Reading's Catawissa Branch

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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WYE Tower? .... Not in Sunbury

Postby 2nd trick op » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:15 am

I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to here: The PRR did have a tower named WYE, but it was located on the Middle Division, and not on the main line, but In Hollidaysburg. It served the "Muleshoe" freight bypass around Altoona, and several branches to the south extending as far as Cumberland, Md.

Pennsy's KASE Tower in Sunbury did include a unique wye of sorts .... the two legs crossed almost immediately at a diamond adjacent to the tower, then rejoined at a point on the Wilkes-Barre Branch designated BANK about a mile to the north. The PRR operated daily freights from Wilkes-Barre to both Enola (Harrisburg) and Conway (Pittsburgh), the latter via Williamsport, until the Wilkes-Barre Branch was devatated by flooding in 1972, so the plant saw regular use until that time.

REDPEN at Catawissa was before my time; topographic maps of the area do show a PRR-RDG connection along the south bank of Catawissa Creek, but employee timetables of the day lead me to believe that REDPEN was located about a mile up the valley, where the Reading and the PRR's branch to Rock Glen and Hazleton would have crossed.

Hopefully, someone can add more to this.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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2nd trick op
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Re: Reading's Catawissa Branch

Postby hechto » Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:36 pm

It turns out it is a PRR tower. My ignorance.
Must be that one in Holidaysburg.
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Re: WYE Tower? .... Not in Sunbury

Postby westernfalls » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:08 pm

2nd trick op wrote:REDPEN at Catawissa...
Hopefully, someone can add more to this.

Getting back to the Catawissa theme, the Reading's Catawissa Branch had crossings with each of the Pennsylvania's lines in the area.

At Redpen tower, on the southwest side of Catawissa Creek, the PRR's line to Rock Glen crossed very near the RDG's bridge over the creek. Since that PRR branch saw little use, the tower was opened "by train order only" from the early 1940s until its demise in the early 1960s.

At Norca tower, along the Susquehanna River well north of town, the PRR's line to Wilkes Barre crossed at the south end of the RDG's bridge over the river. The tower was destroyed in a train wreck in 1949 and replaced with a table interlocking in a small shanty. When Penn Central reactivated that line after the 1972 floods, the interlocking was automatic.

The two PRR lines joined at CA Junction, down the Susquehanna below the Catawissa Creek.
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Re: Reading's Catawissa Branch

Postby georgehyland » Sat Nov 21, 2015 7:39 am

I am hoping someone sees this post, but I am curious about a ROW that runs from Danville to Milton, mostly along Rt 642. There are a couple places where you can see bridge remnants over a creek (if you are headed west on 642, look to the right). I think it is the same line that is a rail-trail along Rt15. It heads west near the McDonald's, and crosses Rt 642 twice between Danville and Milton. Is this the Catawissa branch? When were the tracks torn up? Is it all private property now?
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Re: Reading's Catawissa Branch

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:34 pm

That is the Catawissa branch of the Reading, it was not taken over by ConRail on 4/1/76, so the Reading Co. turned off the crossing signals between East Milton and Ringtown on 3/31/76. The tracks were removed in late 1978 and early 1979. McHugh Bros. Line - New Hope & Ivyland RR bought some of the crossing equipment from the Reading Co. at that time.
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