Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

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Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby frank754 » Thu May 16, 2013 3:01 pm

I've been studying the Wilkes-Barre area railroad lines in Fallen Flag days, and have been piecing together where the old lines ran and so far came up with this map, representing the lines in the early 50's. So far, if there were any additional lines still existing to collieries/breakers I haven't added them yet, but I do have a source which shows them so they can be added later. Here's the map I put together in the past few days, you can expand it to street level using the plus sign in your browser window, but warning - it's about 4.7 Megs so may take a while to load:

http://viewoftheblue.com/photography/ma ... _1950s.jpg

If anyone is an authoritative/accurate historian, I'd really appreciate knowing the dates of (1) last run and (2) dismantling of the lines that are now gone, and if you think of any I haven't mentioned, please feel free,,,

Main Lines gone:
1 LV line from Mountain Top through Warrior Run
2 CNJ "backtrack" line from Mountain Top to Ashley
3 DL&W line through Kingston
4 Parallel LV line south of Mountain Top into the Lehigh River gorge
5 Parallel CNJ line from Ashley into downtown Wilkes-Barre (only the LV side now exists) and did they both run under the same Blackman St underpass a few blocks from Vulcan Iron Works?

Secondary Lines:
6 CNJ east side line through Wilkes-Barre which paralleled W-B Township Blvd up to Garner's Switch in Parsons
7 CNJ Nanticoke branch from Ashley to Nanticoke
8 CNJ branch through Plains (with a station in Plains) which was east of the D&H line still extant
9 I think I have enough info on the Laurel Line, WB&H, LV line to Harvey's Lake and the Erie and WB&E, but feel free to
add to the discussion if you want ... mainly on this I'm wondering when the LV's Port Bowkey bridge was torn down, the one which was just north of the Cross Valley Expwy and served the line to Dallas
10 The LV line from Coxton southwest to Luzerne (operated by the "Pocono Northeast" into the 70's? )
11 The LV West Pittston Branch (south through the cemetary which connected with the DL&W east of Exeter Ave)

Coal or connecting lines:
12 The PRR line across the bridge just south of the Nanticoke Broadway bridge which connected to the DL&W
13 The PRR line to Glen Alden
14 The CNJ coal line which ran southwest from the Nanticoke branch through Wanamie and towards Shickshinny
15 There were also a few lines which ran to the Kingston breakers near the west end of Edwardsville..
first the WBCRR line from near Vulcan Iron works which ran between Wood and Elizabeth St past Fish Island tower and
across a bridge just north of Fish Island then north to the breakers
16 The LV had a line in Kingston south of Pringle St which connected with the DL&W near Main St, and...
17 this DL&W coal line ran from Edwardsville just north of Main St to near Arch & Atlantic Aves, where it connected with the WBCRR mentioned in 15 above
18 There also seems to have been another bridge and DL&W line which crossed the Susquehanna a short distance north of the Rt 29 bridge (north of Nanticoke) and served some Hanover Collieries (Loomis breaker, etc.)
19 Then there were some coal line branches such as these I've seen on an old map, have no idea how long they were in service:
CNJ to Maffet Colliery east of Sugar Notch
20 CNJ crossing south Wilkes-Barre to connect with the PRR near Buttonwood Yard (crossing San Souci Pkwy at Elma Dr)
21 LV line from Petty's Pond (south W-B) east to Franklin breaker crossing Blackman St at New Frederick.
22 Two CNJ lines east from near Northampton St to Empire #5 breaker and Hollenbeck #2 breaker.
23 unknown line (probably 19th century) to Baltimore Breaker area at the current site of both the WV Mall and Arena Hub Plaza
... and there were some others as well .. one last question for now
24 Was there a third RR (perhaps going back to the 19th century which ran parallel to the PRR from near Buttonwood Yard, through downtown on what is now Pennsylvania Blvd, then paralleled the Laurel Line between Union & Jackson, kept along the river north of where the Laurel Line headed NE to Pittston, the paralleled the LV to the east to Burrough's Colliery and up to near the 8th St bridge ... there was also a CNJ line from the D&H Yard in Plains which looped around to near the Cross Valley Expy bridge then north to join up with the ex-Erie at Port Blanchard/Plains Jn. near the 8th St bridge as well...

