Dunkirk, NY to Titusville, PA

The Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley & Pittsburgh Railroad

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This picture was taken at North Warren, PA, in October 2008, where the former station is now a submarine sandwich shop. Photo by Mike Palmer, October 2008.

This was the former Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley and Pittsburgh Railroad line between Dunkirk, NY and Titusville, PA. It extended 90 miles from the NYC mainline at Dunkirk, NY south-southwest to Titusville, PA. It served small farm towns in upstate New York and reached into the oil field region of northwestern Pennsylvania. An extensive history of this line is available at the link below.

A portion of the right-of-way can still be easily seen where it parallels US Route 62 between Akeley and Warren in northern Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

The Oil Creek and Titusville operates over a portion of this line from a connection with the former PRR Chautauqua Branch to a point several hundred feet east of the PA Route 27 crossing. The OC&T calls it the Fieldmore Springs Branch where they serve several industries. I can't confirm the date but I believe the line was abandoned in 1968, around the time of the PC merger.

Ron Mele
Pinson, AL
7/7/2011

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In 1967 I walked the track from Titusville to Dunkirk, using side-track maps from the track dept revealing private switches,turn-outs,car capacities,house tracks,private sidings etc. I walked the total area of industry and, with the local agent, a Mr Chuck Tulledge, drove between cities. I went through Titusville,Fieldmore Springs,Irvington,some others in PA and then to Frewsberg and up to Falconer Jct befor quitting accounting time constraints, the next week picking up the rest by myself. I went to Gerry,Sinclairville,Fredonia(Mile post 3 I remember) and know that I forgot some cities, altough I have the original side track schetchs from the job. At the time it was a viable branch and the EL gave us unit coal trains at Falconer Jct for delivery at NMP Dunkirk, but one derailed and riped up much of the rail and ties and the NYC would not replace same. john

John E Bond
Amherst, NY
7/8/2011

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I belong to the Lake Shore Chapter NRHS North East PA-A gentleman brought in a yard sign from Frewsburg. There evidently was a siding or small yard of some sort on Pearl St. in Frewsburg. Do you have a book out on the DAVP? Regards, Al Johnson

Al Johnson
Jamestown, NY
1/23/2012

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i was looking at the map and notioced abandoned rail and bridges in multiple spots.any information on what is still there would be greatly appreciated.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
5/25/2013

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I am past President of the Dunkirk Historical Society, and at the Chautauqua Fairgrounds, where our 444 sits , the rail that is under it is former DAV&P (NYC, PC ) OLD RAIL, SAVED AND STILL USED TO KEEP THE LOCOMOTIVE DISPLAY UP,,,,JJP

John J. Pietrkiewicz
St. Petersburg, fl
8/10/2013

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thank you for the information.i was just wondering what was to become of the bridges and rail that are abandoned on this rail line which does also have the same in n.y.is it possible to put in a rail to trail?just an idea.keep in touch.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
8/10/2013

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I know much of the line has been removed but crossings can still be found in the Southern Tier region.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
8/30/2013

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according to the map,there are abandoned bridges and rail in certain areas along the rail line.you did say much of the line has been removed.i would not mind coming up there and checking it out.i do know from the map that there might be rail and bridges on the n.y. section of the line.if you do know what is still remaining or would like to know what i wrote down that i did see on the map please do not hesitate to e-mail me.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
8/30/2013

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I know of an abandon crossing at US 62 North of Jamestown. I remember seeing the portion crossing the New York Thruway had only the ties left. The line supplied coal to the power plant in Dunkirk. The EL used this line after Agnes took out the mainline south of Gowanda. Con-rail doomed much of these lines.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
8/30/2013

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I did some research on this line and (as of 1998) only 3 segments remain, one in Dunkirk. There is another, former Erie Salamanca branch also gone. As for bridges, no doubt they exist because it is cheaper to leave things as they lay. I remember seeing remnants of the Buffalo & Erie traction company (bridge piers) along the NS mainline or the Lehigh Valley mainline (abandoned and removed) that parallel the NYS Thruway in West Seneca. You can see rusting bridges.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
8/30/2013

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thank you robert for contacting me about this rail line.from what i saw on the map,this is what i saw.if the bridges or rail are there i would like to know.according to the map,there are 2 abandoned bridges with rail at the deadend off messerall rd.also 2 more abandoned bridges off the dotyville rd. area off of chappell hill rd. follow row north to another abandoned bridge.if you also look at the map,there are 2 more abandoned bridges north of here before the n.y. state line.so you see,i have done my homework.keep in touch and let me know if the map lies.take care.

george oakley
reading, PA
8/31/2013

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Many of these lines were built on coal and coal died so did the railroads. If you have pictures it would be great. From what I read on the Dunkirk end only 1 or 2 miles are still in use, I believe there isn't a right of way connecting the Great Lakes at Dunkirk to the central part of the state and that is a great loss. I know that CN wants to run cars to northern Pa.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
8/31/2013

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i agree with you completely that once the coal business died,so did the rail business.sorry,i do not have no pictures.all of my information is via the map.see if you can find out how recent this map is.i have a feeling it might be an old outdated map.i would appreciate it.since you live in n.j.it probably would be difficult for you to get to the area.if you are at any time in the area,please let me know what you find if anything,keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/1/2013

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I rarely get down there. The map is rather old and not that accurate. If you change the view to satellite much of the line has been removed. I wish that more information was available and not all right of ways are listed. Much of these right of ways were built to rival another and when companies merged one of the right of way was sacrificed. An example was route between Erie PA to Buffalo--the New York Central and Pennsyvania both had routes, after the merger one was removed. Conrail was the death of many. Modern trends: NS removed any competing right of ways thus so many abandonments.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/1/2013

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thanks for the information.the only way to really find out what is remaining is to go up there and actually look around.i am pretty sure if any bridges or rail are remaining,they are probably out of the way where it would not be cost efficient to remove.when i get the time,i will look around just out of curiosity.you never know what you will find.maybe follow the whole line looking for artifacts.keep in touch.thanks again.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/2/2013

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I agree! Back in 1979 in Angola NY, month of September I was walking down this road along the old right of way of the old Buffalo & Erie Traction company when my brother and I came across an old rail from the track. Considering that the rails were removed some 40 years prior (ww2 scrap drive). This rail was tossed aside like they would do when they replace a rail, there is an old Pennsylvania line abandoned and tracks long removed but walking through the area towers and poles remain. Where I live the Central of New Jersey tracks are gone and trees have grown. Towers standing proud. I got an email from a person that was contracted that was contracted to remove rails from the Buffalo and Pittsburg (ex B&O) line between Orchard Park and Springville. He told me that he received the contract to remove the rails--he also said that salvage contract varies from the rail or ties and ballast. There is a video series on U Tube. If I was to journey down an old right of way I will this time bring a camera.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/2/2013

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thanks for answering back.from what you said about the rail line,it seems there might be rail and other artifacts still laying around.i will check it out because what i like about the area,it is rarely disturbed by the public.let me know if you hear or find anything else out.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/2/2013

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There is several miles of right of way and I may be heading that way this month or next and I could check road maps. Road crossings are often left because costs are too high to remove and I have seen crossing cross bars left that even concrete bases will be left forgotten.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/2/2013

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if you do get to that area,look around.since i have been on other abandoned rail lines in the state of pa.you might be surprised what is often left behind.that is one thing that i love to do.walk abandoned rail lines.for example,one rail line i walked along i found a signal tower which was in great shape and probably could be operable with some work.so you see,anything can be found.whenever you get there,be careful and keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/2/2013

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No doubt about treasures. When rail lines are pulled they take the rails to be reused. I grew up living alongside an active mainline of the NYC and things were tossed. I lived in Modesto, CA; the Tidewater branch that was abandoned there was a box where the phone was kept--no doubt in somebody's collection. Crossing gates/ guards are left because it costs too much to remove or it will take years to remove. That was the case of a SP industrial spur--they pulled the rails in the 90s and the signal maybe10 years later. The signals were removed the Tidewater branch prior to the pulling of the rails--it took years because they found high level of arsenic.

