Western Maryland Railway: The WM picked up the trains and
continued heading east. Here, there was an added option for shippers.
At Hagerstown, Maryland the Jets were forced to navigate the
company's Jamison Yard, which also headed directly east to Baltimore.
The yard also served as a gathering point for expedited traffic arriving
from both Baltimore as well as the Reading, which had assembled freight
from other Northeastern points. In any event, trains heading eastward
towards the major Northeast cities met the Reading Railroad at Lurgon, Pennsylvania (in later years this location was switched to York, Pennsylvania).
Reading Railroad: From Lurgon freight continued
westward where it arrived at the Railroad's Rutherford Yard. Here, just
as on the WM, freight was gathered from various points and assembled
(Allentown, New York, and Philadelphia the latter of which arrived from
the Reading's own line from the city). From this points trains
continued on until Reading and headed for either Philadelphia or a
connection with the Jersey Central at Allentown.
Jersey Central: Under CNJ direction the Alpha Jets
gathered or shipped freight to or from the Jersey City/New York City
region. Additionally, those trains heading to Boston interchanged with
the Lehigh & Hudson River at Easton, just a few miles east of the
previous interchange at Allentown.
|Two first-generation Reading units, RS3 #450 and GP7 #662, team up with second-generation GP30 #3613 as they work the yard at Hummelstown, Pennsylvania on June 9, 1972.|
Lehigh & Hudson River: The L&HR was the other railroad were the Alpha Jets operated over the entire system, a distance of 85.8 miles to Maybrook, New York where a connection with the New Haven Railroad was established. This was also the location of the NYNH&H's Maybrook Yard where freight was further classified.
New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad: The New
Haven carried the trains the rest of the way into Boston and also
assembled freight at its Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven from other various
points along its system.
While the Route was typically 10 hours, or more, slower
than service provided by the other eastern trunk lines it offered more
flexibility by giving shippers the chance to have their freight
delivered in either the evening or morning hours. In later years as
mergers became more commonplace the western end the system was entirely
owned by the Norfolk & Western Railway as by the by late 1960s it
owned the Nickel Plate, Wheeling & Lake Erie, and Pittsburgh &
West Virginia Railway. Additionally, Penn Central was forced to acquire
the New Haven as a condition of its merger.
By doing so it seriously hurt the viability of the Route. The PC's two largest predecessors, the NYC and PRR, had of course
been a major competitor against the service and with its creation no
longer had as much of a desire to see the routing continued. The line
slowly lost interest which was further expounded by the creation of the
Chessie System (B&O, C&O, and WM) in 1972 and Conrail in the
spring of 1976 that resulted in just three systems being a part of the
route; N&W, Chessie, and Conrail. No longer adding any value the
Route finally died away in the early 1980s.
|It's just another day on the Nickel Plate Road as GP9 #526 meanders through the yard at Michigan City, Indiana on a cold and overcast December 26, 1963.|
For more reading about fallen flags like those of the Alphabet Route I would suggest purchasing one, or all three volumes of Mike Schafer’s Classic American Railroads series of books. The publications feature a wealth of information and are loaded with colored photographs covering names like the Baltimore & Ohio, Santa Fe,
Pennsylvania, Milwaukee Road, and lots more. If you have any interest
in most famous bygone railroads which once operated in the U.S. I would
strongly recommend picking up one, two, or even all three of Mr.
Schafer’s book. I truly cannot say enough just how enjoyable and fun
they are to read and peruse through. If you're interested in perhaps
purchasing these books please visit the link below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com, the trusted online shopping network.