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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 41174 times)
darktown2
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #100 on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:19pm »
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The first photo today where they were tearing up the branch. That was the F.W. Armatage building in red. They also had a siding.  Keith

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #101 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 8:58am »
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Just a few postings today... not much time.
 
Per the previous post from darktown2, here's a shot back along Sumner Ave. (looking south-east from west of 8th St.) showing a loaded gondola on the siding by the former F. W. Armitage building.  This wasn't their own siding, but was part of the two-block long passing siding that started under the 7th St bridge and ended west of 9th St.  Thank you, Keith, for your comments.  It's always nice having input from people who worked the lines.  


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #102 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:14am »
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Facing south-west while standing in the Rose Bowl's parking lot at 15th & Sumner Ave, Dave Latshaw caught a double-headed Conrail drill heading inbound past the former Hummel Warehouse site on 04/16/1979.  The large warehouse was destroyed by fire in 1975 and the lot was purchased by Ruhe Oldsmobile at 15th & Tilghman Sts. and used as additional storage space for their cars.  (The long, 2-story gray building in the middle right of the photo was owned at the time by Harold Stephens Wholesale Grocery and will be seen during the next few postings.  It's now the A-1 Restaurant Supply Co.)

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #103 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:24am »
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This shot taken by my friend around 1970 shows the Hummel Warehouse siding from the Fulton St. side, looking south-east.  Unfortunately I don't have any shots showing the 15th St. side of the building.  Hummel was the WEB's best customer in the 1960s, often receiving many new carloads each week.  The siding could hold a maximum of 3 cars and, due to a low spot about where the L&N boxcar sits, would often collect rainwater.  This was problematic in winter when ice would build up and sometimes cover the rails.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #104 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:33am »
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This 05/28/1970 shot, again from the Houser Collection, shows the eastbound drill just west of the N. 16th St. crossing.  The building to the right was the Harold Stephens Warehouse which often received shipments by rail.  They were one of the last remaining customers, receiving cars as late as 1981.  That's brakeman Bill Croll (Kroll?) on the right.  Any help darktown2 regarding the guy in the red shirt?

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #105 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:41am »
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In this slightly off-center 1969/1970 shot I took, the West End drill delivers two carloads of groceries to the Harold Stephens warehouse at 16th & Sumner, now A-1 Restaurant Supply Co.  The cars at left sit "up" on the WEB's main, as the warehouse's siding was below ground level.  My buddy and I always referred to this siding as "the pit".  The road crossing behind the train is N. West St.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #106 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:52am »
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Today's last post is another Latshaw shot taken from the 600-block of N. 17th St.  Dave was looking north on 12/19/1975 as the drill headed east, crossing the 17th & Tilghman intersection on a diagonal.  Due to high traffic on Tilghman St, the train always stopped before crossing this intersection to allow the conductor time to get off and go over to the traffic signal box located on the north-west corner.  He had a key to the box and would set the traffic light to 4-way red.  Once the train moved forward into the intersection, he'd reset the lights to automatic, lock the box and board the train.
 
I'll continue moving south, then east along the West End branch next time before returning to the outer end of the Barber branch.  Again, please feel free to post comments and ESPECIALLY any pictures you might have along any former Allentown branchline.   -Mark-


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #107 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 5:40pm »
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Found a free hour so I'll add a few more pictures today.
 
Here's a low-angle shot my school buddy took of the West End drill heading south across the Allen St. crossing between 17th & 18th Sts.  The train is outbound on the WEB main and the engine is about to reach the points-trailing turnout leading to the old Ice City warehouse seen on page 1 of this forum.  The track at right was the lead track which once ran to a number of siding servicing the Trexler Lumber Co. sheds between 17th & 16th Sts. and between Allen & Liberty Sts. and Liberty & Gordon Sts.  At the time this shot was taken (1969/1970), the sheds between Allen & Liberty Sts. were long gone and only a few cars a year were heading to Trexler Lumber & C.Y. Schelly Hardware companies in the block between Liberty & Gordon Sts.  (See page 1 for a picture of a boxcar being pulled from Schelly's shed.)  The points-facing turnout to this lead track was about 2-3 car lengths behind the boxcar pictured here.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #108 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 5:50pm »
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Though not dated, I believe this gloomy shot would have been from sometime in 1972.  I know the track was gone prior to the big fire at Trexler & Schelly's in late March of 1973.  You're looking north between Allen & Tilghman Sts.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #109 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 6:07pm »
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PP&L had a 3-car train called "The Energy of Man" which taught about energy creation and use.  During Allentown fair week during 1970 or 1971, the train was parked on Ice City's siding and opened to the public.  My friend photographed it from the rear, looking south toward Allen St.  The warehouse at left was Ice City warehouse #1, the same building that's visible from the other side and direction in the previous posting.  I remember that this train was later stored on PP&L's siding on the former L&NE branch in east Allentown, just off Union Blvd.  I don't know what happened to it from there, nor do I know the origin of the cars used for the train.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #110 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 6:12pm »
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Sorry, time's run out on me again.  I'll continue with more Ice City shots (my favorite area along the West End branch) tomorrow and head east at 17th & Liberty with some amazing pictures of the Trexler Lumber Co., including one dating back to about 1910.   -Mark-

