LEHIGH VALLEY RAILROAD   1966



A third of a century has passed since my one and only real exposure to the Lehigh Valley.  That occurred in the summer of 1966 when I was visiting my childhood friend and fellow railfan, Chuck Graham.  We went off to watch trains one fine day and wound up in Manchester, NY.  The Lehigh Valley had not yet been folded into Conrail, but it was obviously not as healthy as it once had been.  Yet, it held a certain fascination.  I'd grown up in Rochester but moved away before learning much at all about the LV.  As Chuck and I explored Manchester yard and watched a few trains come and go, I started to realize what I'd missed.

Now, firmly entrenched on the West Coast, I'm drawn back to the handful of pictures Chuck took that day.  Certain ironic similarities arise between the LV and the Central Oregon and Pacific with which I am now so familiar:  two regionals in a land of large Class 1's; heavy reliance on natural resources (coal and lumber) for much of their traffic; a similar shade of red now adorns CORP locomotives that once decorated LV units; and CORP is using GP-38's that once shared the erecting floor at EMD with similar units bound for the Lehigh Valley.



     Click on image below for larger picture
LV F-7 No. 568 at Victor, NY Enroute to Manchester, we first encountered the Lehigh Valley at Victor, NY.  After a brief wait, along came this eastbound led by an ABA set of F-7's.  The train wasn't moving particularly fast but it was rocking noticeably from side to side.  Number 568 is leading here.
LV RS-2 at Victor, NY Shortly after the above train passed along came this local headed up by Alco RS-2 number 240.
F-7's at Manchester sand tower After the local passed, we headed east to Manchester, a division point on the EL.  We found the 568 and company already cut off from their train and spotted under the sand tower.
F-7 570 at Manchester, NY At the other end of this consist F-7 No. 570 rests in the sun. 

In the background is one end of a fuel tank car in company service.

F-7's, sand tower and end of engine house After a while the consist was moved so that the 570 was under the sand tower.  This was a pretty large structure with lots of sand pipes going to all over the place.  Note the covered hopper supplying sand to this facility.  On the left is the end of the roundhouse.
LV GP-18 at Manchester, NY Also in the diesel service area was this GP-18 apparently coupled to an F unit. 
Baldwin S-12 No. 233 in Manchester NY yard Looking down into the yard we found this Baldwin S-12 switching cars in the yard.  Interesting details include a canvas topped TOFC trailer next to the locomotive, the line of ground throws for the ladder and the light tower on the right.
Baldwin S-12 No. 230 Another S-12 rests in the diesel service area. 

At the time I never imagined that 30 years later I'd be involved with a group which owns and has restored an outwardly similar S-8, Medco 8.

LV plow/spreader at Manchester On that hot  August day, it was hard to imagine this spreader/plow blasting through snow drifts to open the Lehigh Valley Railroad's tracks.  But thinking back to some winters in the early 60's that I experienced in Rochester, I'm sure this machine has done plenty of plowing and clearing.
Lehigh Valley Yard Tower, Manchester, NY Watching over the yard at Manchester was this old tower.  The building beyond it looks for all the world to be a company house. 

And, check out that pole line.  What a chore it would be to maintain that in a blizzard...or even a warm summer afternoon.

Old LV coaling tower, Manchester, NY One more structure at Manchester deserved our attention was the remains of the coaling tower. About all that remained of this monument to the Age of Steam are the concrete piers and bunkers.  I'd guess the tower to the right had something to do with an elevator to load coal into the bunkers.  (Additional information on this feature or any other at Manchester, NY would be appreciated.  Please email.)
Photos by Chuck Graham and used with permission.  All photos and text (C) 2000 by Larry Tuttle
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