Lehigh Valley Railroad
A Centenary Address
FELIX R. GERARD
THE NEWCOMEN SOCIETY OF ENGLAND
AMERICAN BRANCH NEW YORK
This Newcomen Address was delivered during the "100th Anniversary Luncheon" held by The Newcomen Society of England in honor of the Centenary of the Lehigh Valley Railroad (1846 - 1946) . The luncheon, at which Mr. Gerard was guest of honor, was held at the Saucon Valley Country Club, near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. on September 23, 1946
My fellow members of Newcomen:
IN THE .ARCHIVES of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a bold Spencerian hand, is a thirty-page document the speakers of the House-of Representatives and of the Senate and by the Governor authorizing the tatter to incorporate the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill & Susquehanna Railroad Co. This handsomely prepared authority is dated April 21st, 1846 and marks the birth of what is today the Lehigh Valley Railroad.
This legislative enactment provided that twenty-four citizens of Northampton, Lehigh, Carbon, and Schuylkill Counties, including such names as James M. Porter and Asa Packer, should be appointed commissioners and as such were authorized on or before the first day of November, 1846 to "procure three books, one of which shall be opened at the Mrs. White's Hotel in Easton, and one at the Pennsylvania Hall in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, and one at the house now kept by George Haberacker in Allentown, Lehigh County," in each of which they shall enter '`the names of those who promised to pay $50. for every share of stock for which they subscribed in the D.L.S. & S. R.R. Co."
Apparently that was all that was deemed necessary—the country was greatly excited over railroads and every community was anxious to be served by this new and radical type of transportation.
The names of the backers of this new line were the bone and sinew of the territory for which the railroad was planned and the locations picked for the opening of the subscription books were convenient. Everything was ready for the public to come up and sign on the dotted line.
The original incorporators apparently had been so confident of their success that they provided in the original document many things of particular interest in this day and time. The railroad was authorized "to charge and take toll for freight and transportation of passengers, goods, wares, merchandise and minerals at rates as follows to wit: On goods, wares, merchandise, property or minerals transported on salt railroad, or any finished part thereof, any sum not exceeding one and a half cents per ton per mile for toll and one and a half cents per ton per mile for transportation, and for toll and transportation of passengers not exceeding three and one half cents per mile for each passenger."
This would seem to mean a rate of 3 cents per ton mile for freight and a similar rate per passenger mile. The average rate the Lehigh Valley Railroad received in 1945 for freight was 0.936 cents per ton mile and 1.99 cents per passenger mile.
So confident, apparently, were all concerned that the legislation even authorized the managers to pay dividends "on so much of the profits of the Company as shall appear advisable to the managers" but it was expressly provided that the dividends "shall in no case exceed the amount of the net profit actually acquired by the Company so that the capital stock shall never be impaired thereby." A further provision says "when such dividend shall exceed 8 percent per annum, one-half of such excess shall be paid into the state treasury and placed to the credit of the education fund."
"The Mrs. White's Hotel," better known as the "Chippy White Hotel" which then stood on the northeast corner of Centre Square in Easton, "the house now kept by George Haberacker in Allentown," which is the present site of the Colonial Theatre at 515 Hamilton Street, and the Pennsylvania Hall Hotel which was at Center Street, now known as Howard Avenue, in Pottsville, seemingly failed to see any great rush to subscribe for stock in the way that had been anticipated. The books for stock subscriptions may have been opened in the Fall of 1846 but so far as modern day knowledge is concerned, they might as well have remained closed. A full six years later we find one of the original incorporators writing an interesting letter which I believe warrants being quoted in its entirety. It is addressed to the President and Board of Managers of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna and reads as follows:
"As you are aware the books for subscription to the Capital Stock: of your Company' hive been opened from time to time without any considerable amount of stock having been subscribed beyond that held by myself, and as the early construction of your road is now a matter of vast importance to the different interests as well the inhabitants of the Lehigh Valley, I hereby propose to subscribe to the Capital Stock of your Company in addition to that already held by me, Twenty-five thousand shares of the stock of the Company, and I also propose to obligate myself to construct a single track of Rail Road including the building of the Bridge over the river Delaware complete with the necessary sidings for the sum of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, of which One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars shall be in stock of the Co. and One Million Dollars in the first Mortgage 6% bonds also of the Company to be issued monthly prorata as the work shall progress.
