Sep 12, 2016

The Spandex Yuppie Dilemma

The spandex yuppies, who have been championing for decades for Rails to Trails, have created a dilemma for themselves. This is the same constituency who would like to see rail service reestablished between Lehigh Valley and NYC. Norfolk Southern, the current rail freight operator, has informed those yuppies that there is essentially only one track left, and that they need it exclusively for the freight service.

molovinsky on allentown is a teacher and student of our past rail history. I have documented all the major rail and spur routes that intersected Allentown. Recently, I protested against the riverfront NIZ removing the last remnant of the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Old Main Line from along the Lehigh River.

$Millions have been wasted on both removing tracks for the spandex crowd, and planning to restore rail service on tracks that no longer exist.   Even as I write this, the Allentown Economic Development Corporation has a plan to restore a freight track back to its building on S. 10th Street, although a tenant who could possibly utilize such service hasn't existed for 50 years.  Spare us the expense of bureaucrats who want to fund solutions to problems that they helped create.

Shown above, a Lehigh Valley RailRoad freight train heads north on it's Old Main Track.  That track has recently been removed to make more Rail to Trail.


Jamie Kelton said...

My dad's father, my grandfather, used to ride the New Jersey Central from Allentown to New York several times a week as part of his job. He was a buyer for Hess Brothers and would spend a lot of time in the fashion district, ordering both men's and women's clothes.

The train would leave Allentown, stop at Bethlehem, Easton, then cross the Delaware into New Jersey, making some stoops before getting into Manhattan. He could take the train the the morning and be home that evening. He said that after the Thruway was built, less and less people took the train. Towards the end, in fact, that the train was like a ghost train, with only a few passengers on it. That's why they stopped running into Allentown.

I also find it humerus that the same people who had the rails torn up for their bike paths are the same ones now who want the rails put back in. But its not just the rails. There is no train station in Allentown. Also where would they put it? Down by the bus station? The train station there is an empty restaurant anyway, so I suppose they could convert it back.

And of course, they want the taxpayer to pay for it all. Like we have money to burn for the Birkenstocks and Starbucks crowd....

Geoff said...

The commuting challenge is real, but many who work in "New York" actually work in a broadly spread area in and surrounding the city. A train from Allentown to Penn Station wouldn't really solve the problem if it takes you 4 hours to get from Bethlehem Township to northern New Jersey.

A less dramatic way would be to actually fund a regional bus network to take commuters from a variety of locations to the terminus of NJ Transit. Would likely be considerably cheaper, more flexible, and would use existing infrastructure. Of course, many Americans have been raised with a sense of superiority that people of education and class would never use a bus of all things...but maybe they could get over that.

I love trains too, but this debate has been framed by people who cite an intercity train (fast and rarely stop) as a commuting vehicle (slow and stop everywhere). Look at the prices on Amtrak. Even if you halved them with more subsidies, it still wouldn't compete.

George Ruth said...

Anybody notice the irony of MM's photo? An old A-Treat billboard. The soda company is now owned by the developer who ripped up the LVRR right of way.

michael molovinsky said...

george@8:25, i was very aware of that, having mentioned it the first time i used the photo last year. i also wish that jaindl had chosen to also save the short line, in addition to the soda brand. perhaps with the latest developments with talen, he shares that wish.

Steven Zuby said...

That photo of the three pups SW8s was taken on the Souht side of the Hamilton Street bridge on the former CNJ.Those tracks are still in and operated by Norfolk Southern