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Allentown branchlines
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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #60 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:27am »
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Back on the Barber branch (shot from the Lehigh St. crossing) , YPAL-10's GP38-2 continues west pushing its train of one empty flatcar towards Traylor Engineering during the early afternoon hours of 03/23/89.  The impressive 8th Street Bridge looms in the distance.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #61 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:44am »
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Before moving further out the Barber branch, we'll take a slight southerly detour of a city block or so along Lehigh St.  I shot this picture of the demolition of the Reading RR's short "Mack Branch" bridge on 4/13/1990.  This line ran off of the Reading's main near the Auburn St. crossing, curved through a rock cut, then climbed on a fill along Auburn St. until it reached this bridge.  Crossing over Lehigh St, it continued west under the 8th St bridge, at one time serving the Mack facility located along S. 10th St.  It continued across S. 10th, on the hill south of the Traylor Co, then dropped down grade.  Near the end of the track (east of the 15th St. bridge), there was a switchback type of arrangement which gave the Reading direct access to Traylor Engineering.  While I never saw anything move along this line, the picture following this one -- as well as two or three others yet to come -- show the connection to the LV and Barber branch.  The building in the background is the former Acorn Hotel.

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A-townbranchfan
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Re: Allentown branchlines
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« Reply #62 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:53am »
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Friend and branch historian, Dave Latshaw, had his camera in hand when Conrail -- using a former LV SW -- used the Mack Branch to reach Traylor.  Taken aiming a little to the right of my demolition shot in the former posting, Dave photographed this rare move on 12/22/1977.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #63 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:04am »
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Returning to the Barber branch and looking west, I took this shot of Conrail's East Penn Drill as it headed inbound along the S-curve located just east of the massive 8th St. bridge.  It was 5:30PM on 04/12/1989.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #64 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:22am »
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On 05/14/1990, I was out with my camera and scanner during my lunch hour when I heard the East Penn Drill call in asking how long it would be before track maintenance would arrive to repair the spot along the Barber branch where they had derailed.  After driving around, I finally found the train and crew sitting very close to the location of the previous photo... just east of the 8th St. bridge.  I struck up a conversation with engineer, George Zellers, who told me they had a minor derailment earlier during their outbound run but were able to re-rail themselves and proceed west to work Traylor.  He said they were waiting for track maintenance to arrive to re-spike the section of loose rail which had put them on the ground.  This was the easiest picture taking I'd done on the line as the train was just sitting there the whole time I shot my 6 slides.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #65 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:39am »
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We're now west of the 8th St. bridge, facing south-east from the S. 10th St. bridge.  The East Penn drill is reflected in the Little Lehigh creek which paralleled the branch at this point.  It's 5:05PM on 04/12/1989.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #66 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:48am »
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Taken moments after the previous posting, this picture captured the E.P. drill as it crossed S. 10th St.  You're looking south.  The former Mack plant is visible on the hill to the left while Traylor Engineering's main building is on the lower right.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #67 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:02pm »
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Not quite at home with the new computer as of yet so I'm not posting the full vertical format of this shot.  In spite of cutting off the top of the PP&L building at upper right, this was one of my personal favorite moments in capturing action during the final years of the Barber branch.  I've kept this picture to myself all these years, but I'm now happy to share due to the interest shown by many of you.
I was standing in the middle of the S. 10th St. hill (very close to where the Reading's Mack Branch once crossed) looking north as Conrail's GP38-2 crawls past the grade crossing, pushing its empty flatcar to Traylor.  Hope you all enjoy this favorite of mine.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #68 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:12pm »
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Back down to track level, this shot of a "light" SW1500 moving past the S. 10th St. crossing was taken at 5:10PM on 04/17/1988.  The track at left holding a string of Traylor's own flatcars was once a passing siding, reconnecting to the "main" just behind where I was standing.  You're looking west along the north side of Traylor's main industrial complex.

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robertjohndavis
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #69 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:37pm »
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With news that RJ Corman got a grant for the Barber spur, I have been wondering if the Traylor flat car collection is still there. I have heard they were cut up. Anyone confirm?

