Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania short line railroads’

Catching Up With the Union Railroad

March 21, 2018

I also caught last weekend during my trip to Pennsylvania a Union Railroad train climbing Dravosburg grade on Sunday morning. Notice it’s a mainline but both tracks are jointed rail. Also the tracks are weathered from heavy sand use. Finally, a caboose brings up the rear. All Union trains still use cabooses. It’s a throwback to old school railroading in this modern era.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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Ohio Saddle Tanker Moving to Pennsylvania

February 20, 2018

A steam locomotive that sat for years on static display in Ohio at the Pickaway County Fairgrounds in Circleville is getting a new home.

The saddletank 0-6-0 built by Alco-Cooke in 1920 will be moved to the Allentown & Auburn Railroad in Pennsylvania.

The 1920 Alco-Cooke engine was offered “free to a good home last year,” when the fair board determined it was not part of its future plans.

Built as No. 106 for Sturm & Dillard, the steamer has been on display at the fairgrounds since 1962.

Sturm & Dillard was a railroad contractor and stone and sand quarry operator and other examples of its locomotives are preserved in Ohio.

No. 106 is expected to move to its new home by truck, albeit with a few features missing, including its headlight, bell and number plate.

The fair offered the locomotive for free to whoever would give it a good home.

A&A manager Mike Bast said the locomotive is in fairly good condition.

It will need to be rebuilt to become operational again. Also slated to join No. 106 in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, on the A&A are a former Washington Terminal Alco RS1 and a Grand Trunk Western baggage car.

Pa. Tourist RR Debuts PRR Lookalike FP7

February 20, 2018

A Pennsylvania tourist railroad has placed into revenue service a Pennsylvania Railroad look alike locomotive.

The Stourbridge Line debuted during President’s Day weekend a former Canadian Pacific GMD FP7 in a variation of the PRR’s FP7 livery.

The unit is painted Brunswick green with five yellow stripes and lettered “Pennsylvania.” Originally, the Pennsy’s FP7s featured a single solid stripe.

The Stourbridge Line provides service in the Pocono Mountains on a former 25-mile Erie Lackawanna branch.

Running along Lackawaxen Creek for most of its way, the tourist railroad is formally named the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad. Trains run on weekends and Wednesdays. ​

The PRR replica locomotive once carried CP roster number 1306 but is now No. 9880.

The owner of No. 9880, Tom Myles, said he has a second FP-7 and a B-unit that he plans to rebuild and repaint.

R&N Set Freight Traffic Records in 2017

January 9, 2018

Rising coal traffic helped the Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern set a traffic record in 2017.

The Class II railroad said it handled 31,175 carloads in 2017, a 15 percent increase over 2016.

The figure is a 50 percent increase over the past five years.

The company credited 40 percent growth in anthracite coal traffic for playing a major role in the traffic increase.

“This unprecedented growth came across all of the many commodity lanes handled by R&N,” the railroad said. “Once again, R&N is ‘The Road of Anthracite.’”

Much of the increase in coal traffic involved hauling Pennsylvania anthracite bound for markets in the Ukraine, where it replaced Russian coal.

R&N said that during 2017 it added hundreds of new cars of business at its transload facilities and warehouses. The forest products group handled more than 10,000 carloads in 2017.

“At year end, we had more employees, track, locomotives, freight cars, facilities and customers than at any point in our history,” said CEO/Owner Andy Muller, Jr.

North Shore RR Names New CEO

October 25, 2017

North Shore Railroad of Pennsylvania has named Jebediah Stotter as its president and chief executive officer effective Oct. 19.

Stotter joined the Northumberland-based company in 2001 and most recently served as its vice president and chief operating officer.

He also has served as customer service manager and director of administration and customer service. He was named vice president in 2013, and vice president and COO in 2015.
Stotter will succeed the retiring Gary Shields.

The North Shore operates six short-line railroads using 247 miles of track in central Pennsylvania.

EBT Owner Wants to Sell Operation

October 2, 2017

The owner of the East Broad Top in Pennsylvania is looking to sell the 33-mile railroad, which has been idle for five years.

Owner Joe Kovalchick is seeking someone, some group or an agency to buy railroad.

“I want to keep it together,” he said. “It’s important to maintain that.”

Kovalchick said he has had offers from would-be buyers who want the line’s locomotives, but has spurned those because he doesn’t want to sell the East Broad Top in piecemeal fashion. Thus far, no one has offered to buy the entire railroad.

