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Topic Summary
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 4th, 2010, 6:13pm
I'm a new member, but old to Allentown, PA branchlines... especially the Valley's Barber and West End.  Have a good collection of slides covering both former branches and will share some images in future postings... once I get the hang of my new computer.  Reading through older postings, I'm happy to see those lines still pop up in conversation from time to time, though some of the data reported was not correct.  Looking forward to helping clarify some things, especially about the WEB.
 
I'm also interested in the former L&NE branch (later operated by the Valley) from Bethlehem to Allentown, though I only once shot action (by Martin Tower) along that line myself.  I can still remember the freight cars parked along the former Freihofer's Bakery siding, visible from Union Blvd.  Would love to hear more about that line from anyone who remembers it well.  I knew most of the sidings from walking parts of the branch when it was still in service, but rarely saw action.  Hope to learn some things (and see some pictures) of locals on the East Side of town.
 
The yellow at top was the West End branch.  The pink at bottom was the Barber Quarry branch.  Below the Barber branch was the RDG's Mack Branch.  The blue to the right was the Valley main.  The blue cutting in to the left then back to the right was the Jordan Loop.  The dotted blue/yellow was initially Jordan Loop track, then became the West End branch lead after the JL was taken out of service.  The pinkish mass of tracks was the Linden St. yard, now R.J.Corman.  Also shown in purple was the CNJ/RDG "Allentown Terminal" trackage... as well as parts of the former CNJ & RDG mains.  Hope this gives you a clearer image of the way things used to look about 45 to 50 years ago.
 

Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Nov 5th, 2010, 1:21pm
I'm originally from Allentown and remember as a child watching the 1:18 Black Diamond go by Allentown station.  
 
A while back (November 17, 200 I posted a topic "LV Trackage/Allentown  
PA Station", and there are many interesting replies in there, including old maps showing the Foundary Branch of the LV that went from the freight main over to the passenger line in front of the station, crossing the Jersey Central.  I think if you go back a few pages in the forum and find that topic you'll find the info in that post very interesting.
 
I would very much like to see your photos when you're able to post them.
 
davidyur
Posted by: BlackDiamondRR Posted on: Nov 5th, 2010, 4:46pm
   If I'm not mistaken, I thought I once saw reference to a "J. Harry Jones Coal Co." on one of the Allentown branches. Can anyone tell me if a known photo exists?
A kit for a J. Harry Jones facility exists in S scale, but I can't authenticate its accuracy.
     Bud
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Nov 6th, 2010, 7:00am
Welcome Aboard A-townbranchfan.  Hope you enjoy the ride.  
 
Many years have passed since my boots walked the west end and quarry branches – plenty of stuff to see between the 50s & 70s.  And there's a jewel or two left, if one knows were to look.  As for the LNE branch....typically caught an occasional car at PP&L and the bakery - just off Union Blvd.  Activity at the A-town LNE station area was hard to catch.  Glad the station was preserved - great example of adaptive reuse.  
 
As for Harry Jones - it's pretty decent.  The real McCoy sat along N. 13th Street near Gordon.  Ritter & Smith - a big, old, red weather-beaten lumber storage building – sat to the east, the streets ran along the south and west sides, and the west end yard sat to the north (see Bing maps).  A siding swung off the branch, entering the bunker property from the north – will check maps regarding trailing or facing point switch when I get home.  The roof line of the bunker ran north-south, paralleling 13th.  FYI, the model is also available in HO and O scale, too.  If I recall, the gentlemen may also come out with a compressed version of the lumber shed, too.  Spoke with him at TCA York – he may be at First Frost.  
 
Looking forward to seeing your photos. See if I can blow-off dust from maps (and memory) when I get back home.  Davidyur was right, we had a nice time gas-bagging about the branches a year or two ago - came across a few things since then.  Kicked around the notion of organizing a field trip if there was enough interest, grab a Yocco or two, but first things first.  
 
Best regards,
 
ClearBoard
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 6th, 2010, 12:58pm
Happy to see some interest still exists regarding the lines that produced or received the freight off of the well-ballasted Valley mains.
 
davidyur: Thanks for the information regarding what I knew as the "Jordan Loop".  I'll try to find your posting from a few years back and see what I missed.
 
BlackDiamondRR: My grandparents used to live at 1324 Gordon Street, less than 1/2 block from Harry Jones Coal Pocket.  I've got a couple of slides in my collection that show mostly the north, south and west sides.  It was quite a structure.  Again, I'll share an image in the weeks ahead.  Regarding a model version, ClearBoard talks of the person who has such a structure available, and I've seen his products at the First Frost and Spring Thaw meets in Allentown in the past.  I'm currently building a Campbell kit (you know, those all-wood kits that take a lifetime to put together) for "Quick's Coal".  While it only slightly resembles the Harry Jones' building, it will become Jones Coal Pocket on my fully designed but yet-to-be built HO layout.
 
ClearBoard: Your message sparked my interest the most for it seems like you and I shared common interest in what was happening off the main tracks.  The switch to service Jones' Coal Pocket was a points-facing switch which sat just west of the 13th Street crossing.  Due to the closeness of the 12th Street Yard to my grandparents' house, I spent countless hours in that area from the early 60s on.  I never saw service to that siding, but I still remember the wooden planks which covered the space between the rails (over the coal pit) on the short siding which had once serviced Jones.
 
And to clarify a couple of mistakes I saw in earlier postings.  The West End Branch was last serviced by Conrail in June of 1982 when a Penn Central gondola was hauled away from Compressed Steel at 13th & Sumner Avenues.  Trexler Lumber at 16th & Liberty (also Shelly's Lumber) were no longer serviced by rail when the huge fire hit those buildings on March 31st, 1973.  The last car in the 12th Street yard was an ACY boxcar placed next to the ramp which used to be on the southern end of the yard.  The track leading to the center tracks previously used for most truck/train interchange at the 12th St. Yard had a broken railhead at the 13th street crossing a year or so before actual abandonment of the line and was never repaired by Conrail.  The same problem later occured at the Allen Street (west of 17th St) crossing in the final year of service.  While I tend to remember that rail being repaired shortly before abandonement, I never saw a train head that far up the line again.    
 
Thanks for the input, guys.  Be patient with me regarding posting some pictures.  As soon as I get the hang of this new PC, I'll share some great stuff.
Posted by: Ironton Posted on: Nov 6th, 2010, 4:55pm
One of my favorite monents from the 80's and early 90's in my railfanning was seeing the blue railcrane at E. Schneider and Sons scrap yard along Sumner Avenue. From what I have read in that chapter on the Barbers Quarry and West End branches in that one book. The Crane was there from 1986 (Schneider acquired it probably right when the track was getting torn out) to 1993. The rail crane sat on a small amount of track that no longer connected to any railroad track. Pictures of it can be seen on railroad.net. Thanks to the guy who posted those. The isolated railroad track reminds me of the center cab switcher used by FL Smidth in Allentown along the former Barbers Quarry branch which is on track that runs in the plant and the little bit of the Barbers main that exists but is no longer connected to any other track.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 1:08am
Ironton: Yes. the crane at Schneider's Junk Yard was always something to look at while driving under the 7th Street bridge along sumner avenue.  I just checked my slide collection and found that the blue & red crane is partially visible in a June, 1986 slide I took while track was being removed along the WEB's "main".  Unfortunately, a van moved into view and partially blocked the crane as I snapped my shutter.  I think your date as to when that crane arrived is off by several years, being that the line last saw service in June of 1982.  I'm certain they had it a few years before the abandonement  While the line wasn't torn out until 1986, the track at the crossing at Gordon Street (just east of Jordan St) was removed some time before 1986 (I don't remember the exact date).  When those rails were removed, no crane shipment out onto the WEB would have been possible, being that all industries (Schneider's included) were far beyond the Gordon Street crossing.
 
I also have a slide a friend took around 1970 which shows the former yellow crane Schneider used.
 
Just checked the wonderful article my friend, Dave Latshaw, wrote about the WEB in the Lehigh County Historical Society's proceedings from 1992.  I was correct.  The blue crane was aquired by Schneider in the late 1970s.  It was a "Model 5" Brownhoist diesel powered rail crane.  The earlier yellow model was a lighter "Model 3".  I remember towards the end of it's life, the blue Model 5 was obviously suffering from mechanical failure.  I'd see it sitting unused for weeks while truck-mounted cranes did the work, then all of a sudden, it would be back in service again.  I guess it finally got to the point where it couldn't be fixed any more.  It was scrapped on site.
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 9:55am
It’s always good to have a few good maps around.  Here’s a few to jog memories.  
 
Map 1 - Some may remember that I shared this blue line of the West End Branch some time ago.  I purchased it from an old Valley employee years ago to keep memories alive.  Although not to scale, it puts general locations and businesses in perspective.  
 
ClearBoard
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 9:59am
Map 2 - The next map shields light on branchline engineering.  I found this one – and one for the Quarry Branch – on “fleaBay”.  Hopefully enough detail is captured by the scanner.
 
CB
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 10:05am
Map 3 – The West End Branch – a.k.a Sumner Avenue Branch – culminated in a small yard adjacent to 12th and Liberty Streets.  This map (published by Latshaw, 1992) was composed from Sanborn Insurance maps and shows build-out circa 1932.  I always thought the branch - or the 12th Street Yard alone – would provide many modeling ideas.  Hope the copy / scan provides enough clear detail.  Talk about memories next time.
 
ClearBoard
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 11:07am
CB: Thanks for taking the time to post the maps.  I already had a copy of the track blueprint and, as you stated, the last was printed with Dave L's article.  I'd seen a blueprint at city hall one time of the elevations and grades of the line, though it was different from the one you posted.  Again, thanks.
 
You're right, the 12th St Yard would have been fun to model, though the "flying switch" manuever the crew used during Valley operation of the line would be nearly impossible to pull off due to the grades needed to get model freight cars rolling... and stopping.
 
Just a bit more about my memories.  I was born in 1955, so I figure I was about 7 or 8  when I was allowed to play in that area, unsupervised.  (The good old days.)  My earliest memories, therefore, would have been from 1962 or 1963.  At that time, the switch to Jones' Coal Pocket was still in place and the structure still standing.  Per Latshaw's article, Jones stopped receiving coal shipments by 1960, thus my inability to remember any cars on their siding.  I also cannot remember when the structure was demolished.
 
Also, my earliest memories do not include any presence of tracks 5 or 6 in the yard.  In fact, when I first saw this map, I was shocked that there ever were two additional tracks in that part of the yard.  I suppose that was because the "laddar track" leading over to Liberty St (M.S. Young, later (in my memories) Ritter & Smith Truss Co.) was so little used and covered with thick weeds that I wouldn't have had a clear view of the ties to see where the lead to tracks 5 & 6 began.  The ladder track was where many of the World of Mirth flatcars were stored during fair week.  The kids in the "hood" and I would climb up on the end car and run across the tops of the connected flats from one end to the other.  I can also only ever remember seeing one boxcar sitting on the stretch of track between what's listed as "Ed Bartholomew" and "Kline & Sacks".  It may have been on the National Biscuit siding, though I tend to picture it more on the lead to the track that once served the Trexler Lumber Co planing mill on the west side of 13th St.  I mention all of this because -- while I saw plenty of action in the 12th Street Yard during the 60s and 70s -- very few of the businesses once serviced in that area were still getting cars by the time I came along.
 
One always wonders what it is that draws many of us into the world of railroading.  It's often said that it's exposure as a child which sets the hook, though my father spent all of his childhood at 1324 Gordon Street, seeing sometimes two or three trains a day servicing the WEB -- as well has having the LVT traction cars rolling down Gordon St directly in front of his house -- and he never became interested in trains.  Go figure!
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Nov 7th, 2010, 2:14pm
Clear Board:
 
Thanks for posting the maps-#2 looks like a good model railroad project for a diorama.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 2:20pm
Sorry for the delay.  Not skilled at posting pictures from my new PC so I hope this works.  This is a slide aquired from a friend showing the Harry Jones' Coal Pocket at 13th & Gordon Streets.  The slide (date unknown) was damaged when found, but it still gives a good idea of what a large structure this was.  You are looking south-east along 13th Street (north of Gordon) and the open door was where the coal trucks entered (or exited) the building.  Look closely at the lower left corner (to the left of the door) and you can see the rails which led to the open pit where the hoppers were dumped, just feet beyond the corner of the photo.  The old wooden crossing sign was at the corner of 13th and Scott Streets.
 
If this works, more pictures will follow shortly.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 2:52pm
Okay gang, think I'm getting the hang of this.
Next, the picture I shot in June, 1986 at N. 8th St, looking east towards the 7th Street bridge.  The van parked along Sumner Avenue blocked most of the Model 5 Brownhoist rail crane, but look closely and you'll see part of the blue cab.  The remains of the turnout in the foreground is what led from the WEB main track, across Sumner Avenue, to Schneider's facility on the north side of Sumner.  (Years ago, the track continued under the 7th St. bridge and onto a coal trestle owned by Koehler Brothers.  It remained there until shortly before the auto transmission repair shop was built near 6th & Sumner a number of years ago.)  The remnants of the track at the right of the picture was a passing siding that began under the 7th Street bridge and ran west for over two blocks, servicing several industries along the way.  As they do now, Schneider occupied both sides of Sumner Ave, though the part on the south side of Sumner was much more narrow than it is today, due to the WEB's right-of-way.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 3:07pm
Next, a picture taken by a friend in the summer of 1969 or 1970.  While on the dark side, look to the far right on the other side of Sumner Ave and you can see the cab of Schneider's earlier Model 3 Brownhoist rail crane, painted yellow.  My buddy (who owned a 35mm camera years before I and shot many more pictures of the WEB) was standing in a gondola situated on the passing siding south of the WEB's main.  He was just west of the 7th Street bridge, shooting north, north-west.  Looks like there must have been a lot of rain that spring being that the shrubs and trees on the hillside look rather lush.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 3:26pm
Now one of the rarer images in my collection, taken by the same friend who took the previous shot... as is evident from the light leak he had in his camera at that time.  This rare shot was taken also in '69 or '70 and shows an empty box being pulled from the C.Y. Schelly Hardware Company's shed located on the south-east corner of 17th & Libery Streets in Allentown.  Fire destroyed this facility in March, 1973, but the rails leading to this shed (as well as the remaining shed of Trexler Lumber Company directly south of this building) had already been pulled in '71 or '72.  
 
It was rare that cars were delivered to Schelly/Trexler in final years, so the fact that my buddy had his camera this particular day was true luck, indeed.  Oh, by the way, that kid with the swooping bangs leaning out of the cab window is me, age 14.  I was lucky enough to get to know the crew in 1968 (long story) and got many a ride during the late 60s and very early 70s.  T'was a dream come true!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 3:47pm
Sorry, the previous shot was at 17th & LIBERTY (not "Libery") Sts.  It's where the two yellowish B'nai B'rith House towers stand today.
 
Now, look closely at this picture.  I took it a number of years ago and it has changed in the years since I took it.  I'm standing in the lower (west end) driveway of the American Drycleaners (17th & Allen Streets), looking north, north-west across Allen St.  At the time I took this shot, ICE CITY had moved their showroom to the distant building located along N. St. George St, between Allen & Tilghman Sts.  Please look closely at the lower left corner and you'll see a bit of white guardrail sticking out.  Also, check out the building on the distant hillside, above the red truck parked to the right of the parked cars.  These will be of big help when viewing the next picture I post after this.  Ice City used to have a short siding at this location.  The points-trailing turnout was just south of the Allen Street crossing and the siding ran north across Allen St.  It was about 3 or 4 car lenghts long, though finding cars spotted on this siding was quite rare in the 60s and 70s.  The next image will show you the same scene, some 20 years earlier.  By the way, there is now an auto parts store just to the right of what you see in this picture.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 4:02pm
And now, for my last posting today, one of my favorite shots, taken by me in the summer of 1969.  Ice City was receiving two boxcars of pooltables via the Lehigh Valley Railroad!  I wasn't riding with the crew this day, but happened to have been riding my bike with my Kodak Pony 828 camera in hand when I found this rare move happening.  Notice the white guardrail in the lower left and the building on the hillside (above the small white shed) on the right side of the picture??  Compare to the previous posting of the way things looked 20-years later.  Change may be inevitable, but how I wish some things (like this scene) had stayed the same forever!  
 
Hope you've enjoyed the first 6 pictures.  I'll be posting a lot more things in future days/weeks, if the interest is there.  Next time I'll share some Barber Branch images.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 4:28pm
Let me be the first to say AWESOME SHOTS!!!! My earliest memories of the West End Branch were passing all the crossbucks along Sumner Ave when my Grandfather and i would visit his sister in who lived in the western end of Allentown...This would've been in the early 80's..Pretty sure the track was abandoned by the time i saw it.   Here's a modern view of one of the few railroad artifacts still in place along the West End Branch..The bumper at the end of the former George A Bell siding. This is a view showing  the rail car loading doors still in place on the vacant building.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 4:30pm
Up close shot of the bumper...Why they removed all the track yet left this is beyond me..LOL
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 4:59pm
IRR: Nice angle on that first shot of yours.  Yes, I knew that bumper still existed.  There are also rails you can still find at 15th & Sumner, south-east corner.  The parking lot for the auto dealer still contains part of the siding for what used to be Sheftel's warehouse.  There are also rails near Scott (between Liberty & Gordon) and Franklin (between 14th & 15th) Sts, and a hint of rails coming through the asphalt in a small parking lot on the east side of 13th St, just north of where Harry Jones Coal used to be.
 
I'll post one or two shots of the Bell siding when it was still in service next time.  They used to get a lot of cars when I was young.  Whenever we'd drive down Sumner Avenue,  I could almost always count on seeing one, often two boxcars on their siding.
 
Glad you enjoyed my postings.
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 6:04pm
Please keep the photos coming---those are AWESOME.  
 
Thanks.....Charlie
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 6:55pm
If I may add my own anecdote to this..  I'm 26 and sadly never saw any of this operation in action.  However, I've known about the WEB for a few years now and have seen the clues around Allentown when I took the time to look.  
 
Earlier this summer I was working in a building on the north side of Sumner being renovated from a bus garage into something slightly more upscalse *but still garages, haha..  We unearthed a spike while digging on the west side of the building to bury the utilities..  The building itself is to the west of 8th and Sumner, and in it's current configuration, would not have been a customer..  
 
Many thanks for sharing the pics along Sumner, time really has been marching on!
 
-Micah
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 11th, 2010, 11:59pm
Micah:  I know which building you mean and, no, it wasn't a customer.  Loose spikes were easy to pull in later years due to rotting ties and few repairs.  The one you uncovered was probably dropped there by a kid who got tired of playing with it.  
 
Here's the Charles Bell siding looking north from Sumner Avenue with track (and bumper) in place.  This, by the way, was the last siding added to the WEB.  It was built in 1956.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:15am
Bell was one of the better customers on the WEB until the mid-70s.  Here's a shot looking east on Sumner Avenue taken by my friend from near 12th Street.  The siding was points trailing and would always be serviced on the outbound run.  Like the Schneider Scrap siding, the train had to cross Sumner to get to the customer.
 
For those too young to have seen trains on the WEB, the Valley almost always ran outbound with the caboose following the engine.  On the inbound trip, the caboose was on the rear of the train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:27am
Many more WEB photos to come.  However, time for a few shots along the Valley's other Allentown branch.
 
While I took few pictures of Valley trains along the Barber, I was lucky to shoot a number of Conrail engines servicing the line in its final years on an "as needed" basis.  I worked at the courthouse in Allentown and often spent my lunch hours following the East Penn Drill.  During the late 80s and early 90s, it was rare to find train movements along the Barber branch, though every now and then I did.
 
This shot (taken 12/23/01 near S 3rd and Union Sts by where the Union St. tower once stood) shows the aftermath of R.J. Corman's removal of the turnout leading to the Barber branch.  (The rails at right were pulled away from the main track and didn't originally run that far to the right.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:36am
On 04/14/87, I photographed the East Penn drill leaving the Barber branch at the same location I shot the previous photo.  The SW1500 was pulling a single flat loaded with a ball mill, a product of Traylor Engineering located at the foot of the S. 10th St. hill.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:47am
As time progressed, the East Penn drill began using larger motive power.  Two days shy of two years after the previous photo was taken, I took this picture in late afternoon on 04/12/89.  Not only was it unusual to see a GP-10 on the Barber branch instead of the usual SW, but it was almost equally rare to see a caboose on the line.  The caboose was usually left in the small freight yard by Linden St (now owned by R.J. Corman), most likely because of the very poor condition of the branch at that time.  Here the train crosses the curved trestle over Jordan Creek on its way back from delivering an empty flatcar to Traylor.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:01am
Back to Valley days.  I was riding on the end platform of the caboose (the engine was behind the caboose) as we were coming off the Barber branch with a high & wide load from Traylor in 1969.  Before crossing the curved trestle pictured in the previous shot, the crew had to dismount the train and place a call to the Union St tower to get permission to cross the CNJ/RDG (Allentown Terminal) diamonds leading to their Allentown station.  This was in the day before radios were used by crew members and all calls were placed on trackside phones.  As you can see from the distant semaphore, we were still waiting for our "okay" when brakeman "LeRoy" and conductor "Eddie" posed for this shot.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:09am
Moving west out the branch, across from the Parketts Gym on M.L.K. Blvd, here's a shot of the same GP-10 and caboose pictured on the Jordan Creek trestle two postings earlier, this time on their outward run with an empty flatcar leading the way.  If you look through the trees to the right of the caboose, you'll see the old Allentown Incinerator Plant smokestacks from the days when garbage was burned rather than covered in landfills.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:20am
On 03/23/89, I was lucky enough to catch a special move on the Barber Branch.  Instead of the usual East Penn Drill on the branch, YPAL-10 using a GP38-2 crawled out on the line, again to deliver an empty flatcar to Traylor.  This shot was taken looking east at the Lehigh St. crossing at 1:45 in the afternoon.  To my amazement, the GP never derailed, even as I witnessed the rails rise and fall a couple of inches under its weight.  The auto salvage yard still exists, though a lot of brush has grown in around the spot where this crossing once stood, greatly obscuring the view.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 1:30am
While waiting for his crew to return from lunch, my buddy -- engineer Harold Barwick -- posed with his train along the Barber branch, just west of the Lehigh Street crossing.  The building to the right was a remnant of the old wire mill once situated along Lehigh St.
 
This photo was taken before a major city redevelopment plan led to the Valley's tracks being moved to the more southern route shown in the previous picture.  This track relocation happened, if I remember correctly, during the mid-1970s.
 
More branchline memories to come... if interest continues.  Next time, back to the West End branch.
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 2:22am
Do you happen to know if Corman ever ran out anything on the Barber branch, or was it already dead when Conrail sold it?  
 
Fantastic stuff, by the way!  
 
-Micah
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 12:40pm
By all means, post more, this is great stuff!
 
Thanks for posting all the pics,
 
Henry
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 3:34pm
Thanks, A-townbranchfan, for posting those fantastic photos! I grew up 1 block north of the Charles Bell warehouse in the late 70's/early 80's, and my old neighbor's home is visible in the background photo of the boxcars on the siding!
 
Loved the photos of the Ice City warehouse. They make sense of the 1980's photo I posted on railroad.net of the siding in the middle of the Ice City parking lot. Apparently they tore down the warehouse and paved over the siding to make the parking lot; painting parking lines right over the track!
 
Regarding map #1: Does anyone know if the siding labeled "Nate Hunsicker" was a spur which ran onto the coal pockets where the current Ralph Weaver coal company is located at 11th and Sumner?
 
Once again, great photos! Keep more coming. And for a real bombshell, check out this article from the Morning Call on possible restoration of the Barbers Quarry branch:
http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=130&t=76750[u][/u]
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 4:36pm
Micah: In the back of my mind, I tend to remember somebody telling me that Corman ran an engine out on the Barber Branch when they first aquired the line, though Conrail left it in very poor condition so I'm not certain what I heard was correct.  If anybody knows... or ever took a picture... please share what you have.
 
Thanks for the compliments on the photos, guys.  I'll continue to share and will have more posted sometime over the weekend.
 
And thanks, Mike, for the Morning Call article about the possible rebuilding of the Barber branch.  Missed that tidbit and found it quite interesting.  I must say that the track was in such awful condition in final years that it would have had to have been rebuilt if regular shipments were to resume.  Of course, I remembered hearing a few years back that Corman was going to relay track to the Whitehall Cement company... soon after I heard that part of the Ironton Railroad track was going to be rebuilt to service one of the old cement companies.  Of course, those stories weren't printed in the newspaper, so who knows... maybe the Barber branch will be reborn!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 12th, 2010, 4:54pm
Sorry, "one87th", forgot to answer your question.  Per Dave Latshaw's article, the siding marked Nate Hunsicker was the same siding which served Ralph Weaver.  Nathan J. Hunsicker received coal from 1939-1946 at that location, at which time Weaver took over the business.  It was previously known by 5 different names... the one prior to Hunsicker being "Quality Coal Co.".
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:06pm
Spent many hours going through my collection and pulled a lot of things I'll be happy to post.  Hope others will share any images they captured along any of the Allentown branchlines.
 
I started by jumping around (geographically) on the WEB, showing things that were asked about and some of the rarer things I had.  I then began my Barber branch display in geographic order.  We'll now head back to the WEB and I'll proceed geographically from where it started and proceed out the line, finally ending at the 12 St terminal/yard.
 
This picture (4/9/90, 5:20PM) was taken from just inside what's now R.J. Corman's yard at Linden & Race St.  Conrail's East Penn Drill is heading north, about to pass under the old Linden St. bridge and enter the small freight yard.  I show this picture because you can still see part of the turnout which was the beginning point of the WEB once the Jordan Loop (the bypass which led to the old Allentown passenger station) was abandoned by the LV.  I was standing on the WEBs former right-of-way.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:18pm
My buddy was standing on top of the Linden St bridge shooting in the opposite direction from the previous shot I posted.  (Exact date unknown, approx. 1969/1970.)  The drill was backing out of the yard, ready to throw the switch and move onto the WEB.  You can see the WEB lead to the top left of the first boxcar.  Look very closely at the top of the curving track and you might be able to make out the timbers which defined the edge of the two track bridge which crossed the Jordan Creek.  You'll see more of the bridge in the next posting.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:30pm
Taken while standing on the former Jordan Creek bridge, this shot (01/21/91, 4:00PM) shows the East Penn Drill pushing its train out of the Linden St. yard.  Sadly, heading north on the WEB was no longer an option.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:39pm
The same train shown from the Linden St. bridge has just crossed the Gordon St. grade crossing located between what's now the American Pkwy and Jordan St.  This was the only protected grade crossing on the line and was only gated & signaled because of the fast freights and passenger trains that used to roll through the area.  You can see that this portion of the line was once double-tracked.  The building to the left still stands today and, the last time I looked, you could still make out part of the Rabinowitz & Sons sign partially pictured here.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 13th, 2010, 2:54pm
Taken 12/29/76 by well known local rail photographer, Bob Wilt, this picture shows a WEB visit from Ironton Baldwin #751 as it heads inbound under the old Tilghman St bridge (between 2nd & 4th Sts).  The train is pictured very close to the point where the WEB originally began.  At this point, the Jordan Loop spun off to the right on its path to reconnect with the Valley main.
 
Out of time for today.  More to come.
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 1:52am
This is wild..  In a few hours I'll be at 4th and Allen helping my stepfather work on a storefront replacement..  We started the job last sunday and took Gordon St past Rabinowitz & Son on our way across town to get some supplies..  I thought things looked kinda 'railroadey' right there..  Someday I feel like walking this ROW..  I've seen parts of it in other areas of town,  and would really like to get a feel for every bit left..  I'm no fool though and realize that certain areas are not the best bits of A'town to traverse solo...  Still, it's a piece of the LV that I'm thoroughly interested in..  
 
-Micah
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 9:22am
Micah: When I first decided to share a part of my collection on the internet, it was with the hopes that others who had captured action along Allentown branchlines would share some of what they have.  I'm always looking for pictures of things or areas I may not have captured... especially along the former L&NE's branch on the east side of town.  While I still hope that will happen, I'm very happy to realize that there are a number of younger railfans who weren't around to see what I did, but still have a great interest in seeing what they missed.  I hope others viewing these postings will ask questions or post comments as well.  As long as I know there is continued interest, I'll be more than happy to post many more pictures taken along the WEB and Barber branches.  And now, back to our show!
 
Look at the previous picture and you'll see a long, industrial shed with snow on its roof... directly under the through-truss part of the Tilghman St. bridge.  This was the McDermott Bros. foundry.  I took the following shot during a ride with the crew in the summer of 1969 as they were pulling an empty flatcar from the slightly sunken, weed-covered siding which served McDermott.  The brakeman in the white shirt and hat was standing on top of the car, the very top of which can been seen if you look to the lower left of the engine.  You'd never guess that the box car partially visible to the left of the photo was sitting on the WEB's "main".  As previously stated, maintenance was virtually non-existant in later years on both branches.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 9:40am
Just beyond McDerMott Bros, the WEB made a broad sweeping left-hand turn to the west which brought it somewhat parallel to "old" Sumner Avenue... east of the 4th St. bridge.  Just east of the N. Meadow St crossing (slightly south of Sumner Ave.)was a points-trailing turnout leading to another little used, weed-covered siding which served the Bonney Forge industry.  This track had a sharp turn and quickly-rising grade and saw very little traffic, making it very interesting to my buddy and me.  While we both lived near 20th & Washington Sts. and didn't often get to explore the lower end of the WEB, one of us had noticed a car on their siding during a weekend in the summer of 1970 (or '71).  We both decided to ride our bikes to Bonney Forge that following Monday morning with cameras in hand.  I arrived too late but my buddy was there on time and captured the following two images.  What a rare scene he recorded along the WEB!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 9:54am
First brakeman, "Bill", prepares to flag the Meadow St. crossing as the drill pulls a gondola from Bonney Forge.  This shot is looking west, toward the 4th St. bridge.  Interesting tidbit:  The WEB's main which ran under the 4th St. bridge was a well-ballasted stretch of track in far better condition than any other part of the line during those final years.  Engineer Harold Barwick told me that stretch of track was rebuilt when the city built the 4th St. bridge.  It was a condition of the LVRR when the city applied for permission to cross over its right-of-way.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:07am
As most of you who know the area know, Sumner Avenue was part of a city street improvement project several years ago.  If you travel it heading east from 6th St, you're actually driving on the WEB's former right-of-way, especially the stretch around 5th St.  Following are two shots of the way things used to look where the WEB crossed old Sumner Avenue, both taken looking east (towards the 4th St. bridge) from slightly east of 5th St.  My friend took this picture in the summer, just a few minutes after he took the Bonney Forge shots.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:12am
This Bob Wilt photo give a less weed-obstructed view of the same scene during early Conrail days on 12/29/1976.  Again, note Ironton Baldwin #751 doing the day's work.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:26am
Taken just prior to the previous posting, Bob captured the WEB drill servicing the Allentown Refrigerated Terminal along old Sumner Avenue, 1/2 block south of the newer Sumner Ave.  He shot this facing south-west.  Sixth St. intersects old Sumner at the top of the hill.  This facility was one of the last active customers along the WEB, receiving carloads of produce into 1982.  The building (and a small section of rails) still exist today.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:31am
Great pic!!! I Always wondered how the West End Branch crossed  Sumner Ave.near the Fourth St Bridge...The r.o.w. there is pretty much obliterated. So from that photo I'm guessing that the "New" Sumner Ave was built on top of some of the r.o.w. ? on Nov 14th, 2010, 10:12am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
This Bob Wilt photo give a less weed-obstructed view of the same scene during early Conrail days on 12/29/1976.  Again, note Ironton Baldwin #751 doing the day's work.

Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:40am
Standing near 5th and old Sumner Avenue and facing west, Dave Latshaw caught action of an inbound drill still painted in LV colors.  The date was 09/23/76, nearly 6 months into Conrail ownership.  The turnout visible in the lower right is what led to the Allentown Refrigerated Terminal siding.  The tracks and tree line at right is about where new Sumner Avenue runs.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 10:51am
On a snowy school holiday early in 1969, I walked down the line and met the drill as it approached the N. 6th Street crossing.  This b&w print was taken with a Kodak Brownie camera, so forgive the poor quality.  You are looking east from 6th St. and today's Sumner Avenue runs to the left of the tracks, then curves to the right and follows the former right-of-way for a few hundred feet.  That white building to the right of the picture still stands.  Also notice the snow-covered rails between the main track and the building.  That was the public siding at 6th Street which used to service Lehigh Valley dairy and Eatmore Fruit company in earlier days.  The turnout for that siding is also visible in the previous posting... right in front of the engine.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 11:08am
This shot (which I purchased) is looking east from atop the 7th Street bridge.  Look closely and you'll see a LV Baldwin pulling its train across 6th St.  You can also see a boxcar parked on the 6th St. public siding.  Schneider's junk yard (on the south side of Sumner Avenue) is visible to the lower left.  The date on the slide was 12/15/63.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 11:15am
I took this shot in the summer of 1970 as the drill was heading inbound and stopped to pick up a PC gondola from the passing siding along Schneider's yard, the yard on the south side of Sumner Avenue.  I was standing just east of N. 8th Street, facing east.  The 7th St. bridge is in the upper left corner.
(Go back to what I believe was the second picture I posted on this forum and you'll see this same area in June, 1986.  Quite different!)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 11:32am
And for today's last posting, one final view of Schneider's junk yard as the drill pushes an outside-braced gondola across Sumner Avenue to the northern half of Schneider's facility.  My buddy is looking west, north-west, sometime in the 1969, 1970 era.
 
Next time, moving further west of Lehigh St. along the Barber branch.    -Mark-
 
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 4:38pm
Hi Mark,
 
I'm definitely enjoying these photos. Even though I'm in Western NY State--not real far from where the "West End" ran, as an enthusiast of the LV--I enjoy every shot. Unfortunately, my 5th birthday was the last day of LV operations, so I was never able to really know or remember much from then.  
 
Having said that---PLEASE keep 'em coming.
 
Thanks,
Charlie
Posted by: LV319 Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 4:54pm
Thank you Mark, for sharing your pictures and knowledge.  Both are priceless.  I am hooked and look forward to your next postings.
Posted by: Matthew_L Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 6:59pm
on Nov 14th, 2010, 10:26am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Taken just prior to the previous posting, Bob captured the WEB drill servicing the Allentown Refrigerated Terminal along old Sumner Avenue, 1/2 block south of the newer Sumner Ave.  He shot this facing south-west.  Sixth St. intersects old Sumner at the top of the hill.  This facility was one of the last active customers along the WEB, receiving carloads of produce into 1982.  The building (and a small section of rails) still exist today.

 
Is it still an active rail customer?  
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 14th, 2010, 8:26pm
Just would like to say THANKS for posting these photos. Brings back great memories. I held the 2nd trick Allentown drill in the early 1970's closer to 1973/74 . Some days the daylight job as well as the 2nd trick job would service the branch. A lot of work back then  on both branches. The second trick job also went to Cementon, Caty, and did the local work at Fullerton.Also shift the "ramp" and take the cars to East Penn Jct. so the FFW-1 could pick them up. We would also take the freight back to Allentown yard (CNJ) at the end of the day. Earlier we would tie up at the coal yard that was at the "Orange Car". It was a great job. I held it until some of the guys that were older then me on the roster figured out how good the job was and I got bumped. Thanks for those great photos.  Take err easy.  Keith
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:01am
Charlie6017: Thanks for your interest and comments.  Will continue posting more photos for you to enjoy.
 
LV319: So glad you're enjoying something which brought me so much enjoyment many years ago.  Hope you'll continue to view future images and post comments.
 
Matthew_L:  I know there's a lot of text to read since I started this forum so let me take a minute to repeat some things for clarification.  There are no remaining rail customers on either the West End or the Barber branches in Allentown, PA.  Both lines were abandoned under Conrail ownership.  The WEB was last serviced in 06/82 and was torn up about 4 years later.  The Barber branch lasted roughly 10 years longer and was torn up in the early 2000s under R.J. Corman's ownership.  (See the earlier posting by One_87th regarding the possibility that R.J. Corman may re-lay part of the Barber branch up to the former Traylor Engineering plant at S. 10th St.)
 
darktown2: Keith - Thanks so much for joining this forum.  I can still remember my dad driving us through Darktown when I was young.  He'd always let me blow the car horn as we'd drive under the railroad bridges.  I hope you continue to view my collection and input comments of your memories along the way.  If you worked the 2nd trick, I know you mostly worked the Barber branch.  Hope you enjoy the next batch of photos I shot along that line.
 
And the presentation continues...
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:27am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:44am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 10:53am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:04am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:22am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:39am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 11:48am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:02pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:12pm
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.
Posted by: robertjohndavis Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:37pm
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?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 12:38pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:01pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:15pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:25pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:32pm
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!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:37pm
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.
Posted by: FFW-1 Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:45pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 1:47pm
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
Posted by: irn750 Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 4:41pm
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
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 15th, 2010, 8:12pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 12:44am
It's almost midnight so I won't post the next set of pictures until tomorrow.  I did, however, want to take a minute to thank those who posted comments today.
 
robertjohndavis: Regarding the company-owned flatcars at the former Traylor site, I haven't walked back that way since the day R.J. Corman tore out the Barber branch tracks and left a string of cars stranded inside the Traylor complex.  David Latshaw told me within the last year that he spotted their switcher sitting on one of the tracks one day.  I'm sure they must still have a number of cars on site, though I'm also sure the number is significantly less than it was back when I shot these pictures.  Anybody been back there looking around lately?
 
FFW-1: Offering to tear out your model layout and start all over because of what you've viewed so far is a high compliment, indeed.  However, as one who has spent the last several years designing a full-sized template of the layout I want to build but has yet to cut the first piece of benchwork for that layout, PLEASE... keep what you have!     Seriously, thanks for your kind words.
 
irn750: Glad to hear from another former (current?) railroader who once worked the area and happy to hear you're enjoying the slide show.  I will admit that I've always been one who spent many more hours waiting to photograph locals servicing the sidings along the mains or along weed-covered branch lines than I did shooting fast-moving, high horsepower engines on well-ballasted mains.  While I may not have come home with the amount of slides most railfans did after a day at trackside, I'm happy to have things which -- as you said -- most others overlooked.
 
F3_4_me/Micah: While I wasn't an economics major in college, I'd have to say that all of what you mentioned regarding reasons for the downfall of these branchlines was probably true... along with one or two other reasons.  You have to remember that when these lines were constructed in the late 1800s, Allentown and it's surrounding communities were nothing like they are today.  If you look at the 2-volume History of Allentown set from the Lehigh County Historical Society, you'll see that Tilghman St, in the block west of 17th, was a dirt road when a 1927 picture of the area was taken from a plane.  In other words, the branches were built to haul coal and building supplies and food to the areas where most of the city's population lived.  As roads improved and expanded and cars became more numerous, many people began moving out to the suburbs.  Since trucks could get to those newly populated areas using city, county and state built roads instead of having to lay miles of track, it was only a matter of time before freight demands shifted and railroads lost out in the process.  Having said that, I'll also point out that my father used to serve on the Allentown Planning Commission back in the 1970s and 80s.  He got to know the Schneider who owned both Schneider's junkyard and Compressed Steel at that time and during one of their conversations about my love of trains and the West End branch, Mr. Schneider told my father that Conrail had imposed a $400 (in 1980 dollars) per car surcharge on all freight shipped via the WEB.  Needless to say, he ended shipments by rail shortly thereafter.  It basically came down to the fact that the lines had few customers in those final years and the railroad needed to turn a profit which just wasn't happening at the end.  Time brings change and change is not always good... especially when you love trains and see so many of them disappearing year after year.  THAT's why I decided to share a part of my collection at this time via this website... and will continue to do so in the morning.  -- Mark  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:51am
I'll resume our West End branch tour with the second of two shots I took during the 06/86 removal of track along my favorite branchline.  (The other was the second image posted in this forum.)  Standing near 9th & Sumner Ave, I'm again facing east.  The building to the right still stands, though its color has changed.  The small tan building on the left is the Sumner Avenue car wash, and the 7th St. bridge stands in the distance.  Look closely to the left of the left bridge support and you'll see Schneider's blue and red diesel rail crane.  I'm standing where the main track previously ran.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:59am
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Allentown fair arrived each year by rail.  The World of Mirth's train would be taken out on the WEB and unloaded along Sumner Avenue.  From there, the wagons would be pulled by truck to the fairgrounds and the empty flatcars, stockcars and old passenger coaches used by some of the fair workers would be stored on little used sidings along the branch, many of which were at the end-of-line 12th St. Terminal.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 10:12am
I'm a part-time musician and one day, years ago, I was chatting with the man who did my instrument repairs.  I told him of my interest in trains and he surprised me when he said he used to live near the WEB's 12th St yard.  He was kind enough to share some slides he'd taken during the late 1950s of the unloading of the World of Mirth fair train along Sumner Avenue.  The following three shots were taken by Mr. Kleppinger, the first is looking south-east near 9th & Sumner.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 10:25am
The building marked Sheftel & Molenovsky sits at N. New St. and Sumner Avenue and later became a second warehouse for the Hummel Furniture Co. located at 15th & Sumner.  (To be covered in future postings as we head west.)  Today this building is used by American Family Services.  The grain storage bins visible to the right belonged to Morris Greenberg.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 10:32am
The Valley's two SWs sit with their special train in the distance as the fair wagons roll west along Sumner Avenue.  The rails crossing the street in the foreground lead to the Charles Bell Co. siding.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 10:41am
One more shot of action at the Charles Bell Co. siding, this time a purchsed slide from the Houser Collection showing LV Baldwin #145 doing the work on 11/10/64.  The track in the lower right led to a siding for Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 10:51am
My buddy took this shot of a P&LE boxcar on the Pittsburgh Plate Glass siding around 1970, mainly because we rarely saw cars on this siding.  You're looking south on Sumner Ave., just east of N. 12th St.  The building still stands today.
Mike (one_87th) -- this one's for you!  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 11:17am
On 09/23/76, Dave Latshaw caught the West End drill untouched by Conrail painters as it headed east along Sumner Avenue.  Dave was standing on the hillside overlooking Sumner Avenue at N. 12th St.  The long, low yellowish structure to the right is the Charles Bell warehouse.  You're looking north, north-west.
Tidbit:  I read an article a number of years ago that said the Morning Call newspaper company had considered moving its operations to this location (the field in the foreground) at one point because it would have given them direct access to rail instead of having to truck their newsprint from the yard at Race & Linden Sts. (Now R.J. Corman's yard.)  In the end, they opted to stay at 6th & Linden Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 11:36am
The next major industry serviced along the WEB on the outbound run was United Compressed Steel.  They received many empty gondolas from the Valley and Conrail and were the last industry to receive rail service on the WEB in June of 1982.  The siding which serviced Compressed was a passing siding which ran from a points-facing turnout just west of the 13th St / Roth Avenue crossing  to a points-trailing turnout situated about midway between 14th and 15th Sts.  The drill would most often back empties in on the outbound run, then leave the loads sit there until the inbound run at which time they'd back in from the east.  I remember one Sunday morning bowling at the Rose Bowl (15th & Sumner) and noticing upon arrival that no cars were spotted on that siding.  By the time I left that morning, four gondolas had been placed there.  The drill had made a special run just to deliver those empties to Compressed so they'd be there for loading first thing Monday morning.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 11:55am
Another slide purchased from the Houser Collection shows probably the last open hopper car ever to be found on the WEB.  What's even more unusual about it was that it had been delivered to United Compressed Steel in October of 1968!  I remember seeing the delivery of that unusual car while I was outside running with my gym class on Trexler Jr. High School's athlethic field (15th & Greenleaf Sts).  I couldn't believe my eyes, having never myself seen a coalcar spotted along the WEB.  The next time I saw my engineer friend, Harold Barwick, I asked him about it.  He said the Valley had a shortage of gondolas at that time and Compressed needed a car to ship some scrap metal.  Unfortunately, Mr. Houser didn't include the whole car in his shot, but my memory tells me it was a Lehigh Valley hopper.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 12:08pm
Another shot I took around 1969 or 1970 was this special load of transformers shipped to 14th & Sumner Ave. for delivery to PP&L's then-new sub station being built in that area.  While the city was in the process of opening 14th Street between Green St. and Sumner Ave., it was a number of months before the road was actually opened to traffic.  Engineer Harold Barwick told me the Valley wanted the city to pay for crossing signals at that location before they'd grant permission for the road to travel across their right-of-way.  The city argued against the cost of such crossing signals, saying that the branch only saw one slow-moving train, 5 or 6 days a week at that time.  An agreement between the two parties was reached by having the stretch of 14th St. between Green St. and Sumner Ave. made one-way, heading north.  This changed to two-way traffic once the line was abandoned.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 12:35pm
Dave Latshaw took this north-west facing shot of the West End drill heading east by 14th & Sumner Ave. on 12/19/1975.  The stop sign on the left side of 14th St. verifies the one-way traffic in that block (explained in previous posting).  The Rose Bowl bowling alley sits on the hill above the caboose and boxcar.  The brick building sitting to the upper right was Trexler Jr. High School, now Trexler Middle School.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 12:46pm
Another shot by my school chum looking south-west from the Rose Bowl's parking lot shows two boxcars sitting on the west end of the passing siding that serviced United Compressed Steel.  These were extra cars for the Hummel Furniture Company's siding at 15th & Sumner.  Sometimes the cars were placed here until there was room on Hummel's own siding.  Other times, Hummel would use their trucks to unload the cars right here, then move the freight one block west to their warehouse.  The large, light gray building to the right was a Sheftel & Molenovsky warehouse at the time.  It still stands today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 12:57pm
The same day as the previous posting, this NYC double-door boxcar sat on the Sheftel siding.  Again, you're looking to the south from the Rose Bowl parking lot.  This is now an area covered by used autos.  The upper section of this siding can still be seen sticking through the asphalt car lot from 15th St, just south of Sumner Ave.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 1:14pm
The westbound West End drill prepares to cross N. 15th St. by the Sheftel warehouse (with partially viewable boxcar on siding -- look to right of caboose cupola) on 06/20/1966 in this purchased Houser slide.  Due to heavier traffic, the 15th St. crossings (both at Sumner Ave. and at the more southern crossing along Scott St.) were always flagged by a brakeman.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 1:43pm
Today's last posting from the early months of 1969 shows the crew who befriended me during my 8th-grade year at Trexler Jr. High.  Posing after breaking for lunch at the Rose Bowl from left to right are: Conductor, Eddie Kropf; Engineer, Harold Barwick; Brakeman #1, Bill ? (last name was something like "Croll" if I remember correctly.  Any help, darktown2?); Brakeman #2, LeRoy Hunsicker.  I rode with these guys about a half-dozen times during the late 60s and very early 70s and many other times followed them on my bike.  Eddie lived but two blocks from me and gave me rides home on some of the days I rode along.  Harold was a great buddy, often spending his lunch breaks telling me tales of things that happened to him while working on the railroad... or having water fights with me in and around the engine.  Many great memories of these guys who have now all passed.
 
