Feb 3, 2015

Allentown Forsakes Its History

Once again the plan of a developer is being promoted as progress in the destruction of our history. Waterfront developer Mark Jaindl is going to rip out the LVRR Old Main Line, and give the yuppies another trail for their spandex clad bicycling. He has Whitehall, Allentown and the local planning rubber stamps on board. None of them have a clue about this historic rail line along the west side of the Lehigh River. It is simply the link to the success of Allentown, and in many ways the valley, state and country. I have no plans or allusion about stopping it. I will not be speaking to any more boards and commissions of deaf ears and blind eyes. They are even calling it a Memorial Trail for 9/11. A more enlightened community would preserve the historic track, for a future tourist train ride of our industrial past. Instead, here in the valley we destroy our history, and replace it with a sign. This blog will present photographs of the line and its place in our history, for the edification of those who care.

Enormous fabrication by Fuller Company sided at  Lehigh Structural Steel, on Lehigh Valley Railroad Old Main near the Tilghman Street Bridge

UPDATE:The track is still be used, with one client at the former Structural Steel location. That user will be relocated. Meanwhile, back at the taxpayer trough, AEDC wants to spend $millions to lay a track to their empty factories on S. 10th Street, hoping to lure a tenant in need of rail freight service. Allentown is musical chairs, at taxpayer expense.


Anonymous said...

The right-of-way isn't going to be used again, and is part of the blight that exists along the Lehigh. I'm sure adequate photographs exist of the line and its industrial past that can be part of museum display.

Now, what you didn't mention is the old Lehigh River crossover bridge just north of the new American Parkway bridge that was used for the CNJ and dates back to around 1900. That bridge has been abandoned since the end of passenger rail service into Allentown in the 1960s. The bridge, if structurally sound, could be re-used as a pedestrian/bicycle bridge perhaps.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:31, the line certainly can never be used again if it's removed. it could easily remain in the new waterfront project, but i suppose it interferes with a proposed building footprint. the AEDC is interested in spending $millions to lay new track to it's complex on S. 10th Street. had they only had the vision to leave the old track there. what you call blight is history and infrastructure. apparently, a sign and photograph of the LVRR Old Main is enough for a piece of plastic like you.

Rich Fegley said...

Who owns the right-of-way or the land that is under the rails? Who will "own" the new trail?

If we decide to run trains through Allentown again in 10-years, can't we just put new rail "track" down on the walking trail?

Don't we just want to make sure that these "trails" remain available for "public transportation" - walking, bikes, electric cars, monorail trains, etc.

CLEAN public transportation.

I know they will remove the "tracks" but the land that the tracks are on will remain available for future "tracks", yes?

Anonymous said...

This is another part of there ew catch phrase the rust belt? Your satire sounds tired and the three last words will and have become infamous in all of Americas history?

patent pending

Mickie said...

Thanks for posting this Michael. It is very sad to see the decline of this city.

michael molovinsky said...

rich, corman, a short line operator, owned the track from conrail. it last serviced a flooring company in whitehall, which apparently closed or stopped using rail. jaindl now owns the track, which he must have prevailed upon corman to sell. imo, corman has not been a good steward of these shortlines. they removed the track from the barber quarry line, which goes along the little lehigh, and offered the right of way for sale. to relay tracks just for tourist use, or any use, has not been done to my knowledge anywhere. although old tracks remain serviceable and repairable, starting over from scratch seems to never happen.

monkey momma said...

Actually, I think the new plans sound nice. The train isn't being used, hasn't been used in many years, and has no foreseeable future of being used. Perhaps the tracks time has come and gone? Just my opinion. I'm looking forward to an enjoyable waterfront. It could really be something spectacular.

michael molovinsky said...

monkey@7:28, just to clarify, i'm also all for the development plans. it's not the development or the track, it should be both. it's just a single track. the crossing at bucky boyle park has been part of the park experience for a century.