Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Flooding Damages Pa. Tourist Railroads

September 5, 2018

Flooding recently damaged a Pennsylvania-based tourist railroad, forcing the cancellation of Labor Day weekend activities.

Much of the damage occurred at the Muddy Creek Forks village museum of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad.

The A.M. Grove general store, the flour mill and the museum shop building suffered water and mud damage.

Ties and lumber were carried away by the water and several pieces of rolling stock sustained water damage.

Flooding also damaged the tracks of the railroad with the worst damage occurring at Guinston Forge Road, where a 32-foot plate girder bridge was swept from its abutments.

The railroad is hoping to clean up as much damage as possible so it can continue with plans for its annual Heritage Day event on Sept. 22.

The flooding also affected the nearby Stewartstown Railroad, which saw track under water at least one location and mud and gravel deposited on the track near Shrewsbury.

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Ed’s Pennsylvania Adventure: Part 2

August 22, 2018

The 2018 convention of the National Railway Historical Society was held recently in Cumberland, Maryland.

On Saturday morning, convention attendees boarded buses and made the trip to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to board a chartered Everett Railroad steam train.

I didn’t attend the convention, but was also present for the trip to chase it.

Even though I’ve done the Everett several times I faced a challenge because of the overcast skies. I opted for locations where the morning light would produce better images for locations I’ve gotten previously.

However, all morning the heavy overcast resulted in locations I previously had done ending up with similar results. I’m sending along locations not shown before.

In the top image the train passes a horse grazing in a field north of Kladder

In the top image below, the steamer turns east toward Martinsburg approaching Route 36. The following image shows the train heading back after turning at the Martinsburg passing dairy plant.

In the next image, the train arrives at Roaring Springs station for where the conventioneers had lunch.

After our Everett Railroad outing had ended the clouds disappeared and we had sunshine for the Altoona Curve doubleheader baseball game that was to begin at 4:30 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The exterior of the ballpark simulates a roundhouse. Everything, including the gift shop, mascots and food items, are railroad terms. The former Pennsy K4 is alive and well.

Overlooking the outfield is the Lakemont amusement park roller coaster, hopefully to reopen next season.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Pennsylvania Agency OKs Transportation Plan

August 20, 2018

A new 12-year transportation plan has been adopted by the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission and it is offering $63.9 billion in funding for improvements to railroads, transit systems, roads, bridges and airports.

The new program, which is effective on Oct. 1, allocates $9.62 billion for public transit, $319 million for multimodal and $228 million for freight-rail projects during 2019 through 2022.

From 2023 through 2026, the plan calls for $8.3 billion to be available for public transit, $348 million for multimodal and $229 million for freight rail. From  2027 through 2030, the plan calls for $9.25 billion for transit, $391 million for multimodal and $229 million for freight rail.

The projects depend on the availability of funding, which state transportation officials anticipate will come from a combination of federal, state and local dollars.

State law requires the commission to review and update the 12-year program every two years. No capital project can move forward unless it is included in the program.

The plan will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration for review and approval. The Federal Highway Administration coordinates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review the plan’s conformity with air quality requirements.

Pa. Rail Network Sets Carload Records

July 31, 2018

A unit of the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority has reported handling a 13 percent increase in carloads for the first six months of 2018.

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad hauled 4,839 carloads among Carbondale, Scranton, the Pocono Mountains and the Delaware Water Gap in Lackawanna and Monroe counties.

PNRRA President Larry Malski said the rail system handled a record 8,572 cars last year.

The 1,068 carloads handled by the DL during this past June is a monthly record since the Authority was formed in 1982 to acquire and save the regional rail lines that were being abandoned and liquidated.

Malski said the authority is starting the process of relaying some of the double track and yard tracks that were removed in the 1980s, funded in part by a grant of $980,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Rail Freight.

The tracks will allow the DLRR to add expanded capacity needed to handle the increasing carloads moving over the regional rail system. This includes service to two new industries, Scranton Transload in Scranton and Northwoods Paper in Stroud Township.

