Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mountjoy and Lancaster Railroad

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The Harrisburg, Portsmouth, Mountjoy & Lancaster Railroad (HPMtJ&L) was an early American railroad built to connect three main population centers in east-central Pennsylvania.


In 1837, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania chartered the railroad, only the sixth railroad ever chartered in the United States (third in Pennsylvania) having been charted only nine years after the first U.S. railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad.

HPMtJ&L followed the Union Canal (Pennsylvania), and was laid out in 1837 to connect the Susquehanna River valley communities of Harris Ferry (now Harrisburg), Portsmouth (now a part of Middletown), Mount Joy and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Simon Cameron of Middletown, and later Secretary of War under President Abraham Lincoln, and James Buchanan, of Lancaster were among the group of founders.[1] HPMtJ&L connected to the Portsmouth Canal Basin in Middletown. The first track laid of the new railroad ran from Harris Ferry to the Portsmouth section of Middletown. This was one of the first sections of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) built. The line opened with horse-drawn cars between Harrisburg and Portsmouth.

PRR first operated the HPMtJ&L under contract for 20 years on starting September 1849, whereby the PRR was to purchase all the equipment of the HPMtJ&L for use on both lines.[1] PRR merged HPMtJ&L on January 2, 1917.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b Schotter, H. W. (1927). The Growth and Development of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company 1846-1926. Allen, Lane & Scott. pp. 3, 22. 
  2. ^ prrths.com/Hagley
  3. ^ Drury, George H. (1994). The Historical Guide to North American Railroads: Histories, Figures, and Features of more than 160 Railroads Abandoned or Merged since 1930. Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing. pp. 251–259. ISBN 0-89024-072-8. 

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