Main Line (Pennsylvania Railroad)

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Crossing of the Alleghany, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1853 print Crossing of the Alleghany, Pennsylvania Railroad.jpg
Crossing of the Alleghany, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1853 print

The Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was a rail line in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, connecting Philadelphia with Pittsburgh via Harrisburg. The rail line was split into two rail lines and now all of its right of way is now a cross-state corridor, composed of Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line (includes SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line service) and the Norfolk Southern Railway's Pittsburgh Line.

Contents

Early history

Portal of the abandoned tunnel of the Allegheny Portage Railroad near Johnstown, Pa., the first railroad tunnel in the United States First U.S. rail tunnelimg035.jpg
Portal of the abandoned tunnel of the Allegheny Portage Railroad near Johnstown, Pa., the first railroad tunnel in the United States

The eastern part of the PRR's main line (east of Lancaster) was built by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of the Main Line of Public Works, a hybrid railroad and canal corridor across the state. The system consisted of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad from Philadelphia west to Columbia on the Susquehanna River, the Eastern Division Canal from Columbia to Duncan's Island, the Juniata Division Canal from Duncan's Island to Hollidaysburg, the Allegheny Portage Railroad from Hollidaysburg to Johnstown, and the Western Division Canal from Johnstown to the terminus in Pittsburgh. [1] The Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad had one inclined plane at each end; the Allegheny Portage Railroad had ten. The parts that were later included in the PRR main line opened from Philadelphia to Malvern (the end of the West Chester Railroad) in 1832 [2] and Malvern to Lancaster in 1834. [3] A short piece of the Allegheny Portage Railroad in East Taylor Township and Conemaugh Township, including the Portage Viaduct over the Little Conemaugh River, later became part of the PRR main line; it was opened in 1834. [3]

The Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mountjoy and Lancaster Railroad opened from Harrisburg southeast to Middletown and from Lancaster northwest to Rheems in 1836. [4] The next year the piece from Middletown to Elizabethtown opened, [5] and the line was completed in 1838 with the opening of the Elizabethtown Tunnel. [6]

Pennsylvania Railroad Company

On the Way to Pittsburgh -- Great Bend on the Alleghenies, 1871 On the Way to Pittsburgh -- Great Bend on the Alleghenies.jpg
On the Way to Pittsburgh -- Great Bend on the Alleghenies, 1871

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was chartered by the Pennsylvania legislature on April 13, 1846 to build a private railroad line from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh. [7] Construction began in 1847 [8] and the first section opened from Harrisburg west to Lewistown on September 1, 1849 (including the original Rockville Bridge across the Susquehanna River). Further extensions opened to McVeytown on December 24, [9] Mount Union on April 1, 1850, Huntingdon on June 10, and Duncansville (west of Hollidaysburg) on September 16, 1850, taking it to a connection with the Allegheny Portage Railroad on the east side of the Allegheny Ridge. [10] On the other side of the ridge, the main line opened from Conemaugh (on the Portage Railroad east of Johnstown) west to Lockport on August 25, 1851. On December 10, 1851, sections opened from Lockport west to Beatty (west of Latrobe) and from Pittsburgh east to Brinton, with a temporary stagecoach transfer between via the Southern Turnpike and a short turnpike branch built to Beatty. [11] Part of that gap was filled on July 15, 1852, from Brinton east to Radebaugh, and on November 29 the full line was completed, forming the first all-rail route between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, though still using seven of the original ten planes of the Allegheny Portage Railroad. [12]

Plane Number 1 of the Portage Railroad was bypassed by the PRR on April 1, 1852. [12] Other planes began to be bypassed by the New Portage Railroad, completed in 1856, [13] but on February 15, 1854 the PRR's new line opened, leaving the old one on the east side of the ridge in Altoona and running west via the Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin Tunnel, only using a short portion of the old Portage Railroad near South Fork and a longer adjacent section of New Portage Railroad. A reciprocal trackage rights agreement made March 18, 1854, allowed the PRR to use that section for free. [14]

On March 21, 1849, the PRR contracted with Eagle Line, primarily a steamboat company, for through service over the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad. The PRR obtained trackage rights over the Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mountjoy and Lancaster Railroad, opened in 1838, on April 21, providing a route from Harrisburg to the Philadelphia and Columbia at Dillerville, just west of Lancaster. On September 1, the first section of the PRR opened, with all arrangements in place for service from Philadelphia to Lewistown. [9]

1855 map of the PRR, including the planned Lancaster, Lebanon and Pine Grove Railroad 1855 PRR.jpg
1855 map of the PRR, including the planned Lancaster, Lebanon and Pine Grove Railroad

In 1853, the PRR surveyed the Lancaster, Lebanon and Pine Grove Railroad from Philadelphia west via Phoenixville to Salunga on the Portsmouth, Mount Joy and Lancaster Railroad. This was done in order to show the state that the PRR was willing to build its own alignment around the Philadelphia and Columbia. [15] On August 1, 1857, the PRR bought the whole Main Line of Public Works. The Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad was integrated into its system. Most of the New Portage Railroad, just completed the previous year at a cost of $2.14 million, was abandoned, while short sections became local branches. [16] The canals were abandoned, and short sections were filled and covered by rails.[ citation needed ] On January 1, 1861, the PRR leased the HPMJ&L, giving it full control of its main line. [17]

In 1904, the New Portage Railroad east of the Gallitzin Tunnels (through the "Muleshoe Curve") was reopened as the New Portage Branch, a freight bypass line. [18] Conrail closed this line in 1981. [19]

