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Railroads of West Chester PA
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
ISBN or Item #
Date Listed:
2006-07-23 21:30:32
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Railroads of West Chester

By Jim Jones. See also Made in West Chester.

6x 9" softcover, perfect bound, black/white cover and illustrations. 153 pages include 6 maps, 10 tables, 42 maps, foreword, reference notes and bibliography.

"After more than five years of research and a year of writing, Jim Jones' latest book is now available. Railroads of West Chester is the story of the lines and people that changed the Borough from a quiet country crossroads into a farm market town, an industrial center and suburb of Philadelphia. It is a sequel to Jones' previous book, Made in West Chester, which described how Chester County's rich agriculture heritage provided the basis for West Chester's first industries, and how those industries grew to serve the world.

"Using land records, court cases, newspapers, annual reports, interviews and photos, West Chester University history professor Jim Jones reconstructs the 175-year tradition of railroading in West Chester, Pennsylvania from the earliest days of horse-drawn railcars to the Pennsylvania Railroad -- its glory days and decline -- and the resurrection of rail service by the new West Chester Railroad.

"Railroads of West Chester explains how railroads -- the invention which made the Industrial Revolution possible -- connected West Chester to the rest of the country and the world. The story began in 1830 when a group of local businessmen agreed to construct a horse-drawn railroad using wooden rails topped by iron straps. That made the "West Chester Railroad" one of the first and oldest in the country after it operated its first train in September 1832.

"Jones' book also describes the construction of West Chester's second railroad, the "Direct Line" from Philadelphia via Media in the 1850s, and the process by which the Pennsylvania Railroad acquired control over both lines after the Civil War. The Direct Line shaved a few miles off of the trip to Philadelphia, but more importantly, it provided competition that lowered the cost of transportation. Chapters about passengers, freight and workers show that the railroad was a major employer at the turn of the last century and how everybody in West Chester depended on it in some way."