So basically, if anyone can shed more light on these, it would definitely add to my historical understanding of the area, and I'd be able to put together a document to share the info further. Thanks in advance. :)
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby frank754 » Thu May 16, 2013 5:55 pm

To follow up, here are two resources I've been using which you may find helpful. The first is a .kmz file. For this one you must have Google Earth installed, then open the file from within Google Earth when it's running:
Get the file here:
https://productforums.google.com/forum/ ... wMGh4zgE4J

Secondly this pdf file with a large line map dated 2/11/39, showing existing and abandoned lines:
http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/7871/18390 ... _11_39.pdf

Maybe a moderator could move this thread to the "Anthracite RR" forum, didn't see that at first.

I'm going to find as much info from the web on the above questions, and I've also had correspondence with a few people from the area, so will post my own results for this once I find any definitive answers, but in the mean time all input is appreciated.
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby Andyt293 » Mon May 27, 2013 12:26 am

I am by no means an "authoritative historian" but I might be able to add some information.

1. The LV Passenger Main was effectively abandoned in the 1960's after the discontinuation of passenger service on the LV (1959) and the 1965 consolidation agreement between the CNJ and LV allowed for movement of LV trains destined to downtown Wilkes-Barre for interchange with the PRR, D&H and the CNJ to use the CNJ backtrack from Laurel Run down through Georgetown and into Ashley to reach Wilkes-Barre yard.

2. The CNJ backtrack from Laurel Run to Ashley became extremely unstable by the Fall of 1972 due to mine fires on Wilkes-Barre Mountain and was taken out of service around that time. Conrail eventually pulled up what was left of the track for scrap, I believe around 1977 or 1978 after it effectively ended the lease of the Lehigh and Susquehanna line by purchasing it outright from the corporate successor to the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (who only active business activity was the Cella Confection company!). Between the Fall of 1972 and the 1973 opening of the connection between the LV and the D&H at Dupont Interlocking, trains of the LV had to traverse the cut-off to Coxton and then reverse direction and head down the Wilkes-Barre Secondary (former LV Passenger Main) from Pittston to Wilkes-Barre yards in order to interchange with the D&H.

3. The DL&W Bloomsburg Branch was rebuilt by the EL after the 1972 Agnes flood only be to cut in half by Conrail. The line was ripped up between Berwick and Edwardsville shortly after 1976. The line was eventually sold to Pocono Northeast in 1982 or 1983. After the PNER's bankruptcy in 1993, the line was purchased by the Luzerne County Rail Authority and operated by the Delaware-Lackawanna and the Luzerne and Susquehanna Railway. Currently it has been at least a year since the line has seen any use and the portion from Pittston Junction to Susquehanna River Bridge is used to store out of service engines. The portion from Pittston Junction is used by the Reading and Northern to access Taylor Yard and their customers in the Stauffer Industrial Park.

4. The LV Cutoff from Laurel Run to Fraser was operated by the LV after the 1965 consolidation and was called the "Escape Route" by the crews. It was operated into 1983 or so before Conrail ripped up the line.

5. The CNJ and the LV both ran under the Blackman Street underpass. After the CNJ pulled out of Pennsylvania in 1972, the LV and Conrail operated a local to Ashley. I believe what was left of the line was pulled up around 1982.

6 and 7. This is a tough one as the "east side" you mentioned that paralleled Wilkes-Barre Township Boulevard was actually the Nanticoke Branch. The Nanticoke Branch actually ran from the Lee Mine in Wanamie through Nanticoke and Sugar Notch, crossed the mainline ins Ashley and rejoined the mainline at Gardner's Switch near Gardner Avenue in Parsons. In the 1950's there two symbol freights that ran nightly between Ashley and Avoca over the CNJ and the ERIE. The freights would leave Ashley Yard via the Nanticoke Branch, proceed to Gardner's Switch and rejoin the mainline for a short distance before leaving the main in Miner's Mills to run over the CNJ's Canal Branch to Plains Junction where a connection was made with ERIE. Pocono Northeast ran over the line as far as where Pep Boys is located today well into the late 1980's. The ROW was sold to Pennsylvania Power and Light for high voltage power line route.

