Swing brakemen on the DL&W?

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Swing brakemen on the DL&W?

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:19 pm

This grows out of the thread on remnants of the Erie main line: I believe one of the reasons EL routed through freights via the former DL&W east of Binghamton rather than the former Erie was New York State's full-crew law requiring six-man crews, involving an additional brakeman. Trains on the former Erie would have had to have the extra brakeman all the way from Croxton (not much to be saved by having him board at Suffern), but via Scranton they could get almost to Binghamton with a 5-man crew. I'm wondering now whether they were able to get as far as Binghamton without the extra man, or did a "swing brakeman" have to board at the state line, a few miles east of Binghamton? The PRR had a similar situation on trains from Enola to Elmira, which entered New York 3 miles south of Elmira and had to stop at Fassett, at the state line, to take the swing man aboard for the last 3 miles; a trackside shanty was provided for the brakeman who bailed out at Fassett southbound to wait for the next northbound.
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Re: Swing brakemen on the DL&W?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:10 pm

I don't think EL or DL&W had to have a swing brakeman board going west to Binghamton. The last station to the east was Hallstead in Pennsylvania, about eleven miles from Binghamton. On the other end of the state -- was it Niobe? -- they did have the swing brakeman board going east to Hornell and get off going west.

Having read a lot of emails from former EL employees, I think early on most of the through freights did go via the Erie side. One of the reasons often cited for the switch to the former Lackawanna side in the late 1960s (despite it having a helper district) was the declining condition of the former Erie main line east of Binghamton. It was not an easy route to maintain and it had almost no on-line industry. With not enough money to maintain both properly EL had to choose either the former Erie New York-Delaware Divisions or the former DL&W Morris & Essex-Scranton Divisons. I don't recall much mention of the extra brakeman being a critical factor.
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Re: Swing brakemen on the DL&W?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:54 pm

Tommy Meehan wrote:I don't think EL or DL&W had to have a swing brakeman board going west to Binghamton. The last station to the east was Hallstead in Pennsylvania, about eleven miles from Binghamton...


Wrong! :-)

Look at what I found in a DL&W ETT from 1960:

Image

However I also just discovered there was a large yard and roundhouse at Hallstead once upon a time. I think at one point it was where Scranton Division and Buffalo Division crews changed. Not sure if that continued into the later EL era. If not then the freights probably had to pick up a swing man too.
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Re: Swing brakemen on the DL&W?

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Jul 18, 2015 10:01 am

Picking up a swing man just before the NYS line was very common to roads operating into it. B&M used to have the swing man get on in North Adams, MA. New Haven used Danbury, CT, but I'm not sure where they were picked up going to NYC, but Noel Weaver would know.
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