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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 42289 times)
100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #320 on: Dec 8th, 2010, 12:01am »
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Someone asked recently if RJ Corman ran out on on BQ,CR had abandoned iit before they sold it to Corman although the row became Cormans property also.

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geep39
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #321 on: Dec 8th, 2010, 8:47pm »
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Speaking of Corman:
 
I understand that there is a state grant to pay for reconstructing the Barber Branch, and that it will be used to serve the former Mack plant on 10th St., which the city has been using as a "business incubator".  This will be real interesting, since it will involve a significant grade to get up to the Mack plant.  The Reading actually connected with the LV somewhere east of the 15th St. bridge.  The last I checked, the Reading track on the grade was still there, although quite overgrown.  That grade was a real challenge according to some old railroaders I talked to years ago.  That'll give those Corman geeps a real workout!  The smoke that one of them gives off  now should really be something then!  They have a year to get things going, or the grant disappears.
 
I also heard that when the Barber Branch went through the auto salvage yard, they gave the Corman people smart alecky answers when they were told to move cars away from the tracks.  The Corman guys supposedly said: "No problem, we'll take care of it".  THAT must have been interesting to see!


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bigpistol
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #322 on: Dec 9th, 2010, 5:20pm »
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Since I have lots of free time,  and I want to learn Photoshop,  I merged all the Sanborn maps I can find.
 

Allentown-Tracks by bigpistol, on Flickr
 
Click on the map for larger size.


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valleyfan628
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #323 on: Dec 10th, 2010, 12:10am »
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Thanks bigpistol, I was going to do that this weekend. It was some interesting trackage in downtown Allentown with LV and CNJ having their local stations and freight yards just a block apart.

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Henry
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #324 on: Dec 10th, 2010, 10:53am »
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on Dec 9th, 2010, 5:20pm, bigpistol wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Since I have lots of free time,  and I want to learn Photoshop,  I merged all the Sanborn maps I can find.
 
Allentown-Tracks by bigpistol, on Flickr
 
Click on the map for larger size.

 
I do that kind of thing once in a while for my own reference, but the problem is that in order to preserve a reasonable level of detail the image sizes get so huge so fast that they are no longer very useful for web pages. They really need to be done in a format like MrSid that uses a stand alone application or a web browser plugin that makes it easier to pan and zoom and uses efficient compression algorithms. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a MrSid compatible authoring package that was affordable enough to buy. PDF format works a little better than plain images, but in my opinion it is vastly inferior to MrSid formats. DjVu (pronounced déjà vu) is something I am looking into and seems promising, but it also needs the end user to install software to view images and documents encoded in that format.
 
It is tedious work to piece together Sanborns because may pages are rotated at arbitrary angles and the scale can change from page to page. There's a lot of trial and error involved to get a reasonable match on the edges. They also don't cover some RR areas because there aren't any insurable structures around the tracks.
 
Henry


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100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #325 on: Dec 11th, 2010, 12:16am »
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Some of you younger guys may not be aware of it, but the present alignment of BQ branch dead ended at Lehigh St.
It actually was a long siding that served among other things a livestock auction with holding pens,was better known as horse bazzar.
Breeders stayed overnite at Acorn hotel.
livestock was brought in by rail on fridays and auction was held on Saturdays
siding also served a paint mill,and large mattress factory.
in later years a fuel dealer was last customer served


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The Scyther
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #326 on: Dec 17th, 2010, 11:46pm »
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What a great forum!  
Seeing the demolition of the Mack Branch tressle brings back memories of when it was still up. Same with the pictures of the Linden St. yard from when it was Conrail. I remember as far back as 1987 there being Conrail in that yard as my mom had a friend who lived in an apartment building across American Parkway near the notary place, and I remember going to the apartment building and looking out the window at the yard. Thinking of those memories is making me feel old, and I'm only 26! Figures that the Barbers Quarry will probably be redone right around when I  move away from the area in a year. I know what ya mean about branchlines, I would rather capture a train on film on some obscure branchline in a industrial setting or where there are lots of weeds on the tracks to where the track looks like it is little used, and then all of a sudden a train appears out of the thicket and then disappears down the tracks to serve some industry.  
Thanks again for sharing, Mark!
           