That's it for today.  Next time (which may not be until Thursday or Friday), we'll continue west, then south along the WEB.   -- Mark
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 5:10pm
An outstanding set of photos for us to digest!  Many thanks!    
 
I'm fairly sure if the carwash on sumner isn't the building i worked in this summer, than the one that would be directly to your left in that photo would be it..  Damnit I'm trying to recall if we were in the first place west of the 7th St bridge or the second one..  (along sumner..)
 
You raise a good point about the development of Allentown and the first uses of the branch in that regard..  I am aware of the damage suburbanization has done to boxcar railroading, there's no way in hell anyone's gonna run a siding to a mall..  It just doesn't work that way, in many many ways..
 
Reading what you wrote about the $400/car surcharge confirmed what I thought about Conrail and the 'change of attitude'...  I can't say I blame them when they had a 20,000+ mile railroad to run, and the times were a-changin', but it still seems heavy-handed..  I know it played out like that on branches in city after city...  
 
Again, thanks for sharing!  
 
-Micah
Posted by: Matthew_L Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:05pm
on Nov 15th, 2010, 10:01am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Matthew_L:  I know there's a lot of text to read since I started this forum so let me take a minute to repeat some things for clarification.  There are no remaining rail customers on either the West End or the Barber branches in Allentown, PA.  Both lines were abandoned under Conrail ownership.  The WEB was last serviced in 06/82 and was torn up about 4 years later.  The Barber branch lasted roughly 10 years longer and was torn up in the early 2000s under R.J. Corman's ownership.  (See the earlier posting by One_87th regarding the possibility that R.J. Corman may re-lay part of the Barber branch up to the former Traylor Engineering plant at S. 10th St.)

 
Thanks for explaining it to me. There is alot of good to stuff to digest in this thread, so I'm learning something new each time I come back to visit it.  
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:17pm
You are correct about Bill Croll, but I too am not sure if it was spelled with a C or a K. Both Bill and Leroy were great guys to work with. I never got to work with Harold that much, or Eddie as  I could not hold that job. Later held the 1st trick for a short time with Earl "the pearl" Reinert. I worked the 2nd trick job with Cond. Tom Whiteman, Motz Benkovic, and Ken Dougherty as the engineer. Not sure if I spelled any of those right. Motz's brother Al was the signal maintainer at Union St. They were a RR family. The other brother Charlie was a CNJ brakeman and it was a pleasure to work with them all.   Keith
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 16th, 2010, 9:19pm
The first photo today where they were tearing up the branch. That was the F.W. Armatage building in red. They also had a siding.  Keith
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 8:58am
Just a few postings today... not much time.
 
Per the previous post from darktown2, here's a shot back along Sumner Ave. (looking south-east from west of 8th St.) showing a loaded gondola on the siding by the former F. W. Armitage building.  This wasn't their own siding, but was part of the two-block long passing siding that started under the 7th St bridge and ended west of 9th St.  Thank you, Keith, for your comments.  It's always nice having input from people who worked the lines.  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:14am
Facing south-west while standing in the Rose Bowl's parking lot at 15th & Sumner Ave, Dave Latshaw caught a double-headed Conrail drill heading inbound past the former Hummel Warehouse site on 04/16/1979.  The large warehouse was destroyed by fire in 1975 and the lot was purchased by Ruhe Oldsmobile at 15th & Tilghman Sts. and used as additional storage space for their cars.  (The long, 2-story gray building in the middle right of the photo was owned at the time by Harold Stephens Wholesale Grocery and will be seen during the next few postings.  It's now the A-1 Restaurant Supply Co.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:24am
This shot taken by my friend around 1970 shows the Hummel Warehouse siding from the Fulton St. side, looking south-east.  Unfortunately I don't have any shots showing the 15th St. side of the building.  Hummel was the WEB's best customer in the 1960s, often receiving many new carloads each week.  The siding could hold a maximum of 3 cars and, due to a low spot about where the L&N boxcar sits, would often collect rainwater.  This was problematic in winter when ice would build up and sometimes cover the rails.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:33am
This 05/28/1970 shot, again from the Houser Collection, shows the eastbound drill just west of the N. 16th St. crossing.  The building to the right was the Harold Stephens Warehouse which often received shipments by rail.  They were one of the last remaining customers, receiving cars as late as 1981.  That's brakeman Bill Croll (Kroll?) on the right.  Any help darktown2 regarding the guy in the red shirt?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:41am
In this slightly off-center 1969/1970 shot I took, the West End drill delivers two carloads of groceries to the Harold Stephens warehouse at 16th & Sumner, now A-1 Restaurant Supply Co.  The cars at left sit "up" on the WEB's main, as the warehouse's siding was below ground level.  My buddy and I always referred to this siding as "the pit".  The road crossing behind the train is N. West St.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:52am
Today's last post is another Latshaw shot taken from the 600-block of N. 17th St.  Dave was looking north on 12/19/1975 as the drill headed east, crossing the 17th & Tilghman intersection on a diagonal.  Due to high traffic on Tilghman St, the train always stopped before crossing this intersection to allow the conductor time to get off and go over to the traffic signal box located on the north-west corner.  He had a key to the box and would set the traffic light to 4-way red.  Once the train moved forward into the intersection, he'd reset the lights to automatic, lock the box and board the train.
 
I'll continue moving south, then east along the West End branch next time before returning to the outer end of the Barber branch.  Again, please feel free to post comments and ESPECIALLY any pictures you might have along any former Allentown branchline.   -Mark-
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 5:40pm
Found a free hour so I'll add a few more pictures today.
 
Here's a low-angle shot my school buddy took of the West End drill heading south across the Allen St. crossing between 17th & 18th Sts.  The train is outbound on the WEB main and the engine is about to reach the points-trailing turnout leading to the old Ice City warehouse seen on page 1 of this forum.  The track at right was the lead track which once ran to a number of siding servicing the Trexler Lumber Co. sheds between 17th & 16th Sts. and between Allen & Liberty Sts. and Liberty & Gordon Sts.  At the time this shot was taken (1969/1970), the sheds between Allen & Liberty Sts. were long gone and only a few cars a year were heading to Trexler Lumber & C.Y. Schelly Hardware companies in the block between Liberty & Gordon Sts.  (See page 1 for a picture of a boxcar being pulled from Schelly's shed.)  The points-facing turnout to this lead track was about 2-3 car lengths behind the boxcar pictured here.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 5:50pm
Though not dated, I believe this gloomy shot would have been from sometime in 1972.  I know the track was gone prior to the big fire at Trexler & Schelly's in late March of 1973.  You're looking north between Allen & Tilghman Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 6:07pm
PP&L had a 3-car train called "The Energy of Man" which taught about energy creation and use.  During Allentown fair week during 1970 or 1971, the train was parked on Ice City's siding and opened to the public.  My friend photographed it from the rear, looking south toward Allen St.  The warehouse at left was Ice City warehouse #1, the same building that's visible from the other side and direction in the previous posting.  I remember that this train was later stored on PP&L's siding on the former L&NE branch in east Allentown, just off Union Blvd.  I don't know what happened to it from there, nor do I know the origin of the cars used for the train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 6:12pm
Sorry, time's run out on me again.  I'll continue with more Ice City shots (my favorite area along the West End branch) tomorrow and head east at 17th & Liberty with some amazing pictures of the Trexler Lumber Co., including one dating back to about 1910.   -Mark-
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 7:15pm
The PP&L train was built out of Reading coaches..  
 
Somewhere in this vast internet we've got I read of it's disposition, but the where and what of it escape me right now..  
 
-Micah
 
P.S.  I'm really diggin' this topic!!
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 8:20pm
The shot of the 291 with the man in the red shirt looks like Lewie Geiger. Not positive but sure looks like Lewie. His father used to let us on his caboose when they set out at Catasauqua in the early 1960's. His flagman was Wilbur Bowman. Perhaps the nicest guy I ever met as a kid. Wilbur passed away on that caboose around 1964. Lewie also worked as a yardmaster at Catasauqua yard. I also worked with him at the "heavy side hump" at CNJ's Allentown yard.............. Boy  Mark I am sure happy you remembered all those places we went into. The names of most of them escape me today. Per chance would you have any photos of a move into the Hess warehouse??  Thanks for waking this brain up.  Take err easy. Keith
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 9:59pm
Wow, that EXACT view of the LV 182 at 12th & Sumner with the field in the foreground is how I became interested in trains! In the early 1970's my parents lived on the 1100 block of Washington Street. My neighbor and I would hear the engine blowing for the crossings, and we'd dash across Washington Street through a field (now apartments), across Cedar Street, and across that field in the photo (now the site of the new Pennsylvania Supply warehouse). We'd pull nickels and quarters out of our pockets (which we normally spent on candy at Yarnall's market at 10th and Washington...but that's another memory), place them on the track and watch the switcher flatten them. The crews would wave to us as we retrieved our souvenirs. Great memories!
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:10pm
I'm getting misty eyed at that shot of the 2 SW's unloading the World of Mirth Show at 11th and Sumner (at the Charles Bell siding lead). In 1976 we moved to 11th Street in Whitehall, one block north of Sumner. Alas, I was born too late, as I could have watched the circus unload from my living room window!
 
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. Pennsylvania Plate Glass is to the extreme right in the photo.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:49pm
In 1984 I biked along the then abandoned West End branch, taking photos of track and buildings before the inevitable scrapping took place. I've posted some photos on another site (Google "West End Branch") and I won't repeat them here. But here are 2 shots I hadn't posted.
Here is a shot looking at the buildings/track between New Street and 9th Street. The red building in the background is F.W. Armatage (now occupied by Euro Marble & Granite). Next were some really neat old large wooden sheds (torn down in the late 80's?).  I'm told the grey building at the extreme right was once a shoe factory.
The branch was two tracks wide at this point... a long passing siding that began at 7th Street. There was a set of crossovers just in front of F.W. Armitage (visible in the earlier photo of the loaded gondola). Beyond that crossover, the second track had been in disuse for years...it's buried under the gravel and would be where the American Family Services van is parked in the photo.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 17th, 2010, 10:59pm
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.
As a kid I always wondered what a Hay and Grain dealer was doing located in the city. But you must remember that when the branch was built until right up through the late 50's, there were acres of farmland just to the north of the branch along Sumner Avenue. Now it's all suburbia!
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 7:55am
This thread has been very interesting and informative-please keep it up!
 
Now, a question for anyone on this thread:  From what I've been able to figure out from this thread, the Reading served the Mack Truck plant.  Did the LV or any other road also serve Mack?
 
Any assistance would be appreciated.
 
Alan
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 9:32am
Before continuing with my slide show, allow me to respond to and comment about the recent postings.
 
F3_4_me, Micah: Thanks for resolving the issue as to where PP&L obtained the coaches for their Energy of Man train.  Older guys like me (55) tend to forget just how many things can be found serching the Internet.  
 
darktown2, Keith: I spent many, many hours during my "formative years" playing around, walking and biking along, and being driven along and later driving myself along the West End branch... especially the outer end (beyond 13th & Sumner Ave.)  It's because of this that I've been searching for years for others who have slides or pictures they shot so I could add to my collection or at least see things I missed.  One day while riding along in the engine near 13th & Scott St, Harold pointed out to me a photographer who was taking pictures of the train.  To this day I've never found those pictures which would most certainly have included me leaning out of the cab window.  I'm hoping they still surface at some point and haven't ended up in a landfill somewhere.  
Unfortunately, because of my young age back then (13/14/15) and my belief that the WEB would always be in operation -- as well as the fact that I didn't get a 35mm automatic focus camera until 1981, right near the end of service along the WEB -- I never shot all that many pictures of action on the WEB myself.  That's why I started this forum... with the hopes that others would join in the discussion and begin posting their own photos from those wonderful days of railroading in Allentown.  And, yes, I have two shots showing the Hess Brother's siding at 17th & Liberty which will appear shortly.
 
one87th, Mike: Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Finally, someone else with pictures to share!     I'm glad you mentioned the long passing siding down by the Armitage building and the fact that there was a crossover located at that point.  I gave the impression that the siding was two-blocks long when, in fact, it was closer to four city blocks long.  You're correct, it did run from 7th St. to almost 11th.  See, I told you I spent more time west of 13th St.  Glad to have someone younger to refresh my memory as to the things east of 13th St.    Thanks again for your contributions.  The picture attached I omitted from my first group of shots along Sumner Ave. because the angle doesn't give a good idea as to where this was.  However, I'll tell you -- because you talked twice about the rotted ties and gravel covering the rails here -- that this shot was taken by my friend (that's his bike in the lower right) looking west at the crossing at N. New St. & Sumner Ave.  The single box to the left was at what was then "Hummel 2" warehouse (today American Family Services), while the two other boxcars waiting for placement at the warehouse door were sitting directly in front of the Morris Greenberg hay & grain company you so wonderfully showed in your photograph.  So you see, there was a time when the western end of that 4-block long passing siding saw regular service.
 
photoman475: To my knowledge, the Reading, via its Mack branch, was the only railroad to service the Mack plant.  There was a great difference in elevation between the Reading's right-of-way and the Valley's Barber branch in that part of town.  I highly doubt that the Valley ever used the Traylor Company's switchback to gain access to the Mack branch, but if anybody knows differently, please tell us about it.  By the way, glad to know you're enjoying this thread.  Please tell some railfan friends about it.  The more people who know about this forum, the more chance I'll have at seeing those pictures taken of me in the engine near 13th & Scott Sts in 1969!    
 
More WEB shots to follow.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 9:47am
I said yesterday that the Ice City area along the West End branch was my favorite part of the line.  I think it was because of it's curving track, the climb in elevation, the fact most of that area was double-tracked (the lead to the lumber company sidings) and the fact that placement of cars along the Ice City sidings was a fairly rare occurrence.  In this 1972 or 1973 shot, the drill has just placed a boxcar on Ice City's warehouse siding at Allen St. and is backing down the "main" to pick up its train.  Look closely and you'll see that the lead track into C.Y. Schelly and Trexler Lumber Co. has been removed.  In this south-facing view, the building to the left of the SW is the American Drycleaners and the large, yellowish building to the right is the Allentown Hospital.
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 10:01am
My view about he WEB track condition. When I worked the branch from 1969 to around 1974 (off and on as an extra then a regular trainman), I can't remember a single time that we derailed. Granted the track was in poor condition but not as bad as places like Hazleton. I first worked Hazleton in 1970 and held a regular mine run job 1975 until 1982. We would derail EVERYDAY! At one point it took us 4 days to complete a round trip to the Jeddo breaker. But I digress. Point being the derailments just were not as common on the WEB. Also the "passenger main" between the freight yard trackage rode like glass. A tribute to the LV and their track forces who I feel do not get enough recognition as to how well the LV ran.Work that lasted far into the years when not much was done to the roadbed.    Keith
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 10:17am
Around 1971, my friend decided he'd take an "artistic" shot and climbed to the top of a boxcar on Ice City's Allen St. siding so he could photograph another boxcar which had been placed on the siding by a newer Ice City warehouse located between Allen & Liberty Sts.  You're looking south and can see both the Allentown Hospital and, in front of it, the warehouse which serviced Hess Brothers Department Stores at the time.  Look to the left of the main track and you'll see the lead to the lumber company sidings still in place, though heavily covered by weeds.  And to you younger railfans, here's proof that boxcars used to have roofwalks on top of them!  (By the way, my friend wasn't drunk, just a bit uneasy standing on top of the car... thus the slightly tilted view!)
Posted by: LVRR2095 Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 10:20am
on Nov 18th, 2010, 10:01am, darktown2 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
A tribute to the LV and their track forces who I feel do not get enough recognition as to how well the LV ran.Work that lasted far into the years when not much was done to the roadbed.    Keith

I'll second that! I remember making some high speed runs when I was a fireman for Bill Beck and Charlie Bair between Lehighton and Oak Island. And I don't think the mainline had seen any major work in many years. Throttle eight...don't be late!
(The other) Keith
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 10:35am
Keith's (darktown2) previous comment about derailments on the WEB is correct.  In all the times I followed action on that line, I only remember 3 derailments, one of which happened just behind where this 1969/1970 photo was taken.
 
In this shot looking south-west from 17th & Liberty Sts., Ice City decided they hadn't liked where the Valley had placed their car so the guys unloading it released its brakes, figuring they could move it a few feet on their own using gravity and the slope of the track.  Problem was, it got away from them and they ended up fouling the main track.  I don't know exactly how much they were fined by the railroad, but in addition to the $$$, Harold told me they got one hell of a lecture from the railroad.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 11:07am
Another Houser shot dated 05/10/1966 show Valley SW #186 heading north-west across the intersection of 17th & Liberty Sts.  Coming off of the Hess Bros. siding and within 2 or 3 car-lengths of the previous photo's location, conductor Eddie Kropf rides the front of the SW as he prepares to throw the switch for the reverse move across the intersection to pick up the rest of his inbound train.  The 75-cent car wash to the left of the photo is now the location of the New York Style Pizza shop.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 11:19am
The following two pictures were obtained by Dave Latshaw during the extensive interviews he did with former business owners along the West End branch.  If I remember correctly, both of these pictures were given to him by a former owner or employee of the Trexler Lumber Company.
 
This amazing picture, believed to have been taken around 1940, shows three of the passenger coaches used on the World of Mirth Fair train while parked along N. 17th St, by Liberty St... in front of the Trexler Lumber sheds.  It's where today's B'nai B'rith towers sit.  (The shed on the left later became C.Y. Schelly Hardware Co. and is pictured back on page one of this forum.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 11:37am
A rare find, this photo -- believed to be taken in the very early 1900s-- shows the huge Trexler Lumber Company shed which used to stand between 17th & 16th Sts. on the north side of Liberty St (today Liberty Medical Center and CVS Pharmacy), as well as the previously viewed sheds which sat on the south side of Liberty St.  You are looking east down a pre-paved Liberty St. from N. 17th St.  The shed to the right of Liberty St with the large open door later became the C.Y. Schelly Hardware Company.  This one's a keeper!  Enjoy!!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 12:09pm
Back to the same area some 60 or 65 years later... or about 44 years ago!  Another Houser Collection shot, taken minutes prior to the shot posted 3 images back, shows conductor Eddie Kropf again, this time leaving his train and headed for the office at the Hess Bros. warehouse.  Eddie would always check with the warehouse foreman before moving cars to see at which of their four warehouse doors they'd like the car/cars placed.  Once again, the C.Y. Schelly and Trexler Lumber Co. sheds loom in the background.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 12:25pm
Another dark, poor quality shot taken with my Kodak Brownie camera in the early months of 1969 shows the West End drill placing a car at Hess's warehouse siding.  Hard to see, but brakeman LeRoy Hunsicker is tightening the brake wheel on that Frisco boxcar as it's being shoved into place while the rest of the train remains on the WEB main.  The snow-covered tracks at left led to the Trexler Lumber Co. shed and their adjoining lumber yard.  The partially-visible turnout points are thrown towards the shed's siding.  From my earliest memories of heading into my grandparents' house on Gordon St, I only ever once remember seeing a car ( a Milwaukee Road boxcar) sitting in the outside lumber yard at Trexler.  I don't know how many total cars they received hidden inside their shed during the 1960s, but the company's shipments by rail had considerably dwindled from the days previously pictured in the early 1900s shot.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 12:35pm
Another shot by my friend better shows the Hess Bros. warehouse siding and the track at left leading to Trexler's lumber yard.  Judging by the brownish color on those railheads, it's been years since a train ran on that siding.  You're looking south-east toward 16th & Gordon Sts.  That's the PP&L building visible above the yellow-ish lumber company building.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 12:53pm
And for today's final posting, a 10/10/1977 shot from Dave Latshaw showing Conrail's drill heading westbound past the Hess Bros. warehouse and distant Allentown Hospital.  Taken from Liberty St. looking south, south-west, the chain-link fence you see in front of the train is the remains of that running along the left side of the previous photo.  It was still defining the edge of the Trexler Lumber Company's yard 4 and 1/2 years after the huge 03/31/1973 fire which destroyed both remaining lumber sheds.  The yellow brick towers of B'nai B'rith now stand in this location.
 
Next time, we'll head back along the Barber branch... moving west from Traylor.  While I'm truly enjoying sharing these images and captions with everyone, I ask, again, that others share any pictures/slides they may have taken along any of the Allentown branchlines.  (Thanks again, One87th!)  Please tell any local railfans you know who may have captured a shot or two off the Valley mainlines about this forum.  Sharing pictures from railroading days long gone gives one a good feeling... especially when others join in with comments, stories, AND photos.  Thanks to everyone who's shown an interest in the hours I've spent doing this so far.  Hope you'll continue to stay tuned and add your input and feedback.   - Mark -
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 2:34pm
Here's retouched version of the '69 Hess shot. It's as light as I could get it without totally trashing the shot.
 
I have been enjoying your tour!
 
Henry
Posted by: DElder Posted on: Nov 18th, 2010, 11:41pm
Mark:
This is GREAT stuff!  Thanks for all your hard work in putting this together, and by all means, keep it coming!
   Doug
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 8:13am
Thanks for the information on the Mack truck plant.  I appreciate it!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 9:08am
Back to the Barber branch today.  I have 18 more pictures to share along that line.  If time allows, I'll finish it today.  If not, I'll finish the Barber photos next time and resume the tour along the West End branch.  But first:
 
Henry: Thank you for lightening up my Hess's warehouse photo.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this forum, my new computer has all the bells and whistles attached... I just need to learn how to ring and blow them!    Thanks again!
 
DElder:  Nice to see a new name amongst those who have posted comments here.  I'm glad you're enjoying the ride so far and hope you'll continue to post comments.
 
photoman475: You're very welcome.  If anybody knows anything about the previous question posted by photman475 (was the Mack plant along S. 10th St. ever serviced by any railroad other than the Reading), please post your information at any time.
 
Remember guys... please spread the word about this thread to any railfans you know from the Allentown area.  I'm really hoping to see more phots posted as more people find this forum.  Thanks!   -Mark-
 
Now back to the Barber branch... moving west from the former Traylor Engineering complex.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 9:23am
On 12/23/2001, after photographing the site where the turnout leading to the Barber branch had been removed (the first Barber branch photo pictured early in this forum), I drove over to S. 10th St. and walked in to the old Traylor facility.  This picture shows what I found.  I hadn't been back there in close to 10 years and was amazed at how dead things seemed.  You can see the Traylor name had been painted over above the large door on the shed at right.  While a few flatcars were still spotted here and there, it seemed like a different place from that I had visited so many times in earlier years.  The track at left was the Barber "main" and, even after R.J. Corman removed remaining track from the branch in the months after this picture was taken, the section you're seeing here was left intact.  It should be very interesting to see if the grant Corman was just awarded by the state (see earlier posting from One87th and the Morning Call) will lead to train activity returning along this part of the branchline at some point in the future.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 9:39am
On 11/30/1984, Dave Latshaw took this right-of-way shot from under Allentown's S. 15th St. bridge, looking west.  This shows the area directly beyond the Traylor plant where the track was framed by a large hill to the south and the Little Lehigh Creek to the north.  The area of track directly under the bridge was the site of frequent erosion problems for the railroad due to rainwater runoff from the street on the south side of the bridge streaming downhill and pouring through the open-grate surface of the 15th St. bridge.  My favorite part of this photo is the gleam of the rails!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 10:11am
On 03/10/77, Dave took a picture of an inbound drill headed east along the stretch of track previously pictured.  He was standing just west of the 15th St. bridge, across the Little Lehigh.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 10:23am
Moving outbound (west) along the line, Union Carbide Corporation - the Linde Division - was the next frequent customer on the Barber branch.  On one of the rare trips I made with the morning crew along this line, we stopped to place a tankcar on their upward-sloped siding.  Linde often had one, two or even 3 tankcars sitting on their siding when I'd pass by in the late 60s and 70s.  Glad I had the chance to photograph their plant being served around 1970.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:04am
The next four postings captured action along the most impressive of the 8 bridges which once existed along the length of the Barber branch.  This 250-foot long, curved wooden trestle crossed the Little Lehigh creek just west of the Linde siding and the Lehigh Parkway East grade crossing.  The first of these 4 pictures (this one from the Houser Collection) shows a west-facing view as a former Valley engine with Conrail caboose heads east, having just crossed the L.L. creek.  The date was 05/10/1977.  By 1984, a section of rail just to the right of this photo was removed by Conrail to formalize abandonement of the outer portion of the line after severe flooding in early August of 1982 caused massive damage to the track and roadbed west of this location.  Due to declining rail shipments beyond this point, Conrail chose not to repair the badly-damaged portion of the branch, so Linde became the outermost customer until March of 1985 when it, too, stopped receiving shipments by rail.  (Per Dave Latshaw's Barber branch article in the 1988 Lehigh County Historical Society's proceedings.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:10am
Another Houser shot taken 3-months prior to the previous post shows PC #9160 running light at the same location.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:20am
On 09/21/1976, Dave Latshaw was lucky enough to photograph his favorite branchline being serviced by Ironton Baldwin #751.  This great late-summer shot shows the park-like setting through which this part of the railroad ran.  I learned as I got older that it's much better to stand back some distance when photographing railroad activity instead of moving in and "filling the frame with the train".  I've much regretted the fact that too many of my early pictures didn't take in enough of the surrounding area which helps to identify where a picture was taken... and also allows the younger generations to see more of how things used to look.  I think this beautiful shot of Dave's proves my point.  Love those Weeping Willow trees!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:31am
Also taken on 09/21/1976 but during the earlier outbound run, Dave captured this beautifully painted L.V. caboose (#95094) from his "through the trees" location, looking north.  This trestle still stands today, though the rails were removed from its ties during January, 1986.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:44am
This 1970/1971 shot taken by my buddy shows the eastern portion of the Robert A. Reichard Fertilizer Company which used to sit at 19th & Lawrence Sts.  (Lawrence St. became what is today Martin Luther King Blvd.)  Taken just west of the previously shown trestle, looking west, this picture shows an uncommon placement of two boxcars along the Barber branch's main track.  At this point in time, Reichard was still a good customer on the branch, receiving mostly boxcars and a tankcar every so often.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 11:53am
On the same day, moving just west of the distant boxcar previously pictured, my buddy took this picture showing one of the more rare tankcars placed on a short siding just east of Reichard's water tower.  The track curving to the left is the Barber "main".  The rust on the railheads would make it seem like weeks since a train had run on the line, but I remember my friend saying he shot this on a Sunday (when Reichard's was closed) and it had been raining in the days just prior to his taking this picture, making things look less-used than they actually were.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:06pm
Moving farther west on that same rainy weekend, my friend took this shot showing Reichard's main, mostly-wooden building with two boxcars ready for unloading raw materials or shipping out fertilizer.  This siding was serviced from a points-facing turnout located between the previous photo's location and where the photographer was standing when he took this picture.  I remember passing by this location on M.L.K. Blvd, soon after demolition of this plant had taken place.  The huge pile of red, splintered wood made it look like a bomb had been dropped on the building.  Today, the location has been mostly reclaimed by Nature.  One would never know such a large industrial complex once stood in this now grass and weed-covered area.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:20pm
The next customer west of Reichard (until 1981) was Hawk Flour Mills, Inc.  Their cinderblock warehouse located near 20th & Lawrence Sts. (now Second Harvest Food Bank) had a rear wall built in several slightly angled sections to allow for the curvature of their siding which sat inside of a curving Barber main.  During my rare Barber branch ride with the Valley's morning crew, I quickly snapped this photo of a LV snowbird boxcar which sat on Hawk's siding.  Though we were still moving outbound (west) along the line, the engine faced inbound.  Look closely to the right side of the picture and you might be able to make out the caboose, a tank car pulled from Linde, and the end of a boxcar.  Things were rather tight along this part of the branch being that the Cedar creek paralleled the tracks just a few yards to the right of the train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:32pm
Sorry, guys.  Just realized after posting the previous picture that the downloaded image was smaller than my original 828-sized slide, so the caboose does not appear in that picture.  You can, however, see the rear of the tankcar and end of the boxcar... barely.
 
In this purchased slide from the Houser Collection,  a LV Baldwin works the Ziegenfuss Quarry located just west of the Hawk Flour Company.  The slide was dated 06/22/1964.  By 1970, the rails leading to the quarry had been removed.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 12:51pm
Taken looking north-east along the back side of Kemmerer's Public Siding (located parallel to the S. St. Elmo St. grade crossing) this unfortunately dark shot of mine show's the Barber drill, immediately following its repositioning the location of the engine on the train via a "flying switch" maneuver.  (Engine uncouples from train while moving forward on a slight downgrade after all hand and air brakes are released from the cars.  Engineer accelerates down one leg of a turnout.  Brakeman throws the switch after the engine clears the points, allowing the slow-moving cars to roll onto the other leg of the turnout.  The conductor or second brakeman applies the hand brake to the caboose to stop the train from rolling beyond the end of track which has a slight upward grade to it.  The points to the turnout are thrown again, allowing the engine to reverse.  Again the points are thrown and the engineer moves his engine forward, re-coupling to his train.  Air hoses are reconnected and air pressure in the train is brought back up.  The train reverses direction.)  This maneuver allowed the crew to keep the engine on the head-end of the train during the inbound trip in areas where runaround tracks were not available.  It also reverses the order of the cars on the train, moving the caboose (in this case) from directly behind the engine to the rear of the train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:05pm
Another slide from the Houser Collection shows a 07/21/1966 scene of LV #289 backing across the last bridge on the branch, a timber-deck bridge only about 25 feet in length which crossed a feed to the Cedar creek.  The water visible to the right of the engine's nose is the pond at Union Terrace. (The view is south-east.)  The track along the pond was left uprooted and twisted after the storm and flood in August of 1982.  While this bridge -- which sat just south of the Walnut St. crossing -- is  no longer in place, the concrete abutments are still visible.  Hey, darktown2, any help identifying these crew members?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:13pm
Another of my favorite shots by David Latshaw shows Conrail's drill backing across the same short bridge previously pictured.  The load of granite blocks from Vermont is about to cross Walnut St. and be pushed inside of the shed at Wenz Memorial Company, located at 20th & Hamilton Sts.  Dave was facing east on 12/28/1979 when he captured this great, rare move near end-of-line.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:21pm
Moments after Houser shot the photo posted 2 images back, he got this great shot in what was then the last block of the line.  The date is 07/21/1966 and you're looking north-east from the south side of Walnut St.  Wenz Company is behind the train and Hamilton St. is just beyond view, behind the ACY boxcar.  Stand there today and look at the same scene.  What a difference 44 years can make!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 1:32pm
My final posting from our tour along the Valley's Barber branch was taken by Dave Latshaw on 12/22/77 and shows a Conrail drill (still in Valley paint) either placing or pulling a car from deep inside the Wenz Company's shed.  Though poorly exposed, this faded image shows things from Allentown's railroad past which will never be again... unless, of course, R.J. Corman can obtain another grant to extend the Barber branch all the way to the end of where it once ran.  
 
Hope you've enjoyed this tour along the Valley's southern-most Allentown branchline.  Next time (which may not be for a couple days... yard work and leaf raking to do), I'll continue with our trip along the outer end of the Valley's West End branch.  Please feel free to post comments, ask questions and, as always, POST ANY PICTURES YOU MAY HAVE.  Thanks guys!    - Mark -
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 8:24pm
Sorry Mark, I can't be much help with that last photo to tell you who I think the crew is. Just not clear enough and that 44 year thing!! I can tell you this however, whenever we shoved a car out to Wentz it was a GREAT experience. You just had to see how beautiful that area was back then. The entire ride past Hawk Flour was a picture post card. I only made the Wentz move about 6 times but it sure was a treat. Man do I miss that job!!! Keep up the GREAT work Mark and I will try to talk with the men I told you about. I'll let you know if they can share anything. GOOD STUFF!!  Take err easy   Keith
Posted by: BlackDiamondRR Posted on: Nov 19th, 2010, 8:43pm
 Great coverage of this branch! Appreciate the postings! Another industry name popped up in Keith's message.....Hawk Flour. A kit for a Hawk Milling facility exists too (in addition to J. Harry Jones), now I wonder if that kit was patterned after "Hawk Flour". Have to locate my catalog sheets w/photos of those kits.
 
 Bud
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 8:45am
Got the leaves raked and grass cut one last time yesterday so it's time for more memories along the former West End branch.  First a few responses to recent postings:
 
photoman475:  I did some more reading of Dave Latshaws 1988 article on the Barber branch and found out what I told you about the Reading being the only railroad to service the Mack Trucks plant wasn't totally correct.  During my lifetime, only the Reading RR served Mack.  However, in the early 1900s, the Mack complex under the 8th St. bridge was larger and included buildings along the Barber branch, one of which on 08/31/1962 became the Traylor Engineering & Manufacturing Co. pictured in my former postings.  Therefore, if you go back far enough in time, Mack was, indeed, serviced by the Lehigh Valley RR.
 
darktown2:  I agree, Keith.  That outermost section of the Barber branch was one of my favorite parts of the line.  Unfortunately, being that the line was most often served by the second trick during the late afternoon or evening hours, I never personally witnessed anything moving along the Union Terrace stretch of track.  By the way, per Latshaw's article, "At one time it was possible for Wenz to order blocks of granite from a Vermont quarry and have them delivered on a flatcar to their siding within 5 working days.  During the 1950s, they received an average of 2 to 3 flatcars per month.  By 1980, delivery by rail dwindled to approximately one car every other month and it required 5 weeks to complete delivery." (Thanks, Conrail!)  Rail service to Wenz ended in 1981, one year prior to the 1982 flood which destroyed a large portion of track beyond Linde.
 
BlackDiamondRR: Don't know anything about a model of Hawk Flour Co.  If you find out more, please let us know.
 
Now, back to the slide show!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 9:16am
The last picture I had posted along the WEB was taken near the N. 16th crossing, by the intersection with W. Gordon St. in Allentown.  This shot, just east of that location, was captured by Charles Houser on 05/29/1969 as the drill with caboose #95134 headed inbound, just west of Fulton St, after servicing customers along the final 4 blocks of track known as the Scott St. extension.  (Scott St. is the small alley which runs from 15th to 13th St, just north of Gordon St and used to run directly next to the WEB's "main".)  The building to the left was a small photo lab called "Classic Photo" and was where I purchased and had slide film developed.  The rail siding was no longer used, as is evident from the boarded-up loading door.  The low, brick building visible in the distance (between Classic Photo and the train) is the rear (16th St. side) of Hess's warehouse.  To the far right is the corner of the original Harold Stephen's warehouse.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 9:41am
Turning close to 180-degrees from the previous shot, Houser moments earlier captured the head end of the train as it prepared to cross N. Fulton St.  The large, brick building visible over the back of the train (on the east side of N. 15th St.) was the former A.H. Balliet company.  Per Latshaw's WEB article, Balliet once received gondolas filled with cedar logs which they'd turn into cigar boxes -- a big industry in the area during the early 1900s.  The building still stands today.  The engineer on this beautiful 05/29/1969 day was my buddy, Harold Barwick.  Brakeman Bill Croll was standing on the right of the engine, but the young man to the left was unknown to me.  Any help, darktown2?  The turnout directly in front of the engine led to the Harold Stephens siding.  The old rails visible at the bottom were, at one time, a block-long passing siding which serviced a couple of coal companies and other industries located between Fulton and Franklin Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:06am
This 09/23/1976 shot of Dave Latshaw's shows a short, outbound train approaching the N. 15th St. crossing.  Dave took this shot looking east, north-east from what today is the north side of the parking lot of Wawa at 15th & Gordon Sts.  Behind the train was the beginning of a long passing siding which ran from this block, past the A.H. Balliet building and all the way into the 12th St. yard.  During the 1960s until abandonement of the line in 1982, the siding was only occasionally used between this location and a crossover just east of N. 14th St., never beyond.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:20am
On 02/12/1976, Houser shot #184 in her last Valley paint as she sat empty and idling by the 15th St. crossing.  The crew was most likely having lunch in the small diner which sat just north of here... the back door of which is visible under the billboard.  This is now a pizza shop who's recent addition to the south partially sits on the former Valley right-of way.  You can see the passing siding lead just to the lower left of the engine.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:40am
A special Sunday move of some farm equipment headed for the unloading ramp in the 12th St. yard was captured at the N. Franklin St. crossing during June, 1973 by another former neighbor and current friend of mine.  This great shot, looking west along Scott St., shows part of the former short passing siding (left) which used to service some coal yards (part of which still exists), as well as the more northern passing siding which ran in front of Balliet's building.  The small white building visible beyond the end of Scott St. was Harold Stephens Co.  You can see how the WEB's main track ran directly next to Scott St.  Brakeman Bill Croll wears the dark blue shirt, but the man standing on the engine steps is unknown to me.  Any help, darktown2?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:53am
Just to clarify in my previous caption, part of the siding to the left can still be found just west of Franklin St, not part of the former coal yards the track once served.
 
This 11/28/1960 Houser shot shows an interesting PRR boxcar parked on the little-used, long passing siding... just west of N. 14th St.  The building pictured to the right is the former Allentown Bobbin Works, a company who once made wooden bobbins for the silk industry.   The building still stands today.  The WEB's main track is visible in the shadow cast by the former Lehigh Valley Transit's 14th St. trolley-car barn, located to the south of Scott St.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 10:57am
Dave Latshaw's 07/03/1975 shot shows the West End drill heading west across N. 14th St., the same location as the previous posting.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 11:13am
I took this post-abandonement shot in April, 1984.  You're looking east from the 14th St. crossing.  The crossover pictured here was used more in Conrail days than during the 1960s and 1970s days of the Lehigh Valley.  Conrail began using this passing siding track to runaround their train and push cars east toward the 12th St. yard.  Lehigh Valley crews -- at least the one I rode with and followed most often -- always used the "flying switch" maneuver (previously explained on one of the last Barber branch postings) and only used this track to place an occasional boxcar west of 14th St... where the PRR boxcar previously shown was placed.  I personally never witnessed this passing siding used beyond the turnout shown, though the picture I'll post after this shows this track in service during 1928.  The reddish lumber shed shown in the distant right was the Ritter & Smith Lumber Company, located in the 1200 block of Gordon St. and demolished less than two years ago.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 21st, 2010, 11:28am
Today's last picture shows a LV coal hopper sitting on top of the siding at the Hoch Contracting Co in the winter of 1928.  Mr. Hoch sent me this picture after I met him during the early 1980s while visiting the Black Diamond Model RR club.  I had told him of my interest in the WEB when we spoke and a few weeks later, this picture (and several others showing the interior, curved truck ramp which led down to the basement of the building where coal loading took place) arrived for me in the mail.  This is the same passing siding pictured in the previous posting, but taken looking west from N. Madison St.  (Look closely at the former picture and you can see the wooden planks which once covered the coal pits when not in service.)  This building was most recently occupied by Jack's Auto Glass.
 
Next time I'll begin here at Madison St. and move east to the end-of-line at the 12th St. Terminal/yard.  Keep those comments, questions and pictures coming!   -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 2:25am
More AWESOME PICS!!!!  Two questions... 1. Did the tracks of the Linden Street yard re-connect with the passenger line ? 2. Where did the Barbers Quarry Branch cross MLK? The r.o.w. is pretty hard to find past where Reichards once stood.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:45am
IRR:  If you stand at Gordon St. & American Pkwy, you'll see the current end of track which R.J. Corman now uses as a switching lead.  Keep in mind that American Pkwy. runs over the former right-of-way of the CNJ.  Prior to Conrail, the track Corman uses connected with the CNJ's track near the Gordon St. crossing.  However, there was no other connection from the yard to the Jordan Loop... other than that previously shown in my photo of the East Penn drill approaching the Linden St yard by the remains of the turnout to the WEB.
Regarding the Barber branch crossing MLK Blvd: Before MLK Blvd was extended to join into S. 24th St, things were very different in that part of town and there was no crossing of MLK.  There were 2 grade crossings in that part of town, on along S. 20th St (previously pictured) and the other was near the Hawk Flour Co. warehouse.  The road which now dead-ends by Hawk's warehouse used to continue across the branch and the Cedar creek.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 3:00pm
Sorry, but only time for a couple of postings today.
 
This 05/05/1976 shot by Houser in the early Conrail days shows LV#192 crossing N. Madison St. at Scott St.  Looking northwest, you can see the turnout (the one behind the engine) leading to the crossover pictured in the shot I previously posted which was looking east from 14th St.  The brick building to the right is the former Hoch Contracting Co. where the previous picture of the coalcar was taken.  The engine has most likely just finished its flying switch maneuver and is ready to move back east to couple onto its train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 3:13pm
This picture, believed taken by local rail photographer Randolph Kulp, was dated 05/15/1955... about 4 month prior to my birth.  The view was from the 1300 block of W. Gordon St. where my grandparents once lived, looking north-west across a field which previously contained some LVT holding tracks.  It later became the site for the PA Employment Office... now a medical supply company.  This picture shows the eastward movement of some L&NE equipment toward the middle team tracks located in the 12th St. yard.  There was a special railroad display being held there during 1955 which also included a number of passenger coaches.  The tall building in the background is a former factory which today stands as low-income apartments on the south-west corner of 14th & Liberty Sts.
 
Sorry, but out of time for today.  Will continue tomorrow.   -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:16pm
on Nov 22nd, 2010, 11:45am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
IRR:  If you stand at Gordon St. & American Pkwy, you'll see the current end of track which R.J. Corman now uses as a switching lead.  Keep in mind that American Pkwy. runs over the former right-of-way of the CNJ.  Prior to Conrail, the track Corman uses connected with the CNJ's track near the Gordon St. crossing.  However, there was no other connection from the yard to the Jordan Loop... other than that previously shown in my photo of the East Penn drill approaching the Linden St yard by the remains of the turnout to the WEB.
Regarding the Barber branch crossing MLK Blvd: Before MLK Blvd was extended to join into S. 24th St, things were very different in that part of town and there was no crossing of MLK.  There were 2 grade crossings in that part of town, on along S. 20th St (previously pictured) and the other was near the Hawk Flour Co. warehouse.  The road which now dead-ends by Hawk's warehouse used to continue across the branch and the Cedar creek.

Thanks for the quick response on my questions..Those 2 areas always confused me...  I'm really interested in seeing pics of the wire mill..I never even heard of the wire mill till my friend loaned me his vhs copy of a slide presentation on the West End and Barbers Quarry branches that he purchased through the ARHS..I'm AMAZED such a huge industrial complex could be so utterly obliterated!!! Only evidence of anything is the name of the park off of MLK... Wire Mill Meadows...
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:09am
IRR: Most of the wire mill was gone by the time I began exploring the Barber branch, so I've got nothing to post from that area that shows what an amazing complex of buildings that was.
If you've seen the video of the slide presentation, you've obviously already viewed most of what I've shown here... other than a couple of later Barber branch shots which I've never shown before.  When Dave Latshaw and I discovered we shared a common interest in the Allentown branchlines of the LV, we each made copies of our collections for the other... virtually doubling the size of our previous collections.  I knew Dave had put on some slide presentations in past years, but I didn't know a video of one of them was made until I read about it in a comment previously posted on Railfan.net.  It was at that moment I decided to give my own presentation via this forum... mainly so that others who'd never seen the video would be able to view what they had missed.  I also keep hoping other railfans will share pictures they've shot, for I'm always interested in seeing things I may have missed.
 
Back to the West End branch slides.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:24am
Back on page 1 of this forum, ClearBoard posted (in the 10th post) a map of the 12th St. Terminal taken from Dave Latshaw's article on the WEB.  I'll use the track numbers and notations from that map to help viewers understand where the next series of slides were taken.
 
