• 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 Otto Vondrak
 
Was wondering if anyone could give me the lowdown on the excursions out of Jim Thorpe... I was thinking of going down there Saturday to photograph... I dont know much about the area, so any help would be appreciated.

-otto-

  by 56-57
 
Jim Thorpe is a nice town. Cramped though. Parking in the county lot is $3, I think. Railtours has hourly trips starting at 0900, or 1000. Last run should go all the way up to Lake Hauto. Power could be the SC, the U30, or the F's. Dugan's, about half a block up Broadway, has the necessities. The 5&10 has some useful stuff too. There yoostawas a hobby shop on Race Street, Anthracite Hobbies. Open on weekends, and one weeknight/week. John did great custom work, and sold Railpace, TRP, Morning Sun, etc... Out of business. You can access PQ tower by driving up past the yard. If you go up there, stay to the right to get around the 'river track'. You'll see what I mean. Go up along the tracks, the tower's about 3/4 mile up. Nothing left inside, but you can see it was meant to last forever (till the owner took the roof off). I don't know the freight schedules, but if they run, you can catch the Reading and Northern mid/late afternoon coming down from Pittston. As for the CN trains, I wish I could help. Also, going to Glen Onoko is nice, though overrun by people at times. Ask the ladies in the train station for directions.

That's all I can think of. You'll see what else is available just by sight and sound.

Mike

  by OCtrainguy
 
I rode the excursion train on Saturday. The first train was at noon. They ran at noon, one o'clock, two o'clock and three o'clock. I got there via Route 209 from the Poconos as I was staying there through Saturday morning. The train was relatively crowded. I got a photo of PQ tower, though I'd like a better one. On the way back to Jim Thorpe, I sat on the left side of the train to photo the Rail-Tours equipment there. There is a CNJ Alco RS3 there as well. Had to get a photo of that.

Would've liked to have chased the train, but am not familiar with the area. There was a couple of shops with road maps, but nothing for Carbon County. Ironic isn't it? We stopped at Lehighton on our way to Allentown around 2:30 p.m. Sitting down in the old Lehigh Valley/CNJ interchange, was a CP train with three SD40-2s and the NS local from Allentown with a PRR GP38-2 and a NS GP38-2 or GP40-2.

This is the last year of the CNJ units running there as the Reading & Northern is slated to takeover tourist operations next year.

  by 56-57
 
Chasing the train isn't hard, the railroad and Route 209 parallel each other to Nesquehoning, then it's Rt. 54 to Hometown. The first photo-op after leaving JT would be at the Route 93 overpass. It's about 3 miles up 209, you can't miss it, just bear right onto 93, and withing seconds you'll be over the line. On the left is a road down to the tracks. Too easy.

To shoot a Lake Hauto run, just continue into Nesquehoning, I don't know the street names, but you can catch the line at most cross streets. Get on Rt. 54 and follow it from there. You can go off at the Green Acres Industrial Park sign, and that road is side by side the line 1/2 mile. I believe this meets back up with Industrial Rd from the co-gen plant. The next spot to shoot is in Hauto, turn right onto the last street, you can follow this down to the tracks, there's a crossing, and the L&NE passenger shelter is back in the weeds yet, too.

If I'm wrong on any of this, I apologize. I always navigated by location, not street name, also, I haven't been out there for awhile. Good Luck.

Mike

  by Otto Vondrak
 
I meant to say that I went down there about three weeks ago, and it was pretty awesome. Sad to see the F-units go!

-otto-

  by OCtrainguy
 
I have been reading about what is going on there every month in Railpace. That sad thing is that the F3s, coaches and the CNJ Alco RS3 I saw are all going to have to find a new home. Hopefully, it will be somewhere nearby and they will be able to run again. The "CNJ" engines and coaches made it a little extra special when I rode the train as you are riding on CNJ rails. I know the R&N is taking over the excursions next spring, but I do hope the F3s find a new home.

  by Ken W2KB
 
Would you please post a summary of the issues there? Why the move, etc.

  by 56-57
 
Last fall the R&N bought a 50% stake in the Carbon & Schuylkill Railroad, which operates the county's line from Packerton Jct. to Haucks. At the same time, the R&N completed restoration of the CNJ bridges at Coalport, linking the C&S directly to their main on the other side of the river. This was done to avoid using and crossing NS at Lehighton, and to gain greater control of the C&S, which is part of their Main Line.

Andy Muller is not a stupid man. He knew having the C&S and the bridge across the river would give him much more flexibility not just for freight, but for passenger excursions. Except that Railtours was in the way of the R&N for excursion service. At the end of 2004, Railtours agreement with the C&S is up for renewal, and the C&S has decided not to renew. In 2005 Andy will duplicate the Railtours schedule, train for train, plus run excursions up the Gorge, and to/from Port Clinton. If he doesn't make a profit on the JT locals, he's going to pull back out.

