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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 41256 times)
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #440 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:34am »
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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.
 
A-townbranchfan has previously posted photos of boxcars parked on the rear second track when it was still in service at this location.


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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 2:02am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #441 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:35am »
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Ralph D. Weaver Coal & Grain Co., along Sumner Avenue, looking south from 11th Street towards New Street in 1984.  Morris Greenberg Hay and Grain is behind.

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #442 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:38am »
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Coal pockets of the Ralph D. Weaver Coal & Grain Co., along Sumner Avenue, looking from 11th Street. At one time there was a second  track (runaround siding) behind the track in the foreground, which started at 6th street and ended just to the right of the photo at 11th street. A track also once ran on top of the coal bins seen in the photo.
A coal yard existed at this location since 1893 operating under at least 10 different names/owners, with Ralph D. Weaver commencing operations in 1947.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #443 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:40am »
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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.
That's the Allentown Taxi Company garage above the engine. Note that the curbing for 11th Street was cut in, but the road was never extended across the railroad right-of-way to connect 11th Street in Whitehall with 11th Street in Allentown.


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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:47am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #444 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:49am »
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Conrail NW2 #9244 (ex LV #184) and caboose #18687 westbound at 11th and Sumner Avenue, Allentown, with empty gondola destined for the United Compressed Steel Co. scrap yard siding in 1982. This was the last customer to ship on the WEB. To the right of the NW2 is the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. (now the Pennsylvania Supply & Mfg. Co.). Just ahead of the unit was a very sharp curved spur which crossed Sumner Avenue and served a warehouse/distributor (Charles Bell Co.). It was the very last spur added to the line (1956) and this customer was serviced frequently up to the end of operations. Some rail/a bumper are still visible next to the building.

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #445 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:55am »
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Back to 1984:  Looking west from 16th Street crossing. Note recessed spur at right the served the Harold Stephens Co. food wholesalers (now occupied by A-1 Restaurant and Janitorial Supply Co.). This building was originally built by G.E. Supply Company in the 1950s on the site of the Flint Bottle Works.  G.E. shipped electrical appliances. In 1970 Harold Stephens bought the the warehouse and relocated here. They received 20 cars in 1974, and in the early 1980s were one of the last industries to still utilize the branch.

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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 4:12am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #446 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:56am »
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Looking back (eastward) at the previous location from West Street. The tall grey building in the background is located on 15th Street and was once occupied by  Sheftel & Molenovsky (textile waste) from 1933 to 1969, and before that by furniture manufacturer G.H Bear (1904-1932).
 
Note that several industries (Sheftel & Molenovsky, Hummel, Harold Stephens) through the course of time moved and occupied different buildings along the branch.


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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:01am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #447 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:02am »
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Spinning around 180 degrees, view from West Street looking west. Track was climbing a steep grade and curved sharply between various buildings as it prepared to cross the intersection of 17th and Tilgman Streets. Note angled loading docks on both sides of tracks, with an old siding to the former Pennsylvania Independent Oil Co crammed in at left. Wally's Deli is currently located in the former Allentown Rapid Service Co building at very right of photo.

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #448 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:05am »
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Looking south from 17th and Tilghman (Rich Mar florist is behind me) as track crosses W. Allen Street in background. White angled building in background was once part of a coal yard and later a building supply company and then utilized by Ice City. The famous Ice City store & showroom (pools and recreational products) was off to the left of photo.

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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:14am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #449 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:10am »
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Looking south from W. Allen Street  towards Tilgman Street at the previous photo location (now the site of Walgreens). Note old abandoned Ice City warehouse spur in their parking lot (simply paved over with parking stripes painted over). Also note old abandoned switch frog in middle of track. In the early 1970's the Lehigh Valley RR and the City of Allentown removed a number of unused tracks at street crossings, often leaving the remaining isolated spurs intact. A freight shippers guide from from early 1970s showed Ice City received about a half dozen cars per year.
 
Compare this photo with some of the photos A-townbranchfan posted early in this forum.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #450 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:21am »
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Looking north from 17th and Liberty. Spur at left ran to what was once a coal yard and later a building supply company (angled white building) and later Ice City warehouse. This area is now a parking lot.
To the right there was once a second track, with several spurs branching off to serve the Trexler Lumber company. In this 1984 view, that track has been removed and covered by the embankment of a car wash.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #451 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:25am »
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Looking west from N. Fulton Street. The isolated spur at the right served the original location of the Harold Stephens Co wholesale grocery (1935-1970).
Modern building at left was Classic Photo, where I would buy my film. Beyond 16th Street in background (occupied by Lehigh Valley Hospital annex building) was from 1941 to 1957 the site of the Acme Stores Warehouse (later Hess Bros. warehouse,  then Robbins Door and Sash).
 
An interesting note is that when the WEB was built in 1890, it originally terminated at 17th and Liberty Streets. The track east of Fulton Street (shown in this and the next several photos) which led to the 12th street terminal was not constructed until the start of 1900, with the 12th Street terminal being reached and opened in 1902.


