The Little Schuylkill

THE E. M.; L. S. & S.; CATAWISSA; T. H. & N.; D. S. & S.


RLHS Bulletin  Vol 108, Pages 19 - 28



The Pennsylvania Legislature allowed the Schuylkill East Branch Navigation to substitute a railroad for its proposed waterway, in April, 1828. By May, 1830, Reading papers told that all stock had been taken and that the company had laid out two towns, Tamaqua (Indian for Beaver Stream) and Port Clinton on the Schuylkill Canal. Moncure Robinson, engineer of this standard gauge line became postmaster at the port. During efforts to finance this 22-mile road, longest of the five pioneer Schuylkill lines, the Little Schuylkill Company attempted to secure Girard aid, as the D. & P. had done successfully. Port Clinton would have become Port Girard had the financier invested in 1828.


Construction progressed rapidly. Using horsepower, the road opened on November 18th, 1831. Two Baltimore-built pleasure cars, each drawn by two horses, a lighter one-horse car, and two burden cars left Port Clinton at 10 A. M., arriving at Tamaqua shortly after one o'clock, despite a delay at New Ringgold.


Smith's 1832 description told of 5" x 9" rails of high-priced Carolina heart pine; 2" x .4" iron costing $3,062 per mile of single track; and white oak ties, 11 inches in diameter, on eight-foot centers. To eliminate six bridges, the company had changed the course of the Little Schuylkill River at three places. President Keating said that, in 1832, with the line descending 400 feet in twenty miles, coal traffic cost .015 cents per ton-mile. The cars, weighing one ton, carried three tons, and one horse drew three cars.


Arrival of the nine-ton " Comet " and " Catawissa " from Philadelphia on 16-horse, marble wagons allowed trial trips by March 11th, 1833. Speeds of ten miles per hour, with fifteen three-ton cars making two trips a day, brought 90 tons daily to Port Clinton. However, the engines soon proved too heavy for the wooden track. Samuel P. Parsons, Superintendent at Tamaqua, advertised round-trip passenger service from Port Clinton, in Reading papers on March 30th, 1833. By Mid-century the company provided two passenger round-trips daily.


Tonnage over the Little Schuylkill line was disappointing. Reaching 41,000 tons in 1835, this amount was not exceeded until 1844. In 1840, a canal-and-railroad hitch-hiker observed four badly rusting locomotives as he walked through Tamaqua. In 1845, when locomotives returned to service with the installation of T-rail, and a bridge across the Schuylkill linked the line with the Reading, supplying wood became the leading business of New Ringgold, replacing that of providing drink for the coal-hauling teamsters.


Poor's History, of 1860, credited the L. S. R. R. with eleven locomotives. The P. & R. and the S. N. C. companies furnished the coal cars, while the C. W. & 13:. conducted the passenger and through freight business. One H. Clayton, of Tamaqua, handled all L. S. coal and local freight under a contract which expired on January 1st, 1861. His responsibilities included repair of all rolling stock. On September 6th, 1851, the Miners Journal reported that the first engine of the L. S. R. R. was in good order. However, Bury's "Comet" and Baldwin's "Tamaqua" and "Tuscarora" of 1836 had been discarded by April 1st, 1863, when the P. & R. began operating the road. Five years later, July 7th, 1868, the P. & R. took a 93-year lease of the line at an annual cost of $185,227.


The locomotives of the Little Schuylkill, in addition to those taken over by the Reading, are shown in the following roster.




  LSRR Name        No.    Builder     C/N   Date     Type      Cyls.   DD          Data


  Comet                  Edw. Bury          1833    0-4-0                    Disposition unknown.

  Catawissa              Edw. Bury          1833    0-4-0                    Sold Nov. 1871

  Tamaqua                Baldwin      46    1836                             Out by 4/1/63

  Tuscarora              Baldwin      47    1836                             Out by 4/1/63

  General Taylor         Baldwin      290   1847    0-6-0    13x18     42    Sc 18

  General Scott          Baldwin      321   1847    0-8-0    141/2x18  42    Disp. Unk.

