Easton & Northern Branch

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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Easton & Northern Branch

Postby red92s » Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:14 pm

I tried searching this forum for information on this branch and did not get very far.
I run on this right of way very often and always wondered about it. I'm assuming it never had passenger service.
How much traffic did it handle and when did it close and when were the rails ripped up?
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby Londoner » Thu Feb 05, 2009 7:46 am

This link is about the CNJ, but if you scroll right down there is a photo of the Lehigh Valley's Easton and Northern branch crossing it

http://www.freewebs.com/jerseycentrallines/cnjeaston.htm

Hope it is of use

Ken
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby red92s » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:05 pm

Thanks that was a very interesting site. I was not aware so much of the old CNJ was left.
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby wis bang » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:49 am

red92s wrote:I tried searching this forum for information on this branch and did not get very far.
I run on this right of way very often and always wondered about it. I'm assuming it never had passenger service.
How much traffic did it handle and when did it close and when were the rails ripped up?


This was a very busy branch through the 60's until the decline of the local industries in the 70's. my Grandfather often was a conductor and had many stories about derailed cars in the snow at Dixie cup, etc.

Conrrail condemed the pin truss bridge over the Lehigh River and CNJ. by then the CNJ connection thru Stones Crrossing was already out of service and the LV wasn't using the CNJ main past Vitaulic & IR Condenser in West Easton.

Greenwood Ave was extended between Wm Penn & Freemansburg around when I got my driver's license [1970] and the CNJ's branch crossing was added to the new road only to be abandoned a short time later...

The section along the Bushkill going downtown used to extend almost to 4th st, I remember the city tearing out the tracks at 500 Bushkill Drive when they took over that old part of C K Williams as their compound. There were three coal trussles, one at 13th street, one across from the old lumber yard and one under Rt 22 where the fuel oil company still has tanks...

I don't think there was any established passenger service but I do remember around 1959 or 1960 where the Brotherhood's picnic @ bushkill park started w/ a train ride from the downtown Easton station; that was the only time I ever saw pappy in his conductor's uniform outside of a few pictures in the family albums. Official Passenger service had just ended, I was just out oi kindergarden. The backed us out and across to P'burg b/4 taking us past the laundry & tower & up over the yard and river onto the E & N.

I also remember being dispointed when dad drove out @ dinnertime and we took our car home...

Around 1960 most of the businesses in Easton used the RR. I grew up on south Side and I remember seeing box car loads of Transogram toys mixed w/ the Stuff from Easton iron & metal and the huge quarry dumps brom Easton Car all keeping the small spur into south side busy, not to mention two more coal trussles. Coal heat ruled into the 60's

The team tracks under the LV station [stub end against the sidewalk on the 3rd street bridge along the water] were always active. My father worked Saturdays delivering appliances for Staley TV & Appliance and they spend many Saturdays unloading box cars of Speed Queens to truck the few blocks up 3rd st to the store. store had a big storage section behind it to absorbe boxcars of inventory....

I graduated college in May of 1976 and it was almost all shipped by truck or closed down and moved south by then...Conrail serviced the E & N until the bridge was condemmed...I doubt they ever moved a car onto South Side...I remember an excavator being used to pull a few cars up to Easton Car for re-furb...one rolled away and chased the JD excavator down the tracks...
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Thu Feb 12, 2009 12:50 pm

wis bang wrote:
red92s wrote:I tried searching this forum for information on this branch and did not get very far.
I run on this right of way very often and always wondered about it. I'm assuming it never had passenger service.
How much traffic did it handle and when did it close and when were the rails ripped up?


I don't think there was any established passenger service but I do remember around 1959 or 1960 where the Brotherhood's picnic @ bushkill park started w/ a train ride from the downtown Easton station;


Actually, there was passenger service on the E&N branch at one time. I don't know when it ended, most likely in the 30's sometime. In my Jan. 1930 Official Guide (the seemingly ubiquitous reprint that is), there's a round trip on the branch that left Easton station in the morning, headed out to Belfast Jct., and returned after a brief layover. I don't recall the times, or if it was a mixed train. I'll look it up and post back.

