Frank's Photography Site
CNJ Franklin Branch & breaker area - May-June, 2013 - Wilkes-Barre, PA
The CNJ Franklin Branch ran from Franklin Junction in South Wilkes-Barre to the Franklin Breaker area just east
of Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd. It began along the main CNJ/LV ROW at the East Division Street/West Liberty Street crossing.
Just north of here, the CNJ Buttonwood Branch crossed a bridge over Solomon Creek and joined the mainline
from the northwest. At the grade crossing, the Franklin Branch split off to the east.
Here's a vintage photo by A.W. Kovacs taken in March 1968 at Franklin Junction.
We are looking north at the West Liberty Street crossing, with the tower still in operation.
You can see the Franklin Branch track split off at the bottom right.
Note that the Lehigh Valley pair of tracks (which would have been to the left) are long gone by this point in time.
At the same location today, just a single track remains (May 30, 2013).
At Gilligan St just southeast of Spruce St, we are looking east on what was once the ROW
(with a familiar "No Trespassing - Railroad Property, etc. sign) - and barriers placed to keep ATV'ers out.
A small stream runs next to the former ROW as well.
Three photos looking west at the same spot: from the sidewalk, a bit further in, and a wider view
showing one of the power poles which ran along this branch.
Next I revisited the east side of the Hazle Street underpass area (along McLean St.) for a walk and more photos.
Here we are on McLean Street looking east on the former ROW which had been partially mowed.
If you continued through the brush a short distance, you would arrive at the gravel road approaching Blackman Street.
On McLean Street looking west towards the Hazle Street underpass (with another power pole and the clearance pole).
Looking back east from the other side, and from further away, narrow Luzerne Street joins the ROW.
Along Luzerne Street, the ROW is now a parking area, looking east from further down the street.
And looking west from the end of the street, a truck is parked on the ROW. The concrete chunk just to the right of the pole
looks as if it were once a support for the railbed. If you continued on the trail west of here,
you'd arrive back at the Gilligan/Spruce crossing shown in the earlier photos above (all from May 30, 2013).
And one better closeup of the clearance pole just east of Hazle:
On June 5, 2013, I paid a visit to the Franklin Breaker area, which was the western terminus of the Franklin Branch.
From Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd, you would turn onto Allan Road, which is across from the south end of K-Mart Plaza.
Here we are looking back (west) towards the plaza, and the tracks would have passed along this gravel area.
Allan Road is to the left of the row of highway overpass supports (for I-81).
Just a bit further up Allan Rd there's a gate marking the entrance to the former coal operation.
The area is still being used for occasional strip mining, especially further up the mountain.
Once inside the area, there are a few interesting things like this concrete wall and a sort of partial foundation.
Plenty of piles of tailings as well, and you can tell the area has been re-graded quite a bit.
There are a few piles of old ties here and there, but not much railroad evidence...
A lone piece of track sticking out of the ground...
And a final eerie view of the landscape. The CNJ "Backtrack Line" passed through here as well,
but due to the extensive re-grading, I wasn't able to find any traces of it.
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