RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Discussion Related to the Reading Company 1833-1976 and it's predecessors Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road and then the Philadelphia and Reading Railway.

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jrevans
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by jrevans » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:13 pm

SemperFidelis wrote:I made a pretty honest effort around 2004 or 2005 to save the line as far north as Coopersburg for shipping sand/stone, but was sabotaged by SEPTA. More recently, when this whole trail thing started being mentioned again, I made another effort (again for sand) but was again met by very strong resistance.

The best hope for the line, prior to the rails being removed, would have been to resume sand shipments to Haines & Kibblehouse's plant and Rahn's Concrete Plant in Coopersburg, PA. H&K is a very pro-rail company which now owns 1 direct rail served sand pit and 1 indirectly served pit. H&K Coopersburg, back when we had an economy to speak of, was taking about 10-15 truck loads of sand a day (7 or so railcars) and the Rahn's plant was taking a similar amount.

C'est la vie. I'll just sit here and watch my railcars take the grand tour of Pennsylvania...
Wow. I didn't realize that anyone with actual, appropriate, rail-related business had attempted to properly develop a plan to utilize the tracks North of Quakertown. Wow. I always thought that the H&K place in Coopersburg would have been an ideal industry to kick-start service, but I didn't realize you had a real plan. Can you share how SEPTA derailed your plans?

Did you try directly approaching East Penn Railways too? Mr. Nolan said that they had some sort of agreement of rights on the out of service portion too, but I don't know the details. The scrappy Nolan run East Penn would have been the best bet to pull off something like that in my opinion.
SemperFidelis wrote:Or, conversely, we could don stupid three pointed hats, strike up the Gasden Flag and campaign against the return of government funded rail service! That would be fun, too...if our collective IQs were much, much lower.
Hey, I resemble that remark. :) Just because I'm a financially responsible, freedom loving, gun-toting conservative who wants all of the existing out of touch, elite politicians tossed out of their cans doesn't mean that I'm against rail transportation. It just has to be sensible, and that aspect seems to be lacking in just about every form of our government these days....
JimE
Jim's train Web Pages - (Actually, this site doesn't exist any more....)

SemperFidelis
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by SemperFidelis » Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:36 pm

Well I'm glad you understood it was all meant in fun. It's getting hard to joke about politics these days, what with people's tempers so inflamed.

Now let me get back to driving my SmartCar while watching a mellow Rachel Maddow interview with a homosexual dolphin who was fired from Fox News while I enjoy a nice bowl of tofu and granola. :-D

Yes, East Penn and I had a few discussions on the matter but CSX and SEPTA were both real problems. CSX would not even talk about moderating rates in return for unit shipments because the haul was too short. SEPTA threw up some sort of barrier (which I can't precisely recall) that caused the cost of reconstruction to be far too high to justify at the time although had we revisited the matter during the fuel crunch we might have thought differently, but we didn't for one reason or another.

MikeMusiowski
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by MikeMusiowski » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:08 pm

Update on the trail according to their Facebook.

November 4, 2010
The Northern Upper Saucon area of the trail is under construction


Nov 23, 2010
Fencing on the two (2) bridges spanning the Saucon Creek at Old Mill Road and north of Meadows Road, and over a culvert south of Bingen Road is scheduled to be installed by the contractor at the end of November, beginning of December. At their November 17th Council meeting, the Township awarded a contract to Arbor Fence, Inc. in the amount of $6,300 to install the gates and bollards on both sides of the Old Mill and Meadows Road crossings and at the entrance to the future trailhead access parking area. We hope to have these features installed by the end of December. Ordinance No. 2010-07, which approved a stop intersection at the Meadows Road rail trail crossing, was approved at the November 3, 2010 Council meeting. The Township continues to work with Hellertown Borough to resolve issues with the Borough's Water Street crossing and to determine the appropriate surface material for the Lower Saucon and Hellertown Borough portion of the Rail Trail </span>


Mike Musiowski
Mike M.