F3 to Pull Steamtown Excursion

July 13, 2018

The Anthracite Railroads Historical Society is planning to offer an excursion in early September using an A-B-A set of EMD F3s during its 2018 convention.

The convention is Sept. 8-9 and the excursion will operate on Sept. 8 from Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.

The locomotives are 70 years old and owned by the Anthracite society and Tri-State Railway Historical Society.

Photo stops are planned along with a tour of the locomotives on Sept. 9.

The excursion, which is open to members and non-members of the Society, is subject to change depending on the mechanical status of the locomotives. More information is available at the group’s website

 

Appeals Court Reverses Course in SEDA-COG Dispute

July 3, 2018

The fight over a Pennsylvania short-line railroad took another turn last week when a Pennsylvania state appeals court reversed its earlier order and instructed a lower court in Clinton County to reconsider a short line service contract approved by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority Board of Directors.

The legal action stemmed from the Susquehanna Union Railroad, also known as the North Shore Railroad, being turned down by SEDA-COG for a seven-year operating contract. Instead, the contract went to Carload Express of Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

Susquehanna Union has operated the lines in question since they were purchased by the state from Conrail in 1984.

In awarding the operating contract to Carload Express, SEDA-COG said it used a scoring system that showed Carload Express scored one point higher than Susquehanna Union.

The line is made up of five branches and 200 miles of track in central Pennsylvania.

The 2015 decision has displeased both railroads with each filing lawsuits.

One issue is that state law requires nine of the board’s 16 members to approve the contract, but six members abstained during the voting.

In sending the case back the appeals court said the lower court “failed to resolve all issues” and additional pertinent information has since been disclosed.

The latter includes a news report saying that in a sworn deposition, a SEDA-COG board member said he had given no points to the North Shore when submitting his tally in 2015, but had planned to give the railroad 60 out of a possible 100 points.

That would have been enough to put Susquehanna Union into a tie with Carload Express.

Reading & Northern to Serve New Plant

June 2, 2018

Pennsylvania-based Reading & Northern will serve a soon-to-be built plant of IRIS USA, a manufacturer and distributor of injection-molded plastic products.

The plant will be built on a 34-acre site along the R&N in an an industrial park in Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

IRIS plans to construct a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution plant.

R&N assisted in locating the plant along its network in the Humboldt Industrial Park and will build the necessary track infrastructure “for a reasonable price and in a timely manner,” railroad officials said in a news release.

Judge Rules in Favor of Carload Express in SEDA-COG Contract Awarding Dispute

May 9, 2018

The SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority has been ordered by a Pennsylvania court to award a freight railroad operating contract to Carload Express.

The contract covers operating rights over five short-line railroads in Centre, Lycoming, Northumberland, Mifflin, Montour, Columbia and Clinton counties owned by SEDA-COG and serving 70 customers over 200 miles of track.

Carload Express would replace Susquehanna Union Railroad, the parent company of North Shore Railroad, as operator of the lines.

At issue is SEDA-COG’s interpretation of how many board members are needed to award a contract.

SEDA-COG argued that at least nine of its 16 voting board members are needed to determine to award an operating contract.

In 2014, SEDA-COG sought proposals to operate the short lines and received three bids. It later chose two finalists, Carload Express and Susquehanna Union.

At a July 2015 board meeting, six board members withdrew from the contract vote because of potential conflicts of interest.

Seven of the 10 voting members favored awarding the contract to Carload Express.

But SEDA-COG said because that fell short of a majority of the board – meaning nine or more board members – the vote failed to meet its requirement to award an operating contract to Carload Express of Allegheny County.

A Clinton County Court of Common Pleas later ruled in SEDA-COG’s favor in a lawsuit filed by Carload Express.

The latest ruling overturns that decision and was made by a Commonwealth Court judge.

In response to the Commonwealth Court’s decision, Susquehanna Union said it is considering its legal options.

Susquehanna had pending a lawsuit of its own in Clinton Country that alleges that the request for proposals to operate the SEDA-COG lines was tainted by a board member who committed ethical violations.