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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 4:09am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #452 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:33am »
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Looking west from Madison Street. Scott Street parallels tracks at left.
The building marked with red arrow was on 14th Street between Scott St. and W. Gordon Street was the Lehigh Valley Transit trolley barn. There was an incredible maze of switches crammed into 14th Street that ran into this building. It did not connect with the West End Branch, but the LV did deliver rail and supplies to them via a siding.
The 4-story building marked with the green arrow was once the A. H. Balliet cigar box manufacturing company (1908-1944) on 15th Street. It once produced up to 20,000 cigar boxes per day from cedar wood, including some red Spanish cedar logs imported from Cuba and unloaded by a derrick on the plant property.
The building with the cyclone on roof is the former Allentown Bobbin Works (1904-1982).
The building with the unusual planking on the spur was the Hoch Contracting Company, built in 1928. The planking covers a coal pit. Coal was dumped through the pit into the building's basement. Mack "bulldog" trucks accessed the basement via a ramp, and were loaded with coal or building material for delivery to local customers. A previous posting by A-townbranchfan shows a view 1928 view of a hopper over the open pit.
All of these industries had ceased shipping prior to the late 1960s.
 
The crossover switch in the photo was installed in 1954 after the "Swoyer's Hill" switching incident (mentioned in a previous post) was banned following the the mutilation of a brakeman. The crossover was used to run around cars, so as to be able to push them into the 12th street terminal. However, as Mark (A-townbranchfan) has pointed out earlier, LV crews eschewed this in favor of a switching maneuver called the "flying switch" or "drop".


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #453 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:36am »
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View from 12th Street terminal looking west towards 13th Street crossing. Ritter & Smith Lumber Yard is building at left. Spur at left continued on to the Robert Peters fertilizer company (formerly the Mauser flour mill). Abandoned (no frog) track in foreground is the former track #1 (see maps on first page of the forum). These tracks and the former track #2 were all that existed at the terminal at the time of this photo in 1984.

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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 2:12am by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #454 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:39am »
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Looking west from 12th Street (end of branch) across the #2 track towards 13th Street. Ritter and Smith is at left.

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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #455 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:53am »
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And my last photo...
Looking east towards 12th Street end of the line. The wooden loading ramp between track #1 and #2 is seen at left. In the 1930s eleven auto dealers unloaded automobiles from this ramp. By the late 1940s that traffic was gone (lost to trucks) but, as previously posted early in this forum, farm equipment continued to be unloaded here into the early 1970s.
Peters Fertilizer is in the background. Peters moved into the former Mauser Mill in 1968 and relocated to the Iron Run industrial park in 1978. By 1980 the terminal was in disuse.
From 1980 till the end of WEB operations in July 1982, Conrail never ran west past the Harold Stephens warehouse at 16th and Sumner Avenue.
 
I'd like to thank Mark, Dave, Gif, and all the other posters on this forum for helping me better understand what I was photographing as a teen back in 1984, and allowing me to see the things I missed.


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« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:54am by one87th » Logged
A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #456 on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 2:42am »
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one87th: What a wonderful addition to the end of this thread!  Thanks so much for taking the time to share your post-abandonment photos, and to relay so many facts and figures along with your pictures.  I especially want to thank you for that wonderful picture of the Koehler coal elevator at 6th and Sumner (something I've never seen before), and for taking the time to include those great maps complete with lines showing where the tracks used to run.  Again... thanks for being one of those willing to share what you have in your collection of photos of this lone-gone branchline.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to railfanning!  --Mark

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ecm4
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #457 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 2:11pm »
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I am somewhat new to this forum, but just wanted to say that I've enjoyed this topic immensely, especially the Barber Branch pictures and info, as I drive near that area almost every day.
 
I found this while looking through Google StreetView -- are those tracks still visible in the pavement from where the BQB crossed over Lehigh St/Little Lehigh to the old Wire Mill?
 
http://maps.google.com/maps?client=firefox-a&hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Allentown,+Lehigh,+Pennsylvania&ll=40.597051,-75.466721&spn=0.001491,0.003484&z=19&layer=c&cbll=40.597249,-75.467122&panoid=0jTX3rKIgLan-yUa00xgyw&cbp=12,330.64,,0,35.62


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #458 on: Feb 4th, 2011, 11:55pm »
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ecm4: Welcome.  Always nice to have somebody new on board.  Glad you've enjoyed the forum.  In answer to your question, I'm not aware of any tracks still existing in the Lehigh St. crossing or surrounding area, but I never really explored the area thoroughly on foot after the line was abandoned.  I'm not too familiar with the street view images available.  I always use the Bing birdseye views when possible.  If anybody knows of any rails still intact in the Lehigh St. area, please post a reply.    --Mark

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100lbrail
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #459 on: Feb 5th, 2011, 12:30am »
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About the only remnants of track near Lehigh St.is on west side of street where it once crossed on bridgeover Little lehigh are 2 rails jutting from street where they were cut off.
there is also buried in undergrowth about 200 ft. west of Lehigh St.,remnants of old siding that served hersh hardware and later a scrap yard.
Some time ago there was a sinkhole on MLK drive near S 5th St.
I noseyed  over to have a looksee and there was a section of track in hole.
when they knocked down all the old wire mill buildings they just bulldozed everything and leveled it off ,
likely was one of wire mill sidings


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