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North Pennsylvania Railroad Company records

1836-1982
 Collection
Accession: 1999

Abstract

North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company which served the Pennsylvania counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, and Northampton. It was incorporated as the Philadelphia, Easton and Water-Gap Railroad Company on April 6, 1852, and renamed the North Pennsylvania Railroad Company on October 3, 1853. Their records consist of corporate records such as minute books, annual reports, account books and statements.

Dates

  • 1836-1982

Creator

Extent

14 Linear Feet

Historical Note

North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company which served the Pennsylvania counties of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, and Northampton. It was incorporated as the Philadelphia, Easton and Water-Gap Railroad Company on April 6, 1852, and renamed the North Pennsylvania Railroad Company on October 3, 1853.

The company's object was to link Philadelphia with northeastern Pennsylvania and central and western New York, but it was only able to construct a line as far as Bethlehem (1853-1857) with a branch to Doylestown (1856), relying on connections with the Lehigh Valley Railroad at Bethlehem. As it occupied a minor traffic corridor, the North Penn was a relatively weak road until 1874, when it built a branch from Jenkintown to the Delaware River at Yardley which became a link in a second route between New York and Philadelphia. The so-called "New Line" opened on May 1, 1876, in time for traffic to the Centennial.

The New Line made the North Penn a more attractive property. The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company negotiated a long term lease on May 14, 1879, and the road was thereafter operated as part of the Reading system. This situtation lasted until the Reading entered bankruptcy in 1971. After several failed attempts to reorganize, the viable portions of the Reading lines were conveyed to Conrail on April 1, 1976. The North Penn then began selling off its remaining real estate and was finally liquidated between 1982 and 1990.

Scope and Content

The records of the North Pennsylvania Railroad Company consist of corporate records such as minute books, annual reports, account books and statements. They give a good overview of the company's planning, construction and operation down to the Reading lease of 1879, the dull middle period when the firm was a passive lessor (1879-1971), and the complex negotiations connected with the bankruptcy and conveyance to Conrail (1971-1981).

Among the more interesting series are the board papers, which consist of inbound letters and reports directed to the president and board. They include notes on earnings and finances, committee reports, reports of surveys and construction, lists of officers and petitions from patrons. There are many letters from Tom Scott and A.J. Cassatt of the Pennsylvania Railroad regarding arrangements for direct service to the Centennial and use of the New Line. A circular includes a map of the Centennial grounds showing the temporary tracks used to deliver exhibits and construction materials.

The reorganization papers document the company's attempts to find a solvent merger partner, the plan for a Middle Atlantic Rail Corp. (MARC), disputes with SEPTA over the commuter service and subsidy, and the valuation of property conveyed to Conrail.

There are center-line maps of the entire railroad, and track and property maps of most important points. There are also profiles of all the bridges over the Delaware River between Easton and Taylorsville (1875) and of the company's own bridge at Yardley.

Records of other companies include a copy of the charter of the Kensington and Oxford Turnpike Road Company (1836) and records of the associated East Trenton and Delaware & Bound Brook Railroad companies. The latter includes a small selection of president's inbound letters and notices (1878) and a short history of the 1875 Hopewell, New Jersey, "Frog War" between the forces of the D&BB and Pennsylvania Railroad.

Related Material

Reading Company records (Accession 1520), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad Company Records (Accession 1776), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
North Pennsylvania Railroad Company records
Status:
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400