East Penn Railroad

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East Penn Railroad
East Penn Rail Road Locomotive, Pennsburg Montco PA.jpg
East Penn Railroad EMD GP18 1804 in Pennsburg
HeadquartersKennett Square, Pennsylvania
Reporting markESPN
Dates of operation2007–
PredecessorEast Penn Railways
Penn Eastern Rail Lines
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length114 mi (183.5 km)

The East Penn Railroad (reporting mark ESPN) is a short-line railroad that operates a number of mostly-unconnected lines in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Except for two industrial park switching operations, all are former Pennsylvania Railroad or Reading Company lines, abandoned or sold by Conrail or its predecessors.

ESPN was formed in 2007 through the merger of East Penn Railways (reporting mark EPRY) and Penn Eastern Rail Lines (reporting mark PRL), each of which began operating in the 1990s. The railroad is owned by Regional Rail, LLC, which also owns the Middletown and New Jersey Railroad, Tyburn Railroad, Carolina Coastal Railway, Florida Central Railroad, Florida Northern Railroad, and Florida Midland Railroad.[1]


East Penn Railroad (ESPN) was formed in 2007 by the merger of East Penn Railway and Penn Eastern Rail Lines. Since the merger, the railroad has improved service and infrastructure on lines with customer growth potential; weaker lines were abandoned or sold off. 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of track was returned to service. A yard was also constructed in Pocopson, Pennsylvania along the Wilmington & Northern (W&N). ESPN has acquired additional locomotives and replaced older locomotives to handle increased traffic, including the acquisition of two rebuilt EMD GP38-2's from GATX to be used along the W&N and Octoraro lines.[2]

ESPN attempted to abandon the Colebrookdale line between Pottstown and Boyertown in 2008; it was eventually purchased by Berks County.[3] In 2010, the Chester Valley line between King of Prussia and Bridgeport was abandoned and subsequently sold to Montgomery County so that it can become a part of the Chester Valley Rail Trail.

On August 1, 2011, the East Penn Railroad began operations on the York Industrial Track between York and Stony Brook, taking over operations from Norfolk Southern.[4] In December 2012, the former Raritan River 40' boxcar #100, stored on East Penn tracks at its Quakertown depot, was restored, one of the few surviving pieces of equipment from the former Raritan River Railroad.


ESPN operates 114 miles of track in eastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware with a roster of 16 locomotives.[5] The railroad operates multiple disconnected segments with locomotives assigned to each segment. Usually, two or three lines have service on a single day.[2]

Lines operated[edit]

East Penn Railroad ALCO RS-1 57 and GE B23-7 3153 in Quakertown

The East Penn Railroad operates the following railroad lines:


This line is an industrial park trackage in the Bristol, Pennsylvania area, interchanging with Conrail Shared Assets Operations (CSAO).[6]

ESPN Bristol Subdivision

Lancaster Northern[edit]

This line owns and operates from Ephrata, Pennsylvania northeast to interchange with Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) in Reading, Pennsylvania, using trackage rights on NS between Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania and Reading.[6]

ESPN Lancaster Northern Subdivision
Reading, Pennsylvania
Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
Denver, Pennsylvania
Ephrata, Pennsylvania


This line owns trackage in Manheim, Pennsylvania area, interchanging with NS.[6]

ESPN Manheim Subdivision

North East Philadelphia[edit]

This line owns trackage in Northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, interchanging with CSAO in Bustleton.[6]

ESPN North East Philadelphia Subdivision
Bustleton, Philadelphia


This line owns and operates trackage (the former Octoraro Branch) from end-of-track in Sylmar, Pennsylvania east to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania where it connects to the Wilmington & Northern line. SEPTA still owns the passenger rights on the Octoraro Line.[6]

ESPN Octoraro Subdivision
Nottingham, Pennsylvania
Oxford, Pennsylvania
West Grove, Pennsylvania
Avondale, Pennsylvania
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Chadds Ford
ESPN Wilmington & Northern Subdivision


This line owns and operates from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania north to interchange with NS in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.[6]

ESPN Perkiomen Subdivision
East Greenville, Pennsylvania
Pennsburg, Pennsylvania


The line operates on the SEPTA-owned Bethlehem Line from Quakertown, Pennsylvania south to interchange with Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad in Telford, Pennsylvania.[6]

ESPN Quakertown Subdivision
Telford, Pennsylvania
Quakertown, Pennsylvania

Wilmington & Northern[edit]

The line owns and operates from interchange with CSX Transportation in Elsmere Junction, Delaware north to interchange with NS in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Also the Octoraro Line connects with the Wilmington & Northern line in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.[6]

York Industrial Track[edit]

The line operates trackage from interchange with NS in York, Pennsylvania to Stony Brook, Pennsylvania.[6]

ESPN York Industrial Track



  1. ^ "About Regional Rail". Regional Rail, LLC. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  2. ^ a b "The East Penn Railroad" (PDF). iNShort. March 19, 2012. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "East Penn Railroad, LLC-Abandonment Exemption-in Berks and Montgomery Counties, PA". Surface Transportation Board. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  4. ^ "Regional Rail begins operations on York Industrial Track". Regional Rail, LLC. August 2, 2011. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  5. ^ "East Penn Railroad, LLC". Regional Rail, LLC. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i East Penn Railroad Map (PDF) (Map). DeskMap Systems. 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  7. ^ a b East Penn Railroad Map (Map). DeskMap Systems. 2007.
  8. ^ Young, Mary E. (2008-05-03). "Losing rail spur will hurt, Boyertown company says". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  9. ^ Duran, Carole (2010-06-23). "Board continues Boyertown rail freight facility plan". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
  10. ^ Young, Mary E. (2010-09-03). "County OKs lease with railroad to reopen Boyertown-Pottstown line". Reading Eagle. Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  11. ^ "colebrookdalerailroad.com". Archived from the original on 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
  12. ^ Newberry, Laura (January 20, 2014). "Caboose ride between Boyertown and Pottstown brings hopes of local railroad tourism". Reading Eagle. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
  13. ^ Pancavage, Gary (2017-04-10). "East Penn makes final run on Philadelphia's Venice Island Branch". Trains Magizene. Retrieved 2020-10-12.

External links[edit]