History of the B&P

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Bangor and Portland Rail Way 1879- 1903

The Bangor and Portland Railway was found on May 17 1879 by several Bangor, PA business men and Conrad Miller of Blairstown, NJ for the purpose of transporting slate from the surrounding quarries to the Lackawanna Railroad in Portland, PA.  Portland, PA was the closest point on the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad (Lackawanna or DL&W), a Class 1 railroad servicing markets in New York City, Northern New Jersey, Northeastern Pennsylvania, and up-state New York.  The Bangor and Portland Railway Company started operation on December 1, 1880.

At the same time the Bangor and Portland Railway as under construction, Conrad Miller and his associates form the Bangor and Bath Railroad on July 26, 1880 in order to connect Bangor to Nazareth, PA which was 17 miles away.  During this period the fledgling Portland Cement industry was beginning to thrive and the founders saw business opportunity waiting to be exploited!  Soon after the Bangor and Bath Railroad merged into the Bangor and Portland Railway on October 16, 1880.

The route to Nazareth followed Martins Creek out of Bangor, PA as far as Nazareth Junction, now Martins Creek Junction, where it then followed Waltz Creek toward Pen Argl and Nazareth, PA.  This meandering route was necessary to get around the Kittany Mountain Range.  This expansion into Nazareth also tapped into the slate region at Pen Argyl. 

In July 1881 Miller start a third company, the Chapman and Lehigh Railroad, to build a line from Chapman's quarry to Bath and on to Catasauqua, PA.  This line had no physical connect to the Bangor and Portland but was still merged into the company on April 24, 1881.  This line was never completed by the B&P  but years by the Lehigh and New England Railroad.

An additional 4.6 mile branch was constructed from Nazareth Junction (Martins Creek Junctions) down to Martins Creek and across the Delaware River to Martins Creek Station, NJ where is connected with the Pennsylvania Railroad's Belvedere and Delaware or Bel. Del. Division.  The Martins Creek Branch was completed on December 28, 1885.  A final expansion of the line occurred in in 1887 when a 1.2 mile branch was built into Wind Gap, PA

In the mid 1880, John I. Blair purchased and interest in the Bangor and Portland .  John I. Blair was a major stock hold of the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad (Lackawanna) and as such hand a considerable influence on the board.  It is in this role that he induced Moses Taylor, a member of the Lackawanna board of directors to do like wise.  Both Blair and Taylor became trustees of the outstanding B&P bonds.  The Bangor and Portland Railway became more attractive as freight traffic gradually increased over the next few years due to the  of the continued expansion of the slate industry and the development cement industries.  This couple with the Lackawanna's plans to rebuild the mainline between the Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania and Port Morris, New Jersey using concrete as for the viaducts, single towers, and station resulted in the purchase of the railroad on July 1, 1903.

DL&W Bangor and Portland Division 1903 - 1960

Portland, PA was the division point yard for the Bangor and Portland Division, later renamed the Bangor and Portland Branch.  This small, unobtrusive yard was the northern terminus of an important junction on the Lackawanna. The Bangor and Portland Branch allowed the DL&W to tap into the existing slate quarries, growing Portland cement industry, and interchange with four other railroads. – it operated as a separate entity for most of its existence and was a unique operation seldom visited by photographers.

The DL&W purchased the Bangor and Portland Railway on July 1 1903 and was renamed the Bangor and Portland Division. The Lackawanna immediately upgraded the track on the division with heavier rail and built a 3 - mile extension from Nazareth to Bath to connect with the Lehigh and Lackawanna Railroad. The Lehigh and Lackawanna eventually became the Lehigh and New England Railroad. In 1904 the Northampton and Bath Railroad was constructed and also interchanged at Bath with the Lackawanna and the Lehigh and New England.

Portland Yard sites between the two legs of a wye with the tail track pointing down the branch. There is a stiff ˝ mile long, 3.4% grade out of Portland that tapers off to a 2% where is finally crests at Mt Bethel, PA.   At this point a small three track yard, named “Hill Yard”sites on a shelf along Martins Creek. This yard was used to double and sometime triple the hill to and from Bangor, PA. Hill Yard was also an interchange point with the Lehigh and New England Railroad. The railroad then continued down grade into East Bangor where several slate quarries where serviced as well Florry Milling, a local feed mill. The engine servicing facility and division offices where located in Bangor, PA or “Shops” as it was known on the railroad.   Shops had a four-stall roundhouse, small car repair facility, 60 - foot turntable, sand tower and drying house and a 500 - foot coaling dock. The coal dock was removed some time around 1963 and the round house and sand tower were removed some time in the 1980s.

From Shops the B&P Branch makes it way to Martins Creek Junction where the Martins Creek Branch diverges from the main. The main line continues on to Penn Argyl, PA and Wind Gap Junctions. The Lackawanna interchange with the Lehigh and New England Railroad who serviced the Alpha Cement Mill here.  Interchange was also conducted with the Pennsylvania Railroad across the Delaware on the Bel-Del Branch.

Futher south below Penn Argyl, PA  was Belfast Junction where the Lackawanna serviced the Hercules cement mill and interchanged with the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The B&P Branch then entered Nazareth, PA where it serviced five Portland cement mills and paralleled the Lehigh and New England. There were two at grade crossings; one at Lone Star Cement, called Dexter Hill, and one that controlled the entrance to Penn Dixie No. 6 cement plant.

The B&P Branch finally ends at Bath, PA where the Lackawanna interchanged cars with the Northampton and Bath Railroad and again with the Lehigh and New England. The Northampton and Bath was own by US Steel.


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