appalacha coal mine

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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby Statkowski » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:30 pm

Nicolai3985 wrote:
While the area around Clymer is located in the upstream regions of Two Lick Creek, the Homer, Cherry Tree and Susquehanna appears to have been surveyed in the valley of Yellow Creek. Following Yellow Creek will eventually get you to the Heilwood area...though the two streams are separated by as little as 2000' at some points. So, was the NYC route projected to cross over into the Yellow Creek watershed at some point, or was the HCT&S not a part of this grand scheme? A 1902 shows a short stretch of the "Yellow Creek Branch" built in Homer City, while the 1900 CT 1000 mentioned a junction with the "Homer & Cherry Tree R.R." at the right location. Thoughts?

What needs to be known is who owned the HCT&S. Was it a PRR company? Seeing as how it started out in Homer City would point in that direction.

Quite possibly, since the HCT&S existed in 1874, perhaps the PRR had plans of working northward to Clearfield from the west (Blairsville). They reached Clearfield from the east (Cresson) and then looped down to the Glen Campbell area while another line from Cresson crossed south of Mahaffey and continued on to Punxsutawney. Via the Susquehanna Extension Branch they had reached Cherry Tree by 1884. The NYC's Pittsburg (no "H") & Eastern didn't make it down to Cherry Tree until 1905. It took the combined capital of the NYC & PRR to create the CT&D, running from Cherry Tree to Idamar (just north of Dixonville), with a branch line down to Heilwood. A 1905 map of the CT&D shows the planned extension of the line westward to Homer City via Two Lick Creek and Yellow Creek (which Two Lick Creek flows into) - essentially one continuous valley.

Grand scheme? Schemes are made, tried and then abandoned sometimes. What was planned in 1874 might have been similar to, but totally different from, what was planned in the early 1900s. The PRR may have planned on encroaching onto NYC territory. The NYC may have planned on encroaching onto PRR territory. The only thing that is known for certain is what was built, and what wasn't.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby rrfan2004 » Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:17 pm

Back in the 70's at the Millersville University Library, I found, in the archives, these maps (have no idea h ow to scan them.. sorry about that) which now are of very poor quality. But I think they are from the Indiana County Atlas, circa 1873. One is of Cherryhill Township and the other of Pine Township.
Very clearly marked is the Homer Cherry Tree and Susquehanna Railroad. It shows it running along the east (south) bank of Yellow Creek crossing 422. It continues to follow Yellow Creek until it forks... the right fork goes to what is now Heilwood... there was nothing there then and it no longer followed this branch of the creek.
It continues, it appears, to go in a north/northeasterly direction through Pine Flats, and then heads off the map, going northeast, going, presumably, to Cherry Tree. Since this railroad predated both the C and I and the CT and D, it looks like it ran this whole route with no junction with any other line, running independently into Cherry Tree. So... there's that! Ken
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby Statkowski » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:35 am

Most interesting. The Homer, Cherry Tree & Susquehanna was planned to run from Homer City to Clearfield via Yellow Creek's valley, possibly Two Lick Creek's valley, Clymer (?), Cherry Tree, and on up to Clearfield alongside the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. I'm assuming Clymer as opposed to Heilwood since the run from Heilwood northward to Wandin would have required an uphill run to Manver, then downhill to Wandin - via Two Lick Creek it would be a constant climb all the way to Wandin, but not as steep.

At the same time the HCT&S was planning its route, the Pittsburg (no "h") & Eastern (became part of the Beech Creek Extension Railroad, a subsidiary of the Beech Creek Railroad, which became the Beech Creek District of the Pennsylvania Division of the New York Central Railroad) was staked all the way from Clearfield to Pittsburgh, but only made it as far as Cherry Tree. How the two would have resolved the line through the territory northeast of Homer City is ripe for speculation.

