New Hope Railroad
|Headquarters||New Hope, Pennsylvania|
|Locale||Bucks County, Pennsylvania|
|Dates of operation||1966–present|
|Length||18 miles (29 km)|
The New Hope Railroad (reporting mark NHRR), formerly 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 utilize both steam and diesel powered locomotives for excursion trips out of New Hope. Regular NHRR excursions are 60 minutes long with trains running every 90 minutes out of New Hope to Lahaska, with steam 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 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.
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. 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, 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. Unfortunately, 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. 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. In 1993, the reporting mark was changed to NHRR. BCRP&RC is the official corporate structure, doing business as the New Hope Railroad.
Stations and trackage
NHRR is a single-track railroad with passing sidings at Deer Park, Lahaska, Buckingham Valley, Wycombe and Ivyland. Deer Park is used as a passing siding for passenger trains during the Fall and Christmas season. Lahaska serves as the terminus point for the majority of the railroad's excursions. The siding at Buckingham Valley was the original terminus of excursions until the 1980s, and remains empty. At Wycombe, a number of out of service diesel locomotives, the railroad's vintage freight car fleet, and auxiliary Long Island Rail Road commuter coaches are stored. 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, for maintenance-of-way crews. 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. Ticket office used during the holiday season for additional sales. The ex-Reading freight house is used as a gift shop, with a third building constructed in the 2007s as a café and corporate offices.|
|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, replacement for Deer Park.||Named after Eastburn Reeder, Pennsylvania's first dairy/farm commissioner.|
|Deer Park||Solebury Township||23.5||Original gravel platform with semaphore. Removed 1910. No station present.||Passing siding named after local area. Originally small Amusement Park consisting of a walking trail, a bandstand, and Deer petting zoo. In 2019, a siding was constructed to allow trains to pass.|
|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.|
|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
The New Hope Railroad operates both steam and diesel powered locomotives in revenue passenger service. The railroad has a total of two steam locomotives (one of which is operational) and three diesel locomotives on their current roster. Their fleet of diesels usually hauls the regular 60-minute excursions, with steam locomotive No. 40 utilized for special excursions. Diesel locomotives are also used for freight operations. The only locomotives owned by the corporate structure of the NHRR are Nos. 40 and 1533. All diesels on the roster are Electro-Motive Division (EMD).
Passenger excursions typically consist of 3–5 former RDG coaches built between 1914 and 1932.
|Number||Type||Wheel Arrangement||Classification||Builder||Built||Serial Number||Former||Notes|
|40||Steam||2-8-0||Unknown||Baldwin Locomotive Works||1925||58824||Lancaster and Chester
|Bought 1925 by Lancaster and Chester, sold 1947 to the Cliffside, sold to the Steam Trains Inc. in 1962. The first piece of equipment purchased by the railroad. Was infrequently used due to NHIR's favor of No. 1533, until 1533'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 1986 and 1990, returned to service by NHRR in 1991. Used for passenger service.|
|1533||Steam||4-6-0||H-6-d||Montreal Locomotive Works||1911||49878||Canadian National 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 the New Hope and Ivyland in 1962. Was NHIR's main locomotive between 1966 and 1974. Last ran in December 1975. Locomotive stored in yard out of service awaiting restoration.|
|Constructed as PRR No. 2250. Renumbered to 2198 before Penn Central merger. Acquired in 1996. Used for passenger service.|
|5577||Diesel||(C-C)||SD40-2||EMD||1972||A2576||Canadian Pacific||Acquired in 2007. Stored in NHRR's Johnsville Yard near Warminster, Pennsylvania. Painted in patched CP livery. Used for freight service. Occasionally leased to Pennsylvania Northeastern.|
|Built originally as CP GP9 No. 8678. Upgraded to GP9U, chopped nose and renumbered to 8218 in 1988 rebuild. Originally PN, transferred to NHRR in September 2017. Painted in simplified NHRR livery. Used for passenger and occasional service.|
* To see a list of Pennsylvania Northeastern's roster, please see Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad's page on Wikipedia
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.|
|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. Oldest coach on the roster.|
|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. 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||Dining Car||Canadian National||Canadian Car & Foundry||1919||Originally constructed as 14 section "Colonist Sleeper" car. Built as Canadian Northern sleeper car No. 2877, became Canadian National No. 5242 after conversion to coach. Has composite construction; wood frame and steel skin. Purchase by Black River & Western in early 1990s, sold to NHRR in 1999. Converted to Dining Car in 2019.|
