freight access R3 West T & R5 Lansdale?

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freight access R3 West T & R5 Lansdale?

Postby Launcher » Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:47 pm

I used to see freight cars driving through Fern Rock, Jenkintown, and Gside at 12:00 midnight - 3:00 am. Quite often. Once at Fern Rock, a very large freight car rolled up the inbound track going the "wrong way" towards Jenkintown well after midnight during a 10 inch snowstorm in January. My guess was a weather related diversion.

Where would they have been coming/going, and under which company do you think? New York/NJ via R3? Quakertown area via R5? The North Pole??

Also, I have not seen them in over two years. Is this due to the overnight signal project on that segment, or is my timing just off for seeing such things perhaps. Or maybe they no longer run along the line?

The only disruption to service I ever saw from freight on these lines was maybe 7 or 8 years ago when a 7:12 AM inbound R2 train and the subsequent R5 7:15 at Jenkintown came 20+ minutes late whilst a Conrail engine used the inbound track at Glenside to turn around. Took awhile for them to straighten out and get out of SEPTA's way!
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Postby limejuice » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:04 pm

Freight often comes up through Fern Rock/Jenkintown/Glenside on its way to Lansdale and/or Ivyland. Other times it comes up the Stony Creek branch. CSX is the carrier. These trains operate almost exclusively late at night when no passenger trains are operating. Not too long ago, CSX didn't make it out of Ivyland in time and left their train on the interchange.

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Postby AMoreira81 » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:41 pm

Doesn't CSX actually own the R3 line north of Neshaminy? Also, when a freight comes in from north of Neshaminy, how can it get to points south of Center City (i.e., R3 Elwyn, or the NEC)?
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Postby glennk419 » Tue Jul 19, 2005 8:30 am

As stated above, there is a nightly freight round trip between Landsale and South Philly (Symbol C746) which normally traverses the Septa main as far south as Wayne Junction where it swings over to CSX tracks at Nicetown. This train runs Sunday through Thursday, the only exception is that they use the Stony Creek branch if there are overheight cars which would foul the catenary. There are also runs from Lansdale to Ivyland (Symbol B745) once or twice a week depending on traffic. These trains run push/pull and reverse at Glenside.

As far as CSX on the West Trenton line, Septa owns and controls the line as far as West Trenton. CSX owns and controls the single track (old RDG / B&O New York Short Line) that runs up from Nicetown Junction through Newtown Junction, Cheltenham, Byberry, Neshaminy and joins the R3 at Woodbourne. CSX then runs the remainder of the line from West Trenton up to Bound Brook. Southbound freight swings off of the West Trenton line at Woodbourne and goes down through Nicetown Junction, Falls and Park. From there it can either take the ex-PRR High Line into Greenwich Yard in South Philadelphia or swing over to the ex-B&O line along the Schuylkill River through downtown Philly to Eastside Yard and points south.
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Postby gravelyfan » Fri Oct 14, 2005 7:35 pm

glennk419 wrote:As stated above, there is a nightly freight round trip between Landsale and South Philly (Symbol C746) which normally traverses the Septa main as far south as Wayne Junction where it swings over to CSX tracks at Nicetown. This train runs Sunday through Thursday, the only exception is that they use the Stony Creek branch if there are overheight cars which would foul the catenary. There are also runs from Lansdale to Ivyland (Symbol B745) once or twice a week depending on traffic. These trains run push/pull and reverse at Glenside.


So is the C746 the only train that uses the "Blue Line Branch"?

This line isn't named for that ex Reading Blueliner that is parked near there, is it? :wink:
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Postby SEPTALRV9072 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:17 pm

gravelyfan wrote:So is the C746 the only train that uses the "Blue Line Branch"?

This line isn't named for that ex Reading Blueliner that is parked near there, is it? :wink:


Nah it's named for the Royal Blue Line which was B&O's answer to the NEC. It's pretty much a short cut to New York Short Line.
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Postby gravelyfan » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:27 pm

SEPTALRV9072 wrote:
gravelyfan wrote:So is the C746 the only train that uses the "Blue Line Branch"?

This line isn't named for that ex Reading Blueliner that is parked near there, is it? :wink:


Nah it's named for the Royal Blue Line which was B&O's answer to the NEC. It's pretty much a short cut to New York Short Line.


Thanks

OK, so B&O passenger service from Balt/Wash would come up that ramp and follow the line to Jenkintown, West Trenton, etc.? Neat name; makes sense.

And so since the mid 1960's (or whenever the B&O passenger service ended) it's been used for freight access only. Today its just locals, but I guess any heavy freight for Bethlehem would have gone this way?

Did the mainline freight to NJ always operate via the freight route between Cheltenham Jct and Neshaminy?
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Postby SEPTALRV9072 » Fri Oct 14, 2005 8:33 pm

gravelyfan wrote:Thanks

OK, so B&O passenger service from Balt/Wash would come up that ramp and follow the line to Jenkintown, West Trenton, etc.? Neat name; makes sense.

