Phil/ELRRco@AOL.com-My greatest EL memory (memories) came after the EL was over, and it was sitting with my grandmother on the bench in the small park across from Packard's in Hackensack. We would go to watch the parade of commuter trains headed to Spring Valley for the evening rush and the U34CHs that headed each one. Their unique four-cycle GE sound and very brutish look made a profound impression on me.
Somehow I don't think a PL42AC or GP40FH-2 can match that.
Jeff Larson-Like Rick Fleischer, I grew up near Warren, Ohio, in Leavittsburg specifically.
I'd have to say my EL memory is crossing the tracks on Leavitt Road, which I did
many times. From the north, it was two tracks (2nd Sub), the TOFC ramp off to
the left, then 3 tracks (1st Sub), then almost as an afterthought, one track on
a slightly lower grade (B&O line to Newton Falls). Although most of the trains
I saw were freight trains, the ones that stick in my mind the most were the
passenger trains...they seemed to go so fast and be so short. For some reason,
I only remember Westbounds, and only on the 2nd Sub.
And I'd like to echo Rick's comments on GMY. All the black-and-yellow Erie
stuff seemed old and small, and the GMY equipment all shiny and modern and BIG.
And does anyone remember when the trim on SN tower was repainted from Erie green
to red? It seemed to be too red to be maroon, and I can't imagine CR doing
Tom Beckett -I missed the EL freight era-though many times I have imagined various GMY units pacing me as I drove along the Canisteo River. My exposure to the EL was on the commuter lines in Jersey. I was fortunate to have ridden the DLW MU's, and I can recall riding them on summer days with the windows open, taking in the aroma of brake shoe smoke as we sat in a station, then the grinding of the motors as we started and picked up speed. Mundane, to be sure, but an experience you won't repeat today.
My remembrance is two-fold. As kids in Scranton, three of us had scrapbooks that were comprised of newspaper articles of anything that was about the then roads that served Scranton, Erie, DL&W, D&H, CNJ, etc. NYO&W had passed on a few years before.
When the merger came, we as kids decided that we should "merge" our scrapbooks. It took many hours of negotiation to combine what we had and we weren't happy about it. We did it in the end. I still have the "merged" scrapbooks at my house up in Scranton. We were kids then and emotions ran high.
The other side of this two-fold remembrance is when the three of us went downtown and saw Erie SWs for the first time in our lives (we had Geeps on the Scranton Branch) in the Lackawanna Yard.
We saw Erie and Lackawanna side by side in their independent paint. What a sight that was. We knew then that times had changed and that we had to change with the times. To see both roads, side by side in independent paint was extremely special. It really made a statement.
Our combined Erie Lackawanna had a somewhat short life as we know. But for us three friends in Scranton, as we went our separate ways in life, we had our Erie Lackawanna. On that, we finally agreed.
Rich Behrendt-Like many of you from North Jersey, my first recollections are of the Caldwell Branch while living in Verona in the late 1960's/early 1970's - I remember the wig-way on Fairview Ave. and the Silver Lake drills delivering boxcars to Bahr Lumber and West Essex Lumber in Verona, which towards the end were the only regular consignees on the branch -
'The Erie Lackawanna Story' was my first big book purchase which familiarized me to the rest of the EL system via photos - after a few years of practicing on the Caldwell Branch, early photography shifted to Great Notch in conjunction w/acquisition of a driver's license and the discovery of long-haul freights on the Boonton Line/Greenwood Lake line.
After high school graduation in '76, it was off to Ohio for college, which I looked forward to, since this was Alco country. By then, CR was starting out, but alot of EL still existed through the late 1970's, and I was fortunate to be able to see and photograph EL Alco's still in action at Brier Hill, Akron and Cleveland before consolidation and elimination of CR assets starting taking hold in the early 1980's...
George Mason-Mine was 70-76. I grew up on Manor Road in Denville near the end and our house was about 150 feet from the tracks of the Boonton line. I think this was the time of the Hot Shot fast freights because they really seemed to move through there. (I could be wrong there) Each shelf in our home had a lip on it. When when a train went by the entire house shook and the lip kept the glassware on the shelves. I remember if I would have a sleepover as a child the terror in those kids eyes when a train would come through at night and it would feel like an earthquake to them! It was awesome!
