Photographs & History

Photographs and History

Pier 122 and 124: Lost Facilities of the Pennsylvania Railroad

Recently the last of four traveling cranes of the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s pier 122 Ore dock facility in Greenwich Yard fell victim to demolition in a plan to expand container port facilities along the Delaware River Waterfront of South Philadelphia.

View looking East, Pier 122: this view illustrates the massive ore unloading cranes that have recently been removed from the former PRR facility.

View looking East, Pier 122: this view illustrates the massive ore unloading cranes that have recently been removed from the former PRR facility.

With facilities dating back to the early 1900s, Pier 122 and 124 were built in 1929. Pier 124 was equipped with dual 120 ton McMyler rotary dumping units that combined, allowed the railroad to dump a maximum of 800 hopper cars per day into outgoing vessels. Pier 122, although constructed at the same time was expanded through new construction in 1952-1954 primarily to import South American Iron Ore. When opened, the facility's cost was 10 million dollars and originally equipped with two traveling cranes capable of unloading over one million tons in its first year of operation. Two other traveling cranes were added in 1955 and 56 respectively expanding total capacity to over 1.5 million tons per year.

Reinforced Storage Bins: These bins, located in the loading balloon tracks served a large fertilizer storage facility that also received bulk materials via Pier 122.

Reinforced Storage Bins: These bins, located in the loading balloon tracks served a large fertilizer storage facility that also received bulk materials via Pier 122.

Serving the PRR and later Penn Central and finally Conrail Pier 122 has been dormant since mid 1990s prior to the split of Conrail by Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation, victim to shuttered mills, more modern steel making processes, and more efficient facilities. Neighboring pier 124, the coal loading facility suffered a similar fate earlier when Consol Pier of Baltimore came online, providing shorter transport to export shipping lanes and more modern facilities. The removal of the Pier 122 and presumably 124 will mean another relic of the Pennsylvania Railroad and our industrial past will be gone, soon to be back-filled and paved over for container staging of imports and exports that have become standard in ports around the globe.

This was one of several shunting engines that ran on a narrow gauge track between the standard gauge railroad load out tracks. These units shoved the ore jennies or hopper cars through the load out and on to staging to be assembled into outbound trains.

This was one of several shunting engines that ran on a narrow gauge track between the standard gauge railroad load out tracks. These units shoved the ore jennies or hopper cars through the load out and on to staging to be assembled into outbound trains.