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F3_4_me
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #111 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 7:15pm »
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The PP&L train was built out of Reading coaches..  
 
Somewhere in this vast internet we've got I read of it's disposition, but the where and what of it escape me right now..  
 
-Micah
 
P.S.  I'm really diggin' this topic!!


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When I joined the ARHS in '92, my occupation was listed as '3rd Grade'.
darktown2
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #112 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 8:20pm »
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The shot of the 291 with the man in the red shirt looks like Lewie Geiger. Not positive but sure looks like Lewie. His father used to let us on his caboose when they set out at Catasauqua in the early 1960's. His flagman was Wilbur Bowman. Perhaps the nicest guy I ever met as a kid. Wilbur passed away on that caboose around 1964. Lewie also worked as a yardmaster at Catasauqua yard. I also worked with him at the "heavy side hump" at CNJ's Allentown yard.............. Boy  Mark I am sure happy you remembered all those places we went into. The names of most of them escape me today. Per chance would you have any photos of a move into the Hess warehouse??  Thanks for waking this brain up.  Take err easy. Keith

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #113 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:59pm »
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Wow, that EXACT view of the LV 182 at 12th & Sumner with the field in the foreground is how I became interested in trains! In the early 1970's my parents lived on the 1100 block of Washington Street. My neighbor and I would hear the engine blowing for the crossings, and we'd dash across Washington Street through a field (now apartments), across Cedar Street, and across that field in the photo (now the site of the new Pennsylvania Supply warehouse). We'd pull nickels and quarters out of our pockets (which we normally spent on candy at Yarnall's market at 10th and Washington...but that's another memory), place them on the track and watch the switcher flatten them. The crews would wave to us as we retrieved our souvenirs. Great memories!

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #114 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:10pm »
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I'm getting misty eyed at that shot of the 2 SW's unloading the World of Mirth Show at 11th and Sumner (at the Charles Bell siding lead). In 1976 we moved to 11th Street in Whitehall, one block north of Sumner. Alas, I was born too late, as I could have watched the circus unload from my living room window!
 
I got my first camera for Christmas 1981 (a Kodak 110 Instamatic) and here is the only time I took a photo of a train on the branch. Conrail NW2 #9244 (ex LV #184) and caboose #18687 are traveling westbound at 11th and Sumner Avenue in 1982 with an empty gondola for the United Compressed Steel scrap yard. Pennsylvania Plate Glass is to the extreme right in the photo.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #115 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:49pm »
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In 1984 I biked along the then abandoned West End branch, taking photos of track and buildings before the inevitable scrapping took place. I've posted some photos on another site (Google "West End Branch") and I won't repeat them here. But here are 2 shots I hadn't posted.
Here is a shot looking at the buildings/track between New Street and 9th Street. The red building in the background is F.W. Armatage (now occupied by Euro Marble & Granite). Next were some really neat old large wooden sheds (torn down in the late 80's?).  I'm told the grey building at the extreme right was once a shoe factory.
The branch was two tracks wide at this point... a long passing siding that began at 7th Street. There was a set of crossovers just in front of F.W. Armitage (visible in the earlier photo of the loaded gondola). Beyond that crossover, the second track had been in disuse for years...it's buried under the gravel and would be where the American Family Services van is parked in the photo.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #116 on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:59pm »
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Turning 180 degrees from the previous view, and your looking at the Morris Greenberg Hay and Grain company at New Street and Sumner Avenue. The New Street crossing still had 2 tracks in it, but beyond it the second track was nothing but rail-less, rotted ties by this time. The second track had at one time continued past the Weaver coal yard and tied back into the main at 11th and Sumner.
As a kid I always wondered what a Hay and Grain dealer was doing located in the city. But you must remember that when the branch was built until right up through the late 50's, there were acres of farmland just to the north of the branch along Sumner Avenue. Now it's all suburbia!


