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Mauch Chunk was basically the first wide spot you came to after you came down
the broad mountain. It got its start as a railroad centre because of the canal. Later it
became the junction with the Nesquehoning branch which was a major source of traffic right
up until the end of the CNJ in Pa. Mauch Chunk was not really as important as Allentown
was but did play an important role. Helper engines were kept here and added for the climb
up to Crestwood, (that is about 35 miles to the west). Just West of the main yard was a
smaller facility called the coal storage. Cars of coal would be sent here to be unloaded
in the slack months. The coal was kept on stockpiles until the winter months when it would
be sent to market. Coal trains would always be stopping at Mauch Chunk to either set out
or pick up or just turn down the retainers.
Then there was the interchange traffic which came from the LNE at Hauto or the
RDG at Hauck's Jct. Add to that a few mines and industries located on the Nesquehoning
branch plus the New Jersey Zinc ore train which was based out of Mauch Chunk and you had a
pretty busy place. - Paul Rice
As for equipment during the steam era. The 800 class Pacifics
and the 900 class Mikado's were common. The lightest
Mikado that the CNJ had was equal to an USRA heavy Mikado.
The 270 series camelback
0-8-0's were used at Mauch Chunk for switching as well as local freight service up the
branch. 2-8-0 and 4-8-0 camelbacks are a good bet for the pre-modern steam era. - Paul