• Pennsylvania Railfan Roll Call

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by bwparker1
I have created this post for all who live in Pennsylvania or once did and have an interest in rail operations around the state. Feel free to give a description of yourself and your interest, Railroad or anything else.

My name is Brooks Parker and I was born two years after the formation of Conrail. I grew up in the city of Rochester, NY about 2 miles from the Busy Conrail NYC mainline. I would always see trains cruising by over Winton Road on my way to Wegmans to buy groceries with my family, but unfortunately, didn't really become interested in trains until my senior year of College.

I became interested in the Lehigh Valley my senior year while I was at Cornell in Ithaca, NY. Driving around town, I was always seeing remnants of old RR bed and some old bridges, and I finally started to put together all the pieces my senior year. Travels for a research project for school and trips home had me driving through all parts of the Finger Lakes and WNY, and I began to realize how extensive the LVRR system used to be, and how it had all vanished! Cornell's Library has some great books on the LVRR, including all three Morning Sun Volumes, and I was able to check those out before I graduated.

After Cornell, I lived in Freeport Maine for three years and tried to learn as much as possible about the Maine Central and Guilford.

I am currently living in State College, PA while my wife completes a PhD at Penn State in Kinesiology. I am about 25 miles from the old P.R.R. mainline, and have been railfanning around the Horseshoe Curve area several times. I am also on the Board of the Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society, which is a group that owns 2 Budd RDC-1 cars and operates them on the former PRR Bald Eagle Line, which is controlled by the Nittany and Bald Eagle railroad and also hosts NS coal trains with trackage rights. I have been in the cab on several trips to Tyrone, PA and Lock Haven, PA. The recent birth of my daughter has constrained my ability to do outside railfanning, but I still read these forums quite often, and enjoy the posts of many members.

I currently try to follow the LAL group of lines, including the WNYP, and have a strong interest in the business side of shortline railroading. I also follow NS operations in Pennsylvania, the North Shore Railroad shortline group and Guilford to a lesser extent. One of my favorite memories is in 2004 having a short, spontaneous cab ride in a FGLK Railway locomotive through the village of Penn Yan, NY on ex-PRR track. I worked and summered in Penn Yan for 10 summers, so it was a great thrill. Here is a picture from that experience.


Below are two pictures:


The first of the Ringling Brother Circus Train I shot on April 12, 2005 outside the Old Corning Facility here in State College on the Nittany and Bald Eagle Lemont branch. Learn more about the North Shore Railroad.


The second was taken by Mark S. Wurst, who used to volunteer for the Bellefonte Railroad before moving to Tennessee. Visit his website The Idiot Railfan He is a much better photographer than I!! This shot was taken in the village of Lemont shortly after BHRS started running there from Bellefonte.

Click here for a map of the Lemont and Corning area.
  by 2nd trick op
Penn State grad (Business Logistics '71) here; grew up along the PRR and DL&W in the North Branch valley, and spent many happy hours along the Middle Division in the 60's and 70's. And, as of 12/06, residing in a builiding with a view of the former Reading main line and an interlocking plant.

BTW, does a certain Penn State prof (who taught me all I know about Transport Economics) still pilot that N&BE RDC from time to time?

* A reference to a spontaneous free-form reply to the revised gender-neutral PSU Alma Mater incorporated c1974 -- see any alum for details :-)
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by metman499
While originally from New Jersey most of my serious fanning has been done in PA. I've spent most of my relatively short life taking train pictures from Easton to Allentown, Stroudsburg to Scranton. It also really helps out that the route we use to visit relatives in the Shamokin area passes Port Clinton one way and Jim Thorpe the other. I've yet to find a state where I would rather see trains (unless the DL suddenly stops running ALCOs). Plenty of shortlines, rare power, and good traffic density on the mains.
  by dwil89
I was born and raised in NY, but my parents were born in South Fork PA,near Johnstown...so I spent alot of time with my Grandparents when I was younger...usually all summer when schools was out...Nowadays, I actively railfan the area....

  by Aa3rt
Art Audley, born in Jamestown, NY, raised in Sugar Grove (Warren County) PA, less than 2 miles from the New York State border. My father was a railway enthusiast and as the first-born son I inherited his interest.

I have a copy of a photo of me, at age 3, standing beside a Nickel Plate Berkshire in 1956, taken in Brocton, NY. As soon as I was old enough (meaning I was potty trained) my father took me on some fantrips behind steam. He still has many photos taken in Renovo, PA of PRR steam with me near the locomotive. I have vague memories of seeing steam, both in Renovo, and also on a fantrip to Canada in the late 1950s.