  Port Clinton           Norris                                              Sc 1869

  Schuylkill       25    Baldwin      779   1857    0-8-0    18x20     43    Sold to R. & C. 1876

  Anthracite       79    LSRR                                                Sc 1881

  Beaufort         80    Norris-Phila.                                       Sc 1878

  Caroline         81    LSRR                                                Sc 1881

  Ringgold         83    Norris-Phila.                                       Disp. Unk.

  Marion           179   Norris-Phila.                                       Sc 1877

  Sumpter          84    Norris-Phila.                                       Sc 1872


The numbered engines plus the "Catawissa," "General Taylor," and "Port Clinton," were taken over by the P. & R., on April 1st, 1863.


Engine "Marion" was rebuilt by the P. & R. in 1866. Its type prior to this time is a question, but it was a 4-4-0 after being rebuilt.


The Mountain Link R. R., connecting the Little Schuylkill with the S. V. N. & C. Railroad, opened on July 10th, 1865, a line possible only after the rivalry between competing laterals ended with P. & R. control.




Included in the lease of the Little Schuylkill were the East Mahanoy R. R. and the 1853 extension of the L. S. from Tamaqua to Tamanend, via a 900-foot tunnel, to a junction with the C. W. & E., the erstwhile Little Schuylkill & Susquehanna. The East Mahanoy, incorporated on April 21st, 1854, extended from East Mahanoy Jct., about five miles north of Tamaqua, through a 3400-foot tunnel, 10.72 miles to Waste House Run in the Mahanoy Valley, the 1956 site of the St. Nicholas Colliery. The L. S. had built past the location of East Mahanoy Jct. to Tamanend by 1854, to complete the link with the C. W. & E. During April, 1859, the Legislature authorized the lease of the East Mahanoy to the Little Schuylkill Company, which was executed on March 8th, 1860. The tunnel, cutting across six veins of coal, progressed speedily. However, the contractors barricaded themselves in their workings during December, 1859, to force payment on their completed contracts. In the eastern end of the Mahanoy Valley, the tunnel line clashed with the construction crews of the Mahanoy & Broad Mountain, who were building eastward from Mahanoy Plane. Despite an East Mahanoy injunction to prevent M. & B. M. penetration, the latter road built into Beaver Run, during November, 1862.


Maps of the period show parallel tracks from Waste House Run eastward. As late as 1870 the E. M. R. R. reported their line crossed the tunnel branch of the old M. & B. M., then the Mahanoy & Shamokin. In 1863, the E. M. reported a $380,415 capital stock, with no funded debt. The Little Schuylkill guaranteed a six percent dividend clear of state tax. On the eight-mile 60-lb. track, of which a quarter-mile was double-tracked, there was one depot and one wood and water station. In this year, the L. S., extending twenty-eight miles from Port Clinton to the junction with the Catawissa R. R., at Tamanend, had eight miles of double track, capitalization of $2,646,100, and a funded and floating debt of $1,022,228. Facilities included two stations, two engine houses, a machine shop at Tamaqua, and seven wood and water stations.


On June 22nd, 1863, the P. & R. began passenger and freight service from Ashland, over the M. & B. M. via the East Mahanoy and its tunnel, to Tamaqua. With completion of the Mountain Link R. R. On July 10th, 1865, this traffic used the new route. By November 27th, 1865, two daily trains linked Ashland with Philadelphia via this route, a service which ended passenger service over the Gordon Planes and the M. H. & S. H. road.




Christian Brobst, of Catawissa, in 1822, proposed a canal be constructed to the Little Schuylkill River, and with home-made instruments ran a line up Catawissa Creek. Discussion of this route versus the D. & P. Railroad occurred immediately after the surveys, in 1827, of the two potential routes by Moncure Robinson for the Pennsylvania Canal Commission. Robinson reported that this route was suitable for locomotive power to the summit. However, to reach the Little Schuylkill (at that time) he considered inclined planes to be necessary. Those for the Catawissa line saw the locomotive statement only; those against it, the need for planes as on the D. & P. route. Robinson also stated that the former route—the most direct route from the North Branch to Philadelphia and, via the Quakake Creek, a direct route to the Lehigh and New York City—would command a more extensive trade than any other between the North Branch and the Delaware. With only a 600-foot summit, 300 feet less than the most favorable D. & P. route, this line was 18 miles shorter than the proposed Nescopeck-Lehigh Canal.


