Branch Lines

CR originally had so many branch lines, they radiated out like spider webs from many cities. These lines were often the ones that were sold off to regionals and short lines or abandoned over time. Some branches that remained were upgraded and given Secondary status.


Conrail's Mexico Secondary ran from North Manchester to Mexico, IN and was the remnant of an ex PRR line(originally known as the Eel River line) that ran from Logansport to Butler, IN.  By the summer of 1977, Conrail had decided to abandon the line so Manchester News Journal reporter Kim Heusel rode the final run of the line down to Mexico and back.  Kim has been nice enough to grant us permission to use his photos on our website, so take a look back to summer 1977 and the final run on the Mexico Secondary.



Conrail's York Secondary was the remains of the former Northern Central Railroad south of Harrisburg PA. It ran from Wago Junction on the Susquehanna River where it split from the Enola Branch south to the city of York PA where it terminated at Windsor St Yard.

The WPLA-81 ran out of time in New Holland, PA so a recrew, RPLA-81, was called to go out and finish the work and bring the train back to Dillerville Yard. Typical 90's era branchline power around Lancaster were the GP38-2s and GP15-1s. Here the RPLA-81 is passing rural scenery east of Lancaster, PA along the New Holland Secondary.

WPAB-10, the Lansdale to Abrams job, departing. Power today was GP15-1 1642 (with the labor-management decal on the nose) leading SW-1001 9405 and SW-1500 9595.

GP15-1's 1696 and 1698 at Waterbury, CT. in November, 1979. The last four (highest numbered) GP-15's, 1696-1699 were assigned to Hartford for awhile back in 1979/82, handling the locals out of Hartford yard. This pair was working the Waterbury job, WNHA-21.
WNHA-20 arrives in East Hartford, CT. behind GP15-1 1696 and RS3m 9972 on Nov. 19, 1980. Both engines were regulars in the Hartford area around this point in time.
Hartford to Waterbury local WNHA-21, powered by GP15-1 1697 and an RS3m, drilling cars in New Britain, CT. on May 15, 1980. The open lot in the background used to be the freight yard. Operation of this route was taken over by B&M/GTI in June, 1982 and is still operated by Guilford, to date.
The last of the "Baby tunnel motors", GP15-1 1699, arrives in East Hartford with local WNHA-20 on May 5, 1980.
An ex RDG caboose brings up the rear of the Lima local. CR 18720 ex RDG 92874.
The Lima local is backing into the yard and putting its train together at Rochester Jct. CR 18720 ex RDG 92874.
WALY arrives at Avon to switch out Kraft foods and interchange with the LA&L.
WALY-14 is at Avon and will switch out Kraft Foods and interchange cars with the LA&L. In April 1996 the LA&L will own this trackage and CR will no longer run down the Mortimer Secondary to Avon.
The salt train is on Chessie tracks as it heads South to P&L Jct. at Caledonia. The train has a matched set of 4 B23-7s.
The Lima local heads North at Corby Road between Honeoye Falls and Lima.
Another one of my favorite CR photo's. The Lima local is just arriving before dark at the little yard at Rochester Jct. The ex LV yard was 3 tracks as I recall. Some cars that are not destined for points on the Lima Branch will be left here while the rest of the train goes to Lima. On the return trip, the dropped cars will be picked up to head back to Rochester.
The Lima local is Southbound at Sibley Road as the sun is starting to set.
The CR Lima local is Northbound on the ex LV Lima Branch at Sibley Road.
The local switches out Pinco Insulator at Lima. In a few more minutes the sun will have set. This was the end of track on the ex LV Lima Branch.
The Lima local is arriving at Lima late in the afternoon.
2040 casts its shadow on the silos at Pinco Insulator at sunset.
Here's a close-up of GP30-2175 switching at the McCormick Spice Mill in the Hunt Valley Industrial Park. At the corner of Gilroy & Clubhouse Roads as I recall. 4:15PM on 2/23/82 in Hunt Valley, MD.

GP30 2175 is switching a paper warehouse in the Hunt Valley Industrial Park on a spur that comes off of the former PRR Northern Central Line.

Photo was taken on 4:45PM on 2/23/82 in Hunt Valley MD.