The DAJ line: I found a section that ran alongside a highway. I have a curiosity to explore but I need the time. I want to check out a portion of the former Westshore branch outside of Buffalo that I found was removed--curious!

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/4/2013

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i grew up also along a rail line outside of philadelphia.i did go down there quite a few times and found alot of items that were left behind.it is amazing what you can find if you look hard enough.i found junction boxes that still had wiring and fully intact rail still in place.the telephone poles i saw still had wiring and insulators still on them.of course the wiring was cut from pole to pole.in other words,the wire which is copper can be recycled for money.i did find cable with copper wiring inside.i never do tell anyone where i found the wiring.my secret.i do have a question.have you ever heard of rails to trails?that is a good way to preserve the history of the rail lines because even though they may be gone,preservation of the right of way is still there.it would be a good way to save the right of ways even though the rail line would be removed.let me know your views.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/4/2013

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Yes I have and know of several networks in some of the cities in California. This is popular but often lack funds. Some neighborhoods oppose this because of what trail will bring. Monterey, CA; former track right of way were converted to trails in the Monterey Bay aquarium (former rail lines serving canneries). Two concepts exist: complete removal of rail using roadbed and the other is leaving the rail as part of the trail. The rail has found new use as bicycle guides. My Facebook page has pictures of this: rail guides or wheels ride the rail with a cross arm to the other rail. Basically, wheels built with a frame to ride the rails, several versions. I saw pictures of rail cars built that was motorized. Type in my name.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/4/2013

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i saw what you were talking about concerning thevehicles made for riding on the rails.i think that is cool.as for the funding,in pa.there is really no funding for that but never give up.it can be done in a totally positive way.the way it is usually done is remove the rail and either grind up the railbed or leave it be.then put up signs detailing the rail line and its use at either end.there is always going to be some sort of opposition to this but it does not hurt to try,right?in the meantime i still will always walk these abandoned railbeds because of the history behind them.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/4/2013

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The reason for designating rails to trails is cities/ counties want to own former Right of Ways for future use. The tracks are abandoned, city or county obtain property, and land is banked. One way is through nonpayment of taxes--cities own property through this method. Railroads will deed over property. Some right of ways are just abandoned--this is the way the DA&P, in limbo in hopes of reactivating or land sale. In rural areas land owners might do that to keep trails out. Erie County in New York State bought the old Erie tracks from Conrail in 1986 because of rail needs or the right of way would have been pulled--they move quite a bit of freight annually, some to the southern part of the state. I think they should have purchased one of the Dunkirk right of ways--Dunkirk has a power plant that use coal that is mined.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/4/2013

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I am all for that! Rails to trails I believe is an excellent idea and like I said did see good examples. Biggest hurdle is the legal transfer. Private funding and volunteer labor can lower cost. In Clovis California one trail may become light rail. I believe if you could get busses off roads onto rails powered by electricity is a win win! It's that money and bus companies-- money is not there and bus companies do not want this. If we built light rail networks we would increase jobs throughout this country--the land is there already.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/4/2013

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there are so many benefits for rails to trails.number one being the right of way is actually being used where hikers and joggers can exercise.also it is being reverted back to its natural setting.well,almost natural.i think the abandoned rail lines like this one would be good for rails to trails being its location plus it crosses up to n.y.the whole area is mostly woods from what i saw on the map.rural areas are the best areas for these projects,wouldn't you think?which brings us back to the most important factor.money.hopefully money becomes available and we do see these abandoned rail lines become used for other purposes.we will see.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/5/2013

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Another benefit is it gets people outdoors. From what I see is mostly wooded. A portion does parallel a rural highway but what excites me is the wildlife. Money is the issue in our economy and the only way to make it happen private money or grant money. When I was growing up some years ago I lived along the long abandoned Buffalo & Erie Traction line and it was used for walking and horseback riding. I think keeping it as natural as possible is the best way.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/5/2013

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i agree totally with what you are saying.like i said,i did grow up along a rail line long since abandoned and love walking it when in the area.it is amazing what abandomned equipment along with the rail is just laying there slowly rusting away.of course unless you have paperwork stating you can remove it,it is next to impossible.i plan on visiting most if not all of the abandoned rail lines in the future to see what is still left and if what will possibly be done with them.this line i am interested in because it crosses 2 states and is a very interesting one.i am not worried about this line because since most of the lines are in rural areas and money is scarce,they are actually low priority issues.keep in touch.thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/5/2013

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When I research a railroad track I look into two factors: it's rich history and its economical impact. History involved, the community, how it grew and prospered, the employment growth, and how the community grew. The economic impact is workers earning a wage and who benefited from the railroad, direct or indirect. In the 100 plus years we saw the growth and expansion of the railroad industry: passenger and freight. I like to use WWII as a dividing line: before rapid growth but even around 1900 mergers created railroads we are familiar: Erie, NYC. The N&W was a result of a merger. Prior it was to create a larger company but after it was survival. Coal kept the railroads going and the highway system killed them. Today the railroads have consolidated keeping the profitable lines. But I am sadden with the loss of our heritage. My grandfather was an engineer for the Erie. As a youth visiting my grandmother I could hear the banging of the freight cars in the yard. Today the yard is gone, storage tracks long gone--just through tracks and a few sidings. Much has changed in the last 50 plus years, industry has changed dependent on the truck that does not need the rail line to get to its dock. When railroads merged, the fat was trimmed leaving only muscle. That is why model railroading is so popular--we can relive our child years.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/6/2013

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i agree with what you said.many of the rail lines,especially the ones in the mountainous areas were very dependent on the coal they hauled.when that business died,so did most of the rail business because some of the short lines,that is all they hauled.trucks really never made a dent in the coal hauling busuiness because figure it out.you can load a hell of alot more coal in a rail car.what is killing the coal business now is environmental factors like burning clean coal without polluting the air and alternative energy.i experienced the diedown of a rail line because the rail line i grew up on supplied bethlehem steel's main plant in bethlehem.when the steel plant shut down due to foreign competition being the main factor,that basically killed the rail line i grew up on.now it is just a ghost of what it once was.by the way,part of the line was made into a trail from the rail that was there.back to the rebirth of rail.one of the companies i know of near where i live is going back to having materials for the company shipped into them via rail over trucks.great idea.it still is cheaper to ship in via rail over trucks.it is proven.you mentioned profitable rail lines.don't forget company mergers.n/s and csx are probably the 2 big dogs in the rail business.when you buy everybody up you have no competition.these rail companies still will not remove the rail lines that are abandoned which i like.the history of the rail business is interesting,isn't it?keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/6/2013