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photoman475
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #117 on: Nov 18th, 2010, 7:55am »
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This thread has been very interesting and informative-please keep it up!
 
Now, a question for anyone on this thread:  From what I've been able to figure out from this thread, the Reading served the Mack Truck plant.  Did the LV or any other road also serve Mack?
 
Any assistance would be appreciated.
 
Alan


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #118 on: Nov 18th, 2010, 9:32am »
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Before continuing with my slide show, allow me to respond to and comment about the recent postings.
 
F3_4_me, Micah: Thanks for resolving the issue as to where PP&L obtained the coaches for their Energy of Man train.  Older guys like me (55) tend to forget just how many things can be found serching the Internet.  
 
darktown2, Keith: I spent many, many hours during my "formative years" playing around, walking and biking along, and being driven along and later driving myself along the West End branch... especially the outer end (beyond 13th & Sumner Ave.)  It's because of this that I've been searching for years for others who have slides or pictures they shot so I could add to my collection or at least see things I missed.  One day while riding along in the engine near 13th & Scott St, Harold pointed out to me a photographer who was taking pictures of the train.  To this day I've never found those pictures which would most certainly have included me leaning out of the cab window.  I'm hoping they still surface at some point and haven't ended up in a landfill somewhere.  
Unfortunately, because of my young age back then (13/14/15) and my belief that the WEB would always be in operation -- as well as the fact that I didn't get a 35mm automatic focus camera until 1981, right near the end of service along the WEB -- I never shot all that many pictures of action on the WEB myself.  That's why I started this forum... with the hopes that others would join in the discussion and begin posting their own photos from those wonderful days of railroading in Allentown.  And, yes, I have two shots showing the Hess Brother's siding at 17th & Liberty which will appear shortly.
 
one87th, Mike: Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Finally, someone else with pictures to share!     I'm glad you mentioned the long passing siding down by the Armitage building and the fact that there was a crossover located at that point.  I gave the impression that the siding was two-blocks long when, in fact, it was closer to four city blocks long.  You're correct, it did run from 7th St. to almost 11th.  See, I told you I spent more time west of 13th St.  Glad to have someone younger to refresh my memory as to the things east of 13th St.    Thanks again for your contributions.  The picture attached I omitted from my first group of shots along Sumner Ave. because the angle doesn't give a good idea as to where this was.  However, I'll tell you -- because you talked twice about the rotted ties and gravel covering the rails here -- that this shot was taken by my friend (that's his bike in the lower right) looking west at the crossing at N. New St. & Sumner Ave.  The single box to the left was at what was then "Hummel 2" warehouse (today American Family Services), while the two other boxcars waiting for placement at the warehouse door were sitting directly in front of the Morris Greenberg hay & grain company you so wonderfully showed in your photograph.  So you see, there was a time when the western end of that 4-block long passing siding saw regular service.
 
photoman475: To my knowledge, the Reading, via its Mack branch, was the only railroad to service the Mack plant.  There was a great difference in elevation between the Reading's right-of-way and the Valley's Barber branch in that part of town.  I highly doubt that the Valley ever used the Traylor Company's switchback to gain access to the Mack branch, but if anybody knows differently, please tell us about it.  By the way, glad to know you're enjoying this thread.  Please tell some railfan friends about it.  The more people who know about this forum, the more chance I'll have at seeing those pictures taken of me in the engine near 13th & Scott Sts in 1969!    
 
More WEB shots to follow.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #119 on: Nov 18th, 2010, 9:47am »
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I said yesterday that the Ice City area along the West End branch was my favorite part of the line.  I think it was because of it's curving track, the climb in elevation, the fact most of that area was double-tracked (the lead to the lumber company sidings) and the fact that placement of cars along the Ice City sidings was a fairly rare occurrence.  In this 1972 or 1973 shot, the drill has just placed a boxcar on Ice City's warehouse siding at Allen St. and is backing down the "main" to pick up its train.  Look closely and you'll see that the lead track into C.Y. Schelly and Trexler Lumber Co. has been removed.  In this south-facing view, the building to the left of the SW is the American Drycleaners and the large, yellowish building to the right is the Allentown Hospital.

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