"The double track of road complete, including the Bridge over the Delaware shall be understood to comprise
1. The necessary engineering, construction, grading, ballasting and laying of the superstructure ready for use, the line of rail road as surveyed from Mauch Chunk: to Easton by Mr. R H Sayre, the Company Engineer in June ultimo, with a rail of not less than 55 lb to the yard, and aiding' along the line of said road not less than four miles additional.
2. The right of way for a double track of the sad Rail Road from Mauch Chunk: to Easton
3. The bridge and thorough rock cuts throughout the entire length of the line of said road for double track also
4. The acceptance of this offer to bind both parties and to be reduced to a contract between them without any loss of time and as. authorizing the undersigned to commence the work immediately.
(signed) Asa Packer
Easton, Penna., Nov. 27, 1852
This Asa Packer, heretofore noted principally as the owner of the Packer boats and an important factor in the movement of anthracite to market by water, was destined to play an outstanding role in the history of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad, soon to become the Lehigh Valley. The Newcomen Society already has had a notable opportunity to know this man. In an outstanding Newcomen address made to you in December, 1938, Professor Milton C. Stuart of Lehigh University, presented a splendid biography of this remarkable man whose constructive ability, foresight, and philanthropy have left such a strong mark upon the Valley of the Lehigh.
You will recall that Asa Packer, born in Connecticut in 1805, left home when I7 and apprenticed himself as a carpenter to an uncle who had struck out before him to what was then a wilderness but is now Northern Central Pennsylvania. But, as Professor Stuart pointed out, Asa Packer was not to remain a carpenter. The talk of coal in the valley of the Lehigh lured him in this direction—a territory which was then wildly excited over the great opportunities it offered. A great network of canals had been started to bring the new fuel, anthracite, to the markets- of the great cities of the Eastern Seaboard and one daring group of pioneers had even constructed the Mauch Chunk: Railroad with: rails of wood covered with strips of iron, a quarter-inch thick and one and a half inches wide.
By 1833, when Asa Packer came to the Valley of the Lehigh, other railroads had been constructed or were building, but he first found employment at his carpenter's trade, building boats to operate on the Lehigh Canal. Soon, however, he had his own boat— later he had a whole fleet of them—and he apparently was the first to take a cargo of anthracite through to New York, an outstanding achievement in navigation of canals, rivers and bays. Subsequently, he interested himself in merchandising, then in agriculture and mining. He bought coal lands and operated his own mines and apparently he was successful in each enterprise in which he engaged. He was one of the leading spirits among the incorporators of the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna and was its first secretary and treasurer.
The failure of the public to respond promptly to the opportunity to finance the building of a railroad must have greatly disappointed him. But the lack of public interest was not to stop him and his proposition to the Board of Managers of the railroad was only natural. That the board welcomed his offer went without saying. The very same day, J. M. Porter, the President of the railroad, wrote Asa Packer from Easton as follows:
"I beg leave to inform you that your letter of this date has been laid before the stockholders of the Company at their meeting held this day and that the stockholders have adopted the following resolution in relation thereto.
'Resolved: That the propositions contained in the said letter be accepted and that the President and Managers be instructed and are hereby authorized to see it faithfully carries out and notify Judge Asa Packer of the same."'