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I saw a documentary once about the steel works in Bethlehem, PA. The line must have been the Reading? The Reading and Central of New Jersey was owned by the same parent company. There are several abandon rail lines in New Jersey, now owned by the state. When Conrail was broken up, New Jersey acquired the tracks and lease it to the railroads. In NJ it is referred as joint owned. NJ has not pulled rails nor will not sell/ convert hoping to install light rail. It is cheaper to ship by rail but the railroads screwed up the business in the 1980s. Where I lived in California, produce shippers needed refrigerated box cars to ship out produce. The railroads ignored the requests and when they complied they sent too few. The shippers had to get the produce to market so they hired out trucks. The railroads were trying to regulate prices and was undercut by the trucking industry. The 1970s and 1980s lost big rail lines, beside the Conrail merger, Rock Island and Milwaukee Road failed. The SP bought out competitors then bought up by the UP. The railroads ripped up competing routes, making short lines, or completely tore them up. Routes were abandoned and NS is one of the biggest contributors--they feel that eliminating competition will keep the prices up. Read online the life story of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad: New York State had the foresight to acquire Right of Ways or much of their trackage would have been gone. NS did not want the track to go to the WNY&P. this is why they do not remove rails, let them rot. The B&P Railroad eventually did rip up the tracks I think from pressure. The cost for removal is high and they sell the rails for rail use or remanufacture. The track out of Buffalo terminate in Orchard Park because they have rail customers. Had the B&P had their way the whole line would be gone.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/6/2013

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you did your math.the reading railroad did run sometimes 3 times a week massive amounts of freight through quakertown to bethlehem.i did grow up in quakertown and since my grandmoms house did back up by the railroad tracks,it would not be unusual for a train to wake us all up any time of the night.talk about not getting any sleep.of course nowadays the remaining rail line was bought out by a short line hauler which deadends at quakertown.as for the rail lines up where this one is,alot of the lines were bought out by n/s and basically abandoned.all of the information you supplied is correct and i am very impressed.have you any information on any of the other rail lines on this website because there are others close to this one that are probably in the same state of disrepair.i know one thing.i can guarantee you none of the lines in upper pa.will be reactivated.too much money to do it and basically not feasible.so lets just enjoy them and see what we can find.right?keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/7/2013

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I grew up around Buffalo and the tracks that were abandoned was those that were lightly used. The Lehigh Valley might have been the most effected. Maybe one or two sections remain north of Buffalo. One had one round trip daily, to industrial facilities/ commercial. The main that went east out of Buffalo, gone completely, possibly sections remain doing short line duty. Many routes were copycat routes and to prevent duplication routes or competition, NS severed many right of ways. The routes saved here were mostly former EL or NYC. In Pennsylvania I am not so experience in but many were former coal routes that disappeared. When the ironwork plants died so did the railroads. NJ has quite a few and they still remain--just abandoned! Many were saved by commuter trains. NS only operate with trackage rights and NJ transit has not pulled tracks or sold right of ways, hoping someday to install light rail. C of NJ main that goes from Jersey City to your whereabouts via the Reading is mostly sectional. A large section runs commuter trains but a section is severed in Elizabeth but not abandoned. They rehabbed a section of track from Cranford to Linden but now is not used ( it appears ). Another section going to Union was undergoing rebab but only a portion was done--they ran out of money. A section was since removed. They fund wars but not a cent towards our infrastructure.

Now in California, the only trackage abandoned was those underused but many have been rehabbed for commuter. Other scuffled was those that were used for logging or passenger going to the National Parks. The recent UP merger and BNSF merger did not effect routes because each routes did not compete. The eastern region had too many routes that steadily declined when the highway system was built in the 1930s. But the decline began with the abandonment of the interurbans. The routes that were acquired by the government faired better and if other states did the same might save/ reprieve other routes. The railroads did this to regulate rates--today the only container traffic rule the railroads and other specialized traffic.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/7/2013

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being someome that grew up on the rail line that ran from philadelphia to bethlehem i do not have no problem checking out the abandoned rail lines in pa.,especially northeastern pa.you mentioned about the old mines that were in operation all over pa.i would not mind checking them out because even though they were a part of the coal industry they are still there.being a rail afficianado i always look for anything that is worth saving.know what i mean?it is days like today being saturday where people can actually enjoy explore the abandoned rails.that would be what i would do if it was a crappy day where i could not go fishing.grab the metal detector and have fun.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/7/2013

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As a teenager we use to ride bicycles to various places. One day we rode down to 18 mile creek riding on the remnants of the Buffalo & Erie Traction. It was a rideable pathway and well preserved. It won't disappear soon because it is used for high power transmission lines. Some of the pathways that once had train tracks could be converted into public use pathways if people donate their time. I do not know what is left of the DA&P line but some might be in use as roads that is often the case. I know that the former Westshore line out of Buffalo the ties are left in sections, some converted to pathway, and some portions private use driveways--sometimes the land will be absorbed into neighboring property owners. That might be the case with the remnants of DA&P. I believe that if visitors respect and stay off private property there should not be any problems. BTW: riding on the pathway we could see where ties once laid--the roadbed was made of compressed gravel and sandstone like material. At 18 mile creek the concrete piers still stand. Other areas the piers remain and I found an old rail almost rusted to nothing--maybe half the thickness. One overpass still remain--the track was pulled around 1940 and it is still there. The piers will stand for sometime, silent senditles.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/11/2013

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one thing i do like is that rail lines in rural areas will always be around unless if they get converted to trails.of course money does come into the picture.i do plan on checking out this rail line when i can.in the meantime i can check out other ones.to me it is like treasure hunting.let me know if you hear anything about this rail line.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/11/2013

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There are some abandoned lines where I live. One there is a section maybe one mile long of a long abandoned track that has the rails still in place. I believe it is part of a park and the train track is part, kind of museum piece. It was a branch owned by DL&W that goes into Newark, NJ. The main is used for commuter and the branch use to service industries. I would say this section has not seen action in 40 or 50 years. Another section exist but has been isolated. They tried to rehab a portion but ran out of money--it might yet be rehabbed. There is an old Erie track around Newark--need to locate it.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/11/2013

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just like over in new jersey where you live,there are alot of abandoned rail lines in pa.if you aren't looking for them ,you would probably drive right past them.i did find quite a few abandoned lines around the scranton wilkes-barre area which i hope to eventually check them out.also there are abandoned coal mines which can also be explored.one thing i definitely would not do is go into any old mine.just explore outside.in the meantime,just bide my time.keep in touch and let me know if you do go exploring anywhere.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/12/2013

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I have been to different locals and I have visited an old abandoned silver mine. There is a coal mine you can visit, the old Lackawanna coal mine along I 80. It is safe! The abandon lines I believe is related with the local industry in what we call the iron belt to which the area we live in is part of the iron belt. I am a historian and the rail lines are part of what was left--Indiana contain a large number f abandon rail lines and the rail mergers left large numbers of rail lines abandoned.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/12/2013

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you visited an abandoned silver mine?with the way silver prices are now,silver is very valuable.i would like to visit the mine and maybe you know look around.when i get ready to travel up to the area i will let you know.i would also like to visit the old abandoned mines and see if there is anything historically valuable there.keep me informed if you find any other abandoned sites.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/13/2013

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This was the Calico Silver mine outside of Barstow, CA--it's a park that consist of a restored town and silver mine. I visited it some 30 years ago. The silver mine was mined out, inotherword the silver vein contain little high quality silver. Outside the mine was a pile of silver tailing ore or rock that contains silver. The alum in silver was several million dollars but the cost to extract the silver made it too costly. There are several abandoned coal mines in Pennsylvania but it is unwise due to condition to these mines could be dangerous. The is a mine open to the public, the Lackawanna coal mine, off I 81. The Bethlehem steel mill in Lackawanna New York was razed, only few of the buildings are left.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/13/2013

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i thought when you told me about the silver mine i thought you meant pa.i wonder if there are any silver or other metals bearing mines in pa.that are abandoned?as for the coal mines,even though they are abandoned they are always worth checking out from the outside.i would never put myself or anybody else in danger by going inside.a journey like that i would do on a saturday when i would have time to do that.you seem to know about where these mines are located.i can wait to research them because even though they are a part of our country's industrial history,they should be preserved.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/13/2013

