New Hope Railroad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
New Hope Railroad
HeadquartersNew Hope, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Reporting markNHRR
LocaleBucks County, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Dates of operation1966 (1966)–present
Length18 miles (29 km)
Route map

New Hope
PA 179
West Bridge Street
Ferry Street
Ingham Run
Ingham Run
West Mechanic Street
South Sugan Road
Ingham Run
Ingham Run
Pennsylvania Shale Brick Company
Reeder Road
Deer Park
Aquetong Road
Lower Mountain Road
Street Road
Holicong Road
Abandoned quarry spur
Upper Mountain Road
PA 413
Durham Road
Farm Lane
Upper Mountain Road
Buckingham Valley
Lower Mountain Road
Creek Road
New Hope Road
Smith Road
Mill Creek
Township Line Road
Mill Creek
Mill Creek
Swamp Road
Sackettsford Road
Little Neshaminy Creek
Little Neshaminy Creek
Almshouse Road
West Bristol Road
Ivyland Road
PA 132
Street Road
Warminster Line

The New Hope Railroad (reporting mark NHRR),[1] formerly and colloquially known as the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad, is a shortline and heritage railroad located in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Today, the railroad operates both steam and diesel powered locomotives and is an associate member of NORAC.



The heritage operations use both steam and diesel powered locomotives for excursion trips out of New Hope. Regular NHRR excursions typically operate between New Hope and Lahaska, with some occasionally going to Buckingham Valley. The railroad mostly uses former Reading Company passenger cars, which date between 1914 and 1932, for excursions.


NHRR is involved in the import and export of raw materials and manufactured products. Freight customers range from national chemical companies to consumer product manufacturers. NHRR interchanges with Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad in Johnsville, which in turn interchanges with CSX Transportation in Lansdale. NHRR's primary customers are based in Warminster; CRC Industries, Castrol and Double H Plastics are served on a weekly basis.


The first train to New Hope in 1891
New Hope Railroad 2-8-0 40, GP30 2198, and SD40-2 5577

The line currently operated by the New Hope Railroad was originally known as the New Hope Branch of the Reading Company (RDG), which leased it to the North Pennsylvania Railroad, of which it was a part. The railroad ran as far as Hartsville Station (near Bristol Road, which eventually became Ivyland) until March 29, 1891, when the line was extended to the long-desired terminal of New Hope, Pennsylvania.[2]

In 1932, steam powered trains above Hatboro were replaced with a Doodlebug after electric service was introduced between Hatboro and Philadelphia. In June 1952, Hatboro-New Hope passenger service terminated. In the early 1960s, the RDG's financial situation was precarious. Looking to rid themselves of unprofitable branch lines via abandonment, a group of train aficionados and businessmen led by Philadelphia attorney Kenneth Souser established Steam Trains, Inc. with the goal of operating steam trains on a for-profit basis.[3] Steam Trains, Inc. became organized as the 'New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (NHIR), and on June 20, 1966, the 16.7-mile line was sold for $200,000.[2]

Steam Trains, Inc. started their operations on a high note, often in an extravagant fashion, with the purchase of four steam locomotives and seven passenger cars. The company leased freight locomotives from RDG, and used only hired labor to operate their excursions. The "air rights" over the Southern portion of the line from Ivyland to just north of Almshouse Road, were sold to the former Philadelphia Electric Company (now Exelon) in order to stay solvent. Due to extremely low ticket prices to generate sales that led to no additional income of riders, Steam Trains, Inc. declared bankruptcy on June 5, 1970.[2] Operations continued under a court-appointed trustee.

The Bucks County Industrial Development Corporation (BCIDC) purchased the trackage from the Steam Trains, Inc. in early 1974 to "preserve rail service through the center of Bucks County."[4] The county selected McHugh Brothers Heavy Hauling, Inc. to operate freight service over the line via a lease agreement.[2] McHugh Brothers continued hauling freight with Edward L. McHugh as president until his departure in 1989.[4]

By the summer of 1976, the railroad received state funding to rehabilitate crumbling infrastructure that sorely needed fixing. By August 1977, volunteers from the Buckingham Valley Trolley Association [BVTA] (now the Electric City Trolley Museum Association) were operating state-sponsored passenger service connecting the touristy town of New Hope with SEPTA/Conrail commuter trains at Warminster.[2] Bucks County had made a wise investment, as both passenger and freight service flourished during the 1970s once track upgrades were made. Finally, on June 30, 1979, NHRR finally emerged from its decade-long bankruptcy.[4]

Beginning July 3, 1980, volunteers of the New Hope Steam Railway (NHOP) resumed weekend excursion service after the BVTA decided to end it. The NHOP ran trains under a lease agreement with the BCIDC until 1990, when the line and its equipment were once again in a state of decay and disrepair.[4] The McHugh Bros. operated NHIR until 1989 when their lease ended and the Morristown & Erie was contracted to operate the railroad.[3] The BCIDC sold the line outright to the for-profit Bucks County Railroad Preservation and Restoration Corporation (BCRP&RC) in 1990, who slowly began to rebuild the railroad to its current state of good repair.[3] In 1993, the reporting mark was changed to NHRR. BCRP&RC is the official corporate structure, doing business as the New Hope Railroad.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reporting Mark Search". Railinc. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e Pawson, John R. (1979). Delaware Valley Rails: The Railroads and Rail Transit Lines of the Philadelphia Area. Willow Grove, Pennsylvania: John R. Pawson. pp. 115–117. ISBN 0-9602080-0-3.
  3. ^ a b c Balkin, Marc (2007). Ride the New Hope Line!. Mark I Videos.
  4. ^ a b c d New Hope Railroad. "History." Accessed 2011-01-22. archive

External links[edit]