Wawa and Concordville Railroad

Last updated
Wawa and Concordville Railroad
Overview
Type Tourist railroad
Status Out of service
Locale Concordville, Pennsylvania
Termini Wawa, Pennsylvania
Concordville, Pennsylvania
Services Local
Operation
Opened 1967
Closed 1968
Owner SEPTA
Character Surface
Technical
Line length 12.2 mi (19.6 km)
Number of tracks 1
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)

The Wawa and Concordville Railroad was a steam tourist railroad in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania during the late 1960s.

Steam locomotive railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine

A steam locomotive is a type of railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material – usually coal, wood, or oil – to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels (drivers). Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons (tenders) pulled behind.

Heritage railway railway used for heritage/historical/tourism purposes

A heritage railway is a railway operated as living history to re-create or preserve railway scenes of the past. Heritage railways are often old railway lines preserved in a state depicting a period in the history of rail transport.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Contents

History

The Wawa & Concordville (W&C) was one of the earlier steam tourist railroads. It was conceived by local businessmen with the support of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce in 1966. It operated from Concordville, near U.S. Route 322, east to the village of Wawa. The railroad operated over a leased portion of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Octoraro Branch.

Delaware County, Pennsylvania County in Pennsylvania, United States

Delaware County, colloquially referred to as Delco, is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. With a population of 562,960, it is the fifth most populous county in Pennsylvania, and the third smallest in area. The county was created on September 26, 1789, from part of Chester County, and named for the Delaware River.

Concordville, Pennsylvania Unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States

Concordville is an unincorporated community in Concord Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is located 20 miles west-southwest of Philadelphia, at the junction of U.S. Routes 1 and 322. This intersection can be traced back to two of the earliest roads in Pennsylvania, Baltimore Pike which became U.S. 1, and Concord Pike, which connected Pennsylvania with Delaware.

U.S. Route 322 is a 494 mi (795.0 km) long, east–west United States Highway, traversing Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The road is a spur of U.S. Route 22 and one of the original highways from 1926. A portion of it at one time was concurrent with the Lakes-to-Sea Highway.

W&C utilized two steam locomotives for operations: former U.S. Navy 0-6-0T #3 and former Pacific Coast Lumber 2-8-2T #37. Most passenger cars were wooden boxcars that had been converted into open observation passenger cars prior to their use on the W&C.

Passenger car (rail) Piece of railway rolling stock to carry passengers

A passenger car is a piece of railway rolling stock that is designed to carry passengers. The term passenger car can also be associated with a sleeping car, baggage, dining, railway post office and prisoner transport cars.

During the 1968 season, several homeowners along Pole Cat Road near Concordville complained of the noise and smell of steam locomotives coming across their yards. They pressured then-current landlordPenn Central (PC), who opted not renew W&C’s lease when it expired in 1968. W&C continued to renegotiate a lease after they were forced to halt operations.

Penn Central Transportation Company American Class I railroad (1968–1976)

The Penn Central Transportation Company, commonly abbreviated to Penn Central, was an American Class I railroad headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that operated from 1968 until 1976. It was created by the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads. The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was added to the merger in 1969; by 1970, the company had filed for what was, at that time, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

A flash flood in September 1971 and Hurricane Agnes in 1972 severely damaged the line. The bankrupt PC decided to remove the line from service, not having the funds for necessary repairs. At the time, 12 freight cars were marooned on the derelict line.

Hurricane Agnes Category 1 Atlantic hurricane in 1972

Hurricane Agnes was the second tropical cyclone and first named storm of the 1972 Atlantic hurricane season. Agnes developed on June 14 from the interaction of a polar front and an upper trough over the Yucatán Peninsula. Initially forming as a tropical depression, the storm headed slowly eastward and emerged into the western Caribbean Sea on June 15. Once in the Caribbean, the depression began to strengthen, and by the following day, it became Tropical Storm Agnes. Thereafter, Agnes slowly curved northward and passed just west of Cuba on June 17. Early on June 18, the storm intensified enough to be upgraded to Hurricane Agnes. Heading northward, the hurricane eventually made landfall near Panama City, Florida late on June 19. After moving inland, Agnes rapidly weakened and was only a tropical depression when it entered Georgia. The weakening trend halted as the storm crossed over Georgia and into South Carolina. While over eastern North Carolina, Agnes re-strengthened into a tropical storm on June 21, as a result of baroclinic activity. Early the following day, the storm emerged into the Atlantic Ocean before re-curving northwestward and making landfall near New York City as a strong tropical storm. Agnes quickly became an extratropical cyclone on June 23, and tracked to the northwest of Great Britain, before being absorbed by another extratropical cyclone on July 6.

Legacy

While the station was destroyed by fire, the locomotives and cars remained at the site for another 10 years. Both locomotives eventually were moved to Marshallton, Delaware where they operated on the Wilmington & Western Railroad. Some converted boxcars were scrapped, but two remain near the site in derelict condition. A third is in Marshallton where it is used as a flatcar. U.S. Navy, #3 was later moved to Lewes, Delaware to operate on the Queen Anne's Railroad. It currently serves as part of a railroad themed restaurant in Ocean View, Delaware. #37 was on a siding in Marshallton, but was moved to the Strasburg Railroad for major repairs in February 2009; which will lead to its eventual return to California.[ citation needed ]

Marshallton, Delaware Unincorporated community in Delaware, United States

Marshallton is an unincorporated community in Mill Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, United States. The community was founded in 1836 and is named for John Marshall, mill owner.

Wilmington and Western Railroad

The Wilmington and Western Railroad is a freight and heritage railroad in northern Delaware, operating over a former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) branch between Wilmington and Hockessin. The 10.2-mile (16.4 km) railroad operates both steam and diesel locomotives. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a national historic district in 1980. Wilmington & Western serves one customer for revenue service, and interchanges with CSX Transportation at Landenberg Junction, Delaware

Flatcar

A flatcar (US) is a piece of railroad (US) or railway (non-US) rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck mounted on a pair of trucks (US) or bogies (UK), one at each end containing four or six wheels. Occasionally, flat cars designed to carry extra heavy or extra large loads are mounted on a pair of bogies under each end. The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads. Flatcars designed for carrying machinery have sliding chain assemblies recessed in the deck.

The line itself was never formally abandoned and is still owned by SEPTA.[ citation needed ] Rails and wooden ties remain in place, but are buried beneath soil or are rotting away.[ citation needed ]

The Wawa & Concordville Historical Society was formed in 2003 to document the railroad's brief history. It was founded by Paul Calpin, A. Marc DeCaro and Jenny Lohse Simpson. Today the group maintains a Facebook fan page. There was also a G scale Model railroad layout in Middletown, Delaware, for some time.[ citation needed ]

In print

The definitive piece of the W&C was written by Kurt R. Bell and published in the Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society's High Line magazine.

See also

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References