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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Week


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 12/22/2002

In the 1990's, the heavy lifting on Conrail was handled by C40-8's, SD60's and the like, but the "last mile" was usually assigned to, among other classes of engines, one or more of the one hundred EMD GP15-1's Conrail purchased in the 1970's. In 1994, several of them operated out of Abrams Yard, just across the river from Norristown PA, and these pictures, taken within a few miles of each other, show some of them in action.

CR 1620 leads a short train under a pair of former CTA cars that were in use on the former Philadelphia and Western, sitting at the terminus, the Norristown Transportation Center. The Conrail local is running on SEPTA tracks, having just crossed over the Schuykill River from the Conrail Harrisburg Line at CP Norris.

About a mile south, CR 1641 has left SEPTA tracks at CP Ford for the Morrisville Connecting Track and CP King. This route was used by trains travelling to and from the Harrisburg Line and Morrisville (MOPI/PIMO, Mail-8M/9, TV-1/2M), the Trenton Line using the Woodbourne Connection (ML401/440, TV200 and the occasional PICC and PIOI) or the Amtrak NorthEast Corridor (LMPI).

After running onto the Morrisville Line just enough to clear CP King, the crew switches ends and CR 1631 pulls the load of steel gondolas (including ex-PRR G41's) and refrigerator cars onto what was the western end of the PRR Trenton Cutoff, now the Dale Secondary.

Had they not taken the switch at CP Ford, they would have continued south on the SEPTA R6 Norristown Line, as CR 1622 did here in Conshohocken. CR 1622 is pictured sitting on former PRR rails near Quaker Chemical just north of Spring Mill Station. The two tracks in the foreground are SEPTA's Norristown Main, previously Reading Railroad rails. Both PRR and RDG ran electrified commuter service side by side to Norristown (PRR ending in the early 1960's, Reading as SEPTA continuing to this day), and in fact, as you can see in the picture, the caternary supports were physically connected, in some places sharing a center pole.

On the other side of the river, CR 1661 is plying the rails of the former Reading Chester Valley Branch, which connects to the Main Line at Bridgeport. The line terminates only a few miles away at Henderson and Church Roads, cut just short of the Dale Secondary.

c. 2002 John P. Almeida


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Website created June 12, 2002

Last Updated December 22, 2002