RDG Valley Forge Siding?

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RDG Valley Forge Siding?

Postby John Johnstone » Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:32 pm

There are some tracks which come from the Main Line, just west of Abrams, which cross Valley Forge Road (Rt. 23) and continue towards Rt.422 and end about there. There was an active crossing signal about 10 years ago on Valley Forge Road, but now tracks are paved over. The remaing trackage appears to be 130 lb. rail. Does anyone know what this was used for? I do believe it was a siding and not an actual branch. It's definitely not part of the Chester Valley Branch. Thanks
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby CarterB » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:20 am

There was a siding until fairly recently to an industrial park S. of Rt 23.

Further on West there was at one time a siding to the asbestos plant and quarry in VF park.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby John Johnstone » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:23 am

Thanks! I had no idea there was a quarry in the Park
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby trainwayne1 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:29 pm

Would this siding have been used when the railroads were used for the annual Boy Scout Janborees? I remember reading an article about the large number of trains that were used in the fifties to get the scouts to and from this event. If I remember correctly both the PRR and Reading brought trainloads of scouts into the park that had been interlined from all over the country.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby RDGTRANSMUSEUM » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:00 am

the track that went off at north abrams was the cc&f branch. we serviced industries all along that line years ago on conrail.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby CarterB » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:14 am

trainwayne1 wrote:Would this siding have been used when the railroads were used for the annual Boy Scout Janborees? I remember reading an article about the large number of trains that were used in the fifties to get the scouts to and from this event. If I remember correctly both the PRR and Reading brought trainloads of scouts into the park that had been interlined from all over the country.


Indeed!! I was a Scout who attended the Valley Forge Jamboree in 1957, and train loads of scouts were delivered to that siding. I seem to also remember some PV parked there during the Jamboree.
I believe it was also used for the Jamborees there in 1950 and 1964.
I later lived just outside VF Park in the late '70s and early '80s and the siding was still in place, but the quarry and asbestos plant had been closed by that time.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby westernfalls » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:30 pm

The two industrial tracks in this discussion, commonly called branches, both crossed Valley Forge Road.

The CC&F branch was a fairly modern and well built line from North Abrams to the Cabot, Cabot & Forbes industrial park. For 4 days in 1976, Sept. 12-15, it hosted a public display of the American Freedom Train which was then powered by former Reading Company steam locomotive 2101.

The Port Kennedy branch originated just west of the Port Kennedy station (renamed Valley Forge Park Station in 1976 for the Bicentennial passenger service) and served the asbestos facility. This track was conveniently located near the campgrounds of the Boy Scout Jamborees.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby Tom_E_Reynolds » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:32 pm

I found an old Conrail map from about 1982 that shows both spurs!

Enjoy!
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby Franklin Gowen » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:23 pm

Tom_E_Reynolds wrote:I found an old Conrail map from about 1982 that shows both spurs!

Enjoy!

Thank you, Tom. That really is a superb excerpt of the Conrail map! Sometimes that's just what's needed to aid an otherwise text-only discussion. :-)
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:56 am

The Port Kennedy Railroad did have a side of the park drive passing siding, and also crossed that road, in addition to the grade crossing of Truck Rte. 23.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby CarterB » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:54 pm

Here's an interesting article about a 'special' to the Port Kennedy track.

http://www.trains.com/ctr/default.aspx?c=a&id=220

Also a bit of history on the line :
"In 1859, a rail line spur was constructed along County Line Road to support the limestone industry. From 1877 to 1895, Ehret Magnesia Company (Ehret) consolidated a number of small, individual limestone mining operations. From the early 1890s to 1970s, Ehret and its successors manufactured asbestos insulation from a plant in what today is referred to as the Keene Operable Unit of the ARS. PA permitted Ehret to dispose of manufacturing waste routinely by pumping it through a slurry pipeline into the former limestone quarries in the State Park. In the 1960s, Ehret sold the plant and property to Keene Corporation. Keene continued to manufacture asbestos products until the plant was closed in the early 1970s."

I think they are still remediating the asbestos dumps to this day.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby PARailWiz » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:42 pm

If you cross the old Trooper Road bridge over the tracks at Port Kennedy station and turn left, you can walk along the river until you come to a fenced off creek with signs warning of asbestos contamination.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby StephenJohnson » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:00 pm

Two things:

I remember the branch just North of Abrams - when I was young, my father (not a railroad fan) used to always tell me "that's Sears' railroad track" when I would ask as we crossed the rails.

Tom E: Where does one get a Conrail map, with that detail from that era? That would be the most helpful tool for my ongoing research. Better even than SPV's atlas, in my opinion.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:23 pm

StephenJohnson wrote:Where does one get a Conrail map, with that detail from that era? That would be the most helpful tool for my ongoing research. Better even than SPV's atlas, in my opinion.
I have most of those map volumes for the Shared Assets Area. but not a large format scanner, or the ability to stitch smaller scans together.
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Re: Valley Forge Siding?

Postby PARailWiz » Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:02 pm

StephenJohnson wrote:Two things:

Tom E: Where does one get a Conrail map, with that detail from that era? That would be the most helpful tool for my ongoing research. Better even than SPV's atlas, in my opinion.


Those maps were referred to as Jerry maps informally - they used to be included in the old Conrail track charts. They're extremely useful for identifying smaller branch lines.
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