Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

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Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby Farringdon » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:54 pm

Can anybody comment on the current construction projects going on around the Conrail Richmond Industrial Track? I know there is a lot of construction related to I-95 and the rerouting and improvement of Richmond Street. And part of that necessarily involves removing and replacing the Conrail bridge over Richmond Street (as I understand it, part of the goal is to increase the clearance for that bridge). Although I can’t get that close to the site, it looks like one of the new railroad spans over Richmond Street is oriented more south and east, as opposed to north and east towards Ann Street.

But I see lots of other railroad-related construction equipment around Richmond Street, and I see that same equipment working farther west along the Lehigh viaduct. From both I-95 and the El I can see that large amounts of earth next to the trackbed has been cleared or leveled, which means that whatever is going on is going on all the way from east of Richmond Street up to Kensington Avenue.

What is weird to me is that two completely different people have suggested to me that there is some kind of passenger-railroad expansion project that is going on and is part of this construction. They can’t provide any specifics, I haven’t seen anything in the media, and I told both of these people that we’re already not maintaining the passenger rail service we have, so I can’t see building new capacity in this corner of Philadelphia.

So possibly this is an expansion of the freight capacity going into the Tioga Marine Terminal, which I believe is increasing its activity. (And perhaps there’s a very slim chance that some kind of passenger service is involved.) Or perhaps they are trying to convert some part of the Lehigh viaduct into some kind of public space (park/trail/“High Line” kind of area).

Final observation: In the past several months there are lots of NS boxcars on the Lehigh viaduct that you can see from the street and from I-95. But in over 20 years, I have not seen any boxcars up there, just tankers and the occasional hopper (though there might be some boxcars in the early Rocky movies!). Is it possible those boxcars are hauling construction supplies?

Any thoughts, facts, or ideas are very much appreciated.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby ekt8750 » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:47 am

Farringdon wrote:Can anybody comment on the current construction projects going on around the Conrail Richmond Industrial Track? I know there is a lot of construction related to I-95 and the rerouting and improvement of Richmond Street. And part of that necessarily involves removing and replacing the Conrail bridge over Richmond Street (as I understand it, part of the goal is to increase the clearance for that bridge). Although I can’t get that close to the site, it looks like one of the new railroad spans over Richmond Street is oriented more south and east, as opposed to north and east towards Ann Street.

But I see lots of other railroad-related construction equipment around Richmond Street, and I see that same equipment working farther west along the Lehigh viaduct. From both I-95 and the El I can see that large amounts of earth next to the trackbed has been cleared or leveled, which means that whatever is going on is going on all the way from east of Richmond Street up to Kensington Avenue.

What is weird to me is that two completely different people have suggested to me that there is some kind of passenger-railroad expansion project that is going on and is part of this construction. They can’t provide any specifics, I haven’t seen anything in the media, and I told both of these people that we’re already not maintaining the passenger rail service we have, so I can’t see building new capacity in this corner of Philadelphia.

So possibly this is an expansion of the freight capacity going into the Tioga Marine Terminal, which I believe is increasing its activity. (And perhaps there’s a very slim chance that some kind of passenger service is involved.) Or perhaps they are trying to convert some part of the Lehigh viaduct into some kind of public space (park/trail/“High Line” kind of area).

Final observation: In the past several months there are lots of NS boxcars on the Lehigh viaduct that you can see from the street and from I-95. But in over 20 years, I have not seen any boxcars up there, just tankers and the occasional hopper (though there might be some boxcars in the early Rocky movies!). Is it possible those boxcars are hauling construction supplies?

Any thoughts, facts, or ideas are very much appreciated.


The only passenger rail project going on in that area is the related to SEPTA's Route 15 light rail line which is a side bar to the I-95/Richmond St Project.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby Flat-Wheeler » Fri May 29, 2015 11:59 am

Just a speculation, but alot of shipping ports are expanding in anticipation of the the Panama Canal widening project completion, which will allow container ships to pass the West Coast altogether and simply dock at Southern and East Coast ports where they're closest to final destination, reducing rail travel distance from the West Coast.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby the sarge » Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:32 am

What you are seeing from I-95 are two different projects. At Richmond St, the rebuilding and expansion of I-95 required Richmond St to be relocated; hence, closing the old low clearance bridge and building four new bridges with more clearance over the new relocated Richmond. There were two old bridges over the old Richmond St, the big truck killer one and a single track through plate girder that once served the southern part of the yard to include access to Richmond St and industries/other rail connections. For the new location, two bridges are being built for current rail operations: one has two tracks, the other, one (Although it could handle a second if needed). The third bridge is a single lane bridge for private vehicular (Conrail maint and police) traffic. The fourth new bridge, the first one seen from Lehigh St, replaced the old single track bridge and was built in case there will be any "future rail" - which honestly, will most likely never see a train in my lifetime.