I recall being surprised that there was ever scheduled passenger service on that line, as it served a very sparsely populated region.
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:24 pm

Here we go, from the Jan. 1930 Official Guide.
Lehigh Valley RR, Table 7, Easton and Northern Branch:
Leaves Easton 8AM, for: 13th St. Jct., Kepler's, Walter's L. Mill, Colton, Zucksville, Newlin's, Hobson's, Tatamy, L&NE Jct., Stockertown, arrives Belfast Jct. 9:55AM
Returning, leaves Belfast Jct. 10:05AM, arrives Easton 1:30PM.

I supose that handled mail or express or somehting. I can't imagine that run being a money spinner among passenger trains.
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby wis bang » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:40 pm

Bethlehem Jct. wrote:Here we go, from the Jan. 1930 Official Guide.
Lehigh Valley RR, Table 7, Easton and Northern Branch:
Leaves Easton 8AM, for: 13th St. Jct., Kepler's, Walter's L. Mill, Colton, Zucksville, Newlin's, Hobson's, Tatamy, L&NE Jct., Stockertown, arrives Belfast Jct. 9:55AM
Returning, leaves Belfast Jct. 10:05AM, arrives Easton 1:30PM.

I supose that handled mail or express or somehting. I can't imagine that run being a money spinner among passenger trains.


Especially since there were trolley lines into the same areas, Our Motorcucle Club's building [Bushkill Valley MC] is on the road to Tatamy & the trolley bridge abutments sit in the stream below the clubhouse. That one came past the park onthe other side of the creek...went to Tatamy or Stockertown...I know where Zucksvill road hits the Bushkill and where Newlins Mill was but I can't figure Colton or Hobson's; Kepler's and Walter's are area names. L. Mill could be the 'black mill' that is now condos between the pigment plant [ex C K Williams, Pfixer, Harcross & Elementus and now part of Rockford] and Biney & Smith
Grandson of a LV Conductor & I remember the EL running behind the Univ. of Scranton [class of 76]
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:00 pm

wis bang wrote:Especially since there were trolley lines into the same areas, Our Motorcucle Club's building [Bushkill Valley MC] is on the road to Tatamy & the trolley bridge abutments sit in the stream below the clubhouse. That one came past the park onthe other side of the creek...went to Tatamy or Stockertown...I know where Zucksvill road hits the Bushkill and where Newlins Mill was but I can't figure Colton or Hobson's; Kepler's and Walter's are area names. L. Mill could be the 'black mill' that is now condos between the pigment plant [ex C K Williams, Pfixer, Harcross & Elementus and now part of Rockford] and Biney & Smith


Check out these historic county maps: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bur ... CountyMaps

The one of Northampton County in 1914 should help. "L. Mill" I guess is "Lower Mill Station." There's no "Colton." It's "Coilton." I double checked the guide. My bad. There's an "Upper Mills Station" between "Lower Mill Station and Zurksville (I'm guessing the map name is a typo), maybe that got renamed between 1914 and 1930?

The maps are pretty cool. I didn't realize there was a trolley line that crossed the Freemansburg bridge and headed back toward S. Bethlehem. After seeing that, the local trains that the LVRR terminated in Freemansburg finally made sense. I used to look at the old schedules and wonder, "Now why would they terminate a local passenger train at Freemansburg? There was nothing there."
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Re: Easton and Northern Branch

Postby fronobulax » Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:30 am

The following document at the Library of Congress website describes the E&N Bridge over the Lehigh specifically, but also has some general history about the origins of the line. The bridge structure is really quite interesting since it flies over the LVRR tracks before crossing the canal and river, then over the CNJ tracks. You can get a good look at it with Google Maps satellite view.
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E & N Branch operated by DLW

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:59 pm

I found a partial copy of the July 1902 Official Guide on Google Books. Apparently, at that time, the Eaton & Northern Branch was being operated by the Lackwanna. The LV's map in the guide show the branch as part of their "system," but there's no table for it. The LV section mentions that the railroad had a connection with the DLW at Easton. In the Lackawanna section, there were 2 dailly (Mon. - Sat.) round trips between the LV Easton station and Nazareth. I was unaware that the Lackawanna at one time operated it. fascinating

