Coxton Yard was built in 1870 by the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company to facilitate the vast train activity required to support Pennsylvania's coal mining industry. By the end of World War II, however, technology began catching up with the railroads. Trucks on the expanding highway systems, and the move from coal to diesel-electric trains were bringing about the beginning of the end for operations at Coxton Yard. It was finally abandoned in 1996, though the Reading and Northern Railroad Company still uses the southern-most portion of the yard to support natural gas extraction.
At first, I was planning to walk across the old rail bridge from the opposite side of the river. I had parked, walked to the bridge, climbed up the steep side embankment and began the crossing. A short distance across, however, it became increasingly treacherous, and I decided that perhaps it was not a good day to die.
I drove around to the opposite side of the river and spoke with a neighbor living across the street from the gate to the yard. He didn't think anyone would mind if I parked there, out of the way. A short walk down the access road and my mind was blown.
This yard is amazing, although I understand from previous pictures that there was once much more to behold. Yet even in its diminished state, it was a bonanza for someone like me.
The old train engines, the wheels, the parts and pieces everywhere. The smoke from the burning fire... wait... fire? A fellow explorer who was already on the site called my attention to a fire burning in a furnace inside the building. Ok, someone had been here recently, it seems. Good to know. On with the exploration.
One of the larger structures on the property was just north on the tracks. A huge concrete something-or-other stood looming from the bush. From the pulleys on top, it was clear this was some kind of elevator, perhaps for grain. It wasn't until I found the historical photos above that I realized it was for loading coal that fuelled the trains.
This was a truly amazing place to explore, and a fantastic way for me to start my Turkey Weekend Urbex Extravaganza.
Update: As of February, 2017, plans were underway to demolish the above-mentioned bridge during the summer of 2017 when the river is at its lowest.