Then and Now


Photographed by William H. Rau, 1893. Photo courtesy of Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society

Photographed by Roger D. Thorne, August 2004

TOP shows the Paoli railroad station taken sometime between 1891 and 1893. It was in use until the current station, shown BELOW in a 2004 view, was built in 1953 in the same location. From February 28, 1834, when these Main Line tracks were used for the first time, until the station shown above was built, the station was in John D. Evans’ Paoli Hotel west of this location at the site of the current Paoli Post Office. Moving in a counter-clockwise direction from the station shown above is the superintendent’s building with awnings; a freight depot with a tower containing an elevator and loading platforms at both the upper and track levels and where three gentlemen can be seen waiting on the lower platform, a small white square in the distance, thought to be Schofield’s General Store at the northwest corner of what is now Routes 30 and 252, a steam locomotive on the outer westbound track with white flags on the front indicating this was a special train supplied by the railroad to the photographer for his studio, a switch between the two westbound tracks—there was just one eastbound track, and part of the platform on the north side of the tracks which has not changed very much in these two photographs. This image is by William H. Rau, who was hired by the Pennsylvania Railroad to photograph their routes to promote train travel by the general public and who made over 450 18" x 22" glass negatives for them. By 1864 there were 6 trains a day between Paoli and Philadelphia, including 2 locals each making 4 trips daily. In 1915 the line was electrified between Paoli and Philadelphia but still used steam power to the west until 1936. So Paoli became a very important and busy station because electric locomotives and steam engines had to be switched here depending on the direction the train was going. The 1953 station was built for $140,000. By 1972 SEPTA was running the commuter rail lines and the legendary Paoli Local became the R5 Regional Rail Line shown in the photograph.


Page last updated: 2007-03-21 at 16:25 EDT
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