The Coal Region – Railroad Connection

Relianxce Breaker, Cameron Colliery

By 1825, the Schuylkill Navigation Company had completed the Schuylkill Canal, which allowed for the transport of anthracite from Pottsville to Philadelphia in barges capable of holding 200 tons. In 1842, the first train by the P & R Railroad (Philadelphia & Reading) from Philadelphia made the trip to Pottsville (Pa.) to compete for the coal trade. Trains were able to haul three times as much anthracite than barges. To counter this threat, the Schuylkill Navigation Company began a major expansion program and also entered into a price fixing arrangement with the railroad, temporarily stabilizing rates for transporting anthracite. However, the decade would be the last prosperous one for the canal.Ultimately the efficiency, speed and greater tonnages afforded by the newer technology of rail transport triumphed.