• Things dont look good for the Colebrookdale Spur

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by Pacobell73
 
jrevans wrote:Looks to me like the railroad is really trying to profit from this line sale that was bought so cheaply from the State, but that's what companies do.
Is it just me, or am I thinking that when John Nolan sold his Penn Eastern Rail Lines, Inc. to East Penn Railways, it was not a good move. Seems since the venerable Colebrookdale Branch fell under the jurisdiction of East Penn Railways got, they fast-tracked its abandonement - - - and there is still a good customer on the line!

I think East Penn is bad news all around. All the goodwill and growth created by John Nolan is being destroyed by East Penn. What happened here? Corruption all over again?

BTW, when did the Reading rip up the Boyertown-Barto segment? Is there still track on the bridge that crosses over Rt. 532?

Also, great aerial shot of Boyertown yard taken from Google maps. The yard is packed. This is really criminal that East Penn is destroying a prosperous line. What more can be done to save the line?
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= ... 7&t=k&z=16
rob216 wrote:...I have heard that county has decided to go and purchase the line. The have paid the 10% percent of the cost already.
So, in the end, they will pay the ridiculous $2 million?
  by JimBoylan
 
I think that the Boyertown to Eshbach end of the abandonment by the Reading was 3/31/76, as it wasn't acquired by ConRail or temporarily preserved by any government. The very outer end beyond Eshbach to Barto was done earlier by the Reading.
  by rob216
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
jrevans wrote:Looks to me like the railroad is really trying to profit from this line sale that was bought so cheaply from the State, but that's what companies do.
Is it just me, or am I thinking that when John Nolan sold his Penn Eastern Rail Lines, Inc. to East Penn Railways, it was not a good move. Seems since the venerable Colebrookdale Branch fell under the jurisdiction of East Penn Railways got, they fast-tracked its abandonement - - - and there is still a good customer on the line!

I think East Penn is bad news all around. All the goodwill and growth created by John Nolan is being destroyed by East Penn. What happened here? Corruption all over again?

BTW, when did the Reading rip up the Boyertown-Barto segment? Is there still track on the bridge that crosses over Rt. 532?

Also, great aerial shot of Boyertown yard taken from Google maps. The yard is packed. This is really criminal that East Penn is destroying a prosperous line. What more can be done to save the line?
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source= ... 7&t=k&z=16
rob216 wrote:...I have heard that county has decided to go and purchase the line. The have paid the 10% percent of the cost already.
So, in the end, they will pay the ridiculous $2 million?

Everyone thinks it is so easy to get freight business but obviously have no clue what is involved! The truth is that the Colebrookdale should have been abandoned long ago. John Nolan had tried very hard for years to get more business. The owners of ESPN have tried to no avail!! It is not for lack of trying!! Here is the plain truth 8.5 miles of track, many large wooden trestles which all need attention all with a very small amount of carloads, you do the math!!
  by Pacobell73
 
rob216 wrote:Everyone thinks it is so easy to get freight business, but obviously have no clue what is involved! The truth is that the Colebrookdale should have been abandoned long ago. John Nolan had tried very hard for years to get more business. The owners of ESPN have tried to no avail!! It is not for lack of trying!! Here is the plain truth 8.5 miles of track, many large wooden trestles which all need attention all with a very small amount of carloads, you do the math!!
I do not recall ever once saying that freight business is easy to get. In fact, in today's economy, it is a struggle. But if the past has shown us anything, it is that abandoning rail lines, regardless of length or status or infrustructure, is very short-sighted and poor business planning all around.

Take Conrail. The stub-ended Phoenixville Industrial Spur was not in the greatest of shape, has a few bridges that needed work. They sunk a nice penny into rehabbing the line. NS has since stopped using it, but they did not rush to abandon it. Now Citizens for the Train are looking to use it for passenger service.

The same warped "should have been abandoned years ago" could have been applied to the Middletown and Huddleston. I remember that line looking like hell in the summer of 1982. Bridges in bad shape, infrastructure weed-choked. Now look at it. Why? Because someone stepped in with foresight.

The Colebrookdale Spur, like so many other old branch lines, had a very active customer on it. The infrastructuce needed too much work, so East Penn just washed their hands of the line. Perhaps they shouls have levelled with the customer, said "we want to keep servicing you, but the railroad needs some serious work. We do not have the funds for it, but perhaps if we both kick in some $$$, we can continue service." Instead, "sorry, Charlie. Colebrookdale Spur is a dog, should have been abandoned years ago, go fish."

Operating it may be a losing scenario, but why abandon it so quickly? Embargo it instead if the line is in bad shape. Railbank it. Instead, East Penn quickly tried to sell it for a price that would nearly guarentee a failed sale, then rip it up. Mini-Conrail?

