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The Philadelphia and Western Railway (or Railroad) Company was an interurban railroad company operating in the western suburbs of the U.S. city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of its lines is now SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line (Route 100); the other has been abandoned. Part of the abandoned line within Radnor Township is now the P&W Trail, a multi-use path.

LinesEdit

The current line runs from 69th Street Terminal just west of the Philadelphia city line, west and north to Norristown, where the Lehigh Valley Transit Company's Liberty Bell High Speed Line continued to Allentown. The Norristown line splits from the original main line at Villanova Junction; the main line went west to a terminus just east of Sugartown Road in Strafford, with a later extension to provide a transfer to the PRR Strafford station and a transfer track for freight trains.

The P&W Trail uses the Strafford Branch from Radnor-Chester Road to Old Sugartown Road.

Interstate Commerce Commission valuation reports indicate that the railroad had interchange connections to the Pennsylvania Railroad at Millbourne Mills, Strafford and Swedeland.

HistoryEdit

The Philadelphia and Western Railway Company was incorporated in 1902, and was originally planned as the eastern link of a transcontinental extension of the Wabash Railroad, connecting to the Western Maryland Railroad at York. This was a Jay Gould enterprise. [1] The first train ran from 69th Street to Strafford on May 22, 1907. A planned extension to Parkesburg was officially abandoned on March 22, 1912; an alternate extension to the PRR main line in Strafford opened on October 11, 1911. The Norristown Branch opened on December 12, 1912.

The company was reorganized as the Philadelphia and Western Railroad in 1946. It was sold to the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company in 1951 or 1954; the PSTC was later renamed to Red Arrow Lines, and was eventually merged into SEPTA.

The last train ran on the Strafford Branch on March 23, 1956. Trains still run on the Norristown Branch. Ground was broken for the P&W Trail on June 10, 2004, and it opened in January 2005.

One type of vehicle used for this line was an articulated four-section vehicle called the Liberty Liner, which were the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad's Electroliners after purchase by the Philadelphia and Western and fitted with third-rail contact shoes so that they could be powered from third rail. These high-speed trains were capable of 100 mph and were built by the St. Louis Car Co. in 1941 for the North Shore Line for interurban service. The Philadelphia Suburban Transporatation Company bought both of these trains in 1963. They are now (as of 2006) in museums, one at the Illinois Railway Museum, and the other at the Rockhill Trolley Museum. [2]

Another type of vehicle was the Brill Bullets, which were in service from 1931 almost to 1990. These vehicles were capable of over 80 mph. [3]

A third and older type was the Strafford Car, built between 1924 and 1929. The last Strafford Car was retired on March 30, 1990. [4]

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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