Anthracite Railroad Records

The Pennsylvania State Archives has extensive holdings on the anthracite railroads of eastern Pennsylvania, but they reside in various distinct collections, as listed below. By definition, an anthracite railroad hauled anthracite coal as one of its primary sources of freight traffic, and/or owned an anthracite mine.

The principal carriers included the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Reading Company, the Lehigh Valley, the Delaware & Hudson, the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the Lehigh & New England, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, the Erie-Lackawanna, the New York, Ontario & Western, the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley, the New York, Susquehanna & Western, the Wilkes Barre & Eastern, and the Lehigh & Hudson River railroads.

Central Railroad of New Jersey

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collections:
    • Charles B. Schlegel Collection (RR77.102) - (mostly track charts, rule books and miscellaneous CNJ information) - [Holdings] (PDF)
    • Philips Collection (principally research materials on "camelback"-type anthracite-burning steam locomotives) - [Holdings] (PDF)
    • A total of (23) boxes of records from the CNJ Office of the Superintendent, Allentown, and (4) cartons of track charts as part of MG-199 currently remains unprocessed.
      • Archives staff is not able to do research for non-visiting patrons in this series.
      • No comprehensive finding aid exists for these records.
      • Additional CNJ records are also scattered throughout:
        • Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad (MG-311)
        • Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (MG-311)
        • Lehigh Valley Railroad holdings (MG-274)

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Delaware & Hudson Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-401 Delaware and Hudson Railway Company Records.

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Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-300 Erie Lackawanna Railway Deposit - contains some EL track maps of DL&W routes.
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives), Elwin Mumford Collection of photographs and postcards taken and collected by him of Lackawanna locomotives, rolling stock and support facilities in the eastern Pennsylvania area, 1890-1974. [Holdings] (PDF)
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives) - Walter A. Lucas Collection of stereographs relating to railroads and scenic views in America, ca. 1875-1927, includes views of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. [Holdings] (PDF)

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Erie Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-300 Erie Lackawanna Railway Deposit.
  • MG-282 Pennsylvania Coal Company Records - This company, and related firms, were for many years the Erie Railroad's coal mining subsidiaries.
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives):
    • Walter A. Lucas Collection of stereographs relating to railroads and scenic views in America, ca. 1875-1927, includes views of the Erie Railroad.
    • Philips Collection contains materials relative to the Erie Railroad.

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Erie-Lackawanna Railway

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-300 Erie Lackawanna Railway Deposit.

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Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway

PA State Archives Holdings

  • The State Archives does not have any records from this interurban trolley line.

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Lehigh & Hudson River Railway

PA State Archives Holdings

  • The State Archives does not have any records from this railroad.

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Lehigh & New England Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-311 Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company Records have extensive information on the Lehigh & Susquehanna Railroad and other LC&N properties leased to the CNJ (includes maps and structural drawings for the Lehigh & New England Railroad tracings).

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Lehigh Valley Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-274 Lehigh Valley Railroad Records
  • MG-2 Business Records Collection: Transportation and Industry
    • Lehigh Valley Railroad
  • MG-286 Penn Central Railroad Collection also contains records from numerous LVRR companies
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives) - Walter A. Lucas Collection of stereographs relating to railroads and scenic views in America, ca. 1875-1927, includes views of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives) - Philips Collection.
  • MG-328 William C. Harleman Photographs

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New York, Ontario & Western Railway

PA State Archives Holdings

  • The State Archives does not have any records from this railroad. The only item in MG-199 is (1) ledger of an NYO&W Agent's Record of Milk, Cream and Potcheese forwarded from Hamilton to Weehauken, NJ, 1899. Currently this item is unprocessed.

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New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway/Wilkes Barre & Eastern Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • The State Archives does not have any records from either of these railroads.
  • WB&E business records are not known to have survived.

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Pennsylvania Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-286 Penn Central Railroad Collection (Relevant series include: PRR General Office Library Photograph File; Penn Central Auction Photographs; Conrail Public Affairs Photographs; Thomas Hollyman Photographs, Microfilm of track and property atlases (incomplete). Also contains the surviving minutes and other minutes of PRR's anthracite mining companies).
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives) - Walter A. Lucas Collection of stereographs relating to railroads and scenic views in America, ca. 1875-1927, includes views of the PRR. [Holdings] (PDF)
    • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection (at the State Archives) - DuBarry Photo Albums (RR72.1{#199m.41})

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Philadelphia & Reading Railway/Reading Company

