Lurgan Branch History
Lurgan East of Shippensburg
The railroad was originally chartered as the Mirimar Iron Co by the Ahl’s brothers in 1870 to provide transportation of the iron ore from the local iron mines.
The rail line then became the Harrisburg and Potomac Railroad with plans for the railroad to link Harrisburg with the Potomac river at Sheppardstown, WV. The railroad was only able to complete it’s rail line to Shippensburg, Pa.
In 1892, due to legal difficulties, the railroad became the Harrisburg to Shippensburg Railroad for a brief period of time.
The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad then became the owner of the Lurgan branch.
Through mergers and leases, the Reading Railroad became the owner of the line.
Author note: On Oct 31, 1974 there was a derailment just east of CP Lees when a coal drag ran into the rear of a stopped freight train on a very foggy morning. I was there after the accident but didn’t think to get any pictures at the time. A local resident provided me with some photos of the derailment. The quality is not the best, but I'll post them anyway. Photo Gallery Link
Conrail took over after the demise of the Reading Railroad in 1976. Conrail’s scorched earth policy removed the double track from CP Lee east not long after the take over.
Norfolk Southern became the owner of the line after the breakup of Conrail.
Lurgan West of Shippensburg
At Shippensburg the line split as the railroad met the Western Maryland and the Cumberland Valley ( CVRR later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad)
Freight traffic from the Reading to the Western Maryland and visa versa was accomplished with run through agreements between Harrisburg and Hagerstown. This is the high line that runs through Shippensburg by the fair grounds. There was no interchange yard in Shippensburg. This line is now the Lurgan running track and stops just north of Chambersburg and is owned by CSX. The line has been severed through Chambersburg. On the south side of Chambersburg the CSX Lurgan sub continues to Hagerstown. There is a large CSX intermodal yard just south of Chambersburg that is very active.
Passenger traffic was interchanged between the Reading and the Western Maryland at the WM station in Shippensburg.
The Cumberland Valley Railroad line ( also known as the Hagerstown secondary and later owned by the PRR ) was accessable at Shippensburg. There was no interchange yard at Shippensburg. This line is the one that parallels Interstate 81.
The current Lurgan branch includes the Hagerstown Secondary and is now owned by Norfolk Southern. CSX has run through agreements to the Lurgan running track and for weekly coal trains to York Haven.