• LV/CNJ Lehighton area questions

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by 56-57
1. 1963, when the Interstate Express ended.

2. Crew layover point for a few years. It was completely shuttered when Railtours came to JT, full of ransacked files and hobo souvenirs.

3. Yes. No. There were no tourists then. JT was rundown, with about 1/3 of the town on welfare. One side of my family is from Thorpe and they've told me that for quite a few years, people didn't like to admit being from JT.

4. 1965 I think. I'm not exactly sure. It was gone by 1970. If business were booming, would it have been left to fall apart?

5. They bought it when they bought the branch. They got 18 miles of railroad and all related real estate.

6. Wherever they could find a spot.

7. Yes.

8. The same way most any sand tower did, via compressed air. Yes, I can believe it, as it was abandoned intact, with nearly everything else there. There's a CNJ fuel tank of quite a few gallon capacity (1000's) buried under the rip-rap used to shore up 209. It was buried when part of the road came down the hill about 10 years ago. I can tell you the sand tower has about 50 tons of sand in it. Was there any fuel left in that tank when it got buried? I don't know...

9. For traffic to/from the NV Branch.

10. You asked me that a few days ago and I answered you then.

11. The first stone-walled structure was the original sandhouse. I don't know it's later function. The building with the crew board in it was the crew room.

12. September 1971.

13. That ramp was for a retail coal trestle located where the Sunoco now sits.
  by carajul
One of my friends who has lived in JT his whole life did tell me that in the 70s the town was a complete dump. Those huge row homes that now sell for $300k could be had for as little as 5k as no one wanted them. He also said the towns revival was sparked by GMH and RTIX starting up.

Now you really got my intetedt peaked about the sand tower...

1. Was the sand tower fully functional when the cnj left town?

2. Is the tower still theoretically functional? Could you pull a lever or something and sand would come out?

3. Is there really 50 ton of sand in there? It must be solid as cement by now.

4. Why did the later operators of the nvb never use it if it still had sand?

5. Does the RN have any ownership of the nvb or former cnj yard or do they just pay rent to carbon county to use the rails?

6. Is it true that GMH only bought the tracks but the land underneith was owned by the county so the county told him get your rails off our land or some kind of big sh*t storm like that errupted?

7. Is the track under the sand tower still connected so trains could run under it again?

As for that sand tower it is amazing. The hoses are still there even the chains holding them in place are there. There is sand all over the ground still. Its like its just been frozen on time for 40 years. Even the 1930s style light fixtures are still on it.
  by 56-57
1. I would imagine so. Whether or not the yard air system was functional by then, I don't know. It's likely it was, with vandalism coming later, but then again, perhaps the CNJ left with the compressors. I know they took the turntable pump when they left.

2. If compressed air were supplied to the right points, most likely, yes. I don't know if there's any sand in the upper tank, but I know for a fact there's sand in the larger portion, and no, it's not solid. It's dry.

3. 50 tons is my way of saying there's a good bit of sand in there. I know the larger portion is at least 1/2 full.

4. Too much hassle getting something like that into service. They were business people, not railfans.. Plus, sand is cheap. It would have been more costly and time-consuming to get the tower operational than it would be to buy some bagged sand. I'm not even sure the PVAL or CSKR even bothered with sand. Rarely did they have more than a 2-3 cars to move at a time.

5. They rent the land. They rent most of the track.

6. George was a tenant from 1973 till 2003. He broke his contract with the County by giving his track to a 3rd party. This was his undoing.

7. Yes, though it is out of service.
  by carajul
You've alost ran my brain dry on questions, but I do have a few more...

1. Did the CNJ turntable in JT yard basically become obsolete when diesles came into the picture?

2. Is it true that under Rt 209 but behind the CNJ engine house up on the side of the hill there is a foundation or row of sorts for an old trolley line that used to come in from Nesq?

3. Does the Nesq/JT borderline occur just after the turntable?

4. In Tamaqua, the RDG used to have an engine house and turntable across the street from the pax sta in what is now the Family Dollar shopping mall. When did this facility get razed?

5. When did the RDG close the big yard that was located in South Tamaqua where the water treatment plant is now?

6. In JT yard about 20-30 years ago the county errected several spot lights in JT yard. They are high power lights on poles. Why did they put them in? I've never seen them illuminated. Do they still function? I mean can you just flip a switch and they go on or are they disconnected? I know RTIX had a lot of vandalism up there in the yard and often wondered why they didn't have those spot lights on.