8. I believe the line you are referring to was actually the CNJ Main and the station on East Main Street was actually in the Miner's Mills section of the City of Wilkes-Barre. This is the approximate area where the Canal Branch spun off from the main, curved almost 180 degrees and paralleled the Wilkes-Barre Connecting Railroad on it way to Plains Junction.

9. The Port Bowkley Bridge was dismantled in the late 1930's. The bridge was made of iron and needed major upgrades. Due to the decline in timbering and ice harvesting on the Bowman's Creek branch there was no need to spend money to replace the bridge when a connection was present with LV's West Pittston Branch.
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby toolmaker » Mon May 27, 2013 7:02 am

re: Andy

"The portion from Pittston Junction is used by the Reading and Northern to access Taylor Yard and their customers in the Stauffer Industrial Park."

I never see anyone working the huge industrial park off Keyser Ave., I didn't know the Reading and Northern has the switching rights to it.
-gary

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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby JhnZ33 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:57 am

A few things to add to above:

1: The last train down the LV from Gracedale through Warrior Run was November 1965 with LV Alco C-420's.

2: The CNJ's backtrack from Ashley to Laurel Run remained in use until the Dupont connection was put in place in 1973. After that, the line saw a few moves and was abandoned and removed from Laurel Run down to Allen Scrap Yard because of the unstable track from the mine fires. The remaining track out of Ashley to the Scrap yard saw short trains every week or two moving material in and out of the scrap yard until 82 or 83 when Conrail removed track.

5: There still remains 1 track under Blackman street. The Luzerne & Susquehanna uses this to access the Hanover industrial park located near Sugar Notch, PA
Riding the rails of the past via media and exploration
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby charlie6017 » Mon May 27, 2013 8:55 am

I'm enjoying the history lesson. This area must have been fantastic to watch all those years ago.

Charlie
~Charlie Ricker
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby Andyt293 » Mon May 27, 2013 6:35 pm

toolmaker wrote:re: Andy

"The portion from Pittston Junction is used by the Reading and Northern to access Taylor Yard and their customers in the Stauffer Industrial Park."

I never see anyone working the huge industrial park off Keyser Ave., I didn't know the Reading and Northern has the switching rights to it.


Reading and Northern acquired the line from Conrail at the same time the R&N acquired the Lehigh Line from Mehoopany to M&H Junction (Penn Haven). The R&N has either trackage rights or joint ownership of a couple hundred feet of track in Taylor Yard. The D&H trackage from Minooka Jct joins the Bloomsburg branch and then the R&N splits off to the left with the D&H operating the former Bloom from Taylor Yard to Bridge 60 in Scranton where the line joins the former Lackawanna Mainline.

Not sure what business remains, I know that years ago Poly Hi Solidur used to receive a substantial amount of covered hoppers filled with plastic pellets and there was a produce company that received mechanical reefers. Originally the whole area was the site of the huge Hampton Yard and the Lackawanna Car Shops. Hampton Yard's sole purpose was the classification of coal traffic and at one time the Lackawanna Shops made cabooses from the frames of retired steam locomotive tenders.
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby ssw9662 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:16 pm

Not sure what business remains, I know that years ago Poly Hi Solidur used to receive a substantial amount of covered hoppers filled with plastic pellets and there was a produce company that received mechanical reefers. Originally the whole area was the site of the huge Hampton Yard and the Lackawanna Car Shops. Hampton Yard's sole purpose was the classification of coal traffic and at one time the Lackawanna Shops made cabooses from the frames of retired steam locomotive tenders.


The big remaining customer is the Kane warehouse, which gets large quantities of BNSF insulated boxcars (I believe they are loaded with wine) for distribution. The industrial park is switched by an RBMN crew (PISB) out of Pittston. I have no idea if Poly Hi and the other freight customers still receive cars, but if they do it's not as frequent as what comes into Kane.

