From Ringtown, "the Catawissa" followed its namesake stream through Mainville to the Susquehanna. It turned north, paralell to the river but a few hundred yards further inland, for about a mile before a crossing at grade with PRR's Wilkes-Barre Branch at a manned interlocking designated NORCA. A second crossing with PRR's truncated Scotch Valley line, which once went all the way to Rock Glen and Hazleton, lasted until about 1950, but the tower, designated REDPEN, was manned only on an as-needed basis.
The Susquehanna River bridge, while unused since 1975, remains intact. Fom there, the Reading crossed over DL&W's Bloomsburg Branch, but not at grade, at Rupert; a branch line to Bloomsburg proper, Orangeville, Stillwater and Benton diverged here. The line then turned south toward Danville, paralelling US route 11 in Frosty Valley, then reached Milton via Mausdale and Mooresburg, paralelling PA routes 54, 642, and 45.
Traffic held up well through the 1960's, with two daily freights in each direction between Philadelphia and NYC's Newberry Yard just west of Williamsport; there was also a daily Newberry-Haucks schedule to serve a CNJ connection via Jim Thorpe. At least one Reading Iron Horse Ramble used the Catawissa during the early 1960's, but the line could not handle T-1 steam power, so Diesels were substituted for that portion of the trip. When the Penn-Central alliance threatened the stability of an Erie-Lackawanna connection operated via the former NYC Pine Creek line, that traffic was diverted via the "Bloom" and interchanged at Rupert 1968-1975.
The Hurricane Agnes flood of 1972 put all the lines in the North Branch vallley out of commission for at least a month. The EL-RDG connection was revived first, but the PC(PRR), which had lost a lot of its New England traffic base to a direct western connection on NYC routes, was inactive for well over a year, and only an eventual sale to the Delaware and Hudson began its revival. NORCA never reopened, and the reorientation of all the Eastern bankrupts into Conrail in the spring of 1976 made the EL-RDG interchange redundant, so the line was the quickly abandoned, as was also the case for the "Bloom" north of PP&L's new nuclear power plant about 8 miles north of Berwick.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)