« Last Edit: Dec 19th, 2010, 1:02pm by Flemington Flyer » Logged

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100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #327 on: Dec 21st, 2010, 12:28am »
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The LVRR had a lions share of freight buisness years ago.
In addition to BQ & WE branch buisness, it served many other companies nrxt to its mainline.
starting at main line and jordan loop it served Allentown Bethlehem gas company with coal ,they made their own manufactured gas from coal.
next was large coal dealer,next was foundry loop which served a flour and feed dealer,FW Mosser Co.foundry and machine shop,another coal dealer, a grocery warehouse and Bradley pulveriser Co.mining machinery.
back on main line there was siding for Swift and Co.and across tracks was large warehouse where first TV sets were delivered by rail to local dealer,going across tracks at Hamilton St,looking south you can still see remnents of warehouse siding
That is only at Hamilton St. there were many other customers as you went north


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #328 on: Dec 30th, 2010, 5:39pm »
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I was visiting A-1 Restaurant Supply ( formerly the Harold Stevens warehouse) yesterday to pick up some bomb cups for a friend's holiday party and shot a few photos. This pic is taken from the A-1 parking lot looking across 16th St towards 15th st ...You can see the former Sheftel & Molenovsky warehouse (the multi-story white building ) in the distance...The building in the foreground to the left  is an automotive paint supplier  ( I forget the company's name) whose building sits on top of part of the branch... .Photo taken from the West End branch r.o.w.

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« Last Edit: Dec 30th, 2010, 5:43pm by IRR » Logged
IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #329 on: Dec 30th, 2010, 5:48pm »
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In this shot A-1 is to my right...The railing near  the building is on top of a mostly buried retaining wall for a siding that once ran along the building..If you look close the "ghosts" of the rail doors are still visible.  
A-townbranchfan posted a pair of  great pics of this location on page 6 of this thread. In his second photo you can see how much lower the Stevens siding was then the West End Branch main.


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« Last Edit: Jan 1st, 2011, 8:50pm by Flemington Flyer » Logged
DAVE-39
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #330 on: Jan 1st, 2011, 6:58pm »
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Looking at the two previous excellent photographs, I like to imagine what the photographer would have seen at the same spot 60-70 years ago.  
 
In the top picture the photographer would have been standing on the WE branch ROW looking east toward N. 15th St. The white building on the left (which is patially on the ROW)was not present. Instead a coal yard owned by George Sacks was present @723 N. 16th St. The coal yard had a coal trestle which connected to the WE branch at a trailing point switch near Fulton St. The main track ran on a diagonal to the left of the large gray-white building in the center of the photo. The gray building was owned by Sheftel & Molenovsky where they shipped textile wastes. This building which originally was the George Bear Furniture Co. (725-727 N. 15th St.), had a loading siding on the left (north) side. To the right of the track (the empty space) was a siding that left the main track west of Fulton St. and served the Hummel Furniture Co. @ 728-740 N. 15th St. and Loose-Wiles Biscuit Co. (Sunshine Biscuits) @ 715 N. Fulton St.  Hummel Furniture Co. later became the Hummel Warehouse and Loose-Wiles became LV Paper Corp.
 
Looking at the second photo, the building on the right (732 N.16th St.) was built in the early 1950's for the G E Supply Corp which received TV's and electrical appliances. Harold Stephens purchased the building around 1970 and used it to receive box cars of canned goods. The site of this building as well as the George Sacks coal yard were at one time the site of the Allentown Flint Bottle works which had two sidings with coal trestles for delivering coal. The WE branch ROW ran on a diagonal in the center of the photo to 17th and Tilghman Sts. The low white building in the center of the photo is part of the former Allentown Rapid Service Co. (711-725 N. 17th St.) which had a coal trestle on the south side of the building.  They sold coal and ice. The dark building on the left of the ROW (behind the trees) was owned by the Penna. Ind. Oil Co. This building is now the Number 1 Service Center @ 1635 Tilghman St. There was a facing point siding near West St that ran to the rear of the building where they had a pumping station and tanks to receive petroleum products by rail.  
 
Approximately 60-70 years ago the photographer would have seen one main track in the center and 6 sidings serving seven industrial sites which received coal, lumber, petroleum products, food, TV's and electrical products. Outbound shipments included textile wasts and furniture. That's a lot of railroading for the length of two city blocks. The WE branch was only 3 miles long, but they certainly served a lot of industries.
 
Dave


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Dave-39
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #331 on: Jan 1st, 2011, 11:06pm »
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Awesome post Dave!!! I could totally visualize what was once there!   Amazing how much the area has changed in less then a century.

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Trails_to_Rails
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #332 on: Jan 3rd, 2011, 2:02pm »
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As someone who is not originally from the area but has called the "Valley" home for more than 20 years; I offer a profound THANKS to Atown and all the other posters who made the branches come alive for someone who sadly JUST missed it all.
 
Besides the photos, maps and stories, especially appreciated was location and orientation for the various pictures posted.  I can't tell you how hard it can be for those of us who missed the changes to figure out where things WERE. Your detailed information has cleared up a million mysteries I have discovered in my travels in and around Allentown when I happened to find the telltale signs of a former ROW.
 
I can't wait to hop in the car and drive past some of the places I missed!
 
Thanks again so much. I spent half a day reading this thread with maps, aerial views and diagrams to assist me and it was the best 5 hours I've spent in a long time!!