Lots of overlapping PRR/NYC lines in Cambria, Clearfield and Indiana Counties. Lots of overlapping PRR/B&O lines in Indiana County, too.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby crownhill1915 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:24 pm

The atlas in question is the "Atlas of Indiana County" by F. W. Beers, 1871. The Cherryhill / Pine Township maps are located on pages 28-29. The H, Ct & Susquehanna runs northward to Pine Flats and then on to Cherry Tree (Green Township) Can anyone help with a track plan for the PRR extension from Homer City to the Meco, Appalacha, Ferrier Run areas?
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby YelllowCreekRR » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:43 am

I walked the Yellow creek valley in the last couple of weeks up to where the reservoir is now, I think it could be said that it was in the surveying stage with a rough grade made in some areas along the creek. The rough R.R. grade present often resembled nothing you would see in a modern grading project, going up inclines that one wouldn't see today and curves that you also wouldn't see today. Ran into a landowner hunting there at the time and he confirmed it to be the R.R. grade, otherwise one might not be sure. It seems like where the hillside came down to the creek the steepest they would knock out a narrow grade there but where it was fairly level they would bypass it. And one area where there was a series of small ravines coming off the hillside that they passed over without doing anything there.As I said the grade were very crude, if a really small depression or ravine was encountered there would be a corresponding dip in the grade.It was interesting to see all in all, walking this grade that you know was present when the 1889 flood waters rolled into Johnstown.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby pumpers » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:33 pm

crownhill1915 wrote:The atlas in question is the "Atlas of Indiana County" by F. W. Beers, 1871. The Cherryhill / Pine Township maps are located on pages 28-29. The H, Ct & Susquehanna runs northward to Pine Flats and then on to Cherry Tree (Green Township) Can anyone help with a track plan for the PRR extension from Homer City to the Meco, Appalacha, Ferrier Run areas?

Since this post in 2011 the USGS has a great new site for looking at topo maps, where you enter the location and it gives you a choice of all the maps over time at that location you can look at .
Go to this web site: https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/topoview/viewer/#4/39.98/-100.06, and after 5 seconds when the window comes up, type in the location at upper right and hit enter.
THen the available maps come up on the right side, scroll through them and click on the one of interest. For example, if you typed in "Tide PA" then click on the 1965 edition of the 1963 Indiana PA map, and options come up. I usually just click on "show" which puts the map on the screen. You can see the B&O and PRR tracks in the area and where the B&O crosses the creek to run next to (and also connect to) the PRR on the south side. Exactly what has already been noted here.

You will see that Appalacha is off the topo map to the the right. Click on that area and a blue marker will come up on the map at the location with a list of the maps for that area - so if you pick 1963 Brush Valley (1965 ed'n), and then by clicking "show" you can see the abandoned PRR ending at Appalacha at that date, but a dotted line where it used to go a few miles farther up to the Ferrier Run area.

Be prepared to waste a few hours looking at how all these old lines came and went. Beware though that the topo maps are often behind the times in the features they show such as RR lines.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby YelllowCreekRR » Wed Jan 09, 2019 7:40 pm

thanks, that's a great resource ! I thought I saw all the local maps of my area being a map hound. I discovered here the 1944 version of the 1:24000 topo maps, the green and white maps...Interestingly though spotty in coverage, it has the local area where I live but just a short distance away no map from this 1944 period, lost to history ? I would have to believe they also made this for surrounding areas,thanks again
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby pumpers » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:39 am

YelllowCreekRR wrote:thanks, that's a great resource ! I thought I saw all the local maps of my area being a map hound. I discovered here the 1944 version of the 1:24000 topo maps, the green and white maps...Interestingly though spotty in coverage, it has the local area where I live but just a short distance away no map from this 1944 period, lost to history ? I would have to believe they also made this for surrounding areas,thanks again

I've always wondered about what maps were made where and when and why too. I found some sort of explanation on line
https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/what-map-seri ... collection but it doesn't explain things like you mention. All the 1:24,000 7.5 minute x 7.5 minute maps are in the first line.
Maybe there was some special reason to make that 1944 map of your region (war related?), but then it would not have been public, at least back then anyway.

Speaking of ineresting stuff online, this turned up on Google: http://www.academia.edu/37702388/APPALA ... ania_U.S.A
I apologize if this was posted earlier in the thread and I missed it. Lot of good local info and maps
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby Nicolai3985 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:09 pm

Another resource that I've found since the original discussion (in 2011!) is the online mapping from the PA Spacial Data Access run by Penn State. www.pasda.psu.edu.

