Fanatic5 - Family Passions
Eastern Pennsylvania Railroads
Fanatic5 - Family Passions
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In My Father's Memory

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On September 2, 1868, management of the Delaware & Hudson entered into a contract with the Erie Railroad to build a line north from Carbondale over Ararat Summit, connecting with the Erie main line at Lanesboro (Jefferson) Junction. While this line would be built under the existing charter of the Jefferson Railroad Company, labor and capital would be furnished by the Erie.
 
On October 28, 1870, the first loads of coal rolled north out of Carbondale on the newly completed Jefferson Railroad and on toward Binghamton for a connection with the Albany & Susquehanna Railroad (D&H predecessor).
 
The D&H obtained trackage rights over this line in 1898 (from the Erie) and purchased the line from the Erie in 1955 (having most of the freight traffic).
 
The old D&H mainline (Penn Division) through Nineveh Jct., Windsor, Lanesboro (under Starrucca Viaduct), Thompson, Ararat, Forest City and Carbondale was abandoned under Guilford (circa 1985).

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The remains of the "Penn Division" were visited during the summer of 2005 . . . . .

D&H Mainline (Lanesboro, PA)
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Eastbound toward Starrucca Viaduct

D&H Mainline (Windsor, NY)
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After crossing into New York, the line passes this abandoned station

D&H Mainline (Windsor, NY)
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Abandoned bridge near station (railroad name still visible)

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D&H #1519 4-6-6-4 (Pennsylvania Division)

The D&H received 40 "Challenger" type 4-6-6-4's from the American Locomotive Company between 1940 and 1946. The railroad needed fast freight locomotives to expand "bridge-line" traffic, hauling trains from Mechanicville (NY), through Binghamton (NY), over Mt. Ararat Summit to Wilkes-Barre (PA). With 69" drivers, a boiler pressure of 285 psi and tractive effort at 94,000 (lbs.), these locomotives were well equipped to move fast freight across the system.
 

Class

Road #

Built

Builder

Locomotive Weight

J

1500-1519

1940

ALCO

597,000 lbs.

J

1520-1534

1943

ALCO

600,000 lbs.

J

1535-1538

1945

ALCO

604,500 lbs.

J

1539

1946

ALCO

599,500 lbs.

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D&H #1505 4-6-6-4

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D&H #1521 at Nineveh (NY) 3/29/48

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A Favorite Collectible

During the early years of the 20th century, the Delaware & Hudson's competitive business advantages caught the attention of the Roosevelt Administration. The "Hepburn Act" of 1906 was an initial attack toward railroads and coal mining companies, by attempting to stop monopolies and other practices considered bad for competition. This piece of legislation banned the railroads from shipping coal across state lines, should that coal be produced in mines owned by the railroads (the onset of railroad regulations).
 
Since these shipments were the basis for the Delaware & Hudson's original existence, the "Hepburn Act" was a serious threat to the company. However, a 1909 Supreme Court decision created a legal loophole, whereby a subsidiary, even if wholly owned by the railroad, could buy the coal from a railroad-owned mine and still ship it on that railroad. Thus, the Delaware & Hudson Company created the Hudson Coal Company as a subsidiary that became the "owner" of coal from its mines. As expected, the Hudson Coal Company shipped its product on the Delaware & Hudson Company's own railroad.
 
Our porcelain sign (shown above), illustrates this corporate lineage. The famous "script logo" of the Delaware & Hudson Company is incorporated into the Hudson Coal Company's logo. The Gravity Slope "Lackawanna" Colliery (a coal mine and all accompanying structures) was located in Archbald (north of Scranton, PA) and operated until October 5, 1955. Economists and historians have often stated that the "Hepburn Act" crippled the railroads, giving a tremendous advantage to other shippers, which ultimately created a giant "unregulated" trucking industry.

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Former mainlines of the Reading, Jersey Central and Lehigh Valley were visited during the summer of 2005 . . . . .
 

Reading Railroad (Birdsboro, PA)
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The old tower is located on the Reading - Philadelphia mainline

Reading Railroad (Pottstown, PA)
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Station has been revitalized as a bank

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad charter was passed on April 4, 1833 with a plan to construct a railroad from Philadelphia to Reading (54 miles) and further north to access the anthracite coal region. On December 31, 1923, the Reading Company merged a number of subsidiaries such as the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad to become an operating railroad company. See map below.
 
Today, the former Reading mainline from Philadelphia to Reading is only used for freight traffic, while passenger trains will use the former Pennsylvania mainline between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Pottstown and Birdsboro (junction point for the old branch to Coatesville and Wilmington) are located on this line.

