• Conshohocken ROW

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by geofftech
 
Recently I was biking along the Schuylkill river valley trail and found they paved a spur of the trail onto a former ROW that goes into Conshohocken near the Ikea. Is anyone familiar with this? According to my Tom Tom GPS it continued up Chemical Rd and crossed Germantown Pike and continued on past Stenton Ave.
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
geofftech wrote:Recently I was biking along the Schuylkill river valley trail and found they paved a spur of the trail onto a former ROW that goes into Conshohocken near the Ikea. Is anyone familiar with this? According to my Tom Tom GPS it continued up Chemical Rd and crossed Germantown Pike and continued on past Stenton Ave.
If its what Im thinking of, its the old Oreland Branch(I believe that was the official name) of the RDG railroad. It use to run from just north of the Conshy station from a WYE on the Norristown Line and connect with Lansdale-Doylestown line at a Wye in Oreland. The wye is still in place at Oreland although heavily overgrown and in bad shape and the wye is gone from Conshy but if yo know what youre looking for you can find it. It was ramped on both legs with concrete supporting the ROW.
  by ChrisinAbington
 
Correct. That is the branch that went to Oreland. It is in the process of being slowly turned into the "Cross County Trail" by Montgomery County. It should connect with a bunch of the rest of the trail network the county is building. Google, "cross county trail" and "Montgomery county" for a map of where the eventual trail will go.
The old ROW is reasonable intact with a few major exceptions.
  by tgolanos
 
when was this pulled from service? IIRC, I remember seeing a flag-man at the Bruce Road crossing when I was a kid in the late 90s. If I had to guess, I'd say maybe 98.
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
tgolanos wrote:when was this pulled from service? IIRC, I remember seeing a flag-man at the Bruce Road crossing when I was a kid in the late 90s. If I had to guess, I'd say maybe 98.
The line was abondoned as a "through line" in the 70's or 80's but I remember in oreland service was still being provided till well after 2000. I remember seeing a TCCA locomotive shifting around til maybe 2002?
  by geofftech
 
Thanks for the info. I'd been wondering about that for a good while. When I initially rode the trail what alerted me was a short bridge with a railing I'd seen on other Reading lines. Other than that its hard to tell.
  by glennk419
 
This line was officially known as the Plymouth Branch. As stated above, it was completely removed in the 90's except for a few hundred feet beyond the Oreland wye. Once TCCA (Tank Car Corporation of America - I think it's now a superfund site) went out of business, there was no need for the remaining trackage which served as their yard and interchange point. The online customers along the branch included the concrete plant and quarry at Corson's and the east end of Alan Wood Steel in Conshohocken.
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
glennk419 wrote:This line was officially known as the Plymouth Branch. As stated above, it was completely removed in the 90's except for a few hundred feet beyond the Oreland wye. Once TCCA (Tank Car Corporation of America - I think it's now a superfund site) went out of business, there was no need for the remaining trackage which served as their yard and interchange point. The online customers along the branch included the concrete plant and quarry at Corson's and the east end of Alan Wood Steel in Conshohocken.
Glenn Thank You.I didnt think Oreland branch sounded correct...
  by ChrisinAbington
 
glennk419 wrote:This line was officially known as the Plymouth Branch. As stated above, it was completely removed in the 90's except for a few hundred feet beyond the Oreland wye. Once TCCA (Tank Car Corporation of America - I think it's now a superfund site) went out of business, there was no need for the remaining trackage which served as their yard and interchange point. The online customers along the branch included the concrete plant and quarry at Corson's and the east end of Alan Wood Steel in Conshohocken.
I would just note that the concrete plant and Steel plant are both pretty close to (or abutting) the Trenton cutoff, where freight service could resume (if its not already). The Oreland connection was to the SEPTA Main Line from Lansdale. In terms of geographic connecting of trunk lines, I believe it would have been very similar to the Stony Creek branch. It also had a mixture of at-grade, and grade separated road crossings.

Was this line ever under SEPTA's control?
  by glennk419
 
ChrisinAbington wrote:
glennk419 wrote:This line was officially known as the Plymouth Branch. As stated above, it was completely removed in the 90's except for a few hundred feet beyond the Oreland wye. Once TCCA (Tank Car Corporation of America - I think it's now a superfund site) went out of business, there was no need for the remaining trackage which served as their yard and interchange point. The online customers along the branch included the concrete plant and quarry at Corson's and the east end of Alan Wood Steel in Conshohocken.
I would just note that the concrete plant and Steel plant are both pretty close to (or abutting) the Trenton cutoff, where freight service could resume (if its not already). The Oreland connection was to the SEPTA Main Line from Lansdale. In terms of geographic connecting of trunk lines, I believe it would have been very similar to the Stony Creek branch. It also had a mixture of at-grade, and grade separated road crossings.

