Watercolor… ALCO S2 #611 at Alpha Cement, Martins Creek, Pennsylvania. The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) built 1,500 of the 1,000hp, model S2 diesel electric switch engine between the years 1940 and 1950 and just shy of 800 of the very similar model S4 switcher between 1949 and 1957. The Lehigh & New England (LNE) had six S2’s… numbers 611 through 616. In 1961, the LNE, in existence since 1895, ceased operations due to the double-edged sword of the declining anthracite coal industry and cement industries… and its assets were acquired by the Jersey Central (CNJ). L&NE #611 is the lone, surviving diesel electric locomotive from the original, Lehigh & New England roster. This 1949 ALCO S2 Switcher, obtained through the combined efforts of the Lehigh & New England Preservation Society and the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the NRHS, returned to Pennsylvania in May of 2016. #611 had been working a Grain Mill in Emporia, Indiana and was destined for a scrap yard before her purchase and rescue. Presently she is at the beginning of a restoration to full operating condition and a return to her heritage livery (illustrated), on the premises of the Allentown & Auburn (ALLN) Tourist Railroad, operating out of Kutztown, Pennsylvania. (The ALLN #206, a 1950’s, EMD SW900m upgrade is a beauty.)
The cement industry in America was born in the Lehigh Valley. Preceded by David Saylor’s early Schoefer vertical kilns at Coplay… production began in earnest when the Coplay Cement Company and Lehigh Cement Company began operations in 1897, followed by the Atlas Portland Cement Company and Alpha Portland Cement Company in the early 1900’s… followed by the Hercules Cement Plant… Dexter Portland Cement… Lone Star… Nazareth Cement… Keystone… and many, many more. Alpha Cement, which had two plants in operation around Martins Creek ended production and closed in 1964.