While the support of Girard and Montgomery seemingly insured construction of the D. & P. route between Pottsville and Sunbury, Brobst and Joseph Paxton turned their persuasive powers on Reading and Philadelphia capitalists. Statistics of North Branch traffic passing Catawissa, 4213 rafts and arks between March 30th and April 19th, 1831, with 421 craft on a single day, and 2688 arks and 3480 rafts in 1833, valued at $2,500,000, convinced the Bank of the United States officials to ride over the route.


The Reading Berks and Schuylkill Journal reported Little Schuylkill & Susquehanna stock "recently subscribed," on July 18th, 1835. Edward Miller, who surveyed the route to the Lehigh and to the Little Schuylkill road, resigned to build the Sunbury & Erie R. R. Solomon Roberts took over as engineer in 1838. Under Roberts, Moyland and P. L. Fox were assistant engineers for the western portion of the road, while David H. Goodwill and Daniel M. Laughlin worked on the eastern section. During 1838, contractors opened the 400-foot, curved Shuman's Tunnel and a year later completed the 1150-foot Summit Station Tunnel, today's Lofty. These tunnels required the moving of 16,672 cubic yards of rock. In addition, over 1,000,000 yards of embankment, 18,783 yards of masonry, and about 78,000 yards of retaining walls had been constructed. In less than ten years this retaining wall construction was held to have been unnecessary. Seven bridges, totaling nearly 400 feet, and varying in height from 90 to 130 feet, were nearly completed. The thirty-five miles between Catawissa and Lofty had a uniform 30-foot-to-the-mile grade ready for ties and rail. Because the L. S. N. & C. had built but one mile of their eight-mile track to Tamanend, the L. S. & S. graded only one mile of the three having a sixty-six foot grade toward that junction, but concentrated on a connection with the Beaver Meadow R. R. at Black Creek Junction. Unless a 66-foot per mile grade were allowed on the three miles to Tamanend Junction, Roberts warned that three inclined planes would be necessary. A third tunnel, not constructed until 1853-54, is visible in 1956 as Ryan's Cut, immediately above the Hazleton Highway in Lindner's Gap.


The Lehigh Branch of the L. S. & S. down Quakake Valley was 165 feet below the Catawissa-Little Schuylkill level at Ryan 's. Rather than duplicate trackage, Roberts designed a four-degree, 1900-foot plane to overcome this difference. Contractors graded this plane before 1841 and constructed the Lehigh Branch complete with heavy T-rail on ties placed on three-foot centers. Chairs were placed at rail joints only. During 1840 only twenty-seven tons of coal passed over this Lehigh Branch to the Beaver Meadow road from L. S. & S. coal lands, just before the destructive Lehigh flood of 1841 ended transportation on both the Beaver Meadow and the Lehigh Canal. When the depression of 1841 broke, the L. S. & S. had expended $1,150,000 on its line, but only the Lehigh Branch had received rail. It is believed that the road had purchased a locomotive before 1841, which later powered a sawmill in the area. This locomotive may have been moved by wagon to the Buck Mountain R. R., as recorded in Carbon County histories.


Efforts were made to link Philadelphia with Elmira and Buffalo, using the L. S. & S. as part of the line. Of the 265 miles between the terminals, the sections completed were the P. & R., the Little Schuylkill N. & C. Railroad, and the Williamsport-Ralston, Pa. sections, a total of 124 miles; 106 miles were surveyed only; and the L. S. & S. was graded ready for track for 35 miles from Lindner's Gap to Catawissa. Of the proposed line, the Tamaqua-Lindner's Gap, the Catawissa-Williamsport, and the Ralston-Elmira sections had no work accomplished. The Erie, from Elmira to Dunkirk, 200 miles, was partly graded.