Was this line ever under SEPTA's control?
The portion of the steel plant that was served by the Plymouth branch was razed prior to the official lifting of the line. The area where it stood is now a driving range and retail (IKEA et.al.). What's left of the steel plant is served by Upper Merion & Plymouth RR (or whatever their successor is) which connects to the NS (ex-RDG) main via a bridge across the Schuylkill River. As for Corson's, the NS Morrisville line passes that location in a relatively deep cut although I suppose a long siding could be graded in. Unlike the Stony Creek branch, the Plymouth was never tendered to Septa and stayed under Conrail ownership until its' abandonment.
  by Budd9001
 
That Former Right of Way actually used to run to the mainline, now the NS Harrisburg Branch and durring the Reading Days and Earlier Conrail Days up to the Early 80's, was serviced by a job that started out of Abrams called the " Plymouth Buck". I knew one guy in General who Conducted that job quite often until he entered Passenger service and said it was nothing to have to GP7s or 2 SW1200, or 1500's as it's power. Oreland Tank Car works was often shifted by the Lansdale Shifter by the Third Trick, which would shift all the constantees south of Lansdale and up the Warminster Branch, LA5/6 were that job's symbals. Once in a Blue moon the second trick shifter would shift Oreland Tank Car yard, but would have to abandoned it's Bethlehem Branch Duties up as far as Quakertown at the time
  by ChrisinAbington
 
You fellows have an excellent sense of history. Thank you for sharing!
  by BuddSilverliner269
 
Budd9001 wrote:That Former Right of Way actually used to run to the mainline, now the NS Harrisburg Branch and durring the Reading Days and Earlier Conrail Days up to the Early 80's, was serviced by a job that started out of Abrams called the " Plymouth Buck". I knew one guy in General who Conducted that job quite often until he entered Passenger service and said it was nothing to have to GP7s or 2 SW1200, or 1500's as it's power. Oreland Tank Car works was often shifted by the Lansdale Shifter by the Third Trick, which would shift all the constantees south of Lansdale and up the Warminster Branch, LA5/6 were that job's symbals. Once in a Blue moon the second trick shifter would shift Oreland Tank Car yard, but would have to abandoned it's Bethlehem Branch Duties up as far as Quakertown at the time
How did the Plymouth branch ever connect to the former Reading Mainline when it connected with the old Norristown branch just north of the Conshohocken Station. Is there something Im missing and when you say use to connect with the former Reading Main, how long ago? Did the tracks somehow connect thru the old Robert Wood plant and then cross that bridge that is use to bring stuff from the Main line over to Robert Wood? Im confused because the Plymouth branch hooked up to the Norristown Line and that could take you to Abrams in a straight shot. I guess while we are on this subject and in the area, does anyone know where exactly the old Bridgeport engine facility was for the Reading?
  by delvyrails
 
I think there is confusion between two railroads here. The Plymouth Branch of the Reading operated between Reading's Norristown Branch at Plymouth Junction just north of Conshohocken station and its Bethlehem Branch (now SEPTA Main Line) at Oreland. There were wyes at both ends of this branch, which served Corsons.

Near the west end of the Plymouth Branch near Brook Road, the branch interchanged with the Upper Merion & Plymouth Railroad, which was Alan Wood Steel Company's captive railroad. UMP switched Alan Wood operations on both sides of the Schuylkill. A high, landmark single-track UMP bridge across the river connects/ed both switching operations. On the west side of the river, there is a UMP connection to the NS, former RDG Main Line.
  by arjay3
 
BuddSilverliner269 wrote:
tgolanos wrote:when was this pulled from service? IIRC, I remember seeing a flag-man at the Bruce Road crossing when I was a kid in the late 90s. If I had to guess, I'd say maybe 98.
The line was abondoned as a "through line" in the 70's or 80's but I remember in oreland service was still being provided till well after 2000. I remember seeing a TCCA locomotive shifting around til maybe 2002?
The Plymouth branch was removed as a thru-line by the Reading in the early 1970's. The last thru operation was a night time one-way operation of a general freight operating from Bethlehem to Abrams. After taking the middle section OOS Alan Wood Steel, Kaiser Refractories (where present Metroplex is) and Corsons Quarry were the major customers served by the daily local out of Abrams. North of Corsons, initially the crew would occasionally run as lite power to Bethlehem Pike in Flourtown for lunch. By 1975 all operations north of Corsons ceased and rails were lifted. Early Conrail saw continued operations to Corsons as Kaiser Refractories shut down. The major Alan Wood (Lukens) steel interchange was still off this branch as the interchange on the west side of the river was OOS. Corsons ceased being a rail customer (running out of stone or room to expand) leaving the local only to operate for the purpose of the steel mill interchange. At this point the steel plant on the west side of the river was totally leveled and the new Inquirer printing plant would locate on part of the site. Redevelopment plans wanted the rail R of W on the east side of the river where the interchange tracks were. These two facts led to Conrail to totally rebuild the UMP interchange yard on the west side of the river. When completed all steel company and other UMP interchange was off the former RDG main in Swedeland and the remaining south end portion of the Plymouth branch was abandonded and removed.
Decades ago there was a Wye at the Conshohocken end but since the 1970's only the west leg leading in the direction of Abrams existed. The other had been long removed.