New Hope Railroad
New Hope 40 reversing over 2nd Ingham Run Bridge
|Locale||Bucks County, Pennsylvania|
|Dates of operation||1966–present|
|Length||18 miles (29 km)|
|Headquarters||New Hope, Pennsylvania|
The heritage operations utilize both steam and diesel locomotives for excursions out of New Hope. Regular NHRR excursions are 45–50 minutes long with trains running every hour on the hour between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM (with a 5:00 PM 90-minute trip to Buckingham on weekends). 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 line currently operated by the New Hope Railroad was originally known as the New Hope Branch of the Reading Company (RDG), which leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad, of which it was a part. The railroad ran as far as Hartsville Station (near Bristol Road) until March 29, 1891, when the line was extended to the long-desired terminal of New Hope, Pennsylvania.
A decade after June 1952, when Hatboro-New Hope passenger service terminated, 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. 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.
Steam Trains, Inc. started their operations on a high note, often in an extravagant fashion. 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. Steam Trains, Inc. declared bankruptcy on June 5, 1970. 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." The county selected McHugh Brothers Heavy Hauling, Inc. to operate freight service over the line via a lease agreement. McHugh Brothers continued hauling freight with Edward L. McHugh as president until his departure in 1989. 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. 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.
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. The McHugh Bros. operated NHIR until 1989 when their lease ended and the Morristown & Erie was contracted to operate the railroad. 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. BCRP&RC is the official corporate structure, doing business as the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad (NHRR). The name is often abbreviated to "New Hope Railroad".
Stations and trackage
NHRR is a single-track railroad with passing sidings at Deer Park, Lahaska, Buckingham Valley, Wycombe and Ivyland. While Deer Park is kept clear for passing trains and Lahaska for the regular excursion's runarounds, at Buckingham Valley the railroad's fleet of historic freight cars is stored, along with any maintenance-of-way equipment. At Wycombe, a number of former Long Island Rail Road commuter coaches stored in case they are ever needed. At Ivyland, a series of sidings are present for freight operations out of Johnsville Yard.
A number of stub tracks also exist on NHRR. At Buckingham Valley, a small siding that once served the Buckingham Valley Trolley Association is presently used as a Repair-in-Progress, or RIP-track. At Wycombe, the team track once used for less-than-carload deliveries is utilized as maintenance of way siding. At Grenoble, another siding created by severing the southern switch of a passing siding is present. This siding once held a number of pieces of equipment, but today only passenger car 1542 remains "on" this siding as it was flipped over onto its side by vandals. At Ivyland exists another RIP-track, typically used for storing MoW equipment. The final siding on the railroad is in Johnsville Yard at Warminster on the North side of the Street Road crossing. This siding is used for short-term storage of interchange freight equipment and storing the diesel locomotive assigned to freight service when not in use.
The stations along the NHRR were:
|Station Name||Locality||Milepost||Passenger Facilities||Notes|
|New Hope||New Hope, Pennsylvania||25.5||Combination Freight/Passenger station||32 West Bridge Street in downtown New Hope. Used as NHRR's ticket office. The ex-Reading freight house is used as a gift shop, with a third building constructed in the 1990s as a café for riders.|
|Huffnagle||Solebury Township||24.8||Original, Wooden shelter. No evidence of station is left.||Originally known as Huffnagle, then Rosenthal. Became Hood after demolition of station.|
|Reeder||Solebury Township||23.6||Original: Wooden Shelter.||Named after Eastburn Reeder, Pennsylvania's first dairy/farm commissioner.|
|Deer Park||Solebury Township||23.5||No station present.||Passing siding named after local area. Constructed 2019.|
|Lahaska||Buckingham Township||21.4||Original: Combination Freight/Passenger station. Currently a wooden platform (not used).||Destination for regular hourly excursions, original building relocated after termination of passenger service in 1952 and is currently in use as a private residence.|
|Bycot||Buckingham Township||20.4||Passenger station, removed around 1952.||Only stone station on the line.|
