This is the Berks Products Ready Mix aggregate unloading facility located near Leesport, PA. The siding was installed new in the summer of 1999 and was used to unload 25 and 34 car trains of 100 ton open hoppers. The first product received was a manufactured sand used for asphalt top coat. Natural sand and aggregates for concrete were also received. The plant is located along the former PRR Schuylkill Branch, now part of the Reading & Northern Railroad.
This photo shows R&N 802 approaching the aggregate unloading hopper under the rails with two cars of ID2 manufactured sand from Carmeuse in Annville PA.. Two small conveyors feed the sand or rock to a longer conveyor which moves the material out of the pit to the right in this picture.
This photo shows the facility when it was new and freshly ballasted in 1999. The overhead structure is used to inspect and/or clean out the car interiors during unloading. It also provided a nice perch for the R&N conductor to oversee the entire operation during unloading.
On a brighter day in October 1999, the R&N is ready to deliver a variety of rapid discharge cars. These are from the carmeuse facility in Annville, PA and were turned over to R&N from NS overnight. The cars bear WIMX reporting marks and include 3 pocket cars from Trinity Industries and some 4 bay cars formerly B&LE. R&N 803 (SW8 - ex LV 270, CR 8905) is preparing to spot the cars. It is on the R&N line and will push the cars down the siding to be unloaded.
After the initial sand delivery trials, a multi year contract with a 34 car consist was started between Better Materials and Berks Products. Sand was loaded in south Jersey at Newport on the W&W. It was delivered across Conrail shared access to NS and then to the R&N at Reading. I found this photo by Robert Palmer on the net. It shows NS train 49G with the sand on the front end going through Pottstown PA.
The sand was unloaded at Leesport for concrete at Berks Products and the cars were reloaded with stone from the quarry at the same site. The stone returned by the reverse route to south Jersey where it was unloaded at Bridgeton for use in various contruction products. I found a picture of NS 9133 pulling train 66W, a 34 car unit stone train approaching Abrams yard.
These trains would go back and forth, typically on a 10 day schedule as long as no frezzing weather was in the forecast. When the trained crossed over the Delaware River into Jersey, it was caught by Lee King as the NS66K.
The sand service was terminated in 2006 when the bridge on the R&N over the Maiden Creek was taken out of service due to sinkhole damage. I hope to update this web site with additional pictures of the sand loading facility at Newport, and the sand unloading and stone reloading facility in Leesport.
Updated July 26, 2012
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