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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 - 05/18/2008

NS Reading Line Macungie PA May 17 2008


Many railfans' National Train Day outings were abbreviated or usurped due to (pick one or more that may apply) the weather, lack of transportation, price of gas, dearth of nearby action, previous plans or family commitments. For me, it was most of the above, so my Personal Train Day came a week later when my kids' orchestra performed in Macungie and then went to Dorney Park for the day. I went for the music but passed on the amusement park and instead camped out at the railfan park at Miller Street in Macungie.

The most interesting train of the day had to be 34A. On the way to Dorney to drop off the kids around 10:30, I saw 34A sitting on Track 1 just east of the park, which is located at MP 26.5 on the NS Reading Line. On the way back, I heard 21M pass then 34A ask permission to follow, so by the time I got there, the westbound signal was red and quickly turned to yellow, meaning I had already missed him, but at least I would catch the westbound following him. Or so I thought.

After a couple eastbounds, just before 12:00 the westbound signal went red again, and slowly 34A reversed from Alburtis. What had happened was that 34A had a pull apart around MP 28.5 and had to set off the affected car. While there is a siding at the former Tyler Pipe plant at MP 26.5, it is evidently out of service, so the result was that the front half of 34A took the car all the way to Alburtis at MP 23.8, cut it off there, then went back to couple up to the rest of its train before finally heading west around 13:00.

A group of railfans at the park pavillion to the left look on as 34A slowly creeps backwards.

The best seat in the house for the ride was reserved for the conductor. Probably because the engines were so far forward of the hind end, a couple of guys in an NS truck arrived shortly before the train did, presumably to protect the crossing.
34A had six units for maximum tractive effort: a mixed bag of five engines and ...
slug NS 862. The MT-6 Slug has had a long life, starting out as Alco RSD-12 PRR 8659, then wearing number 6859 for Penn Central and Conrail until it was rebuilt as a slug in February 1979. Wearing a new CR number 1117 for the next 20 years, it was initially renumbered NS 1108 after the split, then renumbered NS 978 before getting its current number.
The train would shove back to the rest of the train, which was just around the curve, couple up and do a brake test before continuing west with at least three trains waiting behind.

All pictures May 17 2008 Copyright © 2008 John P. Almeida

Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.

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Last Updated May 18, 2008

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Website created June 12, 2002

Website copyright © 2007 John P. Almeida