October 27, 1898: Nine Tramps Arrested for Destroying Colebrookdale Railroad Track


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA

October 27, 1898: Nine tramps have been arrested at Guldin’s Woods, near New Berlinville, and taken to jail in Reading for trying to wreck the Colebrookdale train as it was flying along on its way from Pottstown to Barto.

Fortunately, the engineer saw an obstruction on the track and brought the train to a standstill, to the surprise of the passengers. A railroad sill was lying across the track, and luckily it was half-rotted, because the engine merely cut it to pieces as it slowly passed over it.

Suspicion rested upon the tramps who had set up headquarters in the woods for the winter. They had built a fireplace along the creek to warm themselves and cook the food they had stolen from the local farmers, using the rails from fences they had torn down for firewood.

The local police apprehended them, and they have been charged with committing various depredations along the Colebrookdale Railroad track.

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