It can hardly be said, however, that the plans for the new railroad were entirely suspended because of the lack of subscriptions for the stock of the enterprise. Robert H. Sayre, another destined to play a part in the history of the railroad and to give his name to a thriving community and the system's shops, in August 1852 was Chief Engineer for the D.L.S. & S. In a report he made then to the president and board of managers, he said:
"From the southern terminus of the Beaver Meadow Railroad, opposite Mauch Chunk, to Parryville—a distance of 6 miles—the route will occupy the old Beaver Meadow grade, portions of which will have to be raised and widened and other portions entirely renewed, having been swept away by the freshets, 1841, and subsequent washings. This part of the line will require about 30,000 dollars to put it in condition to receive the superstructure, exclusive of the bridge across the Lehigh River and Mahoning Creek. From Parryville to the Gap, a distance of 6 miles, the route crosses several sandy flats. (in the aggregate about 2 miles) which vary from 1 to 15 feet below grade. The balance of the distance, 4 miles, runs along the base of the Blue Mountain', which is very steep and abrupt, and is composed of red shale rock and gravel, excellent materials for the roadbed.
"From the Gap to the head of Swartz's dam, a distance of 1I miles, the route crosses the slate formation, which in some place. presents very abrupt and irregular points, rendering it rather expensive constructing the road. Sections 17, 18 and 19 include the heaviest portions. Section. 15, 16, 23 and 24 also pass over some precipitous bluffs. All the stone required for masonry upon this portion of the route will have to be transported from 1 to 5 miles. From this point to Allentown, a distance of 6 miles, the route crosses the limestone formation, some parts of the line pass valleys or flats requiring embankments, other portions elevated flats which need to be excavated, and steep bluffs of rock rising nearly perpendicular from the water's edge need deep cutting. From Allentown to Bethlehem, 5 miles, the route will occupy the site of the present public road a considerable portion of the distance; the rock upon this part of the line lies very near the surface and is of an excellent quality for building purpose'. Quarries can be opened at a trifling cost, from which fine large stone may be procured for bridge abutments and other masonry requisites along the line. From Bethlehem to South Easton, a distance of 11 miles, the route crosses flats requiring embankments, along the slope of hills, etc., limestone bluffs to be excavated, and for a considerable distance along the public road, the location of which will necessitate a change. Through South Easton the route has not been entirely determined upon; between the street and the canal, however, would seem to be the proper place. The limestone, sandstone and red shale occurring on the line furnish good and cheap materials for the construction of the road, and, with the exception of that part of the route traversed by the slate, wherever stone is required, it can be procured without much expense.
"The location, though a preliminary one, is so near where the road must ultimately be made that I have based my estimate upon it. The limited time and assistance allotted me prevented my making a permanent location or taking such accurate measurements as I desired; yet as the line cannot be varied much the estimate will not be far from the true result. The curves may in some instance be eased at an additional cost, but generally where the sharp curve occurs there would be a large increase of expense incurred in making them much lighter owing to the steep, precipitous bank. The curves with one exception are short—the longest on the route being 4,800 feet with a radius of 1,600 feet. The rest vary from 300 to 1,500 feet in length with radii of from 700 to 11,460 feet. Considerably more then half the distance will be in straight lines, varying from 500 feet to 1-1/2 miles in length. The grades are very favorable—the descent in all cases (except the mile at South Easton) being in the direction of the trade. The maximum grade was 35.4 feet and this an be reduced to 30 feet without great additional cost.
"Ascending 18.5 feet per mile for 5,200 feet through South Easton to the Delaware River, this grade we. avoided by intersecting with the Trenton & Belvidere Road. The road was laid out for a single track l4 feet wide at the grade line on embankment and 20 feet wide in common earth cuts."
Chief Engineer Sayre's estimate of grading, masonry (except the bridge abutment and piers), changing of public roads and grubbing, as well as clearing, amounted to $821,695. The estimate for the superstructure, including 4 miles of turnouts, frogs and switches, was $375,000. The depots and other buildings necessary for the early use of the road were estimated at $35,390, or a total of $1,232,085. This did not include the cost of land and various other incidentals.
The name of the line was changed to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company on January 7,1853 and in a report dated December 31, 1855, the chief engineer wrote that a contract for construction work had been let to Asa Packer; and Atwood, Cook & Co. had a subcontract for the masonry work for the bridge across the Delaware and the heavy rock cut through Mount Ida, opposite Easton. In this same report Mr. Sayre stressed the great advances in the costs of labor and provisions, the scarcity of manpower and even of the necessary capital with which to carry on the work.