7. Was Packerton Jct ever remotely controlled by a towerman somewhere or was it just a throw switch? I think one of those cement telephone boxes can be found in the woods near the jct.

8. When was the 3rd track removed from the LV bridge just out of packerton yard by bear mountain curve?

9. Did the signal bridge behind the JT pax sta only have 1 signal mast on it?

10. Is it true that every once in a while in winter time cars would skid down 209 from Nesq and go over the embankment into the RTIX coaches parked on the track by the hill?
  by 56-57
1. I've seen photos of it used into the 60's. There was a Russell snowplow kept back on one of the whisker tracks until the end. They had to use the table to get to it.

2. Route 209 is built ON the trolley roadbed, which was built on the roadbed of the Rhume Run Railroad, the other gravity coal railroad from mines to the river.

3. Within 1/8 of a mile west of there.

4. I don't know.

5. I've read reference to it being damaged in the 1972 Hurricane Agnes flooding. I believe that's what did it.

6. The County was hoping for a healthy transload business in the yard and built it for such. This is the reason one track swings out further than the others. Each County owned siding up there is named 'Bulk Transfer #__'. I've never heard of the lights being used at all.

7. Before the CNJ/LV consolidation of 1965, Packerton Jct. was an interchange point. I would assume it was a hand-throw then. Once the CNJ began to use it for their road freights, the track layout was redone and the switch was powered. I would assume it was under the jurisdiction of Lehighton tower, as it was an LV switch on the LV main. The call box nearest the junction still has '3 rings for lehighton tower' written in chalk inside of it.

8. Gone by the 70's. I don't know when the track was pulled.

9. www.gingerb.com This will show you.

10. I've lived here all of my life and never heard that. A civilian humvee pulled that stunt a few years ago just south of the 903 bridge, but didn't land on any rolling stock, just track.
  by carajul
I'm almost out of questions but a few more...

1. Is the siding that Nes Coal used along Rt 54 still attached to the main?

2. Did the LNE Nesq branch actually go along the opposite side of Rt 54 from the NVB thus the wide shoulder?

3. If 'yes' to above, where did it cross Rt 54 to get to that side near Hauto?

4. The spur that looped up to the power plant in Hauto where it crossed Rt 54 in Hauto was there flashers at the xing or just crossbucks? One of my friends told me the tracks are still in Rt 54 and you can see them when the road is frosty.

5. When was the above track to the plant removed?

6. The spur that goes into Kovatch behind the Ford dealership... did Kovatch ever use that? I think it continues over Rt 54 into the complex and there is a crane of sorts over it. I'm surprised Kovatch doesn't ship by rail, especially the bigger trucks he makes. I'm also surprised Carbon County hi ups didn't urge him to use rail.

7. Was the above spur and connection to the NVB the original LNE?

8. When did the LNE along Rt 54 and interchange with CNJ/NVB behind Ford Dealership get removed?

9. Was the tunnel on the NVB under the road to Hazleton intended to accomodate 2 tracks? Looks that way.

10. What was the wodden support structure next to the tunnel along the tracks for? It looks like a wooden cage with large rocks in it. Was it rail related?

11. Was interchange traffic for the CNJ/RDG still heavy up the NVB to Haucks even in the early 70s just before the CNJ pullout?

12. When was the NVB singled tracked up thru Nesq?

13. Does the new rail the R&N installed over the CNJ bridge at PQ see any use except for pax excursions? It is the R&N intent to use it for freight?
  by 56-57
1. Yes. Just below Ametek.

2. It was across the road somewhere. Abandoned in 1948 and I don't have a clue where it was exactly.

3. I don't know.

4. I don't know. I'd imagine crossbucks. It wasn't a heavily traveled road when the power plant was in operation. Not that heavily traveled now compared to say, 209.

5. I don't know.

6. That trackage is all gone now. That was a piece of the LNE, fwiw. I've heard Kovatch tried a rail shipment in the 80's and was sorely disappointed by the result.

7. Yes

8. 1940's

9. Yes.

10. Possibly was the abutment for the pre-present Route 93 bridge. Old 93 was narrow twisting and from the looks of it on Penn Pilot, extremely dangerous.

11. It tailed off after a cut before Haucks filled with snow during the winter of 71-72. The RDG shifted interchange of that traffic to Allentown and it never returned to the branch. I don't know how much traffic there was by then anyway.