The projects on the line towards and into Kensington are exactly for the Tioga Marine Terminal. Track improvements are being performed but the big work is the undercutting to provide clearance for double stacks under the bridges. This yard and track has seen big growth in recent years. Westway has been the big customer for years - serviced by the tank cars, and just expanded and improved one of their rail facilities. The tioga terminal has seen the biggest growth and the reason for the box cars - they are loaded at the terminal. Also, once in awhile a few flatbed, coil cars, and gondola loads will come through. None of the box cars carries construction materials but Anderson/SJA/Riverside has a materials plant on Allegheny and it can be served by an 80 car rock train three to four times a week during the peak construction season.

And, no, nothing on the railroad for any future passenger service.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby olneytrains » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:06 pm

I believe there is an import of wood from South America that is using the box cars at the Tioga terminal. Also the Falls Yard has seen an increased amount of these box cars.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby the sarge » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:16 am

olneytrains wrote:I believe there is an import of wood from South America that is using the box cars at the Tioga terminal. Also the Falls Yard has seen an increased amount of these box cars.


You're correct; more specifically, paper from Brazil.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby jslader » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:01 am

The clearance improvement project is related to the new pulpwood traffic from Brazil; as a condition of setting up at Tioga Marine Terminal, the shipper was promised clearances would be increased to handle hi-cube boxcars.

http://articles.philly.com/2014-02-19/b ... stevedores

Since that traffic has come in, I've noticed more wide-nosed units sitting in the terminal. The NS Penn Central Heritage Unit visited for a few days, as well as CP power. All I had ever seen before was the power used to switch the industries along the port, and the high-nosed NS three unit set that powers the rock train, mentioned above. Now, there appears to be at least two sets of power stationed there related to switching duties, as well as the visiting road set consisting of wide-nosed power.

In related news, the track that services the Kinder Morgan tank farm (seen just north of the yard, between I95 and the Tioga Marine Terminal) and port facilities is being rehabilitated north past Lewis Street, which is the roadway that parallels Conrail's Delair Line's approach to the river drawbridge just to the south. They are doing it in conjunction with an extension of Delaware Ave, whcih recently was rehabbed, with a new bridge constructed, between Lewis Street and Hedley Street, and a new section of roadway between Hedley Street and Orthodox Street. The roadway is ultimately to be extended to Bukius Street, for the purpose of better serving the industries in the area, as well as getting truck traffic off of Richmond Street.

The rail project is being undertaken also to better serve the industry down there, but given that no customers currently exist past Lewis Street, I wonder what they have going on. The track, more or less, runs all the way up past Bridge Street, albeit badly overgrown in some places.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby Sir Ray » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:15 am

jslader wrote:I wonder what they have going on. The track, more or less, runs all the way up past Bridge Street, albeit badly overgrown in some places.

I haven't been in the Bridesburg section of Philly in a decade, I noticed via Google Earth the erstwhile chemical facility east of Bridge St. and SW of Bridesburg channel is now a large empty lot. I recall in the past that there switcher stationed there (usually buried under the overhead piping and ducts), and then I recall reading the facility was converted from an active manufacturing site to a testing/research facility (so no need for rail freight service), and now from the aerials I see nothing but an empty lot there. What company ran the facility, and I guess - what happened (historic aerials shows some buildings there in 2010)?
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby olneytrains » Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:07 am

I believe that was the Rohm and Haas site. They had an industrial switcher onsite that picked up tank cars from a siding off of Bridge Street near the Delaware river and brought them to the plant. I am not sure if there are any buildings left at the site.

Ed
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby Sir Ray » Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:49 pm

olneytrains wrote:I believe that was the Rohm and Haas site. They had an industrial switcher onsite that picked up tank cars from a siding off of Bridge Street near the Delaware river and brought them to the plant. I am not sure if there are any buildings left at the site.

When you mentioned that name, I was able to quickly find out that Dow purchased Rohm and Hass c2008, and closed the facility (which was much reduced from it's former peak) in 2010.
Bing shows a few of the former plant buildings standing, but Google seems more recent, and shows almost all the piping and buildings removed or undergoing demolition (there seems to be excavators and cranes in the Google view). There is an intact pipeline running NW-SE along Brill St. from the channel to a dock on the river, but that seems to have been unrelated to the former plant.
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby olneytrains » Fri May 20, 2016 11:42 am

Interesting article about imports at Tioga Marine Terminal in Port Richmond

http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/news_top/379596931.html
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Re: Conrail Philadelphia: Richmond Industrial Track

Postby EZguine » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:41 pm

This is pretty cool thing I found on Google Maps. It is the work they are doing on the Richmond Industrial. When you zoom in you can see the turnouts have been placed and the are running the continuous welded rail connecting them. Looks like they are laying model railroad track ! https://www.google.com/maps/place/39%C2 ... d-75.11034
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