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I do not believe that any other mining activity took place in this area. In North Carolina there are abandoned gold mines because gold was discovered back in the 1830s. Coal was the black gold here. Out west they mined gold,silver, copper and zinc. Where I lived in California excessive gold mining occurred and still performed. The Internet search may reveal what kind of mining was done locally. In northern Pennsylvania they did pump oil. Several cities like Scranton, Hazelton are coal towns. I have family/ friends that live in Altoona.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/13/2013

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i was just wondering if you knew of any old coal mines abandoned along this rail line.i know alot of mines operated off of rail lines until they shut down due to circumstances beyond their control.these are the areas i would like to spend time looking at and possibly going to personally visit myself.i know northeastern pa.has quite a few abandoned coal mines along with central pa.the area where this rail line is i am unfamiliar with.i will get out there eventually.in the meantime i can only collect information on this rail line.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/14/2013

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You mention rail line but failed to mention which rail line--I am assuming you mean the one leading to Philadelphia from Bethlehem, PA. I am sorry but I do not have that information. Coal mines of Pennsylvania follow a track from the northeast to central part of Pennsylvania. Coal is made of dead trees buried for millions of years. Where there is dead ancient Forrest's there are coal mines. Mines were closed due to varying reasons but a principle reason was the cost to extract verses the market demand. When the country switched to other forms of energy demand dropped. There are two types of coal, soft coal and hard coal. The railroads use hard coal and industry did the same because they were able to extract greater heat value from the coal thus hard coal was preferred. Home heating used soft coal but it burnt faster, had greater suffer content and produced more soot. My grandmother once told me that my grandfather used hard coal for heating--he bought it from the railroad. Trash day he had far fewer cans of soot compared to the neighbors. The steel industry converted coal to coke by extracting the sulphur. With environmental laws coal fell out of favor--power plants still burn coal but must employ scrubbers to clean the exhaust. Through this region you will find old mines--access is another question. Like I said there is a coal mine museum at the Lackawanna coal mine--other mines may be fenced off. Mine disasters have closed many mines, some are tombs with miners still below, and in Centralia the mine has been burning for 50 years. Some railroads were coal hauling railroads that went under after coal traffic ceased--my best bet is to research these defunct railroads. Business is funny: when opportunity is great many businesses will thrive but once competition decreases mergers create larger companies and the weak vanish. That was the thing with the railroads--competing lines were acquired and removed and shippers had to pay what the railroads wanted. But now trucking exist and that is what did the railroads in. In a way, the railroads planted the seeds of their own demise.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/14/2013

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where i grew up was not a coal producing area.it was mainly a supply line to bethlehem steel in bethlehem for their blast furnaces.when the steel business died at bethlehem steel,basically it killed the rail line from bethlehem to quakertown.the coal mines i am basically talking about are spread out all through northern pa.i lived for a time above state college where there are alot of coal mines that are probably abandoned by now.i lived in a farmhouse when i was a youngster that burned coal.i remember having to load the furnace with coal and we also had the coal shute into the basement.what good memories.you are probably aware that even though the mines are abandoned,with permission you could probably search around them carefully and probably be amazed at what you find.the only true way to find these mines is to take time out to look for them.probably most of them that are abandoned are not even listed on maps.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/14/2013

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In 1983, the steel mills in Buffalo closed, the biggest was the Bethleham steel plant. Steel mills built plants on water because it was easy to ship in coal/ iron ore/ limestone and a place to dump slag. That is why Pittsburg was an ideal location. It is possible to get access to old coal mine but permission must be granted. The visitor may be required to sign a waiver and possibly pay a fee (kind of self insurance in case of injury). However, the mines would be off limit unless they have regular tours--sometimes they do certain times of the year. Now removing artifacts might be restricted because of eBay or other auctions. I know that the steel mill is off limits because of toxic materials present. I was reading a forum on that when somebody suggested that--sometimes a journalist want access to write articles exposing such conditions, even when closed. Out west one can see abandoned equipment left behind when mines closed--cost too much to move. Where I grew up was an abandoned quarry that mined gypsum to make concrete. When they closed, they left all kind of equipment: a steam shovel, locomotive and other bits of equipment/ buildings. Over the years scrapers removed much of the items abandoned but they left a big hole. Eventually they pulled the tracks and later built homes. I would not want to live there because the homes is built on shale that could leak radon gas.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/14/2013

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i actually would not want to go on property that is posted private property.i look forward to walking along the abandoned rail lines and looking for anything of historical significance.there are alot of rail lines out there long abandoned that will never be reactivated that are actual gold mines in that they hold alot of information regarding the rail industry.besides having alot of items that can be recycled the rail beds themselves can be turned into trails.i see that as a very good idea.we will see.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/16/2013

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I have seen some good examples of parks made out of former tracks or structures. The best example is the long abandoned structure in manhattan that once was used to carry freight into lower NYC for local businesses. Sitting long abandoned, the structure I believe was built prior to World War Two and last used maybe 25 to 50 years ago. They made it into a walkway/ park after noticing plant structures growing on it. This is common to former overpasses--trees are growing where train tracks once existed. In New Jersey they built overpasses that have trees growing that allow game such as deer to cross busy highways not endangering themselves or those on the highways. When they build modern highways they include access tunnels allowing wildlife a safe passage across highways. Where railroads once existed now grow trees and grasses returning former train tracks or yards back to nature. However, some are so toxic that human access s restricted. The former Bethlehem steel mill in Lackawanna is a prime example where trees grow where steel once was made. The abandoned portion of C of NJ is a strip of wooded area so thick it s hard to walk through--you can still see the track track, structures like communication poles remain and a tower where signals once stood remain rotting away--there is only one track now where there was 4, bridges remain, some still containing tracks that hasn't seen a train run over rails in nearly 50 years. Someday overpasses will be removed to prevent trucks from getting stuck. One road in Union the overpass was finally removed, concrete gone but mound remain. In Buffalo I see tracks removed on two right of ways, one heavily used until traffic changes dictating the demise f the route--overpasses long gone. Ironically one section was called the iron island because of being surrounded by train tracks from a long gone era. The land sits with no activity because no one wants to build on it because it runs through some rough neighborhoods. I agree private property keek out--mainly because entering can be hazardous. I remember entering old quarries where trees and wildlife replace industrial machinery. These places should be preserved so people could enjoy the openness.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/16/2013

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here in pa.i did see quite a few areas that the rail was removed and trails put in.whoever put the trails in did a really good job.the abandoned overpasses should be removed due to that they are hazards to drivers and the public to protect drivers from falling peices off the bridges.i guess if someone has the means and money to do it,the bridges can be removed in a timely fashion.also by doing this trucks will not get stuck and it could increase commercial traffic which helps businesses and possibly brings in jobs.how nice is that?i looked on the main page with the map on it and at the bottom of it there is a site for abandoned rails under the heading of i think it is mike guzzi whose site it is.it shows alot of rail lines abandoned around the scranton-wilkes barre area.i liked looking at it because it shows actual rail,bridges,buildings and equipment long abandoned.i want to go up there because i do alot of fishing,hiking and camping there.that is why i like this line we are talking about because it reminds me of being out in the rural area which i like.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/16/2013

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i have to make a correction.the site i mentioned is not on the main page.it is on the pa.abandoned rail page at the bottom.it is listed under the name mike guzzis abandoned railroads of northeastern pa.sorry for the misinformation.i might be off on the wording.not sure.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/16/2013

