Water travel precursor to modern freight transportation

In the mid-19th century, the only mode of freight transportation was a horse-drawn barge along a canal beside a main river. To get to Jersey City, NJ from Allentown, Pennsylvania, in, say, 1855, one would load their barge to be pulled across the Lehigh Canal, seen here in the foreground, eastward to Easton, Pa, and across the Delaware River, to continue across New Jersey via the Morris Canal. Quite time consuming to say the least, but this was before the advent of the automobile/truck and also the railroad.

Since railroads tend to frequently follow rivers, due to their ‘flat’ geographic profile, it is with no surprise that we find, in the 21st century, a very modern ‘iron horse’ crossing the very canal that brought freight transportation to this region some 200 years ago. On former Lehigh Valley RR trackage, Norfolk Southern 7632 (a GE ES40DC) brings NS train 19G across the rail bridge, built in 1916, and across the original canal, to start her trip west on the NS Lehigh Line.

Image recorded May 29, 2010.Norfolk Southern 7632 brings NS train 19G across the rail bridge

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NS locomotive finishes doubling, crosses Lehigh Canal

Performing one of several ‘doubling’ maneuvers (several on this day due to having to set-out 2 shop cars for repairs), Norfolk Southern train 19G crosses the Lehigh Canal at the west end of Allentown Yard, ready to make her last shove before finally assembling the train for the run west.

‘Doubling’ frequently occurs when the total train length is greater than one or more yard tracks full of a particular trains consist; a train crew would, for example, couple to the cars on track 13, then pull forward to clear the switch, and shove back pick up the cars on track 14, as both yard tracks 13 & 14 would be full of cars destined for the next major classification yard in the same direction.

Today will see an all-General Electric loco head end, with NS 7632 (ES40DC) and NS 9939 (C40-9W) handling the mainline duties, as soon as the Lehigh Line dispatcher gives them the signal at CP BURN, just a half-mile west of this location.

Image recorded May 29, 2010.

Norfolk Southern train finished doubling, crosses the Lehigh Canal

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