After the demise of the 178-mile Lehigh & New England Railroad in 1961, all except two segments of its trackage were torn up. The remaining segments, a segment from Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, to the remaining Lehigh Navigation Coal Company mines in the Panther Valley, and the portion of the Bethlehem branch between Bethlehem and Bath, and the entire Martins Creek branch from Bath to Martins Creek, became the Lehigh & New England Railway. The L&NE Railway became a subsidiary of the Jersey Central.
Dave Augsburger, who is generally acknowledged as the most prolific color photographer of the Lehigh and New England, told me that he neglected the cement belt, the portion of track between Bethlehem and Martins Creek, in favor of shooting more L&NE trains in other areas. At the time, the prevalent rumor was that the CNJ was purchasing the seven remaining L&NE RS2’s to operate the L&NE trackage, so photos along this line could be captured after the rest of the L&NE was gone. As it turned out, the L&NE management insisted on a higher price for the RS2’s than the CNJ was willing to pay, so the Central moved a small fleet of RS3’s, RSD4’x and RSD5’s to L&NE property.
In 1972, the Jersey Central pulled out of Pennsylvania in a cost-cutting move, but the Lehigh and New England railway remained. By late 1974, the financially hemorrhaging CNJ jettisoned the L&NE, and the Lehigh Valley assumed operations. Once again, Also road switchers were the usual power, in the form of RS11’s and RS3’s. Occasionally one of the LV’s GP9’s worked the line. Here tay GP9’s bracket an RS11 at the Lehigh & New England Railway’s engine terminal near the CNJ passenger station in Bethlehem. After the Conrail takeover, the line became known as the Cement Secondary, as it is under Norfolk Southern.