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Allentown branchlines
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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #160 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:40am »
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A special Sunday move of some farm equipment headed for the unloading ramp in the 12th St. yard was captured at the N. Franklin St. crossing during June, 1973 by another former neighbor and current friend of mine.  This great shot, looking west along Scott St., shows part of the former short passing siding (left) which used to service some coal yards (part of which still exists), as well as the more northern passing siding which ran in front of Balliet's building.  The small white building visible beyond the end of Scott St. was Harold Stephens Co.  You can see how the WEB's main track ran directly next to Scott St.  Brakeman Bill Croll wears the dark blue shirt, but the man standing on the engine steps is unknown to me.  Any help, darktown2?

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #161 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:53am »
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Just to clarify in my previous caption, part of the siding to the left can still be found just west of Franklin St, not part of the former coal yards the track once served.
 
This 11/28/1960 Houser shot shows an interesting PRR boxcar parked on the little-used, long passing siding... just west of N. 14th St.  The building pictured to the right is the former Allentown Bobbin Works, a company who once made wooden bobbins for the silk industry.   The building still stands today.  The WEB's main track is visible in the shadow cast by the former Lehigh Valley Transit's 14th St. trolley-car barn, located to the south of Scott St.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #162 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:57am »
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Dave Latshaw's 07/03/1975 shot shows the West End drill heading west across N. 14th St., the same location as the previous posting.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #163 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 11:13am »
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I took this post-abandonement shot in April, 1984.  You're looking east from the 14th St. crossing.  The crossover pictured here was used more in Conrail days than during the 1960s and 1970s days of the Lehigh Valley.  Conrail began using this passing siding track to runaround their train and push cars east toward the 12th St. yard.  Lehigh Valley crews -- at least the one I rode with and followed most often -- always used the "flying switch" maneuver (previously explained on one of the last Barber branch postings) and only used this track to place an occasional boxcar west of 14th St... where the PRR boxcar previously shown was placed.  I personally never witnessed this passing siding used beyond the turnout shown, though the picture I'll post after this shows this track in service during 1928.  The reddish lumber shed shown in the distant right was the Ritter & Smith Lumber Company, located in the 1200 block of Gordon St. and demolished less than two years ago.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #164 on: Nov 21st, 2010, 11:28am »
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Today's last picture shows a LV coal hopper sitting on top of the siding at the Hoch Contracting Co in the winter of 1928.  Mr. Hoch sent me this picture after I met him during the early 1980s while visiting the Black Diamond Model RR club.  I had told him of my interest in the WEB when we spoke and a few weeks later, this picture (and several others showing the interior, curved truck ramp which led down to the basement of the building where coal loading took place) arrived for me in the mail.  This is the same passing siding pictured in the previous posting, but taken looking west from N. Madison St.  (Look closely at the former picture and you can see the wooden planks which once covered the coal pits when not in service.)  This building was most recently occupied by Jack's Auto Glass.
 
Next time I'll begin here at Madison St. and move east to the end-of-line at the 12th St. Terminal/yard.  Keep those comments, questions and pictures coming!   -- Mark


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #165 on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 2:25am »
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More AWESOME PICS!!!!  Two questions... 1. Did the tracks of the Linden Street yard re-connect with the passenger line ? 2. Where did the Barbers Quarry Branch cross MLK? The r.o.w. is pretty hard to find past where Reichards once stood.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #166 on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:45am »
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IRR:  If you stand at Gordon St. & American Pkwy, you'll see the current end of track which R.J. Corman now uses as a switching lead.  Keep in mind that American Pkwy. runs over the former right-of-way of the CNJ.  Prior to Conrail, the track Corman uses connected with the CNJ's track near the Gordon St. crossing.  However, there was no other connection from the yard to the Jordan Loop... other than that previously shown in my photo of the East Penn drill approaching the Linden St yard by the remains of the turnout to the WEB.
Regarding the Barber branch crossing MLK Blvd: Before MLK Blvd was extended to join into S. 24th St, things were very different in that part of town and there was no crossing of MLK.  There were 2 grade crossings in that part of town, on along S. 20th St (previously pictured) and the other was near the Hawk Flour Co. warehouse.  The road which now dead-ends by Hawk's warehouse used to continue across the branch and the Cedar creek.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #167 on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 3:00pm »
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Sorry, but only time for a couple of postings today.
 