History merely repeating itself. Let the line just sit. It is not hurting anyone, nor is it draining the finances of East Penn.
  by rob216
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
rob216 wrote:Everyone thinks it is so easy to get freight business, but obviously have no clue what is involved! The truth is that the Colebrookdale should have been abandoned long ago. John Nolan had tried very hard for years to get more business. The owners of ESPN have tried to no avail!! It is not for lack of trying!! Here is the plain truth 8.5 miles of track, many large wooden trestles which all need attention all with a very small amount of carloads, you do the math!!
I do not recall ever once saying that freight business is easy to get. In fact, in today's economy, it is a struggle. But if the past has shown us anything, it is that abandoning rail lines, regardless of length or status or infrustructure, is very short-sighted and poor business planning all around.

Take Conrail. The stub-ended Phoenixville Industrial Spur was not in the greatest of shape, has a few bridges that needed work. They sunk a nice penny into rehabbing the line. NS has since stopped using it, but they did not rush to abandon it. Now Citizens for the Train are looking to use it for passenger service.

The same warped "should have been abandoned years ago" could have been applied to the Middletown and Huddleston. I remember that line looking like hell in the summer of 1982. Bridges in bad shape, infrastructure weed-choked. Now look at it. Why? Because someone stepped in with foresight.

The Colebrookdale Spur, like so many other old branch lines, had a very active customer on it. The infrastructuce needed too much work, so East Penn just washed their hands of the line. Perhaps they shouls have levelled with the customer, said "we want to keep servicing you, but the railroad needs some serious work. We do not have the funds for it, but perhaps if we both kick in some $$$, we can continue service." Instead, "sorry, Charlie. Colebrookdale Spur is a dog, should have been abandoned years ago, go fish."

Operating it may be a losing scenario, but why abandon it so quickly? Embargo it instead if the line is in bad shape. Railbank it. Instead, East Penn quickly tried to sell it for a price that would nearly guarentee a failed sale, then rip it up. Mini-Conrail?

History merely repeating itself. Let the line just sit. It is not hurting anyone, nor is it draining the finances of East Penn.
Just leaving a line sit and not being used is a drain on the railroad. They still need to pay the taxes on the land, and what ever signals are there, still need to be on and active. The only customer on the line decided to go else where to get their product, and the owners of East Penn tried to keep them.

How would an embargo on the line help out? If there aren't customers on the line, it won't do any good. Railbank??? Its as good as gone for sure with that. Once it goes to a trail, it wont ever come back to a railroad.
  by Andyt293
 
I deleted a post on this subject because I felt it crossed the line from lively discourse to personal attack. Let's agree to disagree and stay on point.

Thanks
  by RN-16
 
I understand where Mr. Pacobell is coming from. It's a beautiful Line that by just looking at it, seems like it has a lot of potential! However! Speaking from a professional point of view...Rob216 is right.

It's not that easy to have a single company like Drug Plastics hand out some $$$ to help fix another companies assets. Yes it is a shame that the branch will be part of the history books soon, but I just don't see how this railroad can produce any money with just a single plastics pellet company.

Pacobell...You have to remember that ESPN is a SHORTLINE. NS is a Class 1 that can do whatever with all there money. I'm not bashing, this is just the facts. A shortline cannot run efficiently while it's paying for expenses that are unnecessary, just like Rob216 was talking about.
  by Pacobell73
 
RN-16 wrote:You have to remember that ESPN is a SHORTLINE. NS is a Class 1 that can do whatever with all there money. I'm not bashing, this is just the facts. A shortline cannot run efficiently while it's paying for expenses that are unnecessary, just like Rob216 was talking about.
This is true, they are a shortline. I guess I am used to seeing the big railroads quickly abandon branch lines in favour of their mainlines, while shortlines will take any stretch of track they can get and make something of it.

Also, my apologies if I got the facts wrong. I was under the impression that Drug Plastics & Glass (DP&G) was still utilizing rail service when East Penn ceased service. Unless the facts in the published article have since changed:
East Penn Railways has alerted the Berks County Board that it intends to file an abandonment on its 8.5-mile Colebrookdale spur, and that has one shipper concerned about the loss of train service, the Reading Eagle reported. DP&G has a plant at Boyertown that receives tank cars loaded with resin, and considers the branch important to its success. "We're exploring all different types of alternatives," said DP&G spokesman Rick Hoffman. "Our life blood is that resin that comes into us." East Penn officials were unavailable for comment.
Now, in that light, it appears the railway dumped their loyal customer once they took control of the line. So let's be clear here: did DP&G jump ship, or did East Penn abandon the line and leave DP&G in the lurch?

I run a small business myself and I am from the school of thought that if you are a little guy with a single, good loyal little guy customer, you make the situation work in a good-faith effort. If DP&G jumped ship, that is different. That is why service ceased on the Phoenixville Industrial track; no business.
  by rob216
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
RN-16 wrote:You have to remember that ESPN is a SHORTLINE. NS is a Class 1 that can do whatever with all there money. I'm not bashing, this is just the facts. A shortline cannot run efficiently while it's paying for expenses that are unnecessary, just like Rob216 was talking about.
This is true, they are a shortline. I guess I am used to seeing the big railroads quickly abandon branch lines in favour of their mainlines, while shortlines will take any stretch of track they can get and make something of it.

