Trains on the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line 2008: Volume 3

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Continuing the archives of NS Harrisburg Line footage from 2008, Part 3 features 30 minutes of footage shot in the month of August. 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; however, 95% of these shots could not be repeated today in some form.

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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, marine container traffic (20G), 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 - 8/7: 68Q has a blue SD50 leading under the signals at CP PRESCOTT. Normally the SD50's were added for cabsignals because the run-through BNSF or UP power were not equipped, but in this case the trailing unit NS C40-9 8811 is also not equipped. The C40-9's and several of the first C40-9W's NS orders were not equipped with cabsignals because they were purchased before the split of Conrail.

0:45 - 8/7: Empty garbage train 64J heads back to North Jersey for a refill of NYC garbage, passing the former Reading Station at Wernersville along the way.

1:30 - 8/7: 691 coal empties head west with CSX hoppers and NS power, note the LEF&C hopper on the rear! The loaded train 690 came off of CSX in Hagerstown, MD and took an unusal route east to Indian River, DE. The CSX power was usually swapped out for NS power for cab signals and LSL's to run down Amtrak to reach the Delmarva Secondary. These trains were rare and stopped running by the end of 2008.

2:45 - 8/8: MoW equipment and camp car train 949 heads east near Sheridan on a beautiful sunny morning with a pair of ex-CR SD40-2's.

3:30 - Following close behind was W3A bound for Allentown Yard, originating in Enola Yard with an unusual GP50/SD50 pair. This was the only time I ever caught a GP50 leading a road freight.

5:10 - 8/11: A chase of 20G commenced with one of the last Conrail blue C40-8's leading a newer BNSF GEVO eastbound by MP 77 toward North Jersey. At 5:45 20G eases through Wyomissing Junction, leaving the Harrisburg Line for the Reading Line, then on the single track low-grade through Temple at 7:55.

9:00 - Later, 21M heads west with a pair of UP's behind a cab signal leader (required for the Pittsburgh Line west of Harrisburg). Most notable is UP C40-8 9177 in the third slot. Slow orders were in a affect from previous track work, allowing us to catch up to them again through Sinking Spring at 10:00.

11:00 - 8/12: Another mega-lashup 34A eases through CP TARA west of Hummelstown, note the Black River and Western SD9 trailing, heading to Enola to be worked on.

12:30 - H33 local has a high-hood SD40-2 leading with the long hood forward pullinh covered hoppers for PACMA in Palmyra.

13:45 - Following close behind was H68 with cars for the quarry in Annville, nice pair of high-hood GP38-2's pulling.

14:40 - 8/13: 64J storms through Richland with a throttling pair of SD40-2's.

15:30 - 8/15: Canadian National and Illinois Central power trail behind a blue SD50 on loaded ethanol 68Q.

16:15 - 8/15: A pair of SD40-2's in garbage service was stolen and put on westbound empty autorack 11J, passing through CP DORF near MP 74.

17:25 - 8/17: H33 heads home to Reading Yard, note the MoW gondolas loaded with old ties on the rear.

18:15 - Following close behind was 20G with another blue and orange consist.

19:05 - 8/18: A loaded welded rail train 912 heads east through Richland.

20:25 - 8/18: A H2 BNSF Dash-8 leads 36Q from Linwood, NC to Allentown, PA, passing through Cleona near MP 90.

22:15 - That afternoon a colorful 68Q heads east with a smoky SD50 leading a warbonnet Dash-9 and YN2 CSX Dash-8. We caught them again at Temple at 23:00. Close behind at 24:15 was 64J with a SD40-2/GP40-2 combo. Then 33A at 25:30 with loads of yard power returning to Allentown Yard from the Enola Diesel shop.

27:10 - 8/20: A SOO line surprise leader on a few-hour late Philly-bound 30J intermodal/manifest mixed train this train originated in Canadian Pacific's East Binghamton Yard, which is now part of Norfolk Southern.

28:00 - 8/20: 503 coal empties with CR/UP power cross the 4-way intersection in the middle of Richland. Yes, I do believe the Race St flashers were malfunctioning at the time.

29:05 - 8/20: H31 speeds west through Freeman St in Robesonia with cars for ELK and 7D.