Hopewell & Pennington Train Stations and Buildings – 1973

Hopewell Train Station c1973 – and Passenger Shelter

What did our local train stations look like in their heyday? We have five new Pennington and Hopewell train station photos from 1973 that provide a glimpse of the past.

These not only provide good views of the station buildings, they also show the additional structures along the tracks that have since been lost – including the passenger shelters across from the stations, the Pennington underpass, and the Hopewell signaling equipment.

== View 1973 train station images in the Image Gallery ==

== See more on the Hopewell Train Stations: History and Art ==

Updated 3/27/23 – On the “hanging cables”

Pennington Train Station

Passenger train service in Pennington ended in 1967, some five years before these photos. In the photo of the station, you can see that there are no benches by the station doors, and no railings on the remaining stairs down to the tracks.

The second photo shows an extended view along the tracks, including the industrial area and silo to the north, before the North Main bridge.

Pennington Train Station c1973 – Track side
Pennington Train Station c1973 – to North Main bridge

And the adjacent structures still stand – The passenger shelter across the tracks, and the underpass for passengers to cross the tracks (at West Franklin Avenue), with structures on each side to shelter the entrances to the tunnel (see earlier post).

Why did Pennington have an underpass, while passengers in Hopewell simply walked across the tracks? Presumably this was for safety reasons because of the way the track curved past the station in Pennington, while the straight track at Hopewell allowed commuters to see a long distance in both directions.

These new images compare well to 1974 images from the Denshaw family, who lived in the Pennington station during this period. Their photos focused on the passenger shelter and the underpass structures on each side of the tracks.

Pennington Train Station 1974 – Underpass by shelter [JED]
Pennington Train Station 1974 – Passenger Shelter [JED]
Pennington Train Station 1974 – Underpass by station [JED]

Hopewell Train Station

Hopewell Train Station c1973 – and Railroad Ave.

The Hopewell station was still in operation when these photos were taken, with the station agent still in the building, and renters occupying the top two floors.

The building and grounds were being maintained, with only the left side window bordered up (the rest room). There’s also a television antenna installed on the canopy roof outside the second floor.

The background of the track-side photo shows the scene across Railroad Avenue, with the corner building by Blackwell Avenue still sporting a Tudor look. Further up the tracks past the station are the big white FCA building (a farmer’s co-op) and a large silo.

Across from the train station is the passenger shelter, with the windows filled with a red design, and the stove pipe still projecting from the roof.

There are three tracks visible, plus a siding on the right along the freight shed and up to the front of the station. Note the raised path across the tracks between the station and the passenger shelter, and the asphalt mini-platform to help passengers board trains on the center track.

Hopewell Train Station c1973 – and Passenger Shelter
Hopewell Train Station c1973 – from bridge

The view further down the tracks shows the signal bridge across the tracks, with one light projecting above. Beyond on the left are a building just off the tracks (apparently for railroad workers), and then the tall thin Hope Tower signal tower that controlled signaling and track switching in the vicinity.

Also note what appear to be sets of hanging cables above each of the tracks, possibly to check the height of the trains.

Update: Robert Ey on Facebook notes: “The “hanging cables” probably are what would be called “tell-tales.” There were far fewer safety regulations in the steam era and brakemen had to use the walkways on top of freight cars while the train was in motion in order to set the brakes. If a brakeman wasn’t watching and got hit by a tell-tale, he would hopefully take it as a warning to duck or “hit the deck” in time to avoid a much more harmful encounter with the signal bridge or road bridge the train was about to pass under.”

Now Gone

These passenger shelters and underpass structures are now long gone, but we do still have these images to understand how they were part of using the railroad in our towns.

See the Image Gallery for a range of postcards, especially around 1900, and a limited set of photos over more recent history, including collections from 1976 to 1999 by Ralph Curcio, and from the 1950s courtesy of the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.

== View 1973 train station images in the Image Gallery ==

== See more on the Hopewell Train Stations: History and Art ==

We welcome additional information, photos, and materials on the history of the Hopewell Valley train service.

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