This Latshaw shot from 09/23/1976 is looking west as the drill shoves across the N. 13th St. crossing on the lead to track #3.  Most cars which were spotted for loading or unloading in the 12th St. yard during the 1960s and 1970s were placed on the #3 team track.  Track 4 was kept open and used for the drill's "flying switch" maneuver.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:38am
Taken by me in 1969, this shot... looking in the other direction (facing east) from where the previous photo was taken... shows one of the longer trains I remember on the branch.  You can see track #3 in the foreground as the engine had just reconnected to its train on track #4.  The caboose sits near end-of-track, just a few yards west of N. 12th St. and the West End Cemetery.  This was obviously in the days before "close and lock doors before moving car" was stenciled on the sides of boxcars!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:46am
This 11/06/1975 shot from the Houser Collection shows the drill moving east on track #3 to pick up a car or two on the east end of the track.  The brick building to the right of the caboose was originally the Penna. Ind. Oil Co, later to become a discount tire and auto repair garage.  It still exists today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 9:58am
Another Houser shot taken 06/20/1979 shows a double-headed Conrail drill removing an empty boxcar from farther up the same track #3.  The building to the left of the lead engine was originally the M.S. Young Company warehouse, later to become the Ritter & Smith (roofing) Truss Co.  Though I never saw anything parked at their door other than some World of Mirth flatcars stored during fair week, the weed-covered track (labled as the "Ladder Track" on the map) ran along the far side of the building, right along the Liberty St. sidewalk.  Today, CVS Pharmacy stands in this location.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:13am
Here's another Kulp photo showing the L&NE exhibit in the 12th St. yard during May, 1955.  To the far right is the LV drill and a boxcar sitting up on track #2, by the unloading ramp.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:34am
In the very early 1970s, I stood along W. Liberty St. between 12th & 13th Sts. and snapped this picture of three "green" boxcars while facing south.  (Notice the 40-foot BN car.)  My buddy and I were thrilled at the time to find a string of cars along the WEB that weren't plain old boxcar brown (red).  It looks like the Valley had recently removed the unused ladder track in the foreground which previously led to M.S. Young, National Bisuit and the Trexler Lumber planing mill by the time this picture was taken.  I don't remember the year, but sometime during the early 1970s, the Valley came along the WEB and removed a number of unused turnouts and sidings.  I suppose some of the better rails were re-used and the remainder were sold for scrap value.  The long white building with red roof in the background was the former Mauser Flour Mill Co. and, at this point, the Peters Fertilizer Company... one of the more regular customers on the branch at the time.  This building -- along with the former Ritter & Smith Lumber Co Shed, were demolished within the past year or two.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 10:47am
Next time, I'll finish our tour by moving over to shots taken along the southern part of the 12th St. yard... along tracks 1 & 2.  I'll leave you today with a B&W shot of the LVT moving west along Gordon St. about 1950.  Taken by an unknown photographer while standing just a few doors east of my grandparents' house, this east-facing view clearly shows the massive J. Harry Jones coal pocket (complete with it's own billboard) which once sat along the east side of N. 13th St, just north of Gordon.
 
As always, I hope you're enjoying these windows to the past.  Please join in with any stories, questions or photos you may have.    -- Mark
Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 11:14am
I'm enjoying these pictures very much.  I can't wait to get to my computer every day!
 
I was curious if you have any pictures of the location where the Jordan Loop (passenger line) left the WEB (about a mile from the Allentown LV passenger station).  Photos of the Jordan Loop are very rare.  A few years ago, someone put up a photo of a LV passenger train coming down the loop toward its connection with the mainline, but that's the only picture of the loop I've ever seen.
 
Also, from the looks of your pictures, there appear to be many different engines working the WEB.  Were any specific engines assigned to that branch, and were they kept overnight at the 12th street yard?
 
Thanks for any info.
davidyur
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 5:40pm
I'm intrigued by those "flying switch" moves, especially in an ubran environment. I'm assuming it required at least 4 people to perform... engineer, conductor riding on footboard to release the coupler, a brakeman on the boxcar and a flagman to flag those unprotected grade crossings.
 
Would something like this be possible with today's 2 person crews?
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 6:29pm
I'm no railroader, but I wouldn't think it would be possible with a two-person crew. IIRC, that move was outlawed a while back.......
 
BTW, I look forward to coming on here for the slide-show, too!  
 
Charlie
Posted by: lehighboy Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 6:50pm
The local job crew out of Sayre would perform this manuver in Towanda at the Masonite siding. I witnessed it one summer day in 1971. Just an engineer and a trainman.
Posted by: LVRR2095 Posted on: Nov 23rd, 2010, 7:00pm
on Nov 23rd, 2010, 5:40pm, one87th wrote:       (Click here for original message)
I'm intrigued by those "flying switch" moves, especially in an ubran environment. I'm assuming it required at least 4 people to perform... engineer, conductor riding on footboard to release the coupler, a brakeman on the boxcar and a flagman to flag those unprotected grade crossings.
 
Would something like this be possible with today's 2 person crews?

You're forgetting you also need somebody to throw the switch!
 
As to being possible today, that is a moot point as it is a move that is prohibited.
 
Keith in Maine
 
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 12:52am
A little after midnight... not yet tired.
 
davidyur: Glad to know you're enjoying this forum.  So am I!  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of trains along the northern end of the Jordan Loop, nor have I ever seen any.  I'm sure it had to do with its rather remote location in those days.  I remember walking the line with my buddy in the late 1960s, right after the rails had been lifted.  We started at the former West End Jct. (which was close to where Allen St. would have hit the line had it come all the way through to the tracks) and walked the right-of-way over to the Front St. underpass.  I no longer remember it all that clearly, but I'm almost certain there were no grade crossings in that area and the surrounding landscape was rather barren.  I'm sure SOMEBODY must have caught some action along the line, the question is do they still have those pictures or have they ended up in a land-fill somewhere?  I have a few shots of the East Penn drill on the section of the Jordan Loop that still exists -- the part south of Linden St. Yard.  If you're interested in seeing any of those, let me know and I'll post a couple after I finish the WEB postings.  Of course I realize those aren't nearly as rare as trains on the north end of the loop.
Regarding engines on the WEB, most were various SWs and NW-2s during the late 60s and 70s.  Other than Baldwins in the 50s and early 60s, I'm not aware of any other types of power being used on the line... though an earlier LV posting talks about a PC GP derailing around 8th & Sumner during Conrail's first winter.  I've never seen pictures of anything other than the types of diesels I mentioned.  Also, the drill worked out of the small LV office along the track scale which used to be just south of the Union St. crossing along the old main.  No power was kept at the end-of-line 12th St Terminal.  There was only one time I witnessed an engine kept on the line overnight and that happened in early 1980/1981.  The train had derailed in the middle of the 17th & Tilghman St. intersection on its outbound run and tore up part of the track in the process.  After the cars were re-railed, the East Penn drill proceeded outbound and serviced one or two remaining customers, then tied up for the night at the Robbins Door & Sash Co. siding (formerly Hess's Warehouse).  The next morning it proceeded inbound after the track had been repaired.
 
one87th: Because the flying switch on the WEB involved two grade crossings (Madison and 13th Sts), a 4-man crew was absolutely necessary.  After all air was manually released from each of the train's cars (lined up along Scott St. west of Madison), one brakeman would man the turnout just east of Madison St.  The second brakeman would already have walked east and positioned himself at 13th St, ready to flag the crossing.  The conductor would stand along the train between the engine and caboose.  The engineer would slowly move the train forward, just enough to get the cars in motion, then the engineer would tap the brake to release any pull on the couplers.  The conductor would pull the drawbar on the caboose so the coupler knuckle would open, then climb up onto the eastern platform of the caboose and position himself behind the brakewheel.  The engineer would quickly increase the engines's speed so as to clear the points of the Madison St. turnout.  The brakeman would quickly throw the points on the turnout as soon as the engine was east of them.  This allowed the free-rolling train to continue downgrade towards the 13th St. crossing.  At this point, through a combination of sudden change to upward grade (visible in the pictures I've posted of tracks 3 & 4 located in the 12th St. yard) and the skill of the conductor applying just the right amount of pressure to the brakes on the train-leading caboose, the train would come to a halt just shy of track's end.  No, Mike... I can't see how any less than 4 men could have done the job at that location.  That may be why Conrail began using the long passing siding between 14th & 15th Sts. to runaround their trains during the late 70s.  They probably were working with 3-man crews by then.  I always felt the guy with the biggest responsibility was the brakeman who had to get that Madison St. turnout thrown at just the right time.  It was always timed perfectly.  I'm only sorry I didn't own a movie camera back in those days!  
 
charlie6017: So glad to know you, too, are enjoying what I've been doing here.  Thanks for showing an interest.
 
lehighboy: Did the Masonite siding involve any grade crossings?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:04am
LVRR2095: The flying switch performed on the WEB was always fun to watch... especially when the drill contained a train of more than just a couple of cars.  My guess is the railroad made the move illegal after one-too-many trains rolled off the end of a siding or became involved in a few-too-many grade crossing accidents.  
 
It's late, but I'll post a few more photos before bedtime.
 
Here's another great shot which includes the J. Harry Jones Coal Pocket structure, this time in a view looking south... just east of 13th St.  Taken by the same friend who shot the World of Mirth fair train along Sumner Ave, this shot (believed to have been taken around March of 1958 ) shows one of the Valley's Baldwins pulling an L&N boxcar past the former Ritter & Smith Lumber Co shed.  The engine was passing over the turnout which separated tracks 1 & 2, while the turnout pictured in the foreground separated tracks 3 & 4.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:18am
The year on the previous picture was believed to be 1958.
 
This 09/21/1945 shot from the Houser Collection shows the same location as the previous posting, but looking east.  The old passenger coaches and stockcars used by the World of Mirth are parked on track #2 in the 12th St. yard.  Notice the large coal pile to the left of the photo.  That was a common sight back in the days when the Allentown Steam Heat Co. would stockpile coal for their furnaces in the 12th St. yard.  My father often talked about how large the pile would be in early fall... just before the heating season began.  What looks like a small pile of coal to the lower right would have most likely been overflow from the rail siding which serviced Harry Jones.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:24am
Dave Latshaw's 07/03/1975 picture shows action on track #1 directly in front of Ritter & Smith.  The boxcar pictured would have been heading to or coming from the Peters Fertilizer Co siding.  The view is looking south-west.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:36am
On the same day my friend shot the drill servicing the C.Y. Schelly Hardware company shed (see picture on page 1 of this forum), he earlier shot this picture of action on track # 2.  Through the 1960s and very early 1970s, a number of flatcars loaded with various pieces of farm equipment would be positioned by the ramp at the east end of track two for unloading.  The white building behind the train was the Peters warehouse.  You're looking south-east.  That's track # 3 in the lower left and I'm the little figure leaning out the side cab window.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:43am
A better exposed shot on a different day shows two flatcars on track #2 and a single 50-foot boxcar on the Peters' siding.  Tracks 4 & 3 are in the foreground.  The large trees were located in the West End Cemetery.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 1:59am
Tonight's (this morning's) last posting was also taken by my World of Mirth- shooting friend during the late 1950s.  This wonderful angle (looking west from near 12th St) shows the only cars I ever saw on the end of track # 1.  (The passenger coaches at left.)  Also visible is the Mauser Mill warehouse (later Peters Fertilizer) still in original brick color, Ritter & Smith, the J. Harry Jones Coal Pocket structure, and the ramp with original wooden surface and end-loading section.  (I believe a fire destroyed this ramp in the early 1960s.  It was later replaced with an asphalt-topped surface and had only side-loading/unloading capabilities.)
 
Yikes... it's nearly 2:00AM!  Next time I'll finish our tour of the WEB with several more photos showing action on the Peters Fertilizer Co. siding.   -- Mark
Posted by: LVRR2095 Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 7:03am
on Nov 24th, 2010, 1:04am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
LVRR2095: The flying switch performed on the WEB was always fun to watch... especially when the drill contained a train of more than just a couple of cars.  My guess is the railroad made the move illegal after one-too-many trains rolled off the end of a siding or became involved in a few-too-many grade crossing accidents.  
 
.

Most of my experience with "flying switches" took place at the Oak Island end of the railroad. I remember several times when making this type of move at Ryerson Steel on the S&K branch in Jersey City. At least once the car died right on the switch....leaving me and the engine trapped on the wrong side. Now they had to send another locomotive from East Claremont to come and move the car off the switch before we could move.  
Keith in Maine
Posted by: lehighboy Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 7:15am
No grade crossings.
 
The Trainman would cut cars behind right behind the engine from train. and ride along rear of engine on frist ladder rung. the engineer would come to a reasonable speed and the train man would uncouple the masonite string a distance from the switch. the trainman would get to ground as the engine slowed. the engine would clear the switch points and he would throw the switch. the cars would go up the siding and because it was a up hill grade from the main, the would slow considerably after clearing the switch. the trainman would walk rapidly up to the last moving car in the siding an apply the crank brake. he than went back after stopping the cars, threw the switch back, the engine cleared and then went into the siding an spot the cars.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 10:02am
Good morning, all.  Time to finish up the West End branch tour today, but first:
 
LVRR2095: I have no doubt cars not clearing the switch and blocking an engine's escape from a siding was one of the primary reasons the flying switch has been outlawed by the railroads.  To much expense in having to bring in power (and another crew) from miles away to help clear things up.  Thanks for your input!
 
lehighboy: Thanks for the details on the flying switch move you used to witness.  Sounds like the lack of grade crossings made it a lot easier for a 2-man crew to pull off.
 
The final pictures I'll be posting were all taken showing train movements along track #1 of the 12th St. yard.  Peters Fertilizer Company was a very good customer on the WEB during the late 1960s and 1970s.  When they moved their operations to their new plant along the former Reading Railroad's C&F branch near Fogelsville in 1978, the regularity of train movements all the way to 12th St. yard by the West End drill reduced significantly.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 10:20am
Engineer Harold Barwick moves NW-2 #181 downgrade onto track #1 after pulling an empty boxcar from the Peters siding in 1969.  You're looking east and the tall switchstand to the lower left of the engine controlled the turnout leading from track 1 to the Peters siding.  The location of the red truck sitting to the left of the train is the end of track 1, where the two old passenger coaches pictured in the previous post were sitting.  As long as I can remember, the points of this turnout were spiked with the switch thrown to the open position... toward the Peters siding.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 10:33am
Dave Latshaw's 09/23/1976 shot shows a side view of the same location with sister NW-2 #182, just a few yards east of my previous photo.  Peters was able to handle two boxcars at one time, though every now and then, 3 cars would be spotted along their building.  Track #2 stands in the foreground.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 10:41am
The final posting of action along the WEB was taken by Bob Wilt on 12/29/1976 when he caught Ironton Baldwin #751 spotting cars along a shadow-covered Peters siding.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 11:25am
A few final thoughts:
 
When I started this thread nearly two weeks back, my hope was to find others who had photographed trains along the former LV branchlines in Allentown... those who were also willing to share photos and memories of what they witnessed years ago.  While I've posted only about half of my collection, I've tried to cover neary every area which existed along both former LV branchlines.  To date, only one photo has been posted by someone other than me... that of a short train during final months of service along Sumner Avenue on the West End branch and I thank "One87th" for his contribution!  Hopefully as more older railfans find this forum in the weeks and months ahead, they, too, will share some of what they have to what I've started here.  The best part of this for me has been the feedback from those younger railfans who weren't around to witness what I did.  So many branchlines have been abandoned and torn up over the past several decades that today's railfans have little choice but to photograph high-horsepower locomotives on well-ballasted mains, yet to me, it's capturing service to local industry along bumpy and twisted, weed-covered rails that personalizes railroading for the people who lived in the areas which were (or still are) served by rail.  I hope many of you who are just finding this forum will continue to post comments and pictures so that others who never saw these things first-hand can enjoy them through the images we were lucky enough to capture on film many years ago.  Sharing feels good... really it does!  
 
I want to thank those whose photos I've shared throughout this forum.  David Latshaw's contributions -- both to me (through sharing slides) and the local community via his heavily-researched articles on the West End and Barber branches -- has been second to none.  My old school buddy, Guifford Sander, Jr, had a good eye and a 35mm camera long before I did and managed to capture many things along the WEB that would otherwise have never been seen by the masses.  I thank him for, in the more recent years of our lives, allowing me to copy his entire slide collection.  Charles Houser, Sr. and Randolph Kulp were two of the earlier rail photographers who managed to capture scenes that existed years before I did.  I'm so glad parts of their collections were available for purchase!  Bob Wilt, who to me has taken some of the best shots of trains photographed throughout the area, was kind enough to give me copies of Ironton Baldwin #751 as it made its 1976 winter run along the WEB.  Bob's shots always were well thought out and often showed trains from angles the rest of us never thought about.  Bruce Kleppinger was kind enough to let me copy his World of Mirth shots, something most of us living in the 1960s remember well.  Dave Beazley, former neighbor and friend, only shot one picture along the WEB, but it was one of the best in my collection.  (The Sunday move of farm equipment at Franklin & Scott Sts.)
 
My name is Mark Rabenold and I thank all of you who've taken the time to follow what I've done and post your many comments.  I got my first 35mm, auto-focus camera in late 1981... too late to capture much along my favorite line (the WEB), but not too late to follow Conrail's East Penn Drill throughout the area as it serviced many of the local industries located at trackside in and near Allentown... many of which whose sidings are now removed.  I'll probably start another forum sometime in the coming weeks under Fallen Flags / Conrail to share some of those images as well... for those of you who like seeing the locals in action.
 
Happy holidays to all!
Posted by: irn750 Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 12:05pm
Mark thanks again for posting your shots and the stories on here. You were one of the few people who took shots of the branches out of Allentown.  You have some really great stuff.  Danny
Posted by: DElder Posted on: Nov 24th, 2010, 7:58pm
As another of those guys who much prefers watching a local working an industrial area or a branchline to fast-paced mainline activity, I really hate to see this come to a close.  Thanks again Mark, I've really, REALLY enjoyed the tour!  (And I hope that additional pictures of this area by others will show up here soon!)
   Doug
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Nov 25th, 2010, 12:36am
Agreed!
 
This has really helped me get a feel for what the branch was about, what Allentown was about at that time, and what to look for now..  
 
Many Many Thanks!
 
-Micah
Posted by: S-12_Dave Posted on: Nov 25th, 2010, 6:33pm
Thanks for posting those great images.  I am also one who is extremely fond of branch line operations having grown up along the West Pittston Branch. The "flying switch" maneuver was one I witnessed a number of times right at a place called Maltby Junction....where there was the added danger of a busy roadway just past the switch ( Slocum St in Swoyersville ).  The flagman had to protect both the "diverging track" that connected to what was left of the Bowmans Creek Branch...and the primary route... that continued on to Kingston Pa.  The actual switch was around 15 yards from the crossings....so there was quite a bit of space between the two routes by the time they were in the street.  The flagman really had his hands full at this location. He had to position himself between the two tracks in the middle of the road.  When he got traffic to stop clear of both tracks....he signaled the train to make its run for the two crossings...
 
Watching from the street.... It was almost like watching a well choreographed ballet.  
 
You would could hear the locomotive start it's run.....horn blaring non stop.  The train had to be moving at a good clip.... so momentum would carry the single boxcar, uncoupled on the fly, all the way past the switch... and the 20 yards or so over the crossing.  From the street, you would watch in amazement as first, the locomotive slammed across the street with it's horn blaring ....and seconds later...a boxcar silently rolling across the street on the far track.   Then the locomotive backs across the street again....down past the switch....and returns on the far track ready to shove the car down the line into a siding at Nelsons Furniture in Kingston.  
 
The guy's who worked this line were real pro's.  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 26th, 2010, 10:51am
irn750: Glad you enjoyed the tour of these long-gone branchlines, Danny.  Posting the pictures brought back many great memories for me.
 
DElder- Doug: I appreciate your kind words and am glad to know there are others out there who prefer branchline action over high-speed trains on the mains.  Keep your eye on the Conrail forum over the next couple of weeks.  If I can find the time, I'll post some great local action performed by the East Penn Drill, mostly during the 1980s & 1990s.
 
F3_4_me- Micah: You're most welcome.  I've enjoyed your input throughout.  I'm only sorry you weren't around to witness first-hand the action I saw on these two great lines.
 
S-12_Dave: Great description of the flying switch moves you watched growing up along the West Pittston branch.  Thanks for adding your photo to the mix.
 
-Mark-
Posted by: Andy_S Posted on: Nov 26th, 2010, 1:40pm
What a topic!!! Over 200 replies in 3 weeks; gotta be a record.  I see what I'm going to be reading this afternoon.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 27th, 2010, 7:30pm
How glad I was to to see all of these A-Town branch photos. Thank you A-townbranchfan. I have also been a long time fan of the West End and Barber branches. I post this one for you, from Spring of 69 at 17th and Liberty when a friend and I were checking out the latest box spotted at Ice City.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 27th, 2010, 8:18pm
Is the Barber Branch coming back? Back on 11/10/10 the Morning Call ran an article regarding the recently awarded railroad grants:
 
"In Lehigh County, the Allentown Economic Development Corp. earned $1.4 million to restore an abandoned rail line connecting 80 acres of industrially zoned land near S. 10th Street to an Allentown rail line operated by Kentucky-based rail freight company R.J. Corman."
 
Does anyone know if this is for part of the LV Barber Branch or the RDG Mack Branch?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 28th, 2010, 10:22am
To ValleyFan628:  The article to which you refer implies that the Barber branch would be the line placed back into service, being that R.J. Corman operates the remains of the Jordan Loop from which the Barber branch originated.  Also, the Mack Branch's bridge over Lehigh Street (per a previous photo I posted earlier in this forum) was demolished a number of years ago and I doubt the cost of replacing that bridge would be justified for the limited traffic which would be moved along the line at this point in time.  Also, though Corman previously advertised the Barber right-of-way as being for sale, I don't believe they ever sold it.
Regarding the picture you posted: You're either being untruthful about its origin or, more likely, you're my old school buddy, Guifford Sander!  I say that because the person hanging off the end of the car in your picture was me!  Nice to be in touch with you again, Mr. S!  This photo tour wouldn't have been nearly as interesting or complete without all of the wonderful shots you took back in our 6th through 9th grade years.  Thanks again for sharing those wonderful days of local railfanning with me... and, in turn, with everyone who's looked at this thread.  I truly appreciate it!  
Posted by: michaelmolo Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 8:34am
i'm not a train person, but a local blogger interested in allentown history.  how ironic that the AEDC is interested in renewing the Barber branch,  although the manufacture who occupied the old taylor building went out of business, despite a visit from obama.   more interesting, is that the AEDC did not oppose the rail to trail plan for the barber line, just this past summer.    you guys provide a wonderful history of our city, i thank you
Posted by: BlackDiamondRR Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 2:29pm
Gents,
   I located my catalog of S scale kits w/J Harry Jones Coal Co. The kit is obviously foreshortened, compressed, detail omitted, etc, but at least it was "based" on a prototype!  
 I had always considered this a fictitious name, at least now I've seen the prototype.
   And for recent poster MichaelMolo.....As an Allentown historian, do you recall the presence of a "coffee pot" diner in the downtown area, maybe a bit west of the main North- South street? I went there once for breakfast back around 1983, but cannot find any info on it. If I recall correctly, it had the shape of a coffee pot complete with a spout. (hope I wasn't imagining things!?!)
    Bud
Posted by: michaelmolo Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 7:55pm
bud,  coffee pot sounds familiar,  maybe a diner outside of allentown with just a sign shaped like a coffee pot?   in town,  i knew of no such place.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 10:09pm
Mark,  
Thank you again for the time and effort you have taken to post all of these pictures, yours, mine and others. It was by accident that I stumbled across this thread the other day when I was actually searching to see if I could find anything on the resurrection of the old Barber Branch.
Oh how I wish, the same as you, that we would have done a better job of dating all of our slides. My date references come from those on the slide frame, which is a reasonable approximation of the timeframe in which they were taken.
I’m not sure of how many of my collection you copied a few years ago, I’ll post a few fills. Please forgive any duplicates, you have posted so many.
First a couple of the Brownhoist at Schneider in 1969.
...Gif
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 10:23pm
Rear view of the Brownhoist at Schneider in 1969.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 10:28pm
From 1971, A car spotted on the siding just east of 5th street And Sumner Ave.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 10:31pm
Hummel Warehouse #2 at 15th and Sumner Ave 1971. It was always nice to see a car in something other than boxcar red.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Nov 29th, 2010, 10:38pm
Hummel Warehouse #2 again. Most likely 1969-70. I remember taking this but no date on the frame. How unusual it was so see a wooden OB car on the line.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 1:28am
valleyfan628: So good to have you as part of this forum... being that you took many more WEB photos than I.  Just a few comments regarding your recent postings for those not as familiar with what they are seeing:
 
Photo 1: The dirt-encrusted turnout shown in front of the crane led to the crossing over Sumner Ave.  Gif was standing on the north side of Sumner looking east toward the 7th St bridge.
 
Photo 2: Your second shot of the rear of the crane shows a distant crane parked under the 7th St. bridge.  Seeing that sparked a faint memory for me.  I think that was a dead crane which the yellow Brownhoist replaced, but I don't clearly remember whether I'm right about that.  I do, however, tend to think it sat there for quite sometime before it was either removed or scrapped.  Do you, Gif... or does anyone else have a clear memory of what that second crane might have been?
 
Photo 3: Was taken looking west along old Sumner Avenue by the Allentown Refrigerated Co. warehouse.  The boxcar is actually just west (not east) of 5th St.  The street pictured directly behind the car is the alley between 5th & 6th Sts.
 
Photos 4 & 5:  Taken at the Hummel Furniture Co. warehouse at 15th & Sumner.  Hummel warehouse "#2" was located at 932-940 Sumner Ave.  It was the former Scheftel warehouse (today used by American Family Services) located at N. New St. & Sumner Ave.  What a great shot of that wood o/b boxcar!  
 
The only one of those shots I had a copy of was the car spotted on the Allentown Refrigerated Co. siding.  Please feel free to post anything else you have which I haven't already posted.  And since there seems to be interest in the possible re-laying of Barber branch trackage,  here are a couple more shots I took but didn't post earlier... this one from 12/23/2001, taken within a few yards of where the branch began along Union St.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 1:38am
Another shot of GP38-2 beginning its cautious voyage along the first 100 or so feet of the Barber branch on 03/23/1989, about 1:30PM.  The traffic at center left is lined up along S. 3rd St.  You're looking south from just about where the Union St. tower once stood.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 1:48am
A light-run of the East Penn Drill's SW-1500 over the Jordan Creek trestle was captured by me on 04/27/1988 at about 5:00PM.  The former blue gas tower (an Allentown landmark for years) is partly visible through the trees in the upper-right corner.   The view is looking north.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 1:55am
Dave Latshaw shot an east-bound Ironton Baldwin 751 at the former location of the double-diamond crossing with the CNJ/RDG/Allentown Terminal RR on 09/21/1976.  The front truck of the engine is where the crossing once stood.
 
That's it for tonight.  More Barber postings to come... and hopefully more WEB shots by my old pal, Gif.    --Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 10:10am
Continuing on with additional Barber branch postings.
 
On 05/30/1990 at 12:45PM, I shot this picture of the East Penn Drill across the Little Lehigh creek as it was pushing a load west to Traylor.  This was taken looking south, south-east from along M.L.K. Blvd, close to the Parketts Gym.  The two smokestacks in the distance were part of the old Allentown incinerator plant.  Moments after I took this, the train came to a stop.  I walked across the nearby pony-truss bridge (which still stands and used to carry the branch across the Little Lehigh before the tracks were moved to the location shown during the 1970 urban renewal project) with the hope that I could get another picture as the train continued west and through the east side of the auto salvage yard located to the east of Lehigh St.  Unfortunately, I was on my lunch hour and ran out of time.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 10:16am
This picture, taken about 3 years earlier (04/14/1987) and just west of the former posting, shows the East Penn drill heading east along the Little Lehigh with another special load pulled from Traylor.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 10:34am
Another favorite of mine, this 03/22/1989 shot shows the East Penn drill sitting in the middle of the auto salvage yard located just east of the Lehigh St. crossing.  The train was on a westbound move to Traylor shortly after noon to deliver an emply flatcar.  As it reached this location, the crew discovered the track covered with thick mud.  They called over some employees of the salvage company and made them shovel the mud off of the rails.  Soon after this shot was taken, the crew decided it would take a while before the track would be cleared well enough to proceed west, so they began backing up in order to return to the Jordan Loop and continue back into the Linden St. yard.  Shortly after crossing the Jordan creek trestle, the GP derailed one of its trucks.  I wasn't able to stick around to see what happened (again on my lunch hour), but I'm sure the crew spent time second-guessing their decision to reverse direction that day.  This shot is a perfect example of why I love shooting movements along branches.  Where else could you find a GP moving along a main track which looks more like a little-used industrial siding and having to stop because of thick mud on the rails?  I love this stuff!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 10:42am
Following are two Dave Latshaw photos taken by the Lehigh St. crossing.
 
This picture, taken on 10/10/1976, shows a west-bound drill crossing Lehigh St. with a car for Linde.  The view is looking north, north-east.  Dave's camera was slightly askew when he took this shot.  There is not a steep downward grade at this location.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 10:51am
On 02/20/1982, CR SW-9 -- still in EL paint -- spent the weekend idling away just west of the Lehigh St. crossing.  Have to assume the crew outlawed on Friday evening and left the engine sit there until Monday morning.  That's the massive 8th St. bridge sitting off in the distance.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 11:04am
During my lunch hour on 05/14/1990, I spoke with East Penn Drill engineer, George Zellers, age 61 at that time.  This was the day the EPD was awaiting the arrival of Conrail's track crew to spike down a loose rail over which they had derailed during their outbound run to Traylor earlier that morning.  George had seen me follow and photograph the EPD for many months, but this was the first time we'd spoken.  When I told him of my earlier travels with the West End branch crew and that I'd photographed LV engineer Harold Barwick back around 1970 just a few blocks east of where we were, George agreed to pose for me with his train as it sat just east of the 8th St. bridge at 12:50PM.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 11:27am
On 04/17/1988 at 5:10PM, I shot the eastbound East Penn Drill's SW1500 #9534 as it ran light toward the 8th St. bridge underpass, just west of the S. 10th St. crossing.  The remains of the turnout which once led to long siding where Traylor often stored its empty flatcars is visible to the right of the engine.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 11:36am
Standing at the bottom of the S. 10th St. hill, I shot the East Penn Drill as it moved east through the grade crossing.  This 04/12/1989 picture looks north and includes the PP&L building located at 9th & Hamilton Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 11:43am
Almost exactly two years prior to the previous picture, the EPD was heading out of Traylor with another special load.  This 04/14/1987 shot looks west from the S. 10th St. crossing at 12:40PM.  For some reason, April seemed to be a good month for catching action along the Barber branch during the late 1980s.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 12:01pm
Here's another picture I took of that special high & wide movement I witnessed out of Traylor on one of the days I was riding with the morning crew.  I just discovered the date of this slide was 11/04/1969.  Pictured left to right are LeRoy, Eddie, Harold and Bill.  I clearly remember this day, being that railroad officials were riding along in the engine and I was sentenced to a ride in the caboose.  As we crossed the pony-truss bridge over the Little Lehigh, the train moved at about 2 MPH due to a very tight clearance between the load and the north side of the bridge.  The end result was a long, shallow scrape in the paint along the far side of the ball mill, but nothing other than cosmetic damage was done.  The turnout in the foreground was the western end of the long holding siding previously pictured next to the Traylor facility.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 12:11pm
And for my last Barber branch posting, another picture from the morning of 04/30/1988 showing a special PB&NE visitor at Traylor.  You're looking east with the 8th St. bridge standing off in the distance.
 
Once again I hope you've enjoyed these additional posting and ask that anyone interested in the Barber or West End branches (or the former Allentown branch of the L&NE on the east side of Allentown) feel free to post questions, comments or pictures from their own collections.  Hopefully we can keep this forum active and interesting in the weeks and months ahead.  Thanks to you all!
 
--Mark Rabenold
Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 12:58pm
Just curious, when steam was still used, what type of steam engines would have been assigned to this branch (i'm sure there are no pictures of this).  
 
Also, I believe someone posted that the engines used on the WEB were stored either at the Linden Street yard or at the yard located near the Orange Car, where the track weighing platform was.  Curious about that yard, as I have seen pictures from the 30's and 40's of many engines in the yard behind the Orange Car, and I remember seeing a coal trestle over a coal company's bins in that location, perhaps 10 or so years ago, now gone.  Any pictures of that yard?
 
If the engines were stord at Linden St. it would be an easy trip onto the WEB, but if they were stored at the yard behind the Orange Car, it would have been a more difficult maneuver to get them onto the WEB.
 
Also, in exploring around the area some years ago, it appears that there may have been a small yard to the left of where the WEB left the main.  Years ago I found remains of ties that looked like they were branches to a small yard, and an old luggage wagon there with LV still on it, but it disappeared quickly.
 
Thanks for any info,
davidyur
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 1:37pm
davidyur: I'm fairly certain somewhere earlier in this thread I talked about the steam power used on the branches.  Per Dave Latshaw's research, they were mostly old Camelbacks.  And, yes, a picture exists.  In Dave's article on the WEB, there is a photo of a steam engine at 13th & Scott Sts... though the printer reversed the image when printing it.
 
Here's a picture of the small "yard" over near the Orange Car, though I don't remember where I got this or who photographed it... possibly Dave Latshaw.  It was dated 05/20/1971 and is looking south, south-west from near Union St.  The coal trestle is visible to the left side of the SW-1.  The scale track ran off to the right side of the photo.  If darktown2 is still following this forum, he could give you better information than I regarding operations, but to get to the WEB from this location wasn't difficult.  The train would back down to the switch for the former Jordan Loop, then proceed north across S. 3rd St. and past the old station by Hamilton St, then under the Linden St. bridge and onto the WEB.
 
The area to the west of the beginning stretch of the WEB (if you're talking south of Gordon St.) was never a "yard" as far as I know, but possibly contained a coal siding at one time many years back.   --Mark
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 3:19pm
From the 1930's to 1949, the 3176-3210 series 0-8-0 switchers were used on the BQ and WEB. George Seip's timebook indicates between March 1949 and June 1949 the following steam locomotives were used on the BQ branch (3178, 3187, 3198, 3202, 3204, and 3205). On Saturday June 11, 1949, locomotive 3198 made the last steam run on the BQ branch. On Monday morning June 13th, George was assigned new diesel switcher 182.  
 
I am not aware of any yard at the entrance to the WEB, but there was a small yard near S. 3rd St. that was at the entrance to the BQ branch. I never saw this yard used, but the ties were buried in the ground into the late 50's or early 60's.
 
Dave Latshaw
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 6:06pm
Is this the area south of Gordon St you were thinking of? This is from a 1932 Sanborn map.  
 
The words next to the dotted two track area are "CONCRETE TRESTLE" and the label in the building just above and to the right of it at the end of the spur is "PASSENGER STATION."
 
I'm not all that familiar with the Allentown area so I have been following along using Google Earth, USGS maps and Sanborn maps to get a feel for the line. So much has changed that the historic maps are a must to figure out where things were.
 
Henry
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Nov 30th, 2010, 7:03pm
Since David Yur asked a question about steam on the branches, I have a few recollections of steam on the BQ Branch.
On a Saturday afternoon (1946-1947) I was on the Greenwood Cemetery with my grandparents when I heard a locomotive whistle blow. I ran to the southern edge of the cemetery, where Turner St. is now (both Turner St. and the Allentown School District stadium were not built yet), looked over the hill and saw the BQ steam switcher running backward pulling a single box car along Union Terrace. The train crossed Walnut St., then Hamilton St., stopped and pushed the box car into the siding at 20th and Hamilton. The locomotive then returned back along Union Terrace. I still remember standing on that hill looking down and seeing branchline railroading going on. I often saw the steam powered Black Diamond come into the Allentown station but 20th and Hamilton was a strange place to see a steam engine. From the hill it was like watching a current N-gauge model railroad.  
 
On another occasion I remember walking across the west side of the 8th St. bridge and seeing a steam switcher with caboose and cars moving eastward. I crossed to the east side of the bridge and watched as the BQ train crossed Lehigh St, passed through the abandoned Wire Mill buildings and followed it as it moved off in the distance toward the Allentown Terminal Crossing.  
 
I remember steam trains crossing S. 10 th St. where I lived, but the most times I saw the BQ steam train was from the 8th St. bridge. The crew usually stopped the train between Lehigh St and the 8th St. bridge and then went to lunch. I often took the 12:30 Fairview trolley to 8th and Hamilton and when the trolley crossed the bridge I could see the train underneath the bridge.  
Unfortunately I didn't have a camera, but it certainly left wonderful lifetime memories.  
 
Dave
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 9:00am
This is why I truly enjoy input from others... it helps answer a lot of unanswered questions and helps to clarify things which may be a bit cloudy.  To those who've been following this forum, Dave-39 is David Latshaw... the man who not only took many of these photos, but did an amazing amount of research along both branchlines in order to write his informative articles for the Lehigh County Historical Society.  So nice to have you as part of the discussion, Dave!  By the way, do you have any memory or knowledge of that second "mystery crane" sitting under the 7th St. bridge (in front of the yellow Brownhoist) in Gif Sander's posting from two days ago?  I have a hazy memory of it being a black, fairly large crane which may have been dead... though I tend to remember seeing two working cranes for a brief time at Schneider's back in the mid-60s.  I'm really not clear on this and was wondering if you (or you, Gif) remember things more clearly than I?
 
Henry: Thank you VERY much for posting that wonderful Sanborn map showing the Linden St. yard area (now R.J. Corman's facility) back in the 1930s!  I wasn't familiar with those maps but they look very detailed and showed me things I never knew were there.  My how things had changed by 1970!  Is access to these maps free and are they available for all areas in Allentown where the West End and Barber branches ran?  I'd love to take a look at how things were along both lines so many years ago.  Since you were kind enough to post this map showing the area davidyur asked about, I'll post 3 more photos local railfan, Bob Wilt, shot of the Ironton Baldwin on this part of the former Jordan Loop / West End branch.   Again... thanks for adding that wonderful map to this thread!    -- Mark
 
In this first shot from 02/02/1977, a Conrail hack and Southern boxcar sit on the WEB lead while Ironton Baldwin #751 picks up a gondola from the short runaround track in the Linden St. yard.  The view is looking north-east from the Linden St. bridge.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 9:14am
About a month earlier on 12/29/1976, Bob got this shot of #751 heading inbound (south) with its short train along the last quarter mile of WEB track, just south of the gated Gordon St. crossing.  If you look through the trees to the right of the engine, you can see the old Horlacher Beer brewery building which was once serviced by the CNJ on track which ran where the American Pkwy. now runs.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 9:41am
Back to 02/02/1977 and a bit farther north from where the previous posting was shot, Bob captured one of the Gordon St. gates in this great picture next to the Rabinowitz & Sons Co. building on the north side of Gordon St.  Seeing the gate in the open position as the train approaches the crossing takes me back to September of 1969.  During an engine ride on my 14th birthday, engineer Harold Barwick stopped the train under the Tilghman St. bridge during our inbound run and invited me over to where he sat.  He gave me a crash course on how to operate the SW, then stood up, smiled and said "Happy Birthday!"  He moved out from behind the controls and moved me into position.  I slowly opened the throttle and we began moving.  I couldn't believe that I was in control of the West End drill... something I had dreamed about for about as long as I could remember.  Harold told me to go no faster than the 3rd notch (probably about 5mph) and as we got closer to the Gordon St. crossing, I turned on the bell.  It was in the very stretch pictured here that he warned me they were having problems with the gates so I should stay alert.  He relaxed a bit as he saw the gates drop into position.  I began blowing the horn for our crossing when, suddenly, the gates began to open.  Harold quickly moved back into position, shutting down the throttle and applying the brakes... just as the gates dropped back into closed position.  Though he had planned on having me run the train all the way down to Linden St, my engineer experience was cut short that day due to rusty rails and malfunctioning crossing gates... something which obviously was still affecting the Gordon St. crossing when Bob took his picture some 7 1/2 years later!  In spite of my shortened run, my buddy, Harold Barwick, left me with an experience I'll never forget!     --Mark
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 1:01pm
on Dec 1st, 2010, 9:00am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)

Henry: Thank you VERY much for posting that wonderful Sanborn map showing the Linden St. yard area (now R.J. Corman's facility) back in the 1930s!  I wasn't familiar with those maps but they look very detailed and showed me things I never knew were there.  My how things had changed by 1970!  Is access to these maps free and are they available for all areas in Allentown where the West End and Barber branches ran?  I'd love to take a look at how things were along both lines so many years ago.  Since you were kind enough to post this map showing the area davidyur asked about, I'll post 3 more photos local railfan, Bob Wilt, shot of the Ironton Baldwin on this part of the former Jordan Loop / West End branch.   Again... thanks for adding that wonderful map to this thread!    -- Mark

 
Mark,
 
Online Sanborns are only available via subscription, via some library systems for library card holders and at some universities if you are a student or faculty member. They are copyrighted, but I don't mind posting smaller pieces of them for educational, discussion and historical purposes. I can post more snippets from Allentown if you have some specific areas of interest. Because they are structure related, not all railroad areas are available. There usually needs to be some kind of insurable building nearby.
 
Henry
Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 1:23pm
I mis-wrote when I referred to a yard where the WEB branch left the mainline.  What I meant was where the BQ branch left the mainline, a little distance from Union St. Tower, and passing Morris Black.  I believe Dave-39 knew the yard I was referring to.
 
Thanks again for all the pictures/info!
davidyur
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 2:43pm
Mark - I remember the large black crane underneath the 7th St. bridge on the siding that ran to Koehler Brothers coal yard, but I don't know anything about it. From its large size I might guess that it was an old steam powered crane like they had at Traylor. I also remember what happens when you wore a white T-shirt and stood too close to the steam powered crane at Traylor.
 
Dave
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 3:58pm
Henry: Thank you VERY much for posting that wonderful Sanborn map showing the Linden St. yard area (now R.J. Corman's facility) back in the 1930s!  I wasn't familiar with those maps but they look very detailed and showed me things I never knew were there.  My how things had changed by 1970!  Is access to these maps free and are they available for all areas in Allentown where the West End and Barber branches ran?   -- Mark
 
Mark,
Both Lehigh University and Kutztown University have digital access to the Sanborn Insurance map library. Kutztown's access covers the state of Pennsylvania. You must be a student, faculty or alumni to access them.
The Allentown Public Library has local Sanborn maps on microfilm.
The Lehigh County Historical Society museum has Sanborn maps for Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Mike
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:15pm
I'm a little late getting into this discussion, but I want to say thanks to Mark and the others who posted photos and contributed. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread over the last few days.  
 
Mark, any idea how long Traylor leased the PBNE 42?
 
     Bryan
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:36pm
Mark,
Thanks for posting all those wonderful photos.
I dusted off my slide collection as I did some exploring at Fuller on the Barbers Quarry branch back in the late 80's-early 90's.
On a cold, wet Sunday, November 27th, 1988, I found the Fuller Company's 45-ton siderod switcher resting outside the plant.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:39pm
Same day. Closeup view of the switcher looking north, with the Barbers Quarry main and Little Lehigh creek in background.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:46pm
Friday, February 14th, 1992 I returned to catch the switcher in action. Here it is at 12:35 PM pulling a load westward in preparation for moving it to the track seen in the very lower left corner of the photo.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 4:54pm
Three minutes later the switcher is on the lower spur. I grabbed my telephoto to accent the 23-story PP&L building in the background.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 5:01pm
Final shot on 2/14/92 as the switcher, having uncoupled its load, returns westward.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 1st, 2010, 6:06pm
Regarding my previous photos...
 
I always knew that factory as the "Fuller" company, while Mark refers to it as "Traylor Engineering". I did some research online and found that Traylor became a division of the Fuller Company of Catasauqua in 1959, hence the Fuller name on the switcher.
Even more importantly, I came across a preview of the book "Allentown" by Ann Bartholomew and Carol Front. It features numerous old photos including areal views of the Traylor Engineering plant, the Wire Mill, and even the Lehigh Valley's Foundry branch mentioned early in this forum.
 
I'll be picking up a copy of the book soon! You can preview the book/photos on Google's book site at this link:
http://books.google.com/books?id=n2BDo1eRw_QC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=Fuller+company+allentown&source=bl&ots=h0SNl4AJPD&sig=IUasVhgnA26vc95Jh6CLHrJvsLo&hl=en&ei=d9D2TOjvLYKs8AaH_djeBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=11&ved=0CEMQ6AEwCg#v=onepage&q&f=false
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 1:25am
Henry & one87th (Mike): Thanks for educating me on the Sanborn maps.  I appreciate it greatly!
 
Henry: There is one other area I'd love to see from the same 1930s era, if possible.  The area from N. 16th to N. 18th Sts and from W. Allen to W. Gordon Sts.  This would be the site of the Trexler Lumber Co. and its numerous storage sheds.  I've always wondered what the track arrangement was like back in those days.  If posting this is a problem, I understand.
 
Dave-39: Thanks for confirming my belief that there was, indeed, a large black crane car parked under 7th St. back in the 60s.  Gif's picture from two days ago jogged my memory, but I couldn't be sure I was right since I would have only been 10 in the mid-60s.
 
NS3360 - Bryan: WELCOME!  Glad to have another person showing an interest in this subject.  Regarding the length of time PB&NE #42 was at Traylor... I can't give you a solid number of days/weeks.  What I remember was being told by the Traylor employees who were moving it around that day that they only needed it for a "short time" to help move a load around the plant that was too heavy for their little 45-ton switcher.  And speaking of that switcher:
 
one87th - Mike: Again I thank you for being one of few who has added to this collection of pictures from days gone by.  You have some really nice shots of that little side-rod switcher and, yes... Traylor was a "division" of Fuller Co.
 
