Destruction of the Sayre Big Shops

Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

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Destruction of the Sayre Big Shops

Postby scottychaos » Thu Mar 09, 2006 10:18 am

I just scanned some of my old slides!
Here is a sad photo essay for you all..

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Lehigh Valley Railroad.
Sayre, PA Locomotive shops, the "Big Shops" building.
1904-1988


Destruction of the Big Shops started a few days before November 1, 1987.
I dont have the exact day, but I arrived either one or two days later.
I *think* I arrived the next day..so it probably started October 31, 1987.

To begin the demolition process, they took one of the traveling cranes, pushed it all the way back to the rear of the building, atached a cable to it, ran the cable out the *front* of the building, attached a big MAck truck to the other end..got the truck up and running, pulling the traveling crane on its rails along the length of the building..
as the crane built up speed and momentum, it CRASHED through the front of the shops and fell to the ground!!
I missed that actual event..I think I read about it in the paper the next day.
When I arrived on November 1st, the crane was still sitting there on the ground and no further work had been done yet..

I was 18 when I took these photos, and had graduated from Highschool a few months before.

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Now its January, 1988.
the building half gone:

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May 1988..
its all but over..

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Thats it for the shops! :(
Time marches ever on...

Here are a few bonus pics of the model railroad that was in the Sayre station in the mid-80's!
at the "Valley Railroad Museum"..
the first railroad Museum in the Sayre station.
approx 1984-1990-ish.
(I was gone away to college by then..I dont remember exactly what year they left the station)

somewhere I have good "overview" shots showing big portions of the overall layout..havent dug those up yet.

the railroad had the Sayre yard, Athens, and the Erie and DL&W in Waverly. era was approx 1950's.
HO scale.

Sadly, the model railroad had to be totally destroyed when the museum was kicked out of the station in the early 90's..

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thats my LV SD40-2! :P
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Under the Sayre walkbridge..
those are all my engines! I painted and decaled all of them.
Most of my engines "lived" at the museum for several years.
I still have them all! (even though I havent done any HO modeling since 1989!)
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thats it!
hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane..
Hard to believe its been 20 years..

Scot
Last edited by scottychaos on Thu Sep 07, 2006 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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the Sayre shops and layout

Postby Matt Langworthy » Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:52 pm

Thanks for the pics, Scot- even if they are bittersweet. Were the locomotives, cars and/or structures saved from the layout before it was destroyed?
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Sayre Shops Demolition

Postby TB Diamond » Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:09 pm

The book SAYRE SHOPS Vol. VII A Pictorial Review published by Valley Railroad Museum Sayre, PA on pages 39 & 40 has photos of the demolition of northwest corner of Locomotive Shop. Date given is June 1988.
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Re: the Sayre shops and layout

Postby scottychaos » Fri Mar 10, 2006 2:52 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:Thanks for the pics, Scot- even if they are bittersweet. Were the locomotives, cars and/or structures saved from the layout before it was destroyed?


Matt,
yes, everything was saved..as far as I know.
I dont think the museum owned much of its own rolling stock or locomotives..the majority of the trains were owned by various members..so all that stuff went home when the layout was dismantled.

the museum briefly started a second museum in the old Sears catalog store on Desmond street, and they started to build a second layout, but i dont think it ever got beyond benchwork.
I never did find out why they had to leave that space..but i know they werent there long.

then, pretty much everything that was owned by the museum itself, and not by individual museum members, went into storage with Bradford County in Towanda through most of the 90's, until the collection recently returned to the Sayre station under the stewardship of the new Sayre Historical Society..

Scot
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Demolition of Sayre Shops

Postby TB Diamond » Fri Mar 10, 2006 5:47 pm

Scott: Did you know Frank Evans? The origional Valley RR Museum was in the old Sayre Times office if recall serves correctly. Then they went to the depot. They had most of the depot for a time then were kicked upstairs, literally, then out the door, alas. Glad to see the building again being utilized as a museum. Great shots of the main shop building demolition, by the way.
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Re: Demolition of Sayre Shops

Postby scottychaos » Fri Mar 10, 2006 7:05 pm

TB Diamond wrote:Scott: Did you know Frank Evans? The origional Valley RR Museum was in the old Sayre Times office if recall serves correctly. Then they went to the depot. They had most of the depot for a time then were kicked upstairs, literally, then out the door, alas. Glad to see the building again being utilized as a museum. Great shots of the main shop building demolition, by the way.


