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NeFR- Eastern Pa RR hist.
Eastern Pa. Railroad History

For many years in an earlier day Railroading was almost as important as coal mining in northeastern Pennsylvania. Many Railroads, now gone, passed through many towns serving the coal mines and many businesses. I hope to provide a good source of info and history on each Railroad in the area, so sit back and enjoy! And like always, I'd like be glad to accept any info or corrections you may have, even comments, send them to or

The Past


The Reading Railroad
In 1833 the Philadelphia & Reading RR company was formed to haul coal on a 94 mile mainline in the Anthracite region of pennsylvania. The Railroad eventually grew to serve 3 states, Pa, NJ, and De. Hauling Coal, Iron, and commodities to be sent by canal or sea to further destinations. By the 1870's the P&R became the largest corporation in the world. The P&R eventually came to be known as Reading Lines, but after W.W.II coal was no longer the major source of fuel. The railroad was eventually brought down by the failure of surrounding Railroads. In 1971 the Reading filed for bankruptcy and it's operations were taken over by Conrail on April 1, 1976.

Further information

System map
Pictures by George Elwood
Illustrated roster

And Please visit this site , for more in depth info and history on the Reading.
Source of reading Railroad info, Please visit their site by clicking "this site" above.

Lehigh Valley Railroad
The Lehigh Valley RR operated a double tracked mainline stretching through three states. The line began in New york city, headed toward Phillipsburg, NJ, through the Lehigh Valley in Pa, and continued to Buffalo and Niagara Falls NY. The LV began as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuykill and Susquehanna RR. The DLSS changed its name to the Lehigh Valley on 1/7/1853. On 7/8/1864 the LV merged with the Beaver Meadow RR, which became the oldest part of the LV, organized on April 7, 1830. The LV became a powerful railroad, and kept going through the depression until 1947 when revenues and tonnage started dropping, the LV was dying. In the early 1960's the Penna. RR took over the LV revenues, The fight to keep the LV alive was quickly coming to an end. With the collapse of the Penn Central the LV filed for bankruptcy protection and reorganization on 6/24/74. Then, on March 31, 1976, the LV the Lehigh Valley saw its last day of operation, the day Conrail took over.

Further information

System maps
Photos by George Elwood
Illustrated Diesel Roster - Steam Roster
In Depth history
LV site
Source of LV info from, "The Lehigh Valley Railroad, the New York Division" by Mike Bednar

The Central Railroad of New jersey
If it is CNJ info you want, this isn't the place, BUT I know of a few great sites where you can get it. Just go here for lots of info.

Further information

System Map- Wilkes-Barre area - Hazleton-Reading area
Photos by George Elwood
Illustrated Diesel Roster - Steam Roster
CNJ site

The Present

Today, Northeastern Pa has a whole new look as far as railroading goes. Since the Conrail take over in 1976 most of the old Railroads Disappeared. Today Conrail as well has been taken over, actually split apart by two railroads, Norfolk Southern getting PRR trackage and CSX getting NYC trackage. The Lehighton/Packerton area, once a major LV yard and shop area and CNJ crossover, has now turned into a small 4 or 5 track yard with a single track mainline, with nothing left of the shops except a one large building. The small yard serves as a Reading and Northern/NS interchange.

Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad
The Reading & Northern, as it is more commonly known as, started out as the Blue Mountain & Reading railroad in 1983 on a 13 mile shortline connecting Temple, Pa to Hamburg, Pa. In 1990 the R&N purchased 130 miles of trackage from Conrail, known as the Reading Cluster. Conrail continued selling off rail lines, the R&N expanded again in 1996 with 100 miles of former LV trackage. The trackage extends from the Lehighton, Pa through Wilkes-Barre and Scranton on to Wyoming county. The Lehigh Division serves as a shortcut for the Canadian Pacific RR, using trackage rights to Philadelphia and New York City. The R&N currently serves 75 customers.

Further information

System Map
Photos by George Elwood
Official Site
Official Roster
Illustrated Roster
Source of R&N info from the official website, and my own personal knowledge.

Railfanning in the area
The Allentown area offers the greatest railfanning opportunities in the area with trains every few minutes depending on where you go.  Lots of NS, ex CR, CN, CP/SOO activity await on Intermodal and other freight trains. Tons of widecabs and other big six-axle power!

The Jim Thorpe area is also a very good railfan area, but be warned, it is a hot tourist spot, so summer and fall weekends can sometimes be pretty crazy. There is another small yard located here, handling traffic from the R&N. There is also some history here, cabooses in full paint from the LV, B&O, PRR, Southern, Erie Lackawanna, & more. Also sitting around are CNJ FA units (parts from the very first Santa fe CF7 were used to build them) plus Reading and CNJ RS3's, and an Amtrak, ex- ATSF CF7.

Pictures of some of this equipment can be found here.

I hope you enjoyed the info, and I  hope this gave you a little more knowledge on Railroading in the northeastern Pa area.