Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentown

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Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentown

Postby OCtrainguy » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:46 pm

I drove up to Jim Thorpe today and used the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike from Allentown to Lehighton. Around MP 58, I noticed a railroad bridge going over the turnpike. The bridge is marked "Conrail". From what I was able to tell, the ROW looks to be in good condition. So, I was wondering what line this is and whose line it originally was and if NS still uses it. Any information would be appreciated.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby amtrakhogger » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:19 pm

The C&F (Catasaqua and Fogelsville) Secondary.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby Andyt293 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:38 am

The line is indeed owned by the NS. Ironically, the "Conrail" sign on the bridge went up only a few weeks ago. The line in question was severed by Conrail after the Delaware and Hudson expressed interest in purchasing it in order to create a bypass around Allentown yard in order to reach Reading and Philadelphia more easily.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby JhnZ33 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:31 pm

Andyt293 wrote:The line is indeed owned by the NS. Ironically, the "Conrail" sign on the bridge went up only a few weeks ago. The line in question was severed by Conrail after the Delaware and Hudson expressed interest in purchasing it in order to create a bypass around Allentown yard in order to reach Reading and Philadelphia more easily.


And with the construction plans currently in progress for RT 145, the bridge over the C&F will soon be gone and so will ANY chance of reviving the line to Catasauqua. They are planning to lower the road by 3 to 6 feet in this area.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby OCtrainguy » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:06 pm

Thanks for the information on the line.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby carajul » Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:52 pm

The line was the C&F. It left the Reading main at Alburtis, PA and connected to the LVRR mainline in the Hokendaqua section of Whitehall, PA. There was a sizable yard there but the yard was disused sometime in the 1960s. Rails sat there until the late 1980s. I know the line is still busy at its south end and Kraft Foods is a huge shipper of boxcars. I've never seen a train going over the turnpike bridge. There is an 84 Lumber just past it as well as a spur that always had covered hoppers parked on it but I've seen nothing parked on those spurs in 5+ years. I think Kraft is the only thing keeping the line alive.

The line is abandoned just past the village of Sieple and the track was torn out 1982 when CR was on its abandon every line possible escapade. Interesting comment about CR intentionally abandoning it to thwart D&H from using it. In the good ole days the line was 4 tracks after ducking under Rt 145 but after the cement industry went to trucks in the late 1960s things got bad. I have a Bednar video from 1972 of a mow train on the C&F crossing Eberhardt Rd (known as Mickleys Station on the RR) and it was just a single track in the mud/weeds then.

There was a wye track off the C&F that connected to the LVRR Biery Yard too. Biery yard was reduced to 2 tracks in 1969. I'm told the Biery yard tracks, Ironton track, and RDG yard trackage were still in place until the late 1980s/early 1990s. The RDG yard was actually across Water St. All the tracks crossed the street.

In fact CR must have still been using it in the early 1980s. One of my buddies is a school bus driver and almost lost his job. He was driving across Water St and the yard track, never stopped as required with a bus as he assume the rr was abandond. Half way across he sees a CR loco and train doing about 30mph coming right at him! He slammed on the brakes just in time. He said the track was so bad the freight cars were flopping around on the rails.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby OCtrainguy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:47 pm

I have seen and heard references to the "C&F" track at Alburtis with an Allentown Yard local. Now I know.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby BuddCarToBethlehem » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:36 am

carajul wrote: I know the line is still busy at its south end and Kraft Foods is a huge shipper of boxcars. I've never seen a train going over the turnpike bridge.


I know a family that used to live in a development off that line in Upper Macungie. Their HOA tried to sue the realty comapany and builder because of the train "noise." To their surprise, but not mine, they couldn't find a lawyer who would take the case.

Doesn't GEO Specialty Chemicals (the former Trojan Powder Co.) still get shipments along that line? They're located between N. Cedar Crest Blvd. & Mauch Chunk Rd. The line crosses Cedar Crest above grade so it's impossible to tell while driving. I do remember until the late '90's the RR X-ing warning painted on the asphalt on Mauch Chunk just before Seiple Station Rd., the former ROW, but the tracks were long gone. I haven't been out Huckleberry Road (or Main Road as it was once known) for a long time, but I know the line used to cross the road near Stetlersville just east of Wehr Mill Rd. Although to be fair, I can't remember ever seeing a train on that portion of the line.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby Schuylkill Valley » Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:46 pm

This is an over head view , the Red line is where the Right of Way is.