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Another reason to remove bridges is it encourages traffic over unstable bridges, namely vehicle traffic. Where I live they have removed overhead bridges where clearance issues warranted. Other locations was to prevent traffic on it. What they use them for instead is billboards. I have researched numerous abandon lines and you tube videos on the subject. I have sent hours just searching. Some lack any dialog and other simply do not mention lines long gone. This is what is amazing about this is its that easy.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/16/2013

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One reason it might take years to convert rails to trails might be ownership of ROWs. Most likely ownership will be the individual railroad that owned the track. Good example would be NS and the ROW that parallels their Buffalo to Erie line. It was originally Pennsylvania RR then Penn Central when tracks were removed. Then CR and split up in 1998 reverting to NS. The DA&P more than likely belongs to whomever owns the property after 1998 but then again could be anyone's guess. My point is: prior to the line's installation, who owned the land and what was the agreement. Then again, did the property revert back to the state/ counties? Was the land sold to neighboring property owners? Does the railroad trust still hold title? Another factor: who owns the mineral rights? What I read was railroads hold onto property holding out for full value of land. Land retains value, even a strip of land. The former Buffalo and Erie Traction land is wined by Niagara Mohawk and there are high tension power lines and gas lines on the property. Most land will revert to public use but in our economy only when monies are available. I read where a local boys scout troop has taken on the maintenance of such a trail--this is like when an organization adopts a highway. I think local civic groups might be the only way to save these former trails. BTW: I read that a signal was abandoned in one such ROW but NS eventually did remove it. I believe my CofNJ ROW will retain its single track once determination has been made though some sections have been fenced off by private individuals (with gates at track) or parking lot squatters.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/16/2013

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thanks for the information.i do know what you say about the rows is right.i talked to employees from n/s who told me that they own the rail and railbeds.in order to not get charged with trespassing on railroad track you have to be more than 14 feet off the railbed.i think that after more than 14 feet off the railbed either the row is owned by property owners or no one.as for the bridges,they can be a hassle to remove.there is alot involved.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/17/2013

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That's mildly saying that to not be charged one must be well off the ROW. Question is: when rail and ties are gone, are they going to be that nit picky? As for the DA&P, there is a section that parallels a state highway. Active lines they are concerned about vandalism and liability--trust me on this one--when I was young ( decades ago) we threw rocks at trains. But there are ROWs that have been gone 50 to 75 years ago that still have equipment left behind. The C of NJ, there are communication poles still standing with insulators--too costly to remove or LV ROW that still have bridges--only barrier is bars welded across to prevent off readers from using the bridge. I'm going back in 2 weeks and I will try getting pictures of the LV. I still remember seeing that local returning to the yard, consisting of a engine, 6 or 8 cars and caboose. That has been 40 years now when I was in high school, seems like only yesterday.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/17/2013

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i am not talking about rail lines that are gone.i am talking about abandoned rail lines and even active rail lines.i have talked to people who retreived copper wire off active rows for recycling,not theft.i will not deny that when i walked the abandoned rail line i know of,i did see abandoned equipment that could be recycled but very hard to remove.that is why i know about the distance to keep off the row whether it be active or abandoned.you mentioned poles and bridges on rail lines.i do agree it is too costly to remove them.let me know what you find when you do go out.thanks.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/18/2013

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I won't remove equipment--by law scrappers must show ID when bringing in scrap metal. Shoot, where I live they will sell man hole covers. One actually stole a bronze crypt door that now a historic graveyard is off limits. By brother recently passed from cancer. What did him in was burning off insulation to sell the copper. As long as rails remain it is still active in regards to salvage. But sometimes things like signals will be left behind. To railroads these items are salvage items and purchase arrangements is possible. Often railroad museums or theme related static displays will acquire these signals. I know of some active rail lines that have the old semaphore signals--I remember taking the Amtrak train through the Midwest and they were using these types of signals. The wigwags are rare. I remember this backyard that had all types of signals--in Tahachappi California. These static signals should be left standing as a memorial of what was once there.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/18/2013

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i know what you are saying.the economy and scrap prices are making it more desirable for people to basically steal from like you said crypt doors.that is sick.there are people out there who do it honestly and sometimes the local authorities love it because the environment is improved by removing recyclables and disposing of them properly.don't get me wrong.there are also people that remove the metals for recycling and do not think they are breaking the law.possibly they are.i do not know.you were saying earlier that you saw equipment on some rail lines.i know of rail lines that the rail companies store rail cars that have been there for years slowly rusting away.what a shame.smart idea for storing excess cars.i plan on looking around down the road and see what i find.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/18/2013

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I know of a few, one in Hamburg, NY. The manhole cover, the local police here received a call of a manhole open. They happen to call a scrapper and yep they have and the scrap yard was out the cost of a manhole cover. The cars parked, yes it's a trend because railroads are parking rolling stock because demand for shipping are down. They are parked until either sold or scrapped. The only part recyclable is the wheels. Box cars are useful for storage buildings. Some are stored waiting to restore. Like you said, some rusting away. Storing rolling stock and locomotives can create hazards because people will not stay off. I know I was young once.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/18/2013

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as for the manhole covers,besides it being stupid to take them for scrap,you put drivers at risk.back to the rail cars.basically the whole car is recyclable.there is no place that i know of on the east coast set up to get rid of the cars.like a bone yard.i do know there is one on the west coast.i saw it on the history and nat geo channels.very informative.until there is one you will continue to see storage of these rail cars on abandoned rail lines but where they can be used when needed.the cars i saw have been on the rail line i know of for more than 5 years which tells me they are going nowhere.i also used to climb all over them when i was younger.the only thing i never climbed on was the signal towers.luckily they are not near any houses where kids like we were once could climb on them and posssibly get hurt.i have seen locomotives parked but not idle.i have found cars buried on a rail line on a line abandoned where trees are actually growing around them.neat,huh?i love finding anything when on these rail lines.you never know what you will find when walking rail lines long dead.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/19/2013

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Two reasons I can think of for parking rail cars on abandon rail lines. One, it is cheaper to park them until needed or sold. Price for scrap metal might be down so they will sit. The other might be a way to keep dormant lines useful. Until they decide the future status of a line they might use it for storage. When railroads merge there s an access of rolling stock. Locomotives: sometimes they park them until a determination is made for its future. I remember when I lived in California I use to drive in Oakdale on this road that parallel the Sierra Railroad yard. They had parked on sidings old diesels, namely the GPs for parts or passenger cars to refurbish for their wine train. In Hamburg NY there is an old Pennsylvania RR steamer waiting for refurbishing--I read once where this guy wants to return it to Pennsylvania. Buffalo Southern runs a tourist train and it takes money to refurbish these beasts. Actually, Pennsylvania RR was huge in Buffalo having 2 ROWs, one still existing, used by the NS. I remember when they pulled the lakeshore route--I believe it ran to Titusville, PA. They had to cut down trees when they pulled the rails on the B&P (former B&O) ROW. My uncle had a house that bordered that line and when trains hit the crossing you heard it! Now only an occasional train passes by delivering lumber to a lumberyard down the tracks. Somebody posted a 4 part documentary on YouTube of them removing the rails.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/19/2013

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thinking about what you said,excess rail cars are parked on abandoned rail lines and just rust away like i have seen on abandoned rail lines i have been on.eventually they will have to be removed .i mean the ones that are visibly parked because they do become eyesores to the public plus you know as well as i do they are dangers for kids or people climbing on them.the rail cars i have seen are flatbeds,trash hauling cars,tankers and even grain hauling cars.only time will tell.in the meantime i will be checking on the rail lines and see if the rail cars and equipment is still there.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/19/2013

