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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<