Conrail in Hard Coal Country

Conrail inherited a number of lines that served anthracite country. The network of branches saw plenty of hopper trains until most of it was sold to the Reading and Northern in December of 1990.

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At home in the coal fields, 18645 is on the end of an MP15DC powered local entering West Cressona Yard on the Good Spring Secondary Track. CR 18645 ex LV 95002.


An ex-LV N5G caboose brings up the rear on a coal train through Donaldson PA. CR 18645 ex LV 95002.


After the MP15s went back when their leases ended, these rebuilt geeps held down the branches in the "Reading Cluster".


GP10 7552 brings a few loose cars through the Glen Burn complex.


A pair of GP10's power local freight WHSN03 rounds a curve at Ramshaw, PA on the Shamokin Secondary.


A pair of GP10s roll a local comprised of coal cars and other local business through excelsior.

A set of power is seen sitting next to the ex-Reading station at Schuylkill Haven on the Pottsville Branch. The station has since been refurbished, and the Pottsville Branch is still used regularly by the Reading & Northern.

A mixed group of power is seen at Mine Hill PA. This group includes MP15s which roamed this area until their leases were up, and GP10s, which took over for them when they left.


A result of a chase of this brace of SWs from Port Clinton to St. Nicholas Yard in October, 1983. Here the train sits in the shadow of the coal spoil pile from the many mines in the area.


The EMD switcher powered train, a mix of coal and other freight, heads through Buck Mountain PA.

A brace of end cab switchers, led by the rare SW1001, heads through Zehners on the former Reading.

The brace of end cabs rolls through Port Clinton, the future home of the Reading and Northern.


A profile shot of three of the five end cabs on the train.

CR SW1500 9563 with N5G 18645 at West Cressona Station

A lone SW1500 switches coal cars in the shadow of mine spoils at the Arlington Breaker.


An ex-Reading MP15 and an ex-PC N5 caboose make up this scene in PA's hard coal country.


A lone blue MP15DC brings a sole covered hopper through CP Potts at Pottsville, the home of the Yuengling Brewery.


A trio of MPDCs idle in the small yard at Cressona PA.


9622 sits under the yard lights in Cressona.


A pair of MP15DCs, still wearing their Reading green, roll through Cressona.


Three MP15DCs idle in the small yard at Cressona PA between assignments.


One of the handful of CR MP15s brings some hoppers through the Bethlehem Steel facility at Arlington PA.


9625 moves some empty hoppers through a scene that only exists in coal country.


One of the rare ex-EL N-3A cabooses holds down an assignment on the Greenwood Branch alongside an ex-Reading MP15DC.


A trio of MP15DCs bring empty hoppers through Hamburg PA, the future home of the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern, who took over many of the branches in this area from Conrail in the early 90s.


MP15DC 9627 single handedly handles a train of empty coal hoppers heading back to the mines.


An approaching shot of a pair of MP15s.


A pair of MP15s performing the task which CR usually assigned them. Here they pull some hoppers through the snow at Donaldson PA.


Clearing out flangeways after a snow or ice storm is an important process. It helps prevent snow and ice buildup from derailing a train. When the local power consists of MP15s, of course you're going to send one out to do the job.

Here's the flanger and locomotive passing through East Mahanoy Jct.


A pair of MP15DCs at the St Nick breaker. These units were regular power on the mine runs in the area before the expiration of their leases.


Four MP15DCs roll through CP Belt in the setting sun.


MP15DC 9630 is switching cars at Cressona PA.


The ex-Reading MP15DCs stayed around the ex-Reading anthracite branches until their leases expired. Here, three patched units (still in their Reading Green) are seen at the Saint Nicholas Breaker, just west of Mahanoy City.


MP15DCs hanging around at the St Nick breaker. These units were regular power on the mine runs in the area before the expiration of their leases.


A trio of MP15DCs idles near the station in Cressona PA.


An ex-PRR N8 cabin car trails a coal train entering Tamaqua Tunnel. Note the early EOT mounting on the rear.

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