West Chester Railroad

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West Chester Railroad
Wcrrseal.jpg
LocaleChester/Delaware counties, Pennsylvania, USA
TerminusWest Chester, Pennsylvania
Commercial operations
Built byWest Chester & Philadelphia Railroad
Original gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Reporting markWCRL
Length7.7 mi (12.4 km)[1]
Preserved gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
OpenedNovember 1858
1858West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad begins
ClosedSeptember 1986
Preservation history
1997West Chester Railroad began operating
HeadquartersWest Chester, Pennsylvania
Website
www.wcrailroad.com
West Chester Railroad
Route map

miles(km)
from 30th Street Station
15.1 (24.3)
Elwyn (SEPTA)
SEPTA terminus
15.9 (25.6)
Williamson School
16.7 (26.9)
Glen Riddle
17.4 (28.0)
Lenni
18.1 (29.1)
Wawa (opening late 2021)
18.7 (30.1)
Darlington
WCRR eastern terminus
20.3 (32.7)
Glen Mills
21.6 (34.8)
Locksley
22.2 (35.7)
Cheyney
22.9 (38.5)
Westtown
25.5 (41.0)
Oakbourne
27.1 (43.6)
West Chester University
27.5 (44.0)
West Chester (terminus)

The West Chester Railroad is a privately owned and operated tourist railroad that runs between Market Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania,[2] in Chester County, and the village of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, in Delaware County.

It operates on 7.7 miles (12.4 km)[1] of former Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) track on the West Chester Branch between mile post 27.5 and 20.6. It is owned by the for-profit 4 States Railway Service, Inc. and operated by the West Chester Railroad Heritage Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the railroad. All employees of the railroad are volunteers.[3]

Equipment roster[edit]

Number Model Built Manufacturer Acquired Notes Picture
1Out of service 1940s Plymouth Locomotive Works A 20-ton switcher operated in the Glen Mills quarry. Converted to diesel from its original gasoline power. Repainted in a yellow WCRR paint scheme and put on display at the Market Street station.
3dagger[4] ALCO S-2 1949 American Locomotive Company 1996 Built as C&O #5026, later served as B&O/Luntz Iron & Steel/Rohm & Haas #9115. Bought and restored as #3 by the Wilmington and Western Railroad after suffering freezing damage. Traded to WCRR in exchange for an EMD SW600 unit. Alcors2.jpg
657dagger 50' box car Ex-C&O, used for storage.
658 Flat car Used for Christmas Tree trains and work trains.
M1234 Fairmont A4-D 1978 Fairmont Railway Motors Ex-United States Army speeder.
1803[5] MLW RS-18U 1960 Montreal Locomotive Works 1998 Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Wcrr1803.jpg
4213[5] ALCO C424 1965 Montreal Locomotive Works 2010 Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
4230[5] ALCO C424 1965 Montreal Locomotive Works 2005 Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Alco c424 4230.JPG
6499[6] EMD GP9 1957 Electro-Motive Division 1997 Built for B&O and owned by the Ohio Central Railroad until 1997. Painted in PRR livery in 1998 and operated as #99 by WCRR until being repainted and renumbered with its original number.[when?]
7706[7] EMD GP38 1969 Electro-Motive Division 2012 Built for Penn Central. Acquired by Conrail in 1976; later operated by Exelon Corporation in the Cromby Generating Station in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Donated to WCRL in 2012.
9107dagger[8] Reading Class RER "Blueliner" 1932 Harlan & Hollingsworth/Reading Company 1997 Built as Reading MU trailer #874, rebuilt and renumbered circa 1963-65; retired by SEPTA in 1990. Traction motors and pantographs removed, converted to an unpowered dining car for birthday parties and charter groups.
9109[8] Reading Class RER "Blueliner" 1932 Harlan & Hollingsworth/Reading Company Built as Reading MU trailer #876, rebuilt and renumbered circa 1963-65; retired by SEPTA in 1990. Traction motors and pantographs removed, converted to an unpowered coach.
9114[8] Reading Class RER "Blueliner" 1931 Harlan & Hollingsworth/Reading Company Built as Reading MU trailer #835, rebuilt and renumbered circa 1963-65; retired by SEPTA in 1990. Traction motors and pantographs removed, converted to an unpowered coach. Equipped with horn and backup emergency air valve for reverse moves.
9117[8] Reading Class RER "Blueliner" 1931 Harlan & Hollingsworth/Reading Company 1997 Built as Reading MU trailer #840, rebuilt and renumbered circa 1963-65; retired by SEPTA in 1990. Traction motors and pantographs removed, converted to an unpowered coach. Equipped with horn and backup emergency air valve for reverse moves.
9124[8] Reading Class RER "Blueliner" 1932 Harlan & Hollingsworth/Reading Company Built as Reading MU trailer #869, rebuilt and renumbered circa 1963-65; retired by SEPTA in 1990. Traction motors and pantographs removed, converted to an unpowered coach. Equipped with horn and backup emergency air valve for reverse moves.
9275 "Pete Small"[9] PRR B60b Ex-Pennsylvania Railroad/Penn Central baggage car, used as a concessions/generator/tool car.
20331[10] NYC Class N-7A 1952 New York Central bay window caboose. Built by the St. Louis Car Company and later operated by Conrail as #21642. Numbered 642 when used as a ticket office at Market Street station. Restored and returned to NYC number 20331[11] in 2009 and used for work trains and storage.
28209dagger[12] Dining car Budd Company 1947 2005 Ex-NYC/PC "dining room" car from twin-unit diner. Used as the yard office at Adams Street Yard.
dagger: Out of service