A pair of engines and a caboose are parked at the little yard in Ridgway. If I remember correctly, this was right along the main road thru town.
A GP-35 and caboose are parked by the station in Watkins Glen.
The salt train power is on isolated trackage at P&L Jct. The train used Chessie trackage rights from Rochester to P&L Jct. to get to its own track in the Caledonia area. The track that the power is heading down is the old NYC "Peanut Line" that once ran from Batavia to Canandaigua. A short section of this line is all that remained at the time of CR, and it ran a couple of miles from P&L Jct. to downtown Caledonia. There is a chemical customer at the end of this spur in Caledonia. CR would often park the salt train power down in Caledonia when the crew outlawed. This trackage is all still in use today by the R&S.
The salt train works the G&W yard at P&L Jct. The train used Chessie trackage rights to get from Rochester to P&L Jct.
Switching cars at Swift in Lima.
The Lima local passes thru Rochester Jct. on it's way South to Lima.
Very little of the LV survived on Day 1 of CR in Upstate NY. The Rochester and Lima branches were an exception. The Lima branch was operated until the mid 1980's, and then abandoned. The local would usually run about 3 days a week and was powered for a while by ex EL 1205, now CR 5935. CR also used RS-11's & RS-32's as power, and finally towards the end of the branch lines life, GP-35's and U-25B's. 5935 is at the Sibley Road crossing in Mendon.
The Lima local has crossed over the LV main at Rochester Jct. and is on the "Rochester" branch. The signal in the background is on the abandoned LV main.
The Lima local crawls across the trestle over Honeoye Creek, just South of Sibley Road.
The Lima local picks up the cars it left at Rochester Jct. The cars on the right are on the ex LV Rochester branch. The engine is in the small weed grown yard picking up the cars it did not need to haul down to Lima.
A view from engine 5935 as the Lima local is between Monroe Street in Honeoye Falls and Sibley Road.
A small Lima local crosses the old LV main at Rochester Jct.
Lifting the wing to fold it up on the East Windsor secondary in East Hartford, CT.
Folding the wings on the 64611 on the East Windsor secondary in East Hartford, CT.
With the wings folded up, the 64611 and 2001 are ready to proceed over a couple of crossings and then continue ditching along the East Windsor secondary north of Park Ave.
GP9 7083 and mates struggle mightily with WNHA-21 ascending the 1 % grade coming up from Berlin to New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981. The train is crossing South St.
WNHA-21 coming up on Whiting St. in New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981. The open area at right was the Freight yard in town and the factory in the distance is the former Landers, Frary and Clark branch plant, where my Mom worked the second shift for several years back in the '50's. Lots 'o memories for me in this area when I was growing up....
RS3m 9981 has the trail in WNHA-21 as the headend passes over Whiting St. in New Britain, CT. on Nov. 23, 1981.
Ex PRR GP-9 7200 working as WNHA-23, switching out local businesses at Strong Rd. in South Windsor, CT. on the old New Haven Armory branch.
GP-9 7249 blows through snow berms at Risley's crossing with WNHA-20 on the Manchester secondary on Jan. 25, 1982. You wouldn't recognize this location today, with the I-291 overpass directly behind the train and Tolland Turnpike, which the train is crossing, 4 lanes wide.
The 7249 shuffling cars at Main St. in Manchester, CT.
CR 7601 is working Beam Milling in Honeoye Falls on the CR Lima Branch on ex LV trackage. The mill provided a fair amount of Agricultural traffic and was located on the ex LV Hemlock branch. Yes, there really are a couple sets of tracks under all those weeds! I'm not sure of the exact date.
The Lima local has just arrived at the Lima Depot and will begin switching the local customers.
The engine on the Lima local eases down track that is barely visible as it passes by the old LV station.
A car is switched at Swifts in Lima.
The Lima local is working at Swift in Lima.
The Lima local is at Rochester Jct. The 2nd car has a wheel off the track and the guys are busy trying to get things fixed. The old station canopy and the LV MOW barn are visible.
Another view of the Lima local at Rochester Jct. The 2nd car had a wheel off the track. The number boards on 7601 are getting pretty tough to read.

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