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TIMELINE OF EVENTS

* April 19, 1856 -The Schuylkill Haven & Lehigh River Railroad is chartered

* October - November 1856 - A location survey for the SH&LR is completed under the direction of

Alexander W. Rae (Rae would later go on to found the town of Centralia and is killed October 17, 1868 in a robbery attempt attributed to the Molly Maguires)

* March 22, 1859 - The Pennsylvania Legislature extends the time for commencement and completion of the SH&LR another five years

* December 5, 1862 - With the backing of the Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad, the SH&LR awards construction contracts

* Spring 1863 - Preliminary agreement for the Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad to be leased by the Philadelphia & Reading

* May 1, 1863 - Construction of Schuylkill Haven & Lehigh River Railroad is halted

* July 1, 1863 - The Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven consolidates the SH&LR

* May 16, 1864 - Final agreement for lease of the Mine Hill & Schuylkill Haven Railroad

by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad - SH&LR charter passes to the P&R

* March 23, 1866 - The Manufacturers' and Consumers' Anthracite Railroad Company is

chartered, broadly authorized to build a railroad from the anthracite region to a point on the Delaware River

* September 1868 - R. A Wilder, former Superintendent of the Mine Hill & Schuylkill

Haven Railroad, releases a report of a survey made for realization of the charter of the Manufacturers' and Consumers' Anthracite Railroad, and recommends a route that adheres closely to that of the partially graded Schuylkill Haven & Lehigh River. Nothing further develops

* January 11, 1869 - A bill to incorporate the Government Anthracite Railroad Company is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The line is projected between the anthracite region and the coast of New Jersey. Among the listed commissioners for the company is Rufus Wilder.

* March 31, 1869 - A second bill is introduced in the U.S. House to incorporate the Govenment Anthracite Railroad Company. Now the road is projected to extend to the Washington, DC area as well as the tidewater of New Jersey.

*July 14, 1870 - By a vote of 116 to 63, the House votes to end consideration of the bill to incorporate the proposed Government Anthracite Railroad Company.

* May 25, 1880 - Due to the expansionist polices of its President, Franklin B. Gowen,

the Philadelphia & Reading Rail Road declares bankruptcy

* March 23, 1882 - The Pottsville & New York Railroad is chartered

* June 2, 1884 - The Philadelphia & Reading declares bankruptcy again. It's weakened condition and the 20 year lapse of the SH&LR charter without construction opens the door for competition

* October 9, 1886 - The Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley Railroad is chartered

* November 15, 1886 - The Pennsylvania Railroad completes last section of Schuylkill Valley line between Hamburg and New Boston

*February 4, 1887 - The Schuylkill and Lehigh Valley Railroad executes a contract with Wentz and Company for

construction of the line.

* March 11, 1887 - Articles of Consolidation issued for the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley

Railroad (combines the Pottsville & New York and Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley)

* April 24, 1887 - LV Railroad completes a new line between New Boston (linking with PRR) and Hazelton (known at that time as the Pottsville Branch - not to be confused with another LV line of that name to follow.

* April 4, 1888 - The Lehigh Valley Railroad leases the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley Railroad for a term of 999 years.

* April 1, 1889 - Construction of Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley Railroad begins using substantial portions of the SH&LR alignment and grading

* 1889 - Lehigh Valley Coal Company acquires York Farm Colliery after years of inactivity - capacity projected to be 300,000 tons/year (original colliery operated by George Potts; began operation in 1836, acquired by E. N. Frisbie as agent for LV in 1888)

* July 12, 1890 - Two Gold spikes are driven ceremoneously, one by R.A. Wilder, and the other by R. H. Sayre completeing the connection between the Lehigh and Schuylkill Valleys at Rene Mont. (West Penn Township)

* August 18, 1890 - Service on the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley begins to/from PRR's

Pottsville station. The line is operated as the Pottsville Division of Lehigh Valley Railroad

* September 15, 1890 - Service to Blackwood begins. The line is dedicated with a special train and Lehigh Valley Vice President Robert Sayre is in attendance.

*October 13, 1890 - Blackwood Colliery goes into active operation with 500 men & boys employed.

* 1890 - Stations completed at Lizard Creek Jct., Andreas, Kepner, and Rausch's. Cattle pens completed at McKeansburg and Spring Garden Jct. Orwigsburg station construction begins.

* May 17, 1890 The People's Railway board approves a traffic agreement with the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley dated

March 20, 1890. Annual rental for S&LV trackage rights is fixed at $3,000.

* 1891 - Orwigsburg station, engine house, and car inspectors building are completed.

McKeansburg and Rausch's freight stations are completed.