Proposed commuter rail reactivation[edit]

In 2018 the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation commissioned a feasibility study for rebuilding the line and restoring direct commuter rail service from West Chester to Philadelphia 30th Street Station. SEPTA service below the Elwyn station was terminated in 1986 due to low ridership[13] but the area has since grown in population and has few transportation alternatives. Operation of scheduled rail service, as opposed to a tourist operation, would require upgrades to infrastructure and ADA accessibility to its facilities. The deteriorated condition of the tracks limits passenger trains to a speed of 15mph. The concluded concluded that restoration was feasible but the projected ridership was not high enough to qualify for capital funding.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "West Chester Railroad - West Chester, PA". www.westchesterrr.net.
  2. ^ McGuane, Kimberly (21 November 2020). "Historic West Chester Railroad Offers One of Pennsylvania's Most Scenic Fall Train Rides". VistaToday.com. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. ^ "West Chester Railroad - West Chester, PA". www.westchesterrr.net.
  4. ^ Ross, R. Donald (30 July 2020). "Baltimore & Ohio Diesel Switchers". Don's Depot Railroad Photos. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Craig, R. (27 November 2013). "West Chester Railway Motive Power". The Diesel Shop. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Heritage Railroad On Site Diesel Locomotive Service". McHugh Locomotive & Equipment. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  7. ^ Laepple, Wayne (10 December 2012). "West Chester Railroad receives GP38 donation". Trains Magazine. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Surviving Passenger Equipment". Reading Company Surviving Equipment. Reading Technical and Historical Society. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  9. ^ Painter, Kevin (26 July 2009). "Image of #9275 Springfield Historical Society & Morton Station Preservation Society Special Excursion". rrpicturearchives.net. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  10. ^ "Class N-7A". Conrail Cabins & Cabooses. T. W. Wolfgang. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  11. ^ "ex-NYC Renumbering". Conrail Cabins & Cabooses. T. W. Wolfgang. Retrieved 9 January 2021.
  12. ^ "SEPTA Main Line at Liberty Yard Philadelphia, PA (19 April 2005)". Railfan Pictures of the Day. Philadelphia Chapter, National Railway Historical Society. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  13. ^ McGuane, Kimberly (28 January 2018). "Rail service for West Chester discussed at meeting". VistaToday.com. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  14. ^ "West Chester Line Restoration Feasibility Study" (PDF). SEPTA Construction Programs. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved 30 January 2021.

External links[edit]