Also, here is a link to a Conrail map from the early 1980s of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.
http://multimodalways.org/docs/railroad ... 4-1983.pdf

This contains some of the dates of sale or abandonment as Conrail started to spin off its branch lines in the area. In addition, it provides a snapshot of what tracks remained by this time period.
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby frank754 » Thu May 30, 2013 8:55 pm

Andy & Jhn, thank you very much for the detailed replies, this helps a lot, and along with some other info I've received it clarifies the picture quite a bit. The April 1983 Conrail map was helpful as well.
I've been exploring the area more this year than before and have written some web pages showing the abandoned
sections, as well as some map & aerial documentation. For example:
http://viewoftheblue.com/photography/maps/ashley.html
and
http://viewoftheblue.com/photography/ma ... ranch.html

So to recap all the info I've learned so far from you and other sources, the list now looks like this (below)
Then I'll make another post with several unanswered questions.

Wilkes-Barre Area railroad abandonment dates, as reported from various sources...

Note: CONRAIL effective date April 1, 1976
CNJ gave up all trackage in Pennsylvania: April 1, 1972, and the LV took over operations
June 22, 1972 - Hurricane Agnes strikes

Downtown notes:
There were 6 tracks leading north from downtown. The westernmost pair was the LV mainline, separated a bit from the D&H/CNJ tracks just east.
On the east side, the D&H had 2 tracks, and the CNJ 2 tracks (the CNJ pair was to the right of the D&H looking north).
In earlier coal days, the LV's Mineral Springs branch crossed over the D&H & CNJ tracks on diamonds (south of Conyngham Ave).
The CNJ diverged north of Conyngham Ave (near the highway overpass) onto its own mainline through Parsons and joined up with the D&H
again south of the D&H Hudson Yard just north of E Main St. Both lines at one time had their own Parsons station.
The second CNJ (eastbound) track on the mainline to Hudson was abandoned (south of Conyngham Ave) before 1967, and continued single-track to Parsons.
The D&H had an engine terminal below Scott St. on the west side of the D&H/CNJ tracks, with a roundhouse at the north end (Scott St) and
a yard with a freight house at the lower end, just above the Laurel Line terminal area. The Laurel Line station was still standing in 1967.
South of Market St. on the D&H/CNJ side, only the double-tracked CNJ main continued to the CNJ station (adjacent to the Stegmaier Brewery).
South of the CNJ Station, the CNJ line expanded to 4 tracks (plus a few sidings) under the South St bridge vicinity,
and merged back to 2 tracks before Hazle St. The main two tracks were easternmost pair.
The LV yards began south of Market St., just south of the Laurel Line station. Their double-tracked main line continued north of Market St
separated a bit west of the D&H/CNJ ROW.
The PRR freight house was on the corner of Northampton St and Pennsylvania Ave. beginning just south of Northampton - it had a long covered platform
and there was a small PRR "city yard" just below it. The PRR tracks were to the west of the LV mainline and ended at Northampton.
The LV freight station was a wooden structure opposite the PRR freight house, also at Northampton, but on the east side of the wide ROW/yard.
The large LV passenger station was north of the freight house near the corner of Pennsylvania Ave and Market St.
It was torn down in the mid 60's, and was also used by PRR & D&H passenger trains at one time.
The PRR line diverged to the south of downtown, as the current single tracks still do, just above what was once Vulcan Iron Works.
The CNJ ROW joined the LV ROW south of Dana St, and parallelled each other to Franklin Junction which was just above the CNJ shop/roundhouse
area in Ashley, and joined again (the CNJ Nanticoke branch) to the southwest of Huber breaker and the CNJ Ashley yard, and finally split again
just east of Warrior Run where they had two separate stations.