Yep, I knew Frank then, and still know him now! ;)
He still runs the Sayre Hobby Shop on Keystone ave..

I kept that first, tiny museum open, and did a lot of work on it, for my Eagle Scout project.
It was a tiny storefront along the side of the Packer Ave bridge, right next to the (then) Evening Times building..
that Evening Times building is now gone, and so if the old Packer Ave bridge.
that would have been 1985 when the museum started out in that small store, and we moved over to station around '86.

Scot
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Postby GRSJr » Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:12 pm

Scott,

I have great difficulty attending funerals, but thanks for posting these pix anyway
Ray Stilwell
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Sayre Shops

Postby TB Diamond » Fri Mar 10, 2006 10:44 pm

Scott: Glad to hear that Frank is doing well and still busy with his hobby shop. Recall the layout in the old Valley Rail Road Museum, especially the thunderstorm. That was a neat touch.
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Postby lvrr325 » Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:56 am

FWIW, I was around when they were tearing out that layout. Some of the wood that built it came out of the baggage room and was still painted in two shades of industrial green -

And yes all of the structures, equipment, etc. was saved, pretty much anything that could be salvaged went into boxes.
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Re: the Sayre shops and layout

Postby keeper1616 » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:45 am

scottychaos wrote:the museum briefly started a second museum in the old Sears catalog store on Desmond street, and they started to build a second layout, but i dont think it ever got beyond benchwork.
I never did find out why they had to leave that space..but i know they werent there long.


The second layout did have trains running on it briefly in parts. It was mostly built out of old track salvaged from the lasyout. (If I recall, but I could be wrong, I was 10 or so) I distinctly remember laying track one night and then running a train over it to test it.
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Hello

Postby U-Haul » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:27 pm

I was in Sayre Pa about 1/4 mile from New York and walked on what is left of the shops. (I think.) Large area of concrete that is hollow underneath from erosion in places, lots of small trees, a 55 gallon drum, a derelict piece of machinery, and an old car frame.
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Re: Hello

Postby scottychaos » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:24 pm

U-Haul wrote:I was in Sayre Pa about 1/4 mile from New York and walked on what is left of the shops. (I think.) Large area of concrete that is hollow underneath from erosion in places, lots of small trees, a 55 gallon drum, a derelict piece of machinery, and an old car frame.


yep, that sounds like the place..

and about that "hollow underneath"...I wouldnt walk out there, because there could be several places that are "hollow underneath" enough that one could easily fall 20 feet or so into the earth..wouldnt be fun.

definately not a safe place to take a walk..
there isnt anything to see anyway, just a flat expanse of rubble.

Scot
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SWEET GINGER BREAD JESUS!

Postby U-Haul » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:48 pm

Did you say 20 feet scottychaos!!?? That almost 7 Meters!
Are yanking my chain!?

IF you cannot tell I am a bit nervous right now. I actually tapped my foot on a piece of concrete that sounded hollow underneath. Allright I confess that I hopped up and down on the concrete a few times.
I feel like I cheated death!
YIKES!
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Postby PRRGuy » Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:10 pm

Rumor has it there's a LV trainmaster down there :wink:
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Sayre Shops

Postby Lehighrrgreg » Sun Feb 25, 2007 10:30 pm

Thats the big shops floor alright. As far as the concrete floor, DO NOT QUOTE OR HOLD ME RESPONSIBLE ON THIS..THIS PLACE IS A SERIOUS DEATH TRAP IF YOU DONT EXCERSISE EXTREME CAUTION...that being said. The concrete does have a hollow sound to it in some places, but thats due largely in part to a skin like layer of concrete thats pulling up from the rest of the mass below. If you had a pic axe, you could pull it out and see the rest of the mass about an inch below. I learned the hard way about walking where the wood is though. Years ago when I was younger and dumber, I went trotting over there and lets just leave it with the wood is a lot more rotten than it was when they put it over the inspection pits in the 1980's. Anyway, there seems to still be running water in there. There are lots of subsurface corridors and there is about 1 or 2 feet of water in them. One area towards the GE Rail side has a pipe that comes out of the wall about 20 feet below the ground level of the shops that still pours water profusely. Where it comes from I will never know.
Anyway, the whole site is a disaster and I think it has seemed to escape the safety nuts and those sworn to protect and defend the public against themselves. If you venture over there, dont get too brave and certainly avoid trespassing.
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