• L&H Memories: Growing Up, Trackside...#2

  • Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail
Discussion of the L&HR and its predecessor the Warwick Valley Railroad for the period 1860-1976 at its inclusion with ConRail

Moderator: David

  by jmchitvt
Just like the girl next door, you wanted to know MORE.

And, like moving to the next level in a relationship, I HAD to ride the L&H.

Growing up on the West End, over the hill from Pequest in a rural area, getting a ride wasn't easy. Stops at the tar plant were infrequent even in the busy summer paving season. So the "Grab" wasn't an option.

I had developed a mail friendship with Cliff Brown (L&H Treasurer) after pestering him with "zillions" of letter requests. So I asked for a ride and the OK was immediate.

It HAD to be my all-time favorite train HO-6, and a boarding point had to be decided: would it be Allentown or Hudson Yard?

I decided on Hudson Yard and during school vacation. Things WERE different then. I didn't call to verify if the train was running and at what time. This was the L&H!!

Mom was late for work, drove me down the back streets of P'burg behind the Steckles Concrete, at the time I KNEW it would be there. And it WAS. There was HO-6 making a pick up, and Jack Flood L&H Trainmaster greeted me coming across the main with lunch box and camera at hand. He HAD to know it WAS Joseph!! Got a choice of where to ride, I chose the third unit, which faced west Soon we were off.

You know what a GREAT little railway we had here. Jack came down on OA-1 the day before and layed over at Allentown. Then east on HO-6 with me, back to Allentown on OA-1 with me, and then back to Warwick the THIRD day to get home. Sure, I don't know if he had driven down at this point some almost the better part of SIXTY years later. But, the point is they did this JUST for me. I'm still amazed how well they treated me. The fact that they thought I was related to the Warwick Shop Superintendent didn't hurt either. I always corrected it when it came up, but it didn't always.

So we head on to Maybrook with a heavy train as AO-4 was annulled that day due to a slump in business. The Grab ran daily then and made a turn a Hudson Yard for interchange, and for a while only HO-6/AO-4 went as far as Allentown.

The brakeman was Peter Holendenski (? spelling) and Jack remarked how Peter never stopped eating all the way to Mayrook.
He was in the middle unit, on the same side me.

There were no stops after leaving Hudson Yard, all the section crews watched us roll by and my friends at Great Meadows "gasped" as I waved. Jack Percival gave a slight wave back, but then, he was ALWAYS all business.

I was really "on a trip" the whole way, enjoying an experience I had only dreamed of before.

Cliff Brown and a few others knew I was aboard and I rushed over to Jack's side to return the friendly waves.

We entered the massive Maybrook terminal to switch crews, run around to hook on OA-1 and pump up the air.

Jack escourted me to the giant WMCA for lunch, and make me feel like a million dollars.

I chose the caboose for the ride back on OA-1 and in the next article I'll relate how I managed a convenient drop off to await my Mother, and a ride back home.
  by NYS&W142Fan
Thank you for the memories. I can just imagine the looks on your friends faces!
I still remember my first cab ride like it was yesterday. I got to ride from Hackettstown to Port Morris and return on the EL. Back then things were a bit easier than they are now.
  by jmchitvt
Wanted to clarify the eighth paragraph up from the bottom.

During that mid-fifties slump HO-6 and OA-1 were often the only trains Allentown-Maybrook - AO-4 and OA-3 got annulled frequently. So, the power was three units on the Allentown run. The "Grab" ran daily with two units and turned at Hudson Yard.

Thank you to all who read my "memories". This has been a small way to repay for all the good fortune I had, and to educate those new enthusiasts examing the decaying roadbed, wondering "how it was".

Soon I will try to remember the return trip on that first L&H cab/caboose ride. Then, I'm thinking of doing my recollection of the Reading 2124 heading east Friday night before the Saturday Centennial Excursions - I just might be able to keep this going a while, I believe!!

Back to enjoing this frosty, sunny morning in Vermont, our first snow won't be long in coming...
  by chief
Do you remember the L&H detour trains that ran from Andover Jct to P-burg and Croxton
  by jmchitvt

I do remember them going through Washington on the P'burg Branch - don't recall if there were cabooses at both ends - there WAS that runaround east of Sussex Jct.

No recall of anything about Croxton.

Then, there was that tugboat strike - especially remember PRR Sharks with a solid FGE consist struggling east at Townsbury - just an AA for power. Never saw them Sharks before. And, never sinc,e except the two D&H had west of here in Whitehall.

The divert trains would be a good subject if anyone is interested and I find time to pick my brain...
  by Paul Miller
Joe, love the stories, keep 'em coming. Do you remember anything about the chemical plant in Alphano? just east of Great Meadows? it was called Gamma Chemicals, later Ashland Chemicals.
  by jmchitvt
Hi Paul - It's a rainly, chilly afternoon here in VT as I pick my brain - all I remember about Gamma is they got hazmat tanks, did they do nasty chemicals??
  by Paul Miller
Apparently they made tear gas, later on cosmetics. It's a superfund cleanup site now. You can smell the Benzene percolating through the ground to the point where you can get nauseous while hiking through there. It was quite the juxtaposition- a modern-day chemical manufacturing plant in the middle of a rural, serene farmland setting. All the buildings have been razed, but was wondering if you recall riding by them on any of your LHR "excursions." Right off of Young's Island Road as it crossed the LHR. Used to be the old Alphano Muck Works plant locale. I believe Gamma Chemical started in the 1950's.