Here is an approximate time line of the Pocono Northeast Railroad or PNER.
Some dates were confirmed by looking at newpaper clippings in a scrap book. Unfortunatley, the scrap book dates from my high school days and I was in the habit of just cutting out the articles and sometimes the date and paper they ran in were not shown. Some have dates penned in.
PNER Timeline :
- 1980-81 Conrail decides to sell off Wilkes-Barre Cluster
- 1982ish PNER starts up; equipment arrives off of Hazle Street in WIlkes-Barre.
- Early 80's - Impoving Track Pocono Priority (Article that looks like it was from Sunday Independent) 12 miles of track on West side re-alligned. 7600 new ties, new switches and bridge repairs. Cost $1 Million.
- Early 80's - Contractor "removes" trackage in Swoyersville (without permission). He tells people he is working for the Boro. He is caught when he rips up the front yard of old lady who promptly calls the Boro Building to complain.
- Mid 80s - Coxton Railroad Bridge suffers structural damage, taken out of service along with Forest Castle Junction in Exeter, by Rt 92.
- 1983 - Number 14 Viaduct in Port Griffith dismantled (road bridge) to ease extreme curvature of River Road. Replaced with at Grade Crossing with overhead lights and crossbucks.
- 1983, April 17 - Coxton Roundhouse Fire. (Articles from Pittson Dispatch and Citizen's voice show massive fire) Plastic stored by Potlatch Corporation at warehouse caught on fire that burned for days. Some CONRAIL phone equipment was destroyed. No word on any locomotives or rolling stock being damaged.
- 1983 October - Mike Kelly restores Southwind (Times-Leader Article) 20 year old Mike Kelly buys and restores surplus rail car "The Southwind" and forms Southwind Rail Travel Ltd. Runs Fall Foilage Excursions w/ Pocono Northeast
- 1983 October - Cover page from Dispatch shows Ed Miller, Arnie Embleton and Mike Kelly outside "The Southwind"
- 1983. October 24 (Times-Leader Article) Car dragged 200 ft by Pocono Northeast train hauling excursion. Rain may have been factor. Picture shows PNER GP9 still in black paint with number 7242. Unit later repainted as the 1751 we all know and love.
- 1983ish - 1984ish - Pocono Northeast locomotives are helper power on some of the Steamtown Foundation's first runs. Somewhere I have a post card of this but can not find it now.
- 1984 - Caboose set on Fire by Vandals
- Late 80's - PNER starts removing coal under right-of-way and along side. Causes a stir in Wilkes-Barre.
- Early 90's - Steamtown sells Railbus to PNER. Plans were to run service from Downtown Wilkes-Barre to new mall in Scranton, or from Parsons and Plains to downtown Wilkes-Barre. Plans fell thru, Railbus broke down and they could not get parts because it was a prototype unit - one of a kind.
- 1992 (Citizen's Voice Article) Railroad Bed filler to be "mined" at Ashley. PNER Removes tracks behind Ashley City Hall. Pat Cooney removes coal. It is unclear if the bought the land. No permits issued. Allan Industries up the line had interest in remaining connected to active trackage.
- 1993 PNER Ceases operations
- 1994 person is caught removing tracks from the former Laurel Line off Montage Mountain. His answer to the Police and reporters - "My kids have to eat too" Supporting Document : DVRP Newsletter Snippet
- 1994 D-L operates PNER trackage under Emergency Order from FRA
- 1995 Supporting Documnet : Railroad Retirement Board says Pocono Northeast was sold at Sheriff's Sale.
- Mid 1990's - Remaining equipment sold off.
- 1998 - Railbus sold off, put on flatbed truck and shipped down south, to West Virginia Central Line.