On March 20th, 1849, the L. S. & S. became the Catawissa, Williamsport & Erie, receiving permission to build its own line to Williamsport. The C. W. & E. report for 1852 told that the Little Schuylkill had contracted the extension of the road to Tamanend, thus dating the 900-foot tunnel just north of Tamaqua. The whole line was to be open between Philadelphia and Niagara Falls in 1854. Financed mostly in New York during 1851-52, the new line opened during 1854, with a capital of $2,000,000 in stock and $1,500,000 in bonds. The five-year-old Hinkley 4-4-0's "Massachusetts" and "Vermont" were purchased from the P. & R. on May 25th, 1854.


The latter may have taken a Catawissa construction train through Tamaqua on July 4th, 1854; local historians so date the first train in that area. The "Massachusetts", arriving at Catawissa via canal from Philadelphia, took the first passenger train out of that town on Sunday, July 16th. Milton saw its first train on September 7th, and Williamsport became the terminus on December 18th. To reach these last two cities, the C. W. & E. operated 27 miles over the Sunbury & Erie, later the Philadelphia & Erie, paying a percentage of net receipts as rent. However, to finish and to secure a lease of the S. & E. from Williamsport to Milton, the C. W. & E. and the Williamsport & Erie Railroads had guaranteed $700,000 of S. & E. bonds in 1854.


After 1854 there was considerable wagon freight between Lofty and Hazleton, which ended with completion of the Quakake R. R., providing an all-rail route to Philadelphia. On May 7th, 1855, the Reading, the Little Schuylkill and the C. W. & E. roads inaugurated through express service from Philadelphia to Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Chicago. The P. & R. ordered two special 4-4-0's from Baldwin, "Blue Bird" and "Humming Bird", to handle this express over its road. The Chicago train left Philadelphia at 5 A. M., and its counterpart arrived at 10 P. M. Despite interference with the heavy coal traffic on the P. & R., trains came through with regularity and safety. As a profit maker, the express failed, and the service was discontinued in 1857. In that year, the McAuley (McCauley) Mountain Coal Company, incorporated on May 5th, 1854, completed its six-mile feeder line to the C. W. & E., nine miles east of Catawissa. This coal tract, one of the seven owned by the C. W. & E., totaling over 6900 acres, fed 32,654 tons to the road by 1860. The McCauley Mt. R. R., shown on the 1884 Pennsylvania Geological Survey maps as extending from McCauley Station to the south side of McCauley Mountain, is not on the U. S. Topographical maps of 1894.


The link to New York, proposed by Robinson in 1827, and the only section of the old L. S. & S. to receive rail, became a goal for the C. W. & E. Only a three-mile extension of the Quakake R. R. to the Summit of the C. W. & E., or a 17-mile line via the Mahoning Valley to the L. V. R. R. was necessary, in 1857. To enable the Quakake to re-track from Black Creek Jct., on the Beaver Meadow, to the C. W. & E., the latter company subscribed to $160,000; the Beaver Meadow to $20,000; and the L. V. R. R. (probably) to $20,000, of ten percent bonds. New York traffic began during 1858, with C. W. & E:. service terminating at Mauch Chunk. Payments to the concerned lines for that year and 1859 were as follow:


Railroad       1858           1859        Mileage

Little Schuylkill   $25885.48      $23,977.54    28 mi.      Tamanend to Port Clinton

Sunbury & Erie      22 542.60      29,903.89     27 mi.      Milton to Williamsport

Quakake             26.98          3,405.89      14 mi       to Black Creek Jct

Beaver Meadow       13.59          2,525.30      13 mi       Mauch Chunk to New York


That this line employed a switchback to transfer New York traffic to the Quakake is proven by the 1860 Report which asked for a better connection with that road east of the "present objectionable switchback", thereby saving five miles for the New York passenger and freight traffic. This switchback survived as a station name. The 1872 Description of the Lehigh Valley R. R. told that Switchback was "so called from a plane which formerly existed here up the gorge, connecting with the Catawissa R. R., extending by a switchback from the foot of the plane to what is now Quakake Jct. " However, R. A. Wilder, engineer of the Mine Hill R. R. said that the Lindner Gap Plane was never used.