|9123||Coach||Reading||Bethlehem Steel Company||1932||Constructed as an electric multiple unit. Class PBn, 72-seat coach. Originally built as No. 867, was 9123 under Blueliner and SEPTA service. Sold 2020 to NHRR from Reading Technical and Historical Society. Is equipped with Taylor flexible-type (MU) trucks. Still in Reading Livery from the museum.|
|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 dining 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.|
|304||Electric Multiple Unit||Reading||Bethlehem Steel Company||1932||Ex Reading Blueliner No. 9103, purchased from the Reading Technical and Historical Society. Constructed as a combine car, converted to coach. Currently in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Purchased 2020.|
|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.|
|1113||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1924||Class PBn, 84-seat coach. Saw use during the "Reading Rambles" excursions. Purchased after closure of Valley Forge Scenic Railroad.|
|1202||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1922||Class PBn. Saw use during the "Reading Rambles" excursions. From Valley Forge Scenic Railroad. Originally an 84-seat coach but converted by NHRR in 1990s into a Dining Car. Renumbered #16 under NHOP operation. Dining interior removed before being stored.|
|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. Opening Day Coach.|
|1536||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1927||Class PBr, 74-seat coach. Last used in 1969. 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 Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2805||Coach||Long Island Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2816||Coach||Long Island Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s. In NHRR livery.|
|2820||Coach||Long Island Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2826||Coach||Long Island Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s.|
|2834||Coach||Long Island Rail Road||Pullman Standard||1955||Used for Long Island Rail Road commuter service. Purchased in early 2000s. In NHRR livery.|
|303||Hopper Car||Pullman Standard||Former Conrail, Ex Penn Central, Exx Pennsylvania Railroad||1955||Wears white NHRR livery. Has open/exposed bin designated for ballast service.||Yes|
|1606||Tank Car||Fleischmann Transportation Company||Former Standard Brands Inc.||1948||Only steel frame remains, used to have wooden tank to haul vinegar.||No|
|1753||Tank Car||Pennsylvania Tank Car Co.||Former Pennsylvania Tank Lines||1927||Unique due to the platform at the top of the ladder.||Yes|
|3752||Tank Car||ACF||Former Union Tank Car Company||1936||Built by Union Tank Car Co., UTLX, 3 dome tanker.||No|
|6622||Tank Car||ACF||Former Shippers Car Line||1940||Painted white.||No|
|9811||Boxcar||Pullman Standard||Former New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad||1952||PS-1 Type Boxcar||No|
|12153||Hopper||Bethlehem Steel||Former Lehigh Valley Railroad||1944||55-ton 2-bay hopper. Was also once owned by Roebling Steel. From Pemberton Historic Trust. Painted brown.||Yes|
|38009||Flatcar||Magor Car Corp.||Former U.S. Army||1951||Frame and trucks only.||No|
|53033||Dump Car||Eastern Car Ltd.||Former Canadian National Railway||1957||In faded Canadian National paint. Used to haul ballast and other minerals.||Yes|
|480047||Flatcar||Pennsylvania Railroad Samuel Rea Shops||Former Indiana Harbor Belt, Ex Penn Central, Exx Pennsylvania Railroad||1959||Wears PRR lettering, steel frame, wooden platform. Used to haul railroad ties and other supplies.||Yes|
|C127||Boston and Maine||Steel||Constructed 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.||Yes|
|575||Lehigh and New England||Wooden||Constructed by Magor Car Corporation. Later sold to Northampton & Bath Railroad, cupola removed.||No|
|576||Lehigh and New England||Wooden||Constructed by Magor Car Corporation. Later sold to Northampton & Bath Railroad, cupola removed. Currently under restoration with cupola reinstalled.||No|
|31580||Central of Georgia Railway||Wooden||Constructed by the Central of Georgia Macon, GA shops in 1937. Later operated by the Southern Railway.||No|
|1096||Tool Car||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 trips, as well as a staff car at New Hope station.|
|1542||Coach||Reading||Harlan & Hollingsworth||1927||Class PBr, 74-seat coach. Former "Air Conditioned" Coach. Was used 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.|
|2817||Event Car||Pullman Standard||Long Island Rail Road||1955||Event car at New Hope station. Former commuter car for the Long Island Railroad. Purchased in early 2000s. Repainted into plain Tuscan Red. Used for the railroad's Haunted Halloween Events in October and as Santa's Private Railcar during Christmas trains. The inside of the coach gets redone per each event.|
|3028||4-8-4||ALCo||Nacionales de México, 4-8-4||1946||Brought to NHRR in 1994, has never run on the NHRR. Both tender and engine currently connected and stored on deadline. Privately owned.|
|8435||Boxcar||Magor Car Corp.||Lehigh and New England||1931||No trucks, used for storage in New Hope Yard.|
|8570||Boxcar||Magor Car Corp.||Lehigh and New England||1934||No trucks, used for storage in New Hope Yard.|
|9005||Boxcar||Despatch Shops Inc.||New York Central||1942||No trucks, used for storage in New Hope Yard. Original number 157928, Pacemaker boxcar.|
- "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