Finally... a few postings tied to davidyur's talk of the small "yard" which used to be near the beginning of the Barber branch.  While I have no pictures clearly showing it, I thought I'd post 3 pictures shot in that area over the years.  The first rather dark shot (taken by Dave Latshaw, I believe) shows how things looked along the Jordan Loop by the Union St. tower on 06/24/1963.  That's the Morris Black & Sons building behind the tower.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 1:33am
Next, how things looked under R.J.Corman's ownership on 07/06/1999.  The angle is a bit more to the west of the previous shot, though the train is on the same track.  The Union St. tower stood just about where the bushes are... above the white car.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 1:51am
And last, but certainly not least, a picture of the area as it looked around 1930.  Hard to believe it's the same location.  You can clearly make out Union St. tower and behind it and to the left, the same Morris Black structure pictured in thed 1963 shot.  If you look closely, to the left of the Morris Black building, behind the post of the barely-visible signal mast, you'll see a steam engine coming out of the mist.  It was either exiting the Barber branch or was possibly working some of those "yard" tracks davidyur was talking about.
 
The track second from the right is the only existing track today and the one shown in the previous 2 postings.  What a difference the passing of 80 or so years can make in the way an area looks!
 
It's very late... off to bed.     -- Mark
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 11:01am
on Dec 2nd, 2010, 1:25am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Henry & one87th (Mike): Thanks for educating me on the Sanborn maps.  I appreciate it greatly!
 
Henry: There is one other area I'd love to see from the same 1930s era, if possible.  The area from N. 16th to N. 18th Sts and from W. Allen to W. Gordon Sts.  This would be the site of the Trexler Lumber Co. and its numerous storage sheds.  I've always wondered what the track arrangement was like back in those days.  If posting this is a problem, I understand.
8<---

 
Mark,
 
Here's Trexler in 1932. I had to piece together pieces of three pages for this so it's not perfect, but it shows how things were arranged.
 
Henry
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 11:09am
on Dec 2nd, 2010, 1:51am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
And last, but certainly not least, a picture of the area as it looked around 1930.  Hard to believe it's the same location.  You can clearly make out Union St. tower and behind it and to the left, the same Morris Black structure pictured in thed 1963 shot.  If you look closely, to the left of the Morris Black building, behind the post of the barely-visible signal mast, you'll see a steam engine coming out of the mist.  It was either exiting the Barber branch or was possibly working some of those "yard" tracks davidyur was talking about.
 
The track second from the right is the only existing track today and the one shown in the previous 2 postings.  What a difference the passing of 80 or so years can make in the way an area looks!
 
It's very late... off to bed.     -- Mark

 
Here's the Union St Tower area in 1932.
 
Henry
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2010, 3:46pm
David Yur- Looking at Henry's Sandborn map of the area around the Union St. Tower in 1932, in the lower right hand corner by the words "Little Lehigh", you can see a single siding curving to the right. Above the siding in faint letters you can see the words, "Full of Tracks". This is probably the location of the yard you were talking about at the entrance to the BQ branch. I believe the yard consisted of all stub end sidings, and was used more for storage of BQ branch cars as opposed to an active switching yard. I know the yard was still in use in 1926, however I do not know when they stopped using it. It still showed on track maps in 1943. My recollection of the area is the same as yours; lots of buried ties, but no rail.
Dave L.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:13am
Henry: All I can say is WOW!  Thanks so much for adding those maps to this thread!  Looking at how things used to be long before I was around gives me a feeling as to how those younger railfans who "always thought there was a rail line which ran along Sumner Avenue" feel when they see the pictures posted from my collection.  I'm only sorry there wasn't someone taking photos of all of these areas back in the 1930s.  But then, who knows... maybe there was and when he died, his collection ended up in the trash.  Sad to think about how many photos and slides taken by fans years ago ended up being destroyed because the family didn't know how many of us would have loved to view or even buy what they'd captured on film.  I'm so glad maps like this still exist to help us all look back to the better days of railroading around the Lehigh Valley!  Again, Henry... thanks so very much for taking the time to post those gems!
 
While I have a number of other slides along the WEB and Barber branches, they are mostly similar in nature to what I've already posted.  Therefore, if nobody else has anything they're willing to post, I'll start to wind things down and start moving on to other subjects I photographed in the area during the 1980s and 1990s.  These will be started under different captions under Fallen Flags.  (I recently posted a few pictures from 1986-1988 taken along the Northampton end of the former N&B RR... when Horwith trucking first took over the old Atlas Cement plant.  It's under Fallen Flags / Fallen Shortlines... for those interested.)  Before I begin off on other ventures, however, I'll post some additional shots taken along the Jordan Loop's south end and within the small Linden St. freight yard.  Again, I'm hoping others will join in and post shots they've taken along these former LV, Conrail, and now R.J. Corman tracks.
 
In this first posting, the World of Mirth fair train has left the West End Branch and heads south across S. 3rd St. in Allentown as it prepares to exit the Jordan Loop and head back onto the Valley main and on toward Bethlehem.  This 09/26/1954 photo is from the Houser Collection.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:23am
On 03/22/1989, I shot the East Penn drill as it headed south across Union St. at 4:45PM.  The white, washed out sign to the left of the caboose was an advertisement for passenger service which was planned to be restored earlier during that decade.  The sign read "Future site of the Allentown to Philadelphia passenger train station."  Sigh...
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:31am
At the end of my ride along the Barber branch back in 11/1969, I shot our special high & wide load as it slapped the Allentown Terminal RR diamonds near the Union St. crossing.  The top of the ATRR station tower is visible above the gondola's lettering.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:36am
Another Houser Collection shot shows a busy day at the Allentown Station, looking north toward Hamilton St.  The slide was dated 08/18/1953.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:46am
Things along the Jordan Loop had changed slightly by 03/02/1988 when the early morning sun washed out my shot of the East Penn drill as it passed the station's remains while heading north toward the Linden St. yard.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:57am
A rather overcast morning on 11/05/1991 gave me a better exposed East Penn drill as I shot it at 9:00AM while aiming north from the Hamilton St. bridge.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 1:05am
Another battle with the low, morning sun gave me a so-so exposure on this slide of the E.P. drill at 8:25AM on 04/12/1991, this time shot aiming south from the Linden St. bridge.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 1:12am
Bob Wilt's 02/02/1977 shot looking down from the south side of the Linden St. bridge shows Ironton #751 at the turnout which (as of this date) was the beginning of the West End branch.  The switch points were thrown to the yard track as the engine began moving north.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 1:21am
Tonight's last post shows my 04/09/1990 picture of the E.P. drill passing under the old Linden St. bridge and into the small freight yard at 5:20PM.  As you can see, the WEB was nothing but a memory by this time, though I stood on its former right-of-way to pay it tribute as I took this shot.  
 
More photos of the Linden St. yard from the 70s, 80s & 90s... next time.    -- Mark
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 6:56am
Another great set of photos, Mark. Nowadays Corman does transloading in the Linden St. Yard. It makes me curious about CR's activity there in later years. Especially your 4/12/91 photo which shows a nice size train behind a GP38-2 heading into the yard. Did the East Penn Drill just switch out their cars there, or was there a customer(s) in the vicinity I'm not aware of?
 
     Bryan
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 9:23am
Bryan:  Glad you're enjoying the show.  I don't know your age so I'm not sure whether or not you know that into the mid-80s, the Linden St. yard was used as the Lehigh Valley's and Conrail's piggyback facility... before Conrail opened their larger one along the Lehigh River at the bottom of south Bethlehem.  Conrail slightly reconfigured the yard, making more of the tracks able to handle the loading and unloading of flats.  Also, from Valley days, through Conrail and into Corman, the Morning Call newspaper company received boxcars full of newsprint at the cinderblock enclosed unloading ramp on the eastern side of the yard.  Other than that, the yard was used by CR to mostly switch out cars.  There were a few transloadings that took place from time to time, but nothing all that often.  I'll show a good assortment of pictures from the yard in the coming days to give you a feel for how things changed over the years.
 
This morning's first two photos are from the Houser collection and were taken on 12/30/1973.  In this picture, a double-headed drill pulls into the yard as a fire ravages a Scheftel & Sons warehouse located nearby.  Note the LV caboose behind the engine, as the next photo shows a surprise visitor on the end of the train.  That's the WEB lead track to the lower left.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 9:30am
This horizontal view gives a better view of the yard and shows the end-of-train caboose being used that day.  The concrete phone booth partly visible in the lower right contained the phone used by crews to call Union St. tower before proceeding south on the Jordan Loop to the Valley main.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 9:40am
This shot of mine from 03/1986 shows a busier yard filled with piggyback trailers.  You can see how the trees have already grown out across the WEB lead track by this time.  The Gordon St. crossing about 1/3 mile north had been removed several years earlier and the remaining West End branch track would be gone in just a few more months.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 9:49am
My 03/13/1991 shot of the East Penn drill entering the Linden St. yard shows a yard much less busy after the piggyback traffic had been moved to Bethlehem.  Taken at 8:30AM, this south-western view shows the then "new" Lehigh County Prison at 4th & Linden Sts. still under construction.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 10:03am
One would think a Hazleton drill had taken a wrong turn somewhere when viewing this shot I took at 5:45PM on 06/05/1990.  Seeing 3 pups lashed together in 1990 was a rare find on the East Penn drill.  The view at left shows an old factory sitting along Race St. (still there, but now a dark reddish-brown color) and the former landmark gas tank in the distance.  You're looking south-east from close to the old Jordan Creek trestle.
(I'm finding my new scanner likes to lighten the dark areas of a slide, and -- in return -- tends to over-expose the lighter areas.  Sorry guys... I still need to learn how to fine tune these new toys of mine!)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 10:15am
Today's final post shows a lonely GP-10 sitting along the north side of the yard in this 12/26/1991 shot I took from Linden St, just east of the bridge.  To the right of the engine you can see the remains of the Jordan Loop bridge across the Jordan Creek.  The brick structure partly visible above the bridge is the Rabinowitz and Son Co. building located by the Gordon St. crossing.
 
I'll continue posting an interesting assortment of photos taken around the Linden St. yard sometime on Sunday.  Until then... have a great weekend!     -- Mark
Posted by: irn750 Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 1:40pm
In the late 80's and into the 90's the East Penn local would also do the work on the Reading line as far west as Alburtis In the picture with the 8122 the first 2 cars in the train are probably a flour car for Downyflake and the lumber car for Wicks at Emmaus Jct. After Conrail moved the pig ramp to its new location across from Beth. Fabs the job went on duty at that location switch the new ramp if needed then do the work in the Frt yrd and Reading line. At some point in their day they would run the cars to Allentown and pickup the new frt for the next day and return to the new ramp to tie up. When Conrail still used the Frt Yard at Linden St to load the pig traffic the East Penn local was a  day light and afternoon shift operation with 2nd shift working overtime to setout the loads for TV-61 to pickup at East Penn yard.  Tv-62 would setout the inbound traffic in East Penn yard or shove it up the old Psgr Main to clear East Penn Jct. if the East Penn locals engine was tied up in the Frt yard.
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 4:59pm
on Dec 3rd, 2010, 12:13am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
 I'm only sorry there wasn't someone taking photos of all of these areas back in the 1930s.  But then, who knows... maybe there was and when he died, his collection ended up in the trash.  Sad to think about how many photos and slides taken by fans years ago ended up being destroyed because the family didn't know how many of us would have loved to view or even buy what they'd captured on film.

 
I have also thought about this. While unfortunately someone's great classic collection may have been knowingly or unknowingly thrown away, at the same time I'm glad there are places like this site where we can get a glimpse into the past and also talk about our favorite lines. Like a few others mentioned earlier in this thread, I'm also one of the younger guys and missed being able to see all the classic RR's by a few years, so discussions like this really help me to imagine what is was like 40 or 50 or more years ago...
 
    Bryan
 
 
 
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 5:05pm
on Dec 3rd, 2010, 1:40pm, irn750 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In the late 80's and into the 90's the East Penn local would also do the work on the Reading line as far west as Alburtis In the picture with the 8122 the first 2 cars in the train are probably a flour car for Downyflake and the lumber car for Wicks at Emmaus Jct. After Conrail moved the pig ramp to its new location across from Beth. Fabs the job went on duty at that location switch the new ramp if needed then do the work in the Frt yrd and Reading line. At some point in their day they would run the cars to Allentown and pickup the new frt for the next day and return to the new ramp to tie up. When Conrail still used the Frt Yard at Linden St to load the pig traffic the East Penn local was a  day light and afternoon shift operation with 2nd shift working overtime to setout the loads for TV-61 to pickup at East Penn yard.  Tv-62 would setout the inbound traffic in East Penn yard or shove it up the old Psgr Main to clear East Penn Jct. if the East Penn locals engine was tied up in the Frt yard.

 
Thanks for the info irn750. By the time I started railfanning, the Linden St. piggyback terminal was no more and they were using the new one at The Ramp by "The Fabs". Now the intermodal work is done by the PBNE over at the former Bethlehem Steel site. How about that? Anyway, I look forward to seeing more pictures when Linden St. was used for piggybacks if possible.
 
                Bryan
 
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 3rd, 2010, 11:29pm
on Dec 2nd, 2010, 3:46pm, DAVE-39 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
David Yur- Looking at Henry's Sandborn map of the area around the Union St. Tower in 1932, in the lower right hand corner by the words "Little Lehigh", you can see a single siding curving to the right. Above the siding in faint letters you can see the words, "Full of Tracks". This is probably the location of the yard you were talking about at the entrance to the BQ branch. I believe the yard consisted of all stub end sidings, and was used more for storage of BQ branch cars as opposed to an active switching yard. I know the yard was still in use in 1926, however I do not know when they stopped using it. It still showed on track maps in 1943. My recollection of the area is the same as yours; lots of buried ties, but no rail.
Dave L.

Hi I am new member,and thought I was only one besides DL who was intersted in branchlines.
Anyway the stub tracks at beginning of bq were as told to me was used to hold emptys for AS&W wire mill as most shipments handled by LVRR were outbounds.
Wire mill closed in 1943 and tracks likely no longer needed.
there also were 2or 3 stub end tracks between BQ main and S.Allentown branch just before bridge over little lehigh.
Posted by: Matthew_L Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 5:49pm
on Dec 3rd, 2010, 10:03am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
One would think a Hazleton drill had taken a wrong turn somewhere when viewing this shot I took at 5:45PM on 06/05/1990.  Seeing 3 pups lashed together in 1990 was a rare find on the East Penn drill.  The view at left shows an old factory sitting along Race St. (still there, but now a dark reddish-brown color) and the former landmark gas tank in the distance.  You're looking south-east from close to the old Jordan Creek trestle.

 
I hate to nitpick when you are doing a truly GREAT JOB by posting the pictures you're sharing with the rest of us, but those switchers aren't pups. As I understand the terminology, the term "pup" refers to the MU-able SW8s which LV used at Hazleton. The switchers in your shot each have 2 exhaust stacks, so they couldn't be SW8s aka pups.  
 
At any rate, it's just a minor correction. I absolutely love what you're doing in this thread and look forward to seeing more of them when your time permits.  
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 7:33pm
For the questions regarding the old black crane at Schneiders, I do remember it  being up in there under the 7th St, bridge. I do recall going up in and iinvestigating it unfortunately I never shot a picture of it. I did however locate a slide from spring of 69 with it in the background.
 
Update: looking at previous posts I guess I posted a similar one previously that also shows the black crane in the background.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 7:42pm
Here is an enlarged section of the previous slide. If you look closely above the boom, you can also see what was left of the the clearance tell-tale.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 10:32pm
Since we're talking cranes, here is the one used to load cars at United Compressed Steel at 12th and Sumner, winter 1970
Posted by: DaveK Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 11:25pm
I am curious about the big fire in one of the photos!
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 11:48pm
on Dec 4th, 2010, 5:49pm, Matthew_L wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
I hate to nitpick when you are doing a truly GREAT JOB by posting the pictures you're sharing with the rest of us, but those switchers aren't pups. As I understand the terminology, the term "pup" refers to the MU-able SW8s which LV used at Hazleton. The switchers in your shot each have 2 exhaust stacks, so they couldn't be SW8s aka pups.  
 
At any rate, it's just a minor correction. I absolutely love what you're doing in this thread and look forward to seeing more of them when your time permits.  

Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 4th, 2010, 11:55pm

As to LV pups,true switchers MU'd together were called pups,but in early years CNJ men referred to all small diesel switchers as pups
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:42am
In this piece of the universe, pups is pups is pups..  One stack or two, a switcher is what it means..  Through osmosis I've learned that it's a LV and CNJ (kinda) word for SW-anything, but I've heard guys talk about 'them alco pups', as well, showing that it's a flexible term..  Maybe not originally, but it seemed to become that way...  
 
-Micah
Posted by: LVRR2095 Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 7:01am
on Dec 5th, 2010, 4:42am, F3_4_me wrote:       (Click here for original message)
In this piece of the universe, pups is pups is pups..  One stack or two, a switcher is what it means..  Through osmosis I've learned that it's a LV and CNJ (kinda) word for SW-anything, but I've heard guys talk about 'them alco pups', as well, showing that it's a flexible term..  Maybe not originally, but it seemed to become that way...  
 
-Micah

I worked for the LVRR....as an engineer. I can't say about other parts of the railroad, but at the Oak Island end of the railroad any switcher was a "pup." Every railroad had their own nickname for the little work horses of the railroad. On the E-L they were called bob tails.  
Keith....now in Maine
Posted by: towny72 Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 10:43am
Thanks to all that have added to this thread, I have really enjoyed it!
 
So I hear a State Grant has been awarded to a group in Allentown to restore some trackage conecting to the RJC Allentown Lines?
 
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:16pm
Hi guys... I'm back and just about ready to continue the slide show.  But first:
 
irn750: Thanks so much for your additional info on the East Penn drill.  As I said earlier in this forum, I followed the EPD quite often around town in the 1980s and 1990s and have a good amount of shots to post of service to many sidings which no longer are serviced.  As soon as I wind up this subject, I'll start a new forum under Fallen Flags / Conrail / East Penn Drill.  Anybody who likes locals servicing small industries should enjoy it.
 
NS3360 - Bryan: I, too, am very glad sites like this exist.  At 55, I hardly consider myself old, yet when I think of how many of my slides are now 20 or 25 years old, I find it hard to believe.  I really enjoy the questions and comments from you younger fans who didn't get to see a lot of what I did.  I only wish more older fans would begin sharing pictures they took from years ago.  Sharing pictures of things that no longer exist is what makes this so enjoyable.  Come on you older guys... start showing what YOU have!
 
100lbrail: Nice to have your input.  Welcome aboard!
 
Matthew_L: Thanks for your input... both positive AND corrective.  I'll be the first one to admit I make mistakes when it comes to identifying engines.  A friend previously told me I mis-identified the engine crossing 17th & Liberty Sts. on the WEB as an "SW" when it was really an "NW-2".  It was a Houser Collection slide that was labled "SW" and I'm not good at spotting the difference.  Anyway... as a number of the most recent comments have said, you may be totally accurate in what you wrote, but I think the term "pup" eventually became used for any type of smaller switcher, especially SWs/NW-2s.
 
lehighvalley628, my old buddy, Gif: Thanks for that close-up of the old crane at Schneiders... that really helped job my memory.  Also, thanks for the additional shot of the Compressed siding at 13th & Sumner.  Please feel free to keep adding anything you'd like.  After all, you're the one who shot most of the WEB shots in my collection.  By the way, a few more of your shots will be coming up shortly!  Thanks again for being part of this.
 
DaveK: Don't know what else I can tell you about the fire shown in those two earlier posts from the Houser Collection.  It just said the fire was at one of Scheftel's warehouses.
 
towny72: Nice to have you join in.  I know this forum has become quite long, but you'll find several comments about the state grant to possibly restore service to the former Barber branch at a couple of spots along the way.  I believe it was first mentioned somewhere on the 2nd or 3rd pages by one_87th.
 
Okay... back to some pictures!  By the way, most of the following are mine.  If they were shot by someone else, I'll mention that person.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:20pm
Shot during 03/1986, this picture shows the Linden St. yard (looking north from just east of the bridge) during its piggyback peak.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:27pm
Same location, similar angle... but post piggyback days.  Taken just about 16 months (07/28/1987) after the previous photo, the EP drill's engine is sandwiched between two cars while a covered hopper's load is being transferred to a waiting truck at right.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:36pm
I took this shot looking south-west from the northern end of the Linden St. yard as the EP drill moved into position to switch the Morning Call siding at 9:10AM on 03/29/1991.  The flatcar pictured just left of the utility pole had been loaded right there in the yard with some type of heavy machinery.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:43pm
At 7:15AM on 12/05/1986, the drill was ready to switch out the Morning Call siding as I faced north on one of the old wooden walkways which paralleled two of the eastern-most tracks in the yard.  That's the Tilghman St. bridge in the distant right of the photo.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 3:51pm
This 04/28/1989 shot shows the drill placing two cars along the cinderblock-enclosed unloading dock used to transfer newsprint into trucks headed for the Morning Call newspaper company about 3 blocks west on Linden St.  It was 8:10AM.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:00pm
Less than 6 weeks later (on 06/10/1989), I found the EP drill at the same location at 6:45AM.  There were a few times when the crew tied up in this yard, but only when they'd outlawed while operating there the night before.  In this shot, you can see part of the overhead crane which used to sit over two of the nearby sidings.  The old Phoenix Silk Mill building sits in the rear of the photo by Race & Linden Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:07pm
A 03/21/1989 shot from the western side of the unloading dock gives a better view of the nearby overhead crane.  Light was getting low and the shadows high when I took this at 5:30PM.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:15pm
This early-morning shot back along the northern switching lead track shows a lot of traffic in the yard on 10/06/1988.  (Another too-light exposure... thanks to my scanner lightening up the darker shadows!)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:23pm
During 05/1984, I caught the EP drill's SW1500 switching out piggyback cars near end-of-track at Gordon St.  The dirt and stone piles to the left are about to become the American Parkway, now that the former CNJ tracks which once ran there were history.  This is the only other shot I have of piggyback action in the yard.  (Sorry NS3360!)  The eastern side brace of the overhead crane is visible in the distance.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:37pm
Speaking of the CNJ's former right-of-way, this local came backing along their track between the Gordon & Linden St. crossings on one of the days I was riding with the WEB crew.  I took this shot around 1969/1970 from the engineer's side cab window as we sat on the switching lead previously pictured.  I was aiming southeast as the CNJ drill crawled past us on what's now the American Pkwy.  By the way, that's a Valley caboose leading the way... just in case the RDG boxcar distracted you!  Looks like the CNJ also had an overhead crane in the area.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 4:53pm
As long as I've detoured onto the CNJ, let me add two more shots to this thread.  The first -- taken by my old school buddy, Gif (lehighvalley628) Sander -- gives another view of the "former" American Pkwy... this time looking north - northeast from slightly north of Hamilton St.  The sidings at left ran over to the CNJ's Allentown freighthouse which sat on the south-east corner of Race & Linden Sts.  (Next posting will show it from streetside.)  The dark green object in the shadows at left was an old passenger coach which sat perpendicular to Linden St. for quite some time.  I don't remember whether it was on wheels or blocks, nor do I remember what type of car it was nor what it was used for.  (Anybody else have any information?)  I'm guessing the date of the photo to, again, be around 1970.  (Am I close, Gif?)  Through the break between cars at right, you can see the old covered-platform which had a long track running along its eastern (far) side.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:02pm
Here's the CNJ's Allentown freight house, circa 1970.  The truck doors and loading platform was along N. Race St.  The man pictured was walking west on the south side of Linden St.  The old gas tower is just visible above the roof of the freight house.  Only sorry I didn't stand back another 10 or 15 feet to get more of the side.  Also sorry I never shot the railroad side of the building!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:09pm
Back to the Linden St. yard.  Before R.J.Corman fenced in the property, it was possible to stand along Gordon St, face south and shoot a train as it approached end-of-track along the switching lead.  As you can see at left, the American Pkwy. was paved and open to traffic by the time I took this shot of Conrail's East Penn drill at 8:20AM on 04/12/1989.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:23pm
Jumping back to Race & Linden Sts, this 03/05/1961 photo from the Houser Collection shows the south and western sides of the Lehigh Valley's freight station which was located on the northwest corner of that intersection.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:31pm
Gif Sander took this shot looking south-east from inside the Linden St. yard.  Again, I'll need his help on the date... though you can figure around 1969 or 1970.  Just look at all that old wood.  Nobody better strike any matches!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:38pm
 Yikes!  Guess I spoke too soon!!  The aftermath of someone's carelessness was caught on film by Gif Sander, as well.  Again, I'll need help from the photographer as to the approximate date.  You're looking north-east from Race St, just north of Linden.  The cinderblock unloading dock (still standing today, though painted in Corman red & white) is visible to the far right.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:48pm
The "new" Allentown freight station office is visible to the left of the front of the LV drill parked along Linden St.  (It's that small, white trailer.  Not quite as impressive as the former structure.)  Dave Latshaw took this shot on the afternoon of 12/15/1976.  Again, no Conrail paint in sight... yet!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 5:59pm
August of 1987 hosted some interesting visitors at the Linden St. yard.  On 08/23/1987, I took this shot of former CR hack #18856 (formerly RDG #94057) as it sat waiting to be moved to Allied Hobbies, then located just south of Coplay, slightly east of MacArthur Rd.  The caboose was loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved to a specially-built section of track right next to the hobby shop.  Today, the building is a church and there's no trace of the track nor the caboose.  (More to come in the next two postings about those two 44-tonners sitting in the background.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 6:06pm
Also taken on 08/23/1987, this closer view better shows the two U.S. Army Davenport 44-ton switchers (#1217 & #1222) previously pictured.  Again, I know nothing about from where they came or where they were heading, but they remained in the yard for several weeks.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 6:26pm
The following day (08/24/1987), I returned to the yard and found the Davenports now sitting on top of the flatcars to which they had been coupled during the previous weeks.  (The yellow boom of the crane which hoisted them onto the flats is visible between the two engines.)
 
While the sky was blue this day, a large rainstorm moved into the Allentown area just a day or so after I took this picture.  It dumped close to 9 inches of rain in less than 12 hours, causing the nearby Jordan Creek (and many other local waterways) to flood significantly.  The following day during my lunch hour, I walked down to Linden St. to view the yard... having heard about the flooding of the Jordan earlier that morning while at work.  Because I was leaving for a trip to Europe a couple of days later and already had print film in my camera, I left the camera sitting at home that morning.  (I always used slide film for shooting trains and print film for everything else.)  The biggest regret I ever had in my history of railfanning came when I got to the Linden St. bridge and found not only had the water flooded almost the entire yard (including the tracks pictured here), but the East Penn drill had tied up in the yard the night before (along the switching lead just north of the Linden St. bridge).  All wheels of the engine, caboose and several cars were completely covered with rushing water.  I'd never seen anything like it and kicked myself the rest of the day for not having my camera with me.  There were many people standing there looking, and some were shooting pictures.  Sadly, I wasn't one of them!  (By chance, were any of you reading this lucky enough to get a picture that day?)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 6:35pm
As I wind down my slide show displayed in this forum, I'll include the first picture I ever took of the R.J.Corman engine in very fresh paint... soon after it appeared in the Allentown area.  On the morning of 09/24/1996, I took this shot in the then weed-covered Linden St. yard... close to the turnout leading to the cinderblock loading dock.  A small part of the "new" Lehigh County prison is visible at the far left, just above the tree line.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 6:53pm
I'll end my presentation on this subject with one of the first slides I ever took with my Kodak Pony 828 camera.  Taken in 1969, this LV caboose sat behind the old freight station, just inside the Linden St. yard.  My slide shows the whole caboose, but size 828 slides were larger than 35mm, so my scanner cut a bit off the top, bottom and sides.  
 
I've thoroughly enjoyed the interaction I've had with those of you who've taken the time to post comments and additional pictures and maps along the way.  As I previously stated, I started this forum with the hope that many older railfans would begin posting things they took along the West End, Barber and former Allentown branch of the L&NE on the east side of town.  What I've found instead is how enjoyable it can be to share things I was lucky enough to capture on film decades ago... as well as relive my memories of those wonderful days during my earlier years.  I'll still check this thread in the weeks ahead with the hope that others will have recently discovered it and may have questions, comments or pictures of their own to post.  In the mean time, I'll begin a new forum with slides of the East Penn Drill (under Fallen Flags / Conrail) in the days or weeks ahead... for those -- like me -- who prefer watching locals more than high-speed, mainline trains.  I again thank all of those friends who've shared their slides and stories with me so that I, in turn, could share them with all of you who have followed this thread. -- Mark Rabenold
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 7:06pm
That LV freight house was a fire trap!  I was inside it once or twice, and I was wondering how soon that thing would go up.  I had a job when I was working for a trucking company that took me down there to unload a pool car with rolls of wrapping paper for Mary MacIntosh laundries.  I remember that it was a Rio Grande 50' plug door car.
Posted by: Matthew_L Posted on: Dec 5th, 2010, 7:46pm
on Dec 5th, 2010, 7:01am, LVRR2095 wrote:       (Click here for original message)

I worked for the LVRR....as an engineer. I can't say about other parts of the railroad, but at the Oak Island end of the railroad any switcher was a "pup." Every railroad had their own nickname for the little work horses of the railroad. On the E-L they were called bob tails.  
Keith....now in Maine

 
OK, I stand corrected. Thanks for letting me know.  
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 12:08am
The remains of fire building in photo was LVRR freight house in summer of 72,I was with Fre Dept then and was on scene.
 
The photo of CNJ yard at Hamilton St.--- The siding with boxcars was sought by merchants selling goods out of cars and often gave cigars to switching conductor to get their cars spotted there.
At Christmas time I went with my dad to buy our tree from merchant selling trees from boxcar
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 12:24am
I lived in E.Allentown til about 11 yrs old and spent lots of time at LNE yard  in E.Allentown have lots of info if anyones intersted.
 while on a roll also learned much about wire mill in Allentown from old railroaders
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 9:41am
My good friend Graham and i often visited the hobby shop in our younger days..Just recently we were discussing the ex Conrail caboose they had there. Though we both could agree it was a "northeastern" style caboose we couldn't remember the number and Unfortunately neither of us had ever thought to take a picture of it. . Once again A-townbranchfan answers a question of mine.. A thousand thanks!!!!!! .  on Dec 5th, 2010, 5:59pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
August of 1987 hosted some interesting visitors at the Linden St. yard.  On 08/23/1987, I took this shot of former CR hack #18856 (formerly RDG #94057) as it sat waiting to be moved to Allied Hobbies, then located just south of Coplay, slightly east of MacArthur Rd.  The caboose was loaded onto a flatbed truck and moved to a specially-built section of track right next to the hobby shop.  Today, the building is a church and there's no trace of the track nor the caboose.  (More to come in the next two postings about those two 44-tonners sitting in the background.)

Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 10:46am
Mark, more great photos to help preserve the late history of Allentown RRs, thanks!
 
Here are a couple more 1932 Sanborns to help illustrate the areas photographed for those (like me) who aren't intimately familiar with the way things were in Allentown.
 
First is the CNJ yard and freight house between Linden & Race Streets. The freight platform with canopy shown in one of the shots is at the middle of the photo. I imagine that a number of young boys spent a lot of time watching the action in the yard from backyards and windows in the houses that backed up the yard. I know I would have!
 
Note what appears to be a classic CNJ turret at the NE corner of the freight house. They had to angle the ends of the sidings to clear it.
 
Henry
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 10:49am
Here's the south end of the LV's Linden Street yard. It's easy to see how Jordan Creek could inundate the yard during a flood. Also visible is CNJ's old passenger station and the west end of the Foundry Street street trackage.
 
Henry
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 1:09pm
It fascinates me that piggyback operations were carried on at the Linden St. Yard since it's a relatively small area for that type of operation. I like that shot of the SW1500 pulling a cut of loaded 89' piggyback flats up to near the end of track. I imagine they had to make several back and forth moves when handling those long flats in this small area. I think it's a good example of a small terminal, especially if there's someone who wants to model this type of activity but only has a small space on their model railroad. You could choose between LV or CR operations, or even alternate time periods when modeling.
 
 
  Bryan
 
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 2:31pm
Thanks for the additional input, guys.  And Henry, thanks again for adding those wonderful maps.  Regarding modeling a piggyback facility in such a relatively small space... nobody would believe it to be based on prototype operations!
 
Just a note, guys.  I've started my East Penn Drill photo forum under Fallen Flags / Conrail / East Penn Drill around Allentown.  Hope many of you local guys (as well as those from outside the area) will follow along and add your input there as well.  -Mark
Posted by: Matthew_L Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 8:38pm
on Dec 6th, 2010, 2:31pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Thanks for the additional input, guys.  And Henry, thanks again for adding those wonderful maps.  Regarding modeling a piggyback facility in such a relatively small space... nobody would believe it to be based on prototype operations!

 
I have seen TOFC transloading done in one other small location (Hammondsport, NY), so I would believe you. It is cool to know it was done somewhere else.  
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 6th, 2010, 9:16pm
Thanks for posting the maps Henry.  
For those of you not familiar with the Allentown area, here is how the jigsaw puzzle of maps fit together:
 
The 2 tracks on the lower left of the first map above (Post #312) are the two tracks shown on the right center edge of the 2nd map (Post #313).
 
The map in post #232 would fit slightly above the second map (Post #313).
 
The map from post #252 would overlap and fit below the second map (Post #313).
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Dec 7th, 2010, 6:58pm
That Conrail caboose is an ex-Reading car that went to ADAMS Hobbies in Whitehall.  Seems ol' Jerry Adams thought the Preachin' biz was better than the hobby biz, so he converted the hobby shop to a church, and sold the caboose.  The caboose was sold to a guy named Paul ------ski in Lee, PA--the Westernmost point of the CNJ.  Lee is located between Glen Lyon and Mocanaqua.  He painted it back to Reading red.
''
Posted by: Ashley_John Posted on: Dec 7th, 2010, 7:22pm
on Dec 7th, 2010, 6:58pm, geep39 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
That Conrail caboose is an ex-Reading car that went to ADAMS Hobbies in Whitehall.  Seems ol' Jerry Adams thought the Preachin' biz was better than the hobby biz, so he converted the hobby shop to a church, and sold the caboose.  The caboose was sold to a guy named Paul ------ski in Lee, PA--the Westernmost point of the CNJ.  Lee is located between Glen Lyon and Mocanaqua.  He painted it back to Reading red.
''

 
And the link from Bing maps below shows a birdseye of the cabeese in Lee, PA.
 
John
 
http://www.bing.com/maps/default.aspx?v=2&cp=qvs0vn8nsk2z&lvl=19.34576577766861&dir=181.30398689003692&sty=b&where1=Lee%2C%20PA&q=lee%2C%20pa
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 8th, 2010, 12:01am
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.
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Dec 8th, 2010, 8:47pm
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!
Posted by: bigpistol Posted on: Dec 9th, 2010, 5:20pm
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.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 10th, 2010, 12:10am
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.
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Dec 10th, 2010, 10:53am
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
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 11th, 2010, 12:16am
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
Posted by: Ironton Posted on: Dec 17th, 2010, 11:46pm
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!
           
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Dec 21st, 2010, 12:28am
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
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Dec 30th, 2010, 5:39pm
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.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Dec 30th, 2010, 5:48pm
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.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 1st, 2011, 6:58pm
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
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Jan 1st, 2011, 11:06pm
Awesome post Dave!!! I could totally visualize what was once there!   Amazing how much the area has changed in less then a century.
Posted by: Trails_to_Rails Posted on: Jan 3rd, 2011, 2:02pm
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!!
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:56pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 4th, 2011, 12:38pm
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!
Posted by: amato1969 Posted on: Jan 4th, 2011, 10:38pm
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
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 4th, 2011, 11:42pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 12:06am
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 12:54am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 1:06am
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!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 1:29am
Figured I should include one more in-the-cab shot... this time of engineer Harold Barwick himself.  Camera shy, he wouldn't agree to face me for the picture.  I finally got him to agree to a profile shot.  Taken 11/04/1969 along the Barber branch, just west of the Lehigh St. crossing.  We were again waiting for the crew to return from their lunch break.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 2:19pm
Found a couple more B&W shots I took with my Kodak Brownie camera during the winter of 1968-69.  Sorry about the rather poor quality.
This picture was taken looking back on the train from my cab window seat during our outbound run on the West End branch.  You're looking north-east from a spot close to the 17th & Tilghman St. crossing.  The large building to the left and rear of the last boxcar was the G.E. warehouse, soon to become Harold Stephens Co. and, today, the A-1 Restaurant Supply Co.  For those who know the area well, we were positioned in front of Peterson's Seafood (and Walley's Home of the Hog Deli).  The rear of the train has just crossed N. West St.  The two cars behind the caboose were empties pulled earlier from industries along Sumner Ave.  The second last car will be dropped at G.E's siding on the return trip, shortly after the Frisco boxcar gets spotted at the Hess Bros. warehouse siding near 17th & Liberty Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 5th, 2011, 2:38pm
In this west-facing shot taken at N. 13th & Scott Sts. (Scott St. is the alley to the left of the train, just north of W. Gordon St.), the drill is performing its "flying switch" maneuver with conductor, Eddie Kropf, manning his usual position and applying just enough pressure to the brakewheel of the Valley caboose to keep the train from rolling too far.  What makes this shot quite unusual is the fact that the engine is sitting on the lead to tracks 3&4 while the free-rolling train is proceeding east on the lead to tracks 1&2.  In the many dozens of times I watched the crew perform this move over the years, the engine always traveled straight down the lead to 1&2 while the caboose and other cars were diverted onto the lead to track #4.  I don't know why this particular day things were reversed, but glad I was there with camera in hand.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 7th, 2011, 1:22am
Just a "heads up" for anyone from the Lehigh Valley area viewing this thread:  I just posted 8 shots of a CNJ wreck that happened at Weisport, PA (across the river from Lehighton) during the late 1960s.  You'll find it under the Jersey Central Lines section.
   
One more thing for you young computer geeks out there.  Using my new printer/scanner, I scanned a map of Allentown from the 1960s upon which I hi-lighted all of the local rail lines from that time.  Problem is I ended up with a pdf file rather than a jpg and I don't know how to post it to this thread.  Is there any way to turn a pdf into a jpg?  I'm sure the map would be a big help to anyone following this thread.  If you can give me some advice on doing this, please send me a message directly through this site, rather than posting your information on this thread.  Thanks again guys!  --Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 7th, 2011, 12:35pm
Thank you Gif and Ralph... I think I got it.
Hopefully this map will help those of you who've followed this forum.  The yellow at top was the West End branch.  The pink at bottom was the Barber Quarry branch.  Below the Barber branch was the RDG's Mack Branch.  The blue to the right was the Valley main.  The blue cutting in to the left then back to the right was the Jordan Loop.  The dotted blue/yellow was initially Jordan Loop track, then became the West End branch lead after the JL was taken out of service.  The pinkish mass of tracks was the Linden St. yard, now R.J.Corman.  Also shown in purple was the CNJ/RDG "Allentown Terminal" trackage... as well as parts of the former CNJ & RDG mains.  Hope this gives you a clearer image of the way things used to look about 45 to 50 years ago.  Sorry I didn't post this back in the beginning of this thread.   --Mark
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Jan 7th, 2011, 5:17pm
Mark,
 
I can insert it into the first post if you want so people visiting for the first time will see it.
 
Henry
Posted by: Ashley_John Posted on: Jan 7th, 2011, 5:40pm
on Jan 7th, 2011, 5:17pm, Henry wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Mark,
 
I can insert it into the first post if you want so people visiting for the first time will see it.
 
Henry

 
I know I'm not Mark, but that would be a great idea.
 
John
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 7th, 2011, 11:41pm
I agree, Henry... that would be GREAT!  Thanks!
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Jan 8th, 2011, 11:37am
Mark,
 
I added your description and map to the first post in this thread.
 
Henry
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 8th, 2011, 12:53pm
Here's another B&W shot of the West End drill as it approached the crossing at 17th & Tilghman Sts -- this time from the other side of the train.  You're looking east from the parking lot of Peterson's Seafood.  The Harold Stephens warehouse (today A1 Restaurant Supply) is visible above the caboose.  Local railfan Kermit E. Geary, Jr. took and gave me this photograph which I believe he said was from 1974 or 1975.  I don't recognize either of the crew members shown, but it's obvious conductor Eddie Kropf was either retired or off on vacation this day because he always waited for the inbound trip before picking up any loaded gondolas from Compressed Steel.  In this shot, the train is still moving outbound on the WEB.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:08am
A few more shots of sidings near the 17th St. loop of the WEB.  In this 1970-1971 shot by Gif Sander, the depth of the Harold Stephen's siding is more obvious.  The WEB "main" is partially visible just above the edge of the parking lot.  As mentioned before, Gif and I referred to this siding as "the pit".
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:14am
From the same 1970-71 era, here's one I took of another fallen flag visitor to the Ice City siding, just north of Allen St.  You're looking east, south-east from N. St. Cloud St.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:23am
Bruce Kleppinger (same person who shot the World of Mirth photos posted earlier in this thread) took this shot around 1958.  The street in the foreground is N. 17th St. and the trees in the background were along Liberty St. in the Allentown Fairgrounds.  The view is facing south-west and the two LV boxcars were most likely on one of the sidings which had served the Trexler Lumber sheds located between Liberty & Allen and 17th & 16th Sts.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:29am
Dave Latshaw braved the elements during a wet, winter-like day on 12/19/1974 as he shot the West End drill heading south-east across 17th & Liberty Sts.  The view is facing north and looking up N. 17th St. on the right of the picture.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:39am
Thirty or 35 years earlier, an unknown photographer captured this stock car from the World of Mirth fair train as it sat on one of the Trexler Lumber Co. sidings on the south-east corner of 17th & Liberty Sts.  The view is looking north-east.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 1:48am
And for my final post of this session, here's another shot from the early 1900s of the same area pictured in the last post, though this time looking south-east from 17th & Liberty Sts.  This would become the site of the warehouse used by Hess Brothers department store during the 1960s and early 1970s.
 
Hope you're still finding these images interesting.  Again I ask anyone who has their own shots taken along any Allentown branchline to jump in and post them at any time.  -- Mark
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 10th, 2011, 6:30pm
The last picture is an interesting picture of part of the Trexler Lumber Co. taken in about 1910. I received the original picture from Elsie Bogh whose husband was an owner of the Trexler Lumber Co. The track on the left divides into Tracks #3 and #4 at Trexler Lumber Co. The center track is the WEB main track that ran to the 12th St. yard. The two tracks branching to the right served the small LVRR freight depot on the NE corner of 17th and Gordon Sts. In the center background is a steam crane used by Trexler Lumber Co. to lift heavy wooden timbers. It is on either Trexler #1 or #2 sidings that came in from 16th St. Look at the size of some of those timbers. Trexler Lumber supplied the lumber for many of the homes, churches and industrial buildings in the West End of Allentown. Trexler Lumber Co. had a total of nine sidings between 17th St and 16th Sts.,and  between Gordon and Allen Sts. The smoke stacks on the building in the far right center are at the rear of the Allentown Hospital heating plant. One of the two sidings that ran to the freight depot ended in a coal trestle. Maybe they unloaded coal for the Allentown Hospital from this coal trestle?
 
When one looks back at these old pictures we are amazed at the involvement the local railroads had in every aspect of community life.
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Jan 11th, 2011, 10:28am
Atown:
 
Thanks for the map and marking it-now the photos of the branch make more sense to this person sitting out here in the tundra of North Dakota!  I can match the photos to the branch now.
 
Alan
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 12:31am
photoman475/alan: I should have thought about that old map right from the start.  Just glad I spotted it while going through my train closet the other day.  I spent a week in the western part of South Dakota about 10 years ago and was fascinated by some of the branches I saw which followed the roads I traveled.  Seemed like they went in virtually straight lines for miles at a time, moving up and down along the way as they followed the rolling terrain.  Just wondering what drew you to this forum?  Were you from this area originally?
 