In 1859, Ryan's Tunnel existed at the sharp curve high above Lindner's Gap, one of three totaling 1750 feet; the total length of seven bridges was 4000 feet, while there were 3600 feet of trestles. Of the coal lands in Lindner's, the 1200 acres had three basins with veins five to seven feet thick. To deliver this coal to the main line, a branch from or near the Summit Tunnel was suggested.


Earnings averaged $77,893 yearly from 1854 to 1859; those of 1857 were $107,836. With both passenger and freight traffic below estimates, the road failed to earn interest for its bonds, and re-organized on March 21st, 1860, as the Catawissa Railroad, Preferred stock paid for additional equipment, while four shares of old common stock was exchanged for one of the new. Equipment of this period was:


                                          1859          1866          1862

                     Locomotives           12            22           

                     Baggage Cars          3             7             4

                     Passenger Cars        12            11            7

                     Freight Cars          143           209           359

                     Coal Cars                          68            67


During 1861, the C. R. R. operated two passenger trains daily each way between Williamsport, New York and Philadelphia.


                  Williamsport          Leave       8:45 A.M.     9:30 P.M.

                  Philadelphia          Arrive      7:15 P.M.     9:00 A.M.

                  New York              Arrive      8:35 P.M.     9:10 A.M.

                  New York              Leave       12:00 M       6:00 A.M.

                  Philadelphia          Leave       3:00 P.M.     7:30 A.M.

                  Williamsport          Arrive      12:20 A.M.    5:38 P.M.


The C. R. R. operated these trains from Williamsport to Mauch Chunk and Port Clinton. The Lehigh Valley transferred the New York train from Mauch Chunk to the Jersey Central, at Phillipsburg, N. J., while the P. & R. handled the Philadelphia train from Port Clinton.


After the town of Catawissa donated land, the road erected shops there costing $24,000. The C. R. R. rebuilt their locomotive #12 here in 1863. The coal branch (which later developed into the Tamaqua, Hazleton & Northern) had been surveyed and required a wye at Summit Station. This branch, one-fifth finished, was level for a mile west of the mines, but had a heavy grade to Summit Station of 66 feet to the mile, favoring the coal traffic. This grade equaled that between Tamanend and the Summit. This year negotiation with Central R. R. of New Jersey enabled the C. R. R. to terminate in New York City instead of "a point in the woods, eight miles north of Tamaqua." In 1864, the Report told that all bridges and trestles had been renewed. These high wooden trestles were maintained (at a cost of $9,750 per mile, in 1884) until 1896-97, when steel structures replaced them. During 1922-27 fills replaced the seven steel bridges.


The Atlantic & Great Western and the Western Central Railroads leased the Catawissa on December 1st, 1865, in an effort to secure an outlet to New York. It was to be linked to the A. & G. W. by two projected railroads, the Lewisburg, Centre & Spruce Creek, from Bellefonte to the Catawissa, and the Western Central from Bellefonte to Franklin, Pa. The A. & G. W. also leased the Morris & Essex R. R., extending from Phillipsburg, N. J. to Hoboken. The Little Schuylkill, the P. & R., and the then independent East Pennsylvania roads were to link the C. R. R. with the M. & E., by a line from Port Clinton to Topton, Pa., on the East Penn, the Allentown R. R. of a decade earlier, and now owned by the Reading. The E. P. was to extend its line from Allentown to Phillipsburg.


Until completion of the projected roads to the Catawissa at Milton, the A. & G. W. hoped to route traffic over the P. & E. However, during 1866, the P. & E. sued to have declared void the twenty-year Catawissa lease of the P. & E. line from Williamsport to Milton, executed on October 31st, 1860. The Reading and the East Penn roads entered the suit in January, 1866, with Franklin P. Gowen as their attorney. On June 2nd, the Pennsylvania Superior Court decided that the consolidation of the A. & G. W. with its proposed extensions and its lease of the C. R. R. was illegal, and the trackage agreement of 1860 was void. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed this opinion on June 29th, 1866. Agreements between the A. & G. W. and the P. & E. reestablished traffic, but bankruptcy on April 1st, 1867, of the former road ended Reading construction of the Allentown route between Port Clinton and Topton. The C. R. R. operated its own line until leased to the P. & R., on November 1st, 1872.


