction to Clarks Valley and 2.3 miles of siding. On this line were two bridges and 400 feet of trestling, and 64-lb. rails on stone ballast. Lincoln and Kalmia Collieries opened at this time.

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The Swatara & Good Spring Railroad

 

The Swatara & Good Spring Railroad was the second line delivering hard coal to the Union Canal R. R. at Lorberry Jct. Incorporated on April 2nd, 1831, this line planned to build up Good Spring Creek to the heart of the coal region. In 1841, the road's title was changed to the Swatara Railroad. During the next two years, the Donaldson Improvement and R. R. Company (renamed Donaldson Improvement Co., on April 20th, 1853) extended the road to its mines at Donaldson. Judge Wm. Donaldson, whose property titles involved search into the Robert Morris papers, was president of both the Improvement Company and the Swatara Railroads until 1863, and purchased T-rail from the Lehigh Branch of the L. S. & S. for his railroad after the 184] depression. In February, 1841, he requested that no toll for T-rail movement over the Union Canal be charged to his road. Horses powered the line until legislative action in 1848 authorized the use of mine-owned locomotives and cars. Five years later, the Legislature allowed the Swatara to issue $100,000 six percent bonds for line improvement, and in March, 1859, allowed the Donaldson Company to issue seven percent bonds.

 

 In 1859, Poor's stated that the six-mile line had been completed to Donaldson in 1844, and that the Swatara R. R. leased the Union Canal R. R. and its 2-1/4-mile branch. Capital was $32,300. Equipment consisted of two locomotives, three trucks, a passenger car, and 168 coal ears, all of which had cost $41,780. Neither the $100,000 funded nor a floating debt was mentioned. (One locomotive was a Baldwin 0-8-0, C/N 658, 1855. "Colonel Paxton." Cylinders 16-x20". DD 38-1/2''. Sold to the Lackawanna & Bloomsburg R. R. about 1863, and becoming that road's No. 12. Scrapped in 1874. Ed.). Of the $13,161 in receipts for 1859, $12,003 came from coal traffic.

 

Inability to provide a clear title prevented Donaldson from accepting an offer of $100,000 from the P. & R., in 1860, for the Swatara. The Lancaster, Lebanon & Pine Grove R. R., incorporated on March 28th, 1846, enters the Swatara story through the appointment of Donaldson, G. Dawson Coleman and A. Bates Grubb among its commissioners. The last two were proprietors of blast furnaces and of the famous Cornwall ore mines. The supplemental act appointing them passed March 17th, 1863, was possibly an attempt by Donaldson to extricate himself from his financial involvements, and to save his interests in the Swatara and Donaldson Improvement Railroads.

 

In the meantime, the P. & R. had purchased all outstanding judgments and liens against his lines. After purchasing the Swatara at a Pottsville auction, on January 24th, 1863, the P. & R. conveyed the property to its Good Spring R. R., incorporated April 8th, 1861. When purchased, the Swatara included a partly-graded branch northeastward from Tremont up Middle Creek, where coal lands in 1870 belonged to the same company owning the Donaldson workings. In 1868, an eight mile extension carried the end of Good Spring rail to coal at Brookside, in Dauphin County. Here, a 1956-switchback carries Reading Company traffic via the Williams Valley R. R. to Lykens, Pa. The State Report for 1870 credited the Good Spring with 20.5 miles of track. The P. & R. furnished all equipment but operated the line as an independent branch, until consolidation on March 25th, 1871, with the Pine Grove & Lebanon, the Lebanon & Pine Grove (lines built to the Schuylkill County line in different counties), the Lorberry Creek and the Union Canal Railroads into the Lebanon & Tremont R. R. On May 8th, 1871, the L. & T. was merged into the parent company. Extensions of the L. C. and Swatara Railroads will be discussed with the Dauphin County railroads of the First Coal Field.

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The Swatara Branches of the Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven R. R.

 

The pioneer M. H. & S. H. carried coal from Tremont in 1847, and built its Swatara and Middle Creek Branches between 1849 and 1852. By 1852 Mine Hill competition hurt the Union Canal. In 1856, this line crossed the Swatara R. R. to build its Mt. Eagle & Tremont R. R., incorporated April 29th, 1853, tapping the coal lands of Henry K. Strong, a prominent Schuylkill County politician. All these Mine Hill branches carried considerable coal, but in quantities only sufficient to pay small returns.

