Remember yesterday’s discovery of the remnants of the rail line, now part of the Green Ribbon Trail in the Fort Washington State Park? I am still excited about it. I love the feeling of following the clues and figuring out something that’s hidden and yet in plain sight.
Anyway, my husband did some research and found the rail line and its history. It was surprising to me to learn that the line, the Plymouth Branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, had its start as horse-powered line in the 1830’s, was extended and enlarged, changed owners, and fell into disuse and oblivion as the need for it changed and declined. Originally a freight line, it connected quarry and lime kilns workings in our area and also carried passengers at different times.
Looking at aerial maps, it’s still possible to see the marks of the line on the land.
But even more surprising to me, I learned that the large pedestrian bridge (mentioned in this Sunshine Project post and pictured below) is set on the old railroad bridge. I looked at some pictures from beneath the bridge (a view I’ve never seen but I will be searching out the next time I go to the park) and it’s clear as day.
Here are pictures from February of the large bridge. People have been crossing the creek at this point for more than one hundred years.
I am so excited to learn all of this information. What a gift to be able to see beyond the surface of these objects and locations I have encountered so often and yet knew so little about! I now know that when I run along this bridge and trail, for about a half mile or so, I am following a road many others have gone on before me and in such different circumstances. It will really give me something to think about.
Do you want to know more? My source for historical information: Abandoned Rails