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Newton Square RR Museum, West Chester RR

Adventurers in the Appalachia


My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland


Chapter Sixteen


Newton Square RR Museum

 National Iron and Steel Museum

 West Chester Railroad


 August 5, 2018

Sunday, Part I

by

Robin Bowers


Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.


Comments are appreciated at...yr.mmxx@gmail.com



    We left the Rodeway Inn and headed up Interstate 95 to Interstate 476 and we exited at Highway 3 and made our way to the town of Newtown Square, PA where we found our first destination of the day.

Newtown Square Railroad Museum


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The Newtown Square Freight station was constructed in 1895, shortly after the railroad line was built. It was located on the west side of Newtown Street Road (Rt. 252) and now Winding Way. This was also the site of the lumber and coal yard, plus a feed and grain store. A corral was located in back of the freight station to hold livestock for shipments to and from the farms in the area. Farmers would bring their horses to E.W. Powell, the veterinarian, and after being tended by him they would be shipped out by stock car. A passenger station was next to the freight station. It housed the post office and telegraph station for many years. The freight station was the end of the line, the last stop from Philadelphia.

Between 1895 and 1908, as many as thirteen trains a day pulled in and out of the Newtown Square station; the milk train, the mail train, and various freight and passenger trains. The passenger train made the trip out in the morning and returned to Philadelphia in the afternoon. The railroad ran its passenger service from 1895 to 1908, but its freight service operated into 1963, in the later years servicing mostly the lumberyard. There were ten stops. Eight of them were flag stops, along with the Llanarch and Newtown Square stations.

The freight station is the last vestige of the Newtown Square branch of the P.R.R. freight and passenger line that once rumbled 9.2 miles through the township to Philadelphia.

To make room for the Winding Way by-pass road, the station was moved to its new home on the Drexel Lodge site on West Chester Pike. The Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society was pleased to have the opportunity to move and save this valuable piece of history. The Historical Society will start a complete restoration on May 11, 2000. They plan to use it as a railroad museum, preserving a piece of our history for future generations. In 2006 it was transferred to the Newtown Square Penn Railroad Museum Association.

Newtown Square Pennsylvania Railroad Days

The rail line from Broad Street Station to Newtown Square was completed in 1894. It was 19 miles in length. After it left Philadelphia it traversed Upper Darby, Haverford, Marple, Radnor and Newtown Townships. It spelled the opening of transportation to central Delaware County for both passenger and freight from Philadelphia. Passenger Service ran from 1894 to 1908 while the freight service to Newtown Square lasted until 1965, and to Haverford until 1985. At this time the rail line was abandoned, the track and all the buildings were removed except for a freight station at the end of the line in Newtown Square. In 1999 a group of members of the Newtown Square Historical Society decided to save this pieced of local history. After many problems since it lay in the path of a new highway it was moved to the Drexel Lodge Park. Here it was restored and two tracks were laid 200 feet long alongside the station. Four rail cars were obtained to try to simulate for future generations the legacy of the "Iron Horse" that helped develop our townships and nation. Today the Museum and cars are open. It is the intent to develop a program for school children.

History of the Rail Cars

The Steam Engine: It is a 1920 yard locomotive built by the American Locomotive works. It worked in Syracuse, New York until 1950 then for a short time elsewhere and finally it just and rusted away. The Museum obtained it in 2002 and has restored it to look like an engine of the 1890's. It never actually ran on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The Passenger Car: It was built in 1902 in the West Philadelphia shops of the Pennsylvania Railroad. There were 600 built that year and this is their last remaining one. After service with the Pennsy it was sold to The Canadian National Railroad. Finally in 1975, The Henry Ford Museum in Detroit gave it to our museum. We are working on its Restoration.

The Caboose: The Pennsylvania Railroad built this car in 1950. We obtained it from a local group in New Brunswick, New Jersey and have restored it. Today cabooses are no longer used on freight trains due to advancing modern technology.

