Lehigh Line - East
LE 35.8 to LE 84.1
Norfolk Southern's Lehigh Line is the railroad's only main line into the North Jersey Terminal area, serving the New York City metropolitan area. This tour will take the reader from east to west, beginning at milepost LE 35.8 at CP Port Reading Junction in Manville, NJ and ending at milepost LE 84.1 at Steel City, PA.
Using The Guide
You can start from Manville and move west along the Lehigh Line territory or start from Steel City and move east. Otherwise, click on a location from the list on the left hand side. Each location page has links to move east or west to the next location along the line.
The line was built by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in the 1870s, and by 1875 had reached the port of Perth Amboy, NJ.
The LV was one of the "Anthracite Roads" that made the majority of its money moving hard coal and manufactured
goods between Buffalo, NY, Scranton, PA, and the NYC metropolitan area. As the
industry declined after World War II, LV saw an eroding traffic base. LV single-tracked their mainline between
Port Reading Junction and Easton, PA in the 1960's, but the slide continued. The Pennsylvania Railroad, which owned much of LV's stock, purchased the balance of LV's
stock in 1961. After the PRR/NYC/NYNH&H merger and bankruptcy in 1968, LV was bankrupt by 1970, along with many other
northeastern railroads. The U.S. government stepped in and LV was one of seven roads merged into Conrail on
April 1, 1976.
Conrail improved the track structure of the route, and it became increasingly important to Conrail's system through the 1990's. In 1999, Conrail was bought and split by CSX and Norfolk Southern, with NS taking ownership of the Lehigh Line. Since then, traffic has increased significantly, and NS has further improved infrastructure accordingly.
Today, the entire territory is controlled by the NS Lehigh Line Dispatcher, located in Harrisburg, PA via radio frequency 161.070mHz. In August of 2008 Norfolk Southern ceased using the NORAC rule book in favor of its own set of rules. Everything in this next part is more or less the same with the exception of the rule numbers. The mainline is all NORAC Rule 261 (any train on any controlled track in either direction) and is controlled via a CTC signal system, with the exception of the double track between Richards and Bethlehem. This area is governed by NORAC Rule 251 (each track is signaled in only one direction, signal indication will be the authority for trains to operate with the current of traffic) with Track 1 signaled for westbound movement and Track 2 signaled for eastbound movement. Movements against the current of traffic are governed by non-signaled DCS rules. If the dispatcher wants to run a train on the opposite main, then he or she must issue a Form-D (now a track authority) to the train.
On average, Lehigh Line traffic consists of 25 - 30 trains in a 24-hour period. Traffic is generally heavier in the evening, overnight and early morning. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm. Traffic peaks towards the end of the week, with Thursday through Saturday normally being the busiest days with all intermodal trains running. Regular trains and days of operations can be found at the Train Symbol Database.