Grew up reading my father's old Trains, Model Railroader and Railroad Magazines that dated back to the late 1940's.

One of my great grandfathers had emigrated from Sweden to Pennsylvania in the late 1800s when the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company was logging vast stands of hemlock in northern PA. About the time I was in high school, the Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania books, authored by Walter Casler, Benjamin Kline and Thomas Taber started being released. I developed a fascination not just for the current railroads, but also for the railroad history of Pennsylvania, especially the northwest part of the state. (I would be remiss if I didn't mention the short lived "Oil Boom" narrow gauges that centered around Bradford including the Bradford, Bordell & Kinzua and the Allegheny & Kinzua.)

The great books put out by Paul Pietrak were also about railroads close to "home" as well. I became familiar with the WAG and the Coudersport & Port Allegany while travelling to and from junior college in Williamsport in 1971-1973.

After graduation, my first job was in Towanda. I made many trips to Sayre during that time to observe the Lehigh Valley.

In 1974 I knew my draft notice was coming so enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard. Spent 3 years on a cutter homeported at Governors Island, New York where I could observe the New York Dock Railway and also the many railroad tugs and carfloats in New York Harbor.

Relocated to southern Maryland after being discharged but still consider PA "home" and that is where most of my railway interests lie. Some of my favorite railroads include the Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern, the Coudersport & Port Allegheny and the Susquehanna & New York that ran between Towanda and Williamsport. I'm also interested in logging locomotives-especially Climaxes which were built in Corry, PA, about 15 miles west of my hometown. My meager (my wife would argue that point) collection of railroad books focuses mainly on northwest PA and western New York States. My hometown also was the northern terminus of the "Youngsville and Sugar Grove Railroad" that ran between the namesake towns and a connection with both the PRR and Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley and Pittsburgh (later NYC) in Youngsville.
  by bwparker1
Just to clarify, the Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society is an independent entity from the Nittany & Bald Eagle Freight Railroad. The dinner trains 2nd trick op mentions are run by the BHRS. We utilize the same tracks as the NBER, which are owned by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority, which in turn are leased to the Northshore Railroad Companies, of which NBER is a member road. BHRS is an all volunteer outfit with FRA certified engineers and NORAC rules trained enginemen and conductors. Officials from the NSHR provide the rules training, and BHRS is in the process of certifying its own engineers.


  by jmp883
Joe Pica-born in Sayre, PA (Bradford County) in 1964. Moved to Clarks Summit, PA (Lackawanna County-just north of Scranton) and lived there until 1973.

Between the LV in Sayre and the EL running through Clarks Summit it was impossible for me not to have been influenced by trains. I still have a lot of family in Sayre and it's sad to see how the LV facilities have disappeared. I was just back home last summer and even though I forgot to bring my handheld radio I heard plenty of trains coming through town. At least the trains are still running in Sayre. :-D

When EL went into Conrail, Scranton, which was already in a fiscal decline sunk even further as Conrail shut down most of the rail facilities in the area. It was great to see Steamtown, the D&H, and the other local rail service providers revitalize rail service in the area.

Northeast Pennsylvania.....the one-time rail capital of the US :-D .

  by JimBoylan
James F. Boylan
General Freight Agent,
Tyburn Railroad Co.
Fairless, Pa.

Formerly with
New Hope & Ivyland RR
Michigan Northern
The Shore Fast Line

I've been a Pennsylvanian all my life, in either Philadelphia or Bucks Counties. I grew up in Overbrook, on the Main Line. One great-grandfather was a Track Foreman on the Great Northern Rwy. of Ireland back in the '70s, one of his sons was a construction laborer on the Roxboro Branch of the Chestnut Hill Branch of the PRR (now Henry Ave.) in the '90s; on the other side, ancestors named Deweeese were involved in the development of the East Broad Top RR & Coal Co. in the '70s, when the iron business was out there.

  by msernak
Mike Sernak - Lived in Union NJ most of my life between the Lehigh Valley and Rahway Valley railroads. I started liking trains when I was 3 when my uncle took me to Lebanon NJ to see one of the Nickel Plate Berks that was stored between High Iron trips. I lived in Hawthorne for a year near the NYS & W and Stirling for a few years in view of the ex DL & W Gladstone branch. What does this have to do with PA? I moved to PA 5 years ago for work and now can see the CSX Trenton line from my bedroom and the NS Morrisville Line from my living room.

  by clifford1
Hello. I'm Chris Chamberlain and I currently reside in Reading, Pa, which is a great railroad town of course!!