- 2000 Some PNER Branches not used for years. D-L Annexes some branches Supporting Document : Legal Proceeding
- 2005 -2006 Ex PNER #1751 sighted at Air Products Plant, and working on the L&S at Wilkes-Barre and Pittston Junction. "Just like old times"
Also See :
Bike Ride to Rt 92 Part 1
Bike Ride to Rt 92 Part 2
PNER Locomotives :
#1751 GP9 Ex Conrail #7242
- #901 SW8
- #87 NW2
- #77 SW9 Ex Montour RR (I never saw this unit run)
- #183 SW7 (roster books list this, but I do not recall this unit)
- #LEV2 Railbus
PNER Operations :
Pocono Northeast operations consisted of delivering cars to on line industry and picking up the empty/full cars. PNER served the Hanover Industrial Estates, Hanover, and the Grimes Industirial Park/Foriegn Trade Zone in Suscon.
- Upon startup, most runs originated from the Rt. 92 Headquarters or Coxton Yard.
- In the early-80's equipment was stored in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, by The Station Hotel, unitl vandalism changed this policy. GP9 #1751 got several broken windows and the Caboose was set on fire when it was parked near Dana Street.
- In the Mid-80's up unitl the roads demise, equipment was parked along the system eliminating a return trip to the Exeter Headquarters
- A unit was often kept on the Avoca Industrial Track at SLC Graphics in Hughestown
- Coxton Yard/Pittston Junction was another place PNER equipment could be found.
- Sometimes a unit was kept by the former United Furniture in Plains on the former LV Passenger Main (Canal Branch)
- According to my best recollections, there were no signals on the line.
- In the Mid-80's I started using a scanner to listen in on Rail, Fire, Police. The PNER never used any formal methods to thier dispatch. It sounded like a bunch of guys driving around in DPW trucks.
- Often you could hear 3 or 4 locomotives running at the same time.
- The PNER only used Form-D's when traveling over CONRAIL, mostly on the Lehigh Line to access Duryea Junction and the Avoca Industrial Track. PNER also ran over the Taylor Secondary, presumably to interchange cars at Taylor with the D&H (now CP)
PNER Trackage :
According to articles, news accounts, railfan rumors, the Pocono Northeast owed between 80 and 93 miles of trackage in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. The bulk of the trackage was in Luzerne County. However, I believe this figure is wrong.
Like no way did they operate 80 miles. I think that some of the abandoned-in-place segments and unused trackage was included in this figure.
It seemed that only a handful of lines were active and saw regular service I will try to recall the lines that seemed to be used.
From Bob Chupka : (This will explain alot)
The Lackawanna County trackage conveyed, along with some other stuff, in
the phase two acquisition by PNER was as follows as found on Conrail
Bulletin Order 2-267 for the New Jersey Division dated November 22, 1983:
Effective 12:01A.M. Tuesday November 22, 1983
(a) Bulletin Order No.'s 2-265 and 2-266 were issued as Wire Bulletins and
(b) Effective 12:01 AM Tuesday, November 22, 1983 responsibility for
operation of the following tracks conveyed by sale to Pocono Northeast
Harry E. Breaker Branch (Ex DL&W list content) MP0.1 to MP0.5 and MP0.0 to
Mill Hollow Branch MP0.0
to MP 0.4
West Pittston Running track (LV) MP 186.4 to 190.2
and 194.2 to 194.5
Kingston Industrial Track (DL&W Bloomsburg Branch) MP 142.7 to 151.6
West Side Connecting Track MP179.5 to 180.7
Bowmans Creek Branch (LV) MP 180.6 to 181.1
Pettibone Branch (DL&W) MP0.0 to 0.8
Exeter Colliery Branch MP 188.3
Langcliffe Connecting Track (ERIE) MP 0.0 to 0.9
Avoca Industrial Track (ERIE) MP 5.8 to 6.5
Old Forge Industrial Track (ERIE) MP 0.0 to 0.22
Laurel Industrial Track (L&WV) MP 3.4 to 3.7
Minooka Industrial Track (L&WV) MP 3.4 to 3.7
Dunmore Running Track (Erie Wyoming Div) MP 6.5 to 17.0
Keystone Industrial Track (Erie) MP 0.0 to 2.7
Brady Industrial Track (?) MP 0.7 to 3.4
Miners Mills Branch (CNJ) MP 176.1 to
Diamond Industrial Track (DL&W) MP 133.8 to 135.4
Green Ridge Industrial Track (DL&W) MP 134.8 to 135.9
Questions from above -
Is the CNJ Miners Mills Branch the one that runs from Hudson Yard, over George Ave, the Cross Valley Expressway to East End, or is it the CNJ line that ran from Hudson Yard, past the little Depot by Penn Lee Shoes - thru Parsons and ended up connecting to trackage that was in the area of Conygham Ave, not the Cross Valley Expressway ?
