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NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:19 p.m.

With NRFF out of the way, the SDQA gets a move on to go back to Tamaqua Yard. The #3058 is another ex-UP SD40-2, but this one was bought new by UP, unlike the ex-MKT #3051. This also is equipped with the extra-long 116" nose that EMD offered for housing remote control gear. UP bought a pretty big batch of these long-nose SD40-2s, but never got around to actually putting the remote control gear in them.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:24 p.m.

Heading up through the rock cut at Glen Onoko on the old Lehigh Valley line to Scranton.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:28 p.m.

Rounding a curve at White Haven. It's pretty much all uphill from Jim Thorpe to Pittson, and there's a lot of curves, superelevated ones at that. Looking at this portion of the main line, it's really going to be something to ride behind the #2102 up through here in June.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:36 p.m.

Stored power at Mountain Top/Penobscot (the town is called Mountain Top, but the Lehigh Valley called the yard Penobscot after the mountain). The F-units at far left are waiting whatever their future is. R&N bought those from Southern Railroad of New Jersey a couple years ago with intent to restore them, but then the ex-NS executive F-units came up for sale and nothing ever happened with these. They'd been sitting at Port Clinton for four or five years, off on a spur with a bunch of spare parts, and earlier this year they were moved in front of the shop, which sparked rumors that at least one was going to be fixed up to give R&N an A-B-A set of F-units. No real work happened though, they were boarded up, and then moved up to Penobscot for storage. The green SD50s are, last I'd heard, up for sale. R&N is holding onto the ex-CSX SD50s, since those are derated to SD40 standards (3000hp) but the ex-UP SD50s, which retain the full 3500hp spec, are slowly being replaced by ex-NS SD40-2s. And all the black ex-NS power is just stuff that they purchased in recent years that's awaiting the call to service.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:38 p.m.

Passing under the signal bridge at Penobscot.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:46 p.m.

An odd visitor to the R&N's Pittston Yard. The FRA's geometry train had gotten on NS's ex-D&H Sunbury Line at Binghamton and tested the track from Binghamton to Scranton, then headed over the R&N's Scranton Branch, via the connection at Minooka Junction, and was tied down in Pittston for the night.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 10:53 p.m.

The PIJT/JTPI consist was also tied down at Pittston with GP38-2 #2023, the 40th Anniversary Unit, on the front and round-end observation car King Coal at the rear. A wild detail about the King Coal is that that was a regular old heavyweight coach that the Illinois Central rebuilt into a round-end observation car themselves, due to passenger car manufacturers beind backlogged at the time. The heavyweight 6-axle trucks are the giveaway.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 11:01 p.m.

Some more R&N power taking on fuel at Pittston Yard. On the left is one of the ex-BN/BNSF "GP39RNs" which is a GP30 carbody, upgraded to 2500hp with 645 power packs and rebuilt with modern electrical gear. On the right is another ex-NS SD40-2, the #3061, which is also ex-BN/BNSF.  The #3061 had another one of the GP39RNs, the #2534 in the short-lived maroon and red passenger scheme, coupled behind it. Two of the GP39RNs were given this paint scheme, in anticipation of them handling a lot of passenger traffic, particularly on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic, but when the R&N started offering cab rides and purchased the Admiral Cab-equipped SD40-2s and GP38-2s, the GP39RNs were bumped off that duty and no further units were ever given that paint job. The red paint also didn't hold up very well and immediately faded to a chalky pink. As R&N brings more and more GP38-2s and SD40-2s online, I have to wonder if the GP39RNs are living on borrowed time. Same with the ex-GTW SD38s that they bought, especially since those lack dynamic brakes.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 11:04 p.m.

The other "maroon" GP39RN was also present, and I made sure to get some close-up photos. I do love me a GP30. Between the two maroon GP39RNs and the #2531, fully 60% of the R&N GP39RN roster was present up at Pittston.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/19/24 11:10 p.m.

And NRFF arrives into Pittston Yard. After this I made the drive back to Hamburg for my hotel. Tomorrow, it's aboard the RDCs to Mt. Carmel.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 8:43 p.m.