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You mention flat cars, tank cars, grain cars says much. They store flat cars until needed--market change where there is an overabundance, it's a common sight. Tankers is an issue because of what they once contained, some toxic other explosive. Grain haulers: stored during off season or if not needed. Some railroads had heavier traffic during the harvest and grain cars stored when not needed. Many of these roads got absorbed into railroads like the UP. Eye sore yes and dangerous yes, these cars should be in a secure location. Locomotives are often stripped for copper.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/19/2013

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as i was saying,i did see flat cars that were empty and some flat cars that had containers mainly metal box containers i do not know what they were used for on the rail cars.they were secured on the rail cars.what they were used for is anybody's guess.they are stored on a rail line away from the public.as you also said,i did also see tanker cars that i could tell were empty because they were not sealed.also the other cars like the grain haulers and the hopper cars for trash and metal were also empty.these cars were also placed on the same line away from the public.the locomotives i dids see wre in town i guess where the public could look at them.some of them were pretty old.as for the business in rail not being what it used to,some of these old rail cars could be recycled for scrap being there is an overabundance of them and it can create jobs.in other words an economic benefit for people.as for the rail lines whatever happens in the future hopefully can be beneficial for everyone.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/20/2013

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As per I said, a sad statement to the nature of the economy. Where I live I do not see evidence of this but I can imagine there might be abandoned or stored rail cars. Near where I live there parked is a rail maintenance vehicle, something that is used to pack rail ballast. I remember seeing this as a child where at the now NS main was a siding (since pulled) where parked were rail cars (I believe cattle cars, Nickle Plate Road). One day they were gone. These were cars abundant but no longer needed. 10 years later the siding was pulled.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/20/2013

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cattle cars are one kind of car i never saw even though i did hear about them.where i grew up i never saw them mainly that the area was mostly industrial to an extent.besides the one abandoned rail line i did see cars on,there are other rail lines that have rail cars on them.thank god for google maps and abandonedrails.com.as for the condition of the cars and how long they have been there i do not know.the only way is to explore when i do have the time.by the way if i am not mistaken there is an abandoned rail line where you live.look on the new jersey map and you will see it.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/21/2013

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Where I live they unload containers from ships and load them on flatcars. I see several tank cars that carry grain alcohol for the refineries. But there are times when traffic can be down by duration of parked flatcars. They use to switch freight cars from morning into the evening but in more recent years less switching is done. But in the NS intermodal yard more track has been installed yet there are several ROWs abandoned, most reduced to one track in later years. Tracks have not been pulled unless the land is needed--most serve industrial use. Some ROWs could be used for nature trails but tracks sit abandoned.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/21/2013

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since you list your town where you live,do you live near the township of elizabeth?that is the rail line in n.j. that is abandoned.i did see alot of rail and i did not really look for any equipment.that is i think the only rail line that is near you.if you are curious,look at abandoned rails township of elizabeth.it supposedly is owned by cnj.i do not know if they are even in operation anymore.check it out.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/22/2013

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What you mention, all the same. Elizabeth is divided in two part: Elizabethtown or Elizabeth Seaport is the eastern portion. Rail lines: north-south line, Jersey City southward along the Jersey Shore. In Elizabeth there is a yard that switches to the container loading facility. The westward branch is abandoned but single track remains but is severed. There is a turnoff west at Cranford that is carries commuter trains. The traffic goes into western New Jersey but to what point I am not certain. The ROW was a 4 track main that becomes 2 track in Somerville but eventually become a single track. The ROW once went from Elizabeth to Bethlehem PA. The ROW in Elizabeth is a jungle but track still remain. Some has been converted to parking lots--some structures still remain but most is gone. A rail yard in Elizabeth was redeveloped a few years ago--power transformers not in use due to inactivity. Much of the rail roaring is feeding the refineries with grain alcohol and other feeder lines south of Elizabeth. Any storage is short term though it is rumored that there are areas that train cars are stored--I did find a site that shows rail car storage.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/22/2013

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i figured since i saw the map with the name elizabeth on it i would ask you about it.at least now i know what is there from talking to you.if and when you ever get back to pa. let me know if you find anything.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/23/2013

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There are other Elizabeth's, either cities or towns in the US. The track that exists is difficult to navigate due to brush and some areas are fenced off. The is one grade crossing in the entire length, most have overpasses, sum have bridges over the tracks. I'm taking a trip next week to Buffalo solo so I can explore some. There is a couple of places I want to explore. I travel along a segment of trackage that I never saw any usage that goes through Bath NY. 2 months ago I saw a freight on the line hauling of all things commuter cars. I have since learned that this track is connected or runs continuous down the line. Railroading is not dead in that region that straddle the state line--it is sad it does not continue to Dunkirk on the two lines long gone.

BTW--I will use my camera. Would love to visit one of those ROWs if possible. I know where the EL is located on US62.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/23/2013

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when i looked at alot of the rail lines,they did look like they were grown over with brush.i did try to walk one rail line and it was like a jungle.the best time to actually walk them is in the winter when all brush is down.which also poses a challenge for anyone trying to rehab the rail line or convert them to trails.besides pa. and n.j. i did see a few nice rail lines in the state of n.y.i think it would be a challenge in itself to walk all of the rail lines that are abandoned.imagine all of the history behind them and what you can possibly find.i look forward to possibly doing that.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/24/2013

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They had to remove the brush when removing the rails on the B&P tracks south of Buffalo. Trees will grow almost anywhere. There are a few tracks locally that has trees growing, even on the overpass. I want to visit former LV and NYC sites. I'm limited with time so I will do what I can.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/24/2013

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thanks.it is weird seeing trees growing on rail lines you remember growing up seeing freight trains on.when i do get the time myself i plan on looking around on the rail lines that are long abandoned for any treasures that were left behind when the rail line that i am on actually stopped moving freight.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/25/2013

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There is an abandon rail yard in Dunnellen NJ that has rail cars parked, I believe passenger cars. I believe I might have an answer why there are so many parked rail cars on sidings. During the 1970s through more recent time (2000) there were numerous mergers that resulted in the big class 1 railroads. This resulted in numerous overstock in rail cars. I remember this because in California where I lived I remember seeing rail cars sold for scrap or other uses. The only time when there were no shortages was during WWII. That time there were shortages.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/25/2013

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you are right about what you said.when rail companies merge,the combined rail company does pick up excess rail cars that most of the time will not be used because the demand for them is not there.you mentioned passenger cars.i never seen those parked on any rail lines here where i live in southeastern pa.the only rail company i know of that uses rail cars around the philadelphia area is septa and they usually scrap their cars when not being used no more.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/26/2013

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I believe the passenger cars I mentioned were used for a tourist excursion tripe of train, privately owned. When I lived in California, I would drive by the Sierra RR and they had various passenger cars in different stages, from restored to waiting for restoration. Some private owners buy these passenger cars to restore and then lease/ sell. They also had restored cabooses for their excursion trains. They ran a wine train. I know that sometimes rolling stock is stored at the former Bethlehem Steel mill. Some areas run special trains during the summertime or now being the leaves are changing. My brother lives not that far from the Arcade and Attica RR though it hasn't gone to Attica for decades, maybe 100 years. There they have vintage equipment to see and ride.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth
9/26/2013

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i know what you mean about tourists using the rail lines and the rail museums.i do know pa.has both of them.thank god for the museums because of the rail history in pa.as a matter of fact,the tourist industry should be kicking in pretty soon.nothing better than taking a train ride in the fall whan the leaves are changing.plus it is also a good way to use retired passenger cars.you mentioned cabooses.i have not seen one of them in years.i remember playing on them when i was a little kid.fond memories.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/27/2013

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Cabooses are rare. There are some in Newark. Not used much, the railroads phased them out when train crews were reduced to 2: engineer and conductor. In California when the SP went to the 2 man crew the policy was through traffic--no backing up thus not needing additional crew. Only crew using additional crew is the local but most switching orders are handled by small class 3railroads where labor is cheaper than the class 1 and 2 railroads. In Hamburg NY there is a couple vintage cabooses. Train crews could disappear entirely if railroads have their way. Switching locomotives are remote control, in fact signs at a crossing in Bakersfield CA warned of such operations. In the subways of NYC the trains are remote controlled relying on programs. Someday our cars will operate without drivers. Scary!

