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Allentown branchlines
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   Author  Topic: Allentown branchlines  (Read 41241 times)
valleyfan628
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #600 on: Apr 30th, 2012, 10:27pm »
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Would anyone here know of a train, possibly similar to the "Freedom Train", that would have been in downtown Allentown in the early 60's? It was something you could walk through. Someone had asked and I could not find anything from that time period.
Thanks...


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valleyfan628
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Re: Allentown branchlines
  LV_Web_17-Tilghman.jpg - 46057 Bytes
« Reply #601 on: May 7th, 2012, 9:14pm »
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I'm not sure if this has been posted here. It was posted in one of the Facebook "Allentown" groups.

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/LV/LV_Web_17-Tilghman.jpg
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valleyfan628
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Re: Allentown branchlines
  LSS_Atwn.jpg - 120406 Bytes
« Reply #602 on: May 7th, 2012, 9:30pm »
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Another picture that was posted on FB....

http://Forums.Railfan.net/Images/LV/LSS_Atwn.jpg
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carajul
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #603 on: Nov 5th, 2012, 1:31pm »
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I'm just curious... WHAT DOES RJ CORMON SERVE NOW!!!
 
The Jordan Loop past the WEB lead was torn out in 1968.
The WEB was torn out in 1984.
The BQB was torn out in mid-1990s.
 
Linden St yard is now 1 track.
 
Do they just go out to the Linden St yard once in a while when there is a transload customer?
 
Heck there is no more trackage to serve!!!


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #604 on: Nov 8th, 2012, 4:45pm »
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on Nov 5th, 2012, 1:31pm, carajul wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm just curious... WHAT DOES RJ CORMON SERVE NOW!!!
 
The Jordan Loop past the WEB lead was torn out in 1968.
The WEB was torn out in 1984.
The BQB was torn out in mid-1990s.
 
Linden St yard is now 1 track.
 
Do they just go out to the Linden St yard once in a while when there is a transload customer?
 
Heck there is no more trackage to serve!!!

 
The February 2012 issue of Railfan and Railroad has an excellent article by Olive Tarmae on the past and present operations of the trackage which RJ Corman now operates in Allentown. According to the article, shippers at the startup in 1996 included The Morning Call (newsprint), Tarkett (clay), E.Schneider & Sons (scrap), and Harcross Chemical (liquid chlorine).
 
Conrail handled 367 carloads in its last year of operating the lines. Corman handled 566 carloads (400 of which were newsprint) in its first year, and had increased the yearly shipments to only 603 by 2006.
 
Tarkett (which closed) and Harcross (located in the former Lehigh Structural Steel property) are located on the former LV mainline. The Morning Call is served out of the Linden Street yard.
 
As of 2012 the former Lehigh Structural Steel property (which has 10 industrial tenants that lease space, including Air Products and Acme Cryogenics) is scheduled to be vacated and redeveloped into a residential/retail complex. I am not aware of whether the LV mainline will be retained through this complex, as the only potential shipper north of that point would be the former Tarkett plant, and efforts to redevelop that facility for industrial use have proven futile.
The Morning Call's circulation continues to dwindle as people turn to the internet and electronic devices to receive their news, so shipments of newsprint are sure to decrease. I'm not sure if Corman will be able to offset the loss with increased transloading operations or other possible new business ventures in the Linden Street yard.
 
My advice to you is to photograph the operations (especially on the former LV main) while still possible. Remember, the only thing constant is change.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #605 on: Nov 8th, 2012, 5:09pm »
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For fans of Allentown branchlines, I need to mention a new (2012) DVD available from johnpmedia.com entitled "Short Lines & Branch Lines Volume 1: The Lehigh River Valley).
 
The DVD primarily focuses on the Northampton & Bath (would you believe color movies of their ancient Baldwin-Westinghouse switchers? Then how about a LV PA pulling Reading and Lackawanna coaches on a passenger special on the N&B!!!), Ironton (camelbacks!), and Chestnut Ridge (warning: after viewing the video, you WILL get the urge to splurge and buy a Mack Railbus to run on your layout!).
The video also includes scenes of the Valley's Easton & Northern, Barbers Quarry, West End, and Hazleton branches.
 
The Barbers Quarry segment is limited to two scenes, but one of them is COLOR footage of a Valley STEAM ENGINE in action at South 10th Street.
 
The West End footage includes scenes of the LV #182 switching the May 1955 railroad equipment display (including the LNE Alco FA #706) at the 12th Street terminal, a view of a train passing the United Compressed Steel siding, an in-cab view of a train passing the Quakertown & Eastern #4 steam excursion engine undergoing repairs on the McDermott Brothers siding, and  a view passing the former LV Allentown station site.
 
