Chester Creek Branch
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2010)|
Built by the Chester Creek Railroad, it was originally operated and leased by the Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad, then by a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and finally, for a few years, by PRR successor Penn Central. It connected the Lamokin Street station in Chester to Lenni station in Middletown Township.
The branch diverged from the Northeast Corridor main line near SEPTA's now-defunct Lamokin Street Station. At Lenni, the branch merged with the West Chester Branch, once a segment of today's SEPTA Media/Elwyn Line.
The rail line was built by the Chester Creek Railroad, which was chartered in 1866 and began service in 1869. Its route paralleled Chester Creek from Lenni (at a junction with the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad (WC&P)) southeast to Upland, where it veered south, ending at Lamokin Street and a junction with the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (PW&B). The Chester Creek line was operated and leased by the Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad (owner of the WC&P), which owned the locomotives and rolling stock.
In 1916, the Pennsylvania Railroad took control of the line as well as the rest of the P&BC through its subsidiary, the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad (successor to the PW&B). In 1941, the branch had these stations:
|Lenni||0.0||Lenni||Currently used as a SEPTA training base; has a passing siding. Station demolished.|
|West Chester & Chester Creek Branches split|
|South Chester Spur & Chester Creek Branches split|
|7.25||Lamokin Street||Closed by SEPTA in 2003|
|Line abandoned in 1972|
The Chester Creek Branch and the Octoraro Branch were damaged by a flash flood in September 1971, then hit again the following year by Hurricane Agnes. This spelled the end of service on the line, because the PC, which had declared bankruptcy in 1970, chose not to repair it.
When the PC was taken over by Conrail, the defunct line was excluded. In the late 1970s, the line was deeded to the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) by a PC holding company named American Premier Underwriters. SEPTA, which took control of all commuter rail services in the Philadelphia area in 1983, chose not to repair the line.
As of 2009, 90 percent of the line was intact. In 2005, SEPTA leased it for 30 years to Friends of the Chester Creek Branch, a local group that has proposed to convert the line into a rail trail between the dormant Lenni Station and the town of Upland. As of 2010, government grants have been awarded for the first phase of the trail project, and engineering design work is underway.
While SEPTA retains ownership and the right to restore rail service, Byron Comati, the agency’s director of strategic planning and analysis, said in 2010, "SEPTA has no plans, long-range or otherwise, to reclaim the Chester Creek Line right-of-way for public transit use."
- Lamokin Tower (junction with Northeast Corridor line)
- List of defunct Pennsylvania railroads
- SEPTA Regional Rail
- Wilson, William B. (1895). History of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. Philadelphia: Henry T. Coates & Co. p. 328.
- Poor, H.V. (1885). Poor's Manual of Railroads. New York: H.V. & H.W. Poor. p. 327.
- Poor's Intermediate Manual of Railroads. New York: Poor's Manual Co. 1917. p. 226.
- November 1, 1941 PRR map
- Roman, John M. (February 21, 2010). "County’s rails-to-trails initiatives started slowly, but are making progress". Delco Times. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- Friends of the Chester Creek Branch. Aston, PA. "Chester Creek Rail Trail." Accessed 2010-12-31
- Delaware County Planning Department. Media, PA. (2010)."Bicycle Commuting Route Through Delaware County Upgraded." Planning Matters. Issue 14. pp.3-4.