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Reading and Northern to Mehoopany

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On  October 3rd 1998 the Reading and Northern RR ran another great fantrip on their recently purchased line through the Lehigh gorge. The trip featured their two new locomotives and covered the length of their Lehigh division to the end of track.


Here is the first photo of the train in the Lehigh gorge just south of Ox Bow curve. The power for the train today was the recently purchased ex Erie Lackawanna SD45-2's. The weather for the day was not ideal as it was overcast the whole time but the trip went on and the locomotive paint brightened the day.


Here is the train accelerating past the crowd on a runby. The cars for the train are owned by the Reading and Northern RR as they maintain a nice excursion fleet and the trip was sponsored by the Jersey Central Railway Historical Society.


Here is the train seen at the top of the grade at Penobscot PA. The remnants of the old CNJ yard can still be seen here with the rail on the left and the former right of way on the right. The Reading and Northern is currently building a yard here and the site is also used by the R & N maintenance of way forces.

Here is a closer view of the R & N 3601 and the 3600. Both SD45-2's were bought by the Erie Lackawanna in 1973 and develop 3600 horsepower. Their large fuel tanks also saved fuel and allowed non-stop runs from Chicago to New York.

The train has arrived at the Reading and Northern's main yard and the SD45's are being split up into push pull so the trip can be more efficient to Mehoopany. Here is one of the R & N's yard switchers in the from of the SW1500 1546. The locomotive frequently works the road switching jobs and is the former EMD demo 112.


Another view of switchers at the Pittston yard office. The office handles dispatching for the railroad and a place to get out of the weather. The 1202 is an Sw-1200 that was a 1956 EMD graduate, it was originally built for the New Haven and survived the Penn Central and Conrail.

Here is another new member of the R & N locomotive force idling away with the 1202 and the 1546. The locomotive is so new to the force that it hasn't been painted yet, the 2396 was built in 1974 for the Lehigh Valley as their 501 and is a U23B rated at 2250 Horsepower. Its good to see old locomotive find their way back onto home rails even for a little while, well sort of, the switchers and 2396 are on the former EL line that heads toward Scranton and the 2396 was sold in the first half of 1999 so it only got a small taste of life back on Lehigh Valley rails.


The locomotives have been split and the train is ready to continue up the rare mileage to Mehoopany and Vosburg tunnel, the engine is on the bridge across Lackawanna river, the river had a orange tint to it because of sulfer being mined in the area.

The train was slated to cover the entire trackage from Jim Thrope to Mehoopany but it was running late so the train would turn around at Vosburg tunnel MP 211.3. The 3601 was built as the Erie Lackawanna 3671 and had the number 6656 when working for Conrail

Here is another view of the 3601 with the tunnel in the background. Both SD45-2's were stricken from the Conrail roster in the spring of 1998 when they both had engine failures, the Reading and Northern came to the rescue and saved both by buying them in the summer of 1998. Here both of them are in the fall of 1998 powering on of the Reading and Northern's fan trips, certainly a very busy and interesting 6 months for the locomotives.

The train proceeded back to Pittson were the engines were mated again for the trip home. Here are both of the engines crossing the Lackawanna river with the train that is about ready to depart. The weather really to a turn for the worse after the train left and all of the final photo stops were canceled.
 

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