By the 1970’s, the once thriving Anthracite roads were struggling to survive. The long decreasing demand for coal, along with a series of other contributing factors, left these roads in spiraling financial decline. These railroads managed to keep the freight rolling into the mid 70’s with little resources available, but the die was cast and all the Anthracite roads would eventually be swept into Conrail in 1976.
In the Anthracite Railroads in the 70’s series, we’ll look at the ailing operations of the Hard Coal Carriers in the final years before their inclusion into Conrail. We begin this series with the Reading Railroad’s Wilmington and Northern Branch. We’ll view the operations of the Joanna Jobs to Grace Mine and the RW or Reading to Wilmington jobs.