In 1870, the 65-mile line crossed three railroads between Tamanend and Milton, had five miles of siding and a two-and-a-half-mile coal branch, operated over two leased lines and had four engine houses and two shops. Equipment consisted of twenty-one locomotives, 535 freight cars, fifty coal cars, five mail and baggage, and nine passenger cars. The three tunnels were the 1400-foot Lofty's, Ryan's 200-foot, and Shuman's 400-foot.


Probably as a result of the P & E. suit against the A. & G. W., and, perhaps, at the instigation of the P. & R., the Catawissa began, as allowed by their charter, an extension to Williamsport from Milton. Their 1871 Report anticipated that the new line would be completed by September 1st. Though strenuously but unsuccessfully opposed by P. & E. legal moves, the new section was built.


At the time of the P. & R. lease, the 94-mile C. R. R. reported a stock capitalization of $3,359,500, and a funded debt of $1,740,350. The income had been $654,328; expenses $451,813. The income paid the interest on the funded debt and a dividend. Cost of the road with seven miles of siding was $5,126,500. Equipment was approximately the same as shown for 1870.




Those received by the P. & R. in November, 1872, are shown with P. & R. numbers.


    No.      No.              Builder    C/N        Date        Type        Cyls.   DD   Disposition

    1        354              Hinkley    238        1849        4-4-0       16x20   54   Sc 1875

    2        355              Hinkley    240        1849        4-4-0       16x20   54   Sc 1875

    3                       Norris                           4-4-0       14x24   66   Sc 1862

    3        356              Baldwin    1074       1862        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1882

    4                        Norris                            4-4-0       14x24   66   Sc 1862

    4        357              Baldwin    1076       1862        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1884

    5                       Norris                1854        4-4-0       14x24   66   To 2nd #7

    5        358              Baldwin    1078       1862        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1883

    6                        Norris                1854        4-4-0       14x24   66   So 1862

    6        359              Baldwin    1080       1862        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1883

    7                       Norris                1854        4-4-0       14x24   66   So 1862

    7                       Norris                1854        4-4-0       14x24   66   From 1st #5

    7        360              Baldwin    1948       1867        4-4-0       172x24  60   Sc 1898

    8                       Norris                1854?       4-4-0       16x24   54   Sc 1862

    S        361              Baldwin    1118       1863        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1882

    9                       Norris                1854?       4-4-0       16x24   54   Sc 1862

    9        362              Baldwin    1121       1863        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 18S2

    10                      Norris                1854?       4-4-0       16x24   54   Sc 1862

    10       130              Baldwin    1174       1863        0-8-0       20x22   43   To P&R 1864

    10       363              Baldwin    2741       1872        0-6-0T      15x22   46   Sc 1910

    11                      Baldwin    480        1852        4-4-0       15x20   60   See note

    11       364              Baldwin    1224       1864        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1883

    12       365              Norris                            4-4-0       16x24   60   Sc 1875

    13                      Rogers     683        1856        4-4-0       16x22   56   Sc 1862

    13       366              Baldwin    1225       1864        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1884

    14       367              NJL Wks               1856        4-4-0       16x22   60   Sc 1881

    15       368              Lancaster  L.W        1856        4-4-0       162x22  60   Sc 1881

    16       369              Lancaster  L.W.       1856        4-4-0       162x22  60   Sc 1881

    17       370              Lancaster  L.W.       1857        4-4-0       162x22  60   Sc 1876

    i8       371              Lancaster  L.W.       1857        4-4-0       162x22  60   Sc 1881

    19                       Rogers     743        1857        4-4-0       16x22   66   Out by 1864

    20                       Rogers     745        1857        4-4-0       16x22   66   Out by 1864

    21                       Hinkley                           4-4-0       15x20   69   ?

    22                       Trenton  L.W.         1859        4-4-0       16x22   72   ?

    23       372              Baldwin    1230       1864        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1883

    24       373              Baldwin    1233       1864        4-6-0       172x22  48   Sc 1882




1.        Originally P & R. "Vermont," bought in 1854.

2.        Originally P & R. "Massachusetts," bought in 1853.

1st  5     Rebuilt at Shops of Williamsport & Erie R. R., in 1862. Renumbered 7.

