This is ‘The Pennypacker Express’. What is it?
Some of you are saying, “It is probably a passenger train? Many passenger trains have the name ‘Express’.”
So, you think that ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is a passenger train? What if you were wrong about what you are thinking? What if ‘The Pennypacker Express’ was something completely different?
Well, you do not have to answer those questions because ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is a passenger train, but it was not just any passenger train. It was the personal transportation of Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker. Who was Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker? He served as the governor of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania from 1903 to 1907. ‘The Pennypacker Express’ was how he traveled between the state capital of Harrisburg to his summer home, Pennypacker Mills. It consisted of a locomotive and two passenger cars. The rail line was a short walk from his home in Schwenksville across a creek to the Schwenksville depot.
Can you ride the train today? The answer is no. The tracks are gone and is now a rail trail. The original depot burned down. The last depot of Schwenksville is now a sandwich shop. What happened to the train itself? The answer is unknown although there is a claim that the governor’s personal car may be part of a local restaurant. (The claim is currently under investigation.)
Another thing about ‘The Pennypacker Express’ is that not only did it have to do with Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker, but the Pennypacker family has great roots in the railroad. The next time you are in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, make a visit to Pennypacker Mills. Walk the trail where the Pennypacker Express once ran. (It is paved and safe for wheelchairs.) Both sites are owned and operated by Montgomery County Parks, Trails and Historic Sites. You can learn more about Pennypacker Mills, Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker and the Pennypacker family at https://www.montcopa.org/928/Pennypacker-Mills.