Branch notes:
These branch lines were still operating in 1967 (from dated photo documentation):
The CNJ Nanticoke branch, from Gardner's switch in Parsons south past the CNJ yard/Huber breaker to the Nanticoke junction with the PRR,
as well as the line to Wanamie
The CNJ main line, from north of Conyngham Ave through Miners Mills which joined back up with the D&H a bit further north.
The CNJ Buttonwood branch from Buttonwood yard to the junction with the mainline in the woods west of Gilligan St. - still there in 1968
The CNJ Franklin Branch - Petty's Pond to Franklin breaker - still operating 1968 - LV had trackage rights over it (crossed under Hazle S of McLean St
and over Blackman at New Frederick diagonally)
The PRR line from Nanticoke to Glen Lyon (colliery reported still operating in the 70's)

Possibly gone much earlier than 1967:
The D&H Plymouth Branch (possibly still there in 1967 or long gone?) which ran from the Vulcan Iron Works and then between Wood/Elizabeth Sts and then
between Beekman/Conwell Sts in W-B to cross a bridge north of Fish Island to connect with the DL&W
The PRR line across its Nanticoke bridge to connect with the DL&W
The CNJ line that looped around southwest from Plains (parallelling the WBCRR) to the Erie junction at Port near the 8th St bridge

Main Lines gone:

1 LV line from Mountain Top through Warrior Run

This trackage was actually abandoned by the LV in 1965. Last passenger train, the Maple Leaf, ran on February 4, 1961.
The last train down the LV from Gracedale through Warrior Run was November 1965 with LV Alco C-420's. (JhnZ33)
I assume it was torn up shortly thereafter as by that time all LV trains were utilizing the joint LV/CNJ trackage arrangement
between Fraser Interlocking and Laurel Run. John Evans - Easton, PA
[After 11/1/65, CNJ trackage was used by LV mainline trains between Fraser and Laurel Run, and the orginal LV main line from Fraser to Laurel Run was known as the Gracedale Secondary Track. After 4/1/76, this was designated part of the L&S Area of the LVRR.] - anthraciterailroads.org
The LV main line (passenger line) was abandoned between Wilkes Barre and Mountaintop when Interstate 81 was being built.
The portion of the main line between Mountaintop and Fraser remained as the Gracedale Secondary until a year or three after Conrail.
1968- Interstate 81 opened from I-80 north to exit 165. (1966 - 165 to 170 and 175-186) - PAHighways.com site
Despite the good track condition, Conrail deemed the old LV main superfluous and it was removed by the early 1980's. (thebluecomet)

2 CNJ "backtrack" line from Mountain Top to Ashley

Still operating in 1970 - built in 1870 - before that had to use Ashley Planes - Ashley Station still there in 1950, gone by 1967
CNJ Engine shop buildings and roundhouse still there in 1982 (thebluecomet)
There was a loop around the shop area, the east side of the loop was the original mainline which led to the Ashley Planes line,
but this is the portion still surviving today. The west side of the loop was the new mainline, but this side has been abandoned.
The CNJ Back Track was kept until 72 or 73. I think it was dropped after the interlockings were installed at Dupont for the LV / D&H run through trains.
That was mostly traffic the LV gained as a result of taking over the CNJ operations.
By the time I started in 1974 the Back Track was just a stub track at Laurel Run. I wish I could have seen the railroad operations in the valley back in the 1950's and 60's. - Tom Craig
The CNJ backtrack from Laurel Run to Ashley became extremely unstable by the Fall of 1972 due to mine fires on Wilkes-Barre Mountain and was taken out of service around that time. Conrail eventually pulled up what was left of the track for scrap, I believe around 1977 or 1978 after it effectively ended the lease of the Lehigh and Susquehanna line by purchasing it outright from the corporate successor to the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (who only active business activity was the Cella Confection company!). (Andyt293)
The CNJ's backtrack from Ashley to Laurel Run remained in use until the Dupont connection was put in place in 1973. After that, the line saw a few moves and was abandoned and removed from Laurel Run down to Allen Scrap Yard because of the unstable track from the mine fires. The remaining track out of Ashley to the Scrap yard saw short trains every week or two moving material in and out of the scrap yard until 82 or 83 when Conrail removed track. (JhnZ33)

