History of the Chester Creek Branch
The Chester Creek Branch, originally of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was
constructed shortly after the Civil War and parallels the scenic Chester
Creek. The railroad served the interests of local businesses and created
opportunities for new ventures as it traversed the gently rolling hills
and mature wooded areas of the Chester Creek Valley. During the Industrial
Revolution, mills, factories, and warehouses located adjacent to the rail
while new communities sprouted near rail depots. The Chester Creek Branch
was a vital link in the economic development of Southern Delaware County.
As modes of transportation diversified patterns of development changed.
With the advancement of the automobile and the interstate highway system,
rail service fell out of demand, and many Chester Creek businesses relocated.
After the Chester Creek Branch sustained severe flood damage in the early
1970's, the line was abandoned and finally deeded to SEPTA.
Since the abandonment, much of the rail corridor has become overgrown.
Many of the bridges, however, remain intact, and the tracks and the ties
were never removed. Meanwhile, many former industrial-use buildings
along the corridor have been adapted to residences and businesses, or have
been preserved as historical sites and recreational areas.
Rail-Trail projects are typically developed and maintained by local, county,
state, or federal agencies in partnership with non-profit citizen groups.
Since the Fall of 1994, several citizen groups in Delaware County organized
the Friends of the Chester Creek Branch and laid the ground work to convert
the old Chester Creek Branch rail line to a multi-use trail.
The Friends of the Chester Creek Branch were originally incorporated
as part of the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association, a not-for-profit
organization. In the summer of 1997, the Friends of the Chester Creek Branch
incorporated separately as a not-for-profit organization dedicated
primarily to the Completion of the Chester Creek Branch Rail-Trail Project.
If you would like to keep up to date on the Chester Creek Branch Rail-Trail,
we invite you to join as a member. Members receive a quarterly newsletter,
and discounts on Chester Creek Branch Rail-Trail merchandise. However,
most importantly members help us build this trail through their contributions,
and support in the community. If you would like to see the historic Chester
Creek Branch Rail-Trail built, join us as a member and tell your friends
about us also!