Frank's Photography Site

Miners Mills (Parsons) and the northern Nanticoke Branch - June, 2013 - Part I

I'll start with the "general" rail map of the area north of Wilkes-Barre, focused on the 1960's-80's timeframe.
As always, remember that in earlier days, when coal was king, there were even more lines criss-crossing the area.

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The lines covered on this page (and Part II of the tour) are primarily the dark blue lines at the right.
Coming north out of downtown Wilkes-Barre, only a single track on the ex-Lehigh Valley ROW remains today.
Along the area which is now Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, the D&H and CNJ each had separate tracks along a common ROW
up to the area of Conyngham Street. The D&H also had a yard just north of Market Street, and above that an engine terminal
and roundhouse bordering Scott Street. Please refer to the "North of Downtown" link for more information.
All the CNJ and D&H trackage south of Butler Street is now gone, probably torn out by the early 1980's.
I'm still curious to find out more about the timeframe of the construction of Wilkes-Barre Blvd,
and the extant trackage (at the time) which was removed in conjunction with the project.
The four-lane road passes directly in front of the Wilkes-Barre CNJ station on a completely re-graded higher level.

At Butler Street, there's a crossover from the LV side to the D&H side,
and from there the (extant) ex-D&H line continues north to Hudson, where it has a junction with the now-Canadian Pacific.
The CP owns both the former Wilkes-Barre Connecting RR (going west and south from Hudson)
and the ex-D&H line north of there, connecting with its other acquired lines to New York State and Montreal.
The ex-D&H segment from Butler Street to Hudson runs along the west extreme of Miners Mills/Parsons,
and is operated by the Luzerne Susquehanna, though I don't believe it still sees much use (upper light blue line on the map).
Along Wilkes-Barre Blvd just south of the North Cross Valley Expressway, we see this line veering northeast:

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The D&H and CNJ once both had separate trackage through this area. At the point near the expressway underpass,
the CNJ "mainline" split off to the east and ran directly through the central portion of Miners Mills/Parsons.
This was the left fork of the dark blue line on the map above, and there was once also a "Parsons" station along the line.
This would have been just below George Avenue along Railroad Street, on the west side of the ROW.
This entire line is now gone, but on the 1983 Conrail assets map it shows as the
"Miners Mills Industrial", being sold by Conrail to Pocono Northeast Railway on 9/24/82,
so it may have lasted until around 1993, when PNE went bankrupt.
At the end of the dead-end Harriet Street (left off Scott St heading north), all that remains is a hump in the trees and bushes.

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At the end of Mitchell Street, the trees end to the south, and looking north towards the central part of Parsons,
there's a grassy area along the former ROW. This is also where the Laurel Run "canal" passes from west to (upstream) east.

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Looking back (south) from the other side, near the end of Railroad Street west of Mill Street, an abutment for the creek overpass remains.

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Turning around to the northeast, we are looking at the raised former ROW towards Mill Street.

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Here, we're looking from Mill Street towards George Avenue (northeast)...

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... and from George Avenue & Woodward Street southeast. The area with the big tree in the distance (right of center),
would have been the location of the Parsons CNJ passenger station.

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In that area, across from where the station would have been (looking southeast), there's some sort of concrete remnant still in place.

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North from George Avenue, the ROW continues across a vacant area, with a Pizza joint at the left.

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At Matson Avenue, the ROW continues one more long block to Austin Avenue, heading northeast,
but from Austin Avenue to Gardner Avenue (the next street), a few houses have been built right on top of the ROW.

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At Gardner Avenue, looking back, there's still evidence in the pavement of where the rails once ran.

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Looking north across Gardner Avenue, this triangular area was once the location of Gardners Switch,
where the CNJ mainline came from directly behind us and the Nanticoke branch joined it,
running parallel to the fence you see at the right, but several feet away from it.

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Directly ahead of us, besides the line pole in the above photo, there are still some ties in the grass here,
along the mainline, as well as a few other artifacts.

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At this northern tip of the triangular area, we would be at the approximate location of the switch,
and this is also the point where the current power line begins its run,
heading south (behind us), all the way to Wilkes-Barre through the Georgetown area,
along the old Nanticoke Branch right-of-way.

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A few more ties in the area just ahead, and a power substation is out of view to the left.

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North of this spot, passing through some bushes, the ROW continues as gravel path, and a few line poles remain.
Looking at the third picture, you can see that a multiplex housing unit (in the distance) was built right on the ROW.

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Interestingly enough, if you turn around here and walk a bit south and to the east,
you will come to a decent sized industrial building fronting along Scott Street, with its entire rail spur
fairly intact on its property along Laird Street. Across Laird Street is an Hispanic Jehovah's Witnesses Hall (not seen).

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Further up the line, and just north of the multiplex housing unit mentioned above, the former ROW path
comes out of the woods at East Main Street looking south (Miners Mills). Straight ahead (to the left of the truck)
I went into the woods a bit along the ROW and found a couple piles of abandoned ties, but nothing else.
This is where the ex-D&H line (seen in the very first photo on this page) joins the abandoned CNJ mainline ROW.
You can see that line approaching at the far right of the photo.

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Looking north, you can see the crossing signs (but not the tracks, due to a tricky angle) to the left of the truck.
Straight ahead is Brogan Street, and unseen off to the right of the photo is a Marine Corps Veterans Club.
The rest of this page covers the northern section of the light blue line on the map above.

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Here's the line heading south at the same spot, taken a minute apart from the above two photos (6:40PM 6/5/13):

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And heading north from East Main, with the Veterans Club parking lot to the right.

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To the north, I stopped at the Maycock Street crossing, and the V-shaped rails in the center
of the tracks are extra protection for a small bridge over Mill Creek (looking north).

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Here we're looking north at the Cleveland Street crossing:

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Shortly (north) after this is the junction with the CP/WBCRR line in Hudson. I'll cover that line on a separate page.
The yard is long gone, but the CP is well kept through here, with welded rails along this section.
These two photos were taken along the CP (looking west), and show the line we've been following joining from the south (left).
It's a lot more derelict, in comparison. There's a locked derail just ahead at the left as well,
just to the right of the yellow grassy patch in the second photo.

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I had to split this up, due to the number of photos on this page already.
For the next segment, visit the "Northern Nanticoke Branch - Part II" page for the continuation of this tour.

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