Download: Trains on the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line 2008: Volume 2

By Central Penn Rail Productions


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Continuing the dig into the archives of Norfolk Southern Harrisburg Line footage from 2008, Part 2 features 30 minutes of footage shot between July and August of that year. It’s not the best quality footage, since long time viewers know I started out with a small point-and-shoot camera that had a video function—even a cell phone 8 years later can take much better quality video. 95% of these shots could not be repeated today in some form.

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The Harrisburg Line has changed a lot over the years in regards to train traffic and the appearance of locations. The biggest changes include traffic that no longer exists: trash trains (64J/65J) and CP trackage rights trains to/from Philadelphia (30J/31J) which expired in 2013, most of the coal traffic, marine container traffic (20G), and many of the locomotives in this video being retired/rebuilt or repainted from Conrail blue. The subtle changes included the removal of the code line and upgrades of most of the crossings, the old mill at Womelsdorf was torn down and is now an autobody garage, and the 8 to 10th blocks in Lebanon were bulldozed for two overpasses.

0:00 - 7/9: 33A gets underway at CP DORF with a BNSF Dash-9 and smoky ex-Conrail blue SD60.

1:45 - 7/10: Reading local H31 heads west through Richland, notice some of the code line poles still standing in the background, which were soon removed.

2:20 - 7/11: NS 500 Coal from Shire Oaks bound for SE PA head east in the morning sun just east of MP 77 with various generations of EMD locomotives for power.

3:00 - 7/16: Croxton, NJ to Chicago, IL trailer / domestic stack train 21M heads west through the automatic signals at 75 with a former LMS Dash-8 in blue leading.

4:15 - 7/17: Colorful 19G westbound at Wernersville. We catch up to them at Palmyra where H33 is working PACMA (now out of business). 7:35 - 501 passes H33 with a CR/HLCX combo.

8:15 - 7/18: A trio of SD40-2's pull 65J garbage loads west.

9:00 - 7/18: Local H48 heads west with cars for Annville/Palmyra.

10:00 - 7/18: 68Q with another blue SD50 ahead of UP power at Myerstown.

10:45 - 7/18: H31 west at Richland with a GP60 leading.

12:25 - 7/21: Another 20G with a blue SD50 leading passes through Lebanon with lots of RS-3L blown for the many crossings—5409 was notorious for its high pitch squealing.

14:10 - 7/22: 21M heads west through Richland with a blue SD60M leading.

14:50 - 7/25: The sun rises as a pair of new CP GEVO’s leads a 6 car mixed freight (no intermodal) CP 164 / NS 30J to Philadelphia.

15:30 - 7/26: A pair of SD60’s lead hot-shot Saturday intermodal 213 west.

15:50 - 7/27: The glare of the afternoon sun forced me to an unfortunate angle for 82T with two blue SD50’s ahead of UP EMD/GE AC units, which may have originated in the Powder River Basin heading for south Jersey.

16:25 - 7/28: Another 20G led by a blue SD50 passes through Richland with a colorful consist including a warbonnet Dash-9.

17:00 - 7/31: Morrisville, PA to Pittsburgh mixed freight 17G with a blue SD60I flies through Brickplant Rd in Womelsdorf in the nice evening sun.

17:50 - 8/1: 69Q at Womelsdorf with a “25th Aniversary” Operation Lifesaver Dash-9 leading a rarer ex-Conrail blue standard cab Dash-8.

18:30 - 8/2: Saturday’s edition of 213 from Croxton, NJ to Atlanta, GA heads west between Sheridan and Richland with one of the few blue SD70’s in tow.

19:25 - A couple hours later two coal trains meet at the same spot: 569 empties west and Y00 loads east. Three-quarters of the coal traffic on the Harrisburg Line has disappeared since 2008 due to most power plant generators converting to natural gas.

21:30 - 8/2: Ethanol loads 68Q bound for the chemical coast head east through CP DORF with a colorful SD50/60 EMD consist. The HLCX unit is ex-Union Pacific.

22:15 - A few minutes later, 65R empties head west. Notice NS 6137, a NW-built SD40-2 in the middle—these were not very common as road power on unit trains.

23:00 - 8/4: Allentown, PA to Baltimore, MD mixed freight 34A often tows yard power to the Enola Diesel shops to be worked on or inspected. It was nice to see a few blue ex-Conrail units, as well as a snoot nose CEFX lease unit, with a transformer high and wide car first in the train.

23:45 - 8/5: Empty autoracks 11J from Doremus, NJ heads back to the midwest through Myerstown. BNSF SD40-2’s were being retired during this year as the new GEVO’s came online.

25:00 - 8/8: A late-running 30J flies across Werner St in Wernersville with a pair of red AC44’s and a lengthy train.

26:15 - A couple hours later, another big colorful consist heads west on 34A near MP 77. We caught up to them again at CP PRESCOTT - 26:55.

28:25 - Camden, NJ to Allentown, PA freight 39G heads west through Neversink with the same pair of UP locomotives of off 82T.