Trains on the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line 2008: Volume 1

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Back in 2008, YouTube was a very different world with a cheesy browser and 10 minute upload size limit. The Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line was also quite different. I dug into the archives just to see how much has changed, and realized there was over 2 hours of footage that hadn't been previously uploaded. This is Part 1 of several more 30 minute videos to follow as we take a look back to May-July 2008. It's not the best quality footage, since long time viewers know I started out with a small point-and-shoot camera that had a video function—even a cell phone 8 years later can take much better quality video.

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The Harrisburg Line has changed a lot over the years in regards to train traffic and the appearance of locations. The biggest changes include traffic that no longer exists: trash trains (64J/65J) and CP trackage rights trains to/from Philadelphia (30J/31J) which expired in 2013, most of the coal traffic, and many of the locomotives in this video being retired/rebuilt or repainted from Conrail blue. The subtle changes included the removal of the code line and upgrades of most of the crossings, the old mill at Womelsdorf was torn down and is now an autobody garage, and the 8 to 10th blocks in Lebanon were bulldozed for two overpasses.

0:00 - 5/18: Eastbound Baltimore to Allentown mixed freight train 33A gets a clear signal at CP DORF with a blue SD50 leader.

1:20 - 5/19: Tie train 93M heads east with an ex-CR GP40-2 leading.

1:45 - Coal empties 85E head west through the same crossing later that afternoon with slow orders in effect.
2:15 - We catch up to 85E at Ramona Rd just west of Myerstown. The milepost 81 signal bridge is in the background, and as the camera pans, you can see the abutments for the old signal bridge which have since been removed.

3:25 - 5/30: Local train H31 speeds west through the crossing at Milepost 76.7 with a pair of ex-Conrail locomotives still in blue paint running in the "push-pull" configuration. To this day, this train still originates in Reading Yard in the late afternoon.
4:05 - We catch up to H31 working the ELK roofing materials plant around Milepost 79 just east of Myerstown.
5:15 - H31 crosses Railroad St in Myerstown.
6:55 - H31 passes the 81 signal and over Ramona Rd on its way to Lebanon Chemical.

7:45 - 6/3: Eastbound 534 coal train is bound for the Titus power plant below Reading, which closed down it's coal-burning generators not long after this.

8:30 - 6/12: 31J makes a rare daylight appearance westbound at Railroad St in Myerstown. These tri-weekly trains most often ran in the middle of the night.

10:15 - NYC garbage train 65J heads west for Mingo Jct. Ohio. This train was normally nocturnal. SD40-2 pairs on this train were common for several years. 10:50 - 65J again at Ramona Rd.

11:30 - Roadrailer 262 heads east through the many crossings in Lebanon with a blue widecab Dash-8 leading. The first part of the shot has now been replaced with overpasses.

12:15 - 6/25: A slow-going roadrailer meets westbound loaded slab steel train 67Z with a blue SD60 leading.
13:30 - Later that afternoon 33A starts east through CP DORF with a plethora of yard power taxiing from the Enola Diesel shop back to Allentown yard in the consist.

14:45 - 6/26: 30J gets underway at Richland with a pair of AC4400CW's, one being a CEFX lease. At 16:30 mid-day local H33 heads west with a long-hood forward C40-9.

17:00 - Later that afternoon 20G heads east at Wernersville. These containers, originating in Hobart, CA, traversed BNSF to Chicago. The BNSF power ran through onto NS, and these ex-CR SD50's were pooled in Cleveland and Pittsburgh to be added on the front for cab signals.5405 had a rare Leslie RS5T horn.

18:15 - Loaded slab steel train 67Z heads west through Richland with a blue SD60M and now retired C39-8E.

19:00 - 6/27: 65J with a pair of GE/EMD standard cabs.

20:00 - 7/1: Local train H47 with box cars for Deka Batteries heads east up the low-grade at Blandon. Notice the voice of the .8 defect detector.

21:00 - 500 coal train to Eddystone passes Neversink Rd with a pair of SD60I's that afternoon.

21:50 - Later on, ethanol loads to Seawaren, NJ grind up the low-grade at Temple on the Reading Line with one of the few repainted SD50's leading, with a fouled Leslie RS3L.

22:45 - 7/2: The Ramona Rd crossing was undergoing construction when a surprising blue GP38-2 showed up leading W4A to Enola Yard.

24:30 - Probably one of the best catches of the year was loaded ethanol 68Q with a blue SD50 and a few BNSF SD40-2's trailing, including one in BN green.

25:15 - 21M at Lebanon with nothing special other than an EMDX GP38-2 mixed into the consist.

26:30 - 20G at Cleona with a colorful consist. The crossing arms and bells have since been replaced.

28:00 - A wild 965 power move came west an hour later.

28:50 - Just a usual pair of SD40-2's on 64J that evening.

Thanks for watching!