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
9/27/2013

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weird,huh?remote controlled trains.i did not know that.i always thought you had to have engineers and switchmen on the trains.i do know of switches controlled in the engines but it always comes down to human involvement.what's next?elevated freight trains?for the meantime we should be content with what we have and not worry about the future.it's coming whether we like it or not.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/28/2013

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Most of the mundane operation are performed by an operator. There was this grain elevator that had a huge light system on the locomotive that indicated if it was in the forward or reverse mode or in park/ neutral. Most commuter rail trains are on a programmed operation system and the trains will keep running until someone shuts it down. There is a motorman on board just to maintain the system. But for mainline operation there is a 2 person crew on board. Get ready for self driving cars-- they are on the drawing board but I question the sanity of it but for the long distance road driving it's not a bad idea.

I was doing what I like exploring some of the rail lines locally. C of NJ had a ROW that went along the Jersey Shore and it branched off to connect other regions. One being to connect New Brunswick and serving the industrial needs. It no longer connects, severed before the New Brunswick connection--the main Amtrak north south line is the reason the line was severed. On this line there is evidence of old equipment, signals controlling freight movements but I believe the line is dark (no track signals, only train orders controlling use). The line is used because of welded rail indicating its importance. But I found an old spur, only a portion is used but most I don't think it has seen any use maybe 10 years. Track looks in great shape but blocked mostly of weeds.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/28/2013

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thanks for responding.as for self driving trains,maybe they would be best used for long haul under watchful eyes.know what i mean?just like you said you found a spur abandoned,so did i.the spur i found had actual rail cars on it.it was so well hidden if you weren't looking for it you wouldn't see it thanks to the foliage.i will keep looking and enjoying it.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/29/2013

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Did you know that the C of NJ and Reading were sibling railroads and the line I discussed went all the way to Scranton. I was driving down 80 and discovered a track might be a remnant to that line. Driving down 86 I found what might have been the DA&P, it was around Olean and north/ south. It was all dirt--I need to check the map. On 219 the B&P had some cars parked, maybe the same ones I saw 2 months ago. The B&P has trackage rights on NS line--the live is severed at Springville. Will try to check some.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
9/29/2013

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i did not know the reading and c of nj were sibling railroads and that the line we discussed went all the way to scranton.thanks for the information.see if you can find out exactly where that rail you talked about is and if it is still there because it might be worth looking at down the road.one good thing about the scranton area is that alot of abandoned rail is still there being that most of the area is heavily wooded.keep in touch and thanks again for the information.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/1/2013

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What I know, I believe the lines are severed--the only line to exit NJ in this region is the former LV. Like you said Scranton has numerous abandoned lines. Update on the DA&P, the remnant in Dunkirk has been pulled--the only section left is to the power plant and it has been shut down. The power plant will be torn down and the remnant will soon be torn up. The DA&P mainly was a coal hauler and when Conrail was formed coal was moved via another ROW. I did find a rail to trail in Mount Morris, NY. Portions were converted while other parts returned to nature. Some ROWs in Buffalo have completely vanished--the elevated sections leveled. There were some old Warren Truss bridges completely removed. I even found a site where a shopping mall once stood--all left is the parking lot.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/1/2013

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sounds like there is not much left of abandoned rails in n.j.and n.y.at least pa. still has alot of them left.as for the rail line that ended in scranton,do you know where it crossed the delaware river at because the bridge if not removed is still there?just curious.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/2/2013

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I do not have any information--I believe it could be the I 78/ #22 corridor, I say this because it went through Somerville and more than likely Bethlehem--there are Reading ROWs throughout the area.

The abandoned ROWs, NJ the tracks remain for the better part being it reverted to New Jersey when Conrail was broken up--neither company retained exclusive ownership. In Newark there is a lift bridge in its upright position, ROW used for local exchange/ oil to a pavement manufacture in Newark--ROW east of the Passaic ripped out. New York State had numerous rail lines that transverse the state, some gone for 60 or more years. There's the Ontario and Western gone since 1957, coal hauler. There was the DL&W , Erie, Pennsylvania, NYC, B&O, and several others that faded in the last 50 years. The PC merger sent several ROWs down the tubes, the EL merger did the same. The West-shore branch is pretty much gone though some is preserved. Some portions were scuttled, lines terminated to local service--this was done to curtail competition. These companies hauled coal or commodities--some traffic lost to trucking. Only ROWs saved were the relatively straight lines. NYC uses some old old lines for commuter service as in numerous cities. Most just faded away.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
10/2/2013

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i know there is a bridge from n.j. that crosses the delaware river at easton pa.i do not think this crossing is the one that serves scranton even though it is possible.rail does run north from easton to the tobyhanna depot area.i will look and see if there are any bridges north of easton.might be.i know the bridge in easton is abandoned.that would be one hell of a job removing that one.i do know alot of rail has been removed in n.j. but not pa.weird,huh?keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/3/2013

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Removing a rail bridge is expensive and across the Delaware much so expensive. I believe it's there either from cost for removal or it's rail banked. Sometimes railroads will share a bridge or seek track rights, cheaper than building it. The bridge over Letsworth gorge is being replaced--the state is paying part of the cost. In exchange NS will retain track usage--many of ROWs have been abandoned or shortened to serve local industry.. In my adventures I did find another remnant of the old Buffalo & Erie, the concrete bridge support left to erode--it will take centuries for that concrete to erode. Long after a ROW is gone remnants can be found.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/3/2013

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thanks for the info.i do know that the rail crossing for this rail line is somewhere above easton and i will find it. give me time. thanks.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading , PA
10/3/2013

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There is a track, still active that goes along the PA side of the Delaware and through extreme eastern PA through Stroudsburg but who owned it now or then I don't know--just traveling on 80 I saw it and it is still active. Active class 3s, Delaware & Lackawanna--I like the name, tribute to the DL&W. Railroads are hidden from 80 and 81 in PA but visible along the 86 in NY. Around Scranton there is the Lackawanna mine and Steamtown--I want to go their yet.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/3/2013

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i have been up in that area and have probably seen the same rails you are talking about.it has been quite a long time and some of the rails might even be abandoned now.i will look of course and see what is still there when in the neighborhood.keep in touch and let me know what you find out or hear.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/5/2013

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I believe Easton was the crossing point being that Easton was next to Bethlehem. I remember Bethlehem very well. My late uncle worked at the Lackawanna plant and was sent over to the PA plant for a bit--I think crew shortage and this was the 1960s. Both plants are gone now. The one in Lackawanna has a few buildings running but not the full industry that once was. In Bethlehem, I know the entire mill is gone or most of it. I drove through the area in 2006 and the entire area was devoid of heavy industry. The Reading was the coal hauling railroad and supplied the area with coal and other types of raw materials. Gone is the Reading, Pittsburg and Lake Erie and other industrial railroads. I know that the Delaware river was used to ship raw material because Lake Erie supplied its sister plant. I remember as a kid walking along the NYC and picking up these pellets that was iron ore--we used them for our sling shots. If any tracks remain, I can imagine it is used to serve local industry. What I do remember was seeing freight cars parked along the Delaware. I believe they are still used in some capacity.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/5/2013