The Box Car: This care we believe was built in 1907. It is wooden and typical of the kind that was used on our freight line to Newtown Square. This car was given to us by the National Park Service's Railroad Museum called Steamtown located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Our Visit

When we arrived at the park, all the gates were locked so learning from our experience at Crewe, Virginia, we made do shooting through the fence again. Not the best solution, but the only solution.



0786

Pennsylvania Railroad caboose 478131.



 PRR open platform wood coach 1444 acquired from the Henry Ford Museum






SEPTA PCC car.









Solvay Process Works 0-4-0T 45.


    From here we made our way to McDonald's for breakfast then we took US30 which we exited at Coatesville where we parked at the National Steel Museum where there is a small railroad display.




Florida Paint and Turpentine 0-4-0ST 10.

luk





801

Stone bridge adjacent the museum grounds.




825

    From here we went to Kinzers to the grounds of the Rough and Tumble Steam Threshers. We looked for a gate but they were all locked when Chris noticed there was a steam engine in a car barn right along the fence line so we stopped and held our cameras over the fence to get pictures of it.

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loco stich

Tough and Rumble 4-4-0 1.

     They also own a Shay locomotive but we did not see it, so we felt lucky to see one of their two engines. Next we drove to Strasburg and dropped Bob off so he could enjoy a day at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum and the Strasburg Railroad while Chris, Elizabeth and I drove to West Chester for our next train ride of the trip.

    We parked in the dirt parking lot and started to look around.

The West Chester Railroad

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

It operates on 7.7 miles 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.

West Chester Railroad History

The original West Chester Railroad Company was chartered in 1831 through an act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, and the company built its rail line to Malvern (later moved to Frazer). A quarter century later, West Chester got its second railroad, the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad, which opened on November 11, 1858 with a more direct connection to Philadelphia via Media, Pennsylvania. Both lines became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) system by 1881, when they were known as the "Frazer Branch" and "Media Branch," respectively.

The station at Market Street was the city's primary railroad facility. At its height, the PRR operated 24 daily passenger trains to West Chester, plus three scheduled freights and additional special trains as required. The line was electrified by the PRR in 1928. Although the Market Street Station was demolished in 1968, the Penn Central and SEPTA operated passenger trains until September 1986 when service was suspended due to low ridership and unsafe track conditions between Elwyn and Glen Mills Stations. For nearly a decade, the line remained derelict until a group of railroad enthusiasts approached the Borough of West Chester about restoring SEPTA train service.The West Chester Railroad Company is owned and operated by 4 States Railway Service, Inc., a for-profit railroad management based in Yorklyn, Delaware. 4 States is maintenance and operations company dedicated to preserving the railroad line between Glen Mills and West Chester.

Equipment roster

In service

4230 is an ALCO C424. It was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1965. It was acquired by WCRR in 2005. It was repainted into a PRR paint scheme of Brunswick green and yellow lettering in late 2007 but has been recently repainted into a unique new paint scheme.

1803 is an ALCO RS-18. It was built for the CP by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1960 and retired in 1998. It was bought in 1998 and was repainted into a Brunswick green with a yellow frame stripe: it has since been repainted into a new paint scheme unique to the railroad.

4213 is an ALCO C424. It was built for CP by the Montreal Locomotive Works in 1965. It was acquired by WCRR in 2010. It was repainted into a unique new paint scheme.

6499 is an EMD GP9. It was built in 1957 for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) as number 6499. It was owned by the Central Ohio Railroad when it was bought for WCRR in 1997. It was repainted into a PRR scheme in 1998 with help from the PRR Technical and Historical Society Philadelphia Chapter and numbered 99. It has since been repainted into a unique WCRR paint scheme and renumbered back to its original number.

7706 is an EMD GP38. It was built in 1969 for the Penn Central Railroad (PC) as 7706. Following the bankruptcy of PC, it was absorbed into Conrail in 1976. In the mid 1990s it was purchased by PECO Energy and later transferred to the Exelon Corporation to work in the Cromby Generating Station in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. In 2012 the unit was donated to WCRR; Restoration is currently underway.

