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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 43531 times)
A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #20 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 4:59pm »
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IRR: Nice angle on that first shot of yours.  Yes, I knew that bumper still existed.  There are also rails you can still find at 15th & Sumner, south-east corner.  The parking lot for the auto dealer still contains part of the siding for what used to be Sheftel's warehouse.  There are also rails near Scott (between Liberty & Gordon) and Franklin (between 14th & 15th) Sts, and a hint of rails coming through the asphalt in a small parking lot on the east side of 13th St, just north of where Harry Jones Coal used to be.
 
I'll post one or two shots of the Bell siding when it was still in service next time.  They used to get a lot of cars when I was young.  Whenever we'd drive down Sumner Avenue,  I could almost always count on seeing one, often two boxcars on their siding.
 
Glad you enjoyed my postings.


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Charlie Ricker
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #21 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 6:04pm »
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Please keep the photos coming---those are AWESOME.  
 
Thanks.....Charlie


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F3_4_me
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #22 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 6:55pm »
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If I may add my own anecdote to this..  I'm 26 and sadly never saw any of this operation in action.  However, I've known about the WEB for a few years now and have seen the clues around Allentown when I took the time to look.  
 
Earlier this summer I was working in a building on the north side of Sumner being renovated from a bus garage into something slightly more upscalse *but still garages, haha..  We unearthed a spike while digging on the west side of the building to bury the utilities..  The building itself is to the west of 8th and Sumner, and in it's current configuration, would not have been a customer..  
 
Many thanks for sharing the pics along Sumner, time really has been marching on!
 
-Micah


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When I joined the ARHS in '92, my occupation was listed as '3rd Grade'.
A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #23 on: Nov 11th, 2010, 11:59pm »
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Micah:  I know which building you mean and, no, it wasn't a customer.  Loose spikes were easy to pull in later years due to rotting ties and few repairs.  The one you uncovered was probably dropped there by a kid who got tired of playing with it.  
 
Here's the Charles Bell siding looking north from Sumner Avenue with track (and bumper) in place.  This, by the way, was the last siding added to the WEB.  It was built in 1956.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #24 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:15am »
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Bell was one of the better customers on the WEB until the mid-70s.  Here's a shot looking east on Sumner Avenue taken by my friend from near 12th Street.  The siding was points trailing and would always be serviced on the outbound run.  Like the Schneider Scrap siding, the train had to cross Sumner to get to the customer.
 
For those too young to have seen trains on the WEB, the Valley almost always ran outbound with the caboose following the engine.  On the inbound trip, the caboose was on the rear of the train.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #25 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:27am »
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Many more WEB photos to come.  However, time for a few shots along the Valley's other Allentown branch.
 
While I took few pictures of Valley trains along the Barber, I was lucky to shoot a number of Conrail engines servicing the line in its final years on an "as needed" basis.  I worked at the courthouse in Allentown and often spent my lunch hours following the East Penn Drill.  During the late 80s and early 90s, it was rare to find train movements along the Barber branch, though every now and then I did.
 
This shot (taken 12/23/01 near S 3rd and Union Sts by where the Union St. tower once stood) shows the aftermath of R.J. Corman's removal of the turnout leading to the Barber branch.  (The rails at right were pulled away from the main track and didn't originally run that far to the right.)


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #26 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:36am »
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On 04/14/87, I photographed the East Penn drill leaving the Barber branch at the same location I shot the previous photo.  The SW1500 was pulling a single flat loaded with a ball mill, a product of Traylor Engineering located at the foot of the S. 10th St. hill.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #27 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:47am »
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As time progressed, the East Penn drill began using larger motive power.  Two days shy of two years after the previous photo was taken, I took this picture in late afternoon on 04/12/89.  Not only was it unusual to see a GP-10 on the Barber branch instead of the usual SW, but it was almost equally rare to see a caboose on the line.  The caboose was usually left in the small freight yard by Linden St (now owned by R.J. Corman), most likely because of the very poor condition of the branch at that time.  Here the train crosses the curved trestle over Jordan Creek on its way back from delivering an empty flatcar to Traylor.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #28 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:01am »
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Back to Valley days.  I was riding on the end platform of the caboose (the engine was behind the caboose) as we were coming off the Barber branch with a high & wide load from Traylor in 1969.  Before crossing the curved trestle pictured in the previous shot, the crew had to dismount the train and place a call to the Union St tower to get permission to cross the CNJ/RDG (Allentown Terminal) diamonds leading to their Allentown station.  This was in the day before radios were used by crew members and all calls were placed on trackside phones.  As you can see from the distant semaphore, we were still waiting for our "okay" when brakeman "LeRoy" and conductor "Eddie" posed for this shot.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #29 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:09am »
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Moving west out the branch, across from the Parketts Gym on M.L.K. Blvd, here's a shot of the same GP-10 and caboose pictured on the Jordan Creek trestle two postings earlier, this time on their outward run with an empty flatcar leading the way.  If you look through the trees to the right of the caboose, you'll see the old Allentown Incinerator Plant smokestacks from the days when garbage was burned rather than covered in landfills.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #30 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:20am »
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On 03/23/89, I was lucky enough to catch a special move on the Barber Branch.  Instead of the usual East Penn Drill on the branch, YPAL-10 using a GP38-2 crawled out on the line, again to deliver an empty flatcar to Traylor.  This shot was taken looking east at the Lehigh St. crossing at 1:45 in the afternoon.  To my amazement, the GP never derailed, even as I witnessed the rails rise and fall a couple of inches under its weight.  The auto salvage yard still exists, though a lot of brush has grown in around the spot where this crossing once stood, greatly obscuring the view.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #31 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:30am »
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While waiting for his crew to return from lunch, my buddy -- engineer Harold Barwick -- posed with his train along the Barber branch, just west of the Lehigh Street crossing.  The building to the right was a remnant of the old wire mill once situated along Lehigh St.
 