12. I don't know.

13. Yes. They don't intend to, they already do.
  by carajul
Hmmmm let's see if I can think up a few more...

1. How did it come about that 2 tracks remained in front of the Turkey Hill at the bottom of the hill in JT... did GMH buy both of them?

2. The tall switch stand at the base of the mansion house hill is that original CNJ?

3. Has the R&N or RTIX ever suffered a derailment in their histories?

4. Did RTIX ever use the yard track for their equipment behind the JT station before the track got ripped up?

5. With regard to the C&S or R&N being "designated operators" of the NVB does this mean that the county owns the tracks but doesn't want to be bothered running a RR so they subcontract the work out to a RR company who then pays rent to the county to use the rails?

6. Was the C&S privately owned or did the county have some ownership?

7. What was the downfall of the Panther Valley Lines that operated the NVB in the 80s?

8. When CR operated the NVB... doesn't it seem a little rediculous and not worth it for a class 1 to operate a line like that and send a train all the way up form A'town yard once in a blue moon. Financially I mean, how was it worth it?

9. Was the C&S profitable?

10. What happened that R&N got the tracks and service and C&S disappeared?

11. Is the C&S engine house used for anything now?
  by 56-57
1. One is the main, and the siding taking off there is the east end of the nesquehoning running track, which george bought from that point to just by the turntable.

2. Yes.

3. Yes.

4. When RTI first arrived the rolling stock was on the track nearest the river, across from the station.

5. The county purchased the line in order to save service to Ametek, Air Products and other local employers. It's not within the county's ability or purpose to run a railroad, so the operation is contracted out.

6. Privately owned.

7. Dispute with Ametek over car storage fees.

8. Exactly why the line was sold to the county. Conrail would have removed it otherwise.

9. I imagine it was and is.

10. Andy Muller bought out one of the two partners of the C&S. The other partner held onto their half.

11. Nothing as far as I know.
  by carajul
Ok I'm almost out of questions but do have just a few more...

1. After the 1965 trackage agreement, was the CNJ main thru glen onoko upward to M&H Jct used at all or was it just sitting there left to rot? From '65 to '71 were there any movements at all?

2. When did the CNJ in this area get removed?

3. After the CNJ left Penna in '71 did the LVRR management shift most LV traffic to the CNJ line between Lehighton and A'town? What was the reason for this?

4. When was the last revenue train on the old LVRR main north of A'town?

5. I've read that the LVRR in the later years only used the LV main from A'town - Lehighton for it's piggyback train. Doesn't it seem a bit rediculous to maintain all that physical plant and associated expense for 1 or 2 trains/day?

6. Is there any truth to the rumor that CP rail was going to re-install the LV main to avoid bottlenecks at A'town yard but CR wouldn't work with them on the land rental?

7. What did the LV get out of the CNJ/LV track agreement?

8. While riding the R&N pax excursions up to White Haven we passed a few signals but they were not illuminated. When were these signals on the R&N track disconnected?

9. How did the #2 track up thru the glen get to be the property of the R&N?

10. Does the R&N pax excursions at all affect NS or CP operations thru the glen?

11. What has become of the CNJ row north of M&H Jct?

12. Is it true that the line to Hazleton from M&H was, in the late 70s-80s in terrible condition?

13. On the line to Hazleton a smidge south of Weatherly there was a single track that left the line at Black Creek Jct (thus the "Jct") that went west to Haucks. What was this line, when/why was it abandoned and was it LV?

14. Is there currently suffucient biz in Hazleton to warrant NS running a train up from A'town yard daily?
  by 56-57
1. The CNJ main was used up to Hetchel Interlocking from the start of the Joint Facilities Agreement in 11/65 until 1/72 when a derailment at the Glen wiped out their tracks and they were able to obtain trackage rights on the LV until the end of PA ops.

2. North of Hetchel, it was pulled by 1970. Below Hetchel, I know there were rails in some areas into the 1980s. Gone by 1988 as per photos on www.gingerb.com

3. Yes. To save money by consolidating work done in Lehighton, East Penn, Richards, and Calypso yards into Allentown Yard.

4. The last through train to Lehighton via the LV ran in 1983. The line is intact to Catasaqua and Tarkett there was an active customer into RJ Corman years.

