Penn Division - Under Starucca vs. Over Tunkhannock

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Penn Division - Under Starucca vs. Over Tunkhannock

Postby BlockLine_4111 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 7:12 pm

How many BIG trains per day and of what lengths did the D&H Penn Division run under Starucca between 1970 till sometime in the 80s when the line was axed ?
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Postby NYSW3614 » Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:02 pm

Not sure about that, but in a related manner...

Anyone know how long the massive concrete viaducts will last?? I wonder if there will ever come a day when the cost of replacing the Nicholoson and/or the Kingsley structures will be more expensive then rebuilding the Penn Division, should the situation ever come to that, if we're still here, and railroading is still on 2 rails. I couldn't even begin to imagine replacing either of those structures.
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Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Mar 19, 2004 4:15 pm

In 1970 the D&H ran about four trains per day each way on the Penn Division through Lanesboro. They were all "long" trains, because the D&H did not run any locals on the Jefferson (Lanesboro to Carbondale). The Erie had retained the local service when they sold the line to the D&H. The north end of the Nineveh Branch was served by local freight SU-2, out of Oneonta, which seldom if ever ventured south of Windsor.

The life of the Lackawanna concrete viaducts is not really predictable because our crystal ball doesn't see that far ahead. They will probably never "wear out," but if a bridge like that gets into trouble it would never be replaced in kind. Present bridge design practice would probably call for a steel deck girder superstructure with a ballast deck on concrete piers. There is nothing magic about those, just lots of steel and concrete.

Don't hold your breath waiting for track to be rebuilt on the old Penn Division. The DL&W route is far superior from both operating and engineering standpoints.
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Postby BlockLine_4111 » Fri Mar 26, 2004 2:07 pm

So four trains per day each way required the signal system ?

Was it a 50 mph rated line ?
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Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Mar 26, 2004 5:30 pm

Four trains a day each way, plus helpers, some locals and the Maintenance of Way Department. The maximum speed on the Pennsylvania Subdivision was 45 mph.

The D&H was very conservative in its signalling practices, and that resulted in a very efficient railroad when everything else worked right. The Nineveh Branch, and the old Penn Divison south of Carbondale, had automatic block signals for decades. The Jeff had a manual block system and double track when the Erie owned it. The D&H single-tracked it and installed the traffic control system. The first installation of a TCS system on the D&H was around Windsor on the Nineveh Branch in the 1930's. It was warranted by the traffic, and the economies of closing manned train order offices.

The Champlain Division was converted from ABS to TCS around 1965, and all the traffic up there was essentially two freight trains and two passenger trains each way each day. There were very few track retirements involved in that installation, so one would not say that the rail released from track paid for the signal system. That was also the case on the Nineveh Branch, but the economies of single-tracking helped justify the signal improvements on the Jeff.

When the Champlain Division signal project was complete, the D&H was the first railroad in the United States to be covered from end to end with a traffic control system (sometimes referred to as Centralized Traffic Control, a registered trademark of General Railway Signal Co.) It actually extended from NR Cabin just south of Rouses Point, to MO Cabin, just north of Wilkes Barre. The "tag ends" of the railroad, at Wilkes-Barre, Binghamton and Rouses Point, had automatic block signals, as did the Napierville Junction Railway, the Albany Main from DJ to KN, the Fort Edward District, and the joint D&H/B&M Mechanicville Branch from QS at Crescent to Mechanicville West.

The D&H management believed very strongly in the advantages of protection against broken rails and open switchs that was afforded by this signal system. In my experience that faith was justified.
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Postby BlockLine_4111 » Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:15 pm

Sounds like one hell of a railroad, too bad the classic Penn Division bit the dust. Was power exchanged with the Penn Central at Hudson/Buttonwood for several years or did the D&H terminate some big freights at these locations ?

I assume big six axle Alco and GE units were the norm for going up/down the Penn Division.
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Re: Penn Division - Under Starucca vs. Over Tunkhannock

Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Apr 02, 2004 7:57 pm

The D&H did not terminate trains or exchange power at Hudson or Buttonwood. The D&H delivered PRR or PC interchange cars to Buttonwood for the PRR, then returned light to Hudson and took any remaining cars, if any, to Wilkes-Barre for CNJ/LV, and tied up. Sometimes entire trains went to Buttonwood, and sometimes entire trains went to Wilkes-Barre, depending on the scheme in effect at the time.