Click this link and jump to page 335.

http://books.google.com/books?id=FtlAydjQKkMC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
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Re: Easton & Northern Branch

Postby fronobulax » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:38 pm

This thread looks pretty dead, but I noticed that in my post a few years ago I left out the link to the Library of Congress description of the bridge over the Lehigh River. Here it is:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pnp/habshaer/pa/p ... 50data.pdf

They also have some old photos of the bridge:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/pa3750/
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Re: Easton & Northern Branch

Postby LV124 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:58 pm

OK. This forum hasn't seen any activity since 2009, so I thought I'd try to stir-up conversation again.

After looking at Mike Bednar's “Lehigh Valley Railroad The New York Division” (Garrigues House, 1993), William T. Greenburg, Jr.'s & Robert F. Fischer's “The Lehigh Valley Railroad East of Mauch Chunk” (The Gingerbread Stop, 1997), and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's Lehigh Valley Railroad Modeler (specifically the LVRR Operations - Chart of On-Line Shippers Their Location & Traffic Generated [1969-1972] - New York Division Branch Lines – Easton & Northern Branch) and stuff that's been posted here, I thought I'd try to put a list together of shippers on the rail line and some operational stuff.

I'm going post by milepost, so bear with me as I spread this out over a couple of posts (I figure it will be easier to comment on if it's broken-up rather than one LARGE post). I'll put in info from the other sources to try to shed more light on each section. Some of the mileposts listed below come from the June 4, 1917, LV public timetable.

First off, let's look at Easton, Milepost 0.0 (this includes the E&N and Bushkill Branches)

Victor Balata Belting Company only shows shipping/receiving cars in 1971 (20 cars) and 1972 (28). They're still in Easton today and manufacture tapes and nets for aircraft arresting systems. Their website says they take in “beams of nylon, cotton, fiberglass, and Kevlar” to make the tapes and nets. What type of cars did they ship & receive?

RAIMO of Easton (formerly W.M. Cohen & Company) shows 21 cars (1969); 17 (1970); 30 (1971); and 55 (1972). What cars did RAIMO ship & receive? What's the explanation for the jump in car counts in 1971 and 1972? Is this the current Raimo of Easton who is part of the Waste Management group of waste hauling/management?

Treadwell Engineering (Division of Bethlehem Steel) shows 146 (1969); 32 (1970); 2 (1971); and 12 (1972). We know that this company manufactured hot metal cars for the steel industry. The probable reason for the reduction in car counts: the steel industry was in the start of its decline in the 1960s and 1970s, so they're not producing that many cars. Before being bought by Bethlehem, they produced machinery for cement, sugar and rolling mills using commercial castings produced in electric steel furnaces. There was a connection in the plant with the CNJ's Easton & Western Branch.

Taylor Wharton Iron & Steel shows cars in 1971 (4) and 1972 (107). This company was bought by Harsco Corporation. They produced frogs, switches and other railroad items (i.e., couplers, axles, and wheels) and war material during both World Wars. During WWII they produced 155mm shells, demolition bombs, and gas cylinders. I can assume scrap steel and various other steel-making products in and then the finished product out. What about inbound coke? What explains the extreme jump in cars from 4 to 107? They had their own fireless 0-4-0 #548 to move cars around in the plant.

Dixie Cup (Division of American Can) shows 1,249 (1969); 1,369 (1970); 1,424 (1971); and 1,514 (1972). All of these cars had to be paper and paper-related products, but did anything go out by rail?

Schaible's Bakery shows 195 (1969); 193 (1970); 186 (1971); and 173 (1972). Would flour be the predominate commodity sent to the bakery? Obviously, the final product went out by truck, not rail.

Leone Brothers shows 37 cars (1971) and 36 cars (1972). What kind of business were they? What did they ship and receive?

Mack Printing Company shows 255 (1969); 234 (1970); 237 (1971); and 225 (1972). I'm assuming they received rolls of paper/newsprint, but did anything go out by rail?

