Posts Tagged ‘Lehigh Valley Railroad’

Look What We Found

August 18, 2021

The late Mike Ondecker and I found this Alco switcher on the Lehigh Valley in Coxton, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 12, 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Something Different in Cleveland

July 16, 2021

These are Conrail locomotives although they don’t look like them. No. 6724 is an ex-Lehigh Valley Alco 628), No. 6754 is a former Reading Alco 630 while the 6731 is an ex-LV Alco C-628. The units were photographed in Cleveland on May 14, 1977.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

If Only You Could

April 20, 2021

If you could take your digital camera and go back in time to anywhere for one day where would it be? There are thousands of possibilities but Sayre, Pennsylvania, on the Lehigh Valley might be a good choice.

This photograph wasn’t made through time travel but during an earlier time when LV Alco C628 was reposing at the engine service facility along with fellow Alco 635 wearing a different livery.

The date is July 24, 1973. What an era that was to be out and about making photographs.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Lehigh Valley Alcos in Sayre

August 28, 2020

Yesterday on Akron Railroads, Ed Ribinskas described how he thought he was going to get double heritage unit combination of the Lehigh Valley and Reading heritage units of Norfolk Southern.

But the LV H unit was pulled off the motive power consist in Bellevue so Ed had to settle for just getting the Reading.

Let’s use the wayback machine to not only take a trip back in time but also across the border into Pennsylvania in search of actual LV heritage.

In the top photograph, we’ve arrived in Sayre, Pennsylvania, which is near the border with New York and 18 miles away from Elmira.

Sayre was an important point on the Lehigh Valley, which built a large locomotive shop there in 1904.

A pair of Alco C420s, Nos. 405 and 414, sit at the engine facility on July 24, 1973.

In the bottom image, we moved down the line to find LV EMD SW8 No. 262 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 12, 1973.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Rare Mileage Excursion set on R&N

March 2, 2018

An excursion to benefit steam locomotive restoration will run on May 5 on the Reading & Northern Railroad.

The Onieda Flyer will cover sections of the former Reading and Lehigh Valley railroads in a 96-mile round trip, traversing some segments that have not hosted a passenger train in more than 50 years.

The excursion train will leave R&N’s Port Clinton headquarters at 10 a.m. and return at 7 p.m.

Trip sponsor Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society said proceeds will benefit restoration of Boston & Main 4-6-2 No. 3713 in partnership with Steamtown National Historic Site.

The chapter wants to raise $225,000 this year for the restoration efforts. No. 3713 is set to return to service at Steamtown in 2020, after 62 years on static display.

Among the branches to be covered during the excursion are the former Reading Company Little Schuylkill and Catawissa branches, and parts of the Lehigh Valley’s New Boston and Hazleton branches via Onieda and Morea junctions.

Motive power will be two of R&N’s recently acquired MP15 diesel switcher locomotives, painted in a Reading-inspired green and yellow scheme. Three photo runbys are planned.

Tickets are $99 for adults and $69 for kids 12 and under. A Subway boxed lunch can be ordered as an option.

More information and tickets are available at http://www.laurellinesspecials.org, project3713.com or contact excursion co-chairperson Norm Barrett at 570-575-5320 or email him at nyowfan@msn.com

Flip-da-Flop, Flip-da-Flop. Chase of the ‘Valley Girl’ on the Sandusky District Had Plenty of Sole

April 26, 2017

This particular Sunday dawned sunny with unseasonably warm temperatures. The sunlight through the stained glass windows at church had a special glint to it today. It was going to be a memorable day. Little did I know in what way.

My plans for the day were set, at least for the early hours. I was to attend the birthday party for my great nephew Griffen in the morning. Yes, in the morning, actually, 11 a.m.

The Grif had a hockey game later in the afternoon. Yes, beside trains, cars and trucks, the Grif is a hockey puck. (Hard to believe he’s 6 already)

I thought I might head out trackside in the afternoon, depending on what the weather was doing and/or if any Norfolk Southern heritage units were around.

I was the first from nephew Henry’s side of the family to arrive. We went to the basement to inspect the work he’s done on his new HO scale train layout.

The bro and his clan arrived shortly after I did. The first thing Robert said wasn’t, “Hi,” it was, “Lehigh Valley at Columbus coming north on No. 174.”

“Wonderful.” I thought to myself. “One of the units I’ve never seen close by and a nice weather day . . . figures.”