This 05/05/1976 shot by Houser in the early Conrail days shows LV#192 crossing N. Madison St. at Scott St.  Looking northwest, you can see the turnout (the one behind the engine) leading to the crossover pictured in the shot I previously posted which was looking east from 14th St.  The brick building to the right is the former Hoch Contracting Co. where the previous picture of the coalcar was taken.  The engine has most likely just finished its flying switch maneuver and is ready to move back east to couple onto its train.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #168 on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 3:13pm »
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This picture, believed taken by local rail photographer Randolph Kulp, was dated 05/15/1955... about 4 month prior to my birth.  The view was from the 1300 block of W. Gordon St. where my grandparents once lived, looking north-west across a field which previously contained some LVT holding tracks.  It later became the site for the PA Employment Office... now a medical supply company.  This picture shows the eastward movement of some L&NE equipment toward the middle team tracks located in the 12th St. yard.  There was a special railroad display being held there during 1955 which also included a number of passenger coaches.  The tall building in the background is a former factory which today stands as low-income apartments on the south-west corner of 14th & Liberty Sts.
 
Sorry, but out of time for today.  Will continue tomorrow.   -- Mark


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #169 on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:16pm »
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on Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:45am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
IRR:  If you stand at Gordon St. & American Pkwy, you'll see the current end of track which R.J. Corman now uses as a switching lead.  Keep in mind that American Pkwy. runs over the former right-of-way of the CNJ.  Prior to Conrail, the track Corman uses connected with the CNJ's track near the Gordon St. crossing.  However, there was no other connection from the yard to the Jordan Loop... other than that previously shown in my photo of the East Penn drill approaching the Linden St yard by the remains of the turnout to the WEB.
Regarding the Barber branch crossing MLK Blvd: Before MLK Blvd was extended to join into S. 24th St, things were very different in that part of town and there was no crossing of MLK.  There were 2 grade crossings in that part of town, on along S. 20th St (previously pictured) and the other was near the Hawk Flour Co. warehouse.  The road which now dead-ends by Hawk's warehouse used to continue across the branch and the Cedar creek.

Thanks for the quick response on my questions..Those 2 areas always confused me...  I'm really interested in seeing pics of the wire mill..I never even heard of the wire mill till my friend loaned me his vhs copy of a slide presentation on the West End and Barbers Quarry branches that he purchased through the ARHS..I'm AMAZED such a huge industrial complex could be so utterly obliterated!!! Only evidence of anything is the name of the park off of MLK... Wire Mill Meadows...


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #170 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:09am »
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IRR: Most of the wire mill was gone by the time I began exploring the Barber branch, so I've got nothing to post from that area that shows what an amazing complex of buildings that was.
If you've seen the video of the slide presentation, you've obviously already viewed most of what I've shown here... other than a couple of later Barber branch shots which I've never shown before.  When Dave Latshaw and I discovered we shared a common interest in the Allentown branchlines of the LV, we each made copies of our collections for the other... virtually doubling the size of our previous collections.  I knew Dave had put on some slide presentations in past years, but I didn't know a video of one of them was made until I read about it in a comment previously posted on Railfan.net.  It was at that moment I decided to give my own presentation via this forum... mainly so that others who'd never seen the video would be able to view what they had missed.  I also keep hoping other railfans will share pictures they've shot, for I'm always interested in seeing things I may have missed.
 
Back to the West End branch slides.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #171 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:24am »
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Back on page 1 of this forum, ClearBoard posted (in the 10th post) a map of the 12th St. Terminal taken from Dave Latshaw's article on the WEB.  I'll use the track numbers and notations from that map to help viewers understand where the next series of slides were taken.
 
