Railway Preservation News

The Railroads of Gettysburg
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Author:  ColebrookdaleRailfan [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:20 pm ]
Post subject:  The Railroads of Gettysburg

Just to clarify before starting, this is NOT about the Gettysburg Railroad, nor is it necessarily about the general workings of the Western Maryland and Reading in the town of Gettysburg, but rather what appears to be a spur heading south into and across the battlefield itself. Based on what I can see on a topographical map from 1908 found on the excellent resource linked below, the branch stemmed from the Reading's tracks and crossed the WM at a diamond, heads south along Seminary Ridge, curves East and gently crosses the lines with a junction north of Little Round Top. One branch goes south a short bit, east of Little Round Top, while one runs between Little Round Top and Devil's Den, makes a J shaped curve West, and abruptly ends just east of the Peach Orchard. The ROW is still discernible via satellite. Anyone know the story here? Was it here before, during, or after the battle? What was it here for? The wye formed by the Reading diamond and WM connection with a short spur south a block or two remained, possibly as a way to interchange cars, until sometime between 1980 and 1990.

Author:  JimBoylan [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Railroads of Gettysburg

You're seeing both the Round Top Branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Rwy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Round_Top_Branch, and the
Gettysburg Electric Rwy. trolley car line https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gettysburg_Electric_Railway. Look closely at the streets NorthWest of the Peach Orchard and you'll see the trolley track in those streets.

Author:  ColebrookdaleRailfan [ Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Railroads of Gettysburg

Looks like the part of the trolley line has been converted to a trail between Devil's Den and DeTrobriand Avenue, including a pair of footbridges built on original abutments:

Author:  JTKovach [ Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Railroads of Gettysburg

As I recall…several years ago, old ties belonging to the Philadelphia and Reading’s (P&R’s) Round Top Branch remained in place at 400 West Miller Street, Gettysburg, PA.

The ties were in the brush along the east side of the property. The site was occupied by a business retailing grave memorials (headstones). Back in the day, the building was owned by the Atlantic Refining Company. It was closed at the time of our visit. A brief look at numerous intact ties was enough to convince us of their origin.

Future, exploration should be done with the owner’s consent – frequently property owners enjoy learning about their site’s history and don’t mind someone taking a couple snapshots – especially if a copy of an old map is provide as a gift.

Confirmation of the branch’s location is found on 1924 Sanborn maps for the Borough – link provided.

Additional information may be gleaned from local tax maps or google maps. While land ownership may change, property boundaries frequently reflect ghosts of the original R-O-W. An experienced eye can trace the old branch on Google maps from land just north of SR 30, southward beside Dunlap’s Restaurant and toward Stevens Run.

Those not familiar with the area, may enjoy lunch or dinner at Dunlap’s - good eats after a day of exploration. The local P&R and WM stations are intact – several well done models of historic rail operations are found in the former WM station, now a tourist info center. There’s also a great old model railroad shops over on Water Street as well as at nearby Blue Mountain Summit.

Hope all this helps.
Jim K

Sanborn Maps (PSU library – Gettsyburg PA 1912)
https://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/c ... 9614/rec/6

Sanborn Maps (PSU library – Gettsyburg PA 1924) -- see branch crossing W. Middle Street.
https://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/c ... 7063/rec/7

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