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Reading Lines (circa 1907)

Reading & Northern Railroad
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Shops (Port Clinton, PA)

Current motive power includes old and new units acquired from other railroads. The roster boasts former Lehigh Valley "Pups" (SW-8) to SD-38's from Grand Trunk (DT&I) and Conrail (Penn Central), all actively operating on the system. Heavy repairs not performed at the Port Clinton shops (or retired locomotives) are sent to RMDI in Pittston. Port Clinton is also home to a pair of steam locomotives, C&O #614 and Reading #2102 (both stored).

Macungie, PA
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Reading "cast iron" crossbuck

The Reading & Northern is a key regional railroad situated within eastern Pennsylvania, operating over 300 miles of former Reading and Lehigh Valley track.

 

The line runs from Mehoopany to Lehighton (Lehigh Division) and Pottsville, Nesquehoning Jct. to Reading (Reading Division). Daily interchange occurs with Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific.

 

Base operations are located in the town of Port Clinton (PA). The Reading & Northern primarily hauls coal out of the Anthracite fields of eastern Pennsylvania for shipment throughout the United States and Canada. The railroad hauls a variety of other products including paper, sand, lumber, fertilizer and stone.

 

I had the opportunity to visit the Port Clinton yards with my sons on August 17, 2005. We toured and photographed the various motive power at the terminal and then caught returning trains from Tamaqua (QAMC, with #2000 & #2003) and the Port Clinton local (PNWC, with #802 & #800).

 

The following day was spent at Penobscot Yard (formerly CNJ), Mountain Top and Pittston on local jobs (PELE & PISB). A very friendly and obliging railroad!

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Reading & Northern Railroad
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SD50 #5029 (ex-UP) repaired at RMDI

Locomotive Graveyard
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RMDI Salvage Operations (Pittston, PA)

RMDI repairs and scraps locomotives from around the country, operating within the old Lehigh Valley Coxton Yards (Pittston, Pennsylvania). The remains of the old L.V. coal tower, yard office and roundhouse are still present.  

Lehigh Valley Coal Tower
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Coxton Yards (Pittston, PA)

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CNJ Station (Phillipsburg, NJ)
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The Lackawanna branches to the left (heading east toward Washington)

The Central Railroad of New Jersey, more commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines (or CNJ), was a regional railroad dating back to the 1830's and lasting until 1976, when it was finally absorbed into Conrail along with several other bankrupt railroads of the Northeast. The main line ran from a terminal at Jersey City west across New Jersey to Phillipsburg, crossing the Delaware River at Easton (PA), toward Allentown and eventually Scranton.
 
The Phillipsburg Union Station located along South Main Street, was the former passenger station for the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ) and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. The former CNJ "PU" tower is located just east of the station. This tower was once responsible for the junction of 5 railroads and was the last stop before heading west into Pennsylvania.

Josh and Jon (Phillipsburg, NJ)
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Abandoned Lehigh Valley signal bridge

Lehigh Valley Map (Current Day Operations)
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Map shows about 3 miles abandoned between Easton and Phillipsburg

The old Lehigh Valley line from Easton to Phillipsburg (over the Delaware River) was abandoned in favor of the existing CNJ bridge (used today). As eastbound trains exit the bridge into Phillipsburg, they are routed back onto the old LV main (about 1 mile east) to Oak Island. A portion of the abandoned Lehigh Valley at Phillipsburg (roadbed and signal bridge) is located just south of the CNJ tracks.

Lehigh Valley Bridge (Phillipsburg, NJ)
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Looking west over the abandoned Delaware River bridge (CNJ bridge in background)

CNJ #56 & #57 (Jim Thorpe, PA)
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F-3A Units (ex-BAR)

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The Lehigh Valley Railroad brought prosperity to the area of Jim Thorpe, PA (renamed from Mauch Chunk in 1954) by shipping anthracite. The beauty of the Lehigh River gorge earned the nickname "The Switzerland of America."

 

 

Jim Thorpe began a revitalization in the mid-1970's. The arrival of "Rail Tours" (1972) helped establish tourism with passenger trips from the old Jersey Central (CNJ) railroad station.

 

 

 

 

The Reading and Northern Railroad became a key player in 1996 with the purchase of the mainline line to Scranton (shared with NS). A new track was built over an unused bridge north of Jim Thorpe, creating a direct link to this line, while providing a route for the "Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway" service.

 

The "Rail Tours" operation has ended. No word on the future of the CNJ F-3A units (stored Jim Thorpe, August 18).

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Don't "STOP" now, there are more railroad pages to view!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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