• Jim Thorpe excursions

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by carajul
 
The track I was speaking about where the hacks can be parked is located in the CNJ yard. There is a track that runs along the river bank. It's quite long and could easily hold the hacks. This track is not used except to store the R&N units once in a while.

Back a few years ago the C&S's largest customer, Ametek, was doing good business. They had 3 spurs that were filled with covered hopper cars, and the CNJ yard was full as well. Now death is on Ametek's door and the C&S was only serving them a few times a week. The 1 spur had the same hopper parked on it for over a year and the wheels were practically rusting to the rails. The other 2 spurs were filled to 25% capacity or so. The CNJ yard track was devoid of any cars. That being the case, the hacks could be parked on that long track by the river.

A note about that old photo from 1969...it shows all the track in place. If you look at pics of the CNJ yard from the 1900s to 1950s the yard is filled to capacity with anthracite hoppers. Many people don't know that when the LVRR took over the CNJ operations in 1972 they actually tore out the CNJ yard and the CNJ main thru Jim Thorpe up to the PQ tower. That's why today there is a large drop off/cut toward the river bank. The LVRR wanted the coal that was under there. They then relaid the CNJ mainline up to PQ tower. This is why it's pallet track up to the tower today. You'll notice the track joints are even on both sides, which causes the train to dip at the joints.

Someone also posted that the CNJ yard at PQ tower was torn out in 1988. No way. I used to explore the area in 1982 and the yard was long gone. At that time only 1 train a week served the line. But the yard ties were there with thick trees growing between so I'm assuming the yard was gone by the late 1960s-early 1970s.

Conrail did not want the line and I think in 1982 wanted to abandon it, but Ametek depended on rail service and the county of Carbon bought the line and started the C&S (first called Panther Valley RR). It was plagued with terrible service and corruption. This caused Air Products to drop rail service, although they've since returned as a customer. I know a few times the CR crew from Allentown worked the line on wednesdays and would outlaw! I once saw the train parked along the line at PQ tower and the crew was standing outside drinking beers. The only way they could outlaw is if they were screwing around on the job.

  by 56-57
 
Hello again,

A friend of mine is going to do just that, park his hack on the River Track. But I don't think that track could hold ALL the hacks, plus 8-10 passenger coaches as well. It might though.

As for the way the area has changed, I agree with most of what was said. I've heard a different version, however, in some ways. The Valley may have ripped up the yard, but I thought the contractor hired by the County (which bought the property in 76, and let Conrail run it for the first few years) tore it out. The contractor was under the impression that all the tracks were supposed to be pulled (aside of the track bought and owned by Railtours in '73 from the LV), and so they pulled all the tracks. Afterwards they had to relay the track from PQ down to across from the JT post office, where it ties back into original CNJ track-complete with CTC wires still hooked up!!

The county was the force behind removing the yard, as they owned it, and wanted to profit from the coal sales. I was told this was done around 79 or 80.

The first operator for the line was the Moxahela Valley RR from ohio. They lasted about as long as a raindrop in the desert. Next came Al Leudtke's Panther Valley Railroad which ran (into the ground) until about 90. Then it was the C&S, and now it's the R&N/C&S.

Anyhoo...

Does anyone have any more news about Railtours?? Are they moving anything out?? They only have a few more trips, and then ??? I do know their website mentions these are their last trips in Jim Thorpe, not their last trips ever... Hmmm... Time will tell (remember-Andy Muller said he would basically take them wherever they wanted to go, to get them out of Jim Thorpe) Just my speculation, but they may go somewhere else from the R&N, maybe the TMSL, or Shamokin Valley. Maybe....

Mike

  by carajul
 
As far as I know, Rail Tours' service is gone as of 12/31/04. The original contract Rail Tours signed with the county expires every 5 years. The end of 2004 is another 5 year mark and the county is not renewing it. The papers and chat boards indicate that the owner of Rail Tours (don't know name) is very elderly and has let the business and equipment go to shambles. Tourists were complaining about poor service, dirty toilets, rotting coaches with no electricity or heat and leaking roofs. The county wants the R&N trains in there since they are well kept, and the R&N is going to have the conductors in standard uniforms and build a ticket office in the station. Rail Tours was using a fold out card table. I'm actually sad to see Rail Tours go because when me and my wife would ride the trains each year the staff was very nice. I feel the R&N is has more of a large corporate feel to it. Another issue the county had with the R&N is that Andy Muller stated he would not continue to operate passenger service if he didn't make $ (don't blame the guy) and as most of us know tourist RRs are usually break even or in the hole so the county and merchants are worried Jim Thorpe will have no trains.

  by OCtrainguy
 
I just hope that in the end, the equipment finds a good home. Maybe the F3s can find a home on old CNJ rails somewhere. (I know I'm dreaming, but from Lakehurst to Winslow Jct. in NJ would be great!) According to the rail-tours website, some of the coaches were of CNJ heritage. Since there isn't too much CNJ stuff still around, I'd hate to see it rusting away somewhere. Same goes for all the cabooses there too.

  by OCtrainguy
 
The Rail Tours GE unit that they have, number 2001, does anyone know what type of GE unit it is? I am not very familiar with some of the older GE units.

  by 56-57
 
the 2001, owned by Ken Bitten, is a U30B. formerly southern railroad of new jersey 2884, conrail 2884, penn central 2884, and possibly new york central 2884.

  by OCtrainguy
 
Great! Thanks for the information.