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i do believe you are right because i have been along the river above easton and do not remember seeing no other bridges besides the one in easton.there is one rail line that i do remember seeing rail cars parked on.of course this was many years ago and they might not be there.the only way is to find out.as for bethlehem the only thing there is now is the casino.they are still doing work on the old steel plant buildings.we can only see what happens.as for rail,i still see freight moving through there every day.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/7/2013

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The bridge will eventually come down. Railroads will leave bridges and signals behind because the cost to remove can e costly. This was the case in NJ--Conrail left an overpass and the local government wanted it removed (clearance). Steel and concrete is gone. There is a railroad lift bridge that spans a channel to Statin Island that is in the up position. They want to use it again but the rails will not align. Eventually the bridge will be torn down. This is the story throughout the northeast. In Newark there is a draw bridge long abandoned in the up position--Newark still use some of its canals. Buffalo is a different story--the decline of the steel and grain industry has resulted in lift/ draw bridges not being needed. The local skyway bridge is not needed and will eventually be torn down at a huge cost.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/7/2013

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i agree with you 100% that abandoned bridges will be removed due to abandonment and structural integrity in alot of cases.pa. is loaded with alot of these abandoned bridges.the problem also is that some of these bridges cross roadways.penndot gets involved then because you are dealing with roadways then which is their business.a good thing is that quite a few of them can be converted to trail bridges as long as they are not too rusted out.we will see what happens down thwe road.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/9/2013

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The problem with underpasses is clearance. Trucking has grown and trucks are getting stuck because the drivers are too stupid to understand that a 14 foot truck cannot fit under a12 foot underpass. Bridges present an issue that has not been discussed: liability. Highway overpasses where tracks beneath have been removed or frequency of trains have decrease will be removed, as in New York State and New Jersey. Overall, bridge maintenance costs will decrease.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/9/2013

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i do agree that some truckers are plain stupid to think they can pass under a bridge marked 14ft. when the truck is 14ft.6in.especially when the overpass is marked 14ft.as i did say before and from what you have said,the rail bridges in alot of cases remain because they are very expensive to remove and the rail companies in some weird way want them.plus i do not think there are any companies out there that can actually do the work.so the best thing to do is flip them over for rails to trails which is a huge undertaking.you also mentioned n.y. state which i did see on abandonedrails has some rail lines that look like they are still there.i do remember seeing rail lines when i go fishing on lake ontario.gotta get back up there.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/10/2013

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There was a news report out of New York that questioned the stability of the railroad bridges throughout the region, the concrete is crumbling from the salt, both natural and highway salt. The railroad's reply was the weight today is nothing like the huge streamers that plied the route--modern diesels are much lighter than the steam locomotives of a century ago.. The real question is who owns the land? Until the ROW is converted to rails to trails, ownership maybe the railroads or local--state ownership. Over the years bridges have deteriorated due to the elements. They weld barriers or remove decking to prevent ATVs from using the bridges---ATVs and motorcycles can create devastation that the owners want to prevent mishaps and local governments pressure owners to alleviate problems. Union Township pressured Conrail and it's successors to remove an overpass that they did remove.. To some it's an eyesore and others a danger. To note: some of the concrete overpasses are in bad shape that someday will need addressing.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/10/2013

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i did notice that quite a few abandoned bridges from the railroads are blocked off for like you said to prevent atv traffic which can in themselves handled wrongly do alot of damage.i do not blame the responsible authorities for doing this because quite a few of these bridges cannot handle heavy weight anymore.of course people do not weigh too much and neither do bicycles.exercise is always good and that is where the trails come in.do not get me wrong,you will always have the idiots who like to ride atvs on restricted property like trails.as you were also saying road salt does a hell of alot of damage to bridge abutments.i have seen this firsthand along with the natural decomposition of the concrete.until they make erosion resistant concrete there is nothing that can be done but just maintain these bridge abutments which can be costly for whoever is responsible for them.that is why alot of times if the railroads do not want to get involved they will let i get the state to remove them at their cost.great money for a company that can do the work because basically the whole bridge can be recycled.great for the economy and environment.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/12/2013

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You hit the nail with the hammer: cost! What got many of the class 1s in trouble during the 1970s was maintenance--ROWs were in bad shape because maintenance was deferred. There is a video on you tube about the LV. The video followed train crews and showed the trains how they swayed sideways. When Conrail took over much of the main lines were in bad shape and the railroads had little money to fix them--congress had to step in to give railroads the money. Some main lines were abandoned due to the condition of the track. The former LV main out of Newark was once a double track main but was reduced to single track with sidings--in some areas of the ROW the second track is being put back into place. I believe that some ROWs was abandoned hastily and maybe the DA&P might have been one of them though it did make some strange turns as it got to Dunkirk. I have seen what some of the ATVers can do, stunts, and many of the bridges had wooden decking that might be rotted. And the bridges had annual inspections to deem if the bridge was safe. Many of the bridges have not been inspected in 30 to 40 years and cost to remove might be cheaper to remove than inspect/ repair such a bridge. When the lines were abandoned and track removed barriers were put into place to prevent use over liability issues to the owner of the property.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth , NJ
10/12/2013

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One of the most interesting aspects, to me, regarding the DAV was the "street-running" in Warren. Tracks went right down Fourth Avenue, curved around, and then continued north towards the State Hospital.

I was at DV Tower in Falconer when the last train went north across the EL mainline. The op in the tower had an EB EL train stopped probably about 150 yards west of DV. The northbound PC train was continuing north through the crossing when, for some reason, the op thought that the EL train was going to start eastward. I thought that the poor guy was going to have a heart attack. I'm supposing that by this time north or southbound PC traffic at the tower was pretty rare. The operator just wasn't used to seeing a train on the DAV line. It probably rattled him that he was having to deal with a "meet" like this...

Steve West
Fort Wayne, IN
10/19/2013

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In our modern era, having a train track running through a Main Street would be disturbing. 2 cities in California where this was the case. First was Modesto, the city where American Graffiti was filmed had a ROW running down Ninth St., Tidewater branch, owned by the SP. When the UP acquired the SP, this branch was shut down (late 1990s). 2001, the trestle was torched, and the entire section in Modesto was removed including the section in 9th st. The other was in Fresno. Santa Fe ran its mainline down Diane St (middle), 12 to 24 a day. They have since moved the track to the south side of Diane St but could you imagine living in a house on Diane St.

Robert Benkelman
Elizabeth, NJ
10/20/2013

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nice to hear from you guys again.speaking of rail enmbedded in the street,here in reading where i live there is rail no longer used in the street.i do not think it will be removed probably because i guess as long as it does not bother anyone the borough will not remove it.of course reading does keep their streets in pretty good shape.maybe eventually they will remove the rail.i know the rail is not being used because where the turnout is the rail was disconnected many years ago.also i have seen rails in the streets of philadelphia where i grew up.i do not mean trolley tracks,freight rail.i do not know for sure if the rail is still there.i will have to look on google maps.as a matter of fact,i did find rail in another city that ran down the middle of the street in n.j. along with pa. and n.y. amazing how freight used to be brought into the cities,huh?keep in touch,guys.

george oakley
reading, PA
10/21/2013

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