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #70 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:38pm »
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Back to the good old days of the Lehigh Valley RR.  While I didn't date my early slides, this was taken earlier in the day on the same day the previous posting showing the rail crossing of the Barber branch and the Reading/CNJ's Allentown Terminal tracks was shot.  I was spending an entire day riding with the crew and had been with them since my father dropped me off at the small office by the track scale located along the Valley's old main, just south of the Union St. crossing down by the Lehigh River... near the old coal trestle and the "Orange Car" for those old enough to remember that.  As darktown2 posted earlier, that was where the morning and afternoon crews who serviced both branches reported for work.  I didn't know until that morning that we were headed for a day on the Barber branch due to a special movement out of Traylor.
This shot, taken facing east from inside Traylor's facility, shows Traylor's own yellow Vulcan switcher adding two gondolas to the back of the special high & wide movement.  The item being moved was a large ball mill which Traylor manufactured for use in the cement industry.  To the distant right was one of Traylor's own diesel-powered cranes.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #71 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:01pm »
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On an overcast Saturday morning (04/30/198, I had to head into work to take care of something.  Figuring as long as I was downtown, I'd check out the local rail scene after I finished my work.  As I left my office, I drove down to Union St. and noticed the turnout leading to the Barber branch was locked in the open position.  That seemed very odd to me being that it was a Saturday morning, so I drove west along the line but saw nothing along the way.  I decided to park on S. 10th St. and walk west along the branch into Traylor's plant.  When I got past the end of their main building, I couldn't believe what I saw.  This was the first unusual thing I spotted: the E.P. drill's SW1500 idling, sitting inside Traylor's maze of tracks.  To the distant right sat Traylor's then-current plant switcher, a re-built 45 ton GE unit with (per Dave Latshaw's extensive research) "two engines, one on each end with a traction motor on one axle of each truck and a side rod connected to the unmotorized wheel."  To the left is the remains of one of Traylor's diesel-powered cranes.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #72 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:15pm »
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Moments after taking the previous shot, I turned back to my left and spotted something really unusual.  I began talking with some very nice plant employees who told me Traylor had leased an SW from the PB&NE railroad at Bethlehem Steel.  They said they needed more power than their own switcher could handle to move some heavy things around the plant.  They said Conrail's E.P. drill delivered the leased unit late Friday afternoon... just as the crew's time ran out.  That was why the SW1500 was locked and idling on one of their sidings.
I took a number of shots that morning while Traylor's crew tried out the PB&NE unit, in spite of the gray sky.  This shot was my favorite, being that the sun broke through just as all engines were lined up inside  my camera's viewfinder.  Look closely and you'll see the small switcher's siderods at the left of the picture, the PP&L's office tower in the center, and the Traylor crane remains to the right of PB&NE #42.


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #73 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:25pm »
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My buddy, who shot many of the West End branch images I've displayed, never got an engine ride with the Valley's crew.  He did, however, manage to get a ride with the Reading crew that serviced the Mack branch one day in 1970.  Unfortunately, he was more focused on getting a broad angle shot of the Traylor plant and the PP&L tower (far left) than he was capturing the Reading RS coming off of the switchback.  In spite of that, it's still a moment in time that will never be caught on film again, so I though it was worth displaying.

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #74 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:32pm »
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Back to that unique Saturday of 04/30/1988.  I framed this photo to show both the special visitor on the Barber branch and the remains of the Reading switchback leading from the Mack branch into Traylor.  Thank goodness it was April and the foot-high weeds which normally covered that track hadn't yet reached maturity!

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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #75 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:37pm »
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Here's another Dave Latshaw shot showing the E.P. drill servicing Traylor while their small switcher sat on the former Reading switchback.  The date was 09/20/1985.

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Flemington Flyer
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #76 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:45pm »
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I really would like to thank you for sharing all these great photos, though I must admit, it is making me want to rip up my LVRR Jersey City-based layout and take up modeling Allentown! It's contributions like these that continue to make this forum the best place for LVRR info and for fans to connect on the net, IMHO.
 
Thanks!
 
RAH


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A-townbranchfan
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« Reply #77 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:47pm »
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And finally (for today), a shot I took of the PB&NE SW near what was then track's end, looking east from slightly east of the 15th Street bridge in south Allentown.  (Sorry again for chopping off the top stories of the PPL.)
 
I'll head back to the West End branch next time and move west from N. 8th St, along Sumner Avenue, with many shots taken pre-Conrail.  Until next time, please continue to post your own questions or memories... and, of course, any pictures you may have of these former branchlines.    - Mark


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irn750

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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #78 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 4:41pm »
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Just all GREAT stuff you have posted on here. You shot pictures in a area that was overlooked by most people including myself.  Thanks for posting you really got the old brain in high gear trying to remember things.  When I first hired on Conrail I  went out on the Mack Branch on the Former Rdg Ind. drill and took lunch just about at that overpass for Lehigh St where you have a shot of the LV switcher I wish I could remember what work we did out there that day. It was the one and only time I was ever out on the Rdg branch

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F3_4_me
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #79 on: Nov 15th, 2010, 8:12pm »
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Damn..  
 
Is anyone here able to provide some input on what really brought these branches down?  I'm somewhat shocked to see old-school loose car railroading survived this 'late' in a city that I know really did hustle and bustle at one time..  I just always thought the good ol' days were a lot older.    
 
I'm guessing various combinations of recession, rust-belt syndrome, and the (perceived at least) change in attitue from the LV to CR all were contributing factors to the demise of these lines..  Can anyone weigh in with some truth to this question?
 
Many Thanks!
 
Micah


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