• Manchester roundhouse update.

  • Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.
Discussion related to the Lehigh Valley Railroad and predecessors for the period 1846-1976. Originally incorporated as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad Company.

Moderator: scottychaos

  by BR&P
Clearing the brush from around the roundhouse and turntable will allow some nice photographs to remember it by when it's gone. That's probably ALL it will do. This forum has listed in the past the strikes against the place:

1. Nobody owns it - it's abandoned for back taxes but the county won't take it because of the...

2. Environmental issues. There is supposed to be a study done, or maybe it is in progress. Some claim there is asbestos in the building, some claim there is underground fuel contamination, I've even heard the amount of pigeon poop constitutes an environmental hazard.

3. When the environmental issues are taken care of, the building will likely be torn down. There is a large factory west of it (not a rail user) and if they don't want the land somebody else will. Right now the fact the roundhouse exists is a negative - the land would probably be worth MORE with it gone.

4. The roundhouse has a very think layer of concrete on the floor all through it from when it was used as a warehouse. This makes it unsuitable for rail purposes - you just can't get a track in there as it is now.

5. The building is in rough shape - doors gone or wide open, roof leaks, windows gone....better hit the Lotto if you intend to fix it up.

6. If the various historical groups can't gather critical mass to clear some brush, who would do all the restoration work even if it was magically donated to them?

I hate to see the thing torn down as much as anybody. It would be wonderful if it somehow was restored to a nice, operating museum piece. But anybody thinking that's going to happen is - in my opinion - living in a dream world. Sorry, but that's reality.

  by TheBaran
Got up-close and personal with the Kinston Roundhouse about a year ago. Made contact with the current owner who is very much interested in not wishing to see it end up in some landfill. Got inside and inspected the structure with the intent of recovering the usable materials for a construction project I was planning elsewhere. The main support beams and ceiling joists are in good shape, windows and doors are not recoverable. A lot of good brick makes up a sizable portion of the floor.

There is asbestos on some old steam pipes and suspected asbestos containing material in a wall put up years ago that partitioned the interior of the structure. Any yes, the pigeons have made their presence known.

I obtained a rough $80,000 estimate from a local contractor to take down the roundhouse with material recovery. That price was based on the requirement that all asbestos be removed prior to the start of work. Asbestos removal work would need to follow state and federal guidelines and would likely add tens of thousands of dollars to the price. Additional cost would be realized in trucking and storing the recovered material. Also, some of the larger support beams are creosote-treated. Further use would require either encapsulation or removal (via planing). Another brick structure, which I believe was the boiler house, also stands.

Current owner was planning on using the site and acreage for athletic fields. They do not currently have the funds for the project, which is why the roundhouse has not yet been knocked down. Our deal, which fell thru just because of the cost on my end, would have helped the owner by removing the structure at my cost, would have provided me with some nice building materials and would have fulfilled his wish to keep the historic building from a landfill.
  by kemay59
I am trying to reschedule the work party at the LVRR Manchester roundhouse on Saturday, November 12, 2005, starting at 9:00 a.m. A number of people have come forward to volunteer. If you can help out on Sat. 11/12, please contact me through the LVRRHS web site at www.lvrrhs.org. Thank you.

  by kemay59
A work party will be held at the LVRR roundhouse in Manchester on Saturday, November 12, 2005, starting at 9:00 am. The goal for the day is to cut down all the trees and brush in the turntable area in the roundhouse interior. Volunteers are asked to bring chain saws if they have them or manual saws if they don't. Work will go on rain, snow, or shine so dress accordingly. Please contact me through the LVRRHS web site at www.lvrrhs.org if you can join us at the work party. Thank you for your interest in the LVRR Manchester roundhouse clean-up project.
  by kemay59
Five volunteers worked on the roundhouse clean-up project today and made great progress. Bernie Beikirch brought his chainsaw and cut down all the trees and brush around the turntable. Deb Halderman, Ken May, Tina May, and Jack Tuttle from the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society hauled the trees and brush away from the area. The turntable is now visible after being hidden for years. Thanks to all who participated in today's work party. Also, thanks to Don Brown and Bernie Beikirch from the Ontario Central Railroad for starting the work last Saturday.

  by nessman
Agreed... the roundhouse is too far gone to develop it into a Steamtown of sorts. The yard is gone... much of the former LV property has been sold off and redeveloped.

Structurally, the roundhouse is in questionable shape (look at the ceiling then look at the floor - not wearing a hard-hat inside that place is asking for trouble) - and every year, it continues to decay.

It served it's purpose and would require millions to bring it back to a useable condition. Someone said the efforts of the volunteer group would save the demolition contractors and hour or two worth of work. Hopefully if the group is that determined, they are working with their lawmakers to secure $$$ to secure and stablize the structure. Plus someone or would need to take title to the property, insure it, etc. Then be responsible for mitigating environmental issues. It's a formidable task.

Without the aforementioned steps, you're waisting time and chainsaw oil.

  by kemay59

While I agree with other posts that the LVRR Manchester roundhouse's days are numbered, I disagree that it is a waste of time and effort to clean up the site. The LVRRHS started the clean-up project in the spring with three goals in mind: 1) clean up a community eyesore, 2) open up the site for interested parties to view and photograph, and 3) preserve what can be salvaged (e.g. turntable). We have made substantial progress this year on the first and second goals and are working on the third.

The LVRRHS realizes that the roundhouse is beyond economical repair and would cost millions to fix. Eventually the roundhouse will be demolished after the environmental problems on site are remediated. Until that time, we will continue to work at the site as a memorial to the railroaders who worked there between 1916 and 1976. While our group doesn't have the resources to save the roundhouse, we will do what we can to make the roundhouse site accessible in its final years.

Ken May, LVRRHS President