The road was opened for the transportation of passengers from South Easton to Allentown on June 11, 1855 and two trains ran daily to the latter point until September 12th when the road was opened for travel to Mauch Chunk, one train a day being run until the 1st of October.
Up to this time the road was operated by Mr. Packer with rolling stock hired from the Central Railroad. About this time a contract was made with the Central Railroad to run two passenger trains from Easton to Mauch Chunk connecting with the Philadelphia trains on the Belvidere-Delaware Railroad, thus affording ample facilities to the traveling public. Connection was made with the early and late trains to and from New York and Philadelphia. A daily freight train was put into operation leaving Easton in the morning and returning in the evening. The receipts from passengers were described as satisfactory, in fact larger than had been anticipated. The receipts from coal and miscellaneous freight were limited through lack of cars. The coal, iron and iron ore transported over the road had been in cars furnished by the Central Railroad, Beaver Meadow Railroad & Coal Co. and Packer, Carter & Co.
However, in the early part of October 1855 a contract was made with Howard & Co., Philadelphia, to do the freighting business of the road (except coal, iron, and iron ore), they to furnish cars, employee, etc., paying the railroad at the rate of 3c per ton mile for toll and transportation and apparently getting from their customers all the traffic would bear.
The length of the road from Mauch Chunk to its eastern terminus at Easton was 46 miles of single track. The main track was laid with a rail weighing 56 pounds per yard supported: upon cross ties 6 x 7 inches and 7-1/2 feet long placed 2 feet apart. About a quarter of it was ballasted with stone or gravel. The road had a descending or level grade from Mauch Chunk to Easton and with the exception of the curve at Mauch Chunk had no curve of less than 700 feet radius.
Mr. Sayre felt some concern over the increasing lengths of trains and heavier burdens that had to be sustained by the wooden bridges in use at that time and urged the management of the Lehigh Valley to replace these bridges with iron structures. To sell his point of view he mentioned the success Mr. Roebling enjoyed in spanning the Niagara River with a wire suspension bridge thus "fully establishing the fact that you never need be at a loss for the want of an imperishable material for your bridges."
The original purpose that inspired the builders of the Lehigh Valley, namely, to give speedier and more efficient handling of coal from Mauch Chunk to Easton than was effected by river barge, was becoming an accomplished fact and barge interests were complaining over the loss of business. Through a connection with the Central Railroad, the Lehigh Valley passengers had a route to Newark, Jersey City and other points along the seaboard. The North Pennsylvania Railroad, extending from Philadelphia to Bethlehem, was completed during the Summer of 1856 and thus brought the Lehigh Valley a direct line to the City of Brotherly Love.
In summarizing his remarks for the Year 1856, Mr. Sayre said in part:—"Our passenger trains have sometimes failed from unavoidable causes to make connections with other railroads, yet throughout the severe weather of last Winter and the heavy slides in the Spring, there has been but one day when the usual number of trips were not made over the road. Under the care of an overruling Providence we have been remarkably exempt from accident, no passenger having been injured in the least. There has been but one passenger car off the track and that was caused by the breaking of a tender axle."
The Lehigh Valley was mainly a coal carrying road, more than 75 percent of its receipts being derived from the transportation of that commodity. The total amount of coal carried over the road during the year was 418,235 tons. During the same year the road carried 128,158 passengers at an average cost of approximately 60c per passenger.
It is interesting to note that the salary of the President and Treasurer, along with the expenses of the Company's Philadelphia office in that year, amounted to $8,928.98. The equipment of the road comprised 15 locomotives, 6 passenger, and two baggage cars, 504 five-ton and 305 ten-ton coal cars, in addition to 61 platform, gravel, ore, and hand cars.
