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Railroads and Stations in Chester County

compiled by Jim Jones

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Reading Railroad (north side of county)

The Reading Railroad (Wilkes-Barre Division) enters Chester County along the south bank of the Schuylkill River in Tredyffrin Township at the community of Port Kennedy (between Valley Forge Park and Betzwood).

In Schuylkill Township, there is a spur that turns north across the Perkiomen Creek at the community of Perkiomen Junction and follows the creek through Oaks, Yerkes, Collegeville, Graterford, Schwenksville and East Greenville. Beyond that, it continues to Emmaus where it had a connection to points in Lehigh County.

The main line of the Reading Railroad continues west-north-west through Phoenixville Borough along the Schuylkill River. From Phoenixville, the Reading passes through Black Rock Tunnel (under PA Route 113) then crosses the Schuylkill River and follows its north bank through Royersford, Linfield and Sanatoga to Pottstown.

In Phoenixville, the Reading passes underneath the Pennsylvania RR's Schuylkill division line.

Pennsylvania Railroad (north side of county)

On the north side of the Schuylkill River, the PRR Schuylkill Division passes over Mont Clare (Montgomery County) on a high viaduct. On the south side, the PRR splits into one spur that proceeds west through East Pikeland Township past Cromby, Spring City, the Pennhurst State School in East Vincent Township, Parkerford in E. Coventry Township, Fricks Lock, and finally crosses the Schuylkill River before entering Pottstown (Montgomery County).

[NOTE: Leonard F. Shaner emailed the following dates for the demise of the PRR stations northwest of Phoenixville.]

The other spur of the PRR turns south from Phoenixville and follows PA 29 into Charlestown and East Whiteland Townships, past the communities of Charlestown, Aldham and Devault in Charlestown Township. The spur actually enters the southwest corner of Tredyffrin Township and curves southeast around Cedar Hollow before dividing again. One spur continues southeast towards Paoli, and the other spur heads west into East Pikeland Township past Planebrook/Bacton towards Exton and Whitford, where it joins the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

[NOTE: The communities of Pottstown Landing, South Pottstown, Cedarville, Kenilworth and Hanover Heights are located on the south bank of the Schuylkill River in Chester County between Fricks Lock and Pottstown, but they have no direct connection to a railroad.]

Reading Railroad (west side of county)

The Reading Railroad (Wilmington Northern Division) runs south from Birdsboro across the western part of Chester County. Generally, it passes west of PA 82 through Elverson Borough, West Nantmeal Township (past Conestoga, Isabella), into Honeybrook Township (past Fontane, around Struble Lake, past Supplee and Birdell), into West Brandywine Township (between Brandamore and Brandywine Manor, and past Cedar Knoll), across the southeast corner of West Caln Township (Wagontown, Siousca) and through Valley Township to the community of Rock Run. The railroad enters Coatesville from the north side, passes under the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line just north of US Route 30. The railroad continues south of Coatesville on the east side of PA 82 along the Brandywine Creek into East Fallowfield Township (South Coatesville, Modena, Mortonville), and into Newlin Township (Embreeville), Pocopson Township (Northbrook, Wawaset, Lenape), Pennsbury Township (Chadds Ford, Cossart), and south into Delaware.

Pennsylvania Railroad (far northwest corner of the county)

The East Brandywine & Waynesburg Railroad opened in 1854 to connect Downingtown to Honeybrook Borough along the Brandywine Creek. It was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1861 and extended to New Holland (Lancaster County) and eventually to Lancaster City where it joined the Pennsylvania Main Line.

Pennsylvania Railroad "Main Line" (county center, east to west)

The Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line enters Chester County in Radnor Township (St. Davids, Wayne, Strafford) and heads west along the north side of Lancaster Pike through Easttown Township (Devon, Berwyn), through the southwest corner of Tredyffrin Township (Daylesford, Paoli) and the northern part of Willistown Township (Green Tree and Malvern), through the southwest corner of East Whiteland Township (Frazer), through West Whiteland (Exton, Whiteland, Whitford), through East Caln Township into Downingtown Borough. A spur from Phoenixville via Paoli joins the PRR at Whitford.

From Downingtown, the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line continues west into Caln Township (Gallagherville, Thorndale and Caln) to Coatesville. From Coatesville, the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line continues west into Valley Township (Hayti, Newlinville, Westwood and Pomeroy), into Sadsbury Township (Stottsville), to Parkesburg Borough. From Parkesburg Borough, the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line continues west into West Sadsbury Township (Lenover) to Atglen Borough. From Atglen Borough, the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line continues west across the Octoraro Creek (Susquehanna watershed) into Lancaster County.

Pennyslvania Railroad (southern tier of county)

The Pennsylvania Railroad (Central Division) was built between 1853 and 1869 as the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad. It began at Wawa (Delaware County) with the construction of a spur from the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad and crossed into Chester County at Chadds Ford. The route crosses Pennsbury Township (Chadds Ford, Mendenhall), then continues into Kennett Township (Rosedale), Kennett Square Borough, New Garden Township (Toughkenamon), Avondale Borough, London Grove Township (Baker Station), West Grove Borough, Penn Township (Kelton, Elkview), Lower Oxford Township (Lincoln) to Oxford Borough.

From Oxford Borough, the railway continues southwest into East Nottingham Township (Barnsley), West Nottingham Township (Sylmar) and south into Cecil County, Maryland.

Pennsylvania Railroad (southeast corner of county)

This line began as the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad, constructed between 1850 and 1858 to offer a second route to West Chester. The railroad crosses Delaware County from Philadelphia via Media, Wawa and Glen Mills, and enters Chester County in Thornbury Township (Cheyney and Westtown). From there, it runs through Westtown Township (Oakbourne) and West Goshen Township to West Chester Borough. From there, the tracks of the original 1832 "West Chester Railroad" ran northeast from West Chester across the southeast corner of West Goshen Township, across the northern part of East Goshen Township, to Frazer until they were removed in the early 1960s. [NOTE: The West Chester Railroad originally connected to the Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line at Malvern, but in 1880 the spur was shortened by moving the junction to Frazer.]

Pennsylvania Railroad (south central part of the county)

The Pomeroy and Newark Railroad ran from Delaware City through Newark, Delaware (junction with the Pennsylvania Railroad Maryland Division) and northwest along the White Clay Creek. It entered Chester County in London Britain Township (Nevin, Yeatman), New Garden Township (Landenberg, New Garden), Avondale Borough (junction Pennsylvania Railroad Central Division), London Grove Township (Baker, Chatham), West Marlborough Township (Clonmell, Green Lawn, Springdell, Doe Run), East Fallowfield Township (Buck Run, Glen Rose, Stottsville) to Pomeroy (junction Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line).

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (south central part of the county)

The Wilmington & Western Railroad opened in 1872 between Wilmington and Landenberg via Hockessin, a distance of 20 miles. The Baltimore & Ohio bought the railroad and made surveys in 1890 to extend it to Oxford, but the work was never done.

Railroad Stations in Chester County

Atglen Borough
Avondale Borough
Baker Station
Cedar Hollow
Cedar Knoll
Chadds Ford
Downingtown Borough
Fricks Lock
Green Tree
Honey Brook Borough
Kennett Square Borough
Oxford Borough
Parkesburg Borough
Phoenixville Borough
Port Kennedy
Rock Run
Spring City Borough
St. Davids
West Chester Borough
West Grove Borough

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Copyright 2010 by Dr. James A. Jones