Storming westward

Intermodal is big business for todays railroads, especially in the northeast, with the major seaports of Newark and Elizabeth, NJ shipping & receiving thousands of containers and trailers every month. Several trains leave the north Jersey area daily, and one of the larger ones is Norfolk Southern symbol 21M, running from Secaucus, NJ to Chicago, Illinois, generally leaving somewhere around sunrise on a normal day.

On a beautiful September morning, we see westbound NS 21M storming the curve at the western end of Allentown Yard, coming off of the bypass around the yard, and transitioning from the NS Lehigh Line to the NS Reading Line. For the next 35 miles, the crew will travel the Reading Line, and then enter the Harrisburg Line for points west. NS 2764, an EMD SD70M-2, leads a couple of GE sisters on this ‘hot’ train, and will see few delays along their route; competition with the trucking industry mandates a tight schedule for the railroads, to ensure that the mile-long trains continue to be ‘a mile long’.

Image recorded September 14, 2013.

Norfolk Southern Train 21M Lehigh Line Allentown Pa

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  1. We just moved to Manville area and the freight train whistles are keeping us up at night.What trains on what tracks are we hearing? Why do the have to continually blow the whistles?
    Thanks, Richard

    • Manville is a great little town, but the Norfolk Southern Lehigh Line (the main east/west freight route in NJ) runs right through the middle of it. Train frequency is between 20 and 30 movements per day, and trains are required by federal law to sound their horn for each grade crossing. There is also the CSX Trenton Line that runs north/south on the east side of Manville, but it is quieter in that area due to the lack of at-grade crossings.

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