|None Such Farms||Buckingham Township||18.6||Currently no station present||While never an official station on NHRR or RDG timetables, it does serve as the terminus for NHRR's "Buckingham Valley" train and various dinner trains, worth to note.|
|Buckingham Valley||Buckingham Township||18.6||Current/Original Combination Freight/Passenger station||Destination for regular hourly excursions prior to the late 1980s, original station building demolished in 1953, current structure from the Pickering Branch near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania|
|Montessori School||Buckingham Township||16.2||Passenger station, removed around 1952.||One of three destinations used for RDG's Commutation School Passes|
|Wycombe||Buckingham Township||15.7||Combination Freight/Passenger station||Built to the same design as the Lahaska Station, current destination for railroad's "Fall Foliage" excursions.|
|Little Italy||Buckingham Township||14.5||Passenger station, removed around 1952.||Original location of station unknown,|
|Rushland||Wrightstown Township||13.8||Combination Freight/Passenger station||Freight station built from converted RDG 40-foot wooden boxcar # 13914|
|Grenoble||Northampton Township||12.2||Passenger station, removed around 1952.||Station relocated to hillside at some point with trails leading down to the platform|
|Traymore||Warwick Township||10.9||Passenger station, removed around 1952.||Relocated from the North Pennsylvania Railroad around 1890|
|Ivyland||Ivyland, Pennsylvania||9.4||Combination Freight/Passenger station||Reportedly moved to an unknown location after passenger service ended|
|Johnsville||Warminster||8.3||Original, Wooden shelter. No evidence of station is left.||Station area's yard still exists as yard for NHRR/PN. Division point for NHRR/SEPTA.|
Italicized stations are no longer in existence
Locomotives used in the excursion passenger service are usually provided by steam locomotive No. 40, built in 1925 by Baldwin with a 2-8-0 wheel arrangement. No. 40 (ex-Cliffside Railroad) is supplemented by diesel powered locomotives primarily for freight operations. The current active diesel roster consists of EMD GP30 No. 2198 (ex-Pennsylvania Railroad), GMD GP-9u No. 8218 (ex-Canadian Pacific), and GMD SD40-2 No. 5577 (ex-Canadian Pacific).
Passenger excursions typically consist of 3–4 former RDG coaches built between 1914 and 1932; total NHRR passenger car count is 25, ten of which are currently in service. The only locomotives owned by the corporate structure of the NHRR are Nos. 40 and 1533. All diesels are owned by a privately held company (Rail Power Inc.) and leased to the operation. Rail Power Inc. is owned by three NHRR employees and also owns subsidiary Pennsylvania Northeastern's locomotives.
In Service locomotives
|40||2-8-0||Baldwin Locomotive Works||1925||Former Cliffside Railroad, Ex Lancaster & Chester||Bought 1925 by L&C, sold 1947 to Cliffside Railroad, sold to New Hope & Ivyland founders in 1962. Was infrequently used due to NHIR's favor of #1533, until that locomotive's withdrawal from service in 1975. After No. 9 was removed from service in 1981, NHOP's main source of motive power between 1981 and 1986 was No .40. Out of service between 1987 and 1990, returned to service by NHRR in 1991.|
|2198||GP-30||Electro-Motive Diesel||1963||Former Conrail, Ex Penn Central, Exx Pennsylvania Railroad||Constructed as PRR 2250. Renumbered to 2198 before Penn Central merger. Acquired in 1996.|
|5577||SD40-2||Electro-Motive Diesel||1972||Former Canadian Pacific Railway||Acquired in 2007. Used by NHRR for freight. It is usually based in Warminster, Pennsylvania. In patched CP livery.|
|8218||GP-9u||Electro-Motive Diesel||1957||Former Canadian Pacific Railway||Built originally as GP9 8678. Upgraded to GP9u, chopped nose, and renumbered to 8218 in 1988 rebuild. Originally PN, transferred to NHRR in September 2017. Painted in simplified NH&I livery. Main diesel passenger locomotive of NHRR.|
Out of Service locomotives
|1533||4-6-0||Montreal Locomotive Works||1911||Former Canadian National (CN), Ex Canadian Northern Railway||Originally CNoR No.264, renumbered by CNoR in 1912 to No. 1325, included in CN merger in 1923, renumbered to No. 1533 in June 1956, purchased by New Hope & Ivyland in 1962. Was NHIR's main locomotive between 1966 and 1974 and last ran in December 1975. Locomotive stored in yard.|
|3028||4-8-4||ALCo||1946||Former Nacionales de México, 4-8-4||Brought to NHRR in 1994, has never run on the NHRR. Both tender and engine currently connected and stored on deadline.|
|7087||C30-7||GE Transportation||1981||Former CSX, Ex Seaboard||Acquired in 1998. Was used for both freight and passenger operations. Retired 2016.|
Former steam locomotives
