• Spur into Just Born factory in Bethlehem?

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by carajul
Was doing some research and found out that off the CNJ main there was a spur into the Just Born factory in Bethlehem. This was just across the river from Beth Steel/Minsi Bridge. The branch has been removed. Looking at over head arials it looks like it was gone since the early 80s. Can anyone confirm and give me a bit of history of this branch? Why did CR remove it since the factory is going full swing. I assume they got sugar.
  by SemperFidelis
I lived near there for a while about a decade or more ago and I couldn't figure it out either. The line was abandoned but intact along the canal at the bottom of the hill back then. It must have been a hell of a grade to reach Just Born.
  by obsessed railfan
I believe this topic has been discussed before, but there are articles on the Morning Call archive describing the events of the Minsi Trail Branch's demise. Basically, Just Born wanted to continue rail service, but Conrail balked at the cost of maintenance due to an alleged drainage swale that continually washed out and undermined the track in the area and along the Freemansburg Industrial Track, which was the former CNJ main line. There were several petitions to save the line, and Just Born went so far as to attempt to create their own common carrier switching railroad and offered to cover the costs of track repairs, but ultimately Conrail abandoned the line in 1984. As in many other examples, especially throughout the Lehigh Valley area, this was basically Conrail saying "we don't want to go out of our way to serve you". If people think today's Class 1 railroads are anti loose car handling, Conrail was already doing it back in the 1980s. The nearby Lehigh Valley Easton & Northern Branch is another local example. Several customers petitioned to keep rail service, but in the end Conrail won after claiming too many costly repairs and other excuses.