The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was one of the first railroads constructed in the United States.
Along with the Little Schuylkill, a horse drawn railroad in the Schuylkill River Valley. It formed the earliest components of what became the Reading Company. Primarily, the company was constructed to haul anthracite coal from the mines in northeastern Pennsylvania's Coal Region to Philadelphia.
The original mainline extended south from the mining town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania to Reading, Pennsylvania. The line then continued to Philadelphia, following the gently graded banks of the Schuylkill River for the ninety three mile journey. Upon it's completion in 1843, the Company's mainline had the first double track main line in the United States.
The Reading Company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1971.