As a kid from the age of about 1 to 16, I lived with my family in a small community called Kaolin located in the South Eastern corner of Chester County Pennsylvania less than half a mile from the famous Delaware 12 mile Arc state line. It was called Kaolin because of the White Clay that was mined in the area to make fine china.
I can remember from an early age the haunting sound of a distant steam whistle and, in the Fall when the leaves had fallen, the actual sight of the creator of that sound. Upon hearing the engineer’s warning blasts to clear the track, I would rush out to our back porch, with its view of the valley, and watch the B&O locomotive cross the Board Run Trestle. The crossing was scheduled twice a week in both directions.
The Wilmington & Western built the trestle in the early 1870’s to open a line from Wilmington going Northwest following the Red Clay Creek to Yorklyn then turned Southwest to Hockessin and crossing the PA/DE state line at Southwood before crossing the Board Run and continuing to Landenberg. The W&W became part of the B&O in later years.
The trains ran servicing mills and businesses along the way until shortly after WW ll when the section from Hockessin to Landenberg was closed. I can remember well as a pre-teen getting the courage to walk out on that trestle and look down at the ground from between the ties. How high was it? Maybe 50-70 feet, but everything looked bigger back then.
I was saddened to see my trestle come to its final end and completely razed. But in 1966 the Historic Red Clay Valley, Inc. started the operation of steam powered passenger excursion trains on the line from Wilmington to Hockessin and called it the Wilmington and Western Railroad. They are still operating and check their website www.wwrr.com