The Reading Railroad via-duct (also known as The Spring Garden Tracks) can be found crossing over several streets, most notable Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19123.
The idea for the Philadelphia and Reading Terminal Railroad began in 1888. By 1891 it was leased to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway and construction began. In 1893, the Reading Terminal and viaduct were open. The head-house on the tracks were designed by architect Francis Kimball. The Wilson Brothers and Company engineered the design for the 12 track train-shed. It was the largest single span train-shed constructed then. From Ninth Street Branch to Green Street the tracks were elevated on a 4 tracks of steel viaducts with plate girder spans and fill between concrete and stone retaining walls. Once passing Green Street the tracks descended to street level at Fairmont Avenue.
Into the early 1900’s the bustling train lines of the Reading Railroad viaduct soared. Traffic was so great that by the very end of the 1920’s construction on new electrification of the Reading Railroad began. Unfortunately, with the creation of more rail lines the use of the Reading Railroad viaduct began to be slowed. In 1981 the last intercity passenger train ended its final runs through that rail line. Come 1984, the Reading Terminal closed as the Philadelphia Center City Commuter Tunnel opened, the rest of the train-shed was incorporated into Pennsylvania Convention Center. The last user of the Reading Railroad train viaduct was the Philadelphia Inquirer but when they moved in 1992 the need for the incoming train loads ceased. The rails of the railroad of City Branch were dismantled.
It is currently part of a large scale green park. Allowing nature to rule and conquer, though I am unsure if there are any plans to demolish or tear up on of the on site buildings and railroad tracks.
Where is the abandoned Spring Garden / Reading Railroad tracks located? You can find it with these coordinates. 39.961814,-75.153296.
Images used under Creative Commons License Attribution Non Commercial 2.0 Generic and were under this license December 9th, 2013. Photographs by Julia Rowe. [Flickr/juliarowe].