Danville and Pottsville RR ->
Philadelphia and Sunbury RR ->
Shamokin Valley and Pottsville RR ->
Northern Central Railway

adapted from: Bell's History of Northumberland County Pennsylvania

The Danville and Pottsville Railroad Company was authorized by act of the legislature approved on the 8th of April, 1826. The route of the proposed road was described as follows: "Beginning at or near the ferry house on the south side of the Susquehanna, opposite the town of Danville, in the township of Rush in Northumberland county, and extending to the Schuylkill canal at Pottsville." A supplement, which received executive sanction on the 14th of April, 1828, authorized an increase of the capital stock to one million dollars and the construction of branches to Catawissa and Sunbury. A section was partially graded between the Bellmore and Morris Ridge collieries, two miles east of Mt. Carmel, probably as early as 1833.

In July, 1834, construction was begun on the section between Sunbury and Shamokin, the grading of which for a distance of twenty miles was completed in the summer of 1835. The formal opening to Stambach's tavern (Paxinos), a point thirteen and one half miles from Sunbury, occurred on Thursday, the 26th of November, 1835; it included the two elegant and commodious passenger cars recently built at Pottsville: the "Shamokin" and "Mahanoy".

In August, 1838, the road was opened to Shamokin. On this occasion the locomotive was first introduced; it was the "North Star", built by Eastwick & Harrison of Philadelphia. The first passenger train from Shamokin to Sunbury consisted of the "North Star", the "Shamokin", and "Mahanoy" and a few other cars. The road was now regularly opened for traffic and travel between Sunbury and Shamokin. A second engine, the "Mountaineer", was added shortly afterward.

The weight of the engines was disproportionate to the strength of the track, and as a consequence the train was frequently off the track, and the track was frequently off the rail, causing vexatious and expensive delays and ultimately resulting in the substitution of horse-power for the locomotives by 1839. Then the revenue from the road was insufficient to enable the company to meet the interest on its obligations, and after several years of unprofitable operation the property was placed in the hands of a sequestrator for some years. The rolling stock was sold at sheriff's sale. The road was leased to William and Reuben Fagely in 1842, and during the ten years following they used it for the transportation of coal to Sunbury by horsepower.

The property of the company, its franchises, appurtenances, etc. were finally sold at sheriff's sale on the 16th of January, 1851. The new purchasers proceeded to reorganize the company and at a meeting held on the fourth Monday of April, 1851, at the Franklin House, Philadelphia, the name was changed to the Philadelphia and Sunbury Railroad Company. In 1853 the track between Sunbury and Shamokin was relaid with iron rails made by the Danville Iron Company; six new locomotives, the "David Longenecker", "A. R. Fiske", "Green Ridge", "Carbon Run", "Thomas Baumgardner," and "Lancaster", were procured; and on the 25th of August, 1853, the formal reopening occurred. In the following year the road was extended to Mt. Carmel.

But in 1858, the line of the road from Sunbury to its intersection with the Mine Hill and Schuylkill Haven Railroad having been sold under foreclosure, a second reorganization occurred under the name of the Shamokin Valley and Pottsville Railroad Company, which was invested with all the franchises of the former companies by an act of the legislature approved, March 25, 1858. It is claimed that the first Union troops departing for the Civil War were transported on these tracks. The road was operated by the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Company and independently until the 27th of February, 1863, when it was leased for nine hundred ninety-nine years to the Northern Central Railway Company.

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