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Courtesy Conrail Inc.  Conrail's Harrisburg Line in the Lebanon Valley


Harrisburg Line Timetable

In the late 1980's, Chessie power often could be found leading on traffic orginating or terminating in Hagerstown, MD. B&O 4308 is leading a Conrail GP38-2 and GP40-2 on Conrail symbol WHLU-96 past the Harrisburg Amtrak station, after "swinging" off of the Lurgan Branch.
Photo by Kevin Burkholder
Conrail ran an interesting train on September 28, 1997: SHP-101 heads west at Rutherford, PA with 6277, 3376, 4119, 5531, 7724, CP 1116, CP 8249, and 8051 (C40-8W, GP40-2, SD80MAC, SD60M, GP38, RS18u slug, GP9u, and GP38-2). The CP units were enroute to Juniata Shops, after having been damaged in a fatal grade crossing accident on the Lehigh Line. Conrail 6277 was renumbered from 751. The next day, September 29, the 6277 was the second-last of a group of five units rear-ended by a PIBE at CP-Tara in Hummelstown; killing the conductor and injuring the engineer.

 

Ballast train BAL-69D is entering the jurisdiction of the Harrisburg East Dispatcher, at CP-Tara in Hummelstown. From CP-Tara west to CP-Capital, both tracks are bidirectional running (Rule 261). East of CP-Tara, the #2 (south) track is eastbound Rule 251, and the #1 track is consequently the westbound track. Conrail adapted the grey Ballast Express livery for their fleet of ten rare C32-8's, for (guess what!) ballast train service.
Delaware and Hudson train 556-12 passes Derry Road in Hershey behind a trio of Norfolk Southern units. D&H trains detoured via Harrisburg during the summer of 1997 due to trackwork on the Lehigh Line north of Allentown, PA. DH556-12 was lensed at 10:50 AM on May 14, 1997.
Hershey Foods is quite dependent on Conrail, receiving cocoa beans, sugar, corn syrup, and other materials via rail. Cars are set off and picked up at a three track yard on the north side of the Harrisburg Line, just east of Derry Road. The Hershey Shifter, symbol WPHE-02 switches Hershey plants downtown and at West Hershey seven days a week starting at 6 am. The chocolate is made at the newer plant at West Hershey, where sugar and corn syrup loads are brought. Chocolate paste is shipped out of West Hershey to the plant downtown (just west of Derry Road) in captive-leased GATX tank cars (shown in picture). Cocoa beans are unloaded and shelled at the plant downtown. The shelled beans are trucked to the plant at West Hershey, and the cocoa bean shells are sent by rail one mile west to a small plant that processes the shells into fertilizer. Milk and finished are sent via truck.


On a warm day in May, Conrail PIBE-3 passes the Hershey Chocolate Factory behind CR 6780 and UP 9401 (SD50, C41-8W). Foreign power is relatively common in trailing position on eastbound trains from Conway; foreign power occasionally leads on trains that do not operate in cab signal territory. Trains like BUAL and ALHB often have foreign power in the lead, including one that had a rare pair of ATSF warbonnets!

 

Again at Derry Road in Hershey, eastbound XGW-88W is seen in the summer of 1997.
BAL-244 passes the former Reading station at Railroad Street in Palmyra, PA. This ballast westbound was seen on March 17, 1996 at 3:28 PM; powered by CR 6845 - UP 4255B - CR 5577 (SD60, SD40-2B, SD60I).
Conrail XAN-6, an empty ballast train to Wimpey Minerals' Annville quarry, backs into Wimpey's running track at Palmyra, PA, during a late afternoon in February 1997.
For a few months in 1997, St. Lawrence & Hudson (CP Rail/D&H) trains 555 and 556 operated over the Harrisburg Line due to heavy trackwork both on the D&H line (from Wilkes-Barre to Sunbury) and on the Reading & Northern's Lehigh Line (the normal routing for 555/556). 556 was a real treat with CSXT 7680-CSXT 7694-CSXT6234-NS9070-NS3525 (2 CW40-8, GP40-2, C40-9W, B32-8); as NS power had been the lead of most D&H trains. However, the Pennsylvania "potty" law - requiring chemical toilets - caught up with the D&H; and CP Rail power was in the lead until these trains resumed their normal routing via Allentown.
DH555-14 was seen on May 15 at Forge Road in Palmyra, with NS 8816 and NS 9027 as power. While these trains ran on the "Valley", Norfolk Southern's newest power was common.
That same day, empty plate steel train DLP-04 passed by Forge Road (Palmyra) at 11:00 am, behind 5066 and 6087 (B40-8, C40-8w). DLP-04 and it's counterpart PDL-03 run between Philadelphia and Detroit-Livernois Avenue.
ALHB-7 passes an eastbound at Forge Road, on July 17, 1997 at 6:40 PM. ALHB today has a typical dog's breakfast lashup of 6782 - 4101 - 8194 (SD50, SD80MAC, GP38-2).
Conrail train XCX-143 passes behind the Londonderry Square shopping center east of Palmyra behind CSXT AC6000CW's 640 and 641 on March 31, 1999.   Deliveries of the second order of AC6000's out of GE-Erie resulted in some less-traditional routings.  640 and 641 were reportedly to be assigned to Cumberland, MD; explaining their routing on this Camden-to-Hagerstown empty coal train.


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This page was created and maintained by J. Alex Lang, 1998.
Last updated June 9, 1998


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