NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: Otto Vondrak

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:05 pm

Cherry Tree Monument.jpg
Officially it's a picture of the Cherry Tree Volunteer Fire Company in front of the Cherry Tree Monument (marking the actual junction of Cambria, Clearfield and Indiana Counties before the Borough of Cherry Tree was created).

Unofficially the picture is being photobombed in the background by a New York Central H-5 2-8-2 returning with a string of loaded coal hoppers on PRR tracks.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

RSD15
Posts: 458
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:12 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by RSD15 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:05 am

The NYC bridge over the West Branch Susquehanna River. The train is about to enter the B&O at CB junction and head to Clearfield. 1991.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

RSD15
Posts: 458
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:12 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by RSD15 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:12 am

The rear end helpers with the entire train are now on the B&O. By this time 1991,most of the line to DuBois was gone or out of service even the
switch at "CB" spiked and blocked for the line to Cherry Tree.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:57 am

I'll see your still shot of a former NYC trestle and raise you a video shot of a former NYC trestle, this one at McGee's Mills where the line crosses over the former PRR Clearfield & Jefferson RR line to Punxsutawney and a little beyond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYGSNvqPPBI&t=247s
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4155
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:12 pm

What were the crew starting points down in that area? Clearfield, I'm sure. Cherry Tree.... where else? How many crews? Any idea what jobs worked which branches? Obviously things changed over the years and info from the 20's is probably impossible. How about more recent NYC times?

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:03 pm

All the crews come out of Clearfield. Normal train crew is one at the throttle and one in a pickup truck tagging along, making sure the grade crossings are working, inspecting the trains as they pass, etc.

Branches to work? Well, there's Clearfield to Clymer, Clearfield to Cresson, Clearfield to Keating, and Clearfield to the Philipsburg area. They essentially work until they run out of time, or are close to it, and replacements are dispatched to their location. For the Clymer operation, I figure it takes two crews - one to Clymer, shuffling the train around for the return trip, then start the loading (which takes about three hours). Clearfield to Cherry Tree takes at least three hours, and Cherry Tree to Clymer takes another two. I've seen them swap out crews at Cherry Tree on the return trip.

In New York Central days Cherry Tree was indeed a hub, complete with engine facilities and turntable. L-1 4-8-2 Mohawks brought the trains to Cherry Tree and H-5 2-8-2 Mikados continued on to Clymer, Manver, and all the assorted branches, including the Cambria County RR running from Spangler to Carrolltown. I'm told that a good crew could make the run from Cherry Tree to Williamsport and back in one day. Of course, that may have been when crews outlawed after 16 hours, not the current 12. Separate crews handled the Cherry Tree & Dixonville operations. Can't say how things were handled in Clearfield back then, but I'm sure it was similar with the various Clearfield County branches feeding in there.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4155
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:22 am

Statkowski wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:03 pm
I'm told that a good crew could make the run from Cherry Tree to Williamsport and back in one day. Of course, that may have been when crews outlawed after 16 hours, not the current 12.
So the same crew ran all the way from Cherry Tree to Newberry (Williamsport)? I would have thought one crew to Clearfield and another from there eastward. How many crews a day worked out of Cherry Tree?

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:35 pm

BR&P wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:22 am
So the same crew ran all the way from Cherry Tree to Newberry (Williamsport)? I would have thought one crew to Clearfield and another from there eastward. How many crews a day worked out of Cherry Tree?
Back in the day, the track speeds were higher, 25 mph between Cherry Tree and Clearfield, with no 10 mph restrictions like today. The roughest part of the line between Cherry Tree and Clearfield is between Cherry Tree and Mahaffey due to the curves. In steam days they needed pushers to get downhill (not much downhill, but still downhill) due to the wheel resistance on the curves (lots and lots of wheels with 50-ton cars). Cherry Tree to Mahaffey on the former Pittsburg & Eastern, then former Beech Creek and Beech Creek Extension tracks to CB Junction, former B&O tracks to Clearfield, through the yard, West Branch Valley line to Keating, the PRR to the connection with Avis Yard just outside of Jersey Shore. From there it was on former Fall Brook District tracks to Newberry Jct. All of this was Pennsylvania Division trackage, so it was essentially one big crew district, maybe. A one-way, straight-through run from Cherry Tree to Newberry Jct. would have been no problem, time-wise. It was going out and back that was the trick.

