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From: "Dad" wsmith5957 AT hotmail DOT com
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2005 17:08:03 -0400
Subject: Northern Electric
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I just got my copy of the LAUREL LINES (NRHS _ L&WV Chapter) newsletter and they are arrandging to have the book NORTHERN ELECTRIC reprinted. It's been out of print for a while and is a fascinaing histry of this interurban which ran from Scranton to Montrose. It followed the old DL&W until it got to the village of Hop Bottom then veered into the mountains to reach Montrose. I think the originaal plan was to reach Binghamton. I'd heard of it before I worked on the DL&W side and when working west from Scranton on a freight, you could begin to see traces after ur train crossed the Nicholson viaduct. You'd look across the valley and especially when the leaves were off the trees, you could see the remains of the right of way. The view was especially good from the firemans side of the cab going North. When we reached the town of Hopbottom (Foster on the RR), you could see on the west side of the town a well-constructed concrete building that was out of place among the frame houses. This was the station & substation of the Northern Electric. Like the Lackawanna stations, it was of concrete and built for the ages. I kept meaning to drive by and look at it up close, but somehow during my EL career, I never did. In the late 90s, I was retired & living in Fla. and came up to the old stomping grounds with a friend who was an Amtrak engineer out of DC. I knew a guy from highschool in West Pittston who worked at steamtown (Richard Kithen) and the 3 of us made a pilgrimage up to look at the remains. When we got to Hop bottom, a left turn took us up a road that led to the old station. We approached up a driveway that had been the ROW and stopped the car. There was an elderly man sitting in a rocker on the platform who rose and said "Can I help you?" I realized that he was blind and explained that I'd worked on the 'DL and finally had come to see the old N.E. station. he called his wife and they very graciously took us on a tour of their home. The ticket office & bay window was their living room and they'd made the old station into a comfortable home. I asked about the back where the rotary converters were for the substation and the lady said she painted there- an amateur artist. When she took us in back you could see where the huge motor-generator sets had been mounted. It was an interesting visit and upon leaving, if you looked south, you could see the embankment going off thru a canopy of trees toward Nicholson.
I DID stop and take some photos of the old carshops and powerplant while working in Binghamton in 1968. They are here along with a picture of one of the carsthat ran there.
This is near Dalton and I don't know if they still exist. When I took these fotos, some kind of electrical supply co. was using the buildings and there were transformers, etc scattered around the grounds. If you drove North from here, you'd come across the abutments where the old line crossed the hiway and a little further on on the west side of the road was a 2-story building that had been the offices. I've often wondered why the Scranton Chapter of NRHS doesn't run a charter bus photo safari for traction fans to see what used to be here. You could combine the fun of seeing the massive viaducts of the DL&W & other RR remnants.

Regards to all,
Walter E. Smith


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