As lunch was served and the party progressed, the progress, or lack thereof, as it turned out, of the Valley Girl was tracked via the Heritage Unit app.

“Lewis Center at Noon.”

Didn’t look good; we still had cake to cut and presents to open. I was hoping for a miracle, maybe, just maybe, it would get delayed somewhere.

As the gathering broke up about 1:30 p.m, the Valley Girl was still shown at Lewis Center at noon. Could this be our miracle or just no one reporting it today?

Robert was game for heading to Bellevue to see if we might catch it. Henry got sprung from parenting duties to join us. Grif, unfortunately, had to get ready for his hockey game.

We were off to Bellevue shortly after 2 p.m. We used the Ohio Turnpike to make the best time. You can make Bellevue via the Turnpike from my house in less than one hour.

Upon arrival in Bellevue, we found no railfans in position to catch an imminent move of a heritage unit. Either it was already by or still a long way off.

We stopped for a leg stretch at the south wye to watch two westbounds go by on the Fostoria District.

To my surprise, while driving out to Bellevue the sole of my right shoe came about two-thirds of the way off. When I walked it made a flip-da-flop noise.

I tried to attach it, but it didn’t hold. The noise didn’t bother me, but Robert and Henry didn’t care for it.

So I walked around as much as I could . . . flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop.

Since it looked like it hadn’t arrived yet in Bellevue, we continued south in search of the Valley Girl.

We would occasionally pick up a train calling signals as we rolled south. We were behind train No. 194, but gaining on it.

No. 194 was routed into the Benson siding north of Bucyrus. No. 194 would sit here for several hours before continuing on.

The Sandusky District dispatcher finally cleared up the situation as he explained to No. 194 what his plans were.

He had five northbounds between Columbus and Marion. The last one was an 11,000 foot monster. No. 194 would be held at Benson for all five to pass. One of them had to be No. 174 with the LV.

Henry found a post about the No. 174 and the Valley Girl that said that it was leading a long train with mid-train DPUs. “That must be the 11,000 foot monster the dispatcher was talking about.”

We stopped south of Bucyrus to shoot the second of the five northbound trains. The first one got by us as we tangled with traffic in Bucyrus.

This was a grain train, the lighting was not very good, but we did the best we could. The search was on now for a suitable photo spot for the 174/Valley Girl.

Late afternoon, in the dead of winter, with a northbound train? Not a good set up, but it was all we had to work with.

The third northbound, we shot closer to Monnet. Again, not great light. We continued on.

The spot we settled on was at Tobias. There are some spots here that you can get back enough to get some side lighting on a northbound.

The fourth northbound was fast approaching. Tobias is north of the U.S. Route 23 overpass on the northern outskirts of Marion. The coaling tower at Harvey can be seen in the distance.

We had a chance to get a “test shot” of the 195 as it passed. This should work for the Valley Girl, as its headlight was right on the block of the 195.

As we waited, I made sure to walk around as much as I could. Flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop . . . flip-da-flop.

As train time approached, two more cars full of railfans showed up. This was more like it. Show time was now upon us.

The gates went down at the crossing we were at. The Valley Girl was leading a Canadian Pacific GE. About three-quarters of the way back, there were two NS black DPUs.

The chase was on. I had Robert drive due to my shoe malfunction. I didn’t want the flap of my shoe to get caught under the brake or gas pedal and cause a serious safety issue, especially in the heat of the chase.

No. 174 and the Valley Girl weren’t setting any speed records; the trains ahead kept their pace in check.

We got through Bucyrus and headed for the north end of the Benson siding.

The rear end of No. 194 was clear of the crossing when we went by earlier. This would be the best lighted shot we would get. The tracks turn a little to the northwest here.

We had a couple of minutes to wait. I passed the time flip-da-flopping . . . flip-da-flopping.

Finally the train showed up. Film and pixels were exposed and we were off again.

“Let’s go for the Attica Reservoir,” Robert said. Since he was driving, he calls the shots.

We arrived to see the last cars of No. 195 passing by. The 174 better hurry, the sun was getting very low. Thankfully this is flat country and the sun stays up a lot longer than in the mountains.

We also had to hope that they didn’t get stabbed by CSX at Attica Junction. If 174 has to stop our day was over.

All things worked out and the 174 passed by us while the sun was still up.