Railtours had a chance of staying, but angered the county commissioners before they finished reviewing the situation. George Hart has owned the 'George Hart track' (from the enginehouse below 209 down to right across from the Turkey Hill) since 1973. He leased the land under it from the county, and the agreement there meant that the county had first option to buy the track if George decided to sell. Well, last fall, George went and donated the track to the Lackawanna Chapter R&LHS. They have offered it to the county for quite a bit more than the county has been advised it is worth. No one is really sure what will happen after the New Year. The Chapter has threatened to pull the track as a last resort. Nothing has been mentioned about where the Railtours equipment will go. Also, all of the cabooses there are privately owned, and have their agreements with Railtours for track space. Nothing has been said about their future either.

I hope this wasn't too long of an explanation. I tried to be thorough, but no write an encyclopedia. Hope this helps.

Mike

  by OCtrainguy
 
There has been monthly updates in Railpace on this topic. I plan to buy the November issue to get the latest update. I just hope that the equipment there finds a good, close home, including all of the cabooses.

  by Ken W2KB
 
>>>The Chapter has threatened to pull the track as a last resort<<<

Or posturing as a negotiating ploy. I would like to think that's all the Chapter is doing.

  by oibu
 
Am I missing somnething here? It ismade to sound that the R&LHS is under the gun to sell the property, but no mention is made of why, only that they may "pull the track" as a "last resort". Last resort to avoid what? Is this just a historical society politics thing or something? I mean, maybe I'm missing something but it seems like a stretch of track populated by hitsorical euipment and owned by a historical society would be a good thing for all, not a situation that would lead to track ripped up and historic rail equipment (somebody get thsoe two RS-3s outta there!!!) being threatening with scrapping. Seems kinda messed up to me...

  by 56-57
 
The society would pull the track if negotiations failed, which, at this point, may be the case. The talks between the county and the R&LHS had stopped, however the county has sent a letter to the R&LHS requesting they come back to the table. Carbon County had been informed that the track removal would begin November 22, but was skeptical of this because of the cost involved. Railtours ran it's last foliage trips on Sunday the 31st. They still have Yesterday's Train Today and Santa Claus trips scheduled thru December. Their website is here:

www.railtours-inc.com

The RS3's are owned by the Anthracite RR's Historical Society. Rdg 467 is in Scranton on the DL. CNJ 1554 is still in Jim Thorpe. There is no threat of them being scrapped. R&LHS right now only has the track. They may in the future be given the Railtours rolling stock. That remains to be seen.

Mike

  by carajul
 
Just some clarrification...the R&N and historical society got into a pissing match about use of the track in question. The R&N wants it as a runaround track, the historical society wants it as a place to park historic equipment.

Here's where it gets dicey...the county of Carbon wants the R&N in town, so they want the historical society to let them use the track. When the entities got to fighting, the historical society said the county or R&N could buy the track...for, get this, $250,000. It's worth about $20,000 if that.

Here's where it gets more dicey...the track and ties are owned by the historical society, but the land under the track is owned by the county. So the county can rightfully (and basically has) told the historical society "get your track and ties off our land".

A simple solution would have been to allow the R&N to use the track free of charge when needed, and at those times, park the historical equipment on the R&N track in the old CNJ yard (a few miles north) free of charge. But the entities involved seem to believe childish name calling and arguing in the local newspaper is a much better solution.

  by 56-57
 
Um, what R&N track?? The closest yard to Jim Thorpe (aside of the run-around track, which is the yard) is in Lehighton, and that might as well be a million miles away as far as the Railtours equipment is concerned. And that is basically what the 'historical equipment' is, the Railtours fleet, with a few odds and ends thrown in.

Other than that, the other yards nearby are in Tamaqua (about 20 track miles) and Allentown (30 track miles).
  by jrevans
 
56-57 wrote:Um, what R&N track?? The closest yard to Jim Thorpe (aside of the run-around track, which is the yard) is in Lehighton, and that might as well be a million miles away as far as the Railtours equipment is concerned. And that is basically what the 'historical equipment' is, the Railtours fleet, with a few odds and ends thrown in.

Other than that, the other yards nearby are in Tamaqua (about 20 track miles) and Allentown (30 track miles).
I'm pretty sure that there is a small C&S yard adjacent to the turntable in Jim Thorpe. When I rode through on a R&N excursion last year, I recall seeing a bunch of tracks and some freight cars stored in the area. Since C&S in now controlled by the R&N, those are most likely the tracks that are being spoken of.

Here is a 1969 picture of the area that I'm thinking of:
http://www.insighting.co.uk/homauchchunk/903.jpg

I believe that the track that the historical society is speaking of tearing up, is the track closest to the station, where the cabeese are currently on.

I really hope that the Society and the County can work something out, instead of destroying the tracks.