Well, speaking of frozen tundra, here are 3 more shots from the winter of 1968/1969... unfortunately not very sharp and deteriorating images, but still worth a look.  In this first post, the West End drill is backing out of "the pit" after delivering one car to what was then the General Electric warehouse (today's A-1 Restaurant Supply).
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 12:45am
Brakeman Leroy Hunsicker walks east along the 1400 block of Sumner Avenue as he prepares to couple the engine and caboose to the rest of their train after a boxcar was dropped on the siding at right.  Again, this is the passing siding which serviced Compressed Steel at 13th & Sumner and was also used from time to time as a spill-over track for the Hummel Warehouse at 15th & Sumner.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 12:57am
The passing of a northbound automobile on N. 15th Street startled me as I was gazing through my Brownie camera's viewfinder and snapping the shutter... thus the blurred image.  In spite of the poor quality of this photo, I thought I'd post it since it was the only time I ever photographed the Sheftel & Sons warehouse siding being served by the West End drill.  The view is looking south-east from 15th St, slightly south of Sumner Avenue.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 1:28am
I'll end tonight's post with three color slides taken near the same location as the previous image.  In this 12/19/1974 shot by Dave Latshaw, the westbound drill is crossing N. 15th St. by Sumner Avenue.  Facing south-west from the parking lot of the Rose Bowl, Dave captured most of the main Hummel warehouse in his shot.  You can see one boxcar sitting at the farthest west of the building's three doors... just behind the yellow truck.  The reddish glow by the front of the engine is a flare which the brakeman was holding due to poor visibility that day.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 1:37am
Another great shot by Dave, this time taken on 04/16/1979, shows a double-headed drill moving inbound (east) along Sumner Avenue... just east of the 15th St. crossing.  The front of the lead unit was just passing one of the Sheftel & Sons warehouse doors.  Look closely and you'll see that the engineer had remained in the cab of the second unit for the inbound trip. (This would have been the lead unit on the outbound run.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 12th, 2011, 1:49am
Back to the pre-Conrail era for tonight's last post.  On 11/05/1968, the West End drill sat in front of the Sheftel warehouse as its crew broke for their usual lunch at the Rose Bowl Bowling Alley across Sumner Avenue.  (Dave Beazley photo.)
That's it for tonight.  As always, comments, questions and your own pictures are always welcome!    --Mark
Posted by: pumpers Posted on: Jan 15th, 2011, 9:27pm
Regarding the map on page 18, the BQ branch still had it short section cutting across the old American wire mill/US steel(?) just north of Little Lehigh Creek.  When that area was redeveloped, I think the BQ branch was realigned to stay south of the LL Creek.  I looked at old Sanborn maps from around 1930, at and the at time there were LV stub end tracks ending at either side of Lehigh St a short ways south of the LLC, just north of Mill St.  The stub approaching Lehigh St from the west was connected to the BQ branch in the Traylor area.   The one approaching from the east ended at what later became the junkyard shown earlier in this thread.    
 
I would assume that to make the realignment, these two stubs were just connected together by putting tracks across Lehigh St.  My question is, is that more or less what happened?
 
My second questions is what was the alignment of the stub that approached Lehigh St from the east ??- it was not on my map.  All I can assume is that it came off the "old" BQ branch after is crossed the CNJ passenger tracks from the LV passenger loop, and the snaked between the CNJ Mack branch and the LL Creek (there wasn't much space there).    
 
Can anyone follow what I am saying and know the history? JS
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 12:01am
pumpers:  You're right in that the map still shows the Barber branch on the north side of the Little Lehigh because the map was from the 1960s and the realignment didn't happen until the 1970s.  The pony-truss bridge that still sits across from the Parkettes Gym on MLK Blvd was from the original route the branch took.  This thread has grown to be quite long but I know I mentioned that on an earlier page during some of the pictures I posted of that part of the BB.  If you can find the photo of engineer Harold Barwick standing by his engine and caboose, that shot was taken before the tracks were moved south of the creek.  Regarding your questions, I must admit I'm a bit lost in what you're asking, so I'll yield to the real expert of the Barber Branch... Dave-39 (David Latshaw).  I believe he still checks in here fairly regularly so hopefully he can follow what you're asking and give you some answers.  Here's a shot by Charles Houser of the track in that area as it looked on 03/01/1952.  You're looking east from just west of the crossing with the CNJ/RDG's "Allentown Terminal RR" tracks, about a block or so south of Union St.  Looking at the way the turnout is thrown, I'm fairly certain Mr. Houser was standing on the BQ "main" with the pony-truss bridge a short distance behind him.  I would imagine the track at left once led to the wire mill industry.  Dave... could you verify that for us?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 12:32am
Here's one more from the Houser collection, taken in the same area as the previous image, but from about 27 years later on 04/11/1979.  The engine is heading east at the spot where the Allentown Terminal tracks once crossed.  Look closely to the top and right of the engine and you'll see the former plate girder bridge pictured on the left side of the previous post.  How relatively quickly things can change.  --Mark
Posted by: DaveK Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 12:45am
In the photos with the semaphores there appears to be a split point derail. What does it protect?
Posted by: pumpers Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 8:36am
on Jan 16th, 2011, 12:01am, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
 Here's a shot by Charles Houser of the track in that area as it looked on 03/01/1952.  You're looking east from just west of the crossing with the CNJ/RDG's "Allentown Terminal RR" tracks, about a block or so south of Union St.  Looking at the way the turnout is thrown, I'm fairly certain Mr. Houser was standing on the BQ "main" with the pony-truss bridge a short distance behind him.  I would imagine the track at left once led to the wire mill industry.  Dave... could you verify that for us?

A-townfan, this is all just super.  Best stuff I have seen on a rail forum in my 10 years looking at them.
 
Regarding the photo mentioned above -- it is actually at the heart of my question, I think.  I think the "track at left" that once led to the wire mill industry over the pony truss bridge still standing by Parkettes gym perhaps WAS the old BQ branch "main" -- exactly the track shown going north of Little Lehigh Creek on the map on page 18 here.  In my thinking, the one Mr. Houser was on what was at that time the stub end branch which ended at Lehigh St at the future auto junkyard shown in your later photos, and which later would become the "BQ main" when the wire mill area was redeveloped (being extended across Lehigh St to join the LV stub ending there coming in from the Traylor area).    
 
Beyond whether my conjectures above are correct, I am wondering if the tracks to the junkyard area snaked between the Reading Mack branch area and Little Lehigh Creek.    
 
Update: Actually, I just found map on-line --Take a look at maps.google.com in this area in "map" mode, where it shows property lines.   http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=w+union+st,+allentown,+pa&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=28.529345,54.228516&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=W+Union+St,+Allentown,+Pennsylvania&ll=40.599299,-75.462266&spn=0.003332,0.010707&z=17 .  You can see the fork in the LV line of the picture you showed just west of the CNJ/Reading passenger line, and the one branch going over towards the wire mill.  You can also see how the Readign Mack branch came off the passenger main and did a nearly 180 degree turn.  And it seems that indeed the LV did squeeze between the Reading Mack branch and the LL Creek.  It gets a little broken up down by Lehigh St, but I think you can get the picture.  
JS
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 4:05pm
Pumpers you are correct. On the Houser photo, the track to the left was the main BQ branch track that ran across the pony truss bridge, through the wire mill complex and crossed Lehigh St just to the north of the current Lehigh St. automobile bridge across the Little Lehigh. The track that Charlie Houser was standing on was the track that ran along the south side of the Little Lehigh and ended in numerous sidings behind the buildings on the east side of Lehigh St. This approximate 1600 feet of track was referred to as the South Allentown Branch. It was constructed in 1890 and used until approximately 1960. City Coal & Fuel was probably the last customer. Over the years there were at least four separate sidings in the area behind Lehigh St. In 1974 Allentown Redevopment Authority purchased the former Wire Mill property and requested the LVRR to relocate its BQ branch track back to the former South Allentown Branch. Although the former South Allentown branch track had not been used for about 14 years I believe it was still intact but just covered with mud and debris. The South Allentown branch track was rehabilitated (new ties and ballast) up to Lehigh St. by December 1974. By Feb. 1975 track was extended west across Lehigh St to connect with a siding on the west side of Lehigh St. that previously served the former Yeager Furniture Co.  
 
Dave Latshaw
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 4:46pm
To Dave K.
The two sets of semaphores protected the crossing of the two Allentown Terminal tracks that lead to the Allentown Terminal Station at Hamilton St. These tracks were used by CNJ and RDG passenger trains to and from the Allentown Terminal Station. The semaphores were always set against the BQ branch trains. When the inbound BQ branch train wanted to cross the ATR tracks, they would stop and call the Union St. tower to ask permission to cross the ATR tracks and enter the LVRR main track.  You can see the call box in the picture on the right side of the track. When the ATR track was clear, the semaphores moved to clear. When the engineer received the clear semaphore he would give a whistle to the tower (I believe 3 long and 2 short) acknowledging that he received the clear and was moving. As soon as they cleared the ATR crossing the semaphores were reset to stop for BQ branch trains. I don't remember the derail but it probably was additional protection for the crossing.  
Also in the picture, it appears that new ties were placed under the track in the middle of the picture. A switch may have been removed at the site of the new ties. Originally there was another switch in this area that provided 2-3 sidings in the space between the BQ main branch track (to the left) and the South Allentown branch track (to the right). The sidings were used for storage of cars to or from the wire mill.  
 
Dave Latshaw
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jan 16th, 2011, 8:10pm
I located a source of areal views of Allentown from March 23, 1939 and July 17, 1971 which show both the West End and BQ branches. Attached is a low res image from 1939, you can download the high res images which have some reasonable detail when zoomed in from http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/  
 
Key in Allentown PA as the location, each red square represents an arial photograph. For those not that familiar with the area, locate the red square closest to 17th and Tilghman St which is close to the western point of the West End branch as it loops back eastward. You can refer to Mark's previous highlighted map post to follow the branches.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 1:40am
pumpers: So glad you're enjoying this forum.  I am too!  I told you Dave Latshaw was the Barber branch expert.  I stand corrected in my guess at which track was which on the Houser slide.  If you go back to page 2 of this thread, you'll see a picture I took of the same location around 1970.  The two crew members pictured had just called the Union St. tower for permission to cross the ATR tracks.  That's the great thing about this type of site... one keeps learning things!
DAVE-39: Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.  Your two articles in the Lehigh County proceedings, the many photos you've taken and your memories of these branchlines have been extremely valuable and helpful toward keeping the memory of these Valley branchlines alive.  Thanks for your input!
valleyfan628: Gif-- You, like Dave, have added a lot to this forum through your many pictures, comments and additions like these PennPilot maps.  Too bad those maps from the 30s and 70s don't have the birdseye view that today's satellite maps have.  Imagine being able to look back 75 years and see the detail we can see today!  Again, thanks!
I'll post a few more pictures from this area for those interested.  Here's another shot of CR GP38-2 #8128 on the Jordan Creek trestle as it prepares to leave the BQB at 2:20PM after delivering an empty flatcar to Traylor on 03/23/1989.  This location is just east of where the BQB crossed the Allentown Terminal tracks in this north-east facing view.  The bridge still stands today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 1:54am
Here's another view of an earlier post, taken on 05/30/1990 at 12:45PM.  The location is slightly west of that pictured in the Houser slide from the early 1950s.  I ran across the pony-truss bridge to get this shot on the other side of the Little Lehigh creek from where I had parked along MLK Blvd.  I believe this was at about the spot where the eastern end of the 1974 track realignment had begun.  The view is facing east.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 2:02am
This 04/12/1989 shot was taken just west (and across the Little Lehigh) from where the previous photo was taken.  The East Penn drill was pushing two empty flatcars out to Traylor when I took this picture at 4:55PM.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 2:08am
At 5:35PM, I shot the same train... this time heading east (inbound) as it crossed at Lehigh St.  You're looking south.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 2:19am
Thought I'd end tonight's (this morning's) postings with a Dave Latshaw shot taken 02/29/1977.  Here the drill prepares to head east (inbound) across Lehigh St. with Ironton Baldwin #751 providing the day's power.  This time you're looking north, north-east.
Again, my thanks to Dave for helping explain things regarding the earlier days along the Barber branch.  Hope these photos help those of you who weren't around to see things get an idea of how the branchlines moved through the Allentown area.  -- Mark
Posted by: pumpers Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 10:31am
OK, here are some Sanborn insurance maps from the 1930-1950 time frame, of the South Allentown branch that Dave-39 describes (before the relignment)   The first is of the Lehigh St area, showing the siding to Yaeger furniture on the west side of Lehigh St, the BQ branch crossing the Little Lehigh Creek going up to the wire mill area, and the tracks at the end of the South Allentown branch on the east side of Lehigh st in the future auto junkyard area (it was already noted as a scrap-iron area)Also shown is the Reading Mack branch.    
 
The second is a bit to the east, showing the Reading branch coming off their passenger main and the LV South Allentown branch between it and the Little Lehigh Creek.  Couldn't find a map yet further northeast with the junction in Allentown-Branchline's photo.    
JS
Posted by: pumpers Posted on: Jan 17th, 2011, 10:33am
Here's the 2nd map:
JS
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 18th, 2011, 12:48am
Though previously posted on page 2, thought I'd re-post this here... being that we're currently focused on this eastern end of the Barber branch.  Taken 11/04/1969 (on page two I had guessed at the date, but I since found the exact date), this east-facing shot shows an elevated view of things from my position standing out on the end platform of the caboose which was being pushed off the line by the engine during a high and wide special move out of Traylor. This angle shows just how close the trestle over the Jordan creek was to the ATR crossing.  In the extreme upper left corner, the former landmark gas tank is partly visible in its original gray paint.  As previously stated, brakeman LeRoy Hunsicker is on the left, conductor Eddie Kropf stands on the right.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 18th, 2011, 1:23am
The East Penn drill's crew was killing time waiting for the track crew to arrive after the GP ended up derailing while attempting to back off the Barber branch at 12:45PM on 03/22/1989.  This shot looks north-east just a few yards east of the Jordan Creek trestle.   Next time I'll post a few more shots from farther west along the BQB.  --Mark
Posted by: slotracer Posted on: Jan 18th, 2011, 11:27am
Really, Really, really great thread !
 
I'm not from the Allentown area so this is all new, wish there would be more like this out on the net but glad this is of the LV. Seems like the LV is a much loved road by the number of posts and active topics.
 
Wish there was more on the E&N Branch. I was on a business trip in the BAE area last August, had no idea about the E&N. Was driving west along the old LV and saw the branch seperate and start gaining elevation which seemed odd to me, then arc right and cross the old yard site and the lehigh river on a spectacular bridge, really got my interest.
 
I guess I should talk, I have a lot of photos in the Buffalo NY area in the seventies I should find the time to scan and get some threads going myself....someday.....
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:46am
The Wire mill was serviced primarily by CNJ via ATRR,which inclued heavier shipments,coal, steel billets,and most shipments to eastern ports.
The valley serviced northside of mill shipments,mostly outbounds.
this arrangement was requested by AS&W and courts agreed in 1894.
their reason being the CNJ had better outlets on eastern seqaboard.
many carloads of barbed wire were shipped to europe in WW1
on another note there was a split derail on either side of ATRR on BQB
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:30am
slotracer: Nice to have comments from new viewers.  Welcome!  I especially find it flattering when compliments come from people who don't live in the area and aren't familiar with the lines I'm covering.  I agree that the E&N branch would have been an interesting line to photograph.  I'm only sorry I only ever got to shoot two pictures along it.
 
Back to the Barber branch... this time west of the Lehigh St. crossing.  Here's yet another shot of the GP38-2 I followed on 03/23/1989, this one taken looking east (toward the 8th St. bridge) from the S. 10th St. grade crossing as it headed inbound along the Little Lehigh at 2:10PM.  I was amazed the GP stayed on the track during this run, especially as it passed by me at this location.  The rails fell and rose 1 to 2 inches under the weight of the engine as it crossed over these mostly rotted ties.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:38am
I've changed the hue on this image only because the copy of this slide given to me by Dave Latshaw was very dark and blue and changing the hue brought out more of the detail on the old Taylor Wharton plant switcher once used by Traylor.  Old #6 sat dead along the north wall of Traylor's main building in January, 1951.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:45am
During the early 1970s, Traylor aquired a number of old Swifts Premium refers.  The cars were converted into flatcars for use inside the Traylor facility.  Here's a picture I took of the pile of car bodies as they were in the process of being scrapped.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:50am
And a better shot taken by my junior high school buddy, Gif Sander.  The BQB "main" is the rusty track in the lower right of the photo.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 11:59am
I returned to just about the same spot at which the last two photos were taken to take this shot on 12/23/2001.  The turnout leading to the Barber branch had been removed by this time and Traylor was using both the Barber "main" and the parallel holding track (at right) to store a number of their flatcars.  The view is looking east and two of the plant buildings can be seen in the upper right corner of this picture.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:04pm
Here's a north-east facing shot I took on the morning of 04/30/1988 showing both the East Penn Drill and the leased PB&NE engine sitting inside Traylor's maze of tracks.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:11pm
During one of the rides I took along the Barber branch (about 1970), I captured the east end of the Linde facility from the SW's cab window as we headed west along the line.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:18pm
During the following winter, my buddy Gif took this east-facing view of Linde from the plant's west-end gate.  The LV often took advantage of this track's "hill" and used gravity to move cars to the west side of an engine.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:27pm
Turning about 180-degrees and moving about a dozen yards west of the previous photo is where Charles Houser took this picture on 11/27/1979.  The inbound drill has just come off of the trestle spanning the Little Lehigh and is about to cross the grade crossing by Linde.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 12:38pm
For today's final post, I'll take us back to late afternoon during March, 1971.  My friend, Dave Beazley, took this shot of Lehigh Valley #224 heading inbound (east) with its caboose across the Little Lehigh trestle during the final moments of the day's light.
Next time I'll post another half-dozen or so pictures taken along the western-most part of the BQB.  -- Mark
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 2:21pm
Here's a question more about the Traylor rolling stock than anything.  Please don't get me wrong, I'm still greatly enjoying these images.  
 
I recall hearing murmurs that some of the captive flatcars at Traylor were CRP/CNJ, and possibly of some other anthracite RR's.  Any truth to that?  
 
Also, are there any left on the site yet?  I assume the captive trackage is still intact.
 
Many Thanks,
 
 Micah
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 2:41pm
I believe that some of the old flats used by Traylor/Fuller were of CRP and RDG heritage, and were originally gons that they chopped the sides off of. I didn't know they also converted old reefers into flats though. A lot of them were repainted so it might be difficult to tell which is which nowadays, if any of the old CRP and RDG cars are still there...
 
             Bryan
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 3:16pm
There was also a LVRR flat there still in full paint when i was back there last.(Not sure the year but it was after the Barber branch was pulled up) The Lehigh Valley flatcar was number 11322 which the valley had converted from a gondola and was later used in piggy-back service..I got some pics of the LV flat and several Reading/ Fuller  flats i took on that trip...I'll try to get them scanned and up this week
Posted by: FFW-1 Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 4:02pm
Mark, once again, many thanks for starting a thoroughly enjoyable thread. OK, time for my stupid question. The name of this branch is the Barber QUARRY Branch, but where was the quarry? From what I can tell, the line in the later years ended at the Wenz Memorial Company by Walnut Street. Did I miss something along the way? I guess by the 1960’s, the quarry was long gone. What kind of quarry was it, just trap rock or soemthing more "unique" to the area geology? Thanks for obliging this Jersey Boy’s silly questions.
 
Ralph
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 4:43pm
Ralph,
Check out the aerial view I posted on the previous page. Along the bottom edge near the center, the object that looks like a moon crater is the quarry. You can go to the pennpilot web site and zoom in on the original photos.
...Gif
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 9:00pm
Those quarries were in the Allentown limestone - a very old and cavernous bedrock.
Posted by: FFW-1 Posted on: Jan 19th, 2011, 10:20pm
Gif -
 
Thank you! I totally missed that post...I guess with so much being constantly added to this thread, that's not TOO much of a stretch!
 
Thanks, going back to my Hudson River waterfront now....................
 
RAH
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:07am
FFW-1: While Gif is correct about the Ziegenfuss Quarry [see post/reply #147 on this thread, the 8th picture posted on page 8], it was not for this limestone quarry that the Barber "quarry" branch got its name.  According to the extensive research done by Dave Latshaw in his wonderful article on the Barber Quarry Branch in the 1988 edition of the Lehigh County Historical Proceedings, the BQB, and I quote: "traces its origin as a hauler of lime and limestone from deposits formerly located in Salisbury Township near the junction of Little Lehigh and Jordan Creeks.  Trackage first laid in 1883 served lime kilns and limestone quarries owned by Barber Brothers."  Dave also wrote: "The railroad company during 1890 purchased property from Tilghman Kline, Christian Schmid and Solomon Kemmerer and constructed an additional 0.90 mile of track to reach Gross & Albright limestone quarry at 20th and Fairview Streets."  This would later become the Ziegenfuss Quarry pictured on page 8.  Dave did a fabulous job researching and writing his articles on the BQB [1988] and West End [1992] branches.  I would highly recommend to anyone interested in more detail as to the origin and use of these lines that you take the time to stop by the Lehigh County Historical Society museum in the 400-block of W. Walnut St. in Allentown and read through their copies of these two proceedings.  Dave deserves high praise for the fine job he did!
 
Regarding the origin of flatcars and what's left at the former Traylor site, I'll yield to anyone who's explored the site in recent years.  I was last back there in December of 2001.
 
Moving west along the BQB, here's a shot I took in 1970 or 1971 along the main siding of the Robert A. Reichard fertilizer plant.  Notice the Norfolk Southern boxcar?  Of course, this was the "original" Norfolk Southern railroad, years before the mega-merger of Norfolk & Western and Southern railroads.  That's the BQB "main" in the foreground.  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:19am
On 04/18/1977, Dave Latshaw caught this daylight delivery of blocks of granite on their way to Wenz Memorial at 20th & Hamilton Sts.  Conductor Eddie Kropf (right) looks like he's enjoying the ride on a nice early-spring day.  Former Penn Central power was being used this day as the drill pushes its freight westward, just beyond the Reichard Fertilizer Company.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:28am
Gif Sander's shot from about 1970 of a single refer on the Hawk Flour Co. siding shows the sharply curving main at this point along the line, roughly 50 or so yards west of the previous photo.  The Cedar Creek lies just to the right of the trees.  The building still exists, though it's currently owned by Second Harvest Food Bank.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:38am
Another shot by Gif from the same time shows two boxcars parked along Kemmerer's public siding, right by the S. 20th St. grade crossing (just off the picture at left).  This siding was just a few dozen yards west of the former siding which serviced the Ziegenfuss Quarry, which was just west of the Hawk Flour siding.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:44am
Charles Houser was most likely standing on or just in front of Kemmerer's siding when he took this picture LV caboose #95126 as it crossed S. St. Elmo St. on 07/21/1966.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 1:55am
While Gif and I were mostly West End branch followers due to its close proximity to our homes, Dave was more drawn to the Barber branch for the same reason.  I, therefore, feel it only appropriate that I end this forum with two of his shots taken on the rarely photographed north-western end of the line.  Also from 04/18/1977, Dave captured the PC switcher as it returned from delivering its load of granite blocks to Wenz Memorial.  He was standing near the 20th St. crossing, facing north-east as the engine worked its way through the willow trees just south (railroad east) of the Union St. crossing.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 2:02am
And finally, another view of a delivery to Wenz Memorial Company at 20th & Hamilton Sts.  This 12/22/1977 shot of Dave's was taken looking north-east as the early-Conrail era train moves north (railroad west) across Walnut St. at 20th.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 2:23am
To all who have viewed and followed this thread:  When I first started this forum back in November, 2010, I did so with the hope that posting "a few" photos of these long-gone Lehigh Valley branchlines in Allentown would bring forth postings from other railfans who photographed these same lines and others I never got to photograph.  It was never my intention to post so many pictures from my collection, but the interest shown by so many of you younger fans made the time I've put into this a very worthwhile effort.  I'm still hoping that others who have photos or slides taken along any of the former Allentown branchlines will continue to post what you have for others (myself included) to view.  While I've posted about 2/3 of my collection, I see no reason to post anything additional myself for most of the remaining images I have would be redundant.  I thank many of you for your positive feedback and interesting questions and additions.  For those interested in branchlines, I'll try to put together another forum (or possibly several small ones) featuring some of the other area branchlines and secondary lines which served the area.  In the mean time, I again ask that anyone who comes across this thread and has pictures to share of these lines posts what they have.  Sharing with the next generation is what keeps these railroad memories alive for all of us.  When you look at the map I've included in this thread and realize all that's vanished in the past 45 years, it makes clear the need for sharing so others can see the way things once were along the local railroading scene.  Thanks to all who keep this thread going in future weeks/months.  -- Mark Rabenold
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 9:15am
I managed to wander along the Traylor complex a few years ago, and noted a number of ex-RDG class FMn flats which were used in auto frame service before they were retired.  Yes, they were cut down from gondola cars by the RDG.  There were also some shorter ex-PRR flats that were painted aquamarine and seemed to have red BLW stickers on them, which leads me to believe that they were from the Baldwin Locomotive Works.  There were also some CNJ/CRP "three board" gondolas that were used as flats.  The LV piggyback flat I also recall.  There was at least one very deep gondola of DL&W heritage.  There was a flat with roller bearing trucks that looked like it was an MDT mechanical reefer.  It seems that all but the RDG flats had been scrapped, unless there are some deep inside the plant somewhere.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 2:35pm
I looked up some of my notes on the cars at Traylor/Fuller/Schmidt/Allentown Metal Works etc. In the 1940's and 50's, Traylor had a few short (36 feet?) flat cars and gondolas for inplant use only. The flat cars were numbered in the 2000 series and the gondolas were numbered in the 3000 series. The cars were painted box car red, with TEMX reporting marks, but they did not leave the property. Often in the BQ branch siding outside the plant fence I would see hopper cars full of coal (rice or pea), gondolas with plate stell on the floor, a few box cars and empty gondolas and flat cars for shipping finished products out. I often saw the 10000 series LV flat cars there. I remember running on top of a whole string of the LVRR flat cars when they were brand new. I also saw LVRR depressed center flat car 9960 there.  
In Spring 1970 they received 15-20 gray Swift Refrigerator cars which had a builders date in 1954. Traylor cut the sides off and used the cars in yard service. These cars didn't last long. I guess they were not strong enough to hold the Traylor equipment because I remember seeing many of them with bent (bowed) frames.  
Circa 1975-76 Fuller purchased many second-hand flat cars from local railroads or Conrail. Between 1976 and 2000  I noted the following cars at Fuller.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 20th, 2011, 3:04pm
I'm having computer problems. If I don't complete this note I'll try later
Cars seen at Traylor/Fuller were:
PC aquamaine flat cars numbered 22252, 22255, 22256, 22259 and 22260.
RDG flat cars numbered 9408, 9412, 9415, 9420, 9427, 9428, 9431, 9442, 9443, 9454. They were all black with white lettering except 9443 was painted the RDG green with yellow lettering. The markings on 9408 indicated it was rebuilt by RDG in 7-64 and was class FMn. It previously was a gondola (Blt 8-42), the sides were cut off when it was rebuilt to ship auto or truck frames. The car was stenciled, " When Empty Return To Reading Co, Philmont, PA." The latest marking on the car was, "Lube RDG 10-27-73".
LV 11322 who had a date of S. 7-2-74 on the truck.  
Fuller had a number of flat cars that were painted blue and marked FRR. None of these cars ever left the property. I saw numbers 100, 101, 103, 104, 105, 106, 108, 110, 115 and 119. These were also second hand flat cars and painted into the Fuller blue. I saw CNJ markings on some of the trucks.
Fuller also purchased two depressed center flat cars for shipping via interchange service. These cars were marked GAFX 1000 and 1001. They had a capacity of 243,000 lbs. Car 1000 was built in 11-75 and 1001 in 9-77. In late 1989 I countd close to 40 company cars in the sidings around the property. With the exception of 1000 and 1001, the rest of the cars were used to store and move equipment around the plant.
 
Currently, Allentown Metal Works closed Jan 15, 2011. I saw the yellow GE switcher out in the yard on Dec 14th and 15th, 2010. They have moved at least four flat cars out on the yard tracks. I guess the entire plant complex is up for sale.
 
Dave
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 21st, 2011, 12:30am
As a young teen I fished the little Lehigh and used BQB as a walking path,starting at Fountain park and often going as far union terrace.
some of cutomers served by Lv not mentioned was Allentown water works,where a deck bridge crossed little lehigh to deliver coal for steam pumps and chemicals for water treatment.
during construction of fountain park floodwall the water works siding was used to deliver carloads of bagged cement.
just beyond [bonemill] was Allentown streets dept Aspahlt plant they recieved liquid asphalt in tank cars.
Beyond Hawk flour mill was a coal yard,just befor quarry siding,I believe name was PL Desch.
As Photographer D.Augsbereger used to say,{if we could make slides from our memories,what collections}
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Jan 21st, 2011, 1:27pm
Thanks for the info on the Traylor captive fleet.  Once again, I was  born 30 years too late and not quite with enough money, either..  
 
-Micah
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 21st, 2011, 6:51pm
To 100lbrail, from your description of other industry along the BQ branch, I have the feeling that you and I were walking the tracks in the same time period. I remember playing in the fields behind Traylor and getting thirsty. We would walk across the trestle to the Allentown Water Works, get a drink of water and then tour the Water Works. I also remember walking through Reichard's (called the Bonemill). When they were burning animal carcasses the smell was putrid. You could smell Reichard's a mile downwind. I don't know how they worked there. I also remember that we had junior high football games on Saturday mornings. After the game I remember walking home on the BQ tracks. We started at 20th and Hamilton and  followed the tracks to the rear of Traylor. Then we walked up through the fields behind Mack Trucks to our homes on S. 10th St. Since I played in the band, we walked with our instruments, in uniform and once played the South Mountain fight song for the guys at Reichard's.
You mentioned the coal trestle on the siding to the Ziegenfuss Quarry. That coal yard was owned by Herschel Schankweiler. I wish I had a picture of that coal trestle. However Paul Desch owned another coal yard on the north side of Hamilton St. There were three sidings on the north side of Hamilton St. The first siding at 20th and Hamilton was used by Graybar Electric. However at times I saw refrigerator cars being unloaded there in the 40's and 50's. Does anyone know who the refrigerator cars were for? The second siding served the Paul Desch coal yard. The third and last siding on the BQ branch served Queen City Silk Co which later became Cedar Crest Silk Co. I believe they only received coal for fuel. That building at 2100 Linden St. (across from the ASD stadium) still stands and is used by the City of Allentown Parks Department. If you know where this building is you will now know where the BQ branch track ended.
 
Dave
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Jan 21st, 2011, 8:11pm
Were the carcasses from A&B?
 
I can remember driving up Union with brother and smelling that in the early 70's.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 22nd, 2011, 12:53am
My intent with this forum was to show and discuss the sidings along the branchlines which were in service or at least intact from the late 1960s on, rather than talk about the sidings which had previously existed.   Unfortunately, this is one of the worst pictures I ever took, taken sometime around 1969.  In spite of that, I decided to post it for you, Dave.  I took it standing along S. 20th St, looking west toward the remnants of the Ziegenfuss quarry spur as it dropped down and to the left where it would have joined the BQB main, just out of sight.  I'm adding this one additional post only because it shows (near the upper lefthand corner) a small part of the Shankweiler coal trestle of which you said you wished you had a picture.  I was more focused on the remnant of the quarry track when I took the picture than I was on the trestle.  I wish I would have been a better photographer at age 14 with a better camera.  I also wish I'd taken many more pictures than I did.  (Don't we all?)  This will have to suffice.   --Mark
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 22nd, 2011, 11:07am
To gfluck1: Connecting A&B Meats with Reichard is a good question, but unfortunately I don't know the answer. My guess is that A&B was a large operation and I would think that they had methods on site to handle their own animal carcasses. I do remember seeing Reichard's trucks passing with dead animals but I assumed they were collected from local farmers. I also remember Reichard had tractor trailers that hauled sea shells into the plant to process into fertilizer. On hot summer days those trucks also were quite punget. In the 60's and 70's, Reichard used to receive a number of SCL box cars. The cars were covered with white dust that I assumed was phosphate rock shipped from Florida.  
To Mark: Thanks Mark. At least you photographed part of the Herschel Schankweiler coal trestle. I remember it had wooden rails, it was curved and ended next to the Cedar Creek millrace that powered the Hawk griding mill.  
 
Dave
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 25th, 2011, 12:09am
A&B in later years processed only hogs,and as some employees said they used everything but the OINK
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Jan 26th, 2011, 10:28am
Feast yer eyes on these lads! A series of photos taken by the LV in the 1930's at 13th & Sumner, possibly as an accident investigation or litigation issue.  It shows Sumner Ave basically as a dirt path which didn't change much until the 1970's.  
 

 
A link to the full set of pictures: http://imgur.com/a/q4YiS
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Jan 26th, 2011, 11:15am
Appreciate sharing the old photos; however, the characterization of Sumner Ave as “…basically as a dirt path which didn't change much until the 1970's…” is a reckless distortion of fact.  
 
Many of us have fond memories of that area, so let’s be fair to the younger guys whom did not have opportunity to walk the line in the 50s.  
 
I still recall the track gang building the last siding across the street just down the road from this intersection, the young boy killed in the elevator accident just off 9th, the 7th Street bridge replacement further east still, and countless other snippets.
 
I can’t recall seeing such a good photo of the oil distributorship intact.  Amazing how many businesses that building once housed.  I do remember the fire that day-lighted the upper story – it was the District’s school book depository then (I think).  
 
Once again, many thanks and no disrespect – hope you take the advice kindly.
 
CB
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 26th, 2011, 2:01pm
geep39: Thank you!!  It's nice to see some great shots from yesteryear that I've never seen before!  In all the years I followed action along the WEB, I never saw any cars on the siding pictured in your post, located between 12th & 13th Sts.  For those not familiar with the area, the view posted is looking east from the south-east corner of the intersection of Sumner Avenue, Roth Avenue and N. 13th Sts.
I'll take the liberty of posting one of the other views from the set of pictures which geep39 uncovered.  It took me a few seconds to realize what I was looking at because of how much has changed since then, even though I've passed the location hundreds of times over the years.  This view was taken from the south-west side of the same intersection, looking west along what was yet to become the 1300 and 1400 blocks of Sumner Avenue.  The passing siding is that which would later serve United Compressed Steel.  In the distance (to the right of the barn-like structure (which is long gone)) sits the group of buildings which would later be used by Sheftel & Sons, located on the south-east corner of 15th & Sumner Ave.  These are amazing photos which not only show the long-gone WEB ROW, but show just how rural this part of Allentown was at the time.  I, again, thank geep39 for uncovering this rare find!  I now know how you younger railfans feel when you look at many of the older pictures I've posted.  Hopefully others will be as generous with shots they have in their collections.  --Mark
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 26th, 2011, 11:47pm
great photos 13th & Sumner,the Gulf oil pic looking east shows a coal yard ? and a bit further is Penna supply bldg and behind it out of sighjt is another coal yard further east shows a building that is still there today,maybe DL can shed light on it
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 27th, 2011, 11:09am
geep39; Thank you for those terrific old pictures. How did you find them?
The tank car is sitting on the siding at the Gulf Refining Co. building at 1228-1232 Sumner Ave. The tank car is marked GATX and on the side is the Gulf insignia (I believe it was blue and orange) and the lettering, "Gulf Refining Company". Moving east, the coal trestle was at the Victor Frey coal yard (1222-1226 Sumner Ave.). The next building is Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) which had a siding on the north side. Both PPG and Victor Frey were served by the same siding. The PPG building was built in 1927. The next coal yard had a number of owners over the years (Haas & Weiser, Schlicker, Grim, Mattern, Brader, Hunsicker and Weaver). Today you can still see the remains of that coal yard along Sumner Ave. The next building east was originally the Donecker Oil Co. Later it became Sheftel & Molinowsky and later became Hummel Warehouse #2.  
The other picture looking WSW shows an old barn. The barn at one time was owned by Frank Mras who was a junk dealer. United Compressed Steel built on this site in 1940. See the old RR crossing sign. They used these signs on both branches before the standard crossbuck signs that we know today.  
Using the dates for building construction, I would conclude these pictures were taken sometime between 1927 and 1940.  
 
Dave
Posted by: geep39 Posted on: Jan 28th, 2011, 8:19am
A friend of mine got these from someone.  They are stamped with a "form" stamp noting date, direction, location, etc.  He gave me these Xerox copies that he thought I would appreciate.  I will try to get the data from the backs when I see him next.
 
What is amazing is that most of the Gulf Oil buildings are still there.
 
Sumner Ave. was always a "washboard" until the City finally got serious and completely rebuilt it.  I swear the only paving done was when they filled in the potholes with cold patch, particularly around the scrapyard under the 7th St. overpass.  Fill in enough potholes, and the road is paved, eventually.  You'd think I was disparaging someone's mother or something!
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Jan 28th, 2011, 10:46am
Back in the day, Sumner Avenue was a popular, well maintained, handy short-cut for travel between Allentown’s west end and the North side of the city.  In many ways the 1940-50s Sumner Avenue was similar to today’s American Parkway, Martin Luther King Drive, or other well maintained routes recently developed in the area.  Interestingly enough, many locals knew the rail line as the “Sumner Avenue Branch”.    
 
Like everything else, Sumner Avenue suffered the ravages of time as Allentown grew-up around it.  As development of the railroad and its branches span a considerable amount of time and as changes associated with regional growth are quite evident, it seems important to be as succinct and accurate as possible especial for the benefit of those not familiar with a particular area or time.  
 
If there is one thing constant, it’s change; and it’s on that framework we arrange the tapestry of our memories.  
 
Thanks,
 
CB
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 28th, 2011, 4:35pm
geep39: Again I must thank you (and your friend) for sharing such rare photographs with all who view this forum.  It seems many older railfans who were around to witness action in this area are willing to share memories more than photographs, and those memories often vary greatly depending upon one's age and how important the subjects of those memories were at the time the memories were formed.  The implication in the comment you posted the other day was that Sumner Avenue was a "dirt road" until the 1970s which, as Clear Board pointed out maybe a bit too emphatically, was not the case.  Obviously, you didn't mean that, but meant that it was hardly of highway caliber.  As many photos from the 50s and 60s show, parts of Sumner were fairly smooth during those decades, while other parts were most certainly not.  Here's another 09/1958 shot of Bruce Kleppinger's showing the double-headed drill used to pull the World of Mirth fair train into position for unloading along the 1000 block of Sumner Ave.  A few asphalt patches are visible along the edge of the road and, as you can see, no curbing existed back then.  Anyway guys... in my opinion, the condition of Sumner Ave. in those days isn't what's important here.  What's truly important is the fact that geep39 shared rare photos which allow us all to look back and see how things once were.  THAT's what matters most and I thank you again, geep39, for being so very generous.  And, by the way... I was laughing to myself a bit earlier today when I ran into 3 people I know while shopping and told each of them about this forum and the pictures I've posted.  Two of the three live (and have lived for many years) within 4 blocks of where the WEB crossed 17th & Tilghman Sts.  The other was my 8th grade history teacher at Trexler Jr. High.  In each case, they told me they had little or no memory of railroad tracks ever having run through that part of town... and each of these people is at least 10 years older than I am!  Just goes to show... everybody remembers different things, depending upon what was or wasn't important to them at the time.
Moving on... if anybody else has any photos they're willing to share, please do!  I know you're out there!   --Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 28th, 2011, 4:56pm
I know I said I was finished posting... but what the heck!  Here's a more winter-appropriate shot taken along Sumner Ave. by Bob Wilt.  Bob shot the Ironton Baldwin heading inbound along the 1100 block of Sumner.  The view is looking north-west from the south side of the WEB ROW and the date was 12/29/1976.  The engine is sitting on the turnout which served the PPG warehouse.
Posted by: Andy_S Posted on: Jan 28th, 2011, 9:02pm
Thank you for posting all those photos, and the descriptions that accompany them.  I wouldn't know the area depicted at all, except that back in the late 90's we were visiting some friends on S10th, but it being a nice day, I took a walk down Jackson St to the park, then towards the tracks.  I didn't know if they were used at that time or not, and I have never been back.  But at least I have an idea of where some of pix were taken.  Thanks again.  
 
BTW are you related to Cory Rabenold, the racer?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 29th, 2011, 1:08am
Andy_S: Glad to hear you could at least relate a bit to the Barber branch due to your S. 10th St. visit a number of years ago.  If you were there in the late 90s, the line was most likely out of service at the time you explored the area.  And no, I'm not related to Cory as far as I know... unless very distantly.
Posted by: henryS Posted on: Jan 29th, 2011, 9:47pm
I moved to the Valley in 1968, and I don't remember Sumner Ave. as anything but a paved street from that time 'til now. My long-time oil dealer Ralph D. Weaver (now Weaver Fuels) is at 1008 Sumner, and I used to buy anthracite as well as oil from him, back when I had a coal stove. I crossed Sumner on 15th Street fairly often going to Dan's Camera, after he moved from Highland St. to his present location on Fairview St. I remember the West End Branch curving past Trexler Lumber behind the Allentown Hospital, the Tilghman St. crossing past Peterson's Seafood, and heading back east to end of track at 12th St. near Ritter & Smith hardware and lumber co. Occasionally I would head east on Sumner toward 7th St., mainly to observe the Industrial Brownhoist at the scrap dealer under the bridge. My only regret is that I didn't have much time to hang out trackside in those early years, what with a young family at home and the demands of a new job. So it's been fun and educational to read all these posts and view the great photos to see all that I missed. Thanks, everyone!
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 30th, 2011, 12:39am
looking again sumner ave pic looking wst there is a building in distance with large smoke stack again DL may know what it was.
also behind barn was a siding which went almost to Allen st. served swoyers brick yard
there was a baseball field where present shopping center is at 15th and Allen.
in 50s while playing a ball game there ,was running to catch a long fly ball and tripped over buried rairoad tie,looking closely could see other buried ties curving up from Sumner Ave.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 30th, 2011, 3:29pm
To 100lbrail.
I believe the large smokestack in the distance on the right of the WEB track was Allentown Rapid Service which was a coal and ice dealer located at 717-725 N. 17th St. Parts of the building are still standing.  
I too was looking for the Swoyer Brothers Brick Co. siding on the photograph. I thought it might have been the ground line in the distance seen between the barn and the crossing sign, but I am not sure. I have a map, dated 10-29-1901, that shows the proposed siding @ Swoyer Brothers Brick Co. Since Tilghman St. was not yet layed out in that area, the siding ran from the WEB track @ Sumner Ave. up to 14th and Allen. The map lists the grade @ 4.5% with a coal trestle at the end that had an additional 4.0% grade. Who wouldn't have liked to have seen a 0-6-0 switcher pushing two loaded hopper cars up that grade. Although Swoyer Brothers only lasted until circa 1928, and then Tilghman St. was cut through, the lower part of the siding (appropriately then called Swoyer's Hill), was used until at least the mid 50's. The WEB train used the hill siding to move cars from the rear of the locomotive to the front of the locomotive. They would push cars from the rear of the westbound train up the hill through the trailing point switch, set the car brakes, uncouple the locomotive, back the locomotive down to the switch and run the locomotive east of the switch. The brakeman then released the car brakes and the cars coasted down to the WEB main track. The locomotive then ran west, coupled to the cars and pushed them into sidings (like GE Supply Co.) that had facing point switches. In 1954 or 55, an accident occured when the brakes on two loaded box cars didn't hold and the cars coasted down the hill and into the side of the locomotive before the locomotive cleared the switch at the bottom of the hill. Unfortunately Henry Deibert, the brakeman desparately trying to apply the breaks on the first car lost an arm and a leg in the accident. The railroad then stopped use of the siding and it was removed soon after.  
I too played baseball on the Amicus baseball fields located at 15th and Allen. The hardball field was on the NE corner of 15th and Allen while the softball field was close to 14th and Allen. I played 1st base, so I never had the opportunity of coming across buried ties while chasing flyballs in the outfield.
 
Dave
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jan 31st, 2011, 12:41am
another customer at 12th st yard was Warren Ehret roofing co.,
located at 13th & Liberty st. I know they had RR service at one time.
my wife worked in office and found a bunch of LV RR damge forms.
building is Now Allen Supply co.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 31st, 2011, 2:15am
100lbrail: I'm enjoying your tidbits of information about former businesses along the WEB and BQB, but I'd even more enjoy seeing the other pictures you previously stated you have which were taken along the WEB back in the 1960s/1970s.  How about sharing those photos with us?  I enjoyed the one shot you posted many pages back.
 
To anyone interested: I've started another forum, this one of shots taken along the former Reading Perkiomen branch, between Emmaus and Pennsburg, PA.  Go to Fallen Flags / Reading / Perkiomen Branch photos.  --Mark
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:08am
In the fall of 1984 I biked along the then abandoned West End branch, taking photos of track and buildings before the inevitable scrapping took place. I previously posted most of the following photos on a different website, but I have received several email requests to repost them here on railfan.net.
I've also gained a lot of knowledge through Mark's (A-townbranchfan) postings and by reading the fantastic WEB article by David Latshaw in the 1992 Lehigh County Historical Proceedings. So here are the photos, with updated and more accurate captions, of the branch as it existed at the very end. Forgive the soft focus... I was a young teenager using a 110 Instamatic camera to take these photos. I'll work my way west from the 7th Street area.
 
Looking eastward from 8th street at the siding that crossed Sumner Avenue and ran to the E. Schneider & Sons Iron & Steel scrap yard in Whitehall Township. In 1920 the scrap yard located here on the site of the abandoned Weaver Quarry Company. There was a short spur that branched off the siding and ran to the left of the photo. The siding continued past the rail crane and ran under the Seventh Street bridge and split into two spurs, one serving a coal trestle and the other the Koehler Bros. Coal Elevator at 6th and Sumner Avenue.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:10am
A 1908 photo looking north at the large Koehler Bros. Coal Elevator at 6th & Sumner Avenue. The elevator had a capacity of 2,400 tons and measured 120 x 40 feet, with a height of 30 feet above the concrete support pillars. The home in the background just to the right of the coal elevator still stands along 6th street.
According to David Latshaw's WEB History, in 1926 there were 20 coal yards on the branch, each with their own private siding. In addition, 12 industries received coal at their sidings for use in their boilers. By 1960 coal traffic had DISAPPEARED from the branch as a result of trucking delivery and conversion to oil fuels.
 