So, today was the charter trip aboard the Budd RDCs from Port Clinton to NORA and back over the old Reading Shamokin Division.

So, the Budd's arriving at Port Clinton. They had run OSJT (Outer Station-Jim Thorpe) the day before and had been tied down at Outer Station the night before, so they had to make a ferry move up to Port Clinton. They're, uh, smokey.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 8:50 p.m.

Some R&N power at the fuel rack at Port Clinton, including SD40-2s #3050 and #3056, SD38 #2003, SD50s #5014 and #5049, GP39RN #2532. That's four out of five GP39RNs spotted this weekend, although I sadly haven't seen any operating.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 8:51 p.m.

Recently acquired ex-Boston & Maine Pullman stainless steel sleeper Salisbury Beach 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 8:55 p.m.

Ex-Lehigh Valley SW8m #803. This is one of the LV "pups" which were SW8s optioned with dynamic brakes and M.U. hookups and were used for handling the mine loadouts on the Mahanoy & Hazelton Branch. They'd be lashed up in a pack of four or five and go up on the lightly-railed mine branches and go grab loaded coal cars and then gather back up and bringi them back to Allentown.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 8:58 p.m.

One of the "new" cylindrical covered hoppers that R&N has purchased. These were used hoppers that R&N purchased, shot in this bright red, added the "Aristocrat of Coal" logo and is using them to haul a new dried, ultra-fine coal.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:02 p.m.

They were running the usual three-unit set of RDCs, RDC-1 (coach variants) #9167 and #9168 bracketing ultra-rare RDC-3 (RPO/baggage/48-passenger) #9166. I've ridden in the #9167 and #9168, so I decided to ride in the #9166. I snapped this photo of it rounding the curve towards Molino on the fly, and only on editing did I realize this was actually a really cool photo.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:14 p.m.

Rolling through Tamaqua yard, where some parked motive power was taking on fuel.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:18 p.m.

Buck Mountain Tunnel at Barnesville, PA was our first photo stop. At approximately 3500 feet, this was the longest of 7 tunnels on the entire Reading systems, and actually featured a ventilation blower with two huge squirrel cage blowers at the south portal (this side). The ventilation blowers were no longer used after the Reading dieselized, but were never removed and now sit there in a state of severe disrepair after decades of deterioration.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:20 p.m.

The RDCs head towards the tunnel. They ran down into the tunnel and then performed a runby emerging from the tunnel.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:22 p.m.

Performing the photo runby out of the tunnel. This is actually the second R&N RDC photo runby I've had here, with the first being back in 2021 with the National Museum of Industrial History charter.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:28 p.m.

Passing by Blaschak Coal, which is an anthracite supplier that is, of course, a customer of the Road Of Anthracite. This was the former site of the now-leveled St. Nicholas Breaker.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:32 p.m.

Shortly after Blaschak Coal is Gilberton Coal Company, which is, again, another major coal supplier and customer of R&N. The Reading had a massive yard complex at Mahanoy City for handling all the coal traffic, and R&N still uses that yard, albeit in a much diminished capacity. And we've got another one of those red hopper cars.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:36 p.m.

Stopping at Gilberton to unload for a photo runby.

And performing the runby.

And waiting for us to reboard.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:39 p.m.

We stopped briefly at Ashland, but only to pick up sandwiches for lunch. We did not detrain, but where we stopped, there was still the concrete platform for the old, long-gone station, but once we got moving again, we passed by the old freight house, which still does exist. It's in need of an intervention in the near future if it's going to be saved though.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
4/20/24 9:47 p.m.

Our next stop was Gordon, PA. While the Shamokin Division is pretty much a steady climb from Reading all the way to Locust Summit, Gordon is the start of the really steep part of the line, with the grade going to 2.6% not long after. This was always a helper district in the steam era, and it was where the T-1 4-8-4s made their last stand before retirement, shoving coal drags up over the hill. To the right is actually the base of the water tower that stood here for steam locomotives to top off their tender before making the climb.

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