If we were to get another shot, we would have to beat it to the Ohio Route 4 crossing north of Attica Junction. Otherwise, we would have to wait for all 11,000 feet of train to pass.

Just enough traffic and a red light in Attica cost us any chance of getting one more shot. I was able to count 48 cars behind the DPUs, as we waited for the train to cross Route 4.

By now both Robert’s and Henry’s wives were on the phone, wondering if we’d be home for dinner. The chase was called off at this point and we headed for home, satisfied with our results.

What do the Grif and the Valley Girl have in common? They were both the star of the show on the same day.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Amtrak Offering Fall Foliage Specials

September 30, 2016

Amtrak has announced that it will offer another fall foliage excursion in the East this year with tickets going on sale on Oct. 3.

Amtrak logoThe train will depart at 8 a.m. from Penn Station in New York and 8:30 a.m. from Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey, on  Oct. 29 and 30.

Tickets are $149 per person and includes a boxed lunch, souvenir tote bag, and a commemorative pin. The child fare will be $74.50 and include the same amenities.

After stopping in Newark, the train will head west along the former Lehigh Valley Railroad and pass through the Musconetcong Tunnel, which opened in 1875.

After crossing the Delaware River into Pennsylvania, the train will run along the Lehigh River to Allentown, passing the scenic farm country of Pennsylvania on the former route of the Queen of the Valley passenger train to Harrisburg. This line has been freight only since 1963.

From Harrisburg, the train will go east on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor and have a photo stop at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The route to New York will use regular Amtrak rails, passing through the New York and Pittsburgh Subway at Zoo Tower in Philadelphia.

Arrival back in Newark is expected to be 6:10 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in New York.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase onboard the train.

Railroading as it Once Was: Overcast Skies Didn’t Dampen Enthusiasm of Seeing LV Engine Pit

August 11, 2016

LV motive power

An overcast day couldn’t dampen my excitement of seeing the Lehigh Valley engine service tracks in Sayre, Pennsylvania, for the first time.

For an Ohio kid often surrounded by Penn Central, this was pretty cool.

The steam era shops can be seen in the background as well as some switchers in need of attention.

The LV was living on borrowed time by late 1975 just like my beloved Erie Lackawanna was back home.

Many of the units in this photo would go to the D&H instead of the new Conrail to help with the expanded D&H network.

Regardless, all was right with the world as I stood on that bridge all those years ago, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells (EMD and Alco smoke mixed together, what a concoction!) of a railroad I had only known through photos in magazines and books.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Railroading as it Once Was: Outlawed in Hudson

June 30, 2016

Hudson

A trio of Alco C-628s on an ore empty have “outlawed” at Hudson in November 1976. While the leader has had the “CR” (Conrail) treatment applied, the two Lehigh Valley units are unpatched. Along with the Alcos the Hudson station and platform are gone, too.

Photograph  by Roger Durfee

Not Just Another Pretty CP Locomotive

November 23, 2014

cp7306bp01

Despite the somewhat gloomy morning, I heard a westbound light engine move coming so I set up for a photo “just in case.”

I’ve seen just about anything on some of these power moves, but this one contained a treat, at least for me.

It’s very rare that I get to see former Lehigh Valley power, but Canadian Pacific No. 7306 (ex LV 319) was the trailing unit on this move.

I don’t know what’s up with that “do not couple” on the plow, but having this engine with the nose uncoupled was nice regardless of the weather.

Sporting its still clean late 2013 CP paint job that covered up an older StL&H scheme, it looked good. But paint only hides history, it doesn’t erase it.

This locomotive was built the same year that I got into train watching full time, 1972. It’s had at least six paint jobs and I’m sure a million plus miles on her and she’s still going strong.

I have no idea how many miles I’ve got on me train watching since 1972. I saw these on the Delaware & Hudson after it acquired them in the patched-out LV scheme and later in the Avon blue and yellow, and in Guilford gray.

Anyway, I spent some time contemplating all the places that this unit might have been since coming out of LaGrange.

Up and down the D&H thousands of times, running in a motive power pool to places like Bellevue, Ohio, and all over the Guilford and CPR Systems.

And, yes, last week over former Pennsylvania and New York Central rails now owned by Norfolk Southern, in this case the old NYC in Cleveland or, more precisely, the shoo fly around a bridge construction site on the former NYC.

To some, the passing of this unit might be just another pretty CP engine going by. To me it was a surprising and pleasant link to the past.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee