The Reading Company's Gateway to Philadelphia
Abandoned, forelorn and out of service, this is the former four track main of the once mighty
Reading Railroad. It leads south into the heart of downtown Philadephia, at one time connecting to the line's famous still standing Reading Terminal.
In 1893 the Reading Company, then known as the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad, built a large terminal in the heart of Philadelphia to better compete with the PRR and even the B&O, both of which had just recently built large and impressive depots within the city. Trains ran over this segment of track up until 1984 when a new commuter tunnel was built, branching off from this main from just behind. The new tunnel connected the stub end terminals of both the
Reading and the Pennsylvania Railroad's commuter stations.
Today, the site, interestingly enough, is still owned by the Reading. That's right! On April 1, 1976, the Reading Company sold only its current railroad interests to Conrail, leaving it with 650 real estate assets, some coal properties, and 52 abandoned rights-of-way. The company, which was held under control of the Craig Corporation in the 1980's and mid-1990's was later reorganized as Reading Entertainment and is known today as Reading International, Inc. "Rail Park", a rails to trails group and the City of Philadelphia has been fighting to acquire this property for years, with hopes to convert it into a rail park, similar to the well known rails to trails park in New York City. A small connecting segment, part of "Phase 1" has already been acquired and built.