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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Saturday in the Lehigh Valley


Date: 11/04/19 18:27
Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

I've been visiting the Allentown / Bethlehem PA area for 30+ years, some of those years I've made 10-12 trips there (especially in Conrail days), more recently I've been heading there once or twice a year, especially since the NS interchange with the Delaware-Lackawanna in Scranton stopped running out of Allentown Yd to Portland.   But starting last December, with having every other Friday off from work, I've been taking the trip 75 miles east about every 6 - 8 weeks on one of my Fridays off.   This weekend though, with clear skies in the forecast, I decided to venture east on Saturday.   Although traffic levels are down a bit through Allentown with the implementation of NS's TOP21 version of PSR (the intent was to close the hump there and move a lot of that work to Enola), it's still busy enough to keep me hopping between the Allentown and Bethlehem sides.   It's virtually impossible to catch everything in the area, but I made out fairly well.

I just missed inbound 10K, which usually has a mid-train DPU, but is much smaller upon arrival at Allentown after making it's Reading set-off.   But the locals were all starting to come on duty (I didn't expect the full gamut of locals on Saturday that are normally seen during the week, but I guess that's one positive benefit of the Top21 program).

First up was what is normally H75 (but I think called themselves H74), heading up the Cement Secondary from JU on the Bethlehem side to customers on the former L&NE.  Pretty good sized train, with a bunch of cement hoppers and some lumber tucked in behind the pipe loads on the head-end.  Then H76 came out through Bethlehem to run east on the Lehigh Line, I'm assuming to Three Bridges or somewhere in New Jersey.

Just after H76 cleared the 130 crew from Lehigh Valley Rail Management came down with their usual trio of switchers of various heritages to the west end of River Yard with a long cut of stacks and mixed freight to be picked up by H65 later.








Date: 11/04/19 18:33
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: OHRY

H76 now runs traffic to Manville on Saturdays since 32A and 18G now have been combined. It is indeed the H74 on weekends, they are the relief job for the 75 on Saturday and Sunday.

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Date: 11/04/19 18:37
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: icancmp193

Bethlehem was a wonderful place in the 70's and still appears pretty lively. I was just there 3 weeks ago for the first time in decades, but my trip did not include railfanning. The former L&NE is still a favorite!

TJY



Date: 11/04/19 18:39
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

H65 was the next train east out of Allentown to do interchange work in Bethlehem.   Led by a GP 59 / road slug, it came out of Allentown with 19 cars of mixed freight, mainly covered hoppers, for LVRM, as well as a half dozen Dockside intermodal (which comes in on 36T) to be set on one of the River tracks, plus another 20 or so cars of mixed freight to take east to Hudson Yard in Philipsburg, NJ.

I then headed back to the Allentown side, to Canal Park just to the east of Allentown Yard, to eat my lunch.   When I got there I heard eastbound intermodal 294 calling the signal for CP-BURN, just west of where I was at, and I assumed he would run the other side of the Lehigh River on the Valley by-pass to Bethlehem to work.  But a moment later I heard westbound 243 also calling BURN, so I realized 294 had to be routed through the yard and hustled to get a shot of it crossing the Lehigh River coming into the yard.

Westbounds H11 and 34A were both stirring in the yard at this point, so I decided to head over to Auburn St / CP-BURN to wait for one of them to come out.  Just as I got there and was parking my truck, I saw the gates come down at the crossing and a horn blowing.  Too quick for either of those afore mentioned jobs to be coming out of the yard, then it dawned on me, 21M was following 243 and had also run the Valley by-pass.  I'm on the wrong side of the tracks and realize heritage unit 1073, the PC unit, was the trailing power.   It was 'only' the Penn Central unit, but still, it was a heritage unit and I really couldn't get a good shot of it.  (OK, not really a big deal, I have all the NS heritage units a half dozen or more times each, and as David Patch used to say - trail = fail, so really no big deal.)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/19 19:31 by sscannella.








Date: 11/04/19 18:48
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

Not long after 21M cleared, 34A, the monster which clears a lot of traffic out of Allentown for points west, came out to make its final double.   He needed the signal at BURN and probably would not clear when doubling back, so I re positioned the truck and grabbed a couple shots coming under the signals.