SemperFidelis
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by SemperFidelis » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:32 pm

If someone from down Bethlehem/Allentown/Quakertown area could do this for me, it would be a big help and might serve to bring some more loads to East Penn:

The old GAF facility in Quakertown was apparently closed a few years ago. I have called all sorts of realtors and put in a few requests with GAF to learn the disposition of the facility but have yet to receive an authoritative response.

If someone happens to drive past the facility, could they PM me the realty agency's number from the sign (if there is one)?

Big thank you in advance!

DELIMAN092262
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by DELIMAN092262 » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:13 pm

I am afraid there is no sign. Just these:

Image

Image

Image

This is GAF Materials Corp. contact page. There is a phone number.

http://www.gaf.com/Corporate-Informatio ... t-GAF.aspx

SemperFidelis
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by SemperFidelis » Sat Dec 11, 2010 11:56 pm

Thank you for the photos. I've already tried GAF, but I keep getting passed from one voicemail system to another.

Perhaps they're worried that someone will try to bring (and keep) decent paying jobs to an area they abandoned in the search for lower labor costs...

DELIMAN092262
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by DELIMAN092262 » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:23 am

GAF is owned by BMCA Holding Corp. (Link) I think???

http://google.brand.edgar-online.com/EF ... SCK0tgDlA7

GAF Building Materials also goes by G_I Holdings Inc.

According to the link above there is a GAF site in Wind Gap,Pa. (Link)

http://www.lehighvalleychamber.org/Home ... m-Products

You could try them. Maybe they could point you in the right direction.

SemperFidelis
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by SemperFidelis » Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:59 pm

Thank you for the information. I'll try to follow up on that tomorrow.

Does anyone have any recollection what sort of materials were brought in by covered hopper to the plant? I know the facility produced roofing shingles and other such products, so I'm guessing it was the granular material found on the skyward surface of the shingles.

JimBoylan
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by JimBoylan » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:35 pm

You may be right, because a few covered hopper cars of granulated slag were transloaded on Tyburn Railroad at Fairless, Pa. for that plant years ago.

jrevans
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Updated Bethlehem Branch webpage

Post by jrevans » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:08 pm

The Blue Comet has put up an updated page on the Bethlehem Branch:
http://www.thebluecomet.com/rdgnorthpenn.html

Neat before and after pictures. Some dead picture links though, but I'm not complaining. :)

Found the link from a google alert hit on this subchat page:
http://www.subchat.com/readflat.asp?Id=1049294

I haven't seen much of the Bethlehem Branch recently, since I haven't works in Telford since late 2009. I was in Sellersville the other week to go to the vet, and it was good to see the long lines of stored cars on the branch.

My new job (five weeks now) is at a large customer on the Perkiomen Branch, but I haven't seen the East Penn operating much. I need to find out what times/days they switch out my building.
JimE
Jim's train Web Pages - (Actually, this site doesn't exist any more....)

Pacobell73
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by Pacobell73 » Wed May 11, 2011 2:17 pm