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100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #333 on: Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:56pm »
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A carload of moulding and millwork was offloaded by Ritter & Smith employees just east of 13th St.
today this site is a pile of rubble
everything in this pic is gone ,including ATSF



Image exceeds display size of 900 pixels wide. (2592x1680, 253254 bytes)

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« Last Edit: Jan 4th, 2011, 12:06am by 100lbrail » Logged
A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #334 on: Jan 4th, 2011, 12:38pm »
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Trail_to_Rails: So glad you enjoyed the "tour".  I truly appreciate your comments.  It's nice knowing this subject has been found interesting by so many younger railfans as well as fans from outside of the Allentown area.  It was a lot of work, but well worth the effort for me (and I'm sure the other photographers)... knowing that its being enjoyed.
 
100lbrail: Not only is the AT&SF gone, but so are those great 40-foot boxcars with roof walks!  Do you have any idea as to when the picture was taken?  Also, do you know who took the photo and do you, by chance, have any others?  By the way, I've been using the Railfan.net photo resizer to shrink my picture files down to the point where the whole image can be seen at once as part of my post.  I usually select the 35% image for horizontal formats and 30 or 25% for vertical.  To those who don't know, if you open the previous photo and can't see the whole image at one time, go to VIEW on your toolbar, then select ZOOM.  By choosing 50%, you'll see the whole image at one time.
 
I see that this thread still gets a fair number of hits each week, so let me again ask any of you older guys who shot things along any of the 3 branchlines which once served Allentown to start sharing what you have as well.  I promise you the feedback you get from people like Trail_to_Rails makes sharing a very satisfying experience.  Here's the only action I ever caught along the former L&NE's Bethlehem to Allentown branchline.  It was taken from the parking lot of Martin Tower at 7:45AM on 04/30/1987.  The East Penn drill was servicing the line and had derailed the day before.  The train had been re-railed after the crew had outlawed, so I headed to Bethlehem early the next morning to capture this shot before they continued out the line.  (That's the 8th Ave exit/entrance ramp of Rt. 378 pictured above the train.)  Unfortunately, I had to get to work by 8:30 and never had the chance to take any other shots along the line.  Enjoy!


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amato1969
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #335 on: Jan 4th, 2011, 10:38pm »
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A-town, let me add my thanks and appreciation for all of your scanning and detailed posts!  I am currently modeling (in N scale) the LV between Phillipsburg and Easton, but if I ever need a change of pace, the WEB would be a slam-dunk.
 
  Frank


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100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #336 on: Jan 4th, 2011, 11:42pm »
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The Ritter &Smith shot was taken by me on Koachrome 64 around 1988
You guys have got me looking up photos on WE branch,one in particular is a box car that ran over derail just short of 13th St.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #337 on: Jan 5th, 2011, 12:06am »
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100lbrail: I'm guessing you meant to type 1968 rather than 1988, being that the tracks were torn out during the summer of 1986 and 40-foot boxcars were pretty much out of service by 1978.  I can't wait to see your next post of the derailed car.  If it, too, was from the late 60s or very early 70s, I was there the day they re-railed it!  I remember somebody had released the air and hand brake on the boxcar which had been spotted at the top of track #2... by the ramp.  It rolled west, down grade, hit the derail and ended up partially blocking N. 13th St.  It happened after dark.  The next day, the West End drill's crew got it back on the track by using a long steel cable to pull it back onto the rails.  It had ended up too far off the track for the couplers to meet.  I clearly remember a bunch of people standing around watching the operation as my friend, engineer Harold Barwick, called over to me to stand way back in case the cable snapped.  He always looked out for me.  Something in the back of my mind tells me it was an orange IC or ICG boxcar, though I'm probably wrong about that.  I just don't remember it being boxcar red (brown).  Sure hope you can add it to the thread.  Any other gems beside that one hidden away?  Thanks for sharing anything you have!   -- Mark

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #338 on: Jan 5th, 2011, 12:54am »
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Speaking of WEB engineer, Harold Barwick, he suggested during two rides I took that he take MY picture... for posterity.  Both were taken while the rest of the crew were off having lunch at the Rose Bowl located at 15th & Sumner Ave.
This eastward view from the winter of 1968-69 includes the passing siding which served United Compressed Steel.  The boxcar pictured in the distance was most likely a Hummel warehouse "overflow" car.  It would either be moved to the Hummel siding once a spot opened up or it would be unloaded right where it sat with the freight trucked one block west to Hummel's warehouse.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #339 on: Jan 5th, 2011, 1:06am »
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A year later, again at 15th & Sumner, this time inside the cab of the SW.  The building visible in the background is Trexler Junior High School, only two-years old at the time.  Harold may not have done a good job centering this shot, but he certainly captured my smile as I sat in his seat and placed my hand upon the cord which operated the horn.  I'll never forget him for giving me such great memories!

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