Behind The Tracks

Abandoned bridge for North Abrams Industrial Track with date (1960) of origin for industrial track.

Abandoned bridge for North Abrams Industrial Track with date (1960) of origin for industrial track.

“The Railroads Of King of Prussia, PA: The Past Leads To The Future” was done largely because of an epiphany that the author had on a summer day in June of 2012. As the author’s curiosity towards “checking out” abandoned railroad tracks got the best of him, it dawned upon him to write a book for the purpose of documenting and preserving for all time the history of King of Prussia’s railroads.

With a historical and anthropological past as a backdrop, it made sense for the author to “get it done” before the yearly zest for building upon all open space in King of Prussia would swallow up lands with abandoned tracks that told a great story of King of Prussia’s 175 year railroad history.

And so, with a flexible schedule and an appetite for leaving no stone unturned, the author embarked on a one year journey to tell the story of King of Prussia’s history as it revolved around the railroads. The journey took him as far away as the national archives in College Park, Maryland. With the aid of local historians, area archivists and residents and old railroad employees and train buffs in the know, the story gradually took form.

After the completion of the book, the author came to the realization that a book that began as a simple narrative of a township’s railroads only came to life after the industries and people of Upper Merion were intertwined in the narrative. The end result is a book that tells a compelling story of a historic township that embraced the advent of the railroads in 1838 and continues to utilize the rails for industrial usage to this day. Yet, as King of Prussia celebrates its 300th birthday in 2013, it is conflicted by its overreliance on automobiles and the superhighways while the long abandoned passenger rail service cries out for a renewed call to action. Stay tuned, for the future of the rails in King of Prussia may or may not include commuter passenger service.