Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Reading Viaduct is the common name for an abandoned railroad viaduct in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formerly owned by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. It opened in 1893, and was built by the Philadelphia and Reading Terminal Company as an approach to the new Reading Terminal .
The viaduct heads north from Reading Terminal and forks, with a spur heading northwest to the old mainline to Reading, Pennsylvania, and the main viaduct continuing north, merging with the current SEPTA line. Except for a gap caused by the construction of the Vine Street Expressway (I-676/US 30), and a few blocks at the north end, the viaduct still exists.
The Philadelphia and Reading Terminal Company was incorporated on April 13, 1888, leased by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad on May 1, 1891, and soon began construction. The viaduct and terminal opened on January 29, 1893.[]
The main line of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad (originally the Delaware and Schuylkill Railroad ) came into Philadelphia on the southwest side of the Schuylkill River and crossed at a point northwest of downtown (this line is now used only by freight). It then passed into a tunnel under Pennsylvania Avenue and turned east just north of Callowhill Street. The original alignment turned south along Broad Street, with a passenger station at Broad and Vine. The line continued east past Broad Street for freight to the Delaware River, using Willow Street.
The passenger station was later moved to half a block east of Broad Street, on the old freight line. The spur from the new viaduct was later built from the line just east of this station.
The other Reading Railroad line, originally the Philadelphia, Germantown, and Norristown Railroad , and now used for passenger service by SEPTA, ran north on 9th Street from the east-west line on Willow Street. Its passenger station was at Mount Vernon Street, again where the new viaduct merged with the old alignment.
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