Panoramic view of Horseshoe Curve on the Pennsylvania Railroad - October 12, 1934 PRR Horseshoe.jpg
Panoramic view of Horseshoe Curve on the Pennsylvania Railroad October 12, 1934

See also

Related Research Articles

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Junction Railroad (Philadelphia)

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Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad former railroad in Pennsylvania

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Harrisburg Subdivision

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Trenton Subdivision (CSX Transportation) rail line in Pennsylvania and New Jersey

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Lurgan Branch Norfolk Southern rail line in Pennsylvania and Maryland

The Lurgan Branch is a railroad line owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The line is part of the NS Harrisburg Division and runs from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania southwest to Hagerstown, Maryland along former Reading Company and Pennsylvania Railroad lines. Its northeast end is at a junction with the Harrisburg Line, Pittsburgh Line, Royalton Branch, and Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line; its southwest end is at the beginning of the Hagerstown District. At Lemoyne it intersects the Enola Branch.

Enola Branch

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Buffalo Line rail line in New York and Pennsylvania

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The Conemaugh Line is a rail line owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The line runs from Conpit Junction northwest and southwest to Pittsburgh, following the Conemaugh, Kiskiminetas, and Allegheny rivers, on the former main line of the Conemaugh Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). At its east end, it merges with the Pittsburgh Line; its west end is where it merges with the Fort Wayne Line at the northwestern tip of Allegheny Commons Park. The line was used by the PRR as a low-grade alternate to its main line in the Pittsburgh area.

The New Castle Branch was a rail line owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The line ran from New Castle north to Stoneboro, and is now entirely abandoned. At its south end, the line intersected the Erie and Pittsburgh Branch and Mahoningtown Branch. When the New Castle Branch ended at Stoneboro, the PRR had trackage rights east along the New York Central Railroad's Stoneboro Branch to Oil City and the Allegheny Branch, Chautauqua Branch, and Salamanca Branch.

The Fort Wayne Line and Fort Wayne Secondary is a rail line owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad (CFE), and CSX Transportation in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. The line runs from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, west via Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Gary, Indiana, along what was once the Pennsylvania Railroad's Pittsburgh to Chicago main line.

The Pittsburgh to St. Louis Main Line was a rail line owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. The line ran from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania west via Steubenville, Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, Dayton, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, Terre Haute, Indiana, and Vandalia, Illinois to East St. Louis, Illinois. In addition to its east end in downtown Pittsburgh, where it met the Main Line and Pittsburgh to Chicago Main Line, junctions included the Columbus to Chicago Main Line at Columbus, the C&X Branch at Xenia, the Columbus to Indianapolis Main Line via Bradford at New Paris, the Richmond Branch and Fort Wayne Branch at Richmond, the Louisville Branch and I&F Branch at Indianapolis, and the Peoria Branch at Farrington, Illinois.

The Delaware Extension was a rail line owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Canal former canal network in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Canal(or sometimes Pennsylvania Canal system) refers generally to a complex system of transportation infrastructure improvements including canals, dams, locks, tow paths, aqueducts, and viaducts. The Canal and Works were constructed and assembled over several decades beginning in 1824, the year of the first enabling act and budget items. It should be understood the first use of any railway in North America was the year 1826, so the newspapers and the Pennsylvania Assembly of 1824 applied the term then to the proposed rights of way mainly for the canals of the Main Line of Public Works to be built across the southern part of Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh Line Norfolk Southern rail line

The Pittsburgh Line is a rail line that is located in state of the Pennsylvania and it is owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway. The Pittsburgh Line is Norfolk Southern Railway's primary east–west artery in its Pittsburgh Division and Harrisburg Division across Pennsylvania and it is part of the Amtrak-Norfolk Southern combined rail corridor, the Keystone Corridor.

The New Portage Branch was a rail line which ran between the New Portage Tunnel and Duncansville, Pennsylvania.

References

Notes

  1. "PA Historical & Museum Commission: Canal Overview". Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved August 7, 2007.
  2. "PRR Chronology, 1832" (PDF). (77.1  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  3. 1 2 "PRR Chronology, 1834" (PDF). (79.7  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  4. "PRR Chronology, 1836" (PDF). (93.3  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  5. "PRR Chronology, 1837" (PDF). (98.8  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  6. "PRR Chronology, 1838" (PDF). (90.6  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  7. "PRR Chronology, 1846" (PDF). (38.3  KiB), April 2005 Edition
  8. "PRR Chronology, 1847" (PDF). (40.7  KiB), April 2005 Edition
  9. 1 2 "PRR Chronology, 1849" (PDF). (43.2  KiB), April 2005 Edition
  10. "PRR Chronology, 1850" (PDF). (49.7  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  11. "PRR Chronology, 1851" (PDF). (67.7  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  12. 1 2 "PRR Chronology, 1852" (PDF). (83.5  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  13. "PRR Chronology, 1856" (PDF). (52.4  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  14. "PRR Chronology, 1854" (PDF). (79.1  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  15. "PRR Chronology, 1853" (PDF). (91.5  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  16. "PRR Chronology, 1857" (PDF). (54.1  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  17. "PRR Chronology, 1860" (PDF). (91.7  KiB), June 2004 Edition
  18. "PRR Chronology, 1904" (PDF). (61.9  KiB), March 2005 Edition
  19. Roberts, Charles S. (1997). Triumph I. Baltimore: Barnard, Roberts. p. 43. ISBN   0-934118-23-X.

Further reading