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Allentown branchlines
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   Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 42590 times)
ClearBoard
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #560 on: Feb 15th, 2012, 10:46am »
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Ironton  
 
That obscure little bridge shows up on 1934 USGS 15 Minute Quad for Allentown as well as Miller’s Geologic map for Lehigh County.  At first I thought it was trolley, but a quick check of trolley maps on hand put a kibosh to that.  According to the quads, it’s a siding that leaves the Reading near the east side abatement of the Lehigh River Bridge – facing point to the west.  The line splits shortly after leaving the bridge.  The right leg follows the contour of the east bank for a short distance before ending at a facility with a large water tank.  The left leg swings across the River and the Valley’s main before terminating at a facility along present-day Constitution Drive.  A quick scan of Bing imagery finds little to no trace of it except for the lone abutment along the old Valley main between track and river.  Anyway, seems far removed from the Jersey Central.  Speaking of obscure bridges…you do know about the old trolley bridge that flew crossed Auburn Yard – Yes?  
 
 
As for Horlacher Brewery area…
 
No disrespect, but that area was death warmed over for a long, long time.  I think the building was a grungy buff color.  The track area was cinder base.  Most of the storage track north of Gordon and west of the CNJ was either pulled or grown over.  I recall the space open.  I remember walking through the area back in the 50s and 60s.  I still recall a single Jersey Central switcher sitting there as if it was yesterday.  She was dirty green with Lady Liberty on the side.  
 
That and Neuweiler beer tasted better.
 
 
The Jordon Creek Bridge…
 
An old silver grey wooden bridge with two tracks and walkway between… first time across was kinda scary   To a kid, it was damn tall and the moving water was loud and could be seen through the ties –when I go back there now I have to smile, it wasn’t real that big after all.   On the east side, we hoofed up the hill and across the cemetery to the Central’s cut.  Back on the tracks we headed east that day – other times we turned south and hiked toward the stations.   The Central cut through limestone bedrock before ducking under Front Street.  The overpass was unremarkable.  On the other side we went down the bank and walked toward town on the Valley’s main.  A few house stood at the base of the Tilghman Street Bridge (concrete one across the Lehigh). Someone scrolled the words “THE DEAD END KIDS” on one of the bridge supports.    
 
 
Fast forward 20 odd years to the early 70s.  I remember walking across the iron bridge (Tilghman Street) to either work or classes and catching an outbound on the Jersey Central.  On the north side of the bridge, trees grew close to the ROW.  I can recall watching the cars pitch back and forth as they curved off to the east.  It was a long train.  To hazard a guess, it could have pulled out of Alburn and crossed the Lehigh to head up north.  
 
Kinda funny how some memories stick.    
 
Thanks,
 
ClearBoard
 
 
 
PS  Ya know guys, it would be a lot easier to meet up for lunch or something - when some of us get back to town say after the Spring Thaw train show  - and spend some time gasses away about this stuff.   It would have to be some place with good food and management that won’t mind if we spread out a thing or two, say each bring a few things from the collection to share.   So much has changed back there, so I must rely on the local guys for suggestions.  Not sure if that diner on Hamilton Street down from the stadium has a back dinning room or it the VFW in Hoky could accommodate.  The show’s is about 10 days away, so whatever….
 
Thanks again,
 
CB


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #561 on: Feb 15th, 2012, 2:27pm »
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IRR: the bridge across the Lehigh you are referring to was built by the Lehigh Iron Company. A photo of the iron works and bridge appears on page 144 of "The Anthracite Iron Industry of the Lehigh Valley" by C. Bartholomew & L. Metz.
 
According to the book, the iron company was founded in 1867 and closed in 1907. The furnaces were dismantled in 1908 and the bridge was dismantled sometime after the Penn Pilot photo was taken.
 
According to the book, the typography around the furnaces was so hilly that the bridge was built to transport the slag across the Lehigh to be dumped between the river and canal. I'd imagine a second reason was to connect with the Rdg/CNJ so that the iron works wasn't captive to shipping on the Lehigh Valley.
 
P.S. I will be attending the Spring Thaw Train Meet in Allentown (Feb. 25 & 26th) if, as ClearBoar suggested, anyone would like to get together afterwards for a good ol' fashion bull session.


« Last Edit: Feb 15th, 2012, 3:39pm by one87th » Logged
one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #562 on: Feb 15th, 2012, 2:40pm »
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on Feb 15th, 2012, 12:06am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)

Giving credit where it's due, both photos posted by one87th were taken from the two-volume "History of Allentown" books published by the Lehigh County Historical Society a couple of decades ago.  --Mark

 
Mark,
Yes, that is the book the photos came from. Also has great aerial shots of the Front & Hamilton Street area area and the Traylor Engineering factory along the Barbers Quarry branch.
 