3 DL&W line through Kingston

The Hurricane Agnes flood of 1972 put the line out of service for weeks, and the Final System "rationalization" plan drawn up at Conrail's creation found other routes for traffic between Philadelphia, Buffalo and points west. Through service was diverted, and the line cut backto the PP&L nuclear power plant near Beach Haven, all served from the former PRR connection at Northumberland. The rails north of that point came up in the summer of 1978.
(According to 2nd Trip Op on the railroad.net forum)
The DL&W Bloomsburg Branch was rebuilt by the EL after the 1972 Agnes flood only be to cut in half by Conrail. The line was ripped up between Berwick and Edwardsville shortly after 1976. The line was eventually sold to Pocono Northeast in 1982 or 1983. After the PNER's bankruptcy in 1993, the line was purchased by the Luzerne County Rail Authority and operated by the Delaware-Lackawanna and the Luzerne and Susquehanna Railway. Currently it has been at least a year since the line has seen any use and the portion from Pittston Junction to Susquehanna River Bridge is used to store out of service engines. The portion from Pittston Junction is used by the Reading and Northern to access Taylor Yard and their customers in the Stauffer Industrial Park.(Andyt293)

4 Parallel LV line south of Mountain Top into the Lehigh River gorge

Despite the good track condition, Conrail deemed the old LV main superfluous and it was removed by the early 1980's. (thebluecomet)
The LV Cutoff from Laurel Run to Fraser was operated by the LV after the 1965 consolidation and was called the "Escape Route" by the crews. It was operated into 1983 or so before Conrail ripped up the line. (Andyt293)

5 Parallel CNJ line from Ashley into downtown Wilkes-Barre (only the LV side now exists) and did they both run under the same Blackman St underpass a few blocks from Vulcan Iron Works?

The CNJ and the LV both ran under the Blackman Street underpass. After the CNJ pulled out of Pennsylvania in 1972, the LV and Conrail operated a local to Ashley. I believe what was left of the line was pulled up around 1982. (Andyt293)
Historic note from photo evidence: Laurel Line Station still standing in 1967 as well as the LV yards just south, CNJ trackage still there in 1967,
and into 1967 on both sides of the W-B CNJ station by Stegmaier. The LV & PRR freight houses (at Pennsylvania & Northampton still standing in 1967,
the LV passenger station was razed in the mid 60's. The LV station was used by LV, D&H and PRR passenger trains. The PRR sent coal trains here
which switched to LV crews to head to Coxton. PRR had a small city yard southwest of South St
Tracks still at CNJ station in 1973 (thebluecomet)

Secondary Lines:

6 CNJ east side line through Wilkes-Barre which paralleled W-B Township Blvd up to Gardner's Switch in Parsons -
This was the north end of Nanticoke Branch

In the 1950's there two symbol freights that ran nightly between Ashley and Avoca over the CNJ and the ERIE. The freights would leave Ashley Yard via the Nanticoke Branch, proceed to Gardner's Switch and rejoin the mainline for a short distance before leaving the main in Miner's Mills to run over the CNJ's Canal Branch to Plains Junction where a connection was made with ERIE. Pocono Northeast ran over the line as far as where Pep Boys is located today well into the late 1980's. The ROW was sold to Pennsylvania Power and Light for high voltage power line route. (Andyt293)

7 CNJ Nanticoke branch from Ashley to Nanticoke

(Yard behind Huber Breaker still there in 1970.)
Wanamie No. 18 Breaker closed in the late 1950 - line still operating in 1967
Line northward to connect with the PRR in Nanticoke - still operating in 1967
Lines below Route 29 - when were these abandoned?

8 CNJ branch through Plains (with a station in Plains) which was east of the D&H line still extant

The line you are referring to was actually the CNJ Main and the station on East Main Street was actually in the Miner's Mills section of the City of Wilkes-Barre. This is the approximate area where the Canal Branch spun off from the main, curved almost 180 degrees and paralleled the Wilkes-Barre Connecting Railroad on it way to Plains Junction. (Andyt293)
This was the CNJ Mainline - still there in 1967 - paralleled D&H line just west - the D&H roundhouse near Scott St still there in 1968.
Also the CNJ Canal branch to Plains Jn. was still there in 1966
The CNJ had trackage rights over the D&H from Union Jn. (north of Miners Mills) to Minooka Jn.