Mike Del Vecchio-My fondest recalls of EL:
Little league games at Water Works Park almost a mile west of Dover, NJ, station
along the main line in the early 1970s. The Saturday games would almost stop as
the afternoon freight would go by, usually with two units. I was on the Henry
O. Baker Insurance team, and we had one kid named Jerry Lycowski who we called
"Mole." He was huge for his age, and much bigger and heavier than all of us
10-12 year olds. And he could hit, and often. He was our version of Babe Ruth;
not the best behaved, but he made up for it by hitting balls higher and longer
than anyone had ever seen. He would hit balls over the big brick-and-mortar
Water Works Park sign in right-center field, and twice he was able to hit the
ball onto the railroad tracks. I'd like to claim that I remember what the
diesels were, but I don't. I do remember the gray and stripes and strings of
boxcars. But the trains passing by as we played ball was an indelible part of
that era for me.
Born in 1960, I lived through EL's entire existence near the top of Madison
Street in Dover, which was above and looked over Crescent Field. The trees
obscured the vew of the railroad, but we could hear a lot of the action on the
EL. As kids we played ball games and ice skated all year in Crescent Field, the
site of the DL&W's old watering pond in Dover, and saw a lot of trains as we
played. I do recall one crew with a striped Geep switching gondolas in the
freight yard, and they were scooting about and banging into cars -- I remember
thinking that these guys were rougher with the real thing than I was with with
the models in the basement.
My first recollection of Conrail happened shortly after merger day, when I
walked through the Dover station breezeway from town to find a giant-looking
Reading C630-something leading a PennCentral GP30-something on a long freight
just sitting there in front of the tower -- the crew might have been in the
tower. The Reading unit looked huge -- I'd seen nothing like it before. Yep,
things were gonna change.
October 17th for me, though, is memorial day.
It is the last day of DL&W and its long and rich history. How many of you know
that DL&W was the only railroad in the nine original companies that made up what
would eventually become the Dow Jones Industrial Average listed in what would
grow to become the Wall Street Journal?
It is also the last day of service on the Rockaway Loop. After getting home
about 9:00 p.m. that on 10/17 this week I popped in the Mark I Lackawanna video
that featured the moves of the 10/17/48 excursion over the line during dinner.
Jim G-And while you've got me thinking here about bridges, there was one more nice
EL moment I will mention: riding NY-74 out of Port Jervis at night (back in
72, pre-Scranton diversion), up with the engineer. I'll never forget the
slightly queezy feeling I got as we approached Moodna Creek, rolling along
at around 45 mph, looking out where the ground drops away. Couldn't help
but ask myself, "we're really gonna get over on that skinny little strip of
metal?" Obviously we did. Wonder if any young, just-hired crew guys had a
similar feeling on their first trips over Belfast or Portage?
Tim Souders-Originally from Huntington, Indiana, which was a terrific place to watch the Erie/EL…spent a couple weeks each summer with my grandparents who lived on Stults Road, more or less across from westward semaphore 845-1….loved hanging out at the old depot and watching the crews change and the old RS-3 kick cars around the yard….watching strings of RS-3’s (and later PA’s) drag long freights past my grandparents farm on their way to Chicago (and one summer in about 1961, seeing one of those RS-3’s in a sharp looking combination of gray/maroon/yellow with a ‘Lackawanna’ added to the Erie; hmm; never heard of the DL&W until I read more about it!!
Being able to sit out in front of my grandparents farm under the maple tree with a jug of Koolaid and wait for both east and westbound Lake Cities in the afternoon, all the while being able to hear that RS-3 wind up when kicking cars around in the yard, shut off….wait a few seconds….then hear a ‘boom!!’ when the cars coupled!!!
Staying awake in the wee hours and watching out the window as (NY100?) stopped to change crews and watching and listening to the refrigerator cars’ compressors kicking on and off as the train sat….lightning bugs glowing…crickets chirping…
Starting and ending several trips between Huntington and Wichita, KS on the EL and Santa Fe; admiring those handsome EL E units parked beside Santa Fe F units at the bumper posts in Dearborn Station…imagine that would’ve been the closest to heaven anyone could have gotten to!!
I could go on and on….those were very happy times for me; thank God we’re blessed with an ability to remember….
Last Updated 12/20/11
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Savannah, Georgia 31405