Railfanning with the Bednars Volume 8 continues our tour of the Conrail transition with the Bednar boys during 1979 and 1980. By the late 70’s and early 80’s, Conrail’s “Black and Blue Years” were slowly coming to an end.The transition from the varied paint schemes from absorbed roads were gradually being unified into the “Big Blue” scheme.
During this time, Conrail began the process of moving most freight traffic from the Amtrak northeast corridor and the Philadelphia/Harrisburg line to the former Lehigh Valley-Reading lines between Newark and Harrisburg. This resulted in a dramatic increase in daily traffic over these lines. With the surge in activity, main line infrastructure began to improve, but improvements to many branch and secondary lines were still a few years away with some never seeing any renovation.
In this volume, we’ll view the stark contrast between the increased main line action in the Lehigh Valley and western PA areas and the branch and secondary lines. The Delaware & Hudson also experienced a temporary influx of traffic to Philadelphia and Oak Island during this period with container business, though it would be short-lived. We’ll tag along on one of the D&H freights to qualify from Penobscot to Oak Street in Pittston.