* December 1, 1891 - The Philadelphia & Reading leases the Lehigh Valley Railroad

* July 23, 1892 - A gas explosion occurs in the York Farm Colliery workings; 15 die. Schuylkill County's worst mining disaster up to that time (exceeded only by East Brookside explosion of 1913 with a death toll of 20)

* August 8, 1893 - The Philadelphia & Reading declares bankruptcy for a third time and the lease of the Lehigh Valley is terminated

* November 13, 1893 - Eaton N. Frisbie, aged 60, under whose presidency the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley Railroad

was built, dies.

* 1895 - Photographer William H. Rau traverses the line

* 1896 - Blackwood Colliery works only 87 days in the year and goes idle, but York Farm Colliery production peaks

at 106,000 tons, 91,000 tons of which is shipped via the Lehigh Valley

* 1897 - By this time, the line loses its division status and is known at the Pottsville Branch of the Lehigh Division

* January 1899 - York Farm Colliery is permanently shut down

*June 6, 1899 - York Farm Colliery dismantling. The dismantling of York Farm is still being continued. There is

little value now being left about the plant. Work has started on razing the big Faust fan house.

* March 2, 1902 - Severe flooding of Lehigh River damages Lehigh Valley RR bridges at White Haven and Penn Haven Jct. and washes away main line track. Traffic is diverted via Lizard Creek Jct., Pottsville, New Boston Jct. and Hazleton.

* 1904 - Rehabilitation of Blackwood Colliery begins

*27 April 1904 - A house & barn owned by the LVRR at Glenworth was destroyed by fire ignited by a spark from a Reading Locomotive. The LVRR will sue the Reading.

* November 7 1905 - The People's Railway board notes that the LVRR has reported that the freight room at the Minersville Depot is too small to accomodate their business.

* December 1905 - Shipments from Blackwood resume following construction of a new breaker and substantial

improvments to the mine workings

* May 10, 1907 - Rufus A. Wilder, whose involvement in the development of a railroad from the Southern Field to the Lehigh Gap spanned the entire time from the earliest efforts of the Schuylkill Haven & Lehigh River right on through to the line's completion by the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley, dies at the age of ninety.

* 1909 - Blackwood Breaker idle all year

* 1912 - New depot constructed at West Penn

*November 5, 1912 - The People's Railway board approves the construction of a new freight house at Minersville.

* 1913 - Production peaks at Blackwood, almost 289,000 tons mined, with 265,000 tons shipped over the LV

* Feb 1919 Blackwood Colliery is permanently shut down

* July 1921 - Truck scale installed at West Penn for potato shipments

* January 1925 - Last shipments from Blackwood Colliery; Blackwood Branch goes dormant

* 1930 - Germans water supply abandoned

* March 1932 - LV Coal Company salvages equipment and dismantles the Blackwood Breaker

* September 2, 1932 Fire swept the abandoned mining village of Blackwood & destroyed the breaker of the Lehigh

Valley Coal Company nearby. Forty miners' houses were leveled. The flames were extingusihed after an all night battle by fire fighters from a dozen adjoining communities. Flames reached 300ft into the air and reflections of fire could be seen throughout the entire County.

* March 1933 - Kepner passing siding retired

* April 26, 1933 - Beckton depot destroyed by fire

* 1935 - Wye track at Lizard Creek Jct. retired; Bridge PO 142B, the Bohrman Farm overpass, is removed

* September 9, 1935 - The Public Service Commission authorizes the LV to discontinue the freight agency at Andreas and transfer the work to Bowmanstown.

* Feb 20 1939 - Pottsville Branch passenger service ends (Trains 495, 496 (mixed) last service provided by a mixed freight and passenger train)

* October 13, 1939 - Newspaper reports indicate that, following an inspection tour, the LVRR is considering abandoning the Pottsville Branch.

* November 1, 1942 - The People's Railway and the LVRR agree to a reduced annual rental ($1,845) for LV trackage rights over the People's Railway due to the abandonment between Westwood Switch and Minersville.

* Feb 24, 1947 - Eastbound train derails near Kepner. William Kemmerer of Lehighton is killed.

* Dec 31, 1949 - The Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley merged into the LV

* March 6,1953 - The Interstate Commerce Commission approves the LVRR's petition for abandonment of the Pottsville Branch.

* April 3, 1953 - All Pottsville Branch service ends and the line is abandoned

* June 10, 1953 - The Yorkville Arch an abandoned underpass on the Pottsville - Minersville Highway that was

considered a hazard, was razed during the winter of 1954-1955. Officials from Pottsville, the State Dept of Highways, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad met at the site June 10th 1953, to discuss the demolition.

* April 28, 1984 - Six people perish when their sport utility vehicle plunges down a mine shaft near Blackwood

* March 2004 - West Penn depot moved to public display in Snyders

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