 

Today, south of Tremont, three parallel lines of road are visible. From west to east they are:—the 1856 Mt. Eagle branch of the Mine Hill, the Swatara (Good Spring), and the 1847 Tremont branch of the Mine Hill. In coming from the Schuylkill Valley at Westwood, the Mine Hill climbed from 608 feet to a summit of 864 feet, and then descended to 763 feet at Tremont.

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Dauphin County Railroads in the First Coal Field

 

All of the lines described to this point were completely within Schuylkill County except the Lebanon & Pine Grove to the iron city of Lebanon. By switchbacks the Reading extended both their Good Spring route into Lykens, in the Wisconisco Valley, and their Lorberry route into Clarks Valley, in northeastern Dauphin County. Both valleys drain into the Susquehanna River and form the fishtail of the First Coal Field. U. S. Topographic Maps of 1892 and 1893, reprinted in 1936 and 1939, locate the now-abandoned Clarks Valley switchback. Climbing to above 1400 feet out of Lorberry Creek, the westernmost point of the upper switchback was at 1250 feet. Kalmia Colliery and the eastern point were at 1150 feet, while the lower section extended down Clarks Creek nearly 6.5 miles from Kalmia to the 700-foot level. The abandoned right of way can be seen in 1956 from Gold Mine Trail, between Tower City and Lickdale.

 

The Good Spring-Brookside switchback, existing in 1956, parallels Big Lick Mountain at levels from 1400 to 1200 feet, while Lykens station is near 650 feet. There never was any physical connection between this Reading branch and the P. R. R. at Lykens, though authorized in 1870.

 

The Williams Valley R. R. received legislative sanction on September 19th and November 24th, 1891, to build 7.2 miles from Lykens to Brookside on the Good Spring Branch. Train operations began on July 1st, 1892. Tonnage in 1894 consisted of 5287 of anthracite and 12,022 in miscellaneous freight. Capitalization in 1896 was $90,000 in stock and $87,000 in five percent bonds. By 1906, the P. & R. owned $20,000 in bonds. Operating deficits by 1909 were $15,685. When taken over by the Reading, between June, 1908 and June, 1909 one locomotive, the "A. F. Baker," No. 1, came to the parent company, becoming No. 1460. It was a Baldwin 2-6-0, shop number 12806, 1892, having 18"x24" cylinders and 54" drivers, and was scrapped by the Reading in 1916.

 

An item in the Harrisburg Patriot of September 27th, 1956, stated that steam locomotives would replace Diesels on some Reading Company coal lines; especially mentioned was the Good Spring-Lykens switchback.

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The Lykens Valley Railroad

 

Jacob Burd, Sr., and Peter Kimes discovered the famous Lykens Valley red ash coal in 1825, near Short Mountain. Philadelphian Simon Gratz purchased the land in and east of Bear Gap and, in 1831, organized the Wisconisco Coal Company. The next year coal was mined at the Gap. English engineer Ashwin located the railroad of the Lykens Valley R. R. & Coal Company, incorporated April 7th, 1830, the first line in Dauphin County. In 1831, Hazard's reported that this line was to be extended into Schuylkill County. It was completed in 1834 with strap rail and for horse power by engineer John Paul, and the first coal via Millersburg went down the Susquehanna in arks during March and April. Soon coal cars crossed the river via a crude car ferry to Mt. Patrick on the Penn State Canal. Captain Faunce's boat No. 76 departed on April 19th, 1834, with 43 tons of hard coal for the Columbia, Pa., market. Thomas Borbridge, credited with the shipment of 99 arks of coal from the Wilkes-Barre region in 1797, purchased this first ship ment of Lykens Valley coal.