How many crews? Unknown. The last New York Central employee that I knew of passed away a few years back, and the G.M. in Clearfield was a former Pennsylvania employee (and they worked out of Osceola Mills, not Clearfield or Cherry Tree), so that knowledge source is lost. The PRR probably handled all of the Heilwood business since the mine there was a Bethlehem Steel mine, and most of their traffic got handed off to the Cambria & Indiana for hand-off to the PRR for Johnstown. The Central received a lot of traffic from the Cambria & Indiana at Manver simply because they owned 40% of the railroad, and some of the C&I's mines were Clearfield Bituminous mines (which the Central owned). I'm sure there were at least two or three crews working the CT&D with all of its branches. I'm told there were once up to five trains a day coming off the CT&D to the NYC yard just north of Cherry Tree (and all of this with nothing more than crossbucks at the Cherry Street crossing). Cars at Cherry Tree had to be sorted and weighed, so that was at least one yard crew per shift. The engine facilities were at the south end of the yard, and the track scales were at the north end.

On the bright side, the track is still in, and it's being used. The yard is gone, as are the assorted branches, but the main line still sees service.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4155
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Tue Nov 12, 2019 3:19 pm

Statkowski wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:35 pm
I'm told there were once up to five trains a day coming off the CT&D to the NYC yard just north of Cherry Tree (and all of this with nothing more than crossbucks at the Cherry Street crossing). Cars at Cherry Tree had to be sorted and weighed, so that was at least one yard crew per shift.
Unreal! So sad to consider what used to be. But it's that way all over. In 1967, I list 24 regular NYC crews a day in greater Rochester NY - plus work trains, road relief, extras, etc. And THAT was a shadow of what it had been in the 40's. Today I think CSX has 2 - 2 man crews a day, maybe 3.

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:16 pm

This is the original CT&D track map.
CT&D Map (2).jpg
Here's what still exists.

Of note, the map incorrectly shows the county borders at Cherry Tree, which is actually a trapezoid stealing land from both Clearfield and Cambria counties to place the Borough of Cherry Tree within Indiana County. Oh, doesn't show the Barr Slope Branch or Lovejoy Branch (both less than a half-mile long), but they disappeared early on.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4155
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:33 pm

Thanks, that makes visualization much easier.

I was down to Colver when C&I was disposing of stuff, bought a couple sets of rerailers from them. So sad to see everything being shut down. But that trip took me through Cherry Tree, might have been the time I took those 2 slides which I can't find yet.

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:46 am

Data Source: CT&D TT#1, 4/28/1957:

Speed Restrictions:
Main Line between Cherry Tree Jct. and Idamar - 25 mph
Possum Glory Branch between Wandin and Manver - 25 mph
Loop Track between Fleming Summit and North End Cut-off - 12 mph

No further speed restrictions posted for these portions of the railroad.

Data Source: NYC Pa. Div. TT# 62, 4/29/1951:

Speed Restrictions:
C.B. Jct. and Curry Run - 25 mph
  • Engine classes H-10, J and L, between M.P. 3 and M.P. 6 and between M.P. 9 and M.P. 11 - 20 mph
Curry Run and Dowler Jct. - 25
  • M.P. 110 1/2 to 111 1/2, Engines Classes H-10, J and L - 20 mph
    Engines, Classes U, H-10, J and L over Bridge E-8 at M.P. 2.6 - 15 mph
    Engines, Classes H-5 and H-6 over Bridge E-8 at M.P. 2.6 - 20 mph
Dowler Jct. and Cherry Tree - 25 mph
  • Switch at Dowler Jct. when diverging - 20 mph
    All trains, M.P. 3 and 5 - 15 mph
West Branch and Keating Jct. - 35 mph
  • Fulton Tunnel - 20 mph
    Shawville Tunnel - 25 mph
    Deer Tunnel - 25 mph
    Karthaus Tunnel - 20 mph
    Between M.P. 32 and M.P. 35 all trains - 30 mph
    Eastward trains approaching signal 530, Keating Jct. Station - 10 mph

And that's they way it used to be.

The New York Central steam engine classes were as follows:
Class H - 2-8-2 Mikado
Class J - 4-6-4 Hudson
Class L - 4-8-2 Mohawk
Class U - 0-8-0 switcher
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

Statkowski
Posts: 584
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:12 am

