Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

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Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby Cactus Jack » Fri May 03, 2013 11:00 am

Can anyone explain the railroad that passed under Kinzua Bridge?

I think this was the Kushequa Route but I am not sure just how it functioned or where it went / connected or served by going under the bridge. Mapping I have seen to date seems to conflict and is a maze of trackage and is complicated by which time periond one is looking at.

When did the trackage under the bridge disappear and was it standard or narrow gauge ?
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby charlie6017 » Fri May 03, 2013 4:27 pm

Hi Doug,

You are correct that it is the "Kushequa Route" that ran underneath this bridge.

According to Mike Zollitsch's BR&P Volume 2, the Mt. Jewett, Kinzua & Riterville was a 26 mile line that
stretched between PRR connections at Westline and Smethport. I think I remember reading somewhere
that it was narrow-gauge, but cannot recall if it always remained that way.

Charlie
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Mt. Jewett Kinzua & Riterville Railroad

Postby CarterB » Fri May 03, 2013 4:52 pm

Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby pumpers » Sun May 12, 2013 12:15 pm

From the BRP underpass mentioned above at Backus (CarterB's link), the line went a mile or so north to McKean where it had a fork (see the marker on this map)
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=41.81892,-78 ... ounty%20PA

One branch went a little north and then east, down into COle Creek valley and then to Farmers Valley. You can see the ROW the topo . Not sure how long that lasted.

The other branch went a little south and then east, passing just north of Ormsby and the staying on the north side of Smethport Ormsby Rd all the way to Smethport. There is a dotted line on the topo map. THis is the part that was most successful - from Smethport (actually East Smethport and the PRR connection) to Kushequa and beyond, that lasted well into the 1920s.

It is confusing in the McKean /Ormsby area because the Bradford Bordell and Kinzua (a narrow gauge line) ran northwest-southeast in that area, crossing the Kushequa in McKean, and then from Ormsby running south and then east to Smethport (entering it from the valley of Marvin Creek, south of the Kushequa line which was just north of Rte 59 ). That line was all gone by 1905 or so. WIth some effort you can make out this line too still on topo maps and satellite photos.

The eastern end of the Kushequa line (McKean to Smethport, and maybe all the way to Kushequa), was built as standard gauge I have read.

JS
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby Cactus Jack » Thu May 16, 2013 2:08 pm

Ok, to clear up confusion on my part ....

from Ormsby the BB&K went where (towards Smethport) ? - south of Route 59 - where in today's terms was the Ormsby Jct.?

The Kushequa was north of Route 59? so then that would be the ROW to be seen up on the hillside that drops down by the golf course ?

Then was there not a ROW continuing on the hillside above Smethport (north side) that went over towards Farmers Valley ?
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby pumpers » Mon May 20, 2013 8:45 pm

Cactus Jack wrote:Ok, to clear up confusion on my part ....

from Ormsby the BB&K went where (towards Smethport) ? - south of Route 59 - where in today's terms was the Ormsby Jct.?

I haven't seen a map, but here is what I infer from what I see in topo maps, and a local link from a Smethport trails site that shows where the BBK entered town, and "putting 2+2" together.
Take a look at this map link:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=41.80145,-78 ... hport%20PA
Coming south from Bradford , point A is the BBK just north of McKean. Between A and B, the Kushequa crossed it , coming up from the south, then turning east and then southeast after crossing the BBK. YOu can then follow the BBK as points C D E.... with a slow steady descent after D which leads me to believe it was a RR ROW. In the map in Topo mode, you see a dotted line, which is missing between G and J, but if you switch to satellite view and zoom in you can pretty clearly see it 100+ years later. I think it is now a snowmobile trail. Down near Smethport between M and N, in satellite mode you clearly see a wavy ROW in a field that corresponds exactly to the dotted line. The BBK was a narrow gauge, so the wavyness does not surprise me.
The Kushequa was north of Route 59? so then that would be the ROW to be seen up on the hillside that drops down by the golf course ?
Yes
Then was there not a ROW continuing on the hillside above Smethport (north side) that went over towards Farmers Valley ?

