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March 2005 - Page 39

West end of CC&N Junction. A CC&N local is en route to interchange with The Reading Railroad. For some unknown reason the CC&N crews have a chronic habit of altering the intended use of Reading equipment. very conservative financing, SV weathered the initial upheaval and began an orderly process of fiscal management and responsibility. Effects of the Depression itself were more pervasive. Traffic plummeted, revenues were down and no immediate relief was on the horizon. Train-offs and layoffs became endemic. Bad-order and redundant equipment was stored wherever unused track was available or could be arranged online or at shutdown industrial spurs. In spite of strong protests from Piedmonts management as well as its own on-line customers, SVs upkeep of the CC&N Allentown line evaporated. The apathy of the times invaded the management of the SV and a new era of chronic neglect became the order of the day. By 1937-38, New Deal recovery efforts were showing signs of success. A year later, mounting war clouds over Europe and China stirred a rising tide of economic activity worldwide, including isolationist America. In September 1940, Hitler struck. The ensuing fall of France and the Battle of Britain brought America to unofficial war even before Pearl Harbor shattered all remains of neutrality. These events created a wave that boosted SVs on-line and overhead traffic; total war opened the floodgates. By mid-1942, every ounce of capacity had vanished and efficiency was being pushed beyond limits. Military and war-plant labor and material demands had preempted the workers and supplies needed by the SV to overcome the results of deferred maintenance. Only through the genius and dedica-


Company Houses at Perkiomen. These scratchbuilt models are based on actual prototypes photographed in the town of Cass, WV. tion of its people and the patience of its loyal customers was the SV able to deal with the situation. However, its Allentown line would require more than that. Early in 1943, the long neglected and heavily overburdened Allentown line suffered a series of disastrous wrecks with heavy fatalities and huge destruction of war materials. By Executive Order, the federal government seized the line and, de facto, its SV parent as well. The US Army was now in control of all operations. With battlefield precision and White House authority the Transportation Corps rebuilt the Allentown line, and many key portions of the SV, to prime 1940s standards. By wars end and the return to private control, both the SV and the CC&N were arguably among the finest rail properties in North America. From mid-1945 to the beginning of

MARCH 2005


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