Tag Archives: PA

Delaware-Lackawanna PT98/PT97

Sometimes finding the train is more than half the challenge. On Saturday October 17, 2015, Pat Yough and I had been following the old Delaware, Lackawanna & Western mainline with an awareness that Genesee Valley Transportation’s Delaware-Lackawanna was operating its ‘Portland turn’ to interchange with Norfolk Southern.

Finally, we found the train as it was arriving at Slateford Junction.

The attraction of D-L’s freights is that they operate with antique Alco diesels. Alco exited the American locomotive business more than 46 years ago, so finding these old machines hard at work remains a real treat.

Delaware Lackawanna Railroad's herald is patterned after the old Lehigh Valley logo.
Delaware Lackawanna Railroad’s herald is patterned after the old Lehigh Valley logo.
Alco's Century-636 (C-636) was among the last models produced. This locomotive served Penn-Central and Conrail, and still works for D-L.
Alco’s Century-636 (C-636) was among the last models produced. This locomotive served Penn-Central and Conrail, and still works for D-L.
DL-PT98 arrives at Slateford Junction. It is passing below the remnants of the old Lackawanna Cut-off bridge over the Delaware River.
DL-PT98 arrives at Slateford Junction. It is passing below the remnants of the old Lackawanna Cut-off bridge over the Delaware River.

While D-L’s portion of the freight movement tends to be well documented in recent years as a function of the Alcos, the Norfolk Southern connection is often ignored. As an historian this bothers me.

I have to admit that I too have been guilty of this photographic censorship. While I’ve photographed the Portland turn on several occasions, I haven’t made much of an effort to seek out the NS portion of this run. That is, until last Saturday.

Pat and I agreed, that if the D-L’s connection with NS were to be moved, photos of the NS at Portland would be a rare commodity indeed. So, while we made a point of catching the Alcos at work, we also went after NS H-76, which featured a nice collection of vintage EMD diesels.

Norfolk Southern local H76 delivers interchange to the D-L at Portland on October 17, 2015. Like the D-L this operates on former Lackawanna Railroad trackage.
Norfolk Southern local H76 delivers interchange to the D-L at Portland on October 17, 2015. Like the D-L this operates on former Lackawanna Railroad trackage.
At Portland, the D-L and Norfolk Southern interchange freight.
At Portland, the D-L and Norfolk Southern interchange freight.
1970s EMD's meet 1960s Alcos at Portland, PA.
1970s EMD’s meet 1960s Alcos at Portland, PA.
D-L's Alco/MLW diesels represent a local attraction at Portland.
D-L’s Alco/MLW diesels represent a local attraction at Portland.
Norfolk Southern SD40-2 3575 is framed by the old DL&W station at Portland.
Norfolk Southern SD40-2 3575 is framed by the old DL&W station at Portland.
Working westward, D-L PT97 charges below a road bridge at East Shroudsburg, Pennsylvania. This is the only regular move on this section of the old Lackawanna mainline. It made an impressive show!
Working westward, D-L PT97 charges below a road bridge at East Shroudsburg, Pennsylvania. This is the only regular move on this section of the old Lackawanna mainline. It made an impressive show!

All around it was a successful afternoon. It was also the first time that I’ve photographed the D-L using digital cameras. A fair few years had passed since my last visit!

 

 

Ghosts of the Lackawanna—October 2015.

In its heyday, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western was a super railroad. Visionary management rebuilt and modernized the line in the early years of the 20th century, spending vast amounts of private capital on massive line relocations characterized by massive concrete viaducts.

I can only imagine what the railroad would have been like with its multiple track mainline, numerous signal towers, and a steady flow of freight and passenger trains.

On the afternoon of October 17th, Pat Yough and I revisited the DL&W line over Pocono Summit, and explored the area around Slateford Junction and Portland, Pennsylvania.

Radiant foliage along the old DL&W mainline at Henryville, PA. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
Radiant foliage along the old DL&W mainline at Henryville, PA. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania looking west on the DL&W. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania looking west on the DL&W. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
Restored East Stroudsburg tower.
Restored East Stroudsburg tower.
Former DL&W open spandrel concrete Slateford Viaduct over the Delaware River at Slateford Junction. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
Former DL&W open spandrel concrete Slateford Viaduct over the Delaware River at Slateford Junction. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
DL&W_bridge_Slateford_Jct_DSCF4412
Former DL&W open spandrel concrete Slateford Viaduct over the Delaware River at Slateford Junction. FujiFilm X-T1 digital photo.
Slateford Junction.
Slateford Junction.
DL&W relay box Portland, PA.
DL&W relay box Portland, PA.
Old DL&W station at Portland, PA.
Old DL&W station at Portland, PA.

I made these views of the old Lackawanna infrastructure. While the old ‘Lackawanna Cut-off’ built in 1908 was abandoned by Conrail in the 1980s, other portions of the DL&W in the area remain active, although it’s a shadow compared to the intensively traveled mainline of a century ago.

Yet, the decayed vestiges of this once super railroad remain a fascinating testimony to the earlier era. A time when coal was the railroad’s life blood, and the dull roar of interstate highways and jet aero planes was still far in the future.

Stay tuned tomorrow: the DL&W Lives on with Norfolk Southern and Delaware-Lackawanna freights.

 

Tracking the Light Posts Daily!

Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania—March 1988.

I exposed this photograph of stored freight cars in the derelict remains of the former New York Central yards at Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.

Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron. Exposure calculated manually using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.
Exposed on Kodachrome 25 with a Leica M2 with 50mm Summicron. Exposure calculated manually using a Sekonic Studio Deluxe photocell.

The rolling gentle profile of the distant hills and the contrast between soft afternoon sun and inky shadows intrigued me. I find the hills oddly compelling, as in over the hills and far way.

This yard had been a busy place once but by the Conrail era was just the vestige of another era. There’s rusty tracks below the grass and bushes.

Tracking the Light posts new material every morning.

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Tomorrow—View from a Canoe!