4-Train Hump Day w/ UP, Ex-UP, Ex-Conrail And A Unit Ballast Train!

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4-Train Hump Day with A Union Pacific, Ex-Union Pacific, Ex-Conrail And A Unit Ballast Train!

What’s it about Hump Day that’s so special for people…. For me it’s because the rail action in northeast Pa. seems to come to a pinnacle making the “hump” in the day a very fun and accurate metaphor!

With all of the rain we’ve had over the past 2 weeks it seems only fitting that we actually have a morning with some sunshine…. After all, I was beginning to forget it was summer!


Norfolk Southern Train 930….

Today was another one of those “I wish everyday could be like today” days…. I made it trackside at 05:45 and before I even had time to lay my gear on the ground I hear an air horn north of the city…. In a frantic hurry I set up shop and within a few minutes I see the headlights and ditch lights of what I thought would be the 458 but what was actually the 930 from Montreal, Canada by-way-of the Rouses Point, NY interchange.

Sunny skies, not too hot and not too cold and a train in my first 5 minutes…. Every day should be like today so it was almost unfathomable to think that the day was only going to get better…. But it did….


Norfolk Southern Train 12T….

As 930 knocks down the signal at CPF 672 (Taylor Yard north end) I hear the dispatcher tell what’s obviously 12T waiting in the wings that as soon as 930 clears he can proceed north…. Awesome!… But the message got even better when she said that he’d meet the 458 in Hop Bottom. It wasn’t even 6 a.m. yet and already the day was going great! And so it was that at exactly 06:00 the 12T made his way to my spot with three GEs and a short 34 cars in tow.

The trailing Dash 8-40CW was obvious by the location of the number boards but it wasn’t until I did some research that I realized that the trailing Dash 8-40C was also an ex-Conrail diesel! Two true blues hidden under black varnish in one lashup…. Nice.

So I knew that it would take at least 45 minutes for the 12T to reach Hop Bottom and then another 45 or so for the 458 to make it down to me so I thought I could relax and take it easy for and hour and a half…. Not so much….

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Norfolk Southern unit ballast train…. My very first!…

At exactly 06:15 I hear the unmistakable sound of EMD power coming up out of the valley….

What the heck’s going on!?

There was no mention of anything else over the radio….

But it was coming…. I’d taken my tripod down (a hard lesson learned last Sunday when the wind blew it and my camera over) so I scurried like a chicken without a head to setup and with no less than 30 seconds to spare I get my first shot of a Norfolk Southern unit ballast train!… This one too had an ex-big blue and 2 Armour Yellow visitors! One true Union Pacific SD9043MAC and another NS purchased one. The train had 38 cars full of rock ballast and I could hear the engines howling up the hill and out of town for more than 10 minutes after the tail end passed me by!

Today is truly twilight of the gods for me as far as railfanning goes!…

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Norfolk Southern Train 458….

So let’s recap…. 3 trains within 1/2 hour…. And all before 06:30. All that was left was for 458 to make his way down which he promptly did at exactly 08:00 on the dot!… And although a short train was behind him, the fact that I’d caught 4 trains by 08:00 on hump day is a record for me on any day!

And I should mention that this could’ve been another 5-train day had I waited another 2 or 3 hours for the Canadian Pacific 259 that was expected to come into Taylor around 10 a.m.. But with work to do in the Yard and not knowing how long he’d be or when he’d actually show up I decided to quit while I was ahead.

A railfan acquaintance has said that NS plans to add more sidings. Currently there are at least 3 between Scranton and Binghamton and several south of Wilkes-Barre. Although I can’t imagine the need for more sidings, if that rumor’s true then I’m elated at what their addition means…. More trains of course!

Norfolk Southern is targeting the intermodal business BIG and with the ex-Delaware & Hudson now the northern extension of its Crescent Corridor linking its Southern Tier route (Chicago gateway) and its (Pan Am Southern/Patriot Corridor) New England gateway you can bet there’s a lot of intermodal trains to be seen just over the horizon.

For now, I’m happy seeing the good ole’ great American freight train. Especially when I get this many before most people start their day….

So by 08:05 (less than 3 hours after I got there) I was packing up shop and heading back to the barn with 4 trains on my digital scorecard for the day!

Trains 21 Star Cars for June 17, 2015….

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Unit Ballast Train

This one was obvious as there isn’t just one but rather 38 of em’. This unit ballast train of course!… The first one I’ve ever shot and incidentally, the first unit train of any kind that I’ve seen in northeastern Pa. since the unit coal trains to Bow, New Hampshire¬†and Johnson City, NY¬†became scarce. The UP diesels also helped make this the railroad celebrity of the day.

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J.M. Huber Jumbo Covered Hopper….

Commercial grades of kaolin are supplied and transported as dry powder, semi-dry noodle or as liquid slurry. Georgia is the kaolin capitol of America and with that title an entire industry has sprouted up in the Peach State along with a string of railroads to serve it. Names like Thiele, Sandersville, Georgia Kaolin, Omya, Engelhard and even J.M. Huber used to be common visitors and even dominated many freights but have since become scarce. But as seen in this site, the kaolin cars are making a comeback…. Hopefully with the revitalization of the line the comeback will be a big one.



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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