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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 43312 times)
A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #140 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:10am »
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Another Houser shot taken 3-months prior to the previous post shows PC #9160 running light at the same location.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #141 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:20am »
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On 09/21/1976, Dave Latshaw was lucky enough to photograph his favorite branchline being serviced by Ironton Baldwin #751.  This great late-summer shot shows the park-like setting through which this part of the railroad ran.  I learned as I got older that it's much better to stand back some distance when photographing railroad activity instead of moving in and "filling the frame with the train".  I've much regretted the fact that too many of my early pictures didn't take in enough of the surrounding area which helps to identify where a picture was taken... and also allows the younger generations to see more of how things used to look.  I think this beautiful shot of Dave's proves my point.  Love those Weeping Willow trees!

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #142 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:31am »
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Also taken on 09/21/1976 but during the earlier outbound run, Dave captured this beautifully painted L.V. caboose (#95094) from his "through the trees" location, looking north.  This trestle still stands today, though the rails were removed from its ties during January, 1986.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #143 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:44am »
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This 1970/1971 shot taken by my buddy shows the eastern portion of the Robert A. Reichard Fertilizer Company which used to sit at 19th & Lawrence Sts.  (Lawrence St. became what is today Martin Luther King Blvd.)  Taken just west of the previously shown trestle, looking west, this picture shows an uncommon placement of two boxcars along the Barber branch's main track.  At this point in time, Reichard was still a good customer on the branch, receiving mostly boxcars and a tankcar every so often.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #144 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:53am »
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On the same day, moving just west of the distant boxcar previously pictured, my buddy took this picture showing one of the more rare tankcars placed on a short siding just east of Reichard's water tower.  The track curving to the left is the Barber "main".  The rust on the railheads would make it seem like weeks since a train had run on the line, but I remember my friend saying he shot this on a Sunday (when Reichard's was closed) and it had been raining in the days just prior to his taking this picture, making things look less-used than they actually were.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #145 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:06pm »
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Moving farther west on that same rainy weekend, my friend took this shot showing Reichard's main, mostly-wooden building with two boxcars ready for unloading raw materials or shipping out fertilizer.  This siding was serviced from a points-facing turnout located between the previous photo's location and where the photographer was standing when he took this picture.  I remember passing by this location on M.L.K. Blvd, soon after demolition of this plant had taken place.  The huge pile of red, splintered wood made it look like a bomb had been dropped on the building.  Today, the location has been mostly reclaimed by Nature.  One would never know such a large industrial complex once stood in this now grass and weed-covered area.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #146 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:20pm »
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The next customer west of Reichard (until 1981) was Hawk Flour Mills, Inc.  Their cinderblock warehouse located near 20th & Lawrence Sts. (now Second Harvest Food Bank) had a rear wall built in several slightly angled sections to allow for the curvature of their siding which sat inside of a curving Barber main.  During my rare Barber branch ride with the Valley's morning crew, I quickly snapped this photo of a LV snowbird boxcar which sat on Hawk's siding.  Though we were still moving outbound (west) along the line, the engine faced inbound.  Look closely to the right side of the picture and you might be able to make out the caboose, a tank car pulled from Linde, and the end of a boxcar.  Things were rather tight along this part of the branch being that the Cedar creek paralleled the tracks just a few yards to the right of the train.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #147 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:32pm »
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Sorry, guys.  Just realized after posting the previous picture that the downloaded image was smaller than my original 828-sized slide, so the caboose does not appear in that picture.  You can, however, see the rear of the tankcar and end of the boxcar... barely.
 