If you go to that site, click on Apps & Tools, then Pennsylvania Imagery Navigator, it will take you to a statewide map that has all sorts of mapping data georeferenced by location. Most of the state, and particularly western PA, is covered by mapping from a fall or winter season of 2003-2006 (Statewide Mosaic 03-06 in the dropdown menu in the upper left). Those aerials are great for picking up old rail lines since the leaves are generally off of the trees and the data is old enough to remove recent development. The newest topo maps can also be found in the pull down menu (near the bottom, Topographic Map). The best tool, though, for finding old railroad grades is the Lidar Hillshade option. It takes elevation data from a lidar survey of the state and applies it by color to an area so that it appears to be 3D. Any non-natural earthwork feature, especially the cutting and filling done by railroads, sticks out like a sore thumb. In regards to our particular area of interest, it shows pretty clearly where the PRR grading for their branch ended northeast of the former Ferrier Run Road bridge over the stream. I didn't see anything that resembled railroad grading further up the valley towards the dam, but Lidar does have its limitations. Particularly in heavy vegetation areas. And nothing truly replicates the perspective of standing at a location and looking with your own eyes. Just last year a few of us were scouting some old railroad grades near Austin, PA, and a location that was inconclusive on the Lidar and other mapping was very clearly a small railroad cut when actually visited.

There's also the PennPilot areas at www.pennpilot.psu.edu...which might have been mentioned previously.

There was some pretty good discussion on the BR&P Yahoo Group (now transitioned to groups.io) in the past about PRR / BR&P interactions around Lucerne and Tide. That area is pretty well described from the BR&P / B&O side of things. Good solid info about the history and operations of the PRR in this area is a little more elusive though.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby YelllowCreekRR » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:01 am

lately I discovered google terrain maps, is this the lidar you talk about ? more or less detailed then your site ? It's interesting how the old pre 1970's strip mines show up, before they were required to fill them back in and if you know what your looking for and look closely and can see the early 1900's small family coal mines in the sides of hills,they show up merely as a blip


https://www.google.com/maps/@40.5847295 ... a=!5m1!1e4
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby Nicolai3985 » Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:52 am

I'd say the level of detail is very similar. They may even use the same datasets. It's not unknown for Google to license mapping information to incorporate into their own Maps sites. Not sure if it's my screen or not, but the detail and definition seems to drop out a bit from the Google Terrain maps as you zoom in - it appears to get brighter. That doesn't happen on the PASDA website.

Yep, mine openings are another easy thing to spot. Former industrial sites as well. Anything Man would have done to alter the terrain and make more regular for his/her use.
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby YelllowCreekRR » Sat Jan 12, 2019 11:13 am

love that pennpilot site, I don't know of a better way to go back in time then the 1939 aerials. The amount of land cleared back then never ceases to amaze me. And that's not even the peak of the land clearing for farming ! Someone told me once that the peak amount of land cleared for farming was around the civil war but personally think that's a little early. My guess would be 1890-1910 any other thoughts on this ?
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Re: appalacha coal mine

Postby Statkowski » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:11 am

Nicolai3985 wrote:So, was the NYC route projected to cross over into the Yellow Creek watershed at some point, or was the HCT&S not a part of this grand scheme? A 1902 shows a short stretch of the "Yellow Creek Branch" built in Homer City, while the 1900 CT 1000 mentioned a junction with the "Homer & Cherry Tree R.R." at the right location. Thoughts?


The "NYC" route would have utilized the jointly-owned (PRR/NYC) Cherry Tree & Dixonville route, namely its Possum Glory (the original name of Heilwood) Branch to access the Yellow Creek watershed. (Note, although the town was renamed circa 1912, the branch's name was never changed.) By the time of the creation of the CT&D, the HCT&S project was long since dead. Of course, the NYC, through its Beech Creek Extension Railroad subsidiary, could have bought out the rights to get a new line built from Heilwood to Homer City. The purchasing of existing PRR trackage by the NYC was not new - for its West Branch Valley Line from Clearfield to Keating the NYC purchased the PRR's Karthaus Railroad from Karthaus to Keating. From Keating the NYC obtained trackage rights to move traffic over the PRR's Buffalo Line to Williamsport (for a connection with the Reading).
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