Wanting to start working west, I decided to re-position to Emmaus for either 34A or H11.  And H11 wound up coming first on 2 track with a pair of SD40-2s bracketing three cars.  The dispatcher decided to run him out to Alburtis to get in the clear for a bunch of traffic before he'd allow him to headback east and open up and work Buckeye in Macungie.

So it was off to Alburtis for me.  I heard 30A leaving Reading, so went a little west of Alburtis to Hilltop Road to grab some shots of the Enola - Allentown job, with some Allentown local power which was shopped to Enola returning to Allentown, as well as some interesting high-and-wides on the head end.








Date: 11/04/19 18:49
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: OCtrainguy

Real good series of photos, you did well with your time trackside. 



Date: 11/04/19 19:01
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

Once 30A cleared, H11 was allowed to follow east to Buckeye.  IN the meantime, 34A had departed Allentown and was coming at us on 1 track to cross over to 2 track in Alburtis.  After a short wait the monster came at us with three big motors on the head end.

I then headed west looking for a good shot to get intermodal hotshot 211 following the junker.   I stopped at Lyons but didn't like the shadows around the more popular spots there, especially with him running 2 track, so I opted for this slightly elevated view from a hill just east of town.

34A usually brings up the rear of the westbound parade in the afternoon between Allentown and Harrisburg with the schedule changes with the exception of an occasional empty oil or ethanol train...except on Saturday, when 211 operates about 5-6 hours later out of Jersey.  I often catch 34A just west of Harrisburg in the afternoon / early evening, and since Saturday was the last day of Daylight Savings Time it will be rare to catch him in daylight in Harrisburg for the next few months.  So I decided to head home, let the dog out (since I was out all day and my wife was out with my daughter all day.)  I had just enough time to do that when I heard 34A coming to Rutherford, so I headed out to Cove to finish out the day, and got one more shot of the 189-car monster before calling it a day.   It's interesting that 34A (which swapped symbols with 19G back in the spring - 19G now goes into Enola instead of 34A), had been operating in a 2 X 2 configuration with mid-train DPUs, especially for trains this size, but I haven't seen DPUs on it for several weeks (not that I see them every day.)  I'm curious as to what the criteria are for using DPUs or not on this job.  It is mostly empties, but probably still tops out around 10,000 tons and must be close to 2 miles long most days.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/19 19:36 by sscannella.








Date: 11/04/19 19:08
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

A couple videos for your viewing pleasure...First H11 blasting through Emmaus, the 34A at Cove.

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Date: 11/04/19 22:24
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: pdt

So why does H65 leave cars at Hudson Yard?  For H74 to pick up later?  (or whatever crew works up to Martis Creek and Belvidere?

Any chance they are cars for the DDR at P-burg.    They have an interchange siding on the washington line where the old DLW yard used to be....



Date: 11/05/19 04:34
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the pics and videos Sam...



Date: 11/05/19 04:45
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: sscannella

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So why does H65 leave cars at Hudson Yard?  For
> H74 to pick up later?  (or whatever crew works up
> to Martis Creek and Belvidere?
>
> Any chance they are cars for the DDR at
> P-burg.    They have an interchange siding on
> the washington line where the old DLW yard used to
> be....

No idea why, just repeating what they told the dispatcher.



Date: 11/05/19 08:46
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: pdt

sscannella Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> pdt Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > So why does H65 leave cars at Hudson Yard? 
> For
> > H74 to pick up later?  (or whatever crew works
> up
> > to Martis Creek and Belvidere?
> >
> > Any chance they are cars for the DDR at
> > P-burg.    They have an interchange siding
> on
> > the washington line where the old DLW yard used
> to
> > be....
>
> No idea why, just repeating what they told the
> dispatcher.

Could be storage, I guess...



Date: 11/06/19 02:53
Re: Saturday in the Lehigh Valley
Author: dschlegel

Great set of photos, you covered a lot of the area with them.

Dan

Posted from iPhone



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