And so since the mid 1960's (or whenever the B&O passenger service ended) it's been used for freight access only. Today its just locals, but I guess any heavy freight for Bethlehem would have gone this way?

Did the mainline freight to NJ always operate via the freight route between Cheltenham Jct and Neshaminy?


Bethlehem freight would use the mainline.

And NJ bound frieght usually took that route. Frieght en route from NJ would take the Delair line to Pavonia.
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Postby glennk419 » Sat Oct 15, 2005 12:26 am

gravelyfan wrote:
SEPTALRV9072 wrote:
gravelyfan wrote:So is the C746 the only train that uses the "Blue Line Branch"?

This line isn't named for that ex Reading Blueliner that is parked near there, is it? :wink:


Nah it's named for the Royal Blue Line which was B&O's answer to the NEC. It's pretty much a short cut to New York Short Line.


Thanks

OK, so B&O passenger service from Balt/Wash would come up that ramp and follow the line to Jenkintown, West Trenton, etc.? Neat name; makes sense.

And so since the mid 1960's (or whenever the B&O passenger service ended) it's been used for freight access only. Today its just locals, but I guess any heavy freight for Bethlehem would have gone this way?

Did the mainline freight to NJ always operate via the freight route between Cheltenham Jct and Neshaminy?


The B&O Royal Blue swung off at Newtown Junction (NX) and followed the Short Line up through Cheltenham, Neshaminy, Woodbourne and West Trenton enroute to Jersey City. It did not go through Jenkintown except maybe for a very rare detour run. Freight traffic to Trent and beyond also used this route. To the contrary, Jersey Central passenger and mail service followed the route through Lansdale, Quakertown and Bethlehem before swinging east into NJ.

Reading freight traffic for Bethlehem would either come up the Blue Line connection to the main line (from West Falls) or the Stony Creek branch (from Abrams) to Lansdale.
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Postby westernfalls » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:31 am

A bit of confusion here. The Blue Line wasn't the preferred way to run freight; freights used the Low Grade and the Short Line unless they were headed for Philmont in which case they ran via Jenkintown. In modern Reading Company times, freight to Bethlehem used the Stoney Creek out of Abrams and returned via Jenkintown and the Low Grade. Ore for Bethlehem and the peddler freight for New Hope came up from Port Richmond via the old North Penn from Fairhill Jct to Tabor Jct. The B&O passenger trains used the Blue Line and the Short Line. Reading/CNJ service to Jersey City ran out of the Terminal via Jenkintown, and the Binghamton train (just a mail train in later days), of course, ran up to Bethlehem to the CNJ.
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Postby gravelyfan » Sat Oct 15, 2005 2:58 pm

Thanks for all the info. Are there any good on-line maps (schematics, track charts, whatever) that show these various locations (both in RDG era and today)?
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Postby SEPTALRV9072 » Sat Oct 15, 2005 9:33 pm

I have the current CSX Baltimore Div timetable which has track diagrams of just about everything in the area.
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Postby aem7 » Sun Oct 16, 2005 6:34 am

Westernfalls got it 100% right. The Blue Line was a little too steep for some of the heavy tonnage trains, plus the fact that the longer freight trains would tie up Wayne Int. at 18th street crossing over at 15mph. Although the Low Grade was a good climb, I never had a problem getting a train out of there, even with limited power.
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Postby Silverliner II » Sun Oct 16, 2005 11:11 pm

glennk419 wrote:As far as CSX on the West Trenton line, Septa owns and controls the line as far as West Trenton.


CSX actually DOES own the SEPTA-controlled territory between CP-Wood and CP-Wing (Conrail had ownership prior to split date; in fact, the operator at Trent tower was a Conrail employee under the direction of the SEPTA dispatchers downtown). All maintenance to track, signals, and grade crossings is performed by CSX; SEPTA only maintains the catenary and has dispatching control. It is also for that reason the ETT's refer to the R3 route as the Neshaminy Line and CSX Trenton Subdivision....that dates to when SEPTA ownership terminated at Neshaminy Falls before Conrail single-tracked their territory in 1986. SEPTA ownership now extends to CP-Wood, but they never bothered to change the name in the ETT.

The same applied when CSX and SEPTA still shared the territory between Cheltenham and Newtown Jct. on the Fox Chase Line, except SEPTA had exclusive maintenance of Track #1 and CSX took care of Track #2 except for the catenary. Of course, now that they are seperated on that stretch, it's not an issue there...
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Postby glennk419 » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:51 pm

westernfalls wrote:A bit of confusion here. The Blue Line wasn't the preferred way to run freight; freights used the Low Grade and the Short Line unless they were headed for Philmont in which case they ran via Jenkintown.


I actually knew and meant that...just got messed up when typing.

Thanks for the clarification.
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