Sunday, June 24, 2012
Today's Train of Thought- Running Water (Street), June 24, 2012
Before Norfolk Southern brought back 'retro' by painting new locomotives in the colors of some of the 19 different predecessor roads, some shortlines and regionals in the Mid-Atlantic were already ahead of the curve.
Based out of Lewiston, PA, the Juniata Valley railroad has been operating an 11-mile former Conrail (nee Pennsylvania Railroad) branchline in the mountains of central Pennsylvania. Formed in 1996 by the Susquehanna Economic Develoment Association's Council of Government Joint Rail Authority, the Pennsylvania line interchanges with Norfolk Southern's former Pennsy mailine between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Back in the late 19th century, the eastern portion of the Juniata Valley started out as the Lewiston & Sunbury. By 1874, the line was brought into the Pennsylvania Railroad fold and became a pivotal shortcut for hauling anthricite coal out of northeastern Pennsylvania and interchanging New York City-bound perishables with the Lehigh Valley.
Started in 1983, the SEDA's Joint Rail Authority was formed in response to concerns that many local shippers would lose rail service for good in the wake of Conrail's retrenchment and abandonment of redundant and marginal branchlines systemwide. One of the first railroads to get started under the SEDA's auspices was the Bellefonte, PA based Nittany & Bald Eagle, dating back to 1984. Within weeks, the Lycoming Valley and North Shore railroad were also formed.
A little over 10 years later, two additional railroads- the Union County Industrial Railroad and Shamokin Valley Railroad were formed when SEDA obtained additional branchlines from Conrail- The Juniata Valley is actually the most recently-formed railroad operating under the SEDA umbrella.
While the North Shore, Nittany & Bald Eagle and Lycoming Valley have been kept busy with hauling sand, pipe and lubircants for drilling and natural gas exploration in the Marcellus shale, traffic levels on the Juniata Valley appear to be much more sedate (if consistent) for now. A common practice for some of the shortlines under the SEDA umbrella is to paint their locomotives in colors reminiscent of the line's previous owners, such as the Reading, Erie Lackawana or in this case, the Pennsy.
Here, railpictures.net contributor Chris Starnes caught Juniata Valley RR SW9 #2106 trundling down the middle of Water St in Lewistown, PA [and running a red light in the process- NANESB!] as he's getting ready to leave town on a rainy April 2003 day. Built in 1953 for the defunct Pittsburg & Shawmut, the #2106 is the JVRR's only locomotive and sports a keystone-shaped numberplate on the hood reminiscent of the Pennsylvania Railroad.