PRR took D&H cars to Hudson, and returned light to Buttonwood to either tie up or take a train back (maybe). Hudson yard crews classified the inbound interchange cars. Various D&H trains from Wilkes-Barre picked up blocks at Buttonwood for Oneonta, Mechanicville, Whitehall or Rouses Point. WM- trains picked up for Oneonta, Mohawk, and Mechanicville. WR- trains picked up for Oneonta, Mohawk, Whitehall and Rouses Point. Empty hoppers for Port Henry and Plattsburgh (Lyon Mountain) could be blocked for Whitehall, and cars for Sanford Lake could be blocked for Mohawk.
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Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Apr 02, 2004 8:01 pm

There was no restriction on 6-axle power between Nineveh and Wilkes-Barre, and they operated down there regularly. The "classic" Penn Division was much less efficient to operate than the present DL&W route via Binghamton so, nostalgia notwithstanding, the D&H (CP) operates today on the more efficient route.
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Postby BlockLine_4111 » Thu Jul 01, 2004 6:19 pm

Where exactly is Ararat ?
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Re: Penn Division - Under Starucca vs. Over Tunkhannock

Postby ChiefTroll » Thu Jul 01, 2004 7:51 pm

Ararat Summit is located at

N41° 49' 24"
W075° 31' 30"

YD Tower at Ararat was located 157.2 miles from Albany via Nineveh Jct. and 54.4 miles from Wilkes-Barre.

Ararat Rd (T738) crosses SR 1003 where it becomes Town House Rd (T659) going west, almost directly at the summit. The Jefferson Branch right-of-way is 300 feet to the east of and parallel to SR 1003 at that point.
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Postby CP169 » Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:14 am

Chief Troll, back in 2000, I went to Montreal on the Adirondak. I noticed at Rouses Point a signal with the sign " end of signaled operation" or something like that. Then in Canada, there were signs with a pic of a radio transmitting on them every few miles. Question , was this section ever signaled? Or was I even on the D&H in Canada?
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Postby ChiefTroll » Fri Jul 02, 2004 10:48 am

When you left Rouses Point headed north, you were on the Canadian National Rouses Point Subdivision. It never had automatic signals.

The sign, which probably read, "End Automatic Block," is actually a fixed signal indicating to a train crew that they no longer have protection for the rear of their train from the signal system after they pass that point, and that the indication of the last automatic signal to the rear no longer governs operation of their train.

The D&H subsidiary in Canada was the Napierville Junction Railway, now the Lacolle Subdivision of CP. I don't know the status of the signal system on the Lacolle Sub now (though I am sure that someone will update us on that) but when I was on the D&H in the 1960's and 70's, it had an automatic block signal system.

When the ABS system on the Champlain Subdivision was coverted to TCS around 1965, the TCS system ended at NR Cabin south of Rouses Point. The single main track from NR through the yard was ABS, and the signal system was connected through to the NJ at the border. The NJ signals likewise were tied into CP at Delson. A passenger train leaving Albany or Rensselaer was under ABS or TCS all the way to Windsor Station.

Amtrak moved over to the CN at Rouses Point some time after they began running the Adirondack. It originally ran over the NJ to the CP, as did all D&H passenger trains after about 1916.

I don't know the significance of the CN signs picturing a radio.
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Postby John_Henry » Fri Jul 02, 2004 3:50 pm

J-man,

The Penn Div is physically gone in many places. Huge amounts of fill are gone and little Satrucca is butchered.

I fully expect the D&H and NS to eventually switch to the LV from West Pittston to Waverly and give up the DL&W -- not for the bridges but to avoid the hills.

Cost will be to develop an easy north-south connector to get from the D&H to the LV in Avoca or Dupont (the existing one goes the "wrong" way, LV to D&H).

John


[quote]Not sure about that, but in a related manner...

Anyone know how long the massive concrete viaducts will last?? I wonder if there will ever come a day when the cost of replacing the Nicholoson and/or the Kingsley structures will be more expensive then rebuilding the Penn Division, should the situation ever come to that, if we're still here, and railroading is still on 2 rails. I couldn't even begin to imagine replacing either of those structures.
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Postby Montreal Ltd » Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:39 am

Chief, the Lacolle Sub time table doesn't show any signals now.

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Swap LV for DL&W?

Postby sween » Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:21 am

That's the first I've heard that one - CP/DH will give up its present main in NE PA for the R&N's. Sounds like some serious LV daydreaming to me.
:wink:

There is no indication that either of the bridges in question have any structural problems whatsoever, so that doesn't seem to be an issue in either the short or long term. Grade-wise, the only hill is Scranton-Clarks Summit. Once peak elevation is reached there, the ride to East Bingo Yard is literally all down hill.
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