Lehigh Valley Interchange Traffic

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Lehigh Valley Interchange Traffic

Postby Jason W » Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:41 am

More than once I've come across references to traffic being interchanged with the LV at Sayre (including that great photo of the sharknose diesels among the sea of cornell red outside the shops) and I am wondering what type of freight was interchanged and how much was it? I am especially interested in the late forties, how much freight was the D&H and LV interchanging in that period? How many cars were handed off, only a handful of cars or an entire trains worth? What kind of cars? Where were they going? Was this a daily interchange of something done every few days?
I would appreciate any information on this topic and thank you for your replies.
Jason W
 

Lehigh Valley Interchange Traffic

Postby ChiefTroll » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:52 pm

Jason -

The D&H ran a turn Binghamton - Sayre every night, and the LV ran one out of Sayre every day. They operated on the Erie from Bingnamton to Owego, then the Auburn Branch of the LV to Sayre. Because of Automatic Train Stop on the Erie, both roads had to use dedicated power that was equipped with ATS receivers.

The D&H, in the first diesel era, kept its two ATS-equipped 4000's at Binghamton. They both had steam generators. One operated to Albany and back on 205 and 208 daily except Sunday, and one or both went to Sayre and back every night. From my recollections aroung 1970, both trains could run to 50 cars or more of just about anything imaginable. It was the LV's connection via the D&H bridge to the Boston and Maine and Northern New England, as well as to D&H points.

The LV was controlled by the PRR, and until the Penn Central merger the D&H was the favored route to northern New England for both railroads.

In the middle 1970's the Sayre Job gained notoriety for being powered by the D&H's two Baldwin RF-16 Sharks. See Feb 2005 TRAINS.

Truly a timely question.

Gordon
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Postby johnpbarlow » Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:34 am

I grew up along the EL in the sixties and early seventies (many of my high school classes faced the LV Auburn branch and EL main). I saw a lot more of the daily LV turn than the daily D&H turn then because LV ran in daylight while D&H ran at night. Both trains could run with 50+ cars of general freight and occasional piggyback cars. OTOH, there were times when a return train was a caboose hop. One of the more interesting loads that was transported via the LV train was the UP Big Boy that went to Steamtown (in Vermont).

LV power could be any combo of road power from 2-4 RS2/RS3s, 1-3 C420s, GP-9s/GP-18s, RS-11s, F units, or a pair of C628s. In the LV passenger era in the sixties, Sayre shops occasionally put a PA or two on this train (it was tough to pace such a train on the EL main east of Owego as it easily hit 60mph). When I did see the D&H train, it often featured C628s or U23Bs. Unfortunately I missed the sharks.
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Postby Jason W » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:05 am

Wow, fifty cars. That was a lot more than I had thought. It makes sense though once you consider how the PRR was involved. How did the traffic split? How much went on to Buffalo and south on the LV vs. how much ended up on the Pennsy? Thanks for replying guys.
Jason W
 

Postby Steve Wagner » Wed Feb 02, 2005 11:01 am

Here are my impressions of three traffic flows involving the D&H and the LV.

1. There was probably a lot of flour shipped from the mills in Buffalo, originally in boxcars (especially Buffalo Creek cars with the famous flour bag herald -- that line was controlled by the Erie and the LV), later in Airslide covered hoppers.

2. The ilmenite cars from Sanford Lake (Tahawus) via North Creek and Saratoga went to two National Lead plants, one in northern New Jersey (Somerville?), the other in Missouri. I think I've read that the D&H took them all to Binghamton. The cars for New Jersey almost surely were passed on to the LV at Sayre. I don't know about the Missouri cars.

3. The famous Paper Train turned over a lot of Canadian newsprint in boxcars to the Pennsy at Buttonwood Yard south of Wilkes-Barre, bound for Philadelphia and perhaps points farther south or west. But some cars were left in Wilkes-Barre for interchange with the CNJ and or LV, presumably en route to northern New Jersey. I'll have to look up a column I wrote a few years ago based almost completely on the recollections of a man who worked for decades in the D&H's traffic department.

I hope this helps.
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Postby johnpbarlow » Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:31 am

I took a very un-scientific examination of some of my scanned 35mm slides of the LV Sayre-Binghamton train and I think most of the traffic was traffic from Buffalo and west. There were indeed a number Buffalo Creek box cars, the green LV food service box cars, covered hoppers (LV and privately owned) plus cars from western roads such as Fruit Growers Express refers, MILW box cars, Soo Line box cars. I don't seem to see any open hopper cars that might have been used for ilmenite, though. But I don't have any pix of the D&H train so...
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