Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Railroading, back then and today...

("Train" sightings on 10-8 & 9-11.) what is being talked about here, one image shows what is current compared to a second image that shows what once was in railroading. The here and now is what I observed while at my Three Bridges trackside location on Saturday morning. Three eastbound NS intermodal trains would pass by in fairly quick succession. They were NS 22V, NS 24Z and NS 202 were all carrying a wide array of assorted COFCs and TOFCs bearing the names of various transportation companies. Those NS intermodal trains represented how railroads continue to be an integral cog in bringing these manufactured goods to today’s markets.

NS 24Z, a Chicago to Croxton intermodal, is seen passing through Three Bridges (LEHL MP 48) on Saturday morning at 11:18. Motive power consisted of NS 9892 and NS 9689.

On Sunday, I toured the Bethlehem Steel Plant, a facility in which an in-plant railroad was also considered vital in the production of their steel products. In 1943, employment peaked at 31,523 men and women for the war effort. During the course of this walking tour, I observed the remnants of a very extensive in-plant railroad system estimated to have 300 miles of tracks. Looking out a window at the Sands Casino, I observed what remained of the high line tracks. These were the tracks that hoppers carried raw materials to the blast furnaces used in the production of making steel. Walking past another building I assumed to be Bethlehem Steel’s No 2 Machine Shop, a orange inter-plant switcher could be seen. Alas, a chain link fence combined with this switcher’s location made it impossible to get a good photo of this relic from the past.

The "High Line" as seen from the second floor window of the Sands Resort and Casino. Those tracks would carry the raw materials needed for making steel to the blast furnaces which are seen off to the right.

One of the blast furnaces into which those raw materials would be mixed. They have stood cold for such a long time that a tree is growing. It can be seen on the furnance's left side about half way up.

Those two days provided a glimpse into how railroads contributed and continue to contribute to this country's economic growth and movement of finished goods to market.