 

Dauphin County interests secured a twelve-mile canal with seven locks to overcome the 24 foot fall along the eastern shore of the Susquehanna from Clarks Ferry to Millersburg. By 1844, Pennsylvania transferred the uncompleted canal to the Wisconisco Canal Company, who completed the line to Millersburg, the total cost being $450,000. Until the Northern Central passed through Millersburg in the mid-1850's, this canal carried the entire Lykens Valley output to market in 80-ton boats. However, the strap rail wore out by 1844 and, until regraded and laid with 50-lb. rail in 1848, the tonnage was minimal. The first locomotive to operate over this line and the new rail was the "Lykens Valley," about which nothing else is known at this time.

 

By 1862, the canal carried 84,299 tons of the Lykens Valley 141,581 tons delivered by rail to Millersburg. This same year the Lykens Valley R. R. paid eight percent on a $400,000 investment. Cost of the road was given as $415,000. Equipment on the 16-mile line consisted of three locomotives, and one each passenger car, baggage car, and freight car, all four-wheeled. No coal cars were owned! In 1859, they were furnished by the coal operators. The single passenger car had carried 3200 travelers.

 

The Summit Branch R. R. leased the Lykens Valley on April 13th, 1866, for $62,000 and taxes. In 1868, the Wisconisco Canal had lost $200 in shipping 80,000 tons of the 513,347 brought to Millersburg by the Lykens Valley R. R., and had been purchased by the P. R. R. for its canal system, at a judgment sale. The million dollar cost of the road included twenty miles to Williamstown, five engines, no passenger cars, a single baggage and two freight cars. Along the line were four stations, four wood-and-water stations, and five engine houses. The passengers, 12,357 in number, rode 1016 miles. Over a half-million tons of anthracite produced $138,167 in receipts. While expenses were over $220,000, a six percent dividend had been declared. On December 10th, 1873, a mining tunnel extended the line to Bear Valley.

 

The Pennsylvania Shareholders Report for 1874 revealed that that road owned over half of the Summit Branch, which, in turn, controlled approximately 70 percent of the Lykens Valley R. R. The 12,200 acres of coal land thus controlled cost the P. R. R. $1,495,024 and had a value in 1874 of seven millions. However, because neither the L. V. nor the S. B. Railroads owned coal cars, in 1873 over 400,000 tons of hard coal loaded in P. & R. cars traveled on the Northern Central only to Dauphin, where it was switched to the Schuylkill & Susquehanna for Philadelphia delivery by the Reading. Purchase of 600 to 1000 coal cars by the Summit Branch would transfer this vast tonnage and over $400,000 in revenue to the Pennsylvania.

 

On July 1st., 1880, the Northern Central leased the Summit Branch. Direct N. C. operation began on April 20th, 1896. P. R. R. interests purchased the Summit Branch at a foreclosure sale on July 13th, 1897. Coal mining in the Lykens area tapered toward zero after World War II.

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The Northern Central Railroad

 

Outlet for Lykens Valley coal, and the lessor of the Danville & Pottsville R. R., had a corporate predecessor for the same route, the Harrisburg & Sunbury R. R. of 1837. Baltimore capital had merged several railroads, including the pioneer Baltimore & Susquehanna, which aimed to secure Susquehanna traffic in 1828 at York Haven, and paralleled the Susquehanna River from York Haven to Sunbury before 1861. In the financial flurry attending the beginning of the Civil War, the B. & O., controlling the road with the P. & R., threw their shares on the market. The Pennsylvania promptly bought this stock and soon acquired control.

 

The Susquehanna R. R., incorporated on April 14th, 1851, the means of construction between Harrisburg and Sunbury, contracted for the entire line between Bridgeport and Sunbury. The opening, on July 24th, 1857, to Port Treverton, via the Treverton Bridge to the west shore of the Susquehanna, required canal packet and canal boat travel to Sunbury. The mixed system lasted until June 28th, 1858, when the Northern Central opened its whole line. The 9:00 A. M. passenger train from Harrisburg covered the 54.5 miles to Sunbury in six hours.

