Thanks to learned forum member westernfalls
for his quick response. I always appreciate your contributions to our forum.
By the way, do you happen to know just when the Tabor Branch was put into service? A quick look through Holton vol. 1 came up dry, yet I'm thinking that surely it must've been prior to 1900. I'm guessing after the 1879 lease to the P & R...I just wish I could nail down the exact date.
, the area in question is a tangle of dead railroads' right-of-ways mixed with those that are still hanging on, and others which are still very healthy. I've steadily become frustrated with my inability to quickly point to a diagram and say, "here is (fill in the blank)!" during several of the occasionally-struggling discussions on the Reading Company, SEPTA or PA. Railfan forums. That changes tonight! So...
I am uploading a diagram from my own archives. It is an extreme close-up of an old street and rail map of Philadelphia. Please forgive the crudity of my color highlighting efforts; this was meant to be quick and simple.
is for the original North Pennsylvania RR's main line (later RDG's Bethlehem Branch), with all of its trackage completely removed here.
is for the RDG's Richmond Branch, now a lightly-used single track which sees only the occasional switch job near Port Richmond.
is for the PRR's New York-Washington mainline (Amtrak's NEC).
Near the top edge of the map you can see Erie Avenue, where the south end of the large Erie Av. freight yards, coaling dock and engine terminal once proudly stood. I believe that part of the property is presently a tractor-trailer storage facility; I believe that the rest is a vacant moonscape of weeds and rubble.
Now for a pic-by-pic analysis of what fellow forum member A1
linked to at Google Maps.
The first image is of Tabor Junction...or, what *used to be* Tabor Jct. That is where the Reading's Bethlehem Branch originally continued south-by-southeast. Bear in mind that when SEPTA built what is now the Fern Rock Transportation Center, they situated it about halfway between the very-closely-spaced stations (only 0.7 mile apart) of Tabor (to the south) and Fern Rock (to the north). Both of those old RDG-era stations were then discontinued. Since Conrail neither wanted nor needed the Bethlehem Branch south of Tabor, the interlocking linking its with the Tabor Branch from Wayne Junction was eventually removed. Soon it merely became a paper listing as a timetable station, then later vanished from all but historical existence.
, your second link shows the overpass atop West Allegheny Av at North 3rd Street. That is just north of the next location referenced...
The Bethlehem Branch met the Richmond Branch at a large multi-level connection named Fairhill Junction. The present remains of it are to be seen in the third link in A1
's original post. Beth. Br. went high; Richmond Br. went low. I think three out of four quadrants at this spot featured sloping connection tracks.
Of interest to me is what my map reveals as North Penn Junction, near the top center of the map. This is where the PRR (now Amtrak, and SEPTA R7 to Trenton) connected with the Bethlehem Branch! I find that to be quite cool. Ask most railfans where the Pennsy connected with the Beth. Br. and they'll look at you like you're a total joker, but connect they did.
Different, but still likewise cool is the location where RDG's Richmond Branch met the PRR. Eventually the PRR crossed atop the RDG, whose line went thru a newly-dug cut beneath the Pennsy's overgrade bridge. But not too long before the time that this map was created (1907), that was an at-grade crossing
! I believe that it was still set up as such until perhaps a decade or two prior to this map. Can you imagine the noise of so many trains clattering across the diamonds there? It must have been amazing. As the PRR was there first, when the RDG showed up it was up to them to pay for building a manned signal tower to safely administer this delicate super-connection of multiple-tracked lines.
Franklin Gowen • • • • READING COMPANY forum moderator
for "America's Largest Anthracite Hauler"!
In 2020, the late, great RDG overlaps with SEPTA, NS, CSX, RBM&N, and several shortlines - that's life . . .