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Re: PC: PC/LVRR Merger Plan on Ebay

Actually, Penn Central owned controlling interest in the Lehigh Valley 
already, by way of the Pennsy.  I think they may have had an interest in 
making their control "official" in that they might have benefitted from 
consolidations and such.  It's a shame that most of the LV from VanEtten 
Jct. west is long gone, never seeing another through freight after the last 
of the actual LV trains passed overnight between March 31, 1976 into the 
morning of April1, 1976.  I recall that on the morning of April 1, 1976, I 
tuned in to the Penn Central frequency to hear what was once "Penn Central 
YD" calling itself "ConRail YD", and speaking to a BJ-4 coming by Beaver 
Dams NY on the old NYC branch down from the mainline at Lyons NY.  It even 
had an LV GP38AC for the lead unit.  It turned out to be one of the LV 
trains, already re-routed from the LV mainline instead over the NYC main to 
Lyons from Buffalo, then south on the Corning Secondary, then east on the 
Erie Lackawanna mainline for about 45 miles to Waverly NY.  Then the train 
returned to the LV mainline via the connection from Waverly to Sayre PA, and 
on it's way to Oak island via the remaining contiguous portion of the Lehigh 
mainline.  The trains that the LV ran, aside from the Apollo van trains, 
seemed to run for weeks with straight LV diesel consists as well as LV 
cabooses.  In early ConRail, there was some sort of an agreement whereby the 
ex-LV trains would run for a prescribed period of time via the NYC / EL / LV 
routing I previously mentioned, then they would switch to departing Buffalo 
via the EL mainline all the way to Waverly, and then southeast onto the LV 
for the rest of the trip.
This arrangement reminds me of the similar setup NYC and Pennsy had in the 
several years before the merger.  When I was probably about 8 years old, I 
was amazed to see a southbound train on the old PRR Elmira Branch coming 
through Horseheads NY powered solely by NYC diesels!  I had also witnessed 
trains on the NYC branch through Corning which were powered by Pennsy 
diesels, which was equally as puzzling at the time.  I do not know all the 
details of this agreement, but there was some sort of deal between the two 
roads whereby the PRR crews were kept busy during the winter months when the 
coal shipments via the Great Lakes at Sodus Point NY were at a standstill 
due to the lake being frozen.  For something like 3 to six months out of the 
year, PRR crews were allowed to handle some of the NYC trains coming north 
from the Williamsport PA area over the Elmira Branch.  These trains ran 
north on the Pennsy to Himrod Jct., where they would enter the NYC PA. 
Division via a short interchange connector.  I believe NYC crews may have 
taken over at that point, but am not entirely sure.  The Pennsy had equipped 
some F units as well as some GP35 and U25B units with both cab signals and 
the NYC's Automatic Train Stop equipment, so they could operate on either 
road as leaders.

Last weekend, while on the way north to railfan at Palmyra NY on the old NYC 
(now CSX) mainline, a buddy and I followed this PRR Elmira Branch north out 
of Himrod Jct.  It is strange to see this single tracked line which had a 
lot of 152 lb. rail on it, just rusting away.  It was an interesting route.  
Unfortunately, most of what remains of it are the stretches between Hall NY 
and Watkins Glen NY which are operated by the Finger Lakes Railway and the 
stretch between Newark NY and Sodus area.  What the PC merger didn't do to 
diminish the line's necessity, Hurricane Agnes' Flood of 1972' took care of. 
  This same storm dealt the death blow to the Erie Lackawanna as well, 
causing enough damage to force them to declare bankruptcy a few short days 
after the flood hit on June 23, 1972.

Back to the LV topic - probably most of you are aware that a lot of 
equipment and paint came to the LV by way of their PC parent.  Those green 
LV towers and shop buildings, the green boxcars, as well as some ALCO 
diesels that were formerly PRR, all were the direct result of the PC's 
"ownership" of the Lehigh.  Despite all the stock control issues, LV seemed 
to be independent right up until the last day of official operations.

My greatest lament is that I was driving for a few years before CR came into 
being, yet never had the sense to take some time to railfan the Lehigh, even 
though it passed within 25 miles of my hometown, as the crow flies.  Being a 
Penn Central fan, previously a NYC zealot, living next to the Erie 
Lackawanna mainline didn't stop me from spending more time seeking out PC 
trains and paying a passing notice to the EL big - time action in my 
backyard...ah, the foolishness of youth!!!

Have a great holiday weekend all,
Jim Kosty
Corning NY

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