Susquehanna contents that the outcome of its lawsuit could negate the award to Carload by the Commonwealth Court.

In the meantime, SEDA-COG has held off awarding the contract to Carload Express, instead voting unanimously to hold a special meeting to discuss the litigation.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson found in the state court opinion that a 7-3 vote from the 16-member SEDA-COG was a valid endorsement of a contract with Carload Express.

Simpson relied on the state Municipal Authorities Act, which states that a contract can be awarded based on a vote of the majority of an authority’s members who are present.

North Shore is based in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, and has 80 employees. It interchanges freight with Norfolk Southern.

Chasing Steam, Amtrak, NS in Pennsylvania

April 25, 2018

Here are a few are a few highlights from this past weekend. Jeff [Troutman] and myself left about 2:30 p.m. on Friday. Since I drove I made reservations for a Microtel in Clarion, Pennsylvania. We got there about 5:15 p.m.

I wanted to be on the road by 7 a.m. Saturday so we would get to Summerhill to get Amtrak No. 42 since it would depart Johnstown at 9:03 a.m.

Breakfast started at 6:30 a.m., which was perfect. But ice and fogged up windows from overnight delayed our departure by 20 minutes.

Jeff kept checking Julie as we were heading on Pennsylvania Route 219. We were on the far bridge and guess who was about to go under us.

I knew it was P42DC engine No. 86 on head end. And exactly like Agent 86 Maxwell Smart we missed it by that much.

As you can see in photo No. 1 the lighting was perfect of the empty tracks.

Photo No. 2 is of the Everett steam train at Brook Mills on the line heading to Roaring Spring.

Photo No. 3 is at Roaring Spring. There are two photo lines including the road crossing where I shot last September with the station and the Pennsylvania Railroad caboose.

Where I am and looking down to my right I was amazed at what I saw that I never noticed twice last September and last May: A double semaphore turned with slight foliage somewhat hiding it.

Photo 5 shows Everett No. 11 on the return trip from Martinsburg at Route 36 just southeast of Roaring Spring.

After eating lunch we went to Tyrone, Pennsylvania, where we photographed the cabooses located on what used to be the east leg of the wye.

The beautiful stone memorial is in a park between the cabooses and the station.

Saturday afternoon found us in Fostoria, Pennsylvania, along the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern. This time Amtrak did not elude us.

On Sunday morning it was back to Fostoria to catch Amtrak No. 42 passing beneath the PRR position light signals.

We then spent a little over three hours at Horseshoe Curve before heading home. We saw eight trains and two helper movements.

What was unusual was that the first three trains were two eastbound loaded coal hoppers and one empty hopper train.

Again, the weather was perfect and it was tough to leave.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

 

 

Pennsylvania Funding 27 Rail Projects

March 29, 2018

The Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission this week announced funding of 27 freight-rail improvement projects.

The projects will receive $32 million through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program and the Rail Freight Assistance Program.

Among the projects approved were:

 R. J. Corman Railroad Group, to rehabilitate 36 miles of track including rail, ties, ballast, and track surfacing on the Clearfield Cluster’s Cherry Tree, Cresson, and Wallaceton subdivisions, $4.2 million.

• Norfolk Southern, to realign track in Middletown to provide greater clearances for freight trains and reduce track curvature, $3.9 million.

• Shell Chemical Appalachia to construct 10 miles of track from Aliquippa to Monaca to transport construction materials for Shell’s plant and outbound product from the completed plant, $3.8 million.

• Allegheny Valley Railroad, to rehabilitate 10 miles of the P&W subdivision from Bakerstown to Glenwood Yard, including replacing continuous welded rail and surfacing track, $2.9 million.

• Wheeling & Lake Erie, to rehabilitate 18 railroad bridges on the Pittsburgh and Rook subdivisions, including structural and bridge deck, $2.3 million.

• Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad, to rehabilitate 20 miles of track between Brookville and Falls Creek, facilitating continued freight-rail service to Brookville Equipment Corp., $2.1 million.