Photo was given to/is property of the Whitehall Historical Preservation Society and appears in the book "Whitehall Pennsylvania: the golden strip of the Lehigh Valley" by Karen L. Gensey (Kutztown Publishing Co.). Used with permission of the author.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:14am
An aerial comparison between 1938 and 2010 of the area of 7th and Sumner Avenue. Note the location of the former Koehler Bros elevator. In 1938 most roads in the city were paved, but Sumner Avenue is still dirt. Also note in the 2010 photo how Sumner Avenue was extended to the east, and built on top of the railroad right-of-way.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:25am
The rail crane which serviced the E. Schneider & Sons scrap yard. Originally they used a steam crane and later replaced it with a Brownhoist Model 3 diesel powered crane. That was replaced by this Model 5 Brownhoist (which was once owned by Traylor Engineering and used on the Barbers Quarry Branch) in the 1970's. Schneider shipped 51 cars in 1969, but was down to 13 cars in 1974. In 1975 they stopped shipping by rail and used trucks exclusively due to the lower costs. After the West End Branch was torn up in 1986 this siding remained intact for several more years with the crane remaining active until 1992, until it too was finally scrapped and the siding removed in 1993.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:29am
Here is a shot looking at the buildings/track between New Street and 9th Street. The red building in the background is F.W. Armatage (now occupied by Euro Marble & Granite). Next were some really neat old large wooden sheds (torn down in the late 80s?). The Lehigh Valley Oil Company once occupied this location. The grey building at right was once a silk mill, and later occupied by Sheftel & Molenovsky (textile waste), and finally as Hummel Warehouse #2.
 
The branch was two tracks wide at this point... a long passing siding that began at 7th Street and ended at 11th Street. There was a set of crossovers just in front of F.W. Armitage (visible in an earlier photo of the loaded gondola posted by A-townbranchfan). Beyond that crossover, the second track had been in disuse in the last years of the branch's life...it's buried under the gravel and would be where the American Family Services van is parked in the photo.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:31am
Here is a 2010 photo of the same location showing how much has changed.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:34am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:35am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:38am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:40am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:49am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:55am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 12:56am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:02am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:05am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:10am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:21am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:25am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:33am
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".
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:36am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:39am
Looking west from 12th Street (end of branch) across the #2 track towards 13th Street. Ritter and Smith is at left.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 1:53am
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2011, 2:42am
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
Posted by: ecm4 Posted on: Feb 4th, 2011, 2:11pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 4th, 2011, 11:55pm
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
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Feb 5th, 2011, 12:30am
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
Posted by: vincejlee Posted on: Feb 5th, 2011, 2:27pm
Allentown fans:
 
I have been reading all the posts in this thread with great interest. At the West Island model railroad club (www.wimrrc.com) we are planning an Allentown scene, including the LV passenger station on Hamilton St., and the Linden St freight station. The two photos of the freight station posted earlier, as well as the Sanborn maps are very helpful. I'm looking for any other information on the freight station anyone can share, or point me towards, specifically details of the Race St side of the building, and the door side against the tracks, which is obscured in the photo here.
 
Thanks.
 
Vince Lee
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 6th, 2011, 12:23am
Hello Vince.  Glad to have you following this forum.  Unfortunately, I can't help you with other pictures of the Linden St. freight station.  I realized as I was posting the pictures of the Jordan Loop and Linden St. yard that I had no slides containing good views of either the east, west or north sides of that structure, nor do I have any memories of what they were like.  Don't know why I shot the CNJ's freight station at Race and Linden, yet never turned around to shoot the Valley's.  Maybe someone else reading this will have a picture or at least a detailed description they can give you.  (Gif: Did you have any other shots you took which showed it more clearly... before the fire, that is?)
So I'm not leaving you empty handed, here's a slide from the Charles Houser collection which I purchased showing the Lehigh Valley's passenger station at 4th & Hamilton Sts. as it looked on 03/04/1962.  This was one of the better views I've seen of the station standing alone.  Hopefully this view from trackside will help your club with their modeling endeavors.  Good luck!   --Mark
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Feb 6th, 2011, 3:37pm
First, Thanks Mike/one87th for reposting your pictures on this forum. They are a great addition.
 
As far as pictures of the Linden St station, unfortunately I didn't take any of the station directly either. I would see the station on almost a weekly basis as I would always ask my dad to drive home that way after church. (Zion's on Hamilton, down to Race St and back up Linden)  
Back on page 15, Mark posted one of his from the Houser collection and also one of mine that has it in the background showing the south west end of the building. Here is another of mine that I found showing a portion of the north west end.
...Gif
Posted by: vincejlee Posted on: Feb 6th, 2011, 5:46pm
Mark & Gif:
 
Thanks for the photos.
The freight house photo actually tells me a lot about the style of windows and doors used there, and the overall style of the long open platform that is marked on the Sanborn map. The model I eventually build will be considerably condensed to fit in our space.
 
Mark is right that he posted about the best photo of the overall building available. What a weird looking set of conical roof vents (?)!
 
Thanks again.
 
Vince Lee
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 8th, 2011, 6:35pm
Just a heads-up to anyone interested: I've started a short forum on the Reading's Topton-Kutztown branch.  Look under Fallen Flags / Reading Railroad.  -- Mark
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Feb 10th, 2011, 12:16am
Acme Fast freight,which,I believe was a subsidiary co. of LVRR forwarded all the lcl freight to local merchants.
I recall seeing 3-4 trucks backed up to race street loading docks.
Trucks bty were bright red.
 
The photo of tank car at Gulf oil terminal,reminded me there were other Oil Co. terminals,to wit;Atlantic oil had terminal at 3rd & sumner serviced by web there also was Tidal flying A in E.Allentown serviced by L&NE.
Penna. independent Oil  at 12th and Liberty recieved tank cars on web.
I am sure products delivered were Kerosene and fuel oil,bulk lube oil was also delivered.
Posted by: 19copythree Posted on: Feb 10th, 2011, 12:09pm
Does anybody know whose factory whistle was heard throughout Allentown during the 50's and 60's? Blew for beginning of work shift (7:00am?), noon, and end of day. Was in the Little Lehigh vicinity, I believe.
Traylor, perhaps?
 My Grandparents lived on Hamilton St, and we used to visit from New York by LVRR or CNJ.    
Thanks, Jim M.
Posted by: Jeremy_Zella Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 1:07pm
Does anyone know what industries the LV served along it mainline in Allentown?  Specifically around Walnut/Union/Front Streets?
 
Jeremy
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 2:49pm
100lbrail: Thanks for those additional bits of info regarding LV freight deliveries out of the Linden St. yard and the other oil dealers in the area who received product via rail.  Still anxiously awaiting those additional WEB pictures you've promised.
 
19copythree: I was born in 1955, so I was either too young to remember the factory whistles of which you spoke or just never paid much attention to them.  My guess would be you were hearing whistles from the Mack Trucks plant, most likely the one which sat slightly above Traylor along S. 10th St.  If anyone knows otherwise, please advise.
 
Jeremy_Zella: Let me direct you to the East Penn Drill forum I started under Conrail.  You'll be able to find Sanborn maps, a track blueprint and many photos showing the stretch of "old main" you're talking about... though the pictures were from post-LV days.
Posted by: CAS_LVRR Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 4:35pm
Well Jeremy that section had plenty of industrial sidings.   I'll start at Hamilton St. and work east.
 
Swift & Co.   Allentown Cable & Machine Co.
Bradley Pulverizing     Arrow Carrier
Penna Crusher      American Coal Co.
W. Rockwell Co.     W F Mosser Industries
LVRR Engine Facilities and the Coal Trestle plus 7 service tracks.
 
I don't know the exact date/time of theses industries coming on-line.
 
West of Hamilton St. and you have about 20 industries within a 1.5 mile stretch of ROW.  If you need them let me know.
Posted by: 19copythree Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 4:42pm
Thanks, A-town...I was born in '53. G'parents lived at 10th & Hamilton, and when that whistle blew, the air turned blue and you could feel it in your gut. Probably was from Mack (or Traylor). Remember it well into the 60's after which family moved away.   Jim M.
 
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 5:47pm
Since you broached the subject, does anyone have any photos of the Neuweiler Brewery or A&B Meats?
 
I believe these would be model worthy.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 6:20pm
To 19copythree:  Mack Trucks had a loud whistle that sounded at 7:55AM, 8 AM (starting time), 11:55 AM, 12 noon (lunch), 12:25 PM, 12:30 PM (get back to work), 4:25 PM and 4:30 (quitting time). They also sounded the whistle whenever there was a fire in the plant. The whistle was extremely loud and could be heard throughout the south side of Allentown. The 12:00 and 4:30 whistles were a signal for the neighboorhood kids to start heading home for lunch or supper. Traylor also had a whistle that sounded at 5:00 PM but it was not nearly as loud.  
 
Dave
Posted by: 19copythree Posted on: Feb 11th, 2011, 7:28pm
Thanks, Dave!...that must be it...the times sound familiar now that you mention them. Any idea when the practice ended or what might have happened to the whistle itself?  
Jim M.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Feb 13th, 2011, 6:49pm
To 19copythree - I can't provide a definite answer to your questions. Mack closed their 5C assembly plant on S. 12th St. and moved that plant to Winnsboro, SC in 1987. I believe the plant on S. 10th St. was closed a few years earlier. I do not remember if they used the whistle into the early 80's or not. The whistle was located at the boiler house on the west side of S. 10th St (where the twin smokestacks were). Although most of the buildings in the Mack complex still remain, the boiler house with its twin smokestacks has been raised.  
 
Dave
Posted by: 19copythree Posted on: Feb 13th, 2011, 8:56pm
Thanks again, Dave. Will have to do some archeology as soon as the weather breaks. Jim M.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 16th, 2011, 11:03am
For those interested, I've just completed posting about two-dozen pictures from the 1980s taken along the Catsauqua & Fogelsville branch, just outside of the Allentown, PA area.  The line was operated by the Reading Railroad until Conrail's birth in 1976, so the forum can be found under Fallen Flags / Reading RR... even though all of my pictures feature CR engines.  Hope you enjoy it!  --Mark
Posted by: CAS_LVRR Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 12:39pm
Vince,
 
    Several years ago there was a two-volume set of books all about the development of Allentown.  In the books were erial views of the freight station.   One unique feature was the words  LEHIGH VALLEY  
                RAILROAD  
 painted on the roof (on the west side roof).  And talk about freight cars.  I counted nearly 100 freight cars parked there, or in the general area.  It truly must have been a busy place.
 
CAS
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 2:31pm
CAS_LVRR: Thanks for your input.  I have those books and remember years ago spotting just what you talked about.  And today, if R.J.Corman has a half-dozen cars in that little yard... that's a lot!
Times change guys... especially when it comes to branchlines and industrial sidings.  Why not spend less time along those well-ballasted mains and more time along the remaining weed-covered, rusting rails which still see occasional service.  You may end up with fewer pictures in a day, but you'll be glad you documented those little-used lines in future years once they're gone for good.  Trust me (and the countless other older fans who kick ourselves regularly)... many of those lesser used lines WON'T "always be there".   --Mark
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 4:59pm
To CAS_LVRR: You just jogged my memory. I forgot to previously mention the two volume set of books on the development of Allentown as a source of information on the West End and Barber Quarry Branches. In "Allentown 1762-1987- A 225 year History", Volume 2, by Mahlon Hellerich (editor)there are seven excellent aerial photographs of Allentown taken in August 1925. While the actual sites appear very small ( you will need a magnifying glass), and you have to know where to look, the aerial photographs give you an idea to the volume of industry on the branches.  
 
Pages 10-11 show the Linden St. yard as well as the yard at Basin St.
 
Pages 12-13 show the Linden St. yard in closer detail.
 
Pages 14-15 show the start of the WE branch coming off the Jordan Loop.
 
Pages 16-17 show the beginning of the BQ track up to the Wire Mill and the South Allentown branch up to the stock yards. It also shows the yard at Basin St., Mack Truck Plant #1 (a LVRR customer), Yeager Furniture as well as the RDG Mack Truck branch.  
 
Pages 22-23 show the BQ branch track at Mack Truck Plant #1, Yeager Furniture as well as part of the RDG Mack branch.
 
Pages 30-31 show Mack Truck Plants 2 and 3 as well as Traylor Eng & Mfg Co.
 
Pages 32-33 show the WE branch along Sumner Ave. Swoyer Brothers brickyard and Trexler Lumber Co.  
 
This book is a very worthwhile site to look at to get a general overview of the area. I purchased my copies maybe 20 years ago, but I know you can look at copies in the Allentown Free Library or the Lehigh County Hisrtorical Society who was the publisher of the book.  
 
Dave
Posted by: The Scyther Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 5:27pm
Yah you definetly got that right Mark .
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 9:09pm
1911 Sanborn Map, Linden Street Yard and turnout to WEB
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 9:11pm
1911 Sanborn map, WEB - Jordan Creek to Gordon St.
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 9:28pm
1911 Sanborn map - WEB - Gordon to Allen
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 9:30pm
1911 Sanborn map - WEB - Allen to Washington
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 25th, 2011, 9:33pm
1911 Sanborn map - WEB - Washington to Sumner
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 1:12am
gfluck1: Very nice addition to this forum.  Thanks very much for posting!  Just one slight correction/clarification if I may.  In your first post of map #34, you stated "Linden St. yard and turnout to WEB".  Actually, at the time these maps were drawn, West End Jct. was located next to where Allen St. dead-ended.  (This is shown as a set of crossovers pictured at the top of map #66 or the bottom of map #78.)  It wasn't until the Jordan Loop was abandoned by the LVRR (very late 1960s) that the official beginning of the WEB was extended south (railroad east) to the turnout located beneath the old Linden St. bridge.
Any chance you have additional maps showing the line continuing west along Sumner Avenue and south (just west of 17th St.) to Liberty?  Again... thanks a lot for sharing these educational tools from 100 years ago.  A very interesting addition! --Mark
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:21am
1911 Sanborn map - Sumner at 5th
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:25am
1911 Sanborn map - more snipets of Sumner
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:27am
1911 Sanborn map - and more Sumner
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:30am
1911 Sanborn map - going north to Koehler Brothers Coal
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:35am
1911 Sanborn map - further west, Swoyer Brothers Brick
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:37am
1911 Sanborn map - back to Sumner
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 9:39am
1911 Sanborn map - going westward
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 10:09am
1911 Sanborn map - going south
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 10:10am
1911 Sanborn map - Head East
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 10:12am
1911 Sanborn map - And further east
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 10:14am
1911 Sanborn map - and still further
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 10:16am
1911 Sanborn map - end of the line
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 26th, 2011, 2:10pm
gfluck1: Again, thanks so much for taking the time to post all of those 100-year old maps.  It was very interesting to me to see how many changes happened during the first 50 years after those maps were drawn.  Many more sidings were added in later years, while a number of others disappeared by the time I began exploring the line in the early 1960s.  Also, some stub-ended sidings later became passing or runaround type sidings, while others that began as double-ended sidings later became stub-ended.  As the saying goes... nothing stays the same with the passing of time.  --Mark
Posted by: JimE Posted on: Mar 1st, 2011, 9:04pm
Here's a youtube video featuring some East Penn Junction, CNJ Yard / Roundhouse, Allentown Station action.  Not the branches, but there was conversation about East Penn Junction and Allentown Station.  Neat stuff!
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHuIqjaN57c
 
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 3rd, 2011, 3:57pm
Little late to post on  this but just today got out to check out the Lehigh st bridge..Not only is there rail in place in Lehigh St but the first span of the LVRR bridge still survives!!! The Lehigh St  vehicular bridge and the LVRR Barber Quarry bridge are connected to each other!!! Bizarre!!!! Here's a pic i took today..you can see the stone pier of the LVRR/ Lehigh st bridge and the surviving span of the LV bridge..I'm posting the rest of todays pics in the thread i'm starting in the LV forum  called "Wire Mill Area 2011"..Check em out.  on Feb 4th, 2011, 2:11pm, ecm4 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
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

 
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 4th, 2011, 5:39pm
Here's two  cool LVRR West End/ Barber Quarry related artifacts i found at home...The first is a cut-up bed slat...About 92 i built a home made guitar stand from some old wood i found in our basement...When i took it apart  about a month ago i found it was stamped"  HUMMEL FURN. Co. ALLENTOWN.PA. "...I regret not looking at the bed slat before i cut it up  back then .Here it is
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 4th, 2011, 5:48pm
Doing some spring cleaning today and took out the top shelf in our closet today and found this... My grandfather George Huber worked for Dragon Cement (later Martin Marietta) right up intil the plant was closed bout 1983 and apparently he used whatever wood he could find to construct the shelf ...In this case a piece of packing crate from FULLER CO!!!! Though the "Allen" part of Allentown is missing i think however i can safely assume part 135# came from the Fuller Co facilities along the Barber Branch....Wonder if it came by rail.....  ENJOY!
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Mar 5th, 2011, 12:00am
The lehigh street bridge as captioned  in post,the concrete railing of bridge was 5 inches under water during hurricane diane flooding in 1955
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 18th, 2011, 2:30am
Here's some shots i took on 3-16-11 of R J Corman running on the former LVRR Jordan loop..Here #1713 is crossing Union St next to the site of Union St tower...I'm standing in the former Modern Plumbing parking lot.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 18th, 2011, 2:33am
#1713 is heading towards  the site of the LVRR Allentown passenger station..The platform and some foundations still survive in 2011!! The bridge in the distance is the Hamilton St  Bridge
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Mar 18th, 2011, 2:39am
R J Corman #1831 finishes up this solid R J Corman consist...Oddly enough this was the only RUNNING engine!! Lead unit 1713 was seemingly shut down with the exception of the headlights..Is this unit now just a control cab? I know the  RJC units are equipped with remote controls.
Posted by: vincejlee Posted on: Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:43am
I was in the Allentown area yesterday for a railroad operating session, and on the way back to Long Island, stopped off at the Linden Street area to see if any traces of the freighthouse was left. Unfortunately, I could find nothing, the reconstruction by R. J. Corman has wiped everything out. However, at the site of the passenger station, the steel supporting beams, and the piers holding everything out of the creek are still there.
 
Vince Lee
Posted by: vincejlee Posted on: Apr 3rd, 2011, 11:48am
Here's a second image-a closeup of the steelwork.
 
Vince Lee
Posted by: carajul Posted on: Apr 12th, 2011, 2:39am
I traced the Barber branch row today on live maps. Amazing that all this industry is GONE. Except for Trexel there is nothing left. All those factories that once dotted the RR are gone. Except for Trexel and the headstone place at Hamilton St nothing is left. Even if the RR was there today there would be nothing to serve.
Posted by: CarterB Posted on: Jun 17th, 2011, 3:13pm
How did LVRR passenger trains approach the Hamilton St. station from the East and leave to the North?  (to and from the LVRR main)  Same question on the  CNJ to their Hamilton St station (approache/s from East, and back to main going North or to Reading Lines to Harrisburg?
Posted by: F3_4_me Posted on: Jun 19th, 2011, 11:49pm
The American Parkway wasn't there.  The CNJ and the LV were.
Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Jun 20th, 2011, 2:55pm
Carter B
There was something called the "Jordan Loop" which left the LV main at Basin Street, went past the LV Allentown Passenger station, under the Linden Street bridge, and then split off and went under the Tighlman Street bridge to reconnect at the LV main at a place called "Gap Junction", which was around where the Lehigh Structual Steel plant is.  After going under the Linden Street bridge, the West End Branch and the Jordan Loop split off, the WEB going on up Sumner Avenue.  So, I guess you could say that for a short section the WEB and Jordan Look were one in the same tracks.
 
If you go to page 2 of this Forum, there is a thread called LV Trackage/Allentown PA Station, which has a lot of info about tracks in and around the LV Allentown passenger station.
 
Hope this helps  If you need more info, there are many experts on this forum who can help.
 
davidyur
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jun 20th, 2011, 4:35pm
Carter: Your question surprises me a bit being that I posted a rather detailed map of the area back on page 1 (attached to the first post) and also later in this forum.  If you look at this map and read what I wrote about the various color-enhanced lines, I think your questions will be answered.  -- Mark
Posted by: CarterB Posted on: Jun 20th, 2011, 4:38pm
Mark and David,
Thanks for the clarifications and the map references.  It all makes sense now that I see the track layouts for the Main and Jordan Loops vis a vis the CNJ station and approaches.  East Penn and the Gap must have been a railfan's paradise ..back in the day.
Posted by: centercab Posted on: Jun 20th, 2011, 9:17pm
on Nov 29th, 2010, 10:38pm, valleyfan628 wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Hummel Warehouse #2 again. Most likely 1969-70. I remember taking this but no date on the frame. How unusual it was so see a wooden OB car on the line.

HI, The o/b boxcar belonged to the Wellsville Addison&Galeton RR based in Galeton, Pa. which has been gone for about 40 years or so. The boxcars were I think bought from the Boston&Maine in the early 1960's. The WA&G had a sizeable fleet of these old cars and eventually they were banned from use due to age and safety issues. I remember seeing a long train of the boxcars being hauled to interchange with Penn Central for forwarding to a scrap company.
Posted by: towny72 Posted on: Jul 25th, 2011, 2:16pm
From what I know about the line is that it is a 1 man operation. This is done with the use of a remote, so its very possible the engineer/conductor was running the remote from the cab of the lead unit. The coil car is simply used as a buffer for hazmat loads.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 31st, 2012, 12:21am
It's been over 6 months since anything was posted on this thread which I started in late 2010.  When I decided to share most of my collection online, it was with the hope that others who photographed the branchlines in and around Allentown would also share their photos, being that the great majority of the subjects I and others photographed a number of years ago no longer exist and viewing such images is the only way to let today's generation look back in time and see what a important role railroads played in the development of the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Unfortunately, my expectations were never realized, for very few of those older fans who captured such action on film came forth and posted what they have in their collections.
Now for the good news... my friend and former high school teacher, Dave Beazley, recently began viewing this thread and, as a result, dug out a few more slides he had taken back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  While there are no trains visible on any of the following slides he has loaned me, each of the subjects ties in to things which I previously posted on this site.  I hope you younger fans enjoy the following glimpses into the past, and if any of you older fans reading this have things in your collections which you weren't willing to share before... how about following Dave's lead and post them now.  Let's breathe new life into this forum.  After all, with over 16,600 hits to date, there must be a lot of people interested in this subject.  If you don't have the ability to post, I'll be happy to do it for you.  Give me a call, I'm in the book.  -- Mark Rabenold, Allentown
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 31st, 2012, 12:51am
Back on page 15, I posted a slide I'd taken of the CNJ's Allentown freight station... once located on the southeast corner of Race and Linden Sts.  I lamented the fact that my shot only showed part of the truck loading dock and didn't capture the railroad side of things.  Fortunately Dave photographed the building from two angles I didn't get.  Here's a shot looking southwest along Linden St, just east of Race St.  Dave was standing about where American Parkway runs today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 31st, 2012, 1:06am
In this second shot, Dave moved around to the southeast end of the freight station and took this picture facing northwest.  There was no date given for either of these slides, but it's obvious from the broken and boarded-up windows that the building was no longer in service... so one can guess it was taken sometime after the CNJ pulled out of PA in 1972.  The tracks shown are the site of today's American Parkway between Hamilton and Linden Sts.
It's late.  I'll post the remaining slides over the next day or two.   -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 31st, 2012, 1:49pm
As the map back on page 1 of this thread shows, from the location shown in the previous picture, the CNJ trackage ran north, then turned to the east and headed under the Front Street bridge... the same path the American Parkway follows today.  However, unlike American Parkway, the CNJ tracks continued east across a fill and over a plate-girder bridge which crossed the Lehigh Valley main.  From there it turned left and headed northeast, crossing the Lehigh river through the multiple through-truss bridges which still stand near Kimmet's Lock.  It was there that this track rejoined the CNJ main at WK tower.  Fortunately, Dave Beazley had his camera in hand one day while in the area and took this great shot which not only showed the by then abandoned tower, but a crossover and the turnout leading to the track which once took CNJ passengers to Allentown Station.   Next time, some photos of the remnants of part of the Valley's Jordan Loop taken in November, 1968... after most of the rails were lifted.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 4:17pm
Back on page 3, the second picture I posted shows Ironton Baldwin #751 pulling a short train off the West End branch... just under the old Tilghman St. bridge.  Bob Wilt's shot, though taken with snow on the ground, also included the former right-of-way of the Valley's "Jordan Loop".  Though the tracks had already been removed at the time the picture was taken, they had previously curved off to the right of the train -- the area between the active track pictured and the Jordan Creek, visible to the far right.  About a quarter mile beyond, the tracks crossed over a deck girder bridge built over the twisting and turning Jordan Creek, then shortly beyond, ran beneath Front Street through a stone arch underpass.  Just beyond that underpass, the tracks took a hard left (northward) turn and connected not far beyond with the Valley main.
If you look at the first posting I made on this thread, the upper right portion of the map shows the words "Jordan ---> Creek" in bold letters.  About an inch beyond that, you'll see where the creek crossed under the Jordan Loop's bridge... the track being the line hi-lighted in blue.  
On November 5th, 1968, Dave walked and photographed this section of the Jordan Loop right-of-way, beginning just southwest of the deck bridge and ending just east of the Front St. underpass.  In this first picture, he captured the rusting milepost marker which read "J 94"  He was facing northeast.  Though the rails were still in place on the eastbound track across the bridge, both tracks had already been removed as the following pictures will show.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 4:24pm
To obtain more of an engineer's view, Dave walked out onto the bridge to capture this shot.  It's obvious from the amount of underbrush on the right side of the picture that the westbound track had been removed a couple of years earlier.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 4:40pm
After crossing the Jordan Creek, Dave turned 180-degrees and took this shot, looking back on Allentown.  If you look at the map again, you'll see a double-dotted line which paralleled the WEB (in yellow) and crossed over the Jordan Loop (in blue).  Even though this map was from the 1960s, the dotted lines represented what was then a proposed extension of Sumner Avenue... the section which now connects old Sumner Avenue (the part west of 6th St.) with the American Parkway.  So the next time you're driving east on Sumner Ave. from 6th Street and you come to a stop a couple of auto lengths west of the bridge over the Jordan Creek and the nearby traffic light, realize that you're sitting on the former Jordan Loop right-of-way... just slightly south of where this railroad bridge stood some 40-plus years ago!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 4:53pm
Moving closer to Front Street, Dave captured the detail of the random cut stone used to build this underpass in this east-facing shot.  I would have to imagine this was filled in years ago, but I haven't gone beneath Front St. to explore this area in about 44 years.  Has anybody explored this area and, if so, has it been filled in?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 5:00pm
For his final shot, Dave walked to the east side of Front Street and turned around to capture this west-facing view.  Look closely at the ties and tieplates in the ballast and you can see just how superelevated this curve once was.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 5:16pm
Again, my special thanks to Dave Beazley for sharing these windows to the past with all of us who wish we'd taken more pictures... or wish we'd been born earlier.
I truly hope that more of you older guys who know you have shots in your collections that tie in to any of the subjects covered in this thread will take the time to do some digging and post what you have.  As I've said many times before, sharing with the next generation of railfans gives one a good feeling inside.  If it weren't for guys like Beazley, Latshaw, Sander, Wilt, Houser, Kleppinger... and a few other fans along the way, this thread wouldn't have grown to the size it has... nor would it have had the huge number of hits it's had.  Until a time machine is invented, sharing these images is the only way to travel back in railroading time.  Not all of us have a collection large enough to produce numerous "In Color" books to market what we have, so if you only have one shot or you have a dozen, post them... or give me a call and I'll help you put them out there for our fellow fans to see.  Thanks guys (and girls).   -- Mark Rabenold
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 7:14pm
Hi Mark,
 
Thanks for posting these shots. Unfortunately, I'm one of those guys born too late, 5 years from the last day of LV's existence. But I will say I thoroughly enjoy viewing every photo posted in these forums. Please keep it up---they're great!
 
Charlie
Posted by: irn750 Posted on: Feb 1st, 2012, 8:46pm
Great stuff as always Thanks Mark and Dave. Its hard to imagine these tracks and buildings were there and I seen them when I was young. How time has changed some places
Posted by: davidyur Posted on: Feb 2nd, 2012, 12:25pm
thx very much, photos of the Jordan Loop are probably rarer than perfect diamonds.  I enjoyed it very much.  When you talk about driving on Sumner Avenue where the Jordan Loop was, do you mean where the West End Branch was, I don't think the Jordan Loop approached Sumner Ave.
 
Thx again.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 12:29am
Thanks for the comments and interest guys... that's what makes sharing these gems so much fun.
Davidyur... I realize it's a bit confusing trying to follow my explanations of where the tracks ran without being able to have the map in front of you while reading what I wrote... so I'll post the map again.  You're right... back in the 1960s, it was the WEB which ran along Sumner Avenue.  What I was referring to was the newer part of Sumner... the extension which the city added within the past decade which connects with the American Parkway just west of Front St., at the foot of the Ridge Ave. hill, a block north of Tilghman St.  Had this newest portion of Sumner existed back in the 1960s (see the double dotted lines shown on the map near the upper right corner), it would have been crossed by the Jordan Loop tracks just about 25 or so feet west of the concrete automobile bridge which now carries Sumner Ave. over the Jordan Creek.  In fact, in the shot Dave took after crossing the old railroad bridge -- the one looking back on Allentown -- you would have been able to see the Sumner Ave. crossing... had it existed in November of 1968 when Dave took these photos.    I hope this helps clarify what I was trying to explain.  -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 3:24am
on Feb 1st, 2012, 4:53pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Moving closer to Front Street, Dave captured the detail of the random cut stone used to build this underpass in this east-facing shot.  I would have to imagine this was filled in years ago, but I haven't gone beneath Front St. to explore this area in about 44 years.  Has anybody explored this area and, if so, has it been filled in?
I took the following pics about two years ago. This view is from the Eastern side Front st..In this pic i'm looking towards the site of the Jordan Creek bridge..As you can see the r.o.w. here has been filled in and is now part of a parking lot
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 3:31am
In this pic i'm standing on the  r.o.w. looking East towards the now-buried portal of the Front St Tunnel/underpass.. The low wall is all that remains ABOVE GROUND of the portal
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 3:34am
on Feb 1st, 2012, 5:00pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
For his final shot, Dave walked to the east side of Front Street and turned around to capture this west-facing view.  Look closely at the ties and tieplates in the ballast and you can see just how superelevated this curve once was.
This photo is of the same location as it appeared about two years ago..There has been some earth moving done in this area recently. I'm making a point of heading out over the weekend and snapping a current pic.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 3:52am
Here's a pic of the site of the Jordan Creek bridge today courtesy of Bing Maps. Map index:  (1) LVRR Jordan Creek bridge pier.(2) What i believe is the skeletal remains of the single story structure to the left of the " J 94" sign in the photo a few postings back. (3) My best guess as to the exact location of the r.o.w. (4) The garage and cluster of buildings depicted in my first pic..Hope this helps put things in perspective    
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 3rd, 2012, 11:56pm
IRR: Great addition to this subject... especially the 2nd, 3rd and 4th pictures.  Those BING birdseye maps are great for viewing current and former railroad right-of-ways.  I was wondering if there were any remnants left of the JL bridge over the Jordan Creek.  Based on the satellite photo (and the map), the bridge crossed the creek on a somewhat diagonal angle... not a 90-degree angle.  Without clearly seeing the pier on the western bank, it's difficult to see exactly where the JL would have crossed today's Sumner Avenue, but looking at Dave's shot where he faced west after crossing the bridge (the one showing part of Allentown in the distance), the remaining track looks like it ran quite straight until hitting the southward (left) turn at the bottom of the grade.  Because of that picture, I'd have to guess that the lower portion of your dotted line (#3) should have lined up straighter with the upper portion... thus bringing the JL tracks a bit closer to the Sumner Ave. concrete bridge than you have it marked.  I'll be very anxious to see what you come up with if you're able to take more pictures of the area this weekend.  Thanks so much for your interesting additions and answer to my question as to whether or not the Front St. underpass was ever filled in.  I really appreciate your input!  -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 4th, 2012, 12:40am
I managed to find a Bing aerial showing the other pier (#1 in my pic below) #2 is the structure and the approximate location of pier one..Unfortunately none of the angles available showed both piers... Don't know why i placed the track location so off in my other pic..DOH!!! My bad
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 4th, 2012, 1:09am
50's Aerial of the area in question from Penn Pilot..Man i love that site!!! Bridge street leads (today) to the "new" Sumner Ave extension and also American pakway.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 4th, 2012, 5:06pm
IRR: Another great addition!  Thanks so much for adding the Penn Pilot map and especially for hi-lighting all of the tracks.  Makes things much easier to figure out having everything color-coded.  I guess I was right... the JL tracks would have crossed today's Sumner Avenue extension about 20 or 25 feet west of the west end of the concrete bridge over Jordan Creek.  Again, thanks for your input!  -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:20pm
West Portal of the Front St underpass/tunnel today (2-7-12) . As you can see it has been filled in more since i took that pic a few postings back
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:25pm
After a short stroll through a cemetery i was greeted with this sight..The Western abutment of the Jordan Creek bridge!! Still in pretty nice shape though it appears that the " J 94" sign is long gone..Not too shocked by that though...LOL!!!
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:27pm
Standing on the Eastern abutment and looking across the CHASM!!! You can see some of the old industrial buildings once served by the West End Branch in the upper right hand corner of the photo
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:30pm
This pic gives a better ides of the location of the LVRR bridge/VS the concrete Sumner Ave bridge
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:34pm
Ground-level shot of the skeletonized single-storied wooden structure seen in the aerial views...The r.o.w. has been filled in almost completely here.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 12:39pm
The Eastern abutment viewed from slightly above..The red arrow points to a moss encrusted line pole stump.. Hope yall enjoy the pics.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 7th, 2012, 1:04pm
IRR: Nice job exploring the ruins of what once was.  It's easy to see that this is the best time of year to take such pictures as most of what you photographed today wouldn't be visible once the leaves are on the trees.  I especially enjoyed the shot showing the Sumner Ave. bridge along with the western bridge abutment.  Such an angle makes it easy to figure out where the JL tracks would have crossed the new road, were they still in place.  Another great addition.  Thanks for your time and interest.  
I'm still hoping others will come forth with their photos or stories to keep this thread active.  Remember, I'll be happy to post your pictures for you if you don't have the ability to do so... just give me a call.   -- Mark Rabenold
Posted by: CandF Posted on: Feb 9th, 2012, 3:10pm
When was the CNJ line from WK to the east side of the river abandoned?  I remember hearing that it might have been in the early 70's due to a derailment.  Another question about that trackage, what trains used it from the late 60's to abandonment?
 
I also wonder how the construction of the new American Parkway bridge across the Lehigh might affect things.  Is the CNJ underpass of Front St. going to be removed/replaced?  What about the CNJ Lehigh River bridge?  I would think that part of it might be in the way.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 10th, 2012, 9:16pm
on Feb 9th, 2012, 3:10pm, CandF wrote:       (Click here for original message)

 
I also wonder how the construction of the new American Parkway bridge across the Lehigh might affect things.  Is the CNJ underpass of Front St. going to be removed/replaced?  What about the CNJ Lehigh River bridge?  I would think that part of it might be in the way.

Found this Penn Dot link   http://www.dot.state.pa.us/penndot/districts/district5.nsf/4a6d48b02abaf59085256a540067b74f/51657cbb55ba1938852571f4004cd887?OpenDocument It says the bridge at Front Street will be replaced...There's no mention of the former CNJ/Allentown Terminal RR bridge though...Found several articles about the bridge project on the net but NONE mentioned the CRR of NJ bridge
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 10th, 2012, 11:19pm
CANDF: You asked about when the track from WK to the "east" side of the river was abandoned.  I'm assuming you meant the west side of the river, being that WK was located along the eastern bank of the Lehigh river.  Unfortunately, I personally know very little about the Allentown Terminal trackage and date the section north of Gordon St. was abandoned.  I called Dave Beazley today and he said the track was still in service at the time he took his photo... even though WK tower was closed at the time.  While he didn't date his slide, he's sure it would have been from the mid-1960s.  Other than servicing Horlacher Brewery and a former scrap dealer just north of Gordon Street, Dave didn't remember any other industries being served in that area.  I can remember there being a 3-way turnout located in the small "yard" between Gordon St. and the Tilghman St. underpass.  It stands out in my mind because I had never seen one on the prototype before.  I'm sorry I don't have more information for you at this time.  Maybe someone else could give better answers to your questions.  -- Mark
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Feb 11th, 2012, 7:27am
Despite the loss of passenger service, the ATRR was still used regularly by CNJ until they left PA. They had a drill that worked the industries on this trackage until they left PA in 1972. In addition to the Horlacher Brewery, Lehigh Structural Steel, Smith Trucking, and Call Chronicle were customers served. I don't know anything about the scrap yard mentioned. Now whether the Valley ran on it for a while afterwards, I can't say. Maybe someone else knows more, I only know what I know about it from research and reading. But the CNJ did use it up until '72.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Posted by: CandF Posted on: Feb 13th, 2012, 7:50am
I do remember seeing some CR pups on the ground at Horlacher in the late 70's.  I don't remember, but will assume, that they accessed the brewery area from the east (Allentown Terminal side).  I was actually wondering if the CNJ/LV used the track from WK through the Allentown Terminal for any main line (bypass?) moves.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 12:36am
CandF: Dave Beazley dug through his files and came up with an article on the Allentown Terminal RR  from the early 1970s.  According to that article... "Through freights used ATRR as an escape route if there was trouble on the CNJ main."  Don't suppose you had your camera with you when you saw those derailed CR SWs at the brewery... did you?   -- Mark
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 2:03am
Was this the location of Horlacher brewery? I matched up the unique facade of the building ( marked with the orange star) To a photo on page 67 of this soft cover book i recently acquired titled "Allentown 1867-1950" showing the Horlacher Brewery..My best guess is that the rear portion (which shows evidence of railcar loading doors) is all that's left of the brewery
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 2:24pm
Mark, glad to see this forum renewed!
 
IRR, yes, that is the location of the former Horlacher brewery. The brewery closed in 1978 and portions of it (offices) were razed in 1984. I believe a company called ASGCO still occupies the remaining extant portion.
 
Here is a 1925 aerial photo which relates to some recent conversation. It looks southeast towards the newly constructed Tilghman Street bridge. The Allentown Terminal swings in from lower left, crosses the Lehigh Valley main, and ducks under Front Street. Note the interchange with the LV. Sofransky scrapyard sits just north of the Tilghman Street bridge, while Lehigh Structural Steel is to the south. Across the river is the CNJ mainline, and farther up the hill in a VERY RURAL East Allentown is the L&NE's Allentown branch.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 2:43pm
Another 1925 aerial looking eastward at the LV and CNJ Allentown freight yards. Jordan loop tracks run from lower left (crossing Jordan creek), pass under Linden Street bridge, pass the Phoenix's Co.'s Adelaide silk mill, and run under Hamilton Street at the LV passenger station (at far right).
Behind the Lehigh Valley freight station (nicely lettered on the roof) is the C.A. Dorney furniture factory. Just to the south (right) of that is the joint CNJ/RDG freight station and Allentown Terminal tracks. Farther south is the CNJ passenger station.
 
Now a question. Although the Allentown Terminal was constructed by the CNJ, it was jointly used by the Reading. A 1954 Freight Shippers Guide on "The Reading Modeler" website
 
http://www.readingmodeler.com/modules.php?name=FSG&op=fsg_station_report&sid=170
 
shows several Allentown industries (Aldrich Pump, Arbogast & Bastian, Horlacher Brewery) served by but not physically on Reading tracks. Did the CNJ provide switching services for the Reading, or did the Reading actually also physically switch industries in the Allentown terminal area?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 4:58pm
IRR: You're becoming a master at using those birdseye satellite views.  Keep 'em coming!
one87th: Hi Michael... welcome back.  As usual, your additions of rare vintage photographs always brings a bit of excitement to this thread.  Thanks!  And just to clarify -- for those not from the area -- the Jordan Loop bridge shown in the second picture is not the same bridge shown in Dave Beazley's pictures.  The JL tracks twice crossed over the Jordan Creek and Dave's pictures were taken at the more northeastern (RR west) crossing of the creek.
I haven't had time to read through everything Dave sent me on the ATRR, but he and I had a discussion on the ATRR's joint ownership of their track.  I told him I always thought the RDG was only involved up to the Allentown Station.  I said I always assumed that the CNJ was sole owner/operator north (RR west) of Linden St, being that the north end led only to the CNJ's main at WK... unlike the south end which led to both CNJ and RDG trackage.  The article Dave sent me verified that the whole line (to WK) was under joint ownership.  Regarding your question as to whether the RDG ever switched any of the industries listed, I can only say that Dave -- whose grandparents lived near Front & Linden Sts and who spent many hours with his grandfather watching trains roll in to Allentown Terminal Station -- said he never saw any RDG power run north of Linden St.  I would, therefore, have to assume that those may have been Allentown customers of the RDG, but they were all served by CNJ or LV power/crews.  If anybody knows anything to the contrary, please add your comments.  --Mark
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Feb 14th, 2012, 8:57pm
The overheads of Allentown in 1925 are just wonderful!  
 
The LV freight house just happens to stand out, doesn't it!  
 
It also shows just how important railroads were in city life at one time.  Too bad we've lost all that since then.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 12:06am
Photoman475:  You said it!  I just counted close to 80 freight cars sitting in the Lehigh Valley's Linden St. yard alone!  Even if RJCorman had the business, they wouldn't be able to fit anywhere close to that number of cars in the yard as it exists today.  Many of the tracks shown in the 1925 shot were removed during the days of Conrail... though the total destruction of the Valley's freight station during the fire of 1972 (see Gif Sander's post-fire photo back at the top of page 16 of this thread), as well as general losses in car loadings to increasing growth in the trucking industry, led to less of a need for such a yard years before the birth of Big Blue.
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
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 4:02am
I found this '30's aerial on Penn Pilot that shows what appears to be a railroad bridge crossing from the present day Allentown Canal Park..and Across the Lehigh River and LVRR main..I have noticed a single surviving pier on the LV side from the canal park..My guess this is a CNJ bridge but if so what did it serve?
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 10:46am
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
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 2:27pm
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 2:40pm
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.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 4:47pm
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
Posted by: Hyrailer Posted on: Feb 15th, 2012, 7:55pm
I for one find all of this very interesting. I am not originally from the area, and have nothing to contribute but thanks.
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:28am
LNe Allentown branch (60's) pic one..This shows the "y" at the Branch's beginning and the former spice mill..Durkee i believe
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:30am
LNE Allentown Branch Pic 2: Bethlehem to Airport Road overpass (now demolished)
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:32am
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!!!!!
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:33am
LNE Allentown Branch Pic 4: Airport Road to Union Blvd
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:35am
LNE Allentown Branch Pic 5: Western Electric zoom..Found a new industry!!!!  
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 2:38am
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
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 3:04am
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!!!  
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 5:21am
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!!!
Posted by: FFW-1 Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 11:59am
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
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 12:43pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:10pm
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
Posted by: FFW-1 Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:24pm
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
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Feb 16th, 2012, 1:40pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 17th, 2012, 12:33am
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
Posted by: IRR Posted on: Feb 17th, 2012, 1:37am
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!
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Feb 21st, 2012, 1:47pm
A few comments to recent posts.
 
Page 27, Post 537. At one time there was a narrow wooden pedestrian bridge across the Jordan Creek at almost the exact spot where the new Summner Ave bridge is located. I saw a 1925 picture where it looked like a covered bridge, but in a later picture taken in the early 40's it showed an open wooden bridge. It was narrow and for pedestrians only (maybe also horse and buggy). The 40's picture showed the JL track in the background with crossing signs for the road/path. This bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1942.
 
Page 28, Post 555. The Allentown Terminal RR (ATRR) received its charter on Aug. 20, 1888 and opened the Allentown passenger station on March 17, 1890. The ATRR was owned jointly by the Reading Company and the CNJ. Remember the CNJ had previously leased the Lehigh and Susquehanna RR from the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Co. As far as I know and had seen, The CNJ switched all the ATRR track (station, industries, Wire Mill etc) in the Allentown area. The RDG used its passenger locomotives to access the station, but only came as far north as the Hamilton St. crossing and then backed out of the station.  
 
Page 29, Post 560 and 561. The little bridge at the bend in the Lehigh River was for the Lehigh Iron Co. which was founded by William Ainey. This was an iron company on the south bank of the Lehigh River. The iron company built a small village to house some of its employees. The village became known as Aineyville. Some of the houses still stand on Constitution Drive. Thus was derived the name "Aineyville Viaduct" for the Lehigh Valley Transit Company bridge that crossed the RDG East Penn Yards. I believe the small bridge was used to haul slag in wagons pulled by donkies.
 
Dave Latshaw
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 21st, 2012, 3:34pm
Dave-39 Latshaw: Thanks once again for your contributions to this forum and especially for providing the detailed information few of us know about.  Any chance at adding the 1940s picture you mentioned which shows the old narrow bridge and Jordan Loop crossing?  As they always say... "a picture is worth a 1,000 words".  Thanks Dave!  
 
Posted by: bigpistol Posted on: Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:16pm
A Postcard I found online.  The bridge over the Lehigh River.
Posted by: CAS_LVRR Posted on: Feb 22nd, 2012, 1:28pm
On the LNE Allentown branch there was a spur that broke off to the right just north of the LNE freight station.   This went over to the Allentown Paint Manufacturing Company.  Back in the 50's the small spur to the left (heading north from the LNE freight station) , right by Union Blvd. ,  was for H J Heinz warehouse.  I can still picture those cars sitting on the siding.
 