In this purchased slide from the Houser Collection,  a LV Baldwin works the Ziegenfuss Quarry located just west of the Hawk Flour Company.  The slide was dated 06/22/1964.  By 1970, the rails leading to the quarry had been removed.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #148 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:51pm »
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Taken looking north-east along the back side of Kemmerer's Public Siding (located parallel to the S. St. Elmo St. grade crossing) this unfortunately dark shot of mine show's the Barber drill, immediately following its repositioning the location of the engine on the train via a "flying switch" maneuver.  (Engine uncouples from train while moving forward on a slight downgrade after all hand and air brakes are released from the cars.  Engineer accelerates down one leg of a turnout.  Brakeman throws the switch after the engine clears the points, allowing the slow-moving cars to roll onto the other leg of the turnout.  The conductor or second brakeman applies the hand brake to the caboose to stop the train from rolling beyond the end of track which has a slight upward grade to it.  The points to the turnout are thrown again, allowing the engine to reverse.  Again the points are thrown and the engineer moves his engine forward, re-coupling to his train.  Air hoses are reconnected and air pressure in the train is brought back up.  The train reverses direction.)  This maneuver allowed the crew to keep the engine on the head-end of the train during the inbound trip in areas where runaround tracks were not available.  It also reverses the order of the cars on the train, moving the caboose (in this case) from directly behind the engine to the rear of the train.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #149 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:05pm »
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Another slide from the Houser Collection shows a 07/21/1966 scene of LV #289 backing across the last bridge on the branch, a timber-deck bridge only about 25 feet in length which crossed a feed to the Cedar creek.  The water visible to the right of the engine's nose is the pond at Union Terrace. (The view is south-east.)  The track along the pond was left uprooted and twisted after the storm and flood in August of 1982.  While this bridge -- which sat just south of the Walnut St. crossing -- is  no longer in place, the concrete abutments are still visible.  Hey, darktown2, any help identifying these crew members?

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #150 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:13pm »
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Another of my favorite shots by David Latshaw shows Conrail's drill backing across the same short bridge previously pictured.  The load of granite blocks from Vermont is about to cross Walnut St. and be pushed inside of the shed at Wenz Memorial Company, located at 20th & Hamilton Sts.  Dave was facing east on 12/28/1979 when he captured this great, rare move near end-of-line.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #151 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:21pm »
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Moments after Houser shot the photo posted 2 images back, he got this great shot in what was then the last block of the line.  The date is 07/21/1966 and you're looking north-east from the south side of Walnut St.  Wenz Company is behind the train and Hamilton St. is just beyond view, behind the ACY boxcar.  Stand there today and look at the same scene.  What a difference 44 years can make!

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« Reply #152 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:32pm »
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My final posting from our tour along the Valley's Barber branch was taken by Dave Latshaw on 12/22/77 and shows a Conrail drill (still in Valley paint) either placing or pulling a car from deep inside the Wenz Company's shed.  Though poorly exposed, this faded image shows things from Allentown's railroad past which will never be again... unless, of course, R.J. Corman can obtain another grant to extend the Barber branch all the way to the end of where it once ran.  
 
Hope you've enjoyed this tour along the Valley's southern-most Allentown branchline.  Next time (which may not be for a couple days... yard work and leaf raking to do), I'll continue with our trip along the outer end of the Valley's West End branch.  Please feel free to post comments, ask questions and, as always, POST ANY PICTURES YOU MAY HAVE.  Thanks guys!    - Mark -


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darktown2
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« Reply #153 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 8:24pm »
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Sorry Mark, I can't be much help with that last photo to tell you who I think the crew is. Just not clear enough and that 44 year thing!! I can tell you this however, whenever we shoved a car out to Wentz it was a GREAT experience. You just had to see how beautiful that area was back then. The entire ride past Hawk Flour was a picture post card. I only made the Wentz move about 6 times but it sure was a treat. Man do I miss that job!!! Keep up the GREAT work Mark and I will try to talk with the men I told you about. I'll let you know if they can share anything. GOOD STUFF!!  Take err easy   Keith

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BlackDiamondRR
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« Reply #154 on: Nov 19th, 2010, 8:43pm »
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 Great coverage of this branch! Appreciate the postings! Another industry name popped up in Keith's message.....Hawk Flour. A kit for a Hawk Milling facility exists too (in addition to J. Harry Jones), now I wonder if that kit was patterned after "Hawk Flour". Have to locate my catalog sheets w/photos of those kits.
 
