Lehigh Division - History

History

The Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad opened in 1843 from White Haven to Wilkes-Barre, including the current line from White Haven to Solomon Gap. From Jim Thorpe to Beaver Meadows, the Beaver Meadow Railroad and Coal Company opened a line in 1836. The portion from Packerton to Jim Thorpe was opened by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1855, and the line from Penn Haven to White Haven, where the current line switches from the old LV to the old L&S, was opened by the Penn Haven and White Haven Railroad in the early 1860s.

The L&S opened the "Back-Track" from Solomon Gap to Ashley in 1867, including the present Lehigh Division from Solomon Gap to Laurel Run/Oliver Mills. From Oliver Mills to Duryea, the line was built by 1900 as the LV's Mountain Cut-Off. After a short piece between Duryea and Pittston Junction (near Pittston), the Lehigh Division returns to the old Lehigh Valley Railroad main line from Pittston Junction to Mehoopany, opened in 1868 as part of the Pennsylvania and New York Canal and Railroad.

The Central Railroad of New Jersey (which leased the L&S) and Lehigh Valley Railroad began to work together in 1965 to eliminate redundant trackage. Both companies were taken over by Conrail in 1976, and Conrail sold the Packerton-Mehoopany line to the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad in 1996.

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