One other source for great old photos of the Allentown railroads & industries is the Tribune Photo Archives (parent company of The Morning Call newspaper).
There are many photos of the West End Branch (including some of the scrap yard under 7th Street when Sumner Avenue was still a dirt road), line side industries, and the LV's Allentown passenger station. I won't list exact websites because some of the photos use to be accessible from the Morning Call's website and are now only available on the Tribune website, and pictures seem to be added and removed for no particular reason. But it's definitely worth the search, and copies of the photos can be purchased.


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #563 on: Feb 15th, 2012, 4:47pm »
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Thanks for the memories, ClearBoard.  Funny you should talk about that northern-most bridge over the Jordan seeming so high and the water moving so fast.  I said the same thing to Dave Beazley when he gave me the pictures.  Gif Sander and I were probably about 13 or so when we explored the Jordan Loop east (RR west) of the original WEB JCT after we walked the WEB one day.  The JL tracks had recently been removed and neither of us really knew anything about where that line had run, so we started following it.  When we got to the bridge, he was willing to cross it but I wasn't.  I had the same feeling that it was quite high above those fast-moving waters.  I, too, laughed a bit when I saw IRR's recent postings of the remaining abutments.
 
one87th: You seem to have a talent for finding some of the better old photos which exist.  Here's a challenge for you.   I remember a picture which appeared in the Morning Call... probably back in the mid 1960s.  It showed the West End drill stopped on the "main" track, next to the Ice City siding in the 1700 block of W. Allen Street.  They had stopped because a car (or small truck) pulling a trailer with a boat on it lost its load as it went across the then-very bumpy crossing.  The photo was taken looking north as the drill was still heading outbound along the branch.  I can even remember the unfortunate driver was heading west on Allen St.  I have never seen it since my childhood days when my mother showed it to me, but if you (or anybody) is able to find it in the newspaper archives, I'd love to have it posted here on this thread.  I don't remember the exact year or time of year... but it wasn't winter, that much I do remember.  My guess was it would have been during spring or summer.
 
IRR: Being that you're so good with the Penn Pilot site, how about seeing what you can come up with that shows the Allentown branch of the former L&NE that appeared in the first of one87th's postings.  I still can't believe that there's nobody out there with pictures of that branch... or at least some good stories to share.  If you can find any aerial photos showing the line during the 1950-1960s period, that would be great.  There were a number of industries west of the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge overpass that were receiving cars well into the 1970s and early 1980s.  I can still remember seeing cars lined up along the Freihofer Bakery siding as we'd drive down Union Blvd.  I'd really like to have more coverage on that east Allentown branch, being that it was quite an interesting line with many sidings along its route.  Come on you older east Allentown fans... post those photos and write about those memories!  -- Mark


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Hyrailer
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #564 on: Feb 15th, 2012, 7:55pm »
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I for one find all of this very interesting. I am not originally from the area, and have nothing to contribute but thanks.

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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #565 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:28am »
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LNe Allentown branch (60's) pic one..This shows the "y" at the Branch's beginning and the former spice mill..Durkee i believe


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #566 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:30am »
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LNE Allentown Branch Pic 2: Bethlehem to Airport Road overpass (now demolished)


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #567 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:32am »
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LNE Allentown Branch Pic3: Zoom in on the area of Union Blvd where "Career Link" is now located...The amount of sidings here is MIND BLOWING!!!!!


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #568 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:33am »
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LNE Allentown Branch Pic 4: Airport Road to Union Blvd


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #569 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:35am »
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LNE Allentown Branch Pic 5: Western Electric zoom..Found a new industry!!!!  


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IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #570 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:38am »
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LNE Allentown Branch Pic 6: Union Blvd to the end of the line at the Hanover Avenue Station..Found two more customers along the LNE's Atown Branch


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« Last Edit: Feb 16th, 2012, 5:18am by IRR » Logged
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #571 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 3:04am »
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NEWS FLASH!!!! While "flying over" the area using Bing's BIRDS EYE searching for  the strange curved buildings were  (they're long gone sadly) i found this... Though not readily visible among the cluster of tracks and structures in pic 3 Bing  revealed the circled item..a coal unloading trestle!! Needless to say i'm heading out for a ground-level pic asap!!!  