Ex-Reading Company (RDG) MUs 9107, 9109, 9114, 9117 and 9124 were built between 1931 and 1932 by Harlan and Hollingsworth in Wilmington, Delaware. They were self-propelled commuter cars used by RDG, then rebuilt and known as "Blueliners", and were used by SEPTA until 1990. All cars have had their traction motors and pantographs removed. 9107 has been made into a dining car and is painted a vintage RDG Green. The others are painted Tuscan red and are used for coaches. 9109 was recently restored back to its original Blueliner scheme and put into service on WCRR trains.

Ex-PRR B60b "express messenger" Baggage car 9275 was built in the 1920s. It is used as a snack and crew quarters car.

Out of Service

Ex-B&O 3 is an ALCO S-2. It was built in 1949 as 9115. It was then owned by Rohm & Haas and numbered 3. It was damaged by freezing and was bought by the Wilmington & Western Railroad where it was rebuilt. It was then swapped for an SW600 by its present owner at WCRR.

1 is a 20-ton Plymouth Locomotive Works switcher that was donated to the Heritage Association by the Glen Mills quarry where it worked. It was built in the 1940s and was gasoline powered but has been re-motored with a diesel. It has been repainted in a yellow paint scheme with WCRR markings and has been put on display at the railroad's Market Street station in West Chester.

Ex-New York Central Railroad 642 is a bay window N-7 type built in 1941. Its number was 20331 and renumbered to 21642 by Conrail. It has been restored with new flooring and windows, and has been repainted a maroon color with yellow lettering. In September 2008 it was repainted bright red and re-lettered.

Ex-Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad boxcar, built in 1964. It is used for storage in the Adams Street yard.

Our Visit



West Chester Market Street station.







Glen Mills 20-ton switcher No. 1 is on display at the station.






The old SEPTA station platform for West Chester that was used until 1986 when they halted service to the town.






Whistle post and the post that crosses Barnard Street.





The train pulled in to the station with West Chester GP38 7706 on the point.






West Chester Coach 9117.



West Chester Coach 9109.






Pennsylvania Railroad Baggage Car 9276.

We picked up out complimentary tickets for the three of us and then boarded the train.



Inside the two coach cars.




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Controls in the cab car.




This car has many happy train riders.

    I then went to the baggage car which is also the snack car and bought a hot dog and a soda pop for lunch.  The train left on time at noon and they announced that this was a picnic special train so our trip would be longer than we thought but we did not care because we were finally riding this railroad. We will be backing all the way to Glen Mills station on this trip. We crossed Union Street and then came to the railroad's storage yard of equipment.







West Chester C-4230.


West Chester RS-18 1803.



West Chester GP9 6499.


West Chester C424 4213.









    We arrived into Glen Mills station and were told we would be here for thirty minutes and people who wanted to have a picnic would walk east to the picnic area or you could walk to the west and tour the station building, which we would do after pictures.








The train waiting for the return trip on the platform.









The former general store which is now a private residence. This building was constructed in 1882.



Here Chris met several younger NRHS members who would make their way railfanning to Cumberland.


























After finishing taking my photos of the station, I walked down to the picnic grove before boarding for the 7.7 miles back to West Chester.



Picnic grove next to the Chester Creek.



Beautiful Chester Creek in Southeastern Pennsylvania.






Bridge over Chester Creek, various views.









Bridge from above. Tracks continue to Philadelphia. Now time to board for the return trip to West Chester, PA.

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904

The Cheyney station built in 1909 now used as a post office.

909

Christmas tree farm.
 
    We returned to West Chester and were first off the train. We thanked the conductor for an excellent trip. I would like to thank the West Chester Railroad for having us today, the ticket agent, the entire train crew and staff for the excellent job they did on this trip. From here we returned to Strasburg to our next destinations. Coming in the next chapter, part II of this day.


Thanks for reading.


Next chapter 17: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg Railroad >>

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Text and Photos by Author


The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at .... yr.mmxx@gmail.com