Past Meetings

At our public meeting on September 17, 2006 the presentation was:

Downingtown to Bridgeport: The Reading Railroad's Chester Valley Branch

  By local railroad historian and Society member James Brazel

To many Chester County residents, the subject of local railroad history is focused on the once mighty Pennsylvania Railroad. Many are unaware, however, that for 120 years the powerful Reading Railroad ran a twenty-one mile long rail corridor from Downingtown to Bridgeport, directly through the Great Valley, which some said should have been the "Main Line of Public Works" rail route to Philadelphia.

Presenting this less familiar story of the Reading's influence on the life and economic wellbeing of Chester County and the Great Valley was railroad enthusiast, and Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society member, Jim Brazel. He grew up in Bridgeport in the 1940's and 50's, his home a mere block from the Chester Valley tracks, and started taking photographs of the Chester Valley Railroad as a young man. These and other photographs, most never before publicly shown, along with Jim's historical comments and personal recollections of the Chester Valley Branch, will illumine a part of our local history unknown to many.


Reading Railroad switch locomotive hauls freight west on the Chester Valley branch,
crossing Valley Forge Road near Route 202, 1972. Courtesy of James Brazel


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