Was the trackage to the Harry E Breaker Branch actually in place at this time ?
Is the Exeter Colliery Branch the trackage that runs from the PNER HQ behind the A&A warehouse ?
Consider this snippet. Is Central Scrap Iron the Central Scrap and Paper on the site of the Present Day Sheetz ???
From a loose page from 1981 CONRAIL Timetable :
Wilkes-Barre Seconday Track
3.9 Central Scrap Iron
2.5 Franklin Crossing
174.0 Franklin Junction
(Connection to Franklin
171.6 South Wilkes-Barre
175.0 Dana Street, Wilkes-Barre
177.2 North Wilkes-Barre
185.5 Pittston Jucntion
(Connection to Lehigh Main
Line, Connection to Taylor
- Pittston Junction to Hanover Industrial Estates (Mostly Lehigh Valley Passenger Main or Canal Branch)
- South Wilkes-Barre thru Crossroads to D&H behind Air Products (line split to and reconnected to D&H)
- West Side Trackage (Former DL&W Bloomsburg Line and Lehigh Valley Trackage)
- Former WP&E to Celotex Plant (former West Pittston and Exeter up to Celotex Plant, connection to Bloomline, and some spurs to industry and small yard at Sullivan Trail Breaker
- Avoca Industrial Track
- Franklin Industrial Track/Franklin Junction (web of tracks around former Wicks Lumber, former Tamms, crossed 309 to serve Allan Industries in Wilkes-Barre Twp. Also served Central Scrap and Paper where the "billboard boxcars" removed several years ago (present day Sheets) ) connected to Franklin Junction.
- Former Stanton Colliery off of Moyallen and Casey Ave had trackage on it at some time in the past.
- Sections of this around Casey Avenue were hotly contested Real Estate as Wilkes-Barre Twp was looking for an easement to put a sewer line. Eventually after negotionations, a segment behind the Skate-A-Way and Wicks, connected a segment of sewer line from Casey Ave to Rt 309.
PNER, The Evil Empire ???
I will never understand people's reasoning - saying that there was something "shady" about Pocono Northeast being comprised of Pocono Northeast and F&L Realty (or Rail Realty). Then they go on to slam Lou DeNaples.
Firstly, it is very common for a company, especially a railroad to be comprised of server al Corporations For Example, the Lehigh Valley expanded by investing in roads like the State Line and Sullivan and the Beaver Meadows. If these failed or went bankrupt, the LV was not bothered by it. When the roads were stable and solvent, the LV acquired them.
Honestly, I have come across a lot of derogatory things about Lou DeNaples, and I am amazed people have them on their Blogs - do they not realize that the can be sued ??? (they must be sore THEY did not get the slots licence)
Lou DeNaples is listed in Forbes. If you are listed in Forbes, you are doing something right.
According to Forbes :
Louis A Denaples
First National Community Bancorp, Inc.
FINANCIAL / REGIONAL - NORTHEAST BANKS
Director since 1998
President, DeNaples Auto Parts, Inc.; President, Keystone Landfill Inc.; Vice President F&L Realty Corp; Chairman of the Board of the Company since 1998
Well you are in business to make money, not lose it. Pocono Northeast started to be a dog so he (an the other investors) ditched it.