The Reading and Columbia Rail Road completed its trackage between Sinking Spring and Columbia, Pennsylvania in 1864. With trackage rights over the Reading’s Lebanon Valley Branch between Reading and Sinking Spring, the R&C was successful in connecting its namesake cities.
After assuming operations of the R&C in 1923, the Reading Company merged the line into its fold in 1945, and it became the Reading’s Reading and Columbia Branch. With Conrail’s takeover of the Reading, connections with former PRR lines at Lancaster, Landisville, and Columbia allowed abandonment of about eighteen miles of the line, with four segments remaining.
Today, the segment from Sinking Springs to Stevens, with trackage rights to Reading to Sinking Springs on NS, is operated by East Penn Railways. Norfolk Southern operates the segment from Lancaster to Lititz via Lancaster Junction. The Landisville Railroad operates about one mile timetable west from Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line at Landisville, and the Columbia and Reading Railway operates a similar length segment at the far end of the line in Columbia. Additionally, the East Penn operates a short piece of the former Mount Hope branch near Manheim.
Shown here, the Reading and Columbia freight house in Columbia has been restored to its onetime appearance.