A few private runs have occurred on the railroad since steam excursions ended in 2011.

Gas-electric car M-1 and one of the carrier’s center-cab diesels have made runs for the annual Friends of the East Broad Top October gathering. Several EBT motor cars have made shorter trips.

Lee Rainey, head of the EBT friends group, said volunteers have continued to preserve and stabilize buildings on the line.

“Major stabilization work was begun and is about half done on the freight house,” he said. “Built in 1884, the freight house was in very precarious condition.”

The East Broad Top Preservation Association operated the railroad for two years and sought to raise $8 million to buy it.

However, the group has only been able to acquire the standard gauge former Conrail connection in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, and about four miles of the East Broad Top south to Aughwick.

The standard gauge trackage is being used for rail car storage. The EBTPA also is seeking to develop the Mount Union interchange yard into a linear park.

All of the EBT’s six steam locomotives are in need of overhauls to meet federal regulations. The track would also need extensive rebuilding.

R&N Will Chop Down 3 Used GP38-2s

September 28, 2017

Three high-hood GP38-2s recently acquired by the Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern are slated to eventually be transformed into low short hood units.

The locomotives were acquired from Norfolk Southern and were built for the Southern Railway.

Carrying NS roster numbers 5139, 5184, and 5256, they will become RBMN Nos. 2010, 2011, and 2012.
R&N CEO and owner Andrew M. Muller Jr. said the diesels will not receive the railroad’s green and yellow colors until they are given chopped noses and reconfigured for short hood-forward operation.

Until that occurs, the locomotives will continue to wear black paint with the NS markings painted over.

Muller said it is customary on the R&N to have low-nose locomotives lead mainline freights. The GP38-2s will be assigned to yard and branchline duties until they are rebuilt.

The units will join four other ex-NS units on the R&N roster. Last year the R&N acquired four ex-Southern EMD MP15 locomotives.

The R&N motive power roster includes six GP30s of Santa Fe heritage that R&N classifies as GP39RN units. The active locomotive roster also includes 38 diesels, one 4-6-2 steam locomotive, and three Budd Rail Diesel Cars. The all-EMD diesel fleet ranges from 800 hp SW8 switchers to 3,500 hp SD50 freight units.

R&N to Offer Diesel, Steam Fall Foliage Trips

July 11, 2017

Reading & Northern will offer fall foliage excursions from Reading, Pennsylvania, this year.

Diesel-powered trains will run Oct. 1, 21-22, and 28-29, while steam-powered trips with 4-6-2 No. 425 will operate Oct. 7-8 and 15.

All excursions will originate at the Reading Outer Station, leaving at 9 a.m. and travel to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, with an intermediate stop in Port Clinton.

Return trips depart from Jim Thorpe at 3:30 p.m. after a three-hour layover.

Tickets for the diesel trips are $39 with options available for Pullman or parlor car seating. Steam trip fares start at $69. All tickets include a meal.

A special will run on Oct. 14 that originates at Outer Station but does not stop at Port Clinton. It will offer an opportunity to ride in an open gondola car for $125. Coach tickets for that trip, which will not use an auxiliary tender or diesel helper, are $99.

North Shore Named NS Short Line of Year

May 26, 2017

The Pennsylvania-based North Shore Railroad has been named as Norfolk Southern’s short line of the year.

North Shore, which manages six short-line railroads in central Pennsylvania, said its Lycoming Valley and Union County Industrial railroads were presented with business initiative awards by NS.

Earlier, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association presented North Shore with its 2017 marketing award.

“Receiving these awards from these prominent organizations is a true testament of the success of our dedicated, hardworking employees,” said Jeb Stotter, vice president and chief operating officer of the North Shore. “We appreciate our partnership with NS and are humbled by this recognition.”

Pa. Short Line Move Draws Opposition

May 9, 2017

NIMBY opposition has arisen to a plan by a Pennsylvania short-line railroad to move its interchange point with Norfolk Southern.

The 6-5-mile Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad now interchanges with NS in Middletown, but wants to move that to Hummelstown.

Most of the opposition has centered on how the additional rail traffic will affect a major highway crossing just outside the town. Others are concerns about hazardous materials being shipped through the region.

More than 50 people attended a public meeting held recently to hear more information about the plan.

M&H officials said moving the interchange point would mean better service for its customers, all of which are in Middletown.

Railroad officials said the train to Hummelstown will operate two to three times a week and consist of a locomotive and three or four cars.

The M&H uses a former Reading branch line and also operates a tourist train during the summer.