Frank's Photography Site

DL&W Bloomsburg Branch - Duryea to Kingston, PA - June, 2013 - Part I

This page will cover what's left of the ex-Lackawanna Bloomsburg Branch from Duryea to Kingston.
From Coxton to Taylor Yard and Scranton, the line is still in frequent use and operated by the Reading & Northern (RBMN).
The ex-Lehigh Valley line from Mehoopany to Coxton, then to Dupont and down the Mountain Bypass to Lehighton is also in frequent use,
and connects with the Norfolk Southern on both ends (to Sayre and other points west, and to Allentown and New Jersey going east).
This line is also operated by the Reading & Northern, see their map page HERE.
The Luzerne Susquehanna operates the ex-LV line going south from Coxton into Wilkes-Barre.
The DL&W (later Erie-Lackawanna) "Bloomsburg Branch" was once a fairly significant branch line from Scranton
through Bloomsburg to Northumberland, running along the west side of the Susquehanna River after crossing its bridge near Coxton Yard.
In Northumberland it connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad. The PRR also had its "Wilkes-Barre Branch", from Wilkes-Barre to Sunbury,
which followed the exact same route, but on the east side of the river. That line is still in frequent use and owned by the Canadian Pacific.
(See my Wilkes-Barre Connecting RR page for further information on that line.)
Both lines had passenger service back in their heyday, with the DL&W at one time running a through sleeping car
from Scranton to Pittsburgh via its PRR connection at Northumberland. After Conrail took over in 1976, the days were numbered
for this branch. Shortly after 1976, the tracks were torn up from Kingston going south to the PP&L nuclear power plant just north of Berwick.
Currently, the "North Shore" Railroad operates the segment from Northumberland to the power plant, known as "Beach Haven".
It acquired that portion of the line from Conrail in 1984, and you can visit their website HERE.
Today, a portion of the Bloomsburg Branch from Pittston Junction (outside Coxton Yard) south into Kingston still exists.
The bridge is in good repair and ties have been replaced in many areas, but I don't believe it has seen any revenue service
in quite some time, for at least a year or more prior to 2013. This segment is the primary focus of this page.
I've updated this page at the end of July, 2013, adding new photos and moving some slightly off-topic ones out,
but all these still have a (new) home on other pages later in this series...

I'll start in Duryea, where the line is still in use. This is less than a mile north of Pittston Junction, outside Coxton Yard.
We are looking south, off the left of this photo is a small shopping center with a Weis supermarket (Main & Phoenix Streets).
Behind us, the line continues to Taylor Yard, and ahead of us is a fairly new overpass carrying Main Street over the tracks.


Just beyond this point is a fairly elaborate old structure carrying the ex-LV Mountain Bypass line over the DL&W tracks.



Here we're looking north from the south end, then at the LV tracks from above.



Just northeast, the LV also passes over Main Street on another bridge...


...and looking back at the the same road bridge from a bit east, we can see that the LV line was once double-tracked.


Just south, at Coxton Road (looking west), the DL&W line is at street level, while the LV is elevated over a very narrow bridge.



Looking north, then south, along the DL&W line at that point...



...then north and south along the LV line along its higher level.



At Pittston Junction itself, a few noteworthy signs, and the Reading & Northern shop zoomed in from the street.
This track, closest to the street, is the Bloomsburg Branch right-of-way.




Looking south, the old DL&W line (at the left) veers left at this point to enter the LV ROW heading to Wilkes-Barre.
At the right, the track coming from the right has exited Coxton and entered the DL&W ROW towards the bridge.
There's a connector for Wilkes-Barre to Coxton, but no contiguous track on the DL&W ROW (severed at some point),
so you'd have to proceed south and then back up on the connector to continue on the line.



Just south of here (along the LV line) is the small Luzerne Susquehanna shop, with a gentleman working on an engine in the second photo.



Back on the DL&W line just south of Pittston Junction, first looking north towards the junction, a few cars
are in storage along the tracks. Turning around, we approach the north side of the Susquehanna River bridge.



To get to the south end of the bridge, I drove over the Route 11 (Fort Jenkins Bridge) in downtown Pittston,
then turned onto Susquehanna Avenue, where there are soon some good vantage points.



In West Pittston, the DL&W bridge south end joins dead-on to Susquehanna Avenue next to Maple Street (looking north).


Looking south from the same spot, across Susquehanna Avenue:


Just south, looking north with the bridge in the distance, the track joining here was once the "West Pittston & Exeter" railroad.
The WP&E was once owned by PP&L (electric utility) and brought coal to a power plant north along the Susquehanna River, as well as
serving the Celotex plant in Harding, PA, both now long gone. Some of the trackage was still in use into the late 1990's.
It ran north along the west bank of the river for a few miles, and was operated by the Luzerne Susquehanna in later years,
after the former operator (Pocono Northeast Railway) went bankrupt in September, 1993. Today, very little remains of the line.
Please see my West Pittston & Exeter page for additional photos and information on this line.


Also at this junction, now looking south, is the "Hitchner Biscuit" building, and the crossing you see ahead is Exeter Avenue.
Hitchner Biscuit was in business since the 19th century, and was already a subsidiary of Nabisco by the turn of the century.
The previous plant burned down in 1904, and this new one built in 1909. It closed in 1951, was left derelict for many years,
but restored and converted into 18 moderate-income apartments, completed by early 2013.