1st 10   Named "Elk" on the P. & R., and was later numbered 130.

3rd 10. Was renumbered from 363 to 1st 1251, in April, 1900. Scrapped 1910.

11.      C/N 480, was originally "Civilizer," built for Henry Campbell, and sold in 1863 by him to the Catawissa R. R., where it was renamed "America."

14.  Sold to W. Va. C. & P. #1, in 1881. Scrapped in October, 1889.




In order to tap the independent Coxe Brothers coal trade in the Second Coal Region around Hazleton, available to the market through that company's Delaware, Susquehanna & Schuylkill R. R., the Reading secured the incorporation of the T. H. & N., on May 18th, 1891. Capitalized at $300,000, this line carrying traffic during 1891‑92 replaced the former Silver Brook Branch of the Catawissa R. R., which left the main road eastward just below Lofty. The T. H. & N. began further below Lofty—near the old plane site—on the west side of the line; it climbed and paralleled the Catawissa, then crossed over the main, in back of and over the face of Summit Tunnel. This 9.9‑mile line ran to Roan on the D. S. & S., near the Autolight Plant in today's southeastern Hazleton.


During 1895, the line operated only to June 30th, the traffic, which consisted of 32,019 tons of coal and 1221 tons of merchandise, required 2569 miles of train operation. Despite tonnage of 149,940 tons in 1908‑09, there was a deficit of $67,961.


The T. H. & N. merged into the Reading Company on October 1st, 1923, and was scrapped back to the junction of the Tresokow Branch of the Central R. R. of Pennsylvania, during World War II, or shortly thereafter. The Central Railroad used the remaining section of the old T. H. & N. in 1956.




Because of its close relationship, a brief discussion of the D. S. & S., now part of the Lehigh Valley, follows. The author has never located a map portraying the route of the D. S. & S.


Incorporated on April 14th, 1890, and opened on February 15th, 1892, this coal line had a capitalization, in 1895, of $2,781,866, for its 29‑mile main line from Drifton, on the Jersey Central, to Deringer. Linking Eckley, Stockton, Beaver Meadow, Oneida Breaker, and Tomhickon, on the Sunbury, Hazleton & Wilkes‑Barre R. R., the new road carried U. S. mail beginning August 1st, 1893, from Oneida Jct. to Shepton. Branches north to the L. V., at Lumber Yard (Ashmore) and south to Harwood Breaker were completed in 1895. Total mileage, including three miles of narrow gauge, was 182.91. There was a joker in this figure because trackage rights over the L. V. from Stockton to Perth Amboy, 124.91 miles, were included. The basis of the 58‑mile railroad was the coal lands of Coxe Brothers and Company, formed in 1865 by Eckley B. Coxe, to mine and ship anthracite from Drifton.


In 1890, this company, with an annual two million‑ton output, was the largest independent anthracite producer in the state. Its traffic, naturally in the L. V. orbit, attracted P. & R. investment. The T. H. & N. built to Roan on the D. S. & S. The Coxes entered into a contract with the P. & R. in May, 1891, to deliver their coal to the linking P. & R. line, which opened to Roan by 1892. Deliveries continued until a contract of January 31st, 1894, between Coxe Brothers and the Lehigh Valley Railroad allowed the D. S. & S. to operate its own coal trains over the L. V., for a fifteen-year period beginning July 1st, 1894.


By 1905, the L. V. purchased the 77-mile railroad and the Coxe coal lands for $19,000,000 in four percent bonds. The L. V. listed $1,500,000 in the D. S. & S., and $2,910,150 in Coxe Brothers and Company, in their 1905 assets. The remainder had been prorated among the Anthracite Railroads. Equipment of June 30th, 1905, had been twenty-three locomotives, three passenger, eight flat, and 1367 coal cars. Earnings were $4,436 from passengers and $1,345,542 from coal. Since the L. V. leased the road in March, 1924, considerable duplicating trackage has been discarded.



Return to Introduction