carajul wrote:I wanted to ask a question about the Beth branch everyone is up in arms about being torn out...
I was looking at a map and there seems to be another ex-RDG line that paralles the Beth Branch a ways to the west. With both lines under NS now virtually going to the same place (Phili) and with Beth Steel gone, why would, economically, NS need the Beth Branch anymore?
I'm not sure which line to the west that you're talking about, since there really isn't a parallel line to Philly. Not to mention that SEPTA actually owns the Bethlehem Branch from Hellertown to the South. Maybe you're refering to the former Reading Perkiomen Branch which splits off at Emmaus? If so, it now only exists as far as Pennsburg now, and was a slow, single tracked, winding line. The Bethlehem Branch was a double tracked mainline that basically ran directly between Philly and Bethlehem.
Alex has a great page with goodies about the Perkiomen Branch:
The main reason that we're disappointed with the NS tearing out the end of the Bethlehem Branch, is that once those tracks turn into a walking path, it will be very difficult to ever re-establish passenger railroad service from Philadelphia to the Lehigh Valley. The Northern end of the line from Quakertown to Hellertown has been out of service since the 1980's, (and from Hellertown to Bethlehem since the late 90's) but the potential was still there to someday restore service without having to intrude pesky passenger railroad traffic onto the busy ex LV mainline in Bethlehem.
Jim's train Web Pages
- (Actually, this site doesn't exist any more....)