Memorial Day Railfanning In Scranton, Pa. (Part 2) Ex-UP and The Steamtown Olyphant Excursion

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Norfolk Southern Train 930 @ 6:55 a.m….

My second day of Memorial Day railfanning found me at milepost 671 again at 06:00…. And it was a bit chilly outside!…. What I thought would be a 6-hour stakeout would end up pleasantly being much shorter. But before we get into the story I want to tell you a little bit about railfanning milepost 671….

Northbounds are an easy catch because you can usually hear the air horns from Depot Street in Taylor yard plus you can (usually) hear the growl of the diesels working up the grade for more than 2 miles if it’s quiet enough. Also if you have a scanner you can (usually) hear the crew talking to dispatch around the 679.

Southbound freights on the other hand are tricky. With no air horns (usually) and no dynamic braking allowed down the hill to Taylor the trains can (and often times do) sneak up on you with no warning. The only notice you can expect to get is any chatter you hear on the scanner letting you know that they’re close by.

And so it was such today that I heard the locomotive #8727 being identified over the radio but judging by the what I heard I’d assumed that I’d already missed him. Not quite and with no warning (in typical southbound fashion) the headlights appear coming down the hill @ 06:55 a.m. and I’m scrambling to get my cameras in place. And while I was able to catch the locos with my DSLR, sadly I caught only the rear half of Norfolk Southern 30T/Canadian Pacific 930 on video.

A little bit about the locomotives….

The lead unit #8727 which I first mistook for a “Top HatD9-40C was actually an older Dash 8-40C. It was a beautiful sight to see this old veteran still getting it done for NS.

The second unit #1104 is a much newer SD70ACe and the last unit whose former heritage cannot be mistaken is ex-Union Pacific SD9043MAC #7312. The big MAC is the 4th such unit I’ve caught and I feel fortunate to record them in their sorta “pure” state.

100 of these units were purchased in September 2014 from EMD/Progress Rail and will eventually be rebuilt to SD70ACe specs although they’ll be reclassified as SD9043ACes as they will retain their SD9043MAC carbody.

As I’ve said, Norfolk Southern is offering up the greatest show of diversity in its motive power fleet these days. In addition the big MACs the NS also took the 3 sole SD70Ms from the New York, Susquehanna & Western and all have since been repainted. As well, they’ve purchased 9 ex-Burlington Northern SD60Ms from the BNSF. These units are unique in having the 3-piece (Tri-clops) windshield configuration.

With rebuilding older locos (much to the delight of railfans) to deal with traffic increases, it’ll be interesting to see what new creations come out the shops of Altoona and maybe even Chattanooga.

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Norfolk Southern Train 458….

I barely had time to fully take in and enjoy the 930 when the 458 (NS 11R) glided downgrade with ghostly silence. The motive power on this train was of pure NS heritage and I would be hearing this train over the radio well past CP Kase in Sunbury.

About 5 minutes after the 458 passed a couple of railfans showed up and told me that a northbound (which I speculate was the 12T) had been waiting in the siding near Nicholson for the 930 and the 458 to pass. They pointed out that there probably wouldn’t be anything else for quite a while so I took their advice and called it a day by 08:00.

I’m thinking that was a smart move because other than the 458 I didn’t hear another peep out of CP over the radio for the rest of the day….

One more note of interest…. Study the pictures @ 671 carefully as over the following months (especially in the foreground) you’ll see the grass, weeds and vegetation grow to incredible (even train obscuring) heights!…

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Steamtown Olyphant Excursion Up The Carbondale Main Line….

The last train I saw today was a special train for 2 reasons. First, we’re at the Poplar Street crossing in north Scranton and I’d been trying to get a train at this location for months. My first attempt (which I explain in detail in Video #55) ended up in slight disappointment.

Nonetheless, I hear the engineer of engine #1804 getting clearance from the dispatcher to proceed up the Carbondale main line and I’m out the door! And what I expected to be a generic freight drag turns out to be the Steamtown Olyphant Excursion!… And while I must admit that I would actually had rather seen a freight manifest, I feel extremely fortunate to have stumbled upon such a rare holiday spectacle!



Understanding the train symbols of the D&H Sunbury Subdivision….

Canadian Pacific train 458 is a Binghamton, NY to Linwood, NC manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern train 11R.

Canadian Pacific train 459 is a Harrisburg (Enola), Pa. to Binghamton, NY manifest which formerly ran as Norfolk Southern train 12R but now runs as train 14R.

Canadian Pacific train 930 is a Rouses Point, NY to Harrisburg (Enola) Pa. manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern 30T.

Canadian Pacific train 931 is a Harrisburg (Enola) Pa. to Rouses Point, NY manifest which runs as Norfolk Southern 31T.

Canadian Pacific train 258 is a Binghamton, NY to Allentown, Pa. manifest.

Canadian Pacific train 259 is an Allentown, Pa. to Binghamton, NY manifest.

Canadian Pacific D-11 is a local that runs from Taylor Yard in Taylor, Pa. south down the Sunbury Sub (now the NS Crescent Corridor) to Sunbury (CP Kase).

Canadian Pacific D-12 is a local that runs from Taylor Yard in Taylor, Pa. north up the Sunbury Sub (now the NS Crescent Corridor) to Binghamton, NY.

Norfolk Southern 12T is an Allentown, Pa. to Buffalo, NY manifest which runs as Canadian Pacific 932.

Norfolk Southern 13T is a Buffalo, NY to Allentown, Pa. manifest which runs as Canadian Pacific 933.

Naturally many (if not all) of these symbols will change when Norfolk Southern takes over proper…. I’ll keep you posted on those changes as I find them out.


Find out where the freight cars in this post call home….

Check Out Our Reporting Marks Page


Keep up with all of the train action taking place on the former CP Rail Sunbury Subdivision (now the Norfolk Southern Crescent Corridor) at BROADCASTIFY.COM.

Naturally when Norfolk Southern takes over these mileage markers will probably change.. When they do I’ll make sure to make the necessary updates…. For now here are the….

Pennsylvania Mile Markers from Binghamton, NY to Sunbury, Pa.

627-Hallstead (Dragging Equipment Detector)
643-Kingsley (Dragging Equipment Detector)
650-Hop Bottom (10,000 ft. siding)
653-Nicholson & the Tunkhannock Viaduct
659-661 (10,000 ft. siding)
662-Glenburn (Dragging Equipment Detector)
664-Clark’s Summit
671-Steamtown Wye (Bridge Sixty)
672-Taylor Yard (North end)
673-Taylor Yard (South end)
679-Dupont Jct.
696-Nanticoke (Broadway Street)
701-Retreat State Hospital
714-Beach Haven
752-CP Kase (this is where the Sunbury Subdivision joins the Norfolk Southern Buffalo line to Harrisburg and Enola.)

The last days of the Canadian Pacific/Delaware & Hudson and the Sunbury Subdivision

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

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