 Bud


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #155 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 8:45am »
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Got the leaves raked and grass cut one last time yesterday so it's time for more memories along the former West End branch.  First a few responses to recent postings:
 
photoman475:  I did some more reading of Dave Latshaws 1988 article on the Barber branch and found out what I told you about the Reading being the only railroad to service the Mack Trucks plant wasn't totally correct.  During my lifetime, only the Reading RR served Mack.  However, in the early 1900s, the Mack complex under the 8th St. bridge was larger and included buildings along the Barber branch, one of which on 08/31/1962 became the Traylor Engineering & Manufacturing Co. pictured in my former postings.  Therefore, if you go back far enough in time, Mack was, indeed, serviced by the Lehigh Valley RR.
 
darktown2:  I agree, Keith.  That outermost section of the Barber branch was one of my favorite parts of the line.  Unfortunately, being that the line was most often served by the second trick during the late afternoon or evening hours, I never personally witnessed anything moving along the Union Terrace stretch of track.  By the way, per Latshaw's article, "At one time it was possible for Wenz to order blocks of granite from a Vermont quarry and have them delivered on a flatcar to their siding within 5 working days.  During the 1950s, they received an average of 2 to 3 flatcars per month.  By 1980, delivery by rail dwindled to approximately one car every other month and it required 5 weeks to complete delivery." (Thanks, Conrail!)  Rail service to Wenz ended in 1981, one year prior to the 1982 flood which destroyed a large portion of track beyond Linde.
 
BlackDiamondRR: Don't know anything about a model of Hawk Flour Co.  If you find out more, please let us know.
 
Now, back to the slide show!


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #156 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 9:16am »
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The last picture I had posted along the WEB was taken near the N. 16th crossing, by the intersection with W. Gordon St. in Allentown.  This shot, just east of that location, was captured by Charles Houser on 05/29/1969 as the drill with caboose #95134 headed inbound, just west of Fulton St, after servicing customers along the final 4 blocks of track known as the Scott St. extension.  (Scott St. is the small alley which runs from 15th to 13th St, just north of Gordon St and used to run directly next to the WEB's "main".)  The building to the left was a small photo lab called "Classic Photo" and was where I purchased and had slide film developed.  The rail siding was no longer used, as is evident from the boarded-up loading door.  The low, brick building visible in the distance (between Classic Photo and the train) is the rear (16th St. side) of Hess's warehouse.  To the far right is the corner of the original Harold Stephen's warehouse.

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« Reply #157 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 9:41am »
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Turning close to 180-degrees from the previous shot, Houser moments earlier captured the head end of the train as it prepared to cross N. Fulton St.  The large, brick building visible over the back of the train (on the east side of N. 15th St.) was the former A.H. Balliet company.  Per Latshaw's WEB article, Balliet once received gondolas filled with cedar logs which they'd turn into cigar boxes -- a big industry in the area during the early 1900s.  The building still stands today.  The engineer on this beautiful 05/29/1969 day was my buddy, Harold Barwick.  Brakeman Bill Croll was standing on the right of the engine, but the young man to the left was unknown to me.  Any help, darktown2?  The turnout directly in front of the engine led to the Harold Stephens siding.  The old rails visible at the bottom were, at one time, a block-long passing siding which serviced a couple of coal companies and other industries located between Fulton and Franklin Sts.

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« Reply #158 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:06am »
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This 09/23/1976 shot of Dave Latshaw's shows a short, outbound train approaching the N. 15th St. crossing.  Dave took this shot looking east, north-east from what today is the north side of the parking lot of Wawa at 15th & Gordon Sts.  Behind the train was the beginning of a long passing siding which ran from this block, past the A.H. Balliet building and all the way into the 12th St. yard.  During the 1960s until abandonement of the line in 1982, the siding was only occasionally used between this location and a crossover just east of N. 14th St., never beyond.

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« Reply #159 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:20am »
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On 02/12/1976, Houser shot #184 in her last Valley paint as she sat empty and idling by the 15th St. crossing.  The crew was most likely having lunch in the small diner which sat just north of here... the back door of which is visible under the billboard.  This is now a pizza shop who's recent addition to the south partially sits on the former Valley right-of way.  You can see the passing siding lead just to the lower left of the engine.

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