The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

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The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby pdtrains » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:58 pm

I was out in Nazareth, PA today,. taking care of business, and around 1pm the NS local freight came thru with 2 geeps and about 15 cars, and since
this line is so cool and off the beaten path, the chase was on. Plan was to find future photo locations, and to try top figure out this
mess of tracks.
We saw them work the lumber yard west of stockerton, that's actually on a small piece of the old DL&W, and we were able to figure out
that most of the active track is ex-LNE.

Looks like there are still about a dozen active customers between Bethlehem and Uhlers, and lots of great photo possibilities.

Questions?
What is the NS ID for this local. H??
I thought this job was nocturnal, so I was surprised to see it thru Nazareth at 1pm.
Does anyone know when it usually leaves Bethlehem these days?
Does it usually make it back to Bethlehem in one day, or do they tie down along the line somewhere, on alternate days?

TIA.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby IRN750 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:30 pm

The job symbol is H75 is on duty at 7am Mon - Fri. The start out of Allentown on Mon. Wed. and tie up their engines in the Hercules Cmt plant in Stockertown and taxi back. On Tues and Thurs they taxi out to the Hercules cement plant and work east to the end of the branch then start their way back to Allentown. The lumber company you seen them at usally gets served 5 days a week. On Friday the crew tries to make the round trip out and back but if the have any customers east of Stockertown they will get relieved that day or the H74 crew will taxi out on Sat. morning.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby carajul » Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:06 pm

The branch was so busy, even in the 1970s, there were THREE crews PER DAY working it. Take a look at the Penn Pilot images from 1972 there are approx 40-50 cars spotted at each cement mill, not to mention Tadmor and Bath yards. The area was served by the LNE, DLW (B&P branch) and N&B. I think they just removed the N&B bridge over the highway in Bath, PA recently.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby pdtrains » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:48 pm

It's a shame how little is left. I imagine that Conrail ripped out most of the track...part of their effort to look
profitable as quick as possible. Does anyone know when they broke the LNE cement branch/DLW B&P as a thru route
from Allentown to Slateford Jct...both the DLW North from Nazareth, or the LNE to the DLW at martins creek.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby pumpers » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:17 pm

pdtrains wrote:It's a shame how little is left. I imagine that Conrail ripped out most of the track...part of their effort to look
profitable as quick as possible. Does anyone know when they broke the LNE cement branch/DLW B&P as a thru route
from Allentown to Slateford Jct...both the DLW North from Nazareth, or the LNE to the DLW at martins creek.

I think I've read (but could be wrong) that the LNE the Stockertown/Uhlers area to Sandts Eddy/Martins Creek was cut before Conrail (and that the part that is operated now from Martins Creek to serve the Conagra(?) silo towers was oos and then put back into service later, maybe after Conrail started), and that the DLW connection from Belfast Jct up to Martin's Creek Jct (just south of Bangor ) was a Conrail casualty. JCS
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby century430 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:50 pm

When Alpha cement closed in 1969, the CNJ/LNE Rwy. pulled up the line from just east of Uhlers (someone said the location was Paxinosa) all the way to Alpha yard in Martins Creek. When ConAgra opened about 10 yrs later, the track got relaid from Alpha out to the plant.

As far as the old DL&W B&P is concerned, I believe Bath to Nazareth was killed with the coming of Conrail. If memory serves me correctly, the line from Nazareth east to Belfast went in 1982. I'm not sure how much it was used up until that point. I read somewhere a few years back that when CR was rationalizing trackage, one plan considered was using the old DLW from Bath east to Nazareth account of its easier grades. Why that was even considered, iff at all, seems illogical as that part of the LNE had Tadmor.

Before blaming CR for a lot of track removal, keep in mind that carloadings had been in decline for years prior to the start of CR. The cement regions were a spaghetti bowl of tracks and not everything could be kept. What was kept certainly served the remaining customers effectively. People could argue that too much was removed and now its needed but that arguement could be applied to more areas than just here.

Jim Rowland
JJR
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby century430 » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:53 pm

Forgot to add, I forget where the connection was, but the old B&P from Martins Creek Jct. west was retained until circa 1986. When the LNE went out in 1961, the EL got some small segment of fLNE track around Pen Argyl or Wind Gap and service remained until circa 1986. I'm not sure about the tracks from Belfast to where they tied into the LNE near Pen Argyl.

Jim Rowland
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby cr9615 » Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:16 pm

I've heard that the Saturday relief jobs have been much more common lately than in the past. Hopefully that bodes well for traffic.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby carajul » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:28 am

Keep in mind that pre-1961 hauling bulk cement in trucks was prohibited in Penna. The rr had a monopoly. And there were a lot more cement mills. I spike to several cement mills and they said the rr customer service was soooo bad and rates soooo high they switched to trucks for everything but long haul.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby bk77 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:39 am

Early this past week I saw about a half dozen cylindrical hoppers spotted in the Hercules plant (on the 2 sidings on the left if your looking from Rt. 33 at the plant). Is the plant getting cars again (I believe I read they haven't been for the past few years), or could these cars be staged for Esscro in Nazareth?

---Bill
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby one87th » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:22 pm

bk77 wrote:Early this past week I saw about a half dozen cylindrical hoppers spotted in the Hercules plant (on the 2 sidings on the left if your looking from Rt. 33 at the plant). Is the plant getting cars again (I believe I read they haven't been for the past few years), or could these cars be staged for Esscro in Nazareth?

---Bill

I made several trips between Northampton and East Stroudsburg last year (2012). On at least one occasion, I passed Keystone, Essroc and Hercules and all THREE had cement hoppers on their sidings that day. I believe all three continue to ship cement when the cost and distance are advantageous compared to trucks.

On another note, does anyone know if the unit coal train that was unloaded in Tadmor yard in the fall of 2012 was a success, and has this train been repeated since then?
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby cr9615 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:48 am

one87th wrote:On another note, does anyone know if the unit coal train that was unloaded in Tadmor yard in the fall of 2012 was a success, and has this train been repeated since then?


They've ran several times since.
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby pdtrains » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:31 pm

And where is this coal going? If it is being transloaded to trucks at Tadmor yard, seems like it would be a fairly expensive proposition to start with..
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Re: The LNE cement branch (also called the cement secondary)

Postby obsessed railfan » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:50 pm

Hercules seems to only get 1 or 2 cars per month. Then they accumulate in the plant for a couple months but usually only 1 or 2 will leave at a time as well. The cars can usually be seen from Rt. 33 on the tracks on the left as a previous poster mentioned, but what is strange is that the left hand tracks are their old coal unloading tracks. Their bulk track is on the right hand side. They must have changed some things around in the plant.
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