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North East Pennsylvania Railroads

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Antimated Train
The Jersey Central is an assemblage of several small railroads. Some were built by or for the Central. Others were independently built and operated previous to acquisition by lease or purchase. See CNJ Maps of Wilkes-Barre | Hazelton/Reading Area.


The Lehigh and Susquehanna Division originated as a railroad of that name built and operated by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. It was leased in 1871 to the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which has operated it as its L&S Division and now as its Pennsylvania Division.

Previous to the railroads, canals had been the main avenues of transportation. Some of the early railroads were projected over mountains as extensions to, or connections between, canals. The L&S was at first in this category. An act of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1837 authorized construction of a railroad to connect the Pennsylvania Canal's North Branch with the slack-water navigation of the Lehigh Canal. Construction of the road between Ashley and South Wilkes-Barre, White Haven and Solomons Gap and the Ashley Planes in 1843 fulfilled this original intention. The advantages of railroad transportation became apparent. Ice interrupted canal operation and floods in the river valley damaged the canal installations so that extension of the railroad was the only feasible solution.

The L&S also includes the Lehigh and Delaware Water Gap RR and the Nanticoke RR (formerly Wilkes-Barre and Scranton RR (name changed in 1860), both of which merged in 1867. These roads were completed by the LC&N Co. after mergers.

Completion of main line sections was effected in the years shown below: Ashley to South WilkesİBarre, 1843; White Haven to Solomons Gap, 1843; Mauch Chunk to White Haven, 1866; Solomons Gap to Ashley (Back Track), 1866; Union Jct., 1867; Mauch Chunk to Phillipsburg, 1868;

The above sections are main line. The branches follow: (Note the Ashley Planes were part of the original main line but upon completion of the Back Track they assumed branch line status.)

Ashley Planes branch, 1843; Lee Mine branch, 1862; Manticoke branch (Gardner's Switch to Wanamie),1862, (Wanamie to Lee),1885; Canal branch (Miner's Mills to Enterprise Breaker), 1862, (Enterprise Breaker to Plains Jct.), 1896; Upper Lehigh branch, 1867; Everhart branch, 1867; North Penn. Connection (South Bethlehem), 1867; Coplay branch, 1870; Carbon branch, 1873; Sandy Run branch, 1875; Drifton branch, 1876; Allen Cement branch, 1888; Standard Cement Branch 1892; Buttonwood branch, 1894; The Easton and Western was constructed in 1914-1915. It is controlled by the CNJ through ownership of its entire outstanding capital stock. Operation has been as a part of the Jersey Central since its completion.

The Tresckow Railroad is not directly connected with the Jersey Central. Trackage rights over the Reading from Tamaqua constitute the physical connection. This road was built from Silver Springs to Audenried and put in operation in 1870. It is control led by the LC&N Co. through stock ownership and was operated by that company from completion until it was leased to the CNJ in 1871.

The Wilkes-Barre and Scranton (not to be confused with WB&S RR Co. which became the Nanticoke RR Co. in 1860) was completed and put into operation in 1888. Its road ran between Pittstown and Scranton. Operation since that time has been by the Jersey Central. The LC&N owns the entire outstanding capital stock, leased the property, and assigned the lease to CRRofNJ.
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North East Rails  İ Clint Chamberlin.
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