Pictures of Bethlehem Station in operation?

Discussion of the CNJ (aka the Jersey Central) and predecessors Elizabethtown and Somerville, and Somerville and Easton, for the period 1831 to its inclusion in ConRail in 1976. The historical society site is here: http://www.jcrhs.org/

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Pictures of Bethlehem Station in operation?

Postby jadebullet2 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:31 am

I need a bit of help. After searching and searching for pictures of what Bethlehem Union station looked like in operation, I have come up with nothing. I was wondering if anyone knew of anywhere that there are pictures of it in operation, preferably from both the Lehigh Valley side, and the Reading side.
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby 56-57 » Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:11 pm

The latest Reading Tech. Beeliner mag is an article about the RDG's Bethlehem Branch. The rear cover has a photo of a RDG train at the station, 1940's I believe.

Also I know there are pictures in the Morning Sun Books, as well as Mike Bednars'.

Hope this helps,

Micah
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-S.E. Miller
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:51 pm

jadebullet2 wrote:I need a bit of help. After searching and searching for pictures of what Bethlehem Union station looked like in operation, I have come up with nothing. I was wondering if anyone knew of anywhere that there are pictures of it in operation, preferably from both the Lehigh Valley side, and the Reading side.


Please share with us any photo sources you find. I recall hanging out there with my father and brother when I was very young (late 70's/early 80's) watching trains and even taking a Budd car once or twice to Philly. By then, it was little more than a station platform in a sketchy neighborhood next to a big abandoned scary (to a 6 year old) building. Several years later, I recall checking out the area and seeing a sign attached to the old 2nd St. Hill-to-Hill Bridge ramp that read (paraphrasing from memory) "Passenger park at their own risk. - Reading Railroad"
The sign faced toward Union Station Plaza. I remember it primarily because it actually said "Reading Railroad" as opposed to Reading Company. I could be wrong about that, but I feel I'm like 85% sure about this.

I also recall a "booth" under the 2nd St. ramp that held schedules. Does anyone on here remember that? It was gone by the mid 80's, long after the Budd cars stopped running.
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby jadebullet2 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:53 pm

I found this great website that has vintage aerial photographs.

http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/

Anyway, in this shot, http://data.cei.psu.edu/pennpilot/era19 ... 2r_155.jpg I have noticed(when I zoomed in further after dowlnloading it, that there appears to be a road ramp leading up to the hill to hill bridge that isn't there anymore. In reading the above post, I have started to think that my assumption was correct, and that it is a road ramp, but that of course opens up a big new question. In the one picture that I saw in "Reading Diesels, volume 1" of an FM Trainmaster pulling though the station, as well as from the aerial shot, it appears that the ramp leads right into the part with the Truss. But it looks like the beams of the truss bridge would block the road. I am now curious as to how they pulled this off.
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby lvrr325 » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:06 pm

There's at least a couple pictures in the "Lehigh Valley In Color" series.
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:59 pm

jadebullet2 wrote:I found this great website that has vintage aerial photographs.

http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/

Anyway, in this shot, http://data.cei.psu.edu/pennpilot/era19 ... 2r_155.jpg I have noticed(when I zoomed in further after dowlnloading it, that there appears to be a road ramp leading up to the hill to hill bridge that isn't there anymore. In reading the above post, I have started to think that my assumption was correct, and that it is a road ramp, but that of course opens up a big new question. In the one picture that I saw in "Reading Diesels, volume 1" of an FM Trainmaster pulling though the station, as well as from the aerial shot, it appears that the ramp leads right into the part with the Truss. But it looks like the beams of the truss bridge would block the road. I am now curious as to how they pulled this off.


