Trains on the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line 2008: Volume 4

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Continuing the archives of NS Harrisburg Line footage from 2008, Part 4 features 30 minutes of footage shot in the month of August through to late September. 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 - 8/21: 64J with an SD40-2/GP40-2 pair hustles through MP 75 with trash empties returning to North Jersey.

0:45 - Close behind was empty export anthracite coal train 684 returning from the docks in Baltimore, MD. The hoppers include a mix of ex-Reading and ex-Denver Rio Grande & Western heritage. These hoppers have since been replaced with bethgons.

2:30 - 8/22: Chicago, IL to Morrisville, PA UPS train 20E speeds past MP 75 with quite a colorful array of locomotives trailing, most notably the BNSF SD40-2 still in Burlington Northern green.

3:15 - 8/22: 30J with a pair of bright red CP AC4400CW's, one Beaver and one Dual-flag scheme, both in fairly good condition.

4:30 - 8/22: 34A heads west with a blue SD50 trailing, some nice rolling stock in the train.


5:50 - 8/23: One of the SD40-2's commonly seen leading 64J is now the cab-signal leader on marine container train 20G, with two BNSF GE's in tow, notice the freshly painted Dash-8 in "Heritage III" paint.

6:45 - A few minutes later loaded steel slab train 67Z grinds west up the grade at Robesonia with a pair of EMD's.

7:45 - 8/23: Croxton, NJ to Atlanta, GA trailer train 213 storms west near Milepost 75 with an SD70 / GP40-2 pair. By this year, it was not common to see GP40-2's on intermodals.

8:30 - 8/24: Another 20G with an SD50 leader and pair of BNSF GE's.

9:05 - 8/30: A single GP40-2 leads a transformer high-and-wide load east through Richland.

9:35 - Soon after, another 20G with a blue ex-Conrail SD50 leading a pair of BNSF GE's heads through Richland. 5413 had one of the best Leslie RS-3L horns.

10:15 - An hour later, 34A with 5 different locomotive types heads west through Richland, also with a blue ex-CR SD50 leading.

11:15 - 8/31: GP60 led H33 heads west from Reading Yard through Richland to do local work on the line.

11:35 - That afternoon black SD50 5426 leads another 20G down the grade through Robesonia.

12:20 - 9/1: On a clear sunny morning, 20G heads east with an excellent array of color in the form of a blue ex-CR SD50, BNSF Dash-9, and warbonnet ex-Santa Fe Dash-9. We chased to the Reading Line at Blandon and caught it again at 13:25.

14:30 - 9/1: Oak Island, NJ to Pittsburgh, PA mixed freight train 19G has SD45-2's in tow for the Juniata Shops for work/inspection.

15:15 - 9/6: Los Angeles, CA UPS train Z-LACNYC via Chicago, IL to Croxton, NJ 20W starts to pull east at Womelsdorf in the rain with an ex-CR SD60 trailing.

16:15 - 9/8: A slow moving container train 24Z heads east through Richland with a blue ex-Conrail Dash-8-40CW leading, obeying a slow order for track work.

17:00 - 9/13: A 964 lite engine move has 7 different locomotives from Allentown Yard heading for the Enola Diesel shop. Flat spots on the SW1500 2222, still in CR blue, had the move traveling at restricted speed. At 18:05 we catch them again at Railroad St. in Myerstown, then at Ramona Rd at 19:25, again at Prescott at 20:05 and finally one last time at 10th St. in Lebanon at 20:55.

22:45 - 9/14: 20G doesn't have a blue SD50 leading, but the BN green SD60M in intermodal service is an unusual sight. At 23:20 we catch 20G again at Blandon to catch a better view of the BNSF 8188.

24:20 - 9/18: At BELT, 33A takes a pause for a WB 261 roadrailer (originating in Bethlehem, PA) coming down the single track. At 25:20 33A starts to move with some yard power and a high-and-wide in tow.

27:20 - 9/19: A standard cab Dash-9 leads a loaded anthracite train from Reading & Northern to Baltimore, MD, with a consist of former Reading Company HTg hoppers. These are also no longer in unit train service, but can be seen in small cuts to smaller customers throughout the country.

28:40 - 9/20: 34A has a warbonnet Dash-9 trailing, some interesting rolling stock as well.

Thanks for watching!