All in all, an excellently produced DVD with incredible views of former Lehigh Valley branch and short lines!


« Last Edit: Nov 8th, 2012, 10:04pm by one87th » Logged
NS3360
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #606 on: Nov 8th, 2012, 5:21pm »
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I agree about the dvd's. I know at least for me, the LNE volumes and the Lehigh Valley short lines and branch lines get many repeated plays.
 


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Charlie Ricker
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #607 on: Nov 8th, 2012, 6:46pm »
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Looking forward to eventually getting this plus more. Working on the "Railfanning with the Bednars" now, just picked up #4 today to go along with #'s 2,3 and 5.  
 
They get lots of replays as well!  
 
Keep pumpin 'em out John, these are priceless!
 
Charlie


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carajul
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #608 on: Nov 20th, 2012, 1:43am »
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so its safe to say that the newspaper is keeping the allentown branch alive. I doubt that will last long... Who reads newspapers anymore What a shame you look at pics from the rr golden years and there are 100+ boxcars in that yard.

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photoman475
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #609 on: Nov 20th, 2012, 8:55pm »
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Well, Carajul, I can speak for myself only, but this older raifan still reads newspapers!  Ok, I don't live anywhere near Allentown, but even out here in the boonies of the upper Midwest have a daily newspaper!
 
Back when I lived at home, ages ago, we got three newspapers on Sundays....all sorts of viewpoints there!


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JimE
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #610 on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 3:41am »
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on Nov 20th, 2012, 8:55pm, photoman475 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Well, Carajul, I can speak for myself only, but this older raifan still reads newspapers!  

 
And crazier than that, I still prefer printed magazines to online stuff.  
 
Sure, I love forums and interchanging information with other people online, but I really enjoy magazines and subscribe to many.  Reading magazines online on my phone/tablet/computer just doesn't cut it for me.


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one87th
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #611 on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 6:18pm »
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Regarding the newspaper traffic on RJ Corman's Allentown line:
As I mentioned before, this traffic amounted to 400 carloads in 1996. Although I do not have totals for 2012, I can tell you that in the 16 years since then, three things have occurred to the Morning Call newspaper. First, the actual physical size of the paper (length and width) has decreased as a cost-cutting move. Secondly the number of pages has been reduced substantially (the classifieds alone use to be several pages thick...those ads are now all on the internet and Craigslist). And third, the number of daily subscriptions has dropped. Just in 2012 weekday circulation of 83,654 was down 10.2 percent from the same period a year earlier. Sunday circulation was 120,127, down 2.7 percent from 2011. We may prefer the printed page, but today's young generation who will be tomorrow's subscribers are being weaned on iPads, Kindles, PDFs, and the internet. All of this ads up to less and less need for newsprint. Several regional newspapers have even already gone to 3-day-per-week publishing schedules, and some newspapers are simply going under.  
 
In fact, the paper industry in general is in rapid decline. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 346 paper mills (about 50% of the total) have closed in the last 12 years.
 
What I am saying is that if Corman wants to keep operating the line in a healthy and profitable manner, they can't continue to count on that newspaper traffic. Combine that with the impending loss of the industry in the former Lehigh Structural Steel property due to residential development, the lack of shippers to occupy the former Tarkett plant, and the failed plan to redevelop the former Barbers Quarry branch, and you don't need tea leaves to read the future.
 
Corman is going to need to think outside the box for additional traffic to keep the line solvent. One potential would be a sludge-to-energy plant that is suppose to be built in the vicinity of Klines Island (the current waste treatment plant area in Allentown). Initially it is to use Allentown waste (which will probably be piped in our hauled by trucks). But if the facility were to prove successful and could be expanded, waste could be shipped in from outside the area by rail. Then again, with a new hockey arena and a upscale residential waterfront development to be constructed withing a few blocks of the area, I'm sure the NIMBYs would have a field day with that scenario.
 
To conclude, there is now guarantee that traffic that keeps a line healthy today will be there tomorrow. We're even seeing this now as fracking, low natural gas prices, and the shut-down of older power plants affect some coal lines. If you find a railroad operation fascinating today, document it NOW, because there's no guarantee it will be there tomorrow. The ghosts of these Allentown branchlines prove that.


« Last Edit: Dec 2nd, 2012, 10:23pm by one87th » Logged
Charlie Ricker
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #612 on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 7:01pm »
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on Dec 2nd, 2012, 6:18pm, one87th wrote:       (Click here for original message)
If you find a railroad operation fascinating today, document it NOW, because there's no guarantee it will be there tomorrow. The ghosts of these Allentown branchlines prove that.

 
Truer words were never spoken. The only constant it seems with railroading IS change!
 
