Mohnton was served by two separate trolley lines. The Reading and Southwestern Railway Company provided service between Mohnton and Reading. Custers Steam Line provided trolley service between Mohnton and Adamstown.
The Reading and Southwestern Railway Company
Explore the trolley route (uses Google Earth)
The Reading and Southwestern Railway Company began service from Third and Penn in Reading to the terminal in Mohnsville in September of 1891. The rolling stock consisted of four 15hp electric motor cars and four trailers. The power plant for the line was located in Reading on Front street at Chestnut. The power plant housed two 62,000-watt dynamos, driven by two 125 hp steam engines off two 150 hp boilers. The dynamos generated 500 volts. In the first year of operation 150,000 passengers were carried on the line. On August 1, 1901 the Reading and Southwestern Railway Company was leased to the United Traction Company for 999 years. Service on the Reading to Mohnton run ended in January 1952.
Mohnsville & Adamstown Railroad Company
( Custers Steam Line)
May 29, 1894 - Mohnsville & Adamstown Railroad Company is chartered.
November 7, 1894 - A contract for traffic and operations is entered into with Reading and Southwestern Railway Company.
In the spring of 1895 the line to Adamstown went into operation. Commonly known as "Custers Steam Line", it was powered by a single steam engine "The Dolly". In June of that year a second steam engine, "The Coffee Box", a Forney style engine was added. The passenger cars consisted of, Car # 101 - a closed passenger car and Car # 103 an open bench or summer car. The 7 mile trip from Mohnton to Adamstown took 30 minutes. Cars ran on an hour and a half schedule at first, then more frequently after the second engine was acquired. On November 1, 1895 the Mohnsville & Adamstown Railroad Company began transporting two loads of mail a day.
A torrential rain in February of 1902 heavily damaged both the Reading and Southwestern Railway and Custers Steam Line. The Adamstown to Mohnsville steam line was damaged almost beyond repair. Bridges where washed out and roadbed was destroyed.
June 15, 1904 - Mohnsville and Adamstown Electric Railway Incorporated is chartered.
August 6, 1904 - The Adamstown to Mohnsville line returns to service. The newly electrified line was extensively refurbished.
October 20, 1904 - Mohnsville & Adamstown Railroad Company is purchased by Mohnsville and Adamstown Electric Railway Incorporated.
December 27, 1904 - The United Traction Company buys the equipment and rights to The Mohnsville & Adamstown Electric Railway.
1929 - Service between Adamstown and Mohnton was reduced to every two hours.
January 29, 1933 - Service between Mohnton and Adamstown discontinued.
The Forney style engine on Custers Steam Line
Reading and Southwestern Railway car at the main Mohnton terminal
Reading and Southwestern Railway car
crossing trestle in Mohnton,
near Front Street.
Reading and Southwestern Railway car crossing trestle in Mohnton, near Front Street.
Trolley station at Front and Main Streets
Images from the archives of Berks County historian George M. Meiser IX