The statement was made in the Annual Report for 1857 that if the Board would limit their expenditures to ordinary repairs and the business for the ensuing year proved equal to the preceding year the Company would be enabled to liquidate its entire floating debt. However, President J. C. Fell, added that "though the amount of this debt was not large yet such is the distrust of the public in regard to railroad securities that the Board had to submit to the dictation of rates of interest, which are exceedingly unsatisfactory. We have also had the mortification to see our bonds linger at prices much below their value when compared with other securities on the market. That bonds of this class should command but 65 percent is an indication that capitalists have not informed themselves of their real value."
"The peculiar location of the road commands a large trade with the least outlay of capital. At Mauch Chunk it connects with the Beaver Meadow Road, by which it has access to the extensive and rapidly developing coal fields of the Upper Lehigh. The success of the Beaver Meadow Railroad, now paying 10% annually on its stock, is some assurance of what the Lehigh Valley may do in a short time. At Bethlehem we connect with the North Pennsylvania Railroad and at Easton with the Belvidere, Delaware and Central Railroads, thus giving us the benefit of three commanding outlets, all competing for the trade of our road, and saving us from the cost of expensive terminal arrangements.
In his report for 1861, the chief engineer said difficulty was being experienced in obtaining the proper type of iron that would withstand the increasingly heavy loads being run over the Lehigh Valley. Mr. Sayre reportet that in the use of track chairs it was decided to use the Fischer Norris chair which was adopted because it gave entire satisfaction. In this connection Mr. Sayre added:
"It is, I think, without doubt, the best chair that can be had for the price. What is now particularly wanted to give us first class track and reduce the annual expense of its repairs is a better quality of iron. None that we hare ever used except that purchased from the Phoenix Iron Works, when the track: was first laid, has proved really good. If an advance of ten dollars upon the price annually paid will secure iron of first quality, I am well satisfied that no investment that can be made will yield so large and satisfactory a return."
In this same report Mr. Sayre discussed his power troubles. "The great economy of having the different class engines employed of uniform pattern," he said, "is so evident that I would much prefer it (even if they were inferior in some particulars) to having a dozen different patterns with all the so-called improvements. Of 20 locomotives now in use, 4 are exactly alike, and consequently require but a single duplicate piece of any part liable to wear out or break, to be kept on hand. The remaining 16 engines are of 12 different patterns, requiring 12 duplicate pieces or parts to be kept on hand. The average mileage of the 4 Mason engines was 23,235 miles at a cost of repairs of 4.78 cents per mile, while the average mileage of 6 other engines performing the same kind of service was 12,651 miles at a cost of 11.66 cents per mile. A part of this great difference is due to the fact that the first named engines have not been so long in service and are of superior workmanship but much of it is in consequence of the uniformity of pattern."
In submitting his report for the following year, Superintendent Sayre stated—"The difficulties and annoyances attending the various ownership of cars is constantly increasing. I would therefore earnestly recommend that some plan should be devised and adopted to remedy the evils. The true interests of all the transportation companies demand it." He was enthusiastic in his anticipation of business along the railroad. Continuing his report, I quote: —"The iron works on the line of our road are prospering and now bid fair to give us a large increase of tonnage next year. The Thomas Iron Company expect to blow in one of their new stacks during the winter. I understand the Messrs. Thomas design erecting a rolling mill at Catasauqua and Mr. Lewis is about building one at Allentown Furnace. The Allentown Rolling Mill has been in successful operation since May 1862. The Bethlehem Iron Company expect to make pig metal and rails later on. The Glendon Iron Company have built a substantial bridge across the canal connecting their works with our road, all of which will add largely to our tonnage. The time is not remote when we will be required to transport a million tons of coal to supply the iron works on the line.
"In addition to the coal tonnage to be derived from this connection there will be about 40 millions of feet of lumber manufactured annually in the upper Lehigh Region, all of which will pass over the Penn Haven and White Haven, and at least half of it over the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The distance between Wilkes Barre and Philadelphia via Catawissa and Reading Railroads is 188 miles. Via Delaware, Lackawanna & Western and Belvidere Delaware Railroad it is 184 miles. Via Penn Haven and White Haven, Lehigh Valley and North Pennsylvania, it is only I34 miles. The great difference in distance in favor of our line will, without doubt, give us the entire passenger and miscellaneous freight business between Wyoming Valley and Philadelphia."