 

Among the lines proposed to tap the northern prong of the First Coal Field fishtail in Dauphin County were the William Valley Rail Road & Mining Company, and the Union Rail Road & Mining Company, of 1839-40, both financed by Harrisburg capital. The Williams Valley plan called for a two-mile tunnel completely through Big Lick Mountain from the floor of Wisconisco Valley to Rausch Gap, thereby cutting every coal vein. Unfortunately, the coal pitched northward, opposite the slope of the mountain and, as a result, the eighty yards excavated failed to reach coal. This "Red Shale Tunnel" is visible today at the head of Seventh Street in Tower City. The railroad was to have run southwesterly from this tunnel to and down Clarks Creek Valley to the Susquehanna. Joseph W. Cake was president and Hother Hoge was chief engineer, with headquarters at Pine Grove. Litigation over land titles ruined the company. On May 7th, 1855, this corporation revived as the Schuylkill and Dauphin Improvement Company. That the tunnel plan was feasible is proven by a similar post-War II project of the P. & R. Coal & Iron Co., in this same valley.

 

 The Union R. R. & Mining Co., capitalized at $300,000, and authorized to own 2000 acres of coal lands in Dauphin and Schuylkill Counties, planned to mine coal in the Bear Valley Basin, but built no railroad. The Midland of Pennsylvania R. R. of 1910, revived in 1914, reported that ten miles of its 44-mile line between Millersburg and Ashland in the Second Coal Field, via Gratz, Sacramento and Gordon were partly completed. This company never laid track.

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Dauphin & Susquehanna—Schuylkill G. Susquehanna — Allentown Railroads

 

Less than a year after the discovery of anthracite on Stony Creek, in Dauphin County, the Dauphin and Susquehanna Coal Company secured corporate rights. This charter of April 5th, 1826, allowed the company to own 10,000 acres of coal lands on Short Mountain and Stony Creek, and the right to trade in coal. This property was in Dauphin, Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties, on the southern prong of the First Coal Field. Port Lyon, later Dauphin, on the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal, was the proposed market outlet, but capital for the project did not materialize. A supplemental act of April 11th, 1827, authorized either slackwater or canal navigation on Stony Creek to the mines. In April, 1838, the Legislature authorized either a railroad or a canal and, by 1840, engineer Edward Miller had located thirteen miles from Rattling Run to Dauphin, and had surveyed nineteen additional miles, viz., eleven miles to the summit of the valley and eight to the Union Canal Branch. Extensions to Reading and Pottsville were under consideration. Permission to link the company's proposed railroad with other lines in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties came in March, 1848, and February, 1850.

 

Construction between Rausch Gap and Dauphin began in 1850 under engineers Miller and Charles R. Paxton. The company opened mines at Fort Lookout, Beartown and Big Flats. At Yellow Springs, near the Dauphin-Lebanon County line, an inclined plane fed coal southward to the main line from coal drifts on the mountain. Rausch Gap was the location of the company's headquarters and machine shop, and a breaker between the main line and veins in the Gap above. The three-mile branch, beginning at this Gap, extended eastward and paralleled the main line at a higher level past Gold Mine Gap and breaker to Black Springs Gap. At Rattling Run a highway through the Gap connected the railroad with coal veins. With abandonment of the Rausch Gap shops and mining, and merger of the S. & S. with the Reading in 1872, the houses at the various breakers and at the Rausch Gap shops were moved by rail into Pine Grove. Railroad repairs began at Pine Grove Shops with the move.

 

On February 26th, 1852, the D. & S. Company was authorized to extend their rail line to the P. & R. and the Schuylkill Navigation Canal at Auburn. Delivery of D. & S. and other coal in P. & R. and S. N. C. coal cars was one goal of this extension. This proposed section of the road was on the route of the Fishing Creek, Swatara & Schuylkill R. R.,from Fishing Creek to Auburn, via Pine Grove. Location began during September, 1852, under engineers Richard O. Osborne and Henry K. Nichols. The new line insured an immense coal traffic from the west end of the First Coal Field basin to the P. & R.

 

The D. & S. report for 1852 stated that the company had a first class T-rail line of 291/2 miles with descending grades to their $41,000 Dauphin Canal Basin. A three-mile lateral to Gold Mine, Black Springs and Rausch Gap mines, and those at Yellow Springs, Fort Lookout, Beartown and Big Plats produced 23,472 tons of coal transported by three locomotives and 529 cars. Contracts were under way for thirty-one miles of T- or 60-lb. bar rail, to link the road with the Reading and the Schuylkill Canal at Auburn. The company had floated a million dollar loan in bonds without offering them for public sale. Though mainly financed by New York capital and aided by the Tyler coal interests on Lorberry Creek, John Tucker, president of the P. & R., was a director in 1851.