I grew up along the LV/CR Lehigh Secondary in Towanda, PA, close enough to the tracks that the headlamps on the SD-40-2's on CGAL would light up my bedroom at night. My brother and I spent alot of time watching trains near Sugar Creek and switching the Sylvania plant in North Towanda. Became a LV and Conrail fan from my exposure to trains in NE PA, especially in Sayre and the rest of "The Valley". I was a member of the Sayre Railroad Museum and spent time on the fire escape watching the activity in the Sayre yard (what was left of it)

I moved to Reading after college and have been here ever since. Couldn't help but become a Reading Company fan and am currently a member of the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society, although I am not as active as I wish I could be. I currently spend alot of time photographing remaining relics of the Reading and Pennsy that are hidden in plain sight, as every day more and more evidence of the past railroad infatructure melts into the landscape. I also take the time every now and then to do some good old fashioned chasing on the current day NS with train buddy Phil and his dad, Bill, mostly around Reading and Harrisburg.

I really enjoy these forums and the great info railfans can share here. Thanks!!

Chris C.
  by Beech Cricker
Though I was born and still live in Michigan, my heart is in the coalfields of west-central Pennsylvania, particular those once within New York Central's Beech Creek District. I've been long researching this almost forgotten corner of the Central in hopes of writing a full-length book on the subject. My mom's side of the family is from Clearfield County and I still have relatives there and in neighboring counties. I received a B. S. Business Logistics from Penn State in 1988.

Jeff Feldmeier

  by 56-57
Hello, Micah Kershner here from Lehighton, Pa.

Born in 1984, grew up in Weissport and Lehighton. My father's a fan, he told me stories of the CNJ and LV as he grew up, and he was always willing to take me here or there to see a train. My grandfather had stories of his youth in Mauch Chunk, of the Hacklbernie coal mine, and of walking through the LNE Hauto Tunnel.

Took many a ride in JT on Railtours, and got a cab ride in 94 on George's 4-6-0 #1098. Got to know freight railroading by hanging around the R&N after they bought the Middle Lehigh Line from Conrail in 96.

After some time in the Army and some time in the sand, I came home in June 05 and have volunteered with Railtours since then. I'm a big fan of the CNJ, with the rest of the anthracite roads on equal par after that. I've managed to collect some unique things over the years walking roadbeds and the abandoned yards around here. My prized trophy is a CRRofNJ cast iron journal box lid found in Thorpe... You never know what you're going to find!!!!


  by Conrail8124
I'm Chris Esposito - I was born 2 years after the Conrail Merger. I grew up in NYC for most of my life. My dad introduced me to Lionel trains when I was about 6. When I was about 9, we took a trip up to Hershey Park, & my dad took me to watch some trains. I was hooked!!! I make about 2 trips there every year. As I grew up, I became interested in photography, so the trains seemed like a natural subject. As I read books, the PRR became my favorite railroad so was drawn to the ex PRR main line.

  by Schuylkill Valley
Hello, I'm Leonard F. Shaner, Jr.
I was born in the Phoenixville Hospital. But I have lived my whole life in East Coventry Township Chester County, Pa. which is near Pottstown.

I got into railroading through my parents. My Late Father grew up next to the PRR Schuylkill Valley Line, and I mean right next to it . Their farm house stands with railroad on the north side and the old canal on the East side of the house, lol.


Here is a picture off my railroad website of the very house my Father was born in 1929.

My Mother had two great Uncle's that worked for the PRR on the Main Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, Pa.
On my Father's side I have two Great Uncles that worked for the Reading Company and one other Great Uncle that worked as a shop foreman in the Baldwin Locomotive works when they were in down town Philadelphia.


  by jgallaway81
Greetings from Altoona! I'm Jason G (but I go by my initials, J.D.).

I hired on with the Arcade & Attica in 1998 as a souvenir salesman on board the excursions. By the end of 2002, I was trained as passenger excursion conductor, held the title of Station Master, and continure to service the company in the position of I.T. Administrator.

After moving to Harrisburg in May 2003, I volunteered with the SteamTeam on the Middletown & Hummelstown, helping finish the detail work on 2-6-0 #91 (younger sister to Strasburg #89).

In February 2004, I got the call I've been dieing to get since I was old enough to chase trains... I got my marching orders to report to NS's boot camp in McDonough GA.

March of 2006, I met my future wife, and in September I moved to a suburb of Altoona. Which worked out great cause I totalled my Dodge Dakota on 9/11/06.

Now, working out of Altoona, I'm in the process of completing my training as a locomotive engineer, qualifying from Conway to HBG. After I'm done, I hope to get qual'd to Jersey... just so I have it in my resume.