The Lehigh Division is a main branch rail line owned and operated by the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The 'Lehigh Division' line consists of trackage along rights of ways dating back to acts of legislature in 1837 under the sponsorship of the Pennsylvania Canal Commission from former Lehigh Valley Railroad (LVRR), Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad (L&S) and Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) lines which leased the L&S trackage and yards from 1876-1976 and the founding of Conrail. The longest run of the road runs along the upper or Grand division of the historic Lehigh Canal
The Division runs from its southern terminus in Packerton just south of the Lehigh Gap north past Jim Thorpe along both banks of the Lehigh on former LVRR trackage along the left bank Lehigh through the Lehigh Gorge from Nesquehoning Junction, to White Haven where it crosses to the right bank joining former L&S trackage for the long the climb up along the middle elevations of Penobscot Knob looming above the yard the line passes through at Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. From there throughout the decent to the CPR/NS junction just west of 207 Coolidge St, Pittston, PA (Dupont) is double tracked. At Dupont descending traffic can switch Northeast to the Taylor Yard in Taylor, PA (CPR), or cross west beyond I-81 and PA-11 to traverse the descent from Dupont, Avoca (below the Airport and I-81) and alongside the steep descent along Railroad Street in Duryea through the Duryea Yard near Pittston, PA along then up river on LVRR to Mehoopany, about half-way to Sayre, PA. At its south end, it connects to the R&N's Reading Division and also the Norfolk Southern Railway's Lehigh Line; its north end is at the beginning of the Norfolk-Southern Lehigh Secondary which connects to the Southern Tier of New York and the Great Lakes via the Sayre Yard.
The Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad opened in 1843 from White Haven to Wilkes-Barre, including the current line from White Haven to Solomon Gap. From Jim Thorpe to Beaver Meadows, the Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company opened a line in 1836. The portion from Packerton to Jim Thorpe was opened by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1855, and the line from Penn Haven to White Haven, where the current line switches from the old LV to the old L&S, was opened by the Penn Haven and White Haven Railroad in the early 1860s.
The L&S opened the "Back-Track" from Solomon Gap to Ashley in 1867, including the present Lehigh Division from Solomon Gap to Laurel Run/Oliver Mills. From Oliver Mills to Duryea, the line was built by 1900 as the LV's Mountain Cut-Off. After a short piece between Duryea and Pittston Junction (near Pittston), the Lehigh Division returns to the old Lehigh Valley Railroad main line from Pittston Junction to Mehoopany, opened in 1868 as part of the Pennsylvania and New York Canal and Railroad.
The Central Railroad of New Jersey (which leased the L&S) and Lehigh Valley Railroad began to work together in 1965 to eliminate redundant trackage. Both companies were taken over by Conrail in 1976, and Conrail sold the Packerton-Mehoopany line to the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad in 1996.
- Black Diamonds to Tidewater: A Brief Historical Perspective
- Poor, Henry V. (1860). Railroads and Canals of the United States of America. New York: John H. Schultz & Co.
- Black Diamonds to Tidewater: CNJ Back-Track
- Black Diamonds to Tidewater: CNJ Lehighton to WK Interlocking
- Reading & Northern History