Allentown & Auburn Railroad
|Locale||Kutztown to Topton, Pennsylvania|
|Dates of operation||2015–|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
The Allentown & Auburn Railroad (reporting mark ALLN) is a short-line railroad located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that operates as both a freight and tourist railroad. The railroad runs between Kutztown and Topton in Berks County.
The Allentown & Auburn Railroad operates both a freight railroad and a tourist railroad. The Allentown & Auburn Railroad line is 4.12 miles (6.63 km) long and runs between Kutztown and an interchange with Norfolk Southern Railway's Reading Line in Topton. The Kutztown Transportation Authority owns the tracks that the Allentown & Auburn Railroad operates on.
The tourist railroad operates out of a station in Kutztown during holidays and special occasions on the weekends. Among the occasions the railroad has operated for include an Easter train, the Kutztown Folk Festival, the Kutztown Bicentennial Celebration, Halloween trick-or-treating, Christmas tree picking, and a Santa Claus train. The Allentown & Auburn Railroad allows groups to charter an entire train for an excursion. The excursion takes between 45 minutes and an hour, passing through farmland. The Allentown & Auburn Railroad operates with a diesel locomotive, three cabooses, one coach, and an open flatcar. The diesel locomotive used by the railroad is the second oldest in service and was built in 1937. The Allentown & Auburn Railroad operated a steam locomotive for the Kutztown Bicentennial Celebration.
The Allentown & Auburn Railroad dates back to 1853 when a charter was issued to the Dauphin and Susquehanna Coal Company and the Central Railroad of New Jersey for the Allentown Railroad, a railroad that was to run from Allentown west to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company mainline between Port Clinton and Auburn. Construction began on the Allentown Railroad in 1855, with the railroad planned to run from Allentown southwest to Topton and then northwest through Kutztown, Virginville, and Hamburg to Port Clinton. The CNJ was planning on abandoning the Allentown Railroad project for another route by way of Reading. The remaining investors carried on with the project. The Allentown Railroad and the Auburn & Port Clinton Railroad merged on January 1, 1857. The project was halted by the Panic of 1857 and the Dauphin and Susquehanna Coal Company was foreclosed and became part of the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company-controlled Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad on April 1, 1859.
The East Pennsylvania Railroad opened on May 11, 1859, connecting Allentown and Reading. As a result, the Allentown Railroad project was abandoned as traffic could move between Allentown and Reading on the East Pennsylvania Railroad and north to Auburn along the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company main line. In the early 1870s, the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company laid track along the grade of the Allentown Railroad between Kutztown and the East Pennsylvania Railroad in Topton. The Allentown Railroad was formally merged into the Reading Co. on December 31, 1945. Following the bankruptcy and consolidation of the Reading Co. into Conrail, the Kutztown Transportation Authority took over the line. The East Penn Railroad later operated freight service on the line between Kutztown and Topton.
In 2013, Lindsay and Michael Bast, the latter a volunteer at the Reading Railroad Museum, took over operation of the railroad line between Kutztown and Topton after freight service on the tracks ended following the closure of a foundry. In March 2015, the Allentown & Auburn Railroad began tourist operations.
- "Services". Allentown & Auburn Railroad. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- East Penn Railroad Map (PDF) (Map). DeskMap Systems. 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
- "Allentown and Auburn Railroad Company, Inc.-Change in Operators Exemption-Rail Line of Kutztown Transportation Authority". Surface Transportation Board. October 1, 2013. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- Lauer-Williams, Kathy (October 19, 2015). "Allentown and Auburn Railroad: Kutztown's new train on the block". The Morning Call. Allentown, PA. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
- "About Us". Allentown & Auburn Railroad. Archived from the original on 2016-01-31. Retrieved January 24, 2016.