|7||0-6-0||Lima Locomotive Works||1944||Former Virginia Blue Ridge Railway, Ex Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad, Exx U.S. Army Transportation Corps||Built as No. 4061. Privately owned during time on NHIR, was used as parts for No. 9. Never operated on NHIR. Scrapped 1976.|
|9||0-6-0||Lima Locomotive Works||1942||Former Virginia Blue Ridge Railway, Ex Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad, Exx U.S. Army Transportation Corps||Built as No. 4023. Sold to SMS Rail Lines in 2009. Operated on NHIR 1966-1981.|
In Service Passenger Cars
|870||Coach||Reading||Bethlehem Steel Company||1932||Constructed as an electric multiple unit. Class PBn, 72-seat coach. Was No. 9125 under Blueliner and SEPTA service. Became coach on wire train after SEPTA's retirement of the Blueliner fleet. Sold 2004 to NHRR. Is equipped with Taylor flexible-type (MU) trucks. Renumbered back to 870 during 2019 restoration.|
|1096||Baggage||Santa Fe||Pullman-Standard Corporation||1960||Originally a baggage car No. 3997 during Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and Amtrak service but converted by Iron Horse Enterprises for main line excursion service. Traded to NHRR as partial payment for work done to ex C&O 614. North end baggage door is fake. Windows are removable. Used as No. 40's Tool Car on the railroad's offline / Main Line Steam trips.|
|1127||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1924||Class PBn, 84-seat coach. Was numbered #11 under NHOP operation. Purchased after closure of Valley Forge Scenic Railroad. Saw use during the "Reading Rambles" excursions. Is equipped with Taylor flexible-type (MU) trucks from the 1930s testing of a new truck style to be put on Reading's MU fleet.|
|1220||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1922||Class PBn, 84-seat coach. Wore Reading Company livery from 1991-2008. Was numbered #12 under NHOP operation. Purchased after closure of Valley Forge Scenic Railroad.|
|1424||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1914||Class PBh, 76-seat coach. Retains original Mahogany Interior. Named "Joseph R. Turner" in 1990s after stockholder. Was numbered #13 under NHOP operation. Saw use during the "Reading Rambles" excursions. Opening Day Coach.|
|1430||Parlor Car||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1914||Class PBh, 76-seat coach. Retains original Mahogany Interior. Converted to First Class Car in early 1970s with full bar with table and chair seating. Named "Donald L. Hammond" in 2013 after NHRR's Chairman Of The Board. Was numbered #14 under NHOP operation. Oldest coach on the roster. Opening Day Coach.|
|1505||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1916||Class PBh, 76-seat coach. Retains original Mahogany Interior. Was numbered #15 under NHOP operation. Opening Day Coach.|
|1525||Open Air||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1927||Class PBr, 76-seat coach. Former air conditioned/semi-streamlined car. Was converted in 1967 by NHRR to a two-thirds open and one-third closed coach, with open platforms on each end. Was taken out of service in 1979 and stored at Wycombe until 2008. Was rebuilt by NHRR as a full-length open air/observation car with back platform. Named "Jack R. Rominger". Opening Day Coach.|
|4907||Parlor Car||Canadian National||Canadian Car & Foundry||1919||Originally constructed as 14 section "Colonist Sleeper" car, originally Canadian Northern No. 2877, has composite construction; wood frame and steel skin. Sold to NHRR from Black River & Western in 1999. Converted to Parlor Car in 2019.|
|800301||Dining Car||Union Pacific||American Car & Foundry||1949||Built as Union Pacific as Car No. 5004 for their City of Los Angeles and City of Portland trains. Was sold to Alaska Railroad as a dining car, then to the American Orient Express' operation where it was renamed "Zurich". After the end of AEO's operations it was sold to Ross Rowland for his Greenbriar Presidential Express. At this time the car was renamed "Crater Lake". After the failure to get the train running, the car was auctioned off to New Hope Railroad. Car was restored in 2017 and currently serves as a first-class car.|
Out-Of-Service Passenger Cars
|72||Baggage||Central Railroad of New Jersey||American Car & Foundry||1923||Once used as the gift shop and ticket office, One of two CNJ rolling stock owned by NHRR. Currently used for additional storage, sitting behind shop in New Hope.|
|983||Coach||Central Railroad of New Jersey||American Car & Foundry||1923||Retains its original Mahogany Interior. One of two CNJ rolling stock owned by NHRR, From Valley Forge Scenic Railroad. Currently stored in New Hope awaiting restoration.|
|1113||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1924||Class PBn, 84-seat coach. Purchased after closure of Valley Forge Scenic Railroad. Stored at Buckingham.|
