Apr 12, 2013
Playing With Trains
When I was a kid growing up in the early 1950's, some of my friends had large, elaborate model train layouts in their basement. This was the hobby of their fathers, and the modeling was first class. During the day, these men worked in real factories, many of which had train sidings, to bring raw material and take away finished product. Traylor engineering on S. 10th Street was a steel fabricator of large scale. It's finished products would often require a flat car. The factory, which had it's own switcher, was served by the Barber Quarry Branch line. Eventually, as the country's manufacturing base waned, so did the demand for oversize products. Flatbed trucks replaced the trains for the smaller, less frequent product and the branch line was dismantled. Although Traylor closed, the factory continued as Allentown Metal, and hosted Barak Obama during his first term. By the last campaign, Mitt Romney used the then closed factory as a backdrop when visiting Allentown. During the last decades of operation, the company never attributed it's difficulty to lack of train service. Although the company also never cited property taxes as a contributing factor in it's demise, last year Allentown Economic Development Corporation sought KOZ status for the closed factory. They also received a federal grant to rebuilt the former rail line from 3th and Union Street to the 10th Street factory. This year the AEDC purchased the factory. My friend's fathers built their models and pursued their hobbies with their own money. The AEDC pursues their nonsense with our money. They should be disbanded.