9 I think I have enough info on the Laurel Line, WB&H, LV line to Harvey's Lake and the Erie and WB&E, but feel free to
add to the discussion...

The Port Bowkley Bridge was dismantled in the late 1930's. The bridge was made of iron and needed major upgrades. Due to the decline in timbering and ice harvesting on the Bowman's Creek branch there was no need to spend money to replace the bridge when a connection was present with LV's West Pittston Branch.
(Andyb233)
LV Bowman Creek branch abandoned in 1963 - rail trail starts at Union & Buckingham St in Luzerne - 4.5 mile trail
Lower portion from Luzerne to east of Wyoming Ave ("Conrail West Side Connector") - still there in April 1983.

10 The LV line from Coxton southwest to Luzerne

"Pittston Industrial Track" from Coxton through wyoming to Forty Fort - still there in April 1983

11 The line through West Pittston Branch (south through the cemetary which connected with the DL&W east of Exeter Ave)

This was the "West Pittston & Exeter", sold by Conrail to Pocono Northeast on 9/24/82.

Coal or connecting lines:
12 The PRR line across the bridge just south of the Nanticoke Broadway bridge which connected to the DL&W

13 The PRR line to Glen Lyon
The colliery was operating into the 70's, but possibly without use of the railroad (Bill Culverhouse)

14 The CNJ coal line which ran southwest from the Nanticoke branch through Wanamie and towards Shickshinny
Line still operating in 1967 - see 7 above

15 There were also a few lines which ran to the Kingston breakers near the west end of Edwardsville..
first the WBCRR line from near Vulcan Iron works which ran between Wood and Elizabeth St past Fish Island tower and
across a bridge just north of Fish Island then north to the breakers
Actually this seems to have been known as the D&H Plymouth Branch, possibly still there in 1967

16 The LV had a line in Kingston south of Pringle St which connected with the DL&W near Main St, and...
I believe East Boston Colliery was located off Division Street and was abandoned before WW2. That was just a culm bank next to the dikes when I was a kid. There were some unused tracks there some distance from the dikes (enough for us to play baseball) at the time- probably that line. The LV line that ran beside the DL&W in that area had a LV EMD switcher working until maybe the early 60s. I don't know what they serviced then, as the only business I recall was a cigar factory and maybe a warehouse. (Bill culverhouse)

17 this DL&W coal line ran from Edwardsville just north of Main St to near Arch & Atlantic Aves, where it connected with the WBCRR mentioned in 15 above

18 There also seems to have been another bridge and DL&W line which crossed the Susquehanna a short distance north of the Rt 29 bridge (north of Nanticoke) and served some Hanover Collieries (Loomis breaker, etc.)

19 Then there were some coal line branches such as these I've seen on an old map, have no idea how long they were in service:
CNJ to Maffet Colliery east of Sugar Notch

20 CNJ crossing south Wilkes-Barre to connect with the PRR near Buttonwood Yard (crossing San Souci Pkwy at Elma Dr)
CNJ Buttonwood Branch - still operating in 1968

21 LV line from Petty's Pond (south W-B) east to Franklin breaker crossing Blackman St at New Frederick.
Actually it was the CNJ Franklin Branch - operating 1968 - LV had trackage rights over it
Tracks between Blackman & Main St (Ashley) removed ~1998 for sewer line for Mohegan Sun arena?