|1202||Parlor Car||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1922||Class PBn. originally an 84-seat coach but converted by NHRR in 1990s into a Parlor/Dining Car. Renumbered #16 under NHOP operation, From Valley Forge Scenic Railroad, used on private charters.|
|1366||Open Air Car||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1918||Class PBh. Originally 76-seat coach. Purchased by NHIR 1966, converted into an Open Air Car 1970, stored at New Hope. Opening Day Coach.|
|1536||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1927||Class PBr, 74-seat coach. Last used in 1969, stored at New Hope. Opening Day Coach.|
|1542||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1927||Class PBr, 74-seat coach. Former "Air Conditioned" Coach. Was temporarily as a parlor by Reading Company for their Clocker’s Club meetings. Put back as coach before retirement by Reading. heavily vandalized, flipped on its side by vandal in mid-2010, still retains semi-streamlined skirting. Last used in 1969, located in Grenoble. Opening Day Coach.|
|2004||Parlor Car||New York Central||Pullman-Standard||1914||Constructed as lot 4329, plan 2417A as Parlor-Buffet. Originally Pullman Coach-Buffet No. 2800, named "Andrico". It was a part of the Empire State Limited in NYC years as Club Car ‘’Empire State’’. Sold to LIRR 1959, renumbered 2004 and renamed "Syosset".|
|2804||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2805||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2816||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s. In NHRR livery.|
|2817||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s. Used for the railroad's Haunted Halloween Events in October. While no changes have been made to the outside of the car, the inside of the coach has been fully redone for the event. In NHRR livery.|
|2820||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2826||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s. In NHRR livery.|
|2834||Coach||Long Island Railroad||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Railroad Commuter Service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|303||Hopper Car||Pullman Standard||Former Conrail, Ex Penn Central, Exx Pennsylvania Railroad||1955||In service. Wears white NHRR livery. Has open/exposed bin designated for ballast service.|
|1606||Tank Car||Fleischmann Transportation Company||Former Standard Brands Inc.||1948||Out of service. Only steel frame remains, used to have wooden tank to haul vinegar.|
|1753||Tank Car||Pennsylvania Tank Car Co.||Former Pennsylvania Tank Lines||1927||In service. Unique due to the platform at the top of the ladder.|
|3752||Tank Car||ACF||Former Union Tank Car Company||1936||Out of service. Built by Union Tank Car Co., UTLX, 3 dome tanker.|
|6622||Tank Car||ACF||Former Shippers Car Line||1940||Out of service. Painted white.|
|8435||Boxcar||Magor Car Corp.||Former Lehigh & New England Railroad||1931||Out of Service, no trucks|
|8570||Boxcar||Magor Car Corp.||Former Lehigh & New England Railroad||1934||Out of service, no trucks|
|9005||Boxcar||Despatch Shops Inc.||Former New York Central Railroad 157928||1942||Out of service, no trucks|
|9811||Boxcar||Pullman Standard||Former New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad||1952||Out of service. PS-1. Stored at Buckingham Valley.|
|12153||Hopper||Bethlehem Steel||Former Lehigh Valley Railroad||1944||Out of service. 55-ton 2-bay hopper, was also once operated by Roebling Steel, from Pemberton Historic Trust.|
|38009||Flatcar||Magor Car Corp.||Former U.S. Army||1951||Out of service|
|53033||Dump Car||Eastern Car Ltd.||Former Canadian National Railway||1957||In service. Used to haul ballast and other minerals.|
|480047||Flatcar||Pennsylvania Railroad Samuel Rea Shops||Former Indiana Harbor Belt, Ex Penn Central, Exx Pennsylvania Railroad||1959||In service. Wears PRR lettering, steel frame, wooden platform, used to haul railroad ties and other supplies.|
|C127||Boston and Maine||Steel||In service. Built by the Laconia Car Company of Laconia, New Hampshire in 1921 as a wooden caboose with steel underbody. In 1959, the sides were converted to steel by Morrison International, while keeping the original underbody. Purchased 2019. Wears Boston and Maine livery.|
|575||Lehigh and New England Railroad||Wooden||Out of service. constructed by Magor Car Corporation. Later sold to Northampton & Bath Railroad, cupola removed.|
|576||Lehigh and New England Railroad||Wooden||Out of service. constructed by Magor Car Corporation. Later sold to Northampton & Bath Railroad, cupola removed. Currently under restoration with cupola reinstalled.|
- "Reporting Mark Search". Railinc. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
- 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.
- Balkin, Marc (2007). Ride the New Hope Line!. Mark I Videos.
- New Hope Railroad. "History." Accessed 2011-01-22. archive