5. Not at all. The biggest single money makers on the railroad were the Apollo and Mercury TOFC trains, and the LV side was the faster side. There was no acceptable reason to delay those trains and running them via the CNJ side would be slower in general and very slow through Allentown Yard/JU Interlocking.

6. CP was interested in purchasing the former LV row from Conrail from Lehighton to East Penn Jct. in Allentown.

7. Use of Allentown Yard, an easier crossing of Penobscot Mountain, monies from the CNJ for trackage rights provided.

8. Ages ago. Conrail had #1 track in the gorge out of service by the early 1990s at the latest.

9. It's not. The R&N owns #2. Conrail made it available and the R&N paid for it.

10. No.

11. The same thing that's become of it below M&H Jct.

12. It wasn't great.

13. That was the Mount Carmel Branch of the LV, it never went through Haucks, and its' utility ended when Bethlehem Steel began using their South American iron ore supplies in 1964. Prior to that, the PRR brought Bethlehem Steel iron ore to Mount Carmel for the LV to deliver to Bethlehem.

  by pumpers
56-57 wrote: 13. That was the Mount Carmel Branch of the LV, it never went through Haucks, and its' utility ended when Bethlehem Steel began using their South American iron ore supplies in 1964. Prior to that, the PRR brought Bethlehem Steel iron ore to Mount Carmel for the LV to deliver to Bethlehem.
It was originally the Quakake Railroad and then the Lehigh and Mahanoy RR and by 1866 part of the LV , from Black Creek Jct to Mt. Carmel. Good history here:
When the section from Delano heading east to Gehards (more than 1/2 way back to Black Ck Jct) was cut in 1963, what was left was reached through the Hazelton branch and then another LV line from Hazelton down to Delano (still operated by R&N). Not sure if the PRR ore trains via Mt. Carmel ever went via the Hazelton route, or if they stopped before the Delano to Gerhards piece was cut. Wikipedia says that piece was cut a year before the end of ore trains (which 1964 according to 56-57), but who knows. According to Wikipedia, by 1965 the west end of the branch (from Aristes Jct to Mt. Carmel) was cut, so that would have been the end of the possibility of through trains to Mt. Carmel by any LV route.
Edit: found a rr.net thread with history on the PRR ore trains through Shamokin to Mt. Carmel. Note it mentions a possible PRR Sunbury to Buttonwood (Wilkes Barre) low-grade option in later years, connecting again with LV in Wilkesbarre. Not sure if any ore trains actually ran this route. http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=48030
  by carajul
Here are a few more questions I thought up after our month long hiatus...

1. Why was the LV conent in letter the yard track in Packerton Yard stay there in place, rusted and weed covered, wherease CR was quick to remove it?

2. Why were the light towers in Packerton Yard removed except for the one behind Kovatches? That one stayed until the early 2000s when it was moved to the Kovatches parking lot in Nesq.

3. When were those spot light towers erected? I'm gunna guess 1930s.

4. Whose decision was it to abandon Packerton Yard? Was it LV board or management???

5. Was Packerton Yard used for anything by the LV after it was decommissioned? Like a crew base or anything?

6. What is the signal on the CNJ ramp that NS just replaced used for?

7. Was the LV main around bear mtn curve ever 4 tracks?

8. When was the CNJ up thru the gorge removed?

9. What was the train frequency on the CNJ in the early 70s?

10. Up in Scranton where the CNJ main just stub ended did the CNJ just hand off cars to the NYOW?

11. When was the NYOW track removed in Scranton? Nothing outside of the Scranton freight house now but a grass field.

12. What route did CR shift the NY-Buffalo traffic to off the LV?

13. What is the current train frequency on the Lehigh Line from A'town north thru Jim Thorpe?
  by cr9615
carajul wrote: 13. What is the current train frequency on the Lehigh Line from A'town north thru Jim Thorpe?
NS 12T (Atown-Buffalo)
NS 13T (Buffalo-Atown)
NS H66 (Atown-Palmerton turn)
NS H67 (Hazleton-Atown)
NS H69 (Atown-Hazleton)
NS H9J (Hazleton-Lehighton turn)
RBMN PILE/LEPI (Pittston-Lehighton turn)
CP 256/258 (Binghamton-Oak Island/Bethlehem)
CP 257/259 (Oak Island/Bethlehem-Binghamton)
plus occasionally a M2T (extra 12T) Atown-Penobscot turn with RBMN cars