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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby Andyt293 » Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:04 pm

I deleted several posts because I felt that they bordered on personal attacks by one member to another or were poorly written and/or irrelevant.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby IRN750 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:46 am

Yes they still go to Geo. usally on a Friday They also go to the old Alpo now Nestles Purina about 3 - 4 days a week. The H90 does this work and is on that end of the branch in the afternoon. The C&F still has a good amount of business and has 3 crews that go on duty at Chapman. H90 at 8am does the C&F main work going west first as far as PCA switching PCA, Behr Paint, Mallards Refrig. Kraft,Nexus,and Amcor Plastic. they return to Chapman yd and then go east to Alpo,and Geo. 84 lumber still gets a car once in awhile. The H91 is on duty at 1130am and does the Iron Run Branch Americold Refr. Sappi Paper,WSI warehouse,Blu Links lumber. They come back to chapman and then do the Strohs Branch Nestles warehouse and Sam Addams brewery. The H89 is on duty at 9pm and will do Coke on the Strohs Branch first then return to Chapman and gather all the Allentown cars up at Chapman and head to Alburtis stoppping at Kraft to pick up cars left there from the H90. They then go to Alburtis and runaround the train and go to Allentown drop the cars and pickup and return to Alburtis and Chapman.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby mediccjh » Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:47 am

IRN750 wrote:Yes they still go to Geo. usally on a Friday They also go to the old Alpo now Nestles Purina about 3 - 4 days a week. The H90 does this work and is on that end of the branch in the afternoon. The C&F still has a good amount of business and has 3 crews that go on duty at Chapman. H90 at 8am does the C&F main work going west first as far as PCA switching PCA, Behr Paint, Mallards Refrig. Kraft,Nexus,and Amcor Plastic. they return to Chapman yd and then go east to Alpo,and Geo. 84 lumber still gets a car once in awhile. The H91 is on duty at 1130am and does the Iron Run Branch Americold Refr. Sappi Paper,WSI warehouse,Blu Links lumber. They come back to chapman and then do the Strohs Branch Nestles warehouse and Sam Addams brewery. The H89 is on duty at 9pm and will do Coke on the Strohs Branch first then return to Chapman and gather all the Allentown cars up at Chapman and head to Alburtis stoppping at Kraft to pick up cars left there from the H90. They then go to Alburtis and runaround the train and go to Allentown drop the cars and pickup and return to Alburtis and Chapman.


Chapman, as in Northampton County?
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby carajul » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:12 pm

Using live maps I headed west just past the turnpike bridge. The 81 Lumber spur is in but no cars spotted. Right next to that is the spur where the covered hopper was always parked. The structure over the tracks is now gone and the spur is just alone in the grass...kiss another rail customer goodbye. There was hoppers parked there for decades. Next is Nestle packed with boxcars. Continuing there are a few defunct spurs and just past Cedar Crest Blvd there is a spur into some type of chemical looking facility (I'm assuming this is GEO) with a tank car on it. Then there are a few more defunct spurs before the line fades into the woods/grass. End of line.

Just north of where the line starts in Upper Macungie there are lots of buildings in an industrial park with spurs and quite a few box, tank, and hopper cars spotted, including one factory that has 10 (yes, TEN) spurs going into it. Two fo the spurs are paved over. Maybe the others are used and the cars are inside the building. This I think is Kraft Foods.

The current C&F is an example of what a RR can do with a branchline if it offers good service and actually wants to serve and keep customers.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby MariusP » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:50 pm

How busy is the remainder of the line? I know there's dozens of spurs going to the various warehouses, but the whole thing is single tracked which makes me wonder. I heard NS moves cars in and out once a week, but this could just be hearsay.
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Re: Rail line over NE extension of PA Turnpike near Allentow

Postby BuddCarToBethlehem » Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:22 pm

mediccjh wrote:Chapman, as in Northampton County?


No, this one is in Upper Macungie Twp., Lehigh County. It's located along Memorial Road.

The village is bordered by Tilghman St to the north, Ruppsville Rd to the west, and Chapmans Road to the east and south. These days most people refer the area as Iron Run, for the namsake industrial park to the west, or Kuhnsville, which is to the east, instead of Chapman. The station was located on Memorial Road (still is) just east of the Farm Bureau Rd. intersection.

http://www.west2k.com/papix/chapman.jpg
http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qrycwz ... orm=LMLTCC
http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials. ... &year=1955

Don't feel too bad about confusing it for the borough in Northampton County. When I was right out of college when my boss tells me around 4:00 on a Friday to drive to Chapman to pick up some documents from client. I argued with him because I didn't want to drive from center city Allentown all the way north of Bath and back. Did I ever feel like an idiot when it was explained that it is was the one in Lehigh County about 15 mintues from the office.
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