The existing Passenger Station in Wernersville is the second one to be built in this community. The first station, a small frame structure, was provided as part of the initial development of the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company. A small Freight Station was also provided. Similar facilities were constructed in each of the communities along the line from Reading to Harrisburg. The first train of the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company ran from Reading to Lebanon on June 30, 1857. The first passenger train ran from Reading to Harrisburg on January 18, 1858. Early timetables show that all passenger trains stopped at all of these stations.
Wernersville was under development as early as 1831 and by 1855 a right-of-way was deeded to the Lebanon Valley Railroad Company. Agreements supposedly were made that the town would be named for William Werner, the town developer, and that all passenger trains would stop at the new station.
The Philadelphia and Reading Company acquired the Lebanon Valley Company in 1858 and the Lebanon Valley Railroad became the Lebanon Valley Branch of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. The railroad deserves much of the credit for the successful development of Wernersville and the resort industry that flourished on the mountain to the south of this community.
The initial deed acknowledges that additional agreements were made, but did not include their details. Although no written proof of the agreements has been found, we know that the station was named Wernersville and that all passenger trains did stop there. Seventeen trains stopped each workday in 1914. There were only 13 trains on a Sunday. The traffic increased to 18 trains in 1927 and 26 trains in 1941. The only towns between Reading and Harrisburg that enjoyed this degree of railway service were Wernersville and Lebanon.
Construction on the existing station was started in late 1926 and the station opened for business on Monday, June 6, 1927. The construction of granite and limestone with a slate roof and central heating as well as its size of 1820 square feet attest to the significance of this station since lesser ones remained as small frame structures. A covered platform,340 feet long, coupled the station to the adjacent track.
All passenger railroad service was terminated in the late 1950's and the Wernersville station was sold to the Hoover Motor Company in 1962. Used as a storage facility and receiving no significant maintenance for the past 40 years, the station remains in respectably good condition. The original Freight Station was moved approximately 100 feet to the west of its initial location as the new Passenger Station was constructed in 1926. The Freight Station is privately owned, has served as a gift shop, and more recently converted to a small restaurant that currently remains in operation.
The objective of The Heidelberg Heritage Society is to restore the Passenger Station and its platform in the interests of historic preservation. The facility will then be incorporated into the Society's program, which hosts special historical displays and events.
Heidelberg Heritage Society
182 West Penn Avenue, Wernersville, PA 19565
The Wernersville Train Station - Then and Now