Charlie


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Lvfastfreight
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #613 on: Dec 4th, 2012, 3:55am »
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What happen to the Barbers Quarry branch rebuild? They got money from a state grant. So there must have been a potential consignee or consignees?! Anyone know who the potential customer was? I would think in order to get a state rail grant there had to be a planned buisness with a rail customer? Whitehall cement I think. Whoever now owns the cement mill in Whitehall on the former LV side was interested in rail service. If that's true I would think grant money would be available or at least  applied for to relay track to Whitehall/Northampton. I believe it's one owner for both cement plants in Northampton. The one that does get rail service on the former CNJ. Perhaps it's easier to just move the material across the river to the active L&S line? Inbound or outbound traffic. If I remember correctly I think they were intrested in unit coal trains to Whitehall cement. That would definetiy pay the bills! Anyone have more insight on this?


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DAVE-39
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #614 on: Dec 7th, 2012, 12:29pm »
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In 2010, the Allentown Economic Development Corp. was budgeted $ 1.4 million from the state to rebuild the former LVRR Barber Quarry Branch from R J Corman track @ 3rd and Union Sts. to the Allentown Metal Works on South 10th St. in Allentown. Allentown Metal Works employed approximetely 100 people on the former site of the Traylor Eng & Mfg Co. Although the original Barber Quarry track was removed by Corman in Feb. 2002, all the track at the rear and inside the Allentown Metal Works property was left intact. They still used the former Traylor GE 45 ton switcher to move flat cars (many ex. RDG 9400 series) around the yard. Unfortunately the business declined and the plant was closed in Jan. 2011. All the manufacturing equipment including GE switcher, flat cars and rails were auctioned off in April 2011. The rails (including the switch-back up to the former Mack plant) were removed sometime in the summer of 2011. The building complex is for sale and the only remnant of the railroad are a few ties still in the ground.
 
Dave


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Dave-39
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #615 on: Dec 7th, 2012, 4:08pm »
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Dave Latshaw: Thanks so much for your informative update regarding the now defunct resurrection of the Barber Quarry branch.  I had no idea all of the rails, flatcars and engine (which I'm assuming were scrapped on site) were already gone.  It makes me all the more appreciative of the photographic documentation you, Gif Sander, Dave Beazley, Charles Houser, I, and unknown others did while we had the chance to do it!  All the more reason to share with other fans the images which no longer exist.  I'll never give up hoping someday I'll look at an added comment on this thread and find somebody new has added a photograph he/she came across at a train show or dug out of a collection.  What a nice Christmas gift that would be... for me and all of you others who have made this one of (if not thee) most-viewed forums on Railfan.net.  A very Merry Christmas to all of you branchline lovers!-- Mark


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MrBill
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #616 on: Dec 18th, 2012, 7:35pm »
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Hello Mark and Company. I discovered this thread when a friend asked me  
to design a small HO scale layout based on trackage in Allentown. Your photos  
and info here are a most impressive collection. I'm from Reading Pa. and have
a great interest in local rail-related history. Amongst all these fascinating
scenes, I'm presently honing in on what I'm calling the "Ice City Curve",
from about the GE/Stevens warehouse over to the Hess/trexler complex.
I hope you all will join in and help me with location info editing, as I begin to post my drawings of the (as close to)
actual track layout of this area (circa mid 1950's as a median).  
A couple of initial questions i have are:
When did Ice City move in and take over the old buildings and sidings for their warehousing?
 And, where and when was the last operating coal yard (siding) in the vacinity?
I look forward to your interaction, as well as sharing and studying here on  
Railfan. Sincerely,  -Bill W .


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MrBill
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #617 on: Dec 18th, 2012, 7:36pm »
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This was a double post. My internet service is sketchy at best. So it's not wasted, a shot of some current modeling:


« Last Edit: Dec 18th, 2012, 7:44pm by MrBill » Logged
valleyfan628
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #618 on: Dec 18th, 2012, 10:50pm »
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Welcome Bill. I do not have the answer to your specific question of when the last coal trestle operated but I can tell you that for the specific area you are interested in, the "Ice City curve" there was an active trestle between Allen and Liberty. There was a building supply company, G. F. Eric, as I recall that used the trestle to unload sand, gravel etc. from hopper cars. Back in the 60's I recall going there many times with dad when he needed supplies for the contracting business he had back then. In fact one of the very first posts I did here shows part a kid in an orange shirt(Mark) hanging off thie side of a box car spotted on the track leading to the trestle. Unfortunately I never took any good shots of the trestle.  
...Gif


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Charlie Ricker
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Re: Allentown branchlines
 
« Reply #619 on: Dec 18th, 2012, 11:18pm »
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Welcome to the boards, Bill!  
 
There are a lot of nice folks on here to share info and interact with!
 
Charlie
 


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