The Lehigh Valley Railroad of today had started on its way! Lines were being extended by the Lehigh Valley tapping the anthracite coal regions and connections were being made from time to time with other small railroads, thus enhancing the Lehigh's traffic potentialities.
It is not the purpose of this Newcomen address to record the mile by mile expansion of the Lehigh Valley. Nearly every year a new railroad was acquired or additional mileage was constructed. The records for 1861 show "a general cleaning up along the whole line and a determination to be ready for the increase in business which it was manifest would accrue.?' Whether this was intended as an indication of the approach of the war between the States is not recorded.
Asa Packer was elected President on January 13, 1862. The war apparently had little effect upon the Lehigh Valley and went unmentioned in its annual reports, even though the opposing armies fought a great battle only 90 miles from its rails.
By 1864, the railroad had reached White Haven on the West, a couple of years later the line was at Wilkes-Barre, and in 1867 it was at the New York state line at Waverly. In the following year the Lehigh Valley—a standard gauge railroad—completed arrangements with the Erie Railroad, at that time having a six-foot gauge, for a third rail within its tracks to enable Lehigh Valley equipment to run through to Elmira and later to Buffalo.
The Year 1870 witnessed commencement of extension of the road in a new direction—from Phillipsburg to Bound Brook, New Jersey. In the same year arrangements were consummated by which Lehigh Valley acquired trackage rights to Auburn, New York, over the newly completed Southern Central Railroad, now part of the Lehigh Valley.
During its period of "growing pains" with attendant acquisitions, legal fights and construction difficulties, the management of the Lehigh Valley Railroad never lost sight of ultimately having a direct outlet to the Atlantic Seaboard. With this thought in view' the property of the Morris Canal & Banking Company, including extensive water rights on the Hudson River directly opposite New York, was purchased. The canal extended from Phillipsburg, New Jersey, on the Delaware River, across New Jersey to Newark on the Passaic River, and to Jersey City on the Hudson. Having long outlived its usefulness, the Morris Canal and Banking Company was conveyed in 1923 to the State of New Jersey, the Lehigh Valley Railroad, however, retaining the water Basin at Jersey City on the Hudson River.
In 1872, through an act passed by the State of New Jersey, the Lehigh Valley's New Jersey lines were consolidated under the name of the Easton & Amboy Railroad Company and the railroad was at last in position to reach Tidewater at Perth Amboy.
This railroad was opened for business on June 28, 1875 as the New Jersey Division of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The Company had already completed large docks and facilities for shipping coal at Perth Amboy upon an extensive tract of land fronting the Arthur Kill. Approximately 350,000 tons of anthracite moved to Perth Amboy during that year for transshipment by water.
While the third rail on the Erie Railroad between Waverly and Buffalo gave the Lehigh Valley an unbroken connection to Buffalo, the road's management desired its own line into that city. The Geneva, Ithaca & Athens Railroad passed into the hands of the Lehigh Valley in September 1876, which extended from the New York state line near Sayre, Pennsylvania, to Geneva, New York, a distance of 75 miles.
In 1880, the Lehigh Valley Transportation Line was established to operate a fleet of ships on the Great Lakes and with terminals in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Duluth. In the years which followed, this line became an important factor in the movement of anthracite, grain and package freight between Buffalo and Chicago, Milwaukee, Duluth, Superior, and other midwestern cities. Following Federal legislation which stopped the operation of such service the lake line was sold to private interests in 1920.
In 1883, the road obtained a charter for the Lehigh Valley Railway Company, to construct a line extending from the business center of Buffalo to Lancaster, New York, a distance of ten miles. This was the second step toward establishment of a direct route from Waverly to Buffalo, the first being the acquisition of the Geneva, Ithaca & Athens Railroad.