It was definitely an auto ramp. I can't remember precisely how it was configured at the truss. They closed the ramp to traffic sometime in the mid 80's and knocked it down several years later. I was too young to drive then, so I don't recall the details. I can't remember for sure if the ramp was one-way or two-way. I'm pretty sure that "bridge-bound" traffic was restricted to right turns only (i.e., north bound).
Regardless, the 2nd St. Ramp was a cluster-$%#!. It added an extra traffic light at the truss, which slowed everything up. In addition, by the 70's, it wasn't even needed. I'm sure it was when the bridge was built, with the station located by the bridge and the various industries nearby. In Jan. 1930, there was about 48 trains stopping at Union Station daily. But it was definitely superfluous by 1980.
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby spike » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:38 am

See ALCOS TO ALLENTOWN top of page 24. The 1962 photo shows detail of Reading Company platform, coach yard and ramp leading down from Hill to Hill bridge.
Tom Biery
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Re: Need help with Bethlehem Station.

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:55 pm

jadebullet2 wrote:I found this great website that has vintage aerial photographs.

http://www.pennpilot.psu.edu/

Anyway, in this shot, http://data.cei.psu.edu/pennpilot/era19 ... 2r_155.jpg I have noticed(when I zoomed in further after dowlnloading it, that there appears to be a road ramp leading up to the hill to hill bridge that isn't there anymore. In reading the above post, I have started to think that my assumption was correct, and that it is a road ramp, but that of course opens up a big new question. In the one picture that I saw in "Reading Diesels, volume 1" of an FM Trainmaster pulling though the station, as well as from the aerial shot, it appears that the ramp leads right into the part with the Truss. But it looks like the beams of the truss bridge would block the road. I am now curious as to how they pulled this off.


It's been a few months, but I found a picture online of the Hill-to-Hill bridge shortly after it opened. It's got quite a few interesting rail features to it as well, including the LV's Bethlehem Tower, but you can see the 2nd Street ramp on the far right, and it appears that a truss beam divided the lanes. Check it out:
http://www.bethlehempaonline.com/album_three/imagepages/image17.htm

Just for kicks, here's a pic that shows the LV/RDG diamond before the Hill-to-Hill was constructed. The covered bridge on the right was the one that preceded the Hill-to-Hill.
http://www.bethlehempaonline.com/album_three/imagepages/image25.htm
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Re: Pictures of Bethlehem Station in operation?

Postby JimBoylan » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:39 am

Immage 15 of that series looking SouthWest seems to show a ramp to the CNJ-L&NE station on the North side of the Lehigh River.
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Re: Pictures of Bethlehem Station in operation?

Postby Bethlehem Jct. » Tue Jan 19, 2010 4:42 pm

JimBoylan wrote:Immage 15 of that series looking SouthWest seems to show a ramp to the CNJ-L&NE station on the North side of the Lehigh River.


Are you referring to the black ramp? That was a pedestrian ramp that ran from the junction of the 3 legs. It was steel, not concrete, hence the odd color. One of it's pillars ran through the roof of the LNE's Bethlehem station:
http://www.gingerb.com/bethelehem_station.htm

The bottom of it was at the corner of Main and Lehigh Streets, probably only a 150 feet or so from the CNJ station. I don't know when it was torn down. Probably when they closed the 2nd Ave. ramp on the north end and built Rt. 378 up to it. There were stairs right behind Union station where the 2nd St. ramp met the the bridge, and another set of stairs at Lehigh Street, just north of the canal. In old Official Guides, the station index in the back mentions that the LV/RDG station and CNJ are connected by a "footbridge." Probably a reference originating from the old covered bridge, but still not an unreasonable walk via the stairs, and much shorter than taking either ramp.
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Re: Pictures of Bethlehem Station in operation?

Postby BuddCarToBethlehem » Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:04 pm

The stairs were at Spring St., right where they are now except that PennDOT tore down the original set when they did that massive renovation in the '90's That same renovation where they tore up the Belgian block from the Brighton St. ramp and removed the remaining but never used trolley tracks from the 3rd St. ramp. My dad, as a kid, used to hang around Union Station because inevitably someone would come into Union Station from Philly and have to transfer to the CNJ station across the river. The Reading employees didn't want to do it, so for a nickel or dime (yeah, this was quite a while ago), he'd carry the bags for them, up those stairs and over to the staion. If the bags weren't too heavy, he said he'd use the Spring St. stairs because it was a quicker walk.
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