Past Meeting

At our public meeting on Sunday, April 19, 2015 the featured presentation was:

A Reading Railroad SW1500 EMD diesel locomotive with the westbound “Valley Freight”
crossing the ChVRR bridge over Valley Forge Road in Devon (1971). Courtesy of Jim Brazel.

The newly erected Chester Valley Trail bridge at the same location in June 2013.

New Images of the Chester Valley Railroad

by Jim Brazel

In September 2006 Jim and Roger Thorne presented an overview of the Chester Valley Railroad (ChVRR) branch of the Reading Railroad, with historical and contemporary photos and maps. Some of those historical photos were revisited, this time with enhanced information supplied by TEHS members, rail history scholars, and friends. In particular, Roger Thorne worked closely with Jim in preparing this new presentation.

The program included quite a few additional historical photographs of the ChVRR discovered since then and also added some new “then and now” comparisons.

Jim Brazel

This presentation was held at the Easttown Library & Information Center in Berwyn, PA starting at 2 pm.


Jim Brazel has been a member of the TEHS for approximately fifteen years – since the organization met in a Sunday school room at Trinity Presbyterian, was a “Club” and had “Teas.” He is a graduate of Villanova University, with a B.S. Physics and a M.A. Physics from Temple University. He worked in King of Prussia and Philadelphia at General Electric Space & Re-Entry Systems, which later became Lockheed-Martin, for a combined total of forty-two years. He and wife Sharon have two daughters, Kathryn and Jeanne, who attended T-E public schools.

He has had a lifelong interest in local history, particularly railroads and canals. He wrote his thesis for a Master's degree in Economic History at Temple University on “The Economic History of The Schuylkill Navigation Canal And Its Competition with The Philadelphia & Reading Railroad.” His thesis advisor said he read it, but Jim says he did not really believe him.

His most favorite railroad interest since childhood has been the Chester Valley Branch of The Reading Railroad. The branch and the Reading mainline were visible from the rear windows of his parents ' home in Bridgeport, providing many interesting hours of “train-watching” for man and boy. Living in Tredyffrin (Berwyn) since 1976 has only amplified that interest because of the many opportunities for further exploration in the Chester Valley, and the generous willingness of other TEHS members, friends and rail history scholars to share their work and materials.


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