At the same time, other improvements were being made. Vosburg Tunnel was completed and opened for service on July 25, 1886. The "Mountain Cut-off," extending from Fairview, Pennsylvania, to the outskirts of Pittston, a distance of sixteen miles, was completed in November, 1888. By it the eastbound grade was reduced and a shorter route for handling through traffic established.
Acquisition of other lines by 1889 gave the Lehigh Valley a through route over its own rails from Jersey City to Geneva, New York, leaving 97 miles to be covered by the Buffalo & Geneva Railroad, then in process of construction, to complete the line from New York to Buffalo. The dream of Asa Packer was close to reality!
The historian of 1890 records: "The equipment of the Lehigh Valley Railroad is ample and of the most modern, affording its patrons every convenience consistent with railroad service. Its coaches, heated by steam, thoroughly constructed, are chaste and neat in decoration. Its parlor cars, at exceedingly moderate charges, afford additional comforts and conveniences in seats and toilet rooms. Its palace-car and sleeper accommodations are of the latest and most thoroughly equipped Pullman service. Its freight and stock cars are well and substantially built, the refrigerator class have the Tiffany or Wickes patent attachment, and all are handled under lock and seal. The gondola pattern is supplanting all others in cars of that class used in the coal traffic. Its tracks and beds are exceedingly superior in all points. The hard stone and slag ballast assures solidity and firmness, and the steel rails guarantee a smoothness not possible on iron rails."
The historian relates, under the heading of SERVICE: '`The courtesy of the officers and employees of the Lehigh Valley Railroad has passed into a proverb. Considerate, careful and obliging, the trainmen strive with each other to have their train considered the banner train in the eyes of the traveling public, as well as in the estimation of their superiors."
The service at this time included not only that of the railroad but also of steamers on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes in the territory around Ithaca and Geneva.
Much could be said about the industrial growth along the line, but the purpose of this address is to tell the story of the birth ant first one hundred years of development of a public service enterprise. Anthracite, although of major importance, was not the only commodity found in the territory served by the "Valley." Large deposits of slate, salt, limestone, clay, sand, and gypsum were developed commercially. David O. Saylor, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, manufactured the first Portland cement in America in 1872 at Coplay, Pennsylvania, on the line of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The region today is one of the most important cement production areas in the world. All types of industry abound along the Lehigh Valley, from huge steel plants to silk mills. The territory, with its many natural resources, lends itself to diversification.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad of today is quite a different proposition from the dream of its projectors of a century ago. In 1944, its gross revenues came close to $100,000,000. It is one of the principal trunk line railroads. Its Second World War record is one of which it is proud. Tens of thousands of recruits had their "Boot training" at Sampson Naval Training Station near Geneva, served only by Lehigh Valley; other tens of thousands enroute abroad, went via Lehigh Valley and Camp Kilmer, adjacent to South Plainfield, New Jersey. The Black Diamond, the John. Wilkes, the Asa Packer, the Maple Leaf and the Star are passenger trains today operated essentially for the convenience of the ppeople who live along the railroad; and their schedules are planned solely to meet their demands.
No longer is anthracite the dominant traffic nor is the railroad dependent upon the cement, salt, slate, gypsum, and other raw products found along its line. It is essentially an ;industrial line. Ships at its Claremont Terminal on New York Bay are loading cargoes for all parts of the World and other ships are there to discharge imported freight. Along its line from Jersey City to Royce, from Phillipsburg to Lehighton, from South Wilkes Barre to Coxton, at Hazleton, from Athens to East Waverly, around Geneva, Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls, are plants of some of America's greatest manufacturers. They embrace all lines and their names: are known throughout the civilized world.
The Company maintains offices and representatives in the principal cities of the United States and nearly 50 percent of Lehigh Valley traffic is received from or delivered to other railroads. A great volume of business. comes via the Niagara Frontier, where connections are made with all the railroads extending to the Central West and beyond. It has direct connections with the lines to New England, to Long Island, and to Philadelphia and the Southeast.
In brief, such is the story of the first 100 years of the Lehigh Valley.
Rev. April 2010