1. Norfolk Southern’s ex-Conrail, nee-Lehigh Valley Hazleton Branch / Ashmore Secondary climbing steep grade into Weatherly PA. This is looking east toward M&H Junction (Mahanoy & Hazleton Jct) down in the Lehigh gorge. 07-12-2017.
2. Weatherly depot is now the police department. This view looking west toward Hazleton and Ashmore illustrates that the grade is 2.7 percent climbing put of the Lehigh River to the plateau at Ashmore. Weatherly is m.p. 4.3 on the branch. ex-LV depot. Weatherly PA.
3. ex-LV depot. View 2. Weatherly PA.
4. Another view looking back down the grade toward the river. Loaded (coal??) trains needed 75% of their retaining valves turned up. Mineral (ore??) required 90% retainers per the 1975 Lehigh Valley timetable. Less than a mile down the hill is Black Creek Jct. The now-abandoned Quakake Branch entered here from Delano. The famous Mount Carmel ore trains (remember those trains in the mid-50s with the multiple Pennsy 2-10-0s and LV 2-10-2s and 2-8-2s) took that route which presumably had a much easier descent. LV switched to F-units for those trains. Weatherly Area Museum PA.
5. I don’t know what this is. It looks railroady! Unfortunately the museum was closed. Weatherly Area Museum. View 2.
6. The building may have been an office for steel company. Maybe there was a track scale in front. Weatherly Area Museum. View 3.
7. LV had a locomotive shop at Weatherly in the early years. ex-LV shop. Weatherly PA.
8. In the Morning Sun book Lehigh Valley Facilities, Volume 2, Wyoming Division author Mike Bednar has a great shot of a brace of LV SW800 “pups” coming up through town in 1973. Weatherly Steel is still active and the structure has a roof. ex-LV shop. View 2. Weatherly PA.
9. ex-LV shop. View 3. Weatherly PA.
10. ex-LV shop. View 4. Weatherly PA.
11. ex-LV shop. View 5. Weatherly PA.
12. ex-LV shop. View 6. Weatherly PA.
13. LV hopper 15661. Weatherly PA.
14. This hopper makes a great addition to the site. LV hopper 15661. View 2. Weatherly PA.
15. Cast at Birdsboro PA. LV hopper 15661 truck.
16. The sun came out. Can you imagine those LV 2-10-2s (C&O and PM had a few) chuffing up this grade. Or for that matter 3-4 800 HP SW8s. ex-LV depot. Weatherly PA.
17. “In the day” this was double track. The Mahanoy & Hazleton Division presided over the web of coal branches in the Hazleton-Shenandoah-Mount Carmel area, dispatched a bunch of passenger trains including those of the Pennsy running from Philly to Wilkes-Barre, and too many coal trains to comprehend. ex-LV depot. View 2. Weatherly PA.
18. ex-LV depot. View 3. Weatherly PA.
As anthracite loading dwindled Lehigh Valley scaled down their area operations. The big engine terminal at Ashmore closed after the demise of steam. Delano was converted to handle the SW8 “pups”. There was an engine terminal in Hazleton also. By the 1960s it had become the base for area operations. I have some records that show LV getting around 30 cars of coal and miscellaneous freight daily from the Hazleton area.
19. Conrail based their crews here as does NS now. Curiously NS has held onto Hazleton and the industrial park while Reading & Northern has almost everything else (including trackage rights). NS 9370 is parked at the diesel shop. Hazleton PA.
20. NS 9370. View 2. Hazleton PA.
21. In the late 1980s Conrail’s operations were centered in the diesel shop. NS must plan on staying around for a while with this nice yard office. NS yard office. Hazleton PA.
22. Just to the north of the NS office is the entrance to Atlantic Carbon Group’s big strip pit. Atlantic Carbon has an informative web site if you are interested. Atlantic Carbon Group mine. Hazleton PA.
23. This abandoned dragline is near the former Hazleton Shaft mine. Various companies have been digging around here for over 100 years! Hazleton PA.
24. After staying the night in Hazleton, we explored the abandoned Tomhicken / Gowen branches west to Rock Glen. The line ends at this siding just west of I-81 where utility poles are unloaded. This line merged into Pennsy at Gum Run. It has been gone so long that that it is hard to discern where the railroad was. Unloading poles on NS near Hazleton PA.
25. NS Harrisburg Division local H99 with 9370-4616-5620 switches at Hazleton Yard. The old Hazleton Shaft mine is to the left. Hazleton PA.
26. NS 9370-4616-5620. View 2. Hazleton PA.
27. Dash 9-44CW-GP59-GP38-2. The 5620 was upgraded from GP38 and GP38AC models. NS 9370-4616-5620. View 3. Hazleton PA.
28. NS 9370-4616-5620. View 4. Hazleton PA.
29. Their day done, H99 heads to the terminal. NS 5620-4616-9370. View 5. Hazleton PA.
30. The main line on the left goes up through downtown Hazleton. LV operated a Budd RDC as a connection for main line trains in later years between Hazleton and Lehighton. NS 5620-4616-9370. View 6. Hazleton PA.
31. I learned that H98 would report at 11:00 a.m. They would use the two Geeps to switch the industrial park. During the night another job would run down to Lehighton and return. So it is not likely seeing this job struggling up the grade at Waverly in the daylight. Conrail used GP38s and SW1500s. NS 5620-4616-9370. View 7. Hazleton PA.
All for now.