West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad

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West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad
West Chester PA RR Sta 1930.jpg
East Market Street Station in West Chester, built 1875, in a 1930 photo; the station was demolished in 1968
Locale Chester/Delaware/Philadelphia counties, Pennsylvania
Dates of operation 1848–1881
Successor Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Length 28.36 miles (45.64 kilometres)
Headquarters Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad (WC&P) operated in the greater Philadelphia area from 1848 to 1881. It became the West Chester Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR). It has been operated as the Media/Elwyn Line on the SEPTA system since 1983.



The West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad was chartered by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1848 and the company was organized in 1851. Construction began in Philadelphia in 1852, and the road reached Kellyville (now Gladstone) in November 1853, and Media by November 1854. In July 1855, at least one worker died in a construction accident and costs mounted due to construction of numerous bridges.

Financial difficulties followed, and work was suspended until 1856, when the line opened to Grubb's Bridge (now Wawa). The remaining line to West Chester was completed by November 1858.[1]:513 [2] (The WC&P was the second railroad to serve the borough of West Chester. The first was the West Chester Railroad, built in 1832 and running northeast to a PRR connection at Malvern.)

A junction was constructed at Wawa for the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad, which began construction in 1855 and opened its first section to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in 1859.[1]:477

In May 1880, the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad purchased the WC&P, and then folded it into the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad Company by the following year.[3] The PRR took eventually took control of all lines.

20th century[edit]

The PRR merged with the New York Central Railroad in 1968 to form the Penn Central (PC). PC was bankrupt by 1970, and the West Chester line was sold to SEPTA by 1978; Conrail provided operations until 1983. SEPTA assumed passenger operations at that time until September 1986 when service was suspended. Tourist operator West Chester Railroad resumed operations between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Poor, Henry V. (1860). History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States of America. 1. New York: John H. Schultz & Co. 
  2. ^ Ashmead, Henry G. (1884). "XX. Traveling and Transportation". History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: L.H. Everts. p. 199. 
  3. ^ ICC valuation report of the Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington Railroad, filed June 30, 1918