This Latshaw shot from 09/23/1976 is looking west as the drill shoves across the N. 13th St. crossing on the lead to track #3.  Most cars which were spotted for loading or unloading in the 12th St. yard during the 1960s and 1970s were placed on the #3 team track.  Track 4 was kept open and used for the drill's "flying switch" maneuver.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #172 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:38am »
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Taken by me in 1969, this shot... looking in the other direction (facing east) from where the previous photo was taken... shows one of the longer trains I remember on the branch.  You can see track #3 in the foreground as the engine had just reconnected to its train on track #4.  The caboose sits near end-of-track, just a few yards west of N. 12th St. and the West End Cemetery.  This was obviously in the days before "close and lock doors before moving car" was stenciled on the sides of boxcars!

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #173 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:46am »
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This 11/06/1975 shot from the Houser Collection shows the drill moving east on track #3 to pick up a car or two on the east end of the track.  The brick building to the right of the caboose was originally the Penna. Ind. Oil Co, later to become a discount tire and auto repair garage.  It still exists today.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #174 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:58am »
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Another Houser shot taken 06/20/1979 shows a double-headed Conrail drill removing an empty boxcar from farther up the same track #3.  The building to the left of the lead engine was originally the M.S. Young Company warehouse, later to become the Ritter & Smith (roofing) Truss Co.  Though I never saw anything parked at their door other than some World of Mirth flatcars stored during fair week, the weed-covered track (labled as the "Ladder Track" on the map) ran along the far side of the building, right along the Liberty St. sidewalk.  Today, CVS Pharmacy stands in this location.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #175 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:13am »
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Here's another Kulp photo showing the L&NE exhibit in the 12th St. yard during May, 1955.  To the far right is the LV drill and a boxcar sitting up on track #2, by the unloading ramp.

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« Reply #176 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:34am »
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In the very early 1970s, I stood along W. Liberty St. between 12th & 13th Sts. and snapped this picture of three "green" boxcars while facing south.  (Notice the 40-foot BN car.)  My buddy and I were thrilled at the time to find a string of cars along the WEB that weren't plain old boxcar brown (red).  It looks like the Valley had recently removed the unused ladder track in the foreground which previously led to M.S. Young, National Bisuit and the Trexler Lumber planing mill by the time this picture was taken.  I don't remember the year, but sometime during the early 1970s, the Valley came along the WEB and removed a number of unused turnouts and sidings.  I suppose some of the better rails were re-used and the remainder were sold for scrap value.  The long white building with red roof in the background was the former Mauser Flour Mill Co. and, at this point, the Peters Fertilizer Company... one of the more regular customers on the branch at the time.  This building -- along with the former Ritter & Smith Lumber Co Shed, were demolished within the past year or two.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #177 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:47am »
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Next time, I'll finish our tour by moving over to shots taken along the southern part of the 12th St. yard... along tracks 1 & 2.  I'll leave you today with a B&W shot of the LVT moving west along Gordon St. about 1950.  Taken by an unknown photographer while standing just a few doors east of my grandparents' house, this east-facing view clearly shows the massive J. Harry Jones coal pocket (complete with it's own billboard) which once sat along the east side of N. 13th St, just north of Gordon.
 
As always, I hope you're enjoying these windows to the past.  Please join in with any stories, questions or photos you may have.    -- Mark


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davidyur
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #178 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 11:14am »
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I'm enjoying these pictures very much.  I can't wait to get to my computer every day!
 
I was curious if you have any pictures of the location where the Jordan Loop (passenger line) left the WEB (about a mile from the Allentown LV passenger station).  Photos of the Jordan Loop are very rare.  A few years ago, someone put up a photo of a LV passenger train coming down the loop toward its connection with the mainline, but that's the only picture of the loop I've ever seen.
 
Also, from the looks of your pictures, there appear to be many different engines working the WEB.  Were any specific engines assigned to that branch, and were they kept overnight at the 12th street yard?
 
Thanks for any info.
davidyur


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #179 on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 5:40pm »
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I'm intrigued by those "flying switch" moves, especially in an ubran environment. I'm assuming it required at least 4 people to perform... engineer, conductor riding on footboard to release the coupler, a brakeman on the boxcar and a flagman to flag those unprotected grade crossings.
 
Would something like this be possible with today's 2 person crews?


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