Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC

Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC

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Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service Lehigh Valley RR SC
 
The Handsomest Trains in the World Passenger Service on the Lehigh Valley Railroad by Greenberg, Kramer & Gleichmann.    
Soft Cover
Copyright 1978
120 pages.  
CONTENTS
King Coal 4
The Days of Asa Packer 8
From Collieries to Conrail 20
Passenger Odyssey 30
The Handsomest Trains 42
Watershed Years 58
Passenger Renaissance 74
War Years and Beyond 90
Silver Service and Fine China 100
The Final Decade 106
Appendix 114

THE LEHIGH VALLEY Railroad: its very name flows from the tongue in soft, rhythmic cadence. But the railroad's destiny was inalterably linked with an abrupt, harsh-sounding word: coal. Because of coal, the railroad was built and expanded; because of coal's economic force, the railroad was fought over and protected. Then, as the fortunes of coal declined, the railroad's prosperity vanished. The oil derrick fed the nation's endless appetite for energy and replaced the coal tipple that had nourished the Lehigh Valley.
Coal itself is a legacy of the ages, the action of heat and pressure upon buried plant life. In most places, not much heat was involved, thus allowing much of the volatile matter to remain in the coal. This formed the soft bituminous variety generally found wherever coal is unearthed. In a few places - northeastern Pennsylvania is one - greater heat and pressure considerably reduced the volatiles so as to create a hard, high-carbon coal called anthracite. Elsewhere in the world, under the rarest of circumstances, unimaginable pressure and the intense heat of molten rock escalated the process to produce diamonds, gem stones whose crystalline structure is pure carbon.
Of course there are important chemical and physical differences between anthracite and diamonds, but the similarities easily justify the poetic license of referring to anthracite as black diamonds. Anthracite is hard enough to be cut and polished, but it is brittle and thereby more like a stone than a gem. In fact, when first discovered nine miles west of Mauch Chunk, anthracite was called "stone coal." That was in 1791. Until suitable furnace grates were invented in 1808, anthracite was extremely difficult to burn.
The new fuel gained public acceptance slowly. An abundance of firewood, almost to the extent of being a farm economy nuisance, delayed the need to adopt coal for domestic uses. However, immense imnrnvements in ninny aspects of urban were needed before modern cities could become a reality. Local transportation, waste disposal, fire-fighting capability, and a suitable fuel supply were important problems that had to be solved.
Anthracite was the answer to the fuel problem. Demand for hard coal started in the mid-1820s and with that came the rise of northeastern Pennsylvania's anthracite fields. Two major activities were involved, one of mining the coal and the other of moving it to market. The two were inseparably related and, over the years, competition in the combined arena would become increasingly keen.
Initially, the only way to reach the marketplace was by way of the rivers. Wagon roads were not a realistic means for transporting coal, not even suitable for delivering the output from the mines to the riversides. Arks were built of lumber cut from the trees on nearby hillsides and loaded with coal for a one-way trip that went where the waters flowed. With no way to get the boats back, they were sold for their lumber and the fittings lugged back for a repeat of the process.
This was not an adequate means of transportation. The situation was improved -by the best means at hand: a canal system. It's unfortunate that steam railroading hadn't been invented and proven yet, for the industry and the fledgling nation made an investment in canals that was enormous for its time. The railroad, as a workable alternative, was a generation away.
Stepping into this Canal Age scene came a young boatman named Asa Packer. The son of a sea captain. Packer learned ship carpentry as a youth in his father's home port of Mystic, Connecticut. He set out on his own at nineteen, full of Yankee ingenuity and gifted with a great business sense. Asa Packer became the Lehigh Valley's driving force and before he was done, he had created an industrial enterprise anyone could be proud of.

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