Actually I think there was such a line, but it didn't live as long as the Smethport section. By "Ormsby Jct", I am not sure but am assuming you mean where the Kushequa RR forked, with one branch to Smethport and the other to Farmer's valley. The junction is at Point A in the map link I posted a few days ago here. In the link I posted today, this junction is about 1000 ft north of Point B. From there you can follow in Topo mode as a jeep trail (double dotted line) which winds and then descends most of the way down into the valley of the SOuth Branch of Cole Creek, on its way to Farmers valley. If by Ormsby Jct you mean where the Kushequa and the BBK crossed, that would be at the location between A and B I mentioned earlier in this post.
Hope this helps, JS
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby Cactus Jack » Tue May 21, 2013 7:48 am

The mapping helps. I think I understand it all better now, thanks !

By Ormsby Junction of the BB&K, I mean where the lines of the narrow gage split; one going to Smethport and the other to Mount Jewett. The original depot burned, and was moved a piece when rebuilt but I don't know where or how. I think the new depot was later moved to Mount Jewett after BB&K operations ceased in 1906.

What seems complicated is the parallel routes in some sense of the Kushequa and the BB&K.

I still have yet to figure the BL&K, PS&N, P&W, Erie, BR&P in the Mount Jewett area. I've seen numerous maps but most do not agree with each other and of course the is not a continuity across the board timeline wise.
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Re: Railroad underneath Kinzua Bridge

Postby pumpers » Wed May 22, 2013 4:05 am

Cactus Jack wrote:By Ormsby Junction of the BB&K, I mean where the lines of the narrow gage split; one going to Smethport and the other to Mount Jewett. The original depot burned, and was moved a piece when rebuilt but I don't know where or how. I think the new depot was later moved to Mount Jewett after BB&K operations ceased in 1906.

I don't know about the depot, but I think the junction in question was about 500 ft north of Point D on the map I linked in my last post. The reason I think so is I read somewhere that after the BB&K was abandoned, around 1906, that most of the ROW was left to nature, except Ormsby to Mt. Jewett which was turned into an road for cars (a few years later I suppose, not many cars yet in 1906!). If you switch to Map mode, from just north of D, starting from a junction with the BB&K route I outlined, you see a Lindholm Rd/Rd 3011 which follows a gentle grade to Mt. Jewett (switches name to Bridge St for a while). So I think that was the BB&K. Down closer to Mt. Jewett, the road may differ from the BB&K row because of the re=aligned B&O RR row (former BR&P) cutting off the former BB&K. (Those wiggles of an old ROW near the modern fairly straight B&O (as labelled on the map I linked) were the original BR&P I think, not the BB&K. The realignment was around 1909 I believe, after the BB&K was abandoned). I don't know if the original BR&P and the BB&K had any crossings in the section just northeast of Mt. Jewett or not.)
What seems complicated is the parallel routes in some sense of the Kushequa and the BB&K.
I also read the near the end of the BB&K, maybe 1905, the BB&K abandoned its own route from Ormsby to Smethport, so passengers on the BB&K from Bradford to Smethport had to change to the Kushequa RR where the 2 lines crossed just north of Ormsby. Don't know what they did about freight on the BB&K to Smethport, if there still was any, since the BB&K was narrow gauage (3 foot?) and the Kushequa was standard. In any case the agreement was short lived since the BB&K called it quits entirely in 1906 I believe.
I still have yet to figure the BL&K, PS&N, P&W, Erie, BR&P in the Mount Jewett area. I've seen numerous maps but most do not agree with each other and of course the is not a continuity across the board timeline wise.
All I can add was that I don't think the PS&N made it to Mt. Jewett, going more south from Smethport, going along Route 6. The ROW is well marked on the map I linked. Have fun!
JS
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