Easton Express shows 68 (1969); 61 (1970); 49 (1971); and 61 (1972). Is “Easton Express” the current Easton Express-Times Daily Newspaper? If so, it would be newsprint (in rolls) in, but nothing by rail out? What was the Easton Express?

Easton Iron & Metal Company on the Bushkill Branch shows 65 (1969); 77 (1970); 95 (1971); and 357 (1972). Pretty significant jump in carloads between 1971 and 1972. Scrap metal in, but was there anything out (besides rejected scrap)? Also, other steel-making products in and then the finished product out. What about inbound coke?

Charles Pfizer Company (originally C.K. Williams Paint Mill) on the Bushkill Branch shows 896 (1969); 842 (1970); 620 (1971); and 613 (1972). They produced iron oxide pigments and received scrap in by gondolas. What did they ship out?

Easton Printing shows 8 cars (1971) and 11 (1972). I'm assuming they received rolls of paper/newsprint, but did anything go out by rail?

Hummel Lumber Company shows 17 cars (1971) and 10 (1972). I'm assuming they received lumber and building products, but I can only assume that nothing went out by rail? It also appears they received coal by rail.

Binney & Smith shows 151 (1969); 126 (1970); 90 (1971); and 98 (1972). We all know this is now Crayola Crayon, but did they get wax by tank car? Did they receive anything else? Did they ship by rail?

Wis Bang mention back on February 12, 2009, that the Bushkill Branch had team tracks near the station. There's a shot of the station at Bushkill Street in Greenburg's & Fischer's “The Lehigh Valley Railroad East of Mauch Chunk” on page 54. He also mentioned that box cars loaded with “Transogram toys” and appliances for Staley TV were spotted here with other cars. He also mentioned there were two other coal trestles here with one “located across from the old lumber yard.” Was the lumber yard Hummel Lumber?

Alta, Milepost 3.2

Nothing noted.

18th Street, Milepost 4.3

Nothing noted.

13th Street (originally 13th Street Junction), Milepost 4.8 (look also at Easton, MP 0.0 for customers)

Wis Bang mentioned there was a coal trestle here, but I can't find a listing of it anywhere. This is location where the LV built the horseshoe-shaped connection from the original E&N Railroad between 1895-1899 over the CNJ and Lehigh River and connecting to their main line. The original E&N Railroad's line from 13th Street to the end of track in downtown Easton (almost to 4th Street) became the Bushkill Branch on the LV.
Last edited by LV124 on Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Easton & Northern Branch

Postby LV124 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:00 pm

Here's my second and final part. We move up the E&N Branch to:

Kepler's, Milepost 5.5

Nothing noted.

Walter's Lower Mill, Milepost 6.1

Nothing noted.

Coilton, Milepost 6.5

Nothing noted.

Zuckerville, Milepost 7.3

Nothing noted.

Newlin's, Milepost 8.3

Nothing noted.

Hobson's, Milepost 8.8

Nothing noted.

Tatamy, Milepost 9.1

There's a shot of the station in Greenburg's & Fischer's “The Lehigh Valley Railroad East of Mauch Chunk” on page 55.

Northampton Farm Bureau shows 35 cars (1971) and 54 (1972). They are still in business today. Their website lists that they sell, “lawn and garden supplies, pet supplies, lawn equipment and service, general hardware, home delivery of petroleum products, as well as a variety of farm services and products for our thriving local agricultural community including bulk fertilizers and lime.” What did they ship and receive? I can assume the received their “bulk fertilizers and lime” via rail, but what about any other products? I doubt they shipped anything out by rail.

Equipto shows shows 38 cars (1971) and 29 (1972). They are in business today producing, according to their website, industrial shelving and racks, modular drawer cabinets, mobile aisle systems, mezzanine, workcenters, and cabinets and carts. Caterpillar, Boeing, Mikasa, The Gap, Mt. Sinai-Chicago, and DuPont Medical Systems call themselves clients. This plant was built in the early 1970s to aid in the production to their original plant in Aurora, Illinois. They consolidated their U.S. operations to Tatamy in the 1990s. Did they receive steel products by rail? Did they ship out the industrial shelving by rail?