PA State Archives Holdings

  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collections:
    • Walter Fister Collection - Reading Co. Photographs (Fister was the Reading Company Superintendent of Motive Power & Rolling Equipment {#199m.57}.)
    • Robert Phillips draft of unpublished RDG Co. history with rare photographs. (Includes some Reading Railroad tracings) [Holdings] (PDF)
    • Luther Cummings Collection (Includes photographs and negatives of Reading trains {#199m.30}.)
    • Elwin Mumford Collection (Comprises of a collection of photographs and postcards taken and collected by him of Reading Railroad locomotives, rolling stock and support facilities in the eastern Pennsylvania area, 1890-1974 {#199m.82}.)
    • Reading steam locomotive tracings. In particular, {series #199.88} (PDF) contains mechanical engineering drawings of Reading steam/diesel locomotives and freight/passenger rolling stock. {Mechanical Drawing Index} (PDF). A limited volume of track and right of way drawings [Holdings] (PDF) are also part of the collection.
  • MG-286 Although the Reading never became a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the State Archives does hold some materials relating to the Reading Railroad in our Manuscript Group 286. We received from the Penn Central a subset of architectural drawings of stations originally built along the Reading Line ({series #286m.254}) [Partial Holdings Part1] (PDF) [Partial Holdings Part 2] (PDF).
  • MG-289 George M. Hart Collection (Mostly comprises of 47 photographic prints, 1910-1921, and 1940, of eastern Pennsylvania coal region views along the Philadelphia & Reading printed from original 8 x 10 glass negatives, taken system-wide showing steam locomotives, rolling stock, yards, coal breakers, inclined planes, engine houses, signals, and trackside.)

Additional Resources at Other Institutions

  • The Hagley Museum and Library in Delaware houses the largest collection of Reading documents and photographs held by any research institution, including Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines records.
  • The Athenaeum in Philadelphia holds drawings of Reading RR structures designed by the Wilson Brothers.
  • Some Reading ephemera, negatives, photographs and right-of-way half-mile and quarter-section mile maps are in the MG-199 collections of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Library/Archives, Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pa.. Of note, at Strasburg, is the Reading Co. Public Relations Department file, 10 cu. ft., which includes Reading photographs of locomotives, rolling stock, trains, depots, yards, employees and events. Also, the Robert J. Linden collection, collected by a former Conductor, contains extensive Reading Company material.
  • Additional unprocessed Reading archival materials are in possession of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society in Hamburg, Pa.
  • The Smithsonian Institution's NMAH Archives houses some P&R Engineering Department records, which are chiefly 19th century Chief Engineer's letterbooks.
  • In addition to the RCT&HS, the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society helps preserve the history of this railroad.

Wilkes Barre & Eastern Railroad

PA State Archives Holdings

  • See New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway.

Other General Sources of Anthracite Railroad Information

PA State Archives Holdings

  • RG-12 Department of Highways (Photographs in the series that show railroad details for roads in the anthracite region featuring crossings, towers, various buildings, etc., [ca.1910-1977].)
  • RG-17 Records of the Land Office: Board of Canal Commissioners.
  • MG-11 Map Collection: Section VI: Transportation Maps.
  • MG-199 Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Collection, housed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Library/Archives, Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pa., contains annual reports for most of the anthracite railroad companies, reference and curatorial files containing ephemera, documents and notes, and audio-visual and graphic materials.
  • MG-393 Pullman Standard Manufacturing Company of Butler Records (May contain information on rolling stock built for the anthracite railroads.)
  • MG-218 General Photograph Collections: Transportation Section.
  • MG-219 Philadelphia Commercial Museum Collection (photographs).
  • MG-213 Postcard Collection.
  • Aerial Photograph Collections, including:
    • RG-31 Records of the Dept. of Commerce
    • Aerial Photographs and Index of the 1940 Aerial Survey of Pennsylvania, 1937-1942. {#31.18}
      • images for these and other years available online via the PennPilot project
    • MG-416 Aero Service Corporation Photographs, [ca. 1926-1948].
    • MG-281 Samuel W. Kuhnert Papers, [ca. 1912-1976].
    • MG-425 Ebasco Environmental Company Aerial Photographs, [ca. 1980-1985]
  • RG-37 Records of the Public Utility Commission: Bureau of Transportation.
    • Annual Reports of Transportation Utilities for Large and Small Carriers.
  • RG-14 Records of the Dept. of Internal Affairs: Various Annual Report Series relating to railroads (some of which may be continued in RG-37).
    • Annual Census Reports of Motor Bus and Electric Transportation Carriers {#14.6}
    • Annual Census Reports of Railroads and Railroad Repair Establishments {#14.7}
    • Annual Reports of Passenger and Street Railway Companies {#14.15}
    • Annual Reports of Railroad and Street Railway Companies to the Auditor General and the Department of Internal Affairs {#14.18}
    • Registers of Steam Railroads, Street Railways, Canals, Telegraph and Telephone Companies {#14.26}
  • RG-52 Records of the Dept. of Transportation: Local and Area Transportation Files

Additional Resources at Other Institutions

Acknowledgements

  • Chris Baer-Hagley Museum & Library
  • Craig Orr-National Museum of American History Archives, Smithsonian Institution
  • Richard Jahn-Anthracite Railroads Historical Society
  • Rick Bates-Reading Company Technical & Historical Society
  • Michael Knies-University of Scranton Archives
  • Patrick McKnight-Steamtown National Historic Site