 

The Auburn-Pine Grove section, completed November 4th, 1853, was opened to traffic on February 1st, 1854, and the Pine Grove-Rausch's Gap link opened during June. The first D. & S. locomotive to enter Pine Grove, the "Judge Hegins," attracted a crowd of over a thousand. Yet another link, trackage rights over the P. R. R., enabled the road to run into Harrisburg, during February, 1854. In 1854, the movement of coal at Pine Grove showed that the D. & S. carried less than 40 percent of the coal passing over the Union Canal R. R.

 

With completion of the Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg, the D. & S. Company caught the "through line fever." A forty mile extension from their chartered terminus at Auburn to the Lehigh Valley at Allentown would make it a part of the "great Atlantic and Pacific Route." D. & S. interests secured a charter for the ALLENTOWN RAILROAD, on April 19th, 1853, linking Allentown with Port Clinton, and for the AUBURN & PORT CLINTON R. R. on March 30th, 1854, to parallel the Reading between those towns in the Schuylkill Valley. Exactly a month later, the Legislature passed an act enabling the Allentown R. R. to consolidate with the Lehigh Valley and/or the Auburn & Port Clinton.

 

The latter road graded part of its line before merging with the Allentown on January 1st, 1857. Part of this right of way is visible, in 1956, on the right of the Reading below Auburn. Engineer Elwood Morris located the Allentown route, and construction on the entire contract began on March 9th, 1857, by Pierre Chonteau, Jr., of New York. When the depression of 1857 slowed stock installment payments and prevented European sales, by mutual agreement the railroad and Chonteau canceled the construction contract. However, work continued with individual contractors being paid in stock. Work accomplished included grading and many still existent stone viaducts between Port Clinton and Allentown and an uncompleted 2000-foot tunnel between Hamburg and Virginsville in Berks County. The editor of the Kutztown Geist der Zeit boosted stock subscription and invested personally. One story told how $5,000 in Allentown stock was purchased years later bythe P. & R., and with the proceeds the investor's heirs bought a tomb-stone for him. Allentown R. R. subscribers received D. & S. stock as a bonus, which, the D. & S. reported as amounting to $395,739, in 1859, and Poor's told that actual Allentown stock receipts during that year had been $304,118, of which $237,840 had been expended when construction ended.

 

The Reading Berks and Schuylkill Journal constantly informed its readers about the D. & S. and its Allentown R. R. link, because of the financial and traffic competition with Reading area interest in the Lebanon Valley and East Pennsylvania Railroads, also linking Harrisburg with Allentown. Completion of the D. & S. to Auburn in September, 1853, to Harrisburg in February, 1854, the activity between Port Clinton and Allentown in November, 1855, and the financial backing of this route by New York bankers in 1857, were all duly reported. One paper noted the Reading's operation of a Philadelphia-Harrisburg passenger train via Auburn and the D. & S. soon after completion, and reported the end of this run in May, 1855. A P. & R. advertisement of a reduction in fare for this trip to $3.00 appeared in December, 1857, six months after passenger service began on the Reading-sponsored Lebanon Valley R. R. This indirect Philadelphia-Harrisburg passenger service ended again during March, 1858. The attempted consolidation of the D. & S. with the Allentown R. R., during February, 1858, as allowed in an act of May 4th, 1857, was reported in the Journal, which presented the Allentown R. R. as a direct threat to the East Pennsylvania investment and as a line totally unnecessary, even after traffic began on the East Penn to Allentown and New York. To "end the need" for the Allentown road, the East Penn finally built a branch from Temple to Tuckerton, known locally as the "Bull Run" branch. Abandoned for many years, its right of way can still be seen at Tuckerton, north of Reading.

 

Despite production of 35,000 tons of coal at a profit of $35,000 in 1854, under the superintendence of Wm. Grant, an experienced Schuylkill County mine operator, the company suffered financially due mainly to its rail expansion. The sheriff of Lebanon County advertised the coal and railroad property, a threat ended by injunction action. The depression of 1857 bore down on the company, despite a coal traffic of 80,000 tons. By May, 1858, the D. & S. made an assignment to P. Chonteau, Jr. This effort ended in a foreclosure sale in March, 1859, which ended merger efforts. On April 28th, 1859, the D. & S. Coal & R. R. Company emerged from re-organization as the Schuylkill & Susquehanna R. R. Company.