This photo was taken before a major city redevelopment plan led to the Valley's tracks being moved to the more southern route shown in the previous picture.  This track relocation happened, if I remember correctly, during the mid-1970s.
 
More branchline memories to come... if interest continues.  Next time, back to the West End branch.


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F3_4_me
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #32 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 2:22am »
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Do you happen to know if Corman ever ran out anything on the Barber branch, or was it already dead when Conrail sold it?  
 
Fantastic stuff, by the way!  
 
-Micah


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When I joined the ARHS in '92, my occupation was listed as '3rd Grade'.
Henry
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #33 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:40pm »
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By all means, post more, this is great stuff!
 
Thanks for posting all the pics,
 
Henry


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #34 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 3:34pm »
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Thanks, A-townbranchfan, for posting those fantastic photos! I grew up 1 block north of the Charles Bell warehouse in the late 70's/early 80's, and my old neighbor's home is visible in the background photo of the boxcars on the siding!
 
Loved the photos of the Ice City warehouse. They make sense of the 1980's photo I posted on railroad.net of the siding in the middle of the Ice City parking lot. Apparently they tore down the warehouse and paved over the siding to make the parking lot; painting parking lines right over the track!
 
Regarding map #1: Does anyone know if the siding labeled "Nate Hunsicker" was a spur which ran onto the coal pockets where the current Ralph Weaver coal company is located at 11th and Sumner?
 
Once again, great photos! Keep more coming. And for a real bombshell, check out this article from the Morning Call on possible restoration of the Barbers Quarry branch:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=130&t=76750[u][/u]


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #35 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 4:36pm »
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Micah: In the back of my mind, I tend to remember somebody telling me that Corman ran an engine out on the Barber Branch when they first aquired the line, though Conrail left it in very poor condition so I'm not certain what I heard was correct.  If anybody knows... or ever took a picture... please share what you have.
 
Thanks for the compliments on the photos, guys.  I'll continue to share and will have more posted sometime over the weekend.
 
And thanks, Mike, for the Morning Call article about the possible rebuilding of the Barber branch.  Missed that tidbit and found it quite interesting.  I must say that the track was in such awful condition in final years that it would have had to have been rebuilt if regular shipments were to resume.  Of course, I remembered hearing a few years back that Corman was going to relay track to the Whitehall Cement company... soon after I heard that part of the Ironton Railroad track was going to be rebuilt to service one of the old cement companies.  Of course, those stories weren't printed in the newspaper, so who knows... maybe the Barber branch will be reborn!


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #36 on: Nov 12th, 2010, 4:54pm »
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Sorry, "one87th", forgot to answer your question.  Per Dave Latshaw's article, the siding marked Nate Hunsicker was the same siding which served Ralph Weaver.  Nathan J. Hunsicker received coal from 1939-1946 at that location, at which time Weaver took over the business.  It was previously known by 5 different names... the one prior to Hunsicker being "Quality Coal Co.".

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #37 on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:06pm »
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Spent many hours going through my collection and pulled a lot of things I'll be happy to post.  Hope others will share any images they captured along any of the Allentown branchlines.
 
I started by jumping around (geographically) on the WEB, showing things that were asked about and some of the rarer things I had.  I then began my Barber branch display in geographic order.  We'll now head back to the WEB and I'll proceed geographically from where it started and proceed out the line, finally ending at the 12 St terminal/yard.
 
This picture (4/9/90, 5:20PM) was taken from just inside what's now R.J. Corman's yard at Linden & Race St.  Conrail's East Penn Drill is heading north, about to pass under the old Linden St. bridge and enter the small freight yard.  I show this picture because you can still see part of the turnout which was the beginning point of the WEB once the Jordan Loop (the bypass which led to the old Allentown passenger station) was abandoned by the LV.  I was standing on the WEBs former right-of-way.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #38 on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:18pm »
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My buddy was standing on top of the Linden St bridge shooting in the opposite direction from the previous shot I posted.  (Exact date unknown, approx. 1969/1970.)  The drill was backing out of the yard, ready to throw the switch and move onto the WEB.  You can see the WEB lead to the top left of the first boxcar.  Look very closely at the top of the curving track and you might be able to make out the timbers which defined the edge of the two track bridge which crossed the Jordan Creek.  You'll see more of the bridge in the next posting.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #39 on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:30pm »
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Taken while standing on the former Jordan Creek bridge, this shot (01/21/91, 4:00PM) shows the East Penn Drill pushing its train out of the Linden St. yard.  Sadly, heading north on the WEB was no longer an option.

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