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« Last Edit: Mar 5th, 2012, 8:34am by Flemington Flyer » Logged
IRR
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #572 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 5:21am »
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Here's the blue-circled bridge in 2010 shortly before it was demolished.I was pretty far back when i took this photo  so it appears small but TRUST ME it was a pretty high bridge!!!

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/LV/Picture_014_800x600.jpg
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« Last Edit: Feb 16th, 2012, 5:23am by IRR » Logged
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #573 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 11:59am »
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IRR -
 
Thanks for sharing these great vintage aerials. The L&NE's Allentown Branch would make a great model RR, that's for sure! Since the content is strictly L&NE in nature though, we should really move this topic over to that forum, though. Henry, thoughts/comments?
 
RAH


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Henry
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #574 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 12:43pm »
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I don't mind some LNE Allentown items being here, wasn't it operated by LV after the LNE went belly up anyway?
 
I'll post a note in the LNE board with a link to this thread.
 
Henry


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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #575 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:10pm »
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IRR: You've done it again!  Great job.  I just have a few comments to add.  In your first picture showing the "Y", the light ground area to the left later became the site for Martin Tower.  The one (and only) picture I took (posted as reply #334 on page 17) shows a Conrail-led train sitting just about exactly where you put your first (farthest right) red dot.
Also, the "curved buildings" you talk about were lumber sheds belonging to a small company known as "Lehigh Lumber"... if I'm remembering correctly.
The industry you show near the former Western Electric complex was the Robbins Door & Sash Company.  In the mid to late 1970s, they moved to the former Hess's warehouse located at 17th & Liberty Streets along the West End Branch.
Regarding the old cement coal trestle you're going to check out... back in the 80s I remember walking the line in that area.  I was surprised to see a white tank car parked out on the trestle, then realized that the business located next to it was a company who sold bottled gasses.  (Update: I was driving back from Bethlehem over Union Blvd. today.  The company is called Ameri-gas and deals mostly with propane.  The trestle in easily viewed from the side street (N. Quebec), but the whole area is now fenced in.)
Thanks again for a job very well done, IRR!
 
I understand the comment about the proper placement for pictures and stories about this branch, being that it was built and originally serviced by the L&NE railroad.  However, as Henry pointed out, it saw several operators during its life (including CNJ and Conrail as well as the LV).  Being that this thread is titled "Allentown branchlines", I absolutely would like this line covered here as well.  I've included CNJ and RDG trackage because of their proximity to the  other lines covered.  Also, the era I'm covering mostly in this forum is the 1960s through the 1980s... a period which included the Valley's operation of the Allentown branch.  Rather than break this forum up and posting it all over the place, I'd appreciate if it would be left intact with notes placed (as Henry kindly offered to do) leading fans of the other railroads to this thread.  Thanks for your understanding.  --Mark


« Last Edit: Feb 17th, 2012, 1:04am by A-townbranchfan » Logged
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #576 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:24pm »
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Guys -
 
Agreed....In fact, that was what I hoped Henry would hopefully suggest (do?)......I knew I'd screw it up (loose it?) if I even tried to paste a hot link......It's great info, and I am very thankful it's now "out there" for us to all look at.
 
RAH


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Henry
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #577 on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:40pm »
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on Feb 16th, 2012, 2:32am, IRR wrote:       (Click here for original message)
LNE Allentown Branch Pic3: Zoom in on the area of Union Blvd where "Career Link" is now located...The amount of sidings here is MIND BLOWING!!!!!

 
The "STRANGE curved buildings" in this aerial were Lehigh Lumber Co's lumber sheds.
 
I have further annotated this one with the available info from a 1932 Sanborn map.
 
Henry



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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #578 on: Feb 17th, 2012, 12:33am »
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Henry: Thanks for those additions.  You're bringing back some memories as well as educating me to customers I never knew about.  The farthest west PP&L siding still has a concrete bumper visible from Union Blvd.  It was on that siding that their Energy of Man coaches (shown earlier in this thread in a Gif Sander photo; page 6, reply #109) were stored for a few months after their display on the WEB's Ice City siding during Allentown fair week of 1970/1971.
Come on you East Siders... post your pictures/memories here!   --Mark


« Last Edit: Feb 17th, 2012, 12:47am by A-townbranchfan » Logged
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #579 on: Feb 17th, 2012, 1:37am »
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on Feb 16th, 2012, 1:40pm, Henry wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
The "STRANGE curved buildings" in this aerial were Lehigh Lumber Co's lumber sheds.
 
I have further annotated this one with the available info from a 1932 Sanborn map.
 
Henry

Thanx alot for the additional info!


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