The advertising outfit for the textile company that now occupies Allied's old plant was going to paint the engine white with company's logo and sit it outside for advertising but textile company didn't like the idea so I guess that's how East Penn ended up with it.
I first saw that SW900 sitting on EP's storage track about a year ago -- December of 2016.
Kind of sad -- I'm assuming this means deactivation of the branch north of Blue Grass Road as I gathered that Allied was the only customer left north of the airport. I used to see the loads of coil cars going up there. The old SW900 was hidden in the confines of Allied's plant and generally out of railfan view.
I wonder how much time is left on that branch as a whole. It's a shadow of it's former self as I knew it 40-50 years ago. The original Bustleton Branch track north of Willits Road is rotting away, serving no useful purpose now that retail stores occupy the buildings that it once served. I vaguely remember when the line crossed over Roosevelt Boulevard and continued almost to the intersection of Bustleton and Grant (it never connected to the Reading) -- the bridge demolished and line cut back to Boulevard edge in mid-1960's when Boulevard was widened, then kept pushing the old bumper block further back as the nearby car dealership leveled the ground and build a large storage lot. I wonder if they serve the beer distributor anymore at Grant Avenue. One of the biggest customers, the container outfit along Ashton Road, is long gone. There was a pretty decent sized yard just south of Grant Avenue where that was -- now just a passing siding pretty much and interchange point between CSAO and EPRY -- much of the old yard obliterated by a storage company.
I remember when they sent two trains a day up there, sometimes three -- anywhere from 18 to 36 cars. Later crew sometimes didn't return until late evening. They'd be up there all day drilling. Old wooden trestle over Frankford Avenue was replaced by new metal one eventually -- traffic was frequent and heavy and I know they talked of trying to add a second track or at least a passing siding somewhere between Willits and Holmesburg from talking to guys who worked in Holmes block station. They did loose one or two cars off the old wood trestle once in a while which I suppose hastened its replacement and I'm sure when one of the Bustleton crews shoved a wrecked GG-1 up there and back back in early 1970's (It was the Penn Central being the Penn Central) it didn't help any. We were stupid teenagers in the early 1970's as we'd see the traffic patters so we knew when it was safe to walk across that trestle! I walked the line several times from Ashton to Holmesburg back then. There were a few abandoned coal sidings in the Holmesburg area along the Pennypack back then and we found remains of a siding into one of the old Pennypack mills, including stone trestle piers, probably dating back to the 1800's. This up near the Pennypack Woods community.
One of the more interesting but common sight on that branch as various legs of it were abandoned over the years was freight cars left at loading docks on abandoned sidings, often the siding switch removed. The company used the cars for some purpose, perhaps storage. If you do an aerial view on the upper end, north of Red Lion Road, the track that went north of where Allied was, you can see a high cube boxcar left on a warehouse siding, the car well locked in place.
Passenger service on the line into Broad Street Station ended sometime after 1920's -- about five trains a day or so, including two on weekends. Not sure what they used for power -- some old PRR guys back then told me they used H-10's on that line. Have the timetable someplace. Stations were at Holmesburg (not the Junction, but a little bit north of Torresdale Avenue), Rowland (behind St. Dominic's), Ashton (Ashton Road Crossing,) Blue Grass (Blue Grass Road crossing) and Bustleton (near Bustleton and Grant.) Guessing they created the Bustleton Industrial Track (present day active portion north of Willits Road) in the 1950's or 1960's.) PRR and PC made a distinction in ETT between Bustleton Branch and Bustleton Industrial Track -- the BIT coming off the Bustleton Branch mainline at Willits Road.