THE WERNERSVILLE TRAIN STATION HISTORY

The existing Passenger Station in Wernersville is the second one to be built in this community. The first station, a small frame structure, was built by the Lebanon Valley Branch of the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1881. A small Freight Station was also provided. Similar facilities were constructed in each of the communities along the line from Reading to Harrisburg. The first train of the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company ran from Reading to Lebanon on June 30, 1857. The first passenger train ran from  Reading to Harrisburg on January 18, 1858. Early timetables show that all passenger trains stopped at all of these stations.

 

Wernersville was under development as early as 1831 and by 1855 a right-of-way was deeded to the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company. Agreements supposedly were made that the town would be named for William Werner, the town developer, and that all passenger trains would stop at the new station.

 

The Philadelphia and Reading Company acquired the Lebanon Valley Company in 1858 and the Lebanon Valley Railroad became the Lebanon Valley Branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. The railroad deserves much of the credit for the successful development of Wernersville and the resort industry that flourished on the mountain to the south of this community.

 

 

20 East Penn Avenue, Wernersille, PA 19565

The initial deed acknowledges that additional agreements were made, but did not include their details. Although no written proof of the agreements has been found, we know that the station was named Wernersville and that all passenger trains did stop there. Seventeen trains stopped each workday in 1914. There were only 13 trains on a Sunday. The traffic increased to 18 trains in 1927 and 26 trains in 1941. The only towns between Reading and Harrisburg that enjoyed this degree of railway service were Wernersville and Lebanon

 

Construction on the existing station was started in late 1926 and the station opened for business on Monday, June 6, 1927. The construction of granite and limestone with a slate roof and central heating as well as its size of 1820 square feet attest to the significance of this station since lesser ones remained as small frame structures. A covered platform, 340 feet long, coupled the station to the adjacent track.

 

All passenger railroad service on the Reading's Lebanon Valley Branch was terminated in June 1963.

 

The Wernersville station was sold to the Hoover Motor Company in 1962. Hoover used it as a storage facility and did little maintenance for the 40 years it was in their possession. Despite this, the station remained in reasonably  good condition. The Wernersville freight depot operated out of the building just to the west of the passenger station which is now privately owned and operated as a restaurant. The freight depot was originally situated about 100 feet to the east of its present location and was relocated when the new passenger Station was constructed in 1926.

 

The Heidelberg Heritage Society has restored the Passenger Station in the interests of historic preservation. The facility is incorporated into the Society's programs, including historical displays and events.