Charlie
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Feb 22nd, 2012, 3:33pm
on Feb 22nd, 2012, 12:16pm, bigpistol wrote:       (Click here for original message)
A Postcard I found online.  The bridge over the Lehigh River.

The bridge visible in that postcard is a through truss bridge of the Allentown Terminal over the Lehigh Canal (a re-built, more substantial version is still in existence and used by Norfolk Southern). View is looking north. Lehigh River would be to the left (partly visible in background with old Hamilton Street brige), Allentown yard to the right.
The track in the foreground is the track that lead southward through a slag dump and bridged the Lehigh River to the iron works. That bridge was a deck truss.
 
Again, a picture of the iron works and its bridge appears on page 144 of "The Anthracite Iron Industry of the Lehigh Valley" by C. Bartholomew & L. Metz.
 
It can't be confirmed from this photo, but it would appear the slag spur continued to the left and tied in with the Allentown Terminal, as the iron works wouldn't want to be captive to only shipping via the LV.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 23rd, 2012, 4:48pm
CAS_LVRR: Hey Charlie... thanks so much for your input.  I knew about the old Allentown Paint Company, but had no memory of that siding just south of Union Blvd -- nor of the fact that it was a Heinze warehouse.  Any chance you ever took pictures/slides along the Allentown branch?  If so, please post them, or give me a call and I'll do it for you if you don't have the equipment.  If not, please continue to add comments regarding any other memories you have along that interesting east-side branch.  -- Mark Rabenold, Allentown  (I'm in the book.)
 
one87th:  Good eye... and thanks for explaining.  I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at in that postcard shared by bigpistol... but the multiple thru-truss bridge over the Lehigh in the distance should have been the giveaway.  As you stated, that was the old Hamilton St. automobile/trolley bridge which predated the current concrete and steel bridge used by cars today.  Thanks for your contribution, big, and for your good eye, Michael.
 
Great news!  Dave Beazley dug through his collection of slides and found a couple he took of the PP&L's "Energy of Man" train spotted near the former Union St. crossing along the Barber Branch back around late 1973!  This was news to me as I never realized those cars visited BOTH LV branchlines.  Dave-39, did you know about the BB visit?  As soon as I borrow them, I'll post them.  Something else to look forward to.  Let's keep this thread going... and growing, guys!  Thanks to all. --Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 24th, 2012, 4:13pm
As promised: PP&L's "Energy of Man" 3-car train photographed by Dave Beazley as it sat just south of the W. Union Street grade crossing on the Valley's Barber Branch... west of the Union Terrace Elementary School.  The slide mounts were dated "MAR 74", but Dave said he didn't always process rolls promptly.  The photos could be from late 1973.  Either way, I'm now questioning whether my estimate of when Gif Sander shot the train on Ice City's Allen St. siding along the West End Branch wasn't off by a couple of years.  I'm now tempted to guess Gif's shots were from Allentown Fair week of 1973 instead of my earlier guess of 1970-71.
 
In this first shot, Dave is standing at the south end of the train, looking northeast.  The automobiles are parked along Union St., which is immediately north (RR west) of the train.  That's Cedar Creek to the left of the track.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 24th, 2012, 4:25pm
In this second view, Dave included the entire train by moving to the east side and facing north.  Union St. crossing can be seen to the right of the train.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Feb 24th, 2012, 4:49pm
In his final picture, Dave captured more than just the north end of the train at the foot of the Union St. grade crossing.  He also got the profile of the old wooden sign which used to mark the crossing... as well as a silhouette of the large crusher located at the Ziegenfuss limestone quarry which sat about a block or so south of where these 3 pictures were taken.  (Visible in the distance above the last car of the train, immediately to the left of the RR-crossing sign post.)  For a better view, see reply #147 on page 8 of this forum.
 
Special thanks to Dave for coming up with more unique photos taken of things around Allentown which no longer exist.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread, these cars sat for months on PP&L's siding just north of Union Blvd along the Allentown Branch of the L&NE... then operated by the Lehigh Valley.  They were clearly visible from the street.  Is there nobody out there with pictures of such in his/her collection??  Dig, folks... dig!   --Mark
Posted by: FanORail Posted on: Mar 1st, 2012, 1:42am
First off I would like to say thanks to all the contributors to this thread! Great stuff! I will be using this thread to help with modeling the BQ Branch. I grew up on the top of S 10th St. so I'm very familiar with the area. On that note, has anyone modeled anything from the BQ Branch or have any suggestions? I'm finally getting a plan together. Feel free to email me.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 1st, 2012, 3:36pm
FanORail:  Always enjoy reading comments from names I haven't seen before.  Welcome aboard.  You didn't give your age, so I don't know during which era you grew up on S. 10th St... pre-BQB abandonement or post?  Also, which time-frame are you modeling?  I think I posted photos from just about every stretch of the Barber branch, so hopefully they'll help you to model any areas with which you weren't too familiar.  While I was more of a West End branch "expert" from the 1960s to the early 1980s, I got to know the Barber branch quite well during the mid 80s until its abandonement.  I'd be happy to answer any questions you have if you're modeling the final years of operation.  If, however, you're modeling the earlier years, Dave Latshaw (Dave-39) -- who also grew up on S. 10th St. -- would be the person to contact.  Dave has a small branch on his HO layout and I have plans for a lengthy branch on my pending layout, but neither of us is replicating either of the Valley's Allentown branchlines.  I don't know of anybody who's done so, but maybe someone else reading this will have some information for you.  Again... glad you've enjoyed following what I started here one and a half years ago.  I keep hoping more new names will appear with added memories or photos... though it seems my hopes are quickly fading.  Good luck with your layout!   --Mark Rabenold
Posted by: FanORail Posted on: Mar 1st, 2012, 7:26pm
Thanks Mark. Sorry, I lived on South 10th St. when I was 3 till about 12 or 13. I was born in 79. I'm going to try to model late sixties to early ConRail. I have all the info I could possibly use between this thread and David's article in the Lehigh County Historical Society Proceedings. I'm just stuck on a plan. Also having fun searching for some buildings that I can use to model some of the industries, esp. Traylor! Thanks again for all the great info and photos.
 
Chris Peters
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 14th, 2012, 12:41am
Looks like my buddy, Dave Beazley, is the only older fan out there willing to keep sharing some of his golden oldies.  I'll post 2 of the 3 slides he loaned me tonight.  The other I'll save for another day.
 
This first shot shows LV Baldwin #230 and her caboose sitting near the old Union St. office (which included a car scale) where the crews who operated trains on the WEB and BQB started and ended their days.  The office sat on the south side of W. Union St, just west of the LV's main crossing.  In the background you'll see a small section of the large coaling ramp which sat east of the several tracks once located at this site.  The date was July, 1967.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 14th, 2012, 12:56am
In the final post for tonight, Dave returned to the same location on 10/06/68 and photographed LV SW9 #280 with caboose in tow.
 
The remaining slide was taken from a very unusual angle of a train passing near the Allentown Terminal's north (railroad west) interchange with the CNJ main in June of '73.  Two LV 628s are in the frame, as well as a couple of other interesting things.  However, I think I'll refrain from posting it until somebody else out there (and with close to 20,000 views of this thread rapidly approaching... there should be a lot of you) posts at least one picture of his/her own taken somewhere along any of the locations covered on this thread.  Now how's THAT for a challenge?  -- Mark
Posted by: CandF Posted on: Mar 14th, 2012, 7:43am
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the PP&L train consisted of Reading heritage cars.  I remember going through the train while on the WEB at the "Great" Allentown Fair in the 70's.
Posted by: rdg_5308 Posted on: Mar 14th, 2012, 11:23am
on Mar 14th, 2012, 7:43am, CandF wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the PP&L train consisted of Reading heritage cars.  I remember going through the train while on the WEB at the "Great" Allentown Fair in the 70's.

 
Yes, they are Reading cars and surprisingly when I last checked about three or four years ago, all three cars still survived at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI.  The one coach that had the end opened up to create an observation platform is regularly used on the museum train.  The other two cars were somewhat rougher but at the time were being used for annual Halloween Haunted house (or train) events, but I think they were looking at de-accessing those two - not sure if they did.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 28th, 2012, 11:20pm
Okay... I guess my hopes of others posting old pictures of these great old lines are now completely dashed.  In spite of that, I'll share what was shared with me.  Here's Dave Beazley's picture of a westbound Valley freight heading up the former CNJ main as it was passing the site of the former WK tower.  Dave took the picture while standing out on the eastern-most span of the Allentown Terminal Railroad's bridge across the Lehigh River.  Taken in 1973, after the CNJ's departure from Pennsylvania, this rare view shows a red signal still lit in spite of significant rust on the rails indicating that it's been many weeks or months since any train ran across this track.  Look closely at the left rail and you'll see the derail which once protected this interchange location.  Thanks, Dave, for this rare view of railroading from days gone by!  -- Mark
Posted by: JimE Posted on: Mar 28th, 2012, 11:55pm
on Mar 28th, 2012, 11:20pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Okay... I guess my hopes of others posting old pictures of these great old lines are now completely dashed.  In spite of that, I'll share what was shared with me.   -- Mark

 
Mark,
   I suppose that I'm just a lurker here, but I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this thread immensely.  I was born and raised on the other side of the state, and didn't move to the Allentown area until the late 1990s when everything was well gone.  Reading this thread made me realize the amazing amount of railroad history that has vanished from the scene.  Looking at Google maps in map mode to shows the property lines, really can show where the tracks were.   I don't go to Allentown very often, but reading about the WEB and the BQB and the Jordan Loop was a real eye-opener.  I really enjoyed your pictures and the amount of history that you described on here.  Thank you!
 
   Jim
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Mar 29th, 2012, 9:58pm
Hi Mark!
 
I have enjoyed your numerous photos on here for some  
time. I wouldn't take it personal that there aren't other shots  
on here. I'm sure that there has to be a reason for it one way  
or the other, but don't feel bad.
 
But again, thank YOU for posting the shots you have put on here!
 
In 3 days, it will be 36 years since the end of the Lehigh Valley,  
but being that I will be 41 in two days, your shots keep the "Valley"  
alive for this guy who never saw it in real time!
 
Charlie
Posted by: slotracer Posted on: Apr 9th, 2012, 12:21pm
I have completely enjoyed this thread and want to thank those who have contributed all the great photos and information. Sorry I don't have anything to add as I grew up in the Buffalo area and have never been to Allentown/Bethelehem except for business in the late 1990's and after so I have no photos of the area to share. Hopefully I might get the time to scan some of my Western New York stuff and add it to the page this year....
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Apr 30th, 2012, 10:27pm
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...
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: May 7th, 2012, 9:14pm
I'm not sure if this has been posted here. It was posted in one of the Facebook "Allentown" groups.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: May 7th, 2012, 9:30pm
Another picture that was posted on FB....
Posted by: carajul Posted on: Nov 5th, 2012, 1:31pm
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!!!
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 8th, 2012, 4:45pm
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Nov 8th, 2012, 5:09pm
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!
Posted by: NS3360 Posted on: Nov 8th, 2012, 5:21pm
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.
 
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Nov 8th, 2012, 6:46pm
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
Posted by: carajul Posted on: Nov 20th, 2012, 1:43am
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.
Posted by: photoman475 Posted on: Nov 20th, 2012, 8:55pm
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!
Posted by: JimE Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 3:41am
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.
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 6:18pm
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.
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Dec 2nd, 2012, 7:01pm
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
Posted by: Lvfastfreight Posted on: Dec 4th, 2012, 3:55am
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?
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Dec 7th, 2012, 12:29pm
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
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 7th, 2012, 4:08pm
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
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Dec 18th, 2012, 7:35pm
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 .
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Dec 18th, 2012, 7:36pm
This was a double post. My internet service is sketchy at best. So it's not wasted, a shot of some current modeling:
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 18th, 2012, 10:50pm
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
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Dec 18th, 2012, 11:18pm
Welcome to the boards, Bill!  
 
There are a lot of nice folks on here to share info and interact with!
 
Charlie
 
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Dec 19th, 2012, 12:20am
Bill, I will add some info regarding the trestle that was located between Allen and Liberty Sts. If you go back and look at post 123, you can see a shot I took looking south form just north of Allen. At this time Ice City also had this building. You can see a box spotted on the lead to the trestle. Additionally, post 123 shows a box which had drifted back down to the main, but he shot is looking directly back to where the trestle once was.
...Gif
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 19th, 2012, 11:27am
Hi Bill... and welcome!  I just dug out my copy of the wonderful article on the WEB written by Dave Latshaw in 1992 for the Lehigh County Historical Society.  Dave spent many, many hours researching the businesses once located along the branch.  According to his research, Ice City moved into their building along 17th Street in 1960.  They added the warehouses located between Tilghman & Allen Sts. in 1966 and in 1967, added the warehouse (between Allen & Liberty Sts) which Gif Sander referred to in his recent reply.  While he didn't have a listing of cars received during the 1960s, in 1973 there was only 1 car and in '74, there were 5.  Also, Service Coal -- previously located near the southwest corner of 17th & Tilghman Sts, was the last serviced coal facility in that area.  According to Dave's article, it was in business until 1965.  If you look at the map I included at the very beginning of this thread, you'll see the tracks as they existed in the late 1960s.  While I didn't show it because it was already out of service at that time, the Service Coal Co's siding ran in the same direction as Ice City's siding, starting north of Ice City's track and running to the west of the main track, ending near Tilghman St.  I hope this helps you with your design plans.  Good luck! -- Mark
Posted by: one87th Posted on: Dec 19th, 2012, 11:27pm
Welcome, Bill!
In reference to Mark's comments in the previous post, here is the only photo I know of for the Service Coal Co., located at 17th and Tilghman Streets.  Company was in operation from 1917-1965. Based on the details of the photo (coal piles to left), it appears we are looking south from Tilghman St at the facility. West End branch and north-facing trailing spur into facility would be to the left of the photo. The site today (2012) is occupied by the Rich Mar Florist building.
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Dec 20th, 2012, 4:55pm
Gentlemen, thank you for the warm reception. Interesting info! There are a bunch of Penn Pilot views of this from the 30's, and i finally found one that seems to show the Service Coal yard siding pretty clearly paralleling 17th right up to Tilghman. So, do you guys remember seeing the Service trestle (if there was one) or trackage at all in the late 60's? Was the switch still in place?
One87, great vintage Ad! Thanks for posting. Any idea what that tall rack apparatus next to the siding might be?
One more work day, then I can get some drawing in. This will be fun! I love the concept of keeping history alive through track planning and modeling.
Lastly for now, What do we know about the switchback siding that came off the southern Ice city (GF Eric) siding? It shows clearly in your pics as well as the map, which has it running right down to Liberty st. It looks like the switch stayed intact. Do you remember how far toward Liberty the rails went by around 70'?
It's amazing how they must have negotiated moves within such a switchback-on-a-ramp type set-up, yet you see this kind of thing a lot in older arrangements.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 20th, 2012, 7:01pm
Michael (One87th): Once again, you've added sweet icing to this multi-layered cake!  Where you find these rare pictures I'll never know... but please keep them coming!
Bill: The section you're interested in was always my favorite part of the line.  I can tell you I spent many days hanging out around the section near Ice City. I took tennis lessons as a kid in the mid-1960s about 4 blocks down Allen St. and used to walk up or ride my bike to this part of the branch to see if I could see the West End drill running by around noon after my lessons finished.  I can tell you I remember the switch to the coal company being intact but not much of the siding left... and I can remember when the switch was removed... but I can't give you exact dates, just that both happened during the 1960s.  Regarding your other question, the rails ran right up to the sidewalk along Liberty Street and were partially obstructed by a big old Maple tree right by the end of the siding.  Also, only once in my life did I ever see a car on that siding, but I remember it clearly because it was in the very early 1970s and I couldn't believe that the track was still in use being that I'd never seen one there before.  By the way, it was a brown box car... don't remember the road name.  Sadly, I never had a chance to photograph its delivery or removal, so I have no photos of the engine out on the old trestle!  Hope these memories help your planning.  -- Mark
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Dec 20th, 2012, 7:48pm
Now that I look closer at that Service Ad, I can see a couple of cables hanging from what looks to be an overhead tramrail type crane! But it would seem to only move parallel to the siding,  hmm. I doubt they made that big coal pile with it. Small time coal yards were homes to some very interesting homemade contraptions.
Mark, the fact that you got to see a car on that switchback at all is pretty fortunate!
That's really good to know. I'm amazed at the useful life of those sidings through the 60's. I know I might sound redundant, but can you recall seeing any evidence of a trestle (foundations, bents, retaining walls, etc) within the Service location, or do you think it was a ground level siding with pits perhaps?  
Also, You mentioned not seeing an engine on the trestle during the switchback move. So i take it there was at least some of trestle left during your visits? The 39' Pilot view shows it stretching all the way to allen st. In the 71' view it looks totally gone! Were they still delivering any raw materials to it somehow after Ice City got the property? Your buddy's pic from atop the boxcar seems to be about the best possible view of it, but it's hard to make out behind the fencing and clutter. This is a wonderful shot btw, with that box canted up like that on the ramp. This along with the 80's view on page 23 really gives some great lay-of-the-land comparisons.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 21st, 2012, 10:50am
Bill: I would have said I have no clear memories regarding the service coal siding remnant at the time I hung out there.  However, I suddenly got a flash of an image in my mind and I think I'm right in saying it was an earthen lead to a very low "trestle".  (Remember, the grade of the land dropped as you moved north from Liberty to Tilghman St.  There was probably just enough clearance for a carload or two of coal to spill out under the track.  Other than that, I can't help you with any further details for I always entered that area from Allen rather than Tilghman St.
The good news is, I can help you more with the other area you asked about.  I just dug this slide out of my West End slide trays.  I don't remember who shot it, but I'm fairly certain it's a Dave Latshaw slide.  It was dated 6/27/82 and was taken after the line was abandoned.  I cropped the original a bit to give you a better view of the area we're talking about.  The picture was taken looking north, northwest from just north of Liberty and west of 17th Sts.  The building to the right is the back of the American Drycleaners shop.  At this point, they had purchased land from the railroad to exend their parking lot (at right).  Remember, until the early 1970s, the track leading into the former Trexler Lumber Co. complex ran parallel and just to the right of the branch's "main", pictured here.  This angle gives one a better idea of the lay-of-the-land, so to speak.  You can see the rather sharp rise of elevation on the siding at left.  The trestle extended beyond the visible part of the siding.  The materials yard was actually lower than the main track and had a several-foot high concrete wall around it with a chain-link fence above the wall.  I remember some of the concrete trestle piers still being in place, but as long as I can remember, the length of the siding was only long enough for an SW and 1 car to clear the switch leading back to the siding by Liberty St.  A bumper had been placed at that point and all track and supporting timbers (or steel beams?) had been removed beyond the bumper.  I have no personal memory of the full trestle being in place.  Also, one of the occupants of the warehouse at left had, at some point, built a wooden walkway (with several steps) that went up and over the track just south of that bumper, thereby actually shortening the usable track length even more.  I believe there was a door on the north wall of the building and this pedestrian "bridge" allowed workers to access it in a safer manner.  That's about the best I can do, memory-wise.   --Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 21st, 2012, 11:35am
As long as I was in the Ice City area of my slide collection, I grabbed Gif Sander's shot and greatly enlarged the area of interest.  This is from the same image posted long ago on this thread... the one to which Gif referred in his initial reply to your inquiry when he talked about going to this area with his Dad years ago to pick up building supplies.  If you look at the lower right corner, you can see the top of the boxcar upon which he so bravely stood to take this picture back around 1970.  Gif was just north of Allen St. (Ice City's main siding) and was shooting south toward Liberty St.  Now that I've enlarged this, I can see that it wasn't a big Maple tree which started overgrowing the siding at Liberty St, but a Horse Chestnut Tree.  You can tell by the cluster of blooms visible in the photo.  (Allentown used to have many of these trees planted in this part of town.)  Anyway... if you look closely, you'll see that the wooden pedestrian bridge I previously mentioned can be partially seen right behind the boxcar parked by the distant warehouse.  Looks like they actually built a ramp which ran from the rear (north) loading door to the east side of the car.  You can see the door on the car's left is open and some crates are sitting there.  Look a little further out beyond that ramp and you'll spot the reddish-colored bumper.  I was thinking again about when I saw the one and only car parked on the siding by Liberty St. and I now believe it was more like 1967 or early 1968.  I say that because it was before I started riding with the crew and that was in the fall of '68.  Also, now that I see this picture, I believe it would have been impossible for both an engine and one car to clear the switch points which led to that siding... due to the construction of the wooden pedestrian bridge.  One final bit of detail for you, the switch stand which operated the turnout on the "switchback" was one of the older, high stands often found in New England railroading.  The vast majority of the others used on the line were the more common low variety.  That should give you more detail than you were after, Bill.  Hope it all helps with the planning.  If your friend ever builds a layout featuring this part of the WEB, be sure to send me some pictures!  --Mark
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Dec 21st, 2012, 4:59pm
Wow, nice! Thanks Mark. I truly appreciate the effort and your time, as you and Gif are probably the only ones who know these details. I spend a lot of time doing photo research, and always wind up missing items within them, for years sometimes. I've been working on a section of the West Reading branch in downtown Reading for 3 or 4 years now, and am only now just about satisfied with my info. Figuring out the timelines of the changes are difficult but very rewarding.
I noticed that makeshift dock-height platform in the "runaway" boxcar shot on page 7, but couldn't tell exactly what was going on there until you posted the enlargement of Gif's south facing shot. What an interesting rambling structure that is! It looks like there could be a seperate extention of it over to the western car door spotting location. The only handrail seems to be at the drop where the trestle would have started. Also in the view of the runaway shot, it looks like the added platform only extended just over the bumper to a set of steps to ground level (at that point in time anyway).
That latest photo shows the switchback turnout really well. Thanks for posting it.
I'll leave you be on questions for now. Time to break out the drafting supplies.
Thanks again.  -Bill
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Dec 24th, 2012, 2:55pm
Bill,  
 
The siding into the Service Coal Co. property was laid in 1907 and was 200 feet long. It was originally C. A. Eberts and became Service Coal in 1917. I don't know if there was a raised coal trestle at the Tilghman St. end, however Mark's comment that the land drops off between Allen and Tilghman St. makes me believe they built a level trestle off the ground high-point and used the natural land drop-off to dump between the tracks They used this technique at the coal yards at 4th and Sumner Ave and on the Barber Quarry branch at St. Cloud and Fairview Sts.  
 
As for the switchback at G. Ehrlich (Ice City Warehouse), there was a coal trestle on the site in the 1890's. I don't know when the switchback was added, however the section of track going north onto the trestle was approximately 125 feet from the switch and the section of track going south to Liberty St. was 185 feet. I remember on occasions in the late 50"s seeing a box car in the siding at Liberty St. They could have left cars run from the trestle by gravity into the siding, but when getting a car out they must have ran the loco and one car up on the trestle. Eventhough the steam switchers weighed only 104 tons and the 180 series diesel switchers weighed 124 tons, I know the railroad did not like to run the loco on the coal trestles.
 
I have a 1917 revised railroad map of the area around 17th and Liberty that you can look at. If you are interested give me a call and we can set something up. Maybe Mark will be available also and we can answer some of your questions.  
 
Dave Latshaw
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 27th, 2012, 2:35pm
For those who don't recognize the name, Michael Molovinsky writes a blog known as "Molovinsky on Allentown".  His focus is mostly on the history of Allentown -- everything from years ago to yesterday.  Michael has added a couple of comments to this thread and contributed a blueprint of the LVRR track arrangement down around Hamilton and Front Sts.  Just recently he advised me that he had taken a couple of photos of the remnants of some coal companies which sat along Sumner Avenue as late as 1970.  He's forwarded two photos to me thus far and said he'll dig a little deeper for the other pictures he took.
The following two photos were taken looking south-east from the 15-hundred block of Sumner Avenue.  At the time these pictures were taken, the company was known as the Morris Wisser Coal Co, though prior to 1958, it was originally the George Sacks Coal Co.  Though the siding to this industry had been removed years before these pictures were taken, I thought they'd be of interest to those who have followed this forum from its start.
In the first picture (below), you can see the sign which marked the N. Fulton Street crossing, just south of Sumner Avenue.  You can see the WEB's main track running through the picture.  The row homes pictured sit on the west side of N. 15th St and the building at far left is the western side of the Hummel Furniture Co's main warehouse.  Michael's picture shows the antiquated coal sorter still used by the Wisser Company as late as 1970.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 27th, 2012, 2:51pm
In his second photo, Michael moved almost 1/2 block west (near the southeast corner of 16th & Sumner Ave) and photographed the remnants of the former coal trestle which once served the Sacks/Wisser coal companies.  Though not visible in this photo, the WEB's "main" ran in the grassy area between the former trestle and the line of automobiles parked in what was then the used car lot of Ruhe Oldsmobile, formerly located at 15th & Tilghman Sts.  The row homes visible from the rear sat (sit) along the north side of the 1500 block of Tilghman St.  Until I viewed these photos, I had completely forgotten about this little coal yard... even though I passed it many times during the days I walked and rode the line.  My thanks to Michael for sharing what he has and for bringing forth a long-lost memory for me!  --Mark  
Posted by: charlie6017 Posted on: Dec 28th, 2012, 3:16pm
Thanks Mark for posting, and thanks to Mike for sharing them with us........this is such a great thread!
 
Charlie
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 6th, 2013, 12:59pm
Those new photos of the Wisser Coal Yard are great! Looking forward to more from Mr. Molovinski's archives. Nice find Mark. So after I figured out the photo angles of those shots, and working on another layout plan based on the Reading switchback over at Traylor, I got the Ice City Curve drawing going.
OK. First off, my target date here is 1967, since Ice City had acquired the Erich yard (warehouse #4) at that point. In your pics I've identified Ice City warehouses 1, 3, and 4, but not #2. Where was that at? Mark, on page 1, in your pic of 251 switching the CN and Milwaukee boxes, you can see another Ice City building in the background, on St. Cloud St. Was that the showroom at the time? Sounds like they moved their showroom location around a lot.  
I'm trying to figure out if I'm getting the turnout placements right. I know the RR's tried not to put the points within grade crossings unless necessary. As you all have kindly done previously, Please let me know if you guys remember seeing any cars on these sidings, if the turnouts were still in place, or any corrections in general. If anyone here is good with photoshop, and could copy this out and draw in corrections, that'd be really cool too.
Not sure how some of these points at the Hess warehouse couldn't have been within the intersection, so I'm guessing the LV may have had some of those buried switch throw mechanisms at this point. Mark, the pic of you in the switcher at Schelly, was that the northernmost building in the complex?  
I'm going through the thread as often as a I can to glean more info. I'll probably just replace this drawing as I edit it, so as not to post dozens of revisions. Sorry if I'm missing some things previously posted. Still, a lot of fun though. Looking forward to hearing from you guys.  -Bill
 
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jan 6th, 2013, 2:26pm
Bill, I have attached Dave Latshaw's drawing of the WEB from 1942. You can compare Mark's diagram from the beginning of this forum with this one and see what had been removed by the 60's.  
...Gif
(For those of you that saw the original post here, Bill has updated his drawing with the corrections I had previously noted)
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 6th, 2013, 4:25pm
Nice map Gif and Dave! Thanks. After looking back through the thread, and checking the Pilot views, I figured there was something off there too. I think I see how the re-alignment went now after they built the GE building. I'll be fixing that up shortly.  
Touched it up. Of all the views I've studied showing the GE warehouse area, I can't see any switch points to Penn Oil or Rapid. Now I'm just wondering where the points were for the Hess siding.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 7th, 2013, 12:03am
Bill: I'm not sure what Gif meant when he said the siding at 17th & Tilghman was "reversed", for the way you've drawn it is the way I remember it.  I have no memory of the switch being intact, but the segment of track which came out of the building ran to the southwest and would have been served from a points trailing switch on the outbound run.  I also don't remember the switch being intact for Penn Oil, though I still remember the siding being there for many years.  There may have been a bumper on the western end of that siding, but again, my memory regarding that remnant is very vague.  I have no memory of any switch points along the branch being in the streets which crossed the line, and I certainly never came across any signs of any buried switch stands.  One thing you have right which Dave had wrong is the turnout leading to the G.E./Harold Stephen's siding.  It was (as you've drawn) located on the east side of the 16th St. crossing, not the west side.
Actually, your entire drawing is quite accurate (as I remember things), except for the switch leading to the Hess Bros. warehouse siding.  Their switch was near the northwest corner of the intersection of Liberty and 17th Sts... just south of the switch for the Ice City (warehouse #4) siding.  I don't remember how IC's warehouses were numbered, so I don't know about warehouse #3.  Their main showroom in the 1960s was located to the east of the railroad tracks, between Tilghman & Allen Sts.  You entered it from 17th St.  One other thing... I'd lengthen the sidings inside of the Schelly and Trexler Lumber Co sheds.  They didn't run the entire length of the buildings, but they were longer than what you've drawn.  And, yes... Schelly was the northern-most building running right along an asphalt sidewalk next to Liberty St.  Finally, I have no memory at all of any crossovers being located in this area.  If there were any, it was long before my time.  Nice work, Bill!    -- Mark
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 7th, 2013, 5:48pm
Thanks Mark. Gif was looking at my first draft which I fixed and re-scanned right away.  I'm just replacing the above map as I edit the drawing. I'll edit previous posts to try and save space whenever possible. Keep an eye out. Newest version (5) is above. I think I have the track layout pretty tight now. I labeled the buildings on the east side of the curve, so whoever knows can add names to them. From your info Mark, Is bldg. A the IC showroom?
What can you guys tell me about the Ice City structure, with the cue ball logo, on the left, behind warehouse #3 in this pic?
 Apparently it fronts on St. Cloud st. Might this be warehouse #2?
It looks as if it was gone by the time the 1971 Penn Pilot shot was taken.
 
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 7th, 2013, 10:30pm
Bill: Sorry, I hadn't written down which IC warehouse you'd asked about when I wrote my last reply.  There's a good chance the St. George St. building would have been warehouse #2 in the 1960s.  As I said on page one of this thread when I posted the attached photo, IC had moved their operations over to that building on St. George St. by the 1980s.  They just put a new front and new sign on the old building.  And yes, building "A" on your drawing would have been the original showroom.  Buildings C&D are the American Drycleaner and laundromat structures, and building E was a small drive-through car wash which was only in operation for a short period of time.  I can still picture building B in my mind, but I can't remember what it was... some type of industrial business, but not a railroad customer.  Your modified drawing looks very good... I'd say you've captured the track arrangement quite accurately!  --Mark
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jan 7th, 2013, 11:33pm
As I recall Ice City was also in building "B" in the 70's. I seem to remember them having a window display along Allen St. I also located a picture of the abandon siding that serviced Penneco at 17th and Tilghman.
Posted by: CandF Posted on: Jan 8th, 2013, 6:48am
Ice City burned in the late 1970's.  That is the Ice City at location "A", not the one pictured a few posts ago.
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Jan 8th, 2013, 10:06am
Bill,
A number of posts ago you raised the question if there ever was a crossover between Allen and Liberty Sts. You indicated that a 1911 Sandborn map showed what looked like a crossover in that area. I believe I can explain. In 1890 the West End branch ended at 17th and Liberty. The end was in the form of a runaround track from Tilghman to Liberty Sts. In 1900 the main track was extended across 17th and Liberty to build toward the 12th St. Terminal. In 1904, the runaround track was extended across 17th and Liberty into Trexler Lumber and the runaround track became the ladder track into all the Trexler Lumber sidings on 17th St. Therefore if they left the switch where the runaround track joined the main track in place it would have looked like a crossover. Maybe they kept in place for a few years, but a 1917 LVRR map shows the switch removed and no evidence of a crossover between Allen and Liberty Sts.  
One thing I remember about the intersection @ 17th and Liberty was that there were four sets of tracks running diagonally across the intersection from NW to SE (as Mark explained). While driving an automobile through that intersection, this meant crossing 8 rails (diagonally increasing it to the equivalent of 16) with two sets of automobile wheels, created quite a few "thuds". In addition there were four tracks across 17th St  that entered Trexler Lumber between Liberty and Allen Sts. Seventeenth St. was a good place to check shock absorbers. At 17th and Liberty the two tracks closest to Liberty St. (Schelly and Trexler Lumber sidings) were removed in Sept. 1972.
 
Dave
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:49am
Thanks Dave. That explains it well. I appreciate all the input from you guys, and hope to see someone build a layout someday to bring some of these memories alive in model form.  
I got to go through some pictures last week, and I found my one and only photo study I ever did in Allentown, of AB meats in October of 1996. There are more I need to scan, and I got some of Neuweiler from the same time also, but haven't found them yet. Hope you enjoy these for now.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 11:47am
Bill: I was hoping when you said you shot A&B that you would have had some pictures showing where the two former sidings were located.  The southern-most siding curved sharply between two of the A&B buildings, went through a small courtyard-type area (the shrub-covered area in the lower center of your 2nd picture) and disappeared into the eastern building.  In this 10/20/1972 picture by local railfan, Bob Wilt, the morning trick (with conductor, Ed Kropf) is pulling an empty car used to deliver salt to A&B for the curing of meats like bacon and ham.  The opening was so tight that the engine crew had to pull down the sun visors flat against the sides of the cab (as shown here on this Valley SW-1) so they wouldn't be torn off as the engine backed into the plant.  Though A&B and Neuweiler weren't located along any of the Allentown branches, they were often serviced by the crews which operated the branchline drills.  To those not from Allentown, the only thing left of what Bill photographed is the former office building, which now stands next to the new transportation museum along N. Front St, near Hamilton St.
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 6:14pm
I scanned a few more shots showing the opening where that siding went through. There was another siding just north of it going through the fencing  (maybe a fuel lead?), and i think there were rails in the pavement to the right of the office along the big curved section parallel to hamilton. Can anyone reference a track plan?
I probably would have gotten more shots, but i got clotheslined by a redevelopment guy who was polite, but not keen on me getting too close to the place.
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 6:47pm
I scanned a few more shots (added above) showing the opening where that siding went through. There was another siding just north of it going through the fencing  (maybe a fuel lead?), and i think there were rails in the pavement to the right of the office, along the big curved section parallel to hamilton. Can anyone reference a track plan?
I probably would have gotten more shots, but i got clotheslined by a redevelopment guy who was polite, but not keen on me getting too close to the place.
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 7:45pm
Attached is the 1911 Sanborn segment showing the A & B Plant.
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jan 23rd, 2013, 8:15pm
Attached is a zoomed segment of the 1971 Penn Pilot shot of the plant. You can barely make out the siding that was added to service the north side of the building which created the diamond where the two sidings crossed.
Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jun 25th, 2013, 12:15am
on Dec 20th, 2012, 7:01pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Michael (One87th): Once again, you've added sweet icing to this multi-layered cake!  Where you find these rare pictures I'll never know... but please keep them coming!
Bill: The section you're interested in was always my favorite part of the line.  I can tell you I spent many days hanging out around the section near Ice City. I took tennis lessons as a kid in the mid-1960s about 4 blocks down Allen St. and used to walk up or ride my bike to this part of the branch to see if I could see the West End drill running by around noon after my lessons finished.  I can tell you I remember the switch to the coal company being intact but not much of the siding left... and I can remember when the switch was removed... but I can't give you exact dates, just that both happened during the 1960s.  Regarding your other question, the rails ran right up to the sidewalk along Liberty Street and were partially obstructed by a big old Maple tree right by the end of the siding.  Also, only once in my life did I ever see a car on that siding, but I remember it clearly because it was in the very early 1970s and I couldn't believe that the track was still in use being that I'd never seen one there before.  By the way, it was a brown box car... don't remember the road name.  Sadly, I never had a chance to photograph its delivery or removal, so I have no photos of the engine out on the old trestle!  Hope these memories help your planning.  -- Mark

Posted by: 100lbrail Posted on: Jun 25th, 2013, 12:21am
I worked part time at Ice City in 70s for awhile amd the Mueller's the owners liked rail shipments right on their parking lot.The box car you saw I may heve seen too was loaded with swimming pools.
I was astounded too when I came to work that afternoon and saw car in lot,thought at first was a derailed car..
most other shipments were taken at 12th St. siding
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Jun 25th, 2013, 9:51am
100lbrail: Speaking of cars we both saw... many, many months ago you informed me that you had a picture of a car which had derailed across 13th St (near Gordon) and said you'd dig it out and post it.  We're still waiting!  I remember being there when they re-railed the car.  Engineer Harold Barwick told me a vandal had released the hand and air brakes on the car and it rolled all the way from where it had been spotted next to the unloading ramp near 12th Street before hitting the derail just east of 13th, skidding to a stop half way across the street.  Luckily nobody was driving by at the time.
I remember you posted a nice shot of a boxcar next to the former Ritter & Smith lumber shed early in this forum.  How about digging out this picture and posting it for all to see?  It would be greatly appreciated and might just get this stagnant thread started up again!  If you do, I'll dig out something I haven't posted before. -- Mark
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Jun 25th, 2013, 11:03am
Burning the weeds on the Jordan Loop. Found this posted on FB.
Posted by: Charlie Ricker Posted on: Jun 27th, 2013, 9:15am
That's a neat photo......weed control was certainly a "different animal" some 40 years ago!  
 
Charlie
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 7th, 2014, 5:40pm
Just when I'd given up hope of ever finding additional images to post here, something really special has come my way.  Thanks to a friend of a friend sharing some slides he purchased from the collection of the late Kermit Geary, Sr., I have another rare view into the past for all those who've followed this thread.  Taken from the Linden Street Bridge, looking south toward the Hamilton Street bridge in Allentown sometime in the mid-1950s, the photographer captured a detouring DL&W passenger train heading railroad west on the former Jordan Loop of the Lehigh Valley Railroad... past the Allentown passenger station.  The detour was the result of severe flooding along the DL&W's track due to a hurricane which struck the east coast at that time.  By the way, the empty eastbound track shown to the right of the train is the track which still remains in place today and is used by R.J.Corman to reach their small freight yard just north (to the rear) of where this picture was taken.  Enjoy... and being that it's been many months since anything's been posted to this thread, has anybody else found something of interest to add here? -- Mark
Posted by: Henry Posted on: Mar 7th, 2014, 8:56pm
Looks like a Hurricane Diane detour in '55.
 
Henry
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Mar 20th, 2014, 11:32am
Track crossing 17th ad Liberty captured in a photo by Dave Nichols, circa 1977.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 20th, 2014, 1:37pm
Thanks for the additions, Gif, although I had already posted the Houser slide way back on page 7.  Your version does show slightly more of the train, however.  Nice shot of the "old" Allentown Fairgrounds Hotel (looking west) with the WEB in the foreground.  Since only one track is visible, it would have been the siding to the former Hess's warehouse... soon to become Robbins Door & Sash Co. at the time the picture was taken.  The WEB's 'main' would have been just out of the frame of the picture, to the lower right.  (The second photo was taken looking 180 degrees in the opposite direction from the picture above it.  In the Houser shot, the Hess's siding is the track in the foreground and the train is parked on the 'main' while conductor, Ed Knopf walks over to the Hess Brother's warehouse.)  By the way, folks... pictures which include WEB track are welcome on this forum... they don't have to include a train or rolling stock.  After all, beggars can't be choosers and being that all of this is gone today... we're all beggars. -- Mark
Posted by: valleyfan628 Posted on: Mar 24th, 2014, 10:40pm
More tracks. This time from 17th and Tilghman on the day of the Ice City fire in the late 70's
Posted by: CandF Posted on: Mar 25th, 2014, 7:45am
My dad took me to see that fire.  What is interesting to me is that the Mack CF telesquirt on 17th Street (the aerial in the left of the photo) appears to be from Wescoesville FD (now Lower Macungie FD).  The aerial to the rear of the building (in the right of the photo) appears to be Allentown Aerial 2, a Peter Pirsch open cab.  Surprised to see Macungie's squirt at the fire.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 25th, 2014, 11:14am
Great addition, Gif... interesting angle... looking south.  Thanks for the posting!  By the way, the fire happened in September, 1979. -- Mark
Posted by: Dr. Sheldon Cooper Posted on: Mar 25th, 2014, 2:06pm
Well, since there is a spark of new life on this thread, I'll add this....While I have nothing photographic to add (I'm from New Jersey, born and bred) and model the LV's Jersey City terminal, I am thinking about taking apart my waterfront layout and instead, modeling the WEB! "So what?", you might be saying? Well, this weekend, I am presenting a talk at the 6th Annual Valley Forge Railroad Prototype Modeler's Meet this coming weekend, March 28th to the 30th. The ONLY bad thing is, I am doing my presentation at 10PM! Visit this link for a scheule, cost and all the other nitty-gritty details -  
http://www.phillynmra.org/RPMMeet.html
 
Using the extensive info here, as well as Dave Latshaw's article, I have put together a presentation on what I MIGHT model in the very near future. I just want to say that I can't thank everybody who has contributed to this thread enough, otherwise my presentation and my (possible) future layout could never have happened!
 
I hope you can join me if you are in the area!
 
Ralph Heiss
Posted by: MrBill Posted on: Apr 29th, 2014, 10:44pm
Found this while trolling ebay. Listed as somewhere on Sumner ave. in 1941. There might be a reference to Ace coal here in the thread already, but I cant find it at the moment. I'm sure one of you guys will know where it was.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 30th, 2014, 8:32am
I couldn't identify the location shown in the picture (especially because there's nothing railroad-related included), so I referenced Dave Latshaw's informative article on the history of the West End Branch and found that Ace Coal & Ice Co. was located at 711-725 N. 17th St. between 1936 and 1942.  That would have been between Tilghman St. and Sumner Avenue, on the east side of 17th St... just north of where Peterson's Seafood was located in later years.  With this information in mind and looking more closely at the photograph, I believe the photographer was standing near the intersection of 17th & Sumner Avenue, looking east.  The houses pictured to the left I believe are those which sit at 16th & Washington Sts.  Sumner Avenue would have been the dirt clearing (with the tire ruts) slightly to left of center.  If you look down that path to the building barely visible in the distance, I believe that to be the old Gulf refining company building, later to become the Allentown School district's book depository... located on the south-east corner of Roth & Sumner Avenues.  If I'm right about the location, the WEB's main would have run to the right (south) of the Ace Coal structure.  
While it's always interesting to look back at how things used to look in and around Allentown, I'd ask that postings to this thread be limited to images which clearly show railroad tracks or other railroad-related items... only because of the large size to which this thread has grown.  Thanks, however, for your contribution, MrBill. -- Mark
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Apr 30th, 2014, 1:33pm
Mr. Bill,
 
I appreciate your effort to collect the photo and share it here.  It’s a neat old photo and has a lot to say.
 
It may have been taken sometime between late fall and early spring – trees are bare and weeds dormant.  It may also be late afternoon – west facing sides of the homes (left) are well lit while the south sides are in shadow.  The bright tonal area between the entrance and building (right) may be snow covered or have heavy frost.  It sure has an abrupt edge along the tire rut.
 
It's also neat to see streets unpaved and so little development in this part of town as late as 1941.  By the late 50s & early 60s Sumner Avenue was paved and pretty busy.  It was HOT to walk along especially during a sticky, summer day.  Thankfully, the concession stand at Jordan Park (off North 6th and Sumner) had snowballs.  
 
Ace was a small business.  The old truck is neat – guessing it’s an old coal delivery truck.  The old loader is neat too, partly hidden behind the building.  Those black diamonds were probably delivered by the Valley – that’s not rocket science as the branch was nearby.  So, if one looks hard enough, one should find a railroad siding and link to the branch.  And sure enough, you do.
 
Ace Coal & Ice was located at 711-725 North 17th Street (Rear) – the addendum “Rear” is part of the formal address.  Your photograph nails the “Rear” part pretty well.  Ace apparently was around for only six years, ’36-42.  Two other coal distributors shared the same address, including: Verno Benningoff ('44-48 and Ralph Weaver (’44-46).  Allentown Rapid Service Company, another coal and ice distributor (’20-’53), owed property at 711-725 North 17th Street – kinda wonder how they were related business-wise.  
 
A siding was extended northeastward from the branch to serve Allentown Rapid Service - guess Ace got coal there,but the business arrangement is uncertain.  The siding appears on an old blue-line map of the branch, framed and hanging on my office wall along with the “Allentown” tower sign and a few other mementoes of “home”.  A similar map is reproduced in David’s (1992) paper.  The points of the siding trend west toward 17th Street and there is suggestion of a small coal pocket.  
 
If someone is modeling the branch circa 1940, the photograph helps envision surrounding property, the rail business, and local color.  The photograph may also hit memory nerves, stimulate work, generate interest, or who knows what. Someday another piece of the puzzle may turn up.  Every bit keeps the line alive.  So, thanks again.
 
Best regards,
 
ClearBoard    
 
 
Posted by: CAS_LVRR Posted on: May 1st, 2014, 8:48am
Regarding the picture of the Lackawanna passenger train at the Allentown station.  Why did the Lackawanna detour the passenger trains over the LV passenger line instead of just taking the freight line north?  Was there some reason for them to stop (or maybe they just passed through) ?  I seen several videos of the Lackawanna detour trains (during the '50's) taking the passenger route.  Why ?
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: May 1st, 2014, 9:48am
The DL&W was well built, but it was susceptible to flooding.  As I recall, the region was hard hit by hurricane Diane (1955) and other storms, prompting diversion of traffic.  Agnes (June 1972) was the final straw.
 
