May 27, 2013

Light Rail, Circa 1935

The Lehigh Valley Transit Company ran a trolley between 8th and Hamilton and just outside Philadelphia between 1901 and 1951. In 1913 the company completed the 8th Street Bridge, which remains one of Allentown's icons to this day.

The Liberty Bell functioned as a trolley as it stopped in Coopersburg, Quakertown, Sellersville and the different towns along the way, but approached speeds of eighty miles a hour on the open track between them. At the last station in Upper Darby, passengers could transfer to a different company to complete the ride into center city Philadelphia.

Here in the Valley the company transitioned to buses by the early 1950's, and became part of Lanta in 1972. Lanta and Easton officials might take notice that the Allentown Ticket Office, shown in above photo, is only 75 feet from 8th and Hamilton, which was the center of the business district. The intercity rail beds are pretty much gone now. The same people who now advocate light-rail, couldn't wait to tear up the tracks and make bike paths.

reprinted from May 2010

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