L&NE Junction, Milepost 9.8

The only years they have listed are 1971 (562) and 1972 (557), which is after the L&NE Railroad closed its doors, so this would actually be the interchange with the L&NE Railway, or the CNJ. I'd love to know what the carloads were back in the day.

Stockerton, Milepost 10.1

There's a shot of the station in Greenburg's & Fischer's “The Lehigh Valley Railroad East of Mauch Chunk” on page 55.

Hercules Cement shows 1,849 (1969); 1,086 (1970); 562 (1971); and 664 (1972). This was also serviced by the L&NE (and then the CNJ). They made Portland cement. Did it receive limestone, ash, slag, sand, and other materials to produce the cement? How about inbound coal and coke? From my understanding, cement went out by rail until Pennsylvania laws changed and then almost all of the outbound traffic went by truck.

Chemtron Chemical shows 44 cars (1971) and 53 (1972). It's still there, but it's now owned by PMC Polymers. Currently, this company produces flame-retardant compounds and concentrates; antistatic masterbatches; ignition resistant polyolefins and polystyrenes; and stablizer masterbatches. I do believe this is the last customer still standing on the small portion of the E&N Branch in Stockerton that dates back to the LV days. What did they ship & receive?

People's Coal & Supply shows 21 cars (1971) and 21 (1972). It appears that they received coal by rail, but was it similar to a lot of coal dealers in the Northeast? Did they also receive lumber and building supplies? Did anything get sent out by rail?

Belfast Junction, Milepost 11.1

Originally the DL&W (and their connection back in the day when they controlled and operated the E&N Railroad), but the years shown are the EL days and they show 478 (1969); 1,233 (1970); 1,539 (1971); and 2,348 (1972). This, obviously, was a very important point on the line. What did they ship and receive?

Regarding train operations, in Bednar's “Lehigh Valley Railroad The New York Division” Chapter 4 The Easton Area, he mentioned that during the 1960s there were three LV jobs: Top of the Hill, the Bushkill, and the Night E&N. The Top of the Hill “served industries between Easton and 18th Street, Wilson Borough.” The Bushkill “served C.K. Williams (later Pfizer) Paint Mill at 13th Street Junction as well as small industries on the Bushkill Branch.” The Night E&N, “later symboled EB-1 (Easton-Belfast), moved interchange traffic to the EL at Belfast Junction.” Mr. Bednar further states that the traffic was so heavy that they had to call pushers to help get the cement traffic over the grade between 13th Street to Alta siding. In the 1970s, traffic had dwindled enough that one job ran from Allentown and covered the remaining customers on the line.

Oh, and one note on passenger service: passenger service ended in September 1930 as Bethlehem Jct. mentioned back on February 13, 2009. I was able to narrow-down the actual month in 1930 that passenger service ended.

Any thought or comments? Any help or additional information would be appreciated here.
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Re: Easton & Northern Branch

Postby charlie6017 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:43 pm

Hi Joe, and welcome to the forums!

Wow.......thanks for putting together such a comprehensive list! I can't help a whole lot as I live in New
York State and am not familiar with much more on the E&N than the Paint Mill, Binney & Smith and the
interchange at Stockertown. Seems this branch did a hell of a lot of business!

Again......Welcome Aboard! :-D

Charlie
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Re: Easton & Northern Branch

Postby LV124 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:30 pm

Charlie -

Thanks for the "welcome" message.

Yes, you would be surprised to find out what some of the current & former Class I railroad's branch & secondary lines had on them traffic-wise. What go me interested in the LV's operations on this line was the fact that the LV strung together 5-6 Pups to haul coal trains up the Branch to the EL interchange in Stockerton. Even though the LV used their SW8's as a GP7/GP9, it's just cool to think that even with 5-6 of these units MU'd together, they were only producing 4,000-4,800 horsepower, but the tractive effort was something else (I'm assuming somewhere around 369,450-443,340 lbs.)!

The PRR on the Delmarva used a block of their S-12's as "mini-road switchers" to take care of their traffic on their branches on the Eastern Shore. They lacked dynamic brakes, but still, pretty cool.

The LV was keeping up with their parent company, but they did one better: they had SW8's with dynamic brake.
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