 

Before the foreclosure, the D. & S. represented an investment of $6,208,325. Among its debits were the following:—

 

Rolling stock consisted of seven locomotives and 33 cars. Of the latter, 24 were freight, 2 were coal, 3 were first class passenger cars, and 4 were second class. Average annual income between January 1st, 1855, and March 1st, 1859, had been $104,213, expenses were $75,903, leaving average net earnings of $28,310, far insufficient for interest requirements.

 

The P. & R., delivering Lykens Valley coal to Philadelphia, and owning the Lebanon Valley R. R. and an interest in the Northern Central, desired a connection between its lines; it secured legislative approval on April 9th, 1859, for the link and ordered its construction the following January. When the P. R. R. tendered trackage rights over the same route, effective November 1st, 1860, construction ended. At the other end of the road, in September, 1859, the S. & S. failed in an attempt to cross the P. & R. and to reach the Schuylkill Canal.

 

Prodded by S. & S. control of the Allentown R. R. with its shorter route to market, the decreasing tonnage from the S. & S., and the possible penetration of the Allentown line into the Pottsville region, the Reading began negotiations for lease of the S. & S., in 1860. Failure of coal production from S. & S. lands to earn the road's interest charges led that road to propose sale of the railroad with its coal lands and the Allentown R. R. to the P. & R. A committee from that road reported favorably on this proposal and, on July 12th, 1860, controlling interest in both the S. & S. and the A. R. R. came to the Reading. In August, P. & R. officials took all S. & S. offices. The Journal reported the new control of both lines, adding a mis-statement that Lebanon Valley competition had drawn all traffic from the S. & S. except 3036 tons of anthracite. The Reading report of 1862 told that $517,865.33 had purchased the majority stock of both roads, noting that the line from Auburn to Port Clinton was partly graded and the section between there and Allentown nearly completed. At the merger of 1872, the P. & R. valued the 21,702 shares of S. & S. stock at $404,388.00. The P. & R. also acquired 7500 shares of A. R. R. stock on which $20 per share was unpaid, and created a trust for the unpaid assessments. Court action against subscribers followed.

 

For the proposed Manufacturers & Consumers R. R. of 1868, Engineer Rufus A. Wilder investigated and recommended the partly-graded Allentown road for one of the possible routes to the Lehigh River, as if it were readily available for purchase and use. At this very time the Reading was ready to renew construction of this route as its part in the Atlantic & Great Western lease of the Catawissa and Morris & Essex Railroads. With this construction the P. & R. canceled the trust set up to collect the unpaid $150,000, and actually built a railroad from Topton on the East Penn, three miles to Kutztown, opened on January 10th, 1870.

 

In 1873, the Allentown R. R. capitalization was $2,000,000, of which $567,544 was paid in. There was no funded debt, but the floating debt was about $1,000,000. The Reading leased the Kutztown section of the A. R. R. by a verbal agreement until the reorganization in 1896. The line existed as a corporate entity until December 31st, 1945, when the Reading Company ended its existence by merger.

 

At the request of the Navy Department, during World War II, the entire S. & S., with the exception of a short section at Auburn, was scrapped. Before this scrapping, however, the burning of the covered bridge over the Swatara at Pine Grove had cut the line with little inconvenience to the Reading Company.

 

LOCOMOTIVES OF THE SCHUYLKILL & SUSQUEHANNA R. R.

                      P&R

 

The S. & S. engines were taken over by the P. & R. in 1872, except the " Gold Mine, " which had been sold to the Reading in June, 1866

 

No. 459 was changed to 2nd No. 94, in Sept. 1903, replacing the first No. 94, which was originally No. 6, Catasauqua & Fogelsville R. R.

 

In 1855, the P. & R. purchased the 25-ton "Pine Grove," a product of Danforth, Cooke & Co., from P. Chonteau, Jr., & Company, the contractors referred to.

 

 

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