• Abandoned railroad bridge between Northampton and Coplay, PA

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by carajul
Was the Ironton RR abaonded by the date of these photos in 1984? I can't see any rails in the pics and it looks like they've been paved over. Gotta love the crossbucks though! I love these old pics from the 80s when they RRs were abandoned but still in place. Post more if you have them.

Ooops, actally it looks like I answered my own question. The pics if you standing on the ROW and the small paved road straight ahead is where the rails were.

One more question... if you follow the Ironton RR row there are dozens of ruins of some type of factories. I assume these were IRR customers. They are literally everywhere. What type of industry were these?
  by one87th
Between Coplay and Ormrod, nearly all of those abandoned factory buildings are related to the cement industry (stock houses, bag houses, kiln buildings, etc.). At one time there were 11 different cement mills served by the Ironton. Some only lasted in operation less than 20 years. In Hokendauqua, there are some remains of the Thomas Iron Company (large shell of the blower house, some piers and some smaller building shells) which was the reason the Ironton was originally built. That plant was abandoned in the 1920's and dismantled in the 30's.

Just to wet your appetite... the Thomas Iron Company and some of the cement mills also employed narrow gauge railroads. Thomas Iron used several 2'6' gauge engines to hall slag to dumps north of Hokendauqua, and some cement mills utilized narrow gauge engines to bring stone in from nearby quarries.
  by carajul
So what you're saying is that once those iron companies and cement companies went out of biz, the Ironton RR lost all it's traffic and it was basically defunct?

Looking at the 1971 arials it appears as though there was still one customer being served, a cement firm just east of Rt 145 on the loop track. The entire line was still in tact by this date, but the Biery yard was empty and all weeds. The loop track appears to be in use but the track out toward the turnpike is obviously abandoned by this date

The C&F was also still in place to the LV main. It was 4 friggin tracks until it ducked under Rt 145. The interchange yard on the C&F by the LV main was also not in use by this date.

I don't know when the C&F was abandoned past Rt 145 but a buddy of mine told me that in the early 1980s he was driving his dump truck down Water St. The CF/LV interchange yard tracks were still in and there were a dozen or so tracks that just went right over Water St. It killed your car's suspension to drive over them. Anyway he never expected a train and assumed the RR was abandoned. Well, just then a CR freight came sailing down the C&F over the Water St xing toward A'town and almost nailed his truck. The train was going at a good clip and the track was so bad the freight cars were flopping back and forth pretty bad.
  by carajul
On page 84 of Mike Bednar's book at the bottom there is a photo of a train on the LV main where the Ironton track was right next to the LV main. That photo was taken in 1971. The Ironton track has no ballast and is surrounded with dead weeds/grass. There is also a significant kink in one of the rails. If anything was using that track it was 5mph. I'm going to assume they were using the Ironton to serve the 2 last cement mills from the south in Beiry yard.
  by Gasman
I think there is some misunderstanding of towns and bridges. West Catasauqua and Catasauqua have the bridge for the crain iron company"s rail road ( becoming C&F)later part of thomas iron railroad , Coming across the river it crossed the LVRR main line ,over water st.(lehigh st.)and paralel Eberhart rd in this corner parcel of land is where the yard and round house for the C&F had been located from there it crossed eberhart rd. came up along Lehigh st. threw the lot at the auto auction on 145 out Mechanicsville rd about 1 mile where it crossed and ran out Seiples station rd. to machchunkwhere it crossed the cutoff is there just on the other side of a guard rail the line still survives in to a chemical co. threw Whitehall past Guths station (hotel) crosses Rt 309 Past the Walbert stop too run paralel with tilghman st. to the point of crossing under at Chapman rd. leaving it short of fogelsville thus the namesake (Catasauqua andFogelsville Rail Road). Northward up the river from the crane iron bridge is the Coplay Northampton bridge that was to the Coplay interchange yard in Hokendauqua (the bridge being CNJ)
In this location there was a engine house and car shop that belonged to thomas iron co thus (ironton railroad) the foundations of which are still seen with rail set in the floor of the engine house.
  by Gasman
The combine in Egypt was 1 of 3 coaches produced by Jackson and Sharp in 1889 for Atlantic City railway sold second hand to Ironton for passenger service they came in to service around 1910 to 1914 and retired around 1923 two of the three coaches servive , one in Egypt converted in to a combine and left for nature and time to have its way no known road number on this car.The other being uasd by Wk&S of Kempton (Coach #72 converted to tool car #1 by IRR ) is now back under road number #72 as to the third coach of the Ironton or road number I have no Idea of its fate.
  by DeForrest Diver
Please Help .... Did The Ironton ever mark their tall lanterns "I. Ry. Co." and did they ever etch globes with the same ? All my research says they were always the Ironton Railroad. I know they did have short globe Dressels with a soldered on metal tags instead of pressed die lettering .. Any help would be so appreciated.