Your Chamber: A look at area railroad history
The rail line that ran through Shamokin was chartered April 8, 1826, as the Danville and Pottsville Railroad, making it the third oldest rail line in the United States. The line was changed before construction began from Danville to Sunbury. In the summer of 1835, the section between Sunbury and Shamokin was finished and soon after the line was extended to Mount Carmel.
The transportation of coal was the primary reason for this rail line. At this time, the railroad tracks were made of wood and iron and their source of power were horses and mules. Three small steam engines, the North Star, the Pioneer and the Mountaineer were purchased in 1837. By 1852, the line became the first line in the world to use iron T rails made by the Danville Iron Company.
This particular line went through various name changes before it became the Shamokin Valley Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1882, the Shamokin, Sunbury and Lewisburg Railroad were charted and eventually absorbed by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1883.
The first passenger cars on this line were the Shamokin and the Mahonoy. Passenger service continued until June 28, 1963, when the King Coal car made its final run between Shamokin and Philadelphia.
The Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce is proud of the history rooted in our area and these rail lines are a large part of that history. Several years ago, the Chamber began selling model train cars that depicted the train stations throughout Shamokin, Locust Gap, Centralia and Mount Carmel. These trains are on display in our office and are for sale to the public. New orders are being taken for this year's Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce Caboose. Previous year trains are also on sale. Contact the Brush Valley Chamber of Commerce if interested, at 570-648-4675.
At noon Wednesday, Oct. 23, a political luncheon will be open to the public at Luzerne County Community College. The luncheon is sponsored by The News-Item.
is director of the Brush Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Your Chamber" is published on the first Sunday of each month.)