The crossing you see here is Montgomery Avenue (in the foreground), and Delaware Avenue is the next block in the distance to the south.
I skipped over the previous crossing (Luzerne Ave.) and a few others later, as most are similar, with plain unpowered wooden crossbucks.
The buildings at the right are the "" headquarters complex, an online cheese and gourmet food and gift distributor.


Looking north at the same spot, the spur you see here ends at the gate to the very left. It led to a few large industrial buildings,
unseen off to the left. I spoke with a neighbor who lives across the street from "igourmet", and he said that at one time there was a
steel or smelter operation at the site of the mansion you see ahead. He had only lived there 19 years, but said that at one time there
were a lot of piles of steel/rock around the area. In the second photo, taken right along the tracks in front of "igourmet", two
pieces are lying there. I hefted one to verify they were actually heavier than a rock could be, then put it back exactly as it was.
He said those two pieces had always been there during the 19 years he's lived there, and nobody disturbed them.



Next, looking south towards the crossing at Tunkhannock Avenue, after which the ROW passes through the woods for a good half mile.


Here's the crossing at Penn Avenue & Laird Street, looking south. We're now entering Exeter Boro.


At the west end of Exeter, before the Wyoming border, there's an old, twisting entrance to a trailer park known as Birchwood Estates.
Entering this area, here's a view of the crossing and then looking north and south from the crossing:




Just south of the above area, looking south off the dead-end of West 1st Street in Wyoming, this stretch looks a bit forlorn.


On West 8th Street in Wyoming, the ROW crosses alongside the Diamond Manufacturing (perforated metals) complex.
Here we are looking north, then south at the West 8th Street grade crossing.



Just a block to the west, we see another grade crossing. This was once the Lehigh Valley line, which paralleled the DL&W
for much of the distance from West Pittston to Kingston at one time, and was almost adjacent at this point.


Some of these buildings (Diamond Mfg., formerly Wyoming Shovel and Nelson Furniture), were already there well before 1940,
and somewhere adjacent to these two crossings were once both the DL&W and LV Wyoming passenger stations,
only about a block apart. I haven't, as yet, determined the exact locations of these stations,
but here's a crop of a 1939 Penn Pilots aerial view, so I'll leave it to you to decide.
For more photos and information on the Lehigh Valley West Pittston Branch, see my "LV line westside remnants" page.


A portion of the LV line is still fairly intact going northeast from here, thanks to a later connector which came off the DL&W
just south (west) of 8th Street. On the DL&W side (looking north from a short distance below 8th Street),
we can find the junction and follow the crossover tracks through the trees and weeds.




Next, looking south on the DL&W line just below that junction.


About 3/4 mile south, Swetland Lane is partially a gravel road through a fairly undeveloped area between Wyoming
and West Wyoming. I took these photos in July 2013, looking north and then south along the ROW through there:



After that, I skipped about another 3/4 mile of mostly woods, and visited the crossing at
Lackawanna Avenue & Dennison Streets, looking north, then south. We're now in Swoyersville.




Here's the view north and south at Owen Street, the next crossing.



Looking south at Hughes Street, there's a second track, but just over the pavement.
Then, just ahead, looking further south.



Nearby, the LV line becomes closer once again, and I actually found some tracks along it, but I'll save that for another page.
Here, we're looking south towards the Slocum Street crossing in Forty Fort, and behind us is a pile of rail sections which were
removed at some point. The tracks along here had the markings "Carnegie 1925", for the most part.



Walking north from the Union Street crossing at Railroad Ave., it's not far to the underpass under the North Cross Valley Expressway.
Along here, someone restored and enshrined an old signal box and pole, and built a garden around it.


If you look closely, there's a spur coming off the ROW to the east, just south of the 309 underpass.
This is the beginning of what once was the "Pettibone Branch", and some of it is still fairly intact.
Please see my second (miscellaneous) west side remnants page for more photos and information on this spur.


Finally, further south, we are coming near to the end of the extant line in Kingston.
Here, the line continues (looking south) towards the West Union Street crossing.


For a distance of 6 blocks, there are no crossings, as all the streets end to the east along Railroad Avenue.
Division Street would be the next crossing, but here the DL&W ROW is abandoned, with 2 tracks in the pavement only.
There are no tracks south of this point, except short relics. Turning around at Division Street, we can follow a single rusty track
in the bushes (heading north) to another switch. The left side (clear) track is another crossover to the adjacent former LV ROW.
The LV ROW had been long abandoned north of here, but in the last photo we are on it again, looking south.





This runs alongside Brook Street into a small industrial park (looking north from further down).
There were once more tracks leading into the industries here, which have since been abandoned.


In this last photo (looking south), the track crosses the street and heads into the gate of the Mid-State Lumber Corporation.
This is the end of the line for any potential active trackage connected to the Bloomsburg Branch.


I will cover the abandoned portion of the line from Kingston to West Nanticoke in Part II of this set.

Here are two aerial photos of Pittston Junction (outside Coxton Yard) to help clarify the current track arrangement:



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