We recently wrote a five-part series on railroad memories, which resulted in a number of people sharing their own railroad experiences with us. So I called my friend Mike Bednar, a former railroad engineer and author of a number of railroad books, requesting more information. He graciously agreed.
Mike and his friend Ken Bealer authored the book “Trackside Around the Pennsylvania Cement District” in 2010. They write that seven railroads at one time served the area.
Do our older readers recall the Lehigh New England, Jersey Central, Delaware Lackawanna and Western, Lehigh Valley, Reading and the short lines of the Ironton and Northampton and Bath? Today, the major railroad is the Norfolk Southern.
The cement industry was the impetus to the railroads. Over the years, 60 cement plants dotted the area. Cement stimulated the growth of communities, such as Bath, Nazareth, Northampton, Cementon, Coplay, Ormrod and Fogelsville. If one drives through the area, you can still see some old company homes from our past. Today, four companies and five plants continue to produce quality cement. These photographs give us a window to our past.
More railroad and cement history in two weeks.