22 Two CNJ lines east from near Northampton St to Empire #5 breaker and Hollenbeck #2 breaker.

23 unknown line (probably 19th century) to Baltimore Breaker area at the current site of both the WV Mall and Arena Hub Plaza
... and there were some others as well .. one last question for now

24 There was also a CNJ line from the D&H Yard in Plains which looped around to near the Cross Valley Expy bridge then north to join up with the ex-Erie at Port Blanchard/Plains Jn. near the 8th St bridge as well...
This last line was the CNJ Canal Branch (probably still there in the late 60's, which did connect with the Erie, it branched off near Miners Mills

25: an LV line north from Coxton yard to the Kehoe, Babylon & Austin breakers, the latter way up in Taylor.
That was the LV Austin Branch, which had been the NYO&W (or perhaps joint LV and O&W) as I mentioned earlier. There was some discussion about this line in the Anthracite RR group. I also should have mentioned that O&W had trackage rights on the DL&W between Pittston and Taylor. (Bill Culverhouse)
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby frank754 » Thu May 30, 2013 9:23 pm

OK, from all the info we've gathered so far, we can make some assumptions as well as pose some more questions.
Assuming all the info is nearly correct, I'll just add the questions, or as statements which may need to clarified.
1 LV main through Warrior Run, last freight 11/65, soon torn up all the way to West St. Mary's Rd crossing?
2 Last CNJ Backtrack line segment to Allans there until '82 or 83. I assume the Main St (Ashley crossing, too),
and the lower loop around the bottom side of the shop/roundhouse area.
3 DL&W Kingston to the north - had trains until a year ago?... is the DL&W bridge in usable condition to the R&N Jct?
Isn't it the LV Coxton bridge the one in worse shape with a huge chunk that broke off one of the piers?
5 How many tracks were under the Blackman St underpass, from a visit today, it looks like 4 could have been there
6 North end of Nanticoke Branch - still used in late 80's, I assume open all the way from Gardners to Ashley
7 Nanticoke branch south of Route 29 to Wanamie & downtown Nanticoke?
8 Old CNJ main through Miners Mills, when torn up?
15 D&H Plymouth branch (with its own bridge above Fish Island), still shows on 1983 map, when was bridge removed?
20 CNJ Buttonwood Branch
21 CNJ Franklin Branch - a source says this operating into 1980, maybe torn up for Arena sewer line late 80's.
24 CNJ Canal Branch
25 LV Austin branch

Thanks :)
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby Andyt293 » Fri May 31, 2013 9:49 pm

3. Not sure when the last time the Bloomsburg Branch south of Pittston saw a train probably more than a year ago. As far as I know the bridge across the Susquehanna is in good shape.

5. Should have been four tracks. Two for the CNJ and two for the LV.

6. Not sure when the Nanticoke Branch from Gardners Switch to the area of Coal Street was removed. I'm thinking the 1960's or maybe even earlier. Same with the Canal Branch. Erie Lackawanna merger probably eliminated the need for trackage as the CNJ interchanged with the DL&W and later the EL at Taylor Yard and with the merger there was no need for a separate connection with the ERIE.

8. CNJ through Miner's Mills probably removed around 1982 by Conrail.

15, The D&H Plymouth Branch bridge was removed around 1998 as part of the Wyoming Valley Levee project. Around the same time the piers from the Port Bowkley bridge were removed.

20. CNJ Buttonwood branch probably abandoned after the CNJ pulled out of Pennsylvania. Would have been no need for the track as the LV would have interchanged with the Penn Central over the former PRR track that still runs past the old Vulcan Iron Works into Buttonwood.

21. The Franklin Branch still crossed Blackman Street and Route 315 well into the 1980's. Wicke's Lumber was still receiving cars up to that time. And the crossbucks on Blackman Street were still there until about five years ago.

25. The Austin Branch was used to access some breakers and provided a connection with the NYO&W. Probably torn up in the 1960's at the latest.
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Re: Abandonment dates of Wilkes-Barre area lines

Postby FLRailFan1 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 7:37 pm

charlie6017 wrote:I'm enjoying the history lesson. This area must have been fantastic to watch all those years ago.

Charlie


Me, too...My grandparents and other relatives lived in Sugar Notch and next to Huber(?) in Ashley, my aunt ran a bar/restaurant. One day, visiting my grandparents, we played baseball and my brother hit a homerun, into a coal hopper.
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