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
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
Again at Derry Road in Hershey, eastbound XGW-88W is seen in the summer
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
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,
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.