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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 - 02/20/2005

CSX Bethlehem Branch Lansdale and Hatfield PA February 17 2005

Most people have their favorite local. I am lucky enough to have two, one where I live and one where I work. First, where I live, CSX usually operates three jobs out of Lansdale PA:

  • B738 is the day job that works local industries on the Bethlehem Branch from Lansdale to Souderton and the interchange with EPRY in Telford
  • B745 (sometimes called C745) is the night job that works the Doylestown and Warminster Branches after SEPTA has finished running for the night
  • C746 is the transfer run that shuttles cars from Lansdale to Greenwich Yard in South Philadelphia and back

Due to a recent shakeup, these schedules have gotten seriously out of whack. So it was a nice, but not unexpected, surprise to see B745 doing some of B738's work last Thursday morning. CSX 2680, one of the two units marked "Spirit of Lansdale", rolls out of Lansdale Yard just after dawn with a load of cars for the former Hatfield, now Lansdale, Warehouse in Hatfield.

Bringing up the rear was CSX 6148, here crossing Cannon Avenue in Lansdale Borough.
The sun is just coming up as B745 crosses Schwab Road in Hatfield Township. From this shot, you can really get a sense of the "roller coaster" profile of the Bethlehem Branch. The cars in the distance are on the Bethlehem Industrial Track while B745 is on the Bethlehem Running Track.
During grade crossing work last year, the former Reading Company southbound main, now the Bethlehem Industrial Track, was cut at many of the roads north of Schwab Road. CSX 2680 is about to cross the first of these, Orvilla Road, while the rear of the train has not yet cleared Schwab Road. The TBOX and other high cars came up from South Philly on a Stony Creek run Monday morning. Due to clearance problems, high cars must traverse the Stony Creek Branch to NS Abrams Yard near Norristown before continuing to Greenwich Yard via the NS Harrisburg Line. Regular runs go via the SEPTA Main Line to the Blue Line Connection (named for its use by B&O passenger trains back in the day) at Wayne Junction and the CSX Trenton Line.
B745 crossing S Main Street in Hatfield Borough, approaching its destination, Hatfield Warehouse. The rubber strips in the foreground were leftovers from the recent crossing work.
Stopping to drop the conductor off at the warehouse, B745 creeps along before running up to the trailing switch at the old Hatfield Station and then reversing onto the warehouse siding. The curvature of the track grade is not a product of lens distortion, it's the real thing.
CSX 2680 is cut off light in order to back down the siding and pull the outbounds off the siding before replacing them with the inbounds. The light pole to the right is a remnant of the old northbound passenger platform of the Reading Company station at Hatfield, pictured in the background and site of a deadly wreck on September 5 1900.
All pictures February 17 2005 c. 2005 John P. Almeida
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Website created June 12, 2002

Last Updated February 20, 2005