Trenton Cutoff

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Trenton Cutoff
Type Freight rail
System Norfolk Southern
Status Operational
Locale eastern Pennsylvania
Termini Morrisville
Opening 1892
Owner Norfolk Southern
Operator(s) Norfolk Southern
No. of tracks 1
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge

The Trenton Cutoff is a 48-mile (77 km) mile rail line in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that runs from Morrisville to Glenloch. The line, today used by Norfolk Southern, is known as the Morrisville Line between Morrisville and Earnest (near Norristown) and the Dale Secondary between Earnest and Glenloch.

A low-grade line, the cutoff runs from Morrisville Yard on the Northeast Corridor to GLEN interlocking where it joins the Amtrak-owned Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line. Between Morrisville and Earnest, the line has active freight service. At Earnest, the cutoff connects with the SEPTA Manayunk/Norristown Line (former Reading Railroad), with a connection to Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg Line via a bridge over the Schuylkill River west of the Norristown Transportation Center. From Earnest west to GLEN interlocking, the line is a single track in dark (unsignaled) territory. As of 2014, it carries one freight per day, bearing ArcelorMittal steel from Coatesville to Conshohocken.[1][unreliable source?]

Originally a two-tracked electrified line, the catenary wire over the tracks was dismantled to provide greater overhead clearance for double-stack container trains.[citation needed] The high voltage transmission lines running along the cutoff from Norristown, where the cutoff crosses over the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Schuylkill Branch, to Glenloch are part of Amtrak's 25 Hz traction power system, used to power trains on the Northeast Corridor and the Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line.


Built by the Pennsylvania Railroad and opened in 1892,[2] the cutoff allowed mainline freight traffic to run between New York City and Harrisburg without passing through Philadelphia. The line goes through the suburbs north and west of the city.[3] The second track (the original westbound track) was removed by Conrail in the 1980s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^,2607734
  2. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad "Low-grade" Lines". TrainSpottingWorld. Retrieved 2015-03-14. 
  3. ^ "PRR Interlocking Diagrams: Philadelphia to Harrisburg Branches". The Broad Way, A Pennsylvania Railroad Home Page. Retrieved 2015-03-14.