Also, my apologies if I got the facts wrong. I was under the impression that Drug Plastics & Glass (DP&G) was still utilizing rail service when East Penn ceased service. Unless the facts in the published article have since changed:
East Penn Railways has alerted the Berks County Board that it intends to file an abandonment on its 8.5-mile Colebrookdale spur, and that has one shipper concerned about the loss of train service, the Reading Eagle reported. DP&G has a plant at Boyertown that receives tank cars loaded with resin, and considers the branch important to its success. "We're exploring all different types of alternatives," said DP&G spokesman Rick Hoffman. "Our life blood is that resin that comes into us." East Penn officials were unavailable for comment.
Now, in that light, it appears the railway dumped their loyal customer once they took control of the line. So let's be clear here: did DP&G jump ship, or did East Penn abandon the line and leave DP&G in the lurch?

I run a small business myself and I am from the school of thought that if you are a little guy with a single, good loyal little guy customer, you make the situation work in a good-faith effort. If DP&G jumped ship, that is different. That is why service ceased on the Phoenixville Industrial track; no business.

They went else where for their service. They decide on cutting out the rail road and get it someplace else to try and save money.
  by Pacobell73
 
blockline4180 wrote:The county is trying to prevent the ripping up of rails..
http://www.pottsmerc.com/articles/2009/ ... 932694.txt
Finally, rationale is prevailing.

READING — The Berks County Commissioners have submitted a petition with the federal government to prevent abandonment of the Colebrookdale Spur, the 8.6-mile light rail line that runs between Pottstown and Boyertown.

The county had previously filed stay of abandonment proceedings in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia.

The Surface Transportation Board filing asks the federal agency to review and stay its Jan. 28 decision against the county. That decision ruled that East Penn Lines Inc., current owner of the rail line, had correctly assessed the value of the line at $2,162,018. The county had offered $500,000 to purchase the line, which was rejected.

The board's January decision, along with setting the value of the line, also effectively cleared the way for abandonment proceedings to begin.

In the petition for a stay, the county argues that the board erred in their decision and that abandonment of the line would cause irreparable harm to the county.

In documents filed with the board, Commissioner Mark C. Scott said, "The public interest would be far better served by replacing [East Penn] with ... an operator who would seek to develop the Branch to its full potential rather than seeking to recoup its investment by liquidating the line."

Additionally, the county argues that original easement documents provide proof that East Penn does not own the land on which the line sits. Land mapping and other historical documents submitted by the county indicate that easements do not convey "in perpetuity," but instead are referred back to the original owner upon the rail line's abandonment.

East Penn, in documents filed on Feb. 19 in response to the county's petition, contends it is they who will suffer irreparable harm by staying the original decision. They argue the county's claims are without merit, and that abandonment should begin immediately.

East Penn initially sought approval at the federal level to abandon the line in November 2008. They seek to sell the rail for scrap and put up for sale all acreage associated with the rail line.

With the new easement information the county provided to the board, Scott is optimistic the county will prevail. Rulings on both petitions are expected soon.

Thank you, blockline4180
  by rob216
 
This Saturday at about 10:00 am an East Penn Railroad crew fired up the 52 and begun the final journey to Pottstown ending the Penn Eastern, East Penn Era. The event was not published because of growing criticism and slanderous allegations from the rail fan community. To our faithful rail fans we apologize for not giving you the opportunity to witness and document this historic event. The County of Berks has bought the railroad but is unclear of what will happen to the line. This may have well been the last wheels to turn on this historic Reading Branch. There were several employees a few of them who have operated the railroad since the Anthracite days. Many many photos were taken and the trip was enjoyed by all who were on hand.
  by Tom_E_Reynolds
 
EPRL No.52 was sitting quietly at the NS interchange in Pottstown on Saturday.

I took some pictures and walked the line with my son all the way to just past Iron Forge.

I'll have to say some of the wooden bridges are in bad shape, with termite and rot damage clearly visible.

I have pictures to post later this week.

If anyone is interested in walking the line and documenting its treasures, let me know. I plan to go back next week or so. The goal is to get to Boyertown and beyond.

Also, does anyone have any good maps of this line for reference? I already found some old spurs, and would love to see where all the old stations were.
  by rwk
 
I wish somehow it could be preserved as a scenic railroad, even with diesels and modern coaches, but look at what happened to the Kutztown tourist train operated by the East Penn-it quit for good now, and most passenger equipment moved to the Stourbridge Line at Lackawaxen-Honesdale, PA. Who knows if a tourist train would make money between Boyertown and Pottstown? BM&R ran there with the 425 a few times in the early 90's but that wasn't a regular operation every weekend from May to October just a few special excursions.
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