Discussion relating to the D&H. For more information, please visit the Bridge Line Historical Society.

Moderator: MEC407

  by PeteB
The three decades preceding 1960 witnessed the decline of the anthracite industry which enjoyed its peak year of production way back in 1917. The decline in anthracite traffic stimulated a reduction in the physical plant of the anthracite railroads which was accelerated by the emergence of new technology, notably Centralized Traffic Control, CTC. Dieselization enabled the adoption of further efficiencies. The D&H, with its heavy dependence on anthracite traffic, participated fully in these trends.

At the start of this era, L. F. Loree was just over two decades into his three-decade term as D&H President. This was a man whose industry visibility was far greater than might be expected given the relative size of the D&H. He was a man of strong beliefs and the D&H’s motive power reflected his admiration of European styling as well as his intense devotion to hand-fired 2-8-0’s.

Loree’s retirement in 1938 resulted in the appointment of J. H. Nuelle as President and his term of service lasted into 1954. Nuelle, a professional engineer by trade, came to the D&H with an extensive education in coal mining and distribution coupled with a strong familiarity with the D&H’s anthracite territory gained from his three-decade career with the neighboring New York, Ontario & Western which culminated as the company’s president.

Nuelle was not the industry “titan” that Loree was but his impact on the D&H was just as great. He abandoned Loree’s devotion to the outmoded 2-8-0 design and guided the company through successive orders of state of the art 4-6-6-4’s. Not only could the Challengers pull more than the Consolidations but they could haul the trains faster. In addition, Nuelle recognized the unstoppable decline of anthracite production and his administration converted the railroad from an anthracite-originating carrier to a bridge line offering high speed service linking friendly connections at Wilkes-Barre, CNJ, LV and PRR, with New England and Canadian connections at Mechanicville and Rouse’s Point, respectively.

This book is part of a two-volume treatment of the D&H’s Pennsylvania Division over a fifty-six year period. The two volumes are very different in format and content. The period 1930-1959 is covered in this 236-page volume which is very heavy on text and maps with modest photographic coverage. This book contains 58 images, six of which are color, and the photographic content comprises about one eighth of the book while the text including 64 maps, 40 diagrams and 22 illustrations constitutes the remaining seven eighths. (By “Pennsylvania Division” we mean the line from Wilkes-Barre to Nineveh Jct. via Ararat and Lanesboro.)

The 1960-1985 book, published in late 2022, contains four times as many images. With 230 images on 170 pages, the photographic content constitutes two-thirds of the book while the text constitutes one third.

These are the chapter headings in this book: I - The 1930’s/1940’s/1950’s: Declining Traffic and Technological Advances Shrink the Physical Plant and Employment; II - Operations in the 1930’s/1940’s/1950’s; Road, Helper, CNJ, Erie and Passenger; III - Stations; Location Descriptions and Local Operations; IV - Anthracite: Still Important; V - Tahawus Traffic via Wilkes-Barre and VI - Motive Power. There is a bibliography and index. The extensive Anthracite Chapter covers all the Hudson Coal operations as well as many independent mining companies served by the D&H.

Gene Collora has provided Robert Collins photographs and Robert Pastorkey has sent images from Lewis Bullock and Bob Lorenz. William Sosnowski and Robert Pennisi have provided images from their collections. Steven Cohen has permitted use of black and white and color images taken by his father, Marvin Cohen, which have been provided by Doug Barberio.

This is a soft-cover book on glossy paper. The book is expected to be available from the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, Erie Lackawanna RHS, Lehigh Valley Chapter NRHS, Phoebe Snow Company, Ron’s Books, English’s Model Railroad Supply (Montoursville, PA) and the Model Railroad Shop (Piscataway, NJ).

Pete Brill
  by PeteB

Please pardon the overlooked typo. The book covers the period 1930 through 1959.


Pete Brill