Posted by: CAS_LVRR Posted on: May 1st, 2014, 11:07am
Maybe I didn't word that Lackawanna passenger train question correctly.  I understand that they were re-routed thru Allentown because of the flood during the mid 50's.  They were routed over the LV from P-Burg to Coxton.  I understand that.  My question is when they got to Allentown,  why did they go into they passenger line to the LV station rather than staying on the LV freight line thru Allentown ?  Did they make a station stop ?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: May 1st, 2014, 11:37am
In answer to your question, it's my understanding that during the era in which this detour took place, the Lehigh Valley sent many of it's through trains (including some freights) over the Jordan Loop track to lessen the number of grade crossings.  On the Jordan Loop track, there were only 3 major crossings to deal with (S. 3rd St, Union St. and Gordon St.), while trains traversing the "old main" tracks had double that amount... several of which were more heavily traveled than those crossed by the Jordan Loop.  If any of you older railroad workers know differently, please correct me... but this has been my understanding. -- Mark
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: May 1st, 2014, 1:08pm
Checked my library, have nothing confirming DL&W formally discharged / picked-up passengers at Valley’s Allentown station.  
 
DL&W used both the Jordan Loop and Old Main through Allentown – see Peter’s 2013, “Lehigh River Valley Trackside…” page 45, top photo; DL&W Fs on the main with an EB September 5th, ’55.
 
Storm hit August 18 & 19th 1955 – I remember water in the basement near 9th and Tilghman, Allentown.  Once service was restored, D&LW diverted trains for a month or so.
 
The Valley was also walloped.  Main between Penn Haven and Tannery was wrecked.  Trains were rerouted over Hays Creek until the WB track was restored in late August ‘ 55 (see Archer ‘77 p. 273).  Mike also shares photo of water across the tracks at Calypso – see LV in Color #5, page 33, top.  
 
Trains could’ve have stopped in vicinity of station for signals, clearance, etc.; however, given financial and physical circumstances, as well as ICC rules, doubt formal passenger service was established for that month.  
 
Seems it was a good day just to get them over the road.
Posted by: ClearBoard Posted on: Jun 17th, 2014, 10:42am
Union Street Interlocking - 1938
 
A chance find provides a rare view of an Allentown location previously discussed in this thread - Union Street interlocking.   The photograph, taken by an unknown photographer on January 18, 1938, captures several steam era features.  A 1932 Sanborn map for this area was previously posted by Moderator Henry on December 6, 2010 – page 16 this thread.
 
With the photographer’s back at Union Street, the camera straddles Allentown Terminal (AT) EB main and looks northward toward the CNJ station.   A Reading camelback and tender steam pass the Allentown Boiler Works facility (left) – a glimpse of the company’s name appears in front of the engine.  A gas electric (?) and baggage car occupy house tracks west of the station.  While the identity of the car is known, the large headlight above the end doorway is unmistakable.  A second steamer is seen in the yard just north of Hamilton Street (gates are up).  The slight curve to the east ahead of the station makes it difficult to judge which track the engine is running on.  The Spangler Foundry, marked by the prominent billboard, lies just east of the station (right) and fronts South 3rd Street.
 
The Valley’s station is off to the left and Union Street tower is off to the right.  Starting closest to the camera, the four Valley tracks running from left to right include: a “house track” that ran a short distance to the left along the west side of the Valley’s concrete passenger platform; the east and west bound passenger mains (Tracks 2 and 1, respectively); and a siding that rejoined Track 1 in front of the Valley’s station.  Off to the right, the passenger mains joined the old freight right-of-way (Tracks 3 and 4) at the Jordan creek bridge (Jordan Junction).   The Barber Quarry Branch took off behind the tower (Morris & Black) from switches along Track 2 and the house track.  The plant saw considerable change over time; only the Valley’s Track 2 was retained as a secondary while all the rest were abandoned.
 
Many types of signals are seen in this steam era photo.  A two arm semaphore guards the diamonds along the AT EB main with a “split rail” style derail located just this side of the signal.  Two or three dwarfs are also present; one protects the diamonds along the AT WB main (small black box between tracks) and others are located along the curves just beyond the turnout.  Elevated trunking – the boxy protective structure surrounding signaling cables – runs along the curve just the left of the switch.  Decent size relay cases rest on either side of the AT main.  
 
Another two arm semaphore is seen along the industrial spur running east on Factory Street - left side of the photo.  The signal protects movements toward the AT main.  The Factory Street spur is visible between the 3rd pole and AT main.  I don’t recall seeing this crossing in the mid to late 50s, so I suspect it may have been yanked by then.  I do remember the semaphore and dwarfs along the AT mains, they where filthy and gorgeous.  
 
More recent views with slightly different perspectives (late 50s – early 60) were published by Mr. Plant (2001, p. 22) in his Trackside around Allentown and Mr. Bednar (2008, pp 82-83) in his Facilities volume 1.  A discussion of the original electrical interlocking was published by Ralph Scott (1908 pp 42-47) in Automatic Block Signals and Signal Circuits.  Old circuit diagrams suggest several waysides were banjo style signals.
 
 
Posted by: RDG467 Posted on: Mar 8th, 2016, 3:09pm
OK, it looks like it's time to revive this thread again.  I don't have photos, but do have some interesting information.  I've been going through some information in the ARHS Archives which were donated by Mr. Bob Yurvati in order to catalog what's there.  I have found Reading Co. waybills from Allentown for April and September 1970.  Over the weekend, I was sorting them by customer and remembered seeing some of the names on the internet somewhere, or in a book or magazine or.......
Anywho, they were quite interesting. Mack was shipping flatcar loads of R Model cabs to their plant in Hayward, CA, along with an occasional trailer of parts.  Sheftel, mentioned in Reply #264 to this thread, shipped boxcar loads of rags to New England.  GE was shipping trailers of small electrical appliances to CA, and Fuller was sending gondolas (and one High/Wide shipment) to various consignees. Caloric in Topton was shipping trailers of stoves hither and yon, and R.T. French was shipping trailers of foodstuffs from Souderton via the Piggyback ramp, to name the largest customers.  
Questions:  1) Where was the Reading Freight House in Allentown? How about the piggyback ramp?   2) Dave L, do you have any pix of the Mack cab loads? Did they come from Plant 5C that you mentioned in reply #474? I will also ask Bob Wilt when I (hopefully) see him Friday night.  
Also, the Hagley Museum in DE has Dallin Aerial Survey photos of Allentown. Check out 700.200.08925.jpg for a view fm the SW of the Mack plant at 8th St., Traylor, and the BQ and Mack Branches.  It doesn't *quite* cover the switchback, but it's close.  
Will work on tabulating the traffic from the April file over the next few weeks, in-between other pressing projects. That's all for now.....
Posted by: LehighValleyWayne Posted on: Apr 17th, 2016, 2:14pm
on Mar 7th, 2014, 5:40pm, A-townbranchfan wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Just when I'd given up hope of ever finding additional images to post here, something really special has come my way.  Thanks to a friend of a friend sharing some slides he purchased from the collection of the late Kermit Geary, Sr., I have another rare view into the past for all those who've followed this thread.  Taken from the Linden Street Bridge, looking south toward the Hamilton Street bridge in Allentown sometime in the mid-1950s, the photographer captured a detouring DL&W passenger train heading railroad west on the former Jordan Loop of the Lehigh Valley Railroad... past the Allentown passenger station.  The detour was the result of severe flooding along the DL&W's track due to a hurricane which struck the east coast at that time.  By the way, the empty eastbound track shown to the right of the train is the track which still remains in place today and is used by R.J.Corman to reach their small freight yard just north (to the rear) of where this picture was taken.  Enjoy... and being that it's been many months since anything's been posted to this thread, has anybody else found something of interest to add here? -- Mark
Mark, thanks for posting this, great photo! Wayne-
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 23rd, 2016, 4:26pm
Okay you branch line lovers... time to bring this thread to life again!  I finally started building the HO layout I've been planning for about 15 years and had a member of the Lehigh & Keystone Valley club in Bethlehem build some warehouses for me based on buildings which were once served along the Valley's West End Branch.  One was the Peters Plant Food company  which sat at the very end of the line at 12th & Gordon Streets.  In an attempt to copy the sign which was displayed on the northern wall of the original warehouse, I pulled out some slides and started to realize that there were a number of photos I had never displayed on this thread... mostly because they were similar to others I had previously posted.  Well, I figure enough time has passed that I can now begin to add a few of those photos to (hopefully) get some interest going again.  Who knows... maybe this will motivate those of you who have some pictures of the former Allentown branch lines in your own collections to finally break down and share what you have with the rest of us!
The first photo shows Ironton Baldwin 751 and its caboose four days after Christmas in 1976 as it moves along the Peters Plant Food siding.  This was taken by local railfan, Bob Wilt.  The view was taken looking southwest and the building visible just above the engine was Ritter & Smith's Lumber Co. shed.
More goodies in the days/weeks ahead.  As always, please feel free to post any comments/questions/photos of your own.   --- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 24th, 2016, 12:20pm
First post of today is another Peters Plant Food warehouse shot by Gif Sander, taken during the summer of 1969 or 1970.  The Great northern box car sitting to the left contained a load of lumber for nearby Ritter & Smith.  This southeast-facing view shows part of the West End cemetery (along N. 12th Street) in the background.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 24th, 2016, 12:27pm
Dave Latshaw captured this Peters action on 10/20/1977... again looking southeast.  Conrail was over a year and a half old at the time Dave took this great picture.  Thankfully they still hadn't found time to completely repaint this old Valley pup!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 24th, 2016, 12:38pm
Last post of today is another Bob Wilt photo of Ironton #751 as it proceeds west and prepares to cross N. 13th Street.  This southeast-facing shot gives a better (though still obstructed) view of Ritter & Smith's lumber shed.  The row homes pictured at far right still sit along the south side of W. Gordon Street.  Same date as the earlier post... 12/29/76.           Until next time... Mark.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 25th, 2016, 2:33pm
In this east-looking shot from March, 1958 (estimated date), Bruce Kleppinger captured a LV Baldwin blocking N. 13th Street as it switched the Peters siding... then owned by Mauser Mill Company, a flour producer.  Off in the distance (to the left of the train) sits the remains of the Allentown Steam Heat Company's coal pile, significantly less than what would have been visible if this photo had been taken just several months earlier, before winter arrived.  The building pictured (with white trim) still stands along the north side of Liberty Street in the 1200 block.  The structure visible behind the coal pile is where CVS stands today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 25th, 2016, 2:53pm
The same train shot by D.L. on 10/20/77 up by the Peters building is now approaching the N. Madison Street crossing, one street west of 13th.  The track to the right leads to the center tracks of the former 12th Street Yard where  cars were spotted for loading/unloading by numerous area businesses.  The rotted tie lying across those rails just beyond 13th Street was due to a broken rail which occurred in the middle of the 13th St. crossing.  It was a temporary reminder to the crews that the center tracks were not usable at that time.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 25th, 2016, 3:27pm
I took this picture looking north from the Peters siding track, sometime during 1969 or 1970.  The 40' BN box car was in fresh paint and just begging to have its picture taken.  The building off to the right (where CVS sits today) was another building owned by Ritter and Smith where roof trusses were assembled.  The only railroad cars I ever remember being on the siding which led to this building (along Liberty Street) were strings of flat cars from the "World of Mirth" trains which brought the fair to Allentown each September. I can still remember the fun I had (along with other children from that neighborhood) running along the tops of the cars from 13th Street to 12th Street and back again.  Since most of the fair wagons were unloaded in groups, there were metal plates between the ends of the cars, making it easy to get from one car to the next without having to jump great distances between cars.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 25th, 2016, 3:33pm
Gif's picture from 1970 or 1971 shows two Southern boxes sitting just east of the 13th Street crossing.  Normally cars were shoved farther east on the southern-most public siding track... well beyond the switch so the northern track could be used by the crew to switch cars around.  The building off in the distance was originally the Pennsylvania Independent Oil Co, later to become a Citgo station (at the time of this picture) and finally, an automobile tire company.  The building still stands today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 25th, 2016, 3:51pm
I'll end today's display with another Latshaw photo as the drill heads west out of the 12th Street yard on 5/29/69.  The caboose is shown crossing 13th St. as conductor, Ed Knopf, climbs aboard and the train begins its return trip back down the West End branch.
More pictures to come in the days ahead.   Enjoy!     -- Mark
Posted by: JimE Posted on: Oct 26th, 2016, 12:42pm
Wow, more great pictures!  Thanks for sharing.
 
I wasn't on this side of the state until the mid 1990's, so these pictures are all so amazing to me.  
 
I sure hope that you do spark somebody else to post pictures that they might have.
 
JimE
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 26th, 2016, 9:18pm
Glad you're enjoying the new additions, Jim.  Hope others are as well.
It was difficult photographing the West End drill at certain points along the line due to a narrow right-of-way and buildings constructed very close to one another.  In spite of that, Dave Latshaw managed to capture this inbound movement on 7/3/75 along Scott Street (between Gordon & Liberty Streets) as the train ran west between N. Franklin and N. 15th Streets.  The four-story factory building in the background originally belonged to A. H. Balliet who manufactured cigar boxes during the first half of the twentieth century.  It still stands today.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 26th, 2016, 9:42pm
On 12/19/75, Dave again managed to photograph the west-bound drill at a tight location about one block west of the previous photograph.  In this pre-Conrail shot, the engine is crossing N. Fulton Street (by the former Classic Photo building -- out of view on the left) and is entering a bend in the track which will lead its train to the diagonal crossing at 17th & Liberty Streets... 1.5 blocks west of here.  Visible just left of the head end (to the right of the truck) is the former warehouse of Harold Stephens Co., a wholesale grocery distributor who, four years earlier, moved their operations to a larger warehouse located at N 16th Street & Sumner Avenue.  Stephens was one of the final four businesses to receive shipments by rail just shortly before the WEB was officially abandoned in mid-1982.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 26th, 2016, 10:24pm
I've saved the best for last tonight.  Way back on page one of this thread, I posted a Gif Sander photo showing a rare movement of the West End drill pulling a D&H box car out of the massive Schelly's Hardware & Lumber shed on the southeast corner of 17th & Liberty Streets.  In that photo, a 14-year old me was visible leaning out of the left side of the engine's cab.  This very rare shot was taken moments before the earlier Schelly's photo.  Though only my right elbow is visible in this image, I think this is my favorite picture ever taken along the WEB.  My guess is this was taken during the summer of 1970 since both Gif and I were off from school that day.  Very few cars were being received by Schelly's at that point in time and Gif and I were always keeping our eyes on the gravel and dirt which usually covered the flangeways next to the rails which led to this block-long wooden shed.  We could tell sometimes that cars were either placed in or pulled out of the building by seeing fresh cuts in the dirt along those rails, but this was the only time either of us was there to witness one of these rare movements.  Thanks goodness Gif not only had his camera with him, but also, at age 14, had developed a good photographic eye and knew where to stand to get a really good picture... especially because less than two years later, the rails leading to Shelly's (and the adjoining Trexler Lumber Company shed) were pulled up and, during the spring of 1973, a massive fire destroyed the entire facility.  Thanks for the memories, Gif!
That's it for tonight.  -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 27th, 2016, 4:09pm
Here's another angle of a previously posted photo by Kermit Geary, Jr... taken as the outbound drill waited for the conductor to set the traffic lights at 17th & Tilghman Streets to four-way red so the train could proceed across the busy diagonal crossing once located at that intersection.  Not much has changed since this photo was taken around 1975.  The gas station and buildings visible at right still look pretty much as they did over 40 years ago, though the gas station is now a Citgo station rather than Pennico.  The view is looking east.    
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 28th, 2016, 1:19pm
On a late August morning in 1970 as my parents packed their car in preparation to take my sister back to William & Mary College, I quickly drove down to Hummel's main warehouse at 15th & Sumner Avenue to photograph this recently painted B&M box car which I had spotted the previous afternoon.  Hummel, one of the best customers along the WEB, almost always had at least one car (and sometimes as many as three) parked along the north side of their building.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 28th, 2016, 1:48pm
I debated about including this photo I took due to its very poor quality.  However, I figured I should if for no other reason than to show off Great Northern's  blue & white paint scheme which adorned the side of this plug-door box car as the goat sat high up on Scheftel's siding in late 1969.  The rails are still intact for part of this siding because they're imbedded in the asphalt surface which the current owner of the property (a used car business) laid down on the southeast corner of 15th & Sumner.  The building still stands as well.
That's it for today.  In fact, that might be it for several days being that I have to search through the back of my closet for the slide tray which contains images of the WEB from 14th Street & Sumner Avenue down to the beginning of the line.  Not sure how many more photos I'll be posting, but I'm hoping those of you following these new additions are enjoying the images displayed from years gone by.  Please post comments, questions and, of course, any pictures which you may have.  --- Mark
Posted by: irn750 Posted on: Oct 29th, 2016, 8:11pm
All great pictures. Its good you guys paid attention to this branch line and local jobs. I wish I would have. Just great stuff you are putting on here. Thanks for posting.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 29th, 2016, 11:52pm
Glad you're enjoying it, irn750.  Unfortunately, I just discovered (after going back through the entire thread) that 5 of these photos were repeats of what I've posted before.  I guess that's what happens when a couple of years go by and a thread becomes very long... that, or my 61-year old memory isn't what it used to be!  I've just deleted those 5 posts because this thread is long enough without duplications.
Posted by: towny72 Posted on: Oct 30th, 2016, 10:54am
Always enjoy what you have to post.  
 
Every time I go to Allentown for work it amazes me how much has changed, and is changing. It will not shock me if someday soon all railroading on the Hometown side is gone.  
 
 
Will you be doing a build thread for your layout?
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 30th, 2016, 1:58pm
towny72: Thanks for your input.  I agree (especially after the riverfront developers recently tore out the last remnant of the original LV main from Union Street north to Catty) that little remains for today's railfan to photograph.  Was it Ben Franklin who said "The only certainties in life are death & taxes"?  I think he forgot to include 'change'.  Regarding my HO layout... no plans at the moment to post pictures, but will be sure to once I get more scenery finished.   Back to the WEB photos!
Today's first post is from the Charles Houser collection, dated 4/20/1961.  It shows a LV Baldwin and train proceeding west along Sumner Avenue.  The train is passing where the N 14th Street crossing was later built to intersect with Sumner... just beyond the former Compressed Steel scrap yard.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 30th, 2016, 2:08pm
Just slightly east of the N 14th St. crossing at Sumner Avenue, Dave Latshaw captured an eastbound drill as it passed the somewhat new Trexler Jr. High School (up on the hill) and Compressed Steel scrap yard (at right) on 12/19/75.  The windows of the interior staircase of Trexler (the recessed section to the left of the two white panels) is where Gif Sander and I spent many a spare minute between classes and over lunch gazing out to see if we could catch a glimpse of rail activity during the late 1960s.  Back in those days, there was almost always something to see along the line from our elevated vantage point.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 30th, 2016, 2:13pm
Dave didn't always limit his railfanning to beautiful days... as is evident in this 12/19/74 picture taken (looking south) from the 12th Street hill, just north of Sumner Avenue.  The only thing missing from this location today are the trains and tracks.  The building pictured still stands on the southeast corner of the intersection.
More new photos in the coming days.   --- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 31st, 2016, 12:53pm
For those of you too young to remember when the "Great Allentown Fair" was still truly "great", you obviously are too young to remember the excitement (at least for us railfans) of seeing the World of Mirth fair train arrive along Sumner Avenue and watching as the WOM crew skillfully unloaded their colorful wagons from the silver flat cars and hauled them west to the fairgrounds at 17th & Liberty Streets.  I remember two times when my Dad took me down to watch the activities and have never forgotten the experience.  Though I was too young to have a camera in hand (or even the thought of mind to capture the action on film), fortunately people like Bruce Kleppinger  and Charles Houser took the time to snap a couple of photos so the rest of us can now look back on yet another experience lost to the passing of time.  In September of 1958, Bruce took this shot looking southeast along the 900 block of Sumner Avenue, after the cars had been unloaded.  The old structures in the background still exist over 50 years later.
*** Dave Beazley (who took several photos posted to this site) just told me about a carnival website that has some photos taken along Sumner Ave.  The 16th & 17th images on page 1 show a fully-loaded fair train sitting near this location.  Many great images to be viewed at  http://www.carnivalmag.com/bonusphotos/category/25-world-of-mirth
Thanks Dave!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 31st, 2016, 1:01pm
Another picture by Bruce shows one of the wagons being pulled by chain off of its flat car.  The add for Camel cigarettes in the background is NOT an endorsement by this moderator nor the photographer.  
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 31st, 2016, 1:05pm
In this 9/26/43 picture by Charles Houser, it's hard to know exactly where along Sumner Avenue this photo was taken due to the lack of structures in the background.  (I'm guessing possibly the 1100 block, looking southeast.)  In spite of that, it's still fun to look at!
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Oct 31st, 2016, 1:10pm
Today's final image (taken by Bob Wilt back on 12/29/76) shows more coverage of the West End drill proceeding east along Sumner Avenue as good old Ironton #751 blows its horn for the N 8th Street grade crossing... directly across from the Sumner Avenue (today "Tippy's") car wash.  I'll have more of this rare train's trip down the line next time around.  Enjoy!   -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 1st, 2016, 10:38pm
Bob snapped off another shot as the train proceeded east past Schneider & Son's scrap metal business, still located today between 8th and 6th Streets along both sides of Sumner Avenue.  In another few moments, it will pass under Allentown's 7th Street bridge seen in the distance.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 1st, 2016, 10:59pm
I don't really know who took this picture on 12/15/63, though my belief is it could be one of Randy Kulp's efforts.  The picture of LV Baldwin #242 shows the outbound (westbound) drill a moment before it ducked under the 7th Street bridge... the bridge upon which the photographer was standing.  The turnout shown was the starting point of double tracking along the WEB which ran from 7th Street to about where 10th Street would have crossed the line... had it ever been built out to Sumner Avenue.  Though built as a runaround track with turnouts on each end (and if I'm remembering correctly, a crossover about midway along its length), this second track was mainly used during the 1960s and early 70s as a siding to service a number of small industries once located along Sumner Avenue in this 3-block stretch.  This eastern part of the siding was little used except on the rare occasion when Schneider's wanted a gondola placed south of the main.  (On one of the first few pages of this thread, I posted a picture of mine showing a LV SW placing a PC gondola here.)  Though impossible to see in the previous photo due to snow cover and a great deal of weed overgrowth, this second track still existed at the time Bob took his photo of the Ironton-led drill.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 1st, 2016, 11:11pm
I'll end tonight with another Latshaw image captured on 12/19/75 near 5th & Sumner Avenue as the drill moved eastbound along the southern edge of Jordan Park.  Today's Sumner Avenue extension follows the right-of-way shown at this location.  The view is looking northwest from the end of N 5th Street.  Next time, the final 3 photos I have to share along the WEB.  -- Mark
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 2nd, 2016, 6:14am
I have got to say "thanks for the great photos and memories".  I worked both branches when assigned to the East Penn drill. Around the mid 1970's before Conrail.  The job also worked the mainline to Cementon.
  So sad to see it all gone.  But your great photos remain and I thank you again for those.
   Keith
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 2nd, 2016, 2:27pm
So glad to know that people are finding this thread is active once again and are enjoying the additions.  Any chance, Keith, that you were working the drill pictured above... being that it was from 12/19/75?  I can imagine to a guy like yourself who actually worked on the trains which ran over these rails that it tugs on your heartstrings a bit to look back, knowing that nearly everything (other than Corman's yard at Race & Linden Sts.) is now history.  I was just down walking along the remnants of the former Valley main between Union and Linden Streets yesterday morning... taking pictures of some of the remaining industries (mostly boarded up now) which sat next to the line in that area.  I'm going to use them as backdrops on my model railroad and wanted to photograph them before redevelopment changes their appearance or knocks them down.  It's quite sad to stand at the site of the former Union St. crossing (where Corman's track now ends) and think back to the days when many trains were rolling down that line each day.  Hey... at least we have the memories, and for those too young to remember those brighter days in local train chasing, you have the pictures I've posted here to help you envision what it was like.
Today's first two photos were, again, taken by local railfan, Bob Wilt, back on 12/29/76.  In the first photo (below), the Ironton Baldwin is crossing what was then Sumner Avenue, just west of N 5th Street, as it worked its way onto the siding which serviced the Allentown Refrigerated Terminal to pick up an empty before dropping off a load (pictured behind the caboose up on the main track).  This company was one of the final 3 customers along the WEB before its abandonment in 1982.  Today, the newer Sumner Avenue runs up where the train is sitting, along the edge of Jordan Park.  The road pictured here still exists, but has had a slight change of name.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 2nd, 2016, 2:33pm
A little while later, after finishing its switching moves, the inbound drill is shown as it returned to the main track, ready to head back down to the small yard at Linden Street, today owned by R.J.Corman.  The view is looking northwest, just about at N. 5th St. intersection with the old Sumner Avenue.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Nov 2nd, 2016, 2:54pm
Finally, in this last post along the West End Branch, Dave Latshaw stood facing northeast as he photographed the inbound drill as it moved along the final 100 feet of track, just south of the gated Gordon Street crossing and north of the bridge which ran across the Jordan creek.  The date was 9/23/76, though no sign of the then newly-formed Conrail appeared on this train.
As stated a number of times in earlier entries on this thread, my ultimate goal in posting these images from days gone by was a bit selfish at first.  I thought if I shared what I had, others would do the same and I'd get to view my favorite railroad branches as photographed through the lens of other railfan's cameras.  While I know there are pictures out there which will never appear on this site for whatever reason, I've become quite happy that I began sharing  these many images a few years back... especially because the many comments and questions from younger railfans who were born too late to ever see these things made me feel like my efforts were well worth the time invested.  In the weeks ahead, I'll check to see if I have any Barber Branch pictures which I didn't post the first time around... though I tend to think there are very few I skipped over in the past.  In the mean time, feel free to post your comments, memories, experiences... or even photos on this thread.  I'm always interested in hearing from others who also enjoyed seeing slow-moving locals out on those rusty-railed, weed-covered branch lines.  Keeping the memories alive -- Mark
Posted by: darktown2 Posted on: Nov 4th, 2016, 7:25pm
More great photos and more great memories.  Sorry I was not working the branches when the Ironton 751 was in the area. I believe I was on the drill around 1973/74.  After that I  headed to Hazleton to work the mine runs. They are all gone now as well.    Thanks again I really do enjoy the shots.  Keith
Posted by: Charlie Ricker Posted on: Nov 7th, 2016, 11:18am
Mark (and everyone), I just wanted to take a few mins and thank you for all the photos you posted. It's great to see anything Lehigh Valley and I enjoy seeing what it was through the eyes of those who were able to capture the images.  
 
Thanks again!
 
Charlie
Posted by: Flemington Flyer Posted on: Dec 7th, 2016, 4:10pm
I saw this on eBay, and thought it might add to the discussion of the Barber Quarry branch.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Dec 8th, 2016, 10:10pm
Thanks for the contribution, FF.  Three things I found interesting about the drawing: (1) Lehigh Street was listed as Lehigh Ct. (Court, I presume.); (2) The drawing shows the LVT tracks running across the Little Lehigh on the east side of the bridge.  Though I was born several years after the LVT went out of business, the rails remained on that open grate bridge until sometime around the year 2000 and they ran down the center of the bridge.  (3)  My favorite notation was showing the west end of the Barber Branch main as heading to the "Duck Farm" as if it were some major industry or destination point on the line.  Rather funny that the duck farm would be well known enough that it was listed on such a drawing.  Again... thanks for adding something of historic interest pertaining to these long gone branches.  --- Mark
Posted by: JimE Posted on: Mar 11th, 2017, 5:08pm
I found this over on facebook, in the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society group, and I immediately knew where I needed to share it!
 
Here is the caption:
Quote:

Yes, Allentown had some street running! On May 17, 1974 LVRR # 223 has a train on the West End Branch on a back road near the intersection of 13th and Gordon Streets.  
Photo by Jacob J. Stofko
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 12th, 2017, 10:34pm
JimE: Thank you very much for adding this to our branch line thread.  Though the date on this photo was from the years following my rides with engineer Harold Barwick (who was retired at the time this picture was taken), the image is a special one to me being that it was taken as the engine was beginning its "flying switch" maneuver at N. Madison & Scott Street... something I witnessed countless times in earlier years when visiting my grandparents' house at Madison & Gordon Sts.  One correction I must make is... though it's not clear in this picture, there actually was no "street running" along the WEB.  The main track ran along the edge of Scott Street... not down the street itself.  On the other side of the train is a second  track (a run-around track) which, along with the main, ran through a weed and grass-covered area... not down the street itself.   I'm not a Facebook user but if you are, Jim... is it possible to send a message to the person who posted the picture to make sure he knows about this forum?  Who knows... maybe he has more photos he'd be willing to share here.  Thanks again for your contribution!  I always enjoy seeing pictures taken along the Allentown branches which I've never seen before.  -- Mark
Posted by: gfluck1 Posted on: Mar 16th, 2017, 2:36pm
This was posted the other day on FB by Greg Gunshore, BLW S12, LV 230 doing a little work adjacent to Jones Coal, unfortunately Greg did not know the who or when this was taken.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 17th, 2017, 12:28pm
gfluck1: Once again you've come up with a great, older photograph taken along the WEB.  Looking at the top of the J. Harry Jones coal facility, it's possible to make out some of the lettering, but it appears to be much less "white" than in the photo I posted from around 1950 back on page 9 (reply #177).  It just dawned on me that this picture must have been taken in the late 50s or early 60s.  I base that on the fact that I have a picture of me as a baby being held by my father in front of his parents' house on Gordon St.  In that photo, the brick building pictured to the right of the engine (with the bicycle leaning against it) had not been built yet, and I was born in the fall of 1955.  What a wonderful addition.  Thanks for adding it here!
Just one other comment regarding the previous photo posting and the "street running" tag line.  I may have been wrong in my assumption that the crew was beginning a flying switch move in that photo.  I say that because of the position of the caboose (end of train) and brakeman (walking west).  I was at college in May of 1974 when Jacob Stofko took his photo so I'm not sure whether the crews were still performing this type of move or not.  When I rode with the crew in the late 60s and very early 70s, the caboose was always placed behind the engine on the outbound run so the conductor could man the brake wheel on the east end of the caboose as the cars rolled east, down the slight grade between Madison and N. 13th Sts.  Also, it may have depended on how many cars were on the train on a given day, but most times I watched the crew begin their flying switch, the engine would actually start to pull the train east (after all individual air brakes were released while stopped at Madison St.), then tap the brake to create slack on the couplers between the engine and caboose.  At that point, the conductor would pull the coupler pin on the caboose and climb on board as the engine accelerated to quickly clear the next points-facing turnout (just east of the Madison St. crossing), allowing time for a second brakeman to throw the switch before the rest of the train slowly rolled by and onto another track.   Due to the fact that the brakeman pictured is walking several feet away from the train, I would doubt that those cars were rolling freely at the moment the picture was taken.  It's possible the engine was preparing to reverse after clearing a crossover switch (located just about where the space is between engine and first car) and run around the train on the adjacent track.  (See page 9, replies #163 and #167  for a better understanding of what I'm talking about.  These photos will also prove that this was not a section of street running along the West End Branch.) --Mark
Posted by: henryS Posted on: Mar 19th, 2017, 3:55pm
LV 230 is a Baldwin S12, not an Alco.
Posted by: barnabascollins Posted on: Mar 21st, 2017, 12:34am
I was curious if any one had any clue (no relation to the game) as to what happened to the switcher that was at the fuller company.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Mar 27th, 2017, 12:34pm
I don't remember where exactly, but somewhere in the latter half of this thread I believe Dave Latshaw stated the switcher (and other railroad equipment) used at Traylor Engineering on the Barber Branch was sold after the last company who occupied the building went out of business... though I don't think he stated to whom. -- Mark
Posted by: DAVE-39 Posted on: Mar 31st, 2017, 6:26pm
I have the same question. I don't know where the ex-Traylor GE switcher went. I can give a little bit of background notes but I can't answer the question.  
In early April 2011 the switcher rounded up the last eight remaining flat cars on the property and placed them together at the end of the yard. All 8 flat cars were ex-Reading flat cars from the 9400 series. By April 8th the flat cars had tags that said "Auction by Myron Bowling Auctioneer on April 14, 2011". The switcher was still in the yard on April 19th but gone by the 21st. The switches were lined that the switcher may have been moved back to the former Erecting Shop where it could be stored until it was picked up by the new owner. There was a road by the Erecting Shop where the switcher could have been loaded unto a highway trailer for transportation to the new site. The flat cars remained in the yard for a short time but were gone by early June. Soon after that all yard tracks were removed and the only thing remaining from that large yard were rotted ties.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 5th, 2017, 11:17pm
I must take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to JimE for the recent photo he found on Facebook and brought to this site.  Today I met with the photographer of that picture, Mr. Jacob Stofko, and spent several hours looking though his photo albums for other pictures taken along the West End and Barber branches.  Jake was kind enough to allow me to borrow a dozen or so pictures to scan and add to this site for all to enjoy.  Just when I thought I'd never find any more photos of these two long-gone branches, I was proven wrong.  I'm limited in time tonight, but I'll post the first two photos... the first one taken by Jake's father on 08/08/68 from a second floor window of the house they once rented.  I have no memory of any houses located so close to the Gordon Street crossing, just north of where the Valley's Linden St. yard (now R.J. Corman) is located.  Jake said they were torn down in the 1970s because they sat in the flood plain along the Jordan creek.  Anyway... if only all of us had such a view out of our bedroom windows.  Though the Jordan Loop tracks were gone at this point, the photo shows the West End drill heading north toward the Gordon St. crossing as it passed the old J.L. target signals and remains of a former coal trestle.  The picture was taken looking south and the houses visible at far right face N. 4th Street in Allentown.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 5th, 2017, 11:33pm
One more image for tonight's posting.  Another view of the West End drill taken again from a second floor window, this time looking northwest as it was crossing the only gated grade crossing on the line.  The date was 05/14/70 as engineer Harold Barwick took #291 and its train northbound out on the WEB.  Judging by the rust on the rails, it looks like some earlier rainfall and a few days of no traffic on the line was enough to oxidize the shine off the tops of those old rails.  Look closely and you'll see the remnant of the former westbound track of the Jordan Loop partially buried in the asphalt to the right of the still active eastbound track.  By the way, the building at left was recently razed... another bit of Allentown's industrial history gone for good!  Will have a few more West End and a half-dozen or so Barber branch photos to post in the next couple of days... a few of which are quite interesting.  Stay tuned!  -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 6th, 2017, 1:03pm
Continuing on with my display of Jacob Stofko's photographs, here's one that was quite a surprise.  "Quakertown & Eastern" steam locomotive #4 is shown sitting just north of the Cedar Street crossing on the West End branch.  The track at left is the WEB main.  The siding on which old #4 was sitting originally serviced the abandoned Dougherty Foundry and was actually a continuation of the siding which served the McDermott Brothers iron works located just behind and to the right of the photographer.  Jake informed me the engine had been moved (dead) to McDermott Brothers for boiler work and was pushed to this point on the siding to keep McDermott's track clear until the work was completed.  The date was 01/20/68.  The building pictured and Cedar St. still exist today... just don't expect to find any tracks or trains at this location.
I, personally, was not familiar with the Q&E railroad, so I did a Google search and found some information stating #4 was privately owned at this time and in 1970, pulled an excursion train between this area and Warwick, NY.  There are even a few pictures posted showing the train in action.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 6th, 2017, 1:47pm
Unfortunately, the last two WEB photos Jake had were taken all the way out at the end of the branch.  In this picture, dated 06/14/86, the 12th Street terminal/yard hadn't seen train service in over 4 years.  Within the following few weeks, the company contracted by the City of Allentown to remove all rails and ties would be pulling up these last traces of railroad in the northwest part of the old city.
Though no trains are pictured in this view taken looking east from the N. Madison St. crossing, I thought it was a good picture to post because it shows a number of businesses and industries which once existed in this area.  To the right of the track is Scott Street.  At the right edge of the photo is what was then the Unemployment Bureau.  North 13th St. crossed (from right to left) in front of the stacks of lumber and Ritter & Smith's lumber company shed (the reddish wooden building visible above the lumber) blocks the view of the then abandoned Peters Plant Food warehouse.  The trees in the distance sat inside the large West End cemetery along N. 12th St.  The brick building just to the left of the blue truck parked in the distance was originally the Penna. Ind. Oil Co. (still standing as an auto repair shop today).  Slightly to the left, you'll see a portion of a dark red building with gray doors.  That was the M.S. Young Company building (Ritter & Smith Truss Company as I remember it in the 60s and 70s).  Not visible in this scene is the track which used to run from the track at left all the way over to the north (left) side of this old structure.  (It was removed around 1970 or '71.)  The rails used to run just south of the southern sidewalk along Liberty St. and ended at the edge of the western sidewalk along N. 12th Street... where today's CVS building sits.
Finally, the tannish building to the left (which actually was on the west side of N. 13th Street) was part of a grouping of buildings which were, in part, owned by the Trexler Lumber Co.  It's easy to see the changes in track elevation which existed at this part of the line and made the "flying switch" maneuver possible.  The 13th Street crossing was the transitional point between down and up-grade.  Due to the rise in elevation in the 12th St. yard, it was possible for the conductor (riding on the east-facing caboose platform at the head end) to stop the train by applying the brakes on the caboose just as the free-rolling train entered the 13th St. crossing.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 6th, 2017, 2:02pm
For today's final post, I'll wind the clock back nearly 10 years from the last photo to 11/01/76.  Jake captured RDG SW #2761 along Scott St., switching midway between the N. Madison and N. 13th St. crossings.  This was a total surprise to me as I'd never known either branch to be worked by a RDG engine during the early days of Conrail.  I'm only sorry he didn't photograph more locations as the drill worked the WEB that day.  If you look closely up near the end of track, just below the trees, you'll see the end of a light-colored box car which was positioned next to the unloading ramp once located there...  most likely a lumber delivery for the Ritter & Smith company.
Next time I'll begin displaying the final 9 photos taken along the Barber branch during the Conrail and R.J. Corman eras.   Stay tuned!   -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 3:56pm
With the impressive 8th Street bridge sitting off in the distance, Jake photographed the drill returning from Traylor Engineering along the Barber branch.  His date states he took this (and two of the following) pictures on 05/26/85, so that's what I'm listing.  However, judging by the lack of green on the trees and grass in these photos, I'm guessing it was more like 03/26/85, or possibly 04/26/85.  Anyway... the eastbound train is just about to cross the spot where the double diamond crossing with the Allentown Terminal RR (CNJ & RDG) once existed... moments before crossing the curved trestle over the Jordan Creek and exiting the branch.  (There used to be a large pile of dirt and stones at this location, allowing a railfan to get some elevation when photographing a subject.)
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:04pm
On 04/06/87, CR SW-1500 #9525 was photographed as it moved along the Barber branch a block or so west of the last picture.  This was taken looking east from the edge of M.L.K. Blvd., close to where the Parkettes building stands.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:16pm
Jumping ahead to 01/16/02, Jake faced west and photographed a bend in the branch, just east of the Lehigh Street grade crossing... the spot where the line cut through an auto junk yard.  This was the day the Corman RR was pulling up track after the branch was abandoned.  Though there are no engines or cars in the photo, I liked the fact that he had walked in from Lehigh Street and turned around to show the curve which existed here.  (More photos taken this day will appear at the end of these postings.)  Take note of the brick building on the right, for it will appear in the next posting, but from about a 180-degree turned view.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:25pm
Back to 05/23/85.  Conrail SW #8698 sat idling on the east side of the Lehigh Street grade crossing... next to the building shown in the previous posting.  This was photographed just 3 days before the first of today's postings showing the Traylor shipment being moved east of this point.  Notice that the engine in that shot, however, was Conrail's SW #8693, not the 8698.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:32pm
Here's the other SW (8693) on its 05/26/85 move out to pick up its load at Traylor.  It was photographed this time on the west side of the Lehigh St. crossing.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:45pm
A short while later that same day, Jake managed to photograph #8693 through the trees as it sat at Traylor engineering along the Little Lehigh creek... waiting for its load to be moved into place.  You can see the large ring load sitting on a different track to the east (left) of the engine.  My guess is Traylor's small switcher may have been sitting directly behind the SW, preparing to pull the flat car to the rear (west) of Conrail's engine.  As is evident in the first photo of these Barber branch postings, the load was pulled along the branch behind the Conrail unit, not pushed by it.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 4:56pm
Unfortunately, the last 3 photos I'll be posting from Jake's collection are from that gloomy day in January, 2002 (the 16th), when a track crew from the R.J. Corman RR worked their way from west to east, pulling up spikes, rails and old tie plates from the rotting ties below along this old Valley branch line.  This photo was taken looking west from the curved trestle over the Jordan Creek.  The roadrailer is just about at the spot where the Allentown Terminal RR once crossed the Barber branch.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 5:44pm
A short while later, rails were being removed from the trestle.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 7th, 2017, 5:57pm
This final post shows the removing of rails just east of the Jordan trestle with the old gas works tower in the background.
I hope you enjoyed these unexpected additional photos taken by Jacob Stofko.  As I previously stated, finding anything these days showing the West End branch (removed in 1986) or the Barber branch (removed in 2002) is like discovering lost treasure to someone like me.  Jake told me he doesn't own a computer and knew nothing of this thread's existence, so I'm very happy that one of the followers of the images and captions I've posted here over the past several years brought the existence of Jake's collection to my attention.  If anyone knows of any other railfans who may be older and not very computer savvy, please talk to them and see if they have any branch line photos or slides in their collections.  I'll be more than happy to scan their images and post them here for all to enjoy.  -- Mark Rabenold
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 17th, 2017, 9:57pm
Last week, a number of railroad-related pictures appeared on mcall.com, the website for Allentown's daily newspaper.  I was unable to view them myself, but a friend recently forwarded them to me and the following image (looking west, possibly taken from the top of the former gas works tank which used to sit east of Basin St. and south of Union St.) was so good and rare that I felt it had to be shared here.  Though neither the West End nor the Barber branches are shown, this photo shows almost the entire section of the Jordan Loop track which ran between the two branches.  Also visible are both the Lehigh Valley and the Allentown Terminal (CNJ & Reading shared) stations which sat along the 300 block of Hamilton St. in days gone by.  The passenger coaches shown were sitting on the holding tracks which ran along the west side of the ATRR station.  The Union St. tower which once controlled all movements in this area sat just out of view to the left of the photo.  I don't know the date nor the name of the photographer, but based on the track arrangement shown and the condition of the two stations, my guess is the photo was taken sometime  during the 1950s... or even earlier.   Hope you all enjoy examining this rather rare find!  -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 21st, 2017, 11:43pm
I met again with Jake Stofko today and he had a few more prints to offer.  In this photo from 3/23/86, the Brownhoist crane used by E. Schneider & Son scrap yard on Sumner Ave. sits just west of the 7th Street bridge.  Next time I'll be posting two more fascinating pictures from Jake's collection, these taken around 1911-1912 at the former West End Jct. along the Jordan Loop. -- Mark
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 22nd, 2017, 9:34pm
As promised, the following two images were obtained from the collection of Jake Stofko and were both dated "1911-1912".  They were photographed by John P. Scharle, an Allentown train enthusiast who enjoyed taking railroad photos during the early days of railfanning.  In this first image, a recently constructed Tilghman Street bridge is the primary subject shown.  However, to those of us who were often more interested in seeing what ran under the automobile bridges we drove across, take a gander at this!  At left you'll see an unobstructed view of the double-tracked Jordan Loop and (at left) the beginning of the West End Branch just north of where it diverged from the southbound (railroad east) J.L. track at West End Junction.  Looking through the open upper truss of the bridge you can see the McDermott Bros. industry.  The waterway shown is the Jordan Creek.  At far right, the railroad tracks running beneath the bridge belonged to the CNJ and traveled between the Allentown Terminal station and the CNJ main.  (Today's American Parkway road.)  Look closely just above the surface of the bridge (slightly left of the right through truss) and you'll see a covered bridge (with advertising painted on its side) which once stood very close to the current interchange of Sumner Avenue and the American Parkway.  Notice, too, all of the open farm land which appears above the left half of the bridge.  The view is looking northeast.
Posted by: A-townbranchfan Posted on: Apr 22nd, 2017, 9:57pm
In this second historical view, the photographer is standing at trackside facing south as a LV passenger train heads north (railroad west) along the Jordan Loop at West End Junction.  The center track is the eastbound J.L. track which remained in service to this point after the J.L. was abandoned to allow access to the West End branch... the ballast-less track shown at right.  You can see that a crossover existed between tracks one and two.  You'll also see the first half of the siding (at right, beyond the WEB track) which used to service the building which sat on the north side of the Gordon St. crossing (until its recent demolition)... the building shown in earlier postings which had the painted sign for Rabinowitz & Sons on its east wall.  Off in the distance is the faint outline of the Adelaide Silk Mill at Race & Linden Sts.  Also, take note of the string of box cars sitting over in the small CNJ yard which used to sit just north of their Gordon St. crossing.
My special thanks to Jake Stofko for his willingness to share these rare images here with all of us.  Hopefully this will ignite a spark in those of you who may have Allentown branch photos you haven't yet shared.  Again, I'll be happy to scan your images or slides if you don't have the equipment needed to do so.  I'm in the phonebook.  -- Mark Rabenold