SemperFidelis wrote:Without getting into things that are still rather bitter in my mind. I made a pretty honest effort around 2004 or 2005 to save the line as far north as Coopersburg for shipping sand/stone, but was sabotaged by SEPTA. More recently, when this whole trail thing started being mentioned again, I made another effort (again for sand) but was again met by very strong resistance. I think I posted somewhere earlier that I won't buy a home in Hellertown lest my taxes go to support the idiots in government there.
Hi - please elaborate if you do not mind. SEPTA swears up and down that while they do not have any plans for service extensions on the Bethlehem line, they are always looking for "caretakers" of their dormant "real estate". From what you wrote, it seems they only want caretakers who do not want to run trains. Why did SEPTA jerk your chain around? They always use the "does not justify the cost" BS but they then overprice all of their projects and get away with it. Would they have balked if the rehab was basic and they did not have to spend $1?
SemperFidelis wrote:To be quite fair, the activities of my company might well have led to the validation of some of the "dirty frieght train" concerns. However, the local folks (outside of government) that I spoke to at the time were enthusiastic about seeing the railroad brought back to life, provided the trains weren't going to be blowing through town at 80 mph. I would have been happy for a safe 25 mph... I think most of the people I spoke to understood that any active railroad line would probably one day lead to a commuter railroad line.
To add this statement, some of the pro-trail people from the Saucon area have said they wished one of the tracks had been left in place, as they wanted trains to return as well. Many are acutely aware of the serious lack of transit options up there. Co-existing was very much an option in their minds.
SemperFidelis wrote:The best hope for the line, prior to the rails being removed, would have been to resume sand shipments to Haines & Kibblehouse's plant and Rahn's Concrete Plant in Coopersburg, PA. H&K is a very pro-rail company which now owns 1 direct rail served sand pit and 1 indirectly served pit. H&K Coopersburg, back when we had an economy to speak of, was taking about 10-15 truck loads of sand a day (7 or so railcars) and the Rahn's plant was taking a similar amount.
Legally, SEPTA cannot prohibit the growth of commerce via business on a rail line they own. Having potential freight customers on one of their lines, particularly the dead ones, could seriously hurt them if they impede business. They also have the WCRR by the ballz, as that group tried to raise additional funding via frieght business. SEPTA told them to pound dirt, because SEPTA has to first bid out for freight services.
"A train running once a week is better than no train at all." - Me

glennk419
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by glennk419 » Wed May 11, 2011 3:03 pm

Pacobell73 wrote:SEPTA told them to pound dirt, because SEPTA has to first bid out for freight services.
And as usual, the net result is ZERO.
Glenn

Franklin Gowen
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by Franklin Gowen » Thu May 26, 2011 2:48 pm

glennk419 wrote:And as usual, the net result is ZERO.
Sadly, yes. :/ Don't look to SEPTA for salvation in this particular area.

By the way, this thread has just passed 60,000 page-views. I know that's small potatoes over on (for example) the NJ Transit Forum, but for the former Rdg. Co. forum that's absolutely massive. Thanks to all of you who are still interested in the saga of this historic and fascinating former main-line railroad. It's not truly gone as long as we remember it and value it. ;-)

The number of hits that this thread has received - and continues to receive - proves that there's more to this subject than just two cities 56 miles apart, a blind commuter agency in each (SEPTA and LANTA), a sadly-truncated piece of a former secondary mainline, an ill-advised walking trail, and the many ghosts of the past. As this website has changed hands, crashed, risen again, crashed again, etc., this same discussion has been going on for almost a decade. :-)
Franklin Gowen • • • • READING COMPANY forum moderator
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In 2019, the late, great RDG overlaps with SEPTA, NS, CSX, RBMN, and several shortlines - that's life . . .

RDGTRANSMUSEUM
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by RDGTRANSMUSEUM » Thu May 26, 2011 3:04 pm

looks like the bethlehem branch has some kind of cult following.
visit us at : readingtransportationmuseum.org

Franklin Gowen
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Re: RDG Co. Bethlehem Branch

Post by Franklin Gowen » Thu May 26, 2011 3:59 pm

RDGTRANSMUSEUM wrote:looks like the bethlehem branch has some kind of cult following.
Said the man representing a transportation museum commemorating a railroad that went bankrupt 40 years ago and was merged away 35 years ago, eh??? :-P I joke, I joke. From an uninformed layperson's standpoint, me, you and everyone here on the anthracite forum is nuts.

Seriously, we're all on the same side here. Our methods differ, our commitment differs, our ability to describe the reasons for our interest differs, but we're all on the same side nonetheless. I just happen to be one person among many who thinks that the Bethlehem Branch deserves a better fate than the one it's been given. The fact that there's still a discussion going on about that piece of railroad's past, present & future amidst a nearly 9.5-year-old thread testifies to that. I think it's good that there's so much interest on the subject.
Franklin Gowen • • • • READING COMPANY forum moderator
Click here for "America's Largest Anthracite Hauler"
In 2019, the late, great RDG overlaps with SEPTA, NS, CSX, RBMN, and several shortlines - that's life . . .

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