May 18, 2018

Allentown's West End Train

The Lehigh Valley Railroad operated a train branch line which served Allentown's commercial west end. It ran along Sumner Avenue servicing the scrap metal yards, warehouses and numerous coal dealers located there. The line then crossed Tilghman Street on a diagonal at 17th, before looping back east by Liberty Street at the Fairgrounds. The line ended at a rail yard now housing the small shopping center at 12th and Liberty. Although many of former commercial buildings still exist, all now house more retail type businesses. The B'nai Brith Apartments occupy the site of the former Trexler Lumber Yard. These historical shorts are difficult to write. Most current residents have no frame of reference to our former commercial past. True historians, such as the local railroad buffs, cringe at the lack of detail and specific location of the tracks. Suffice to say, that once upon a time, the mid-section of Allentown had much more commerce.

photo of train crossing Tilghman at 17th Street taken by Kermit E. Geary in 1974, from the Mark Rabenold Collection.

reprinted from March of 2016 and earlier


Fire the incompetants said...

Lived in the 1600 block of Tilghman St. This train was a daily operation to the rear of our residence. The slow moving train was perfect for hoping rides to the fair grounds and I still remember the World of Myrth fair-train every year.

doug_b said...

I used to have the Lionel LVRR train set.

Ronald Stocker said...

I can remember when I was 9-10 in 1945 or 46 having a conductor leave 3 or 4 o
f us ride the caboose from 17th to 12th.

BiIII said...

I looked at some satellite images from Google maps, and I think I can tell where that loop was. It explains the strange parking lot shapes in front of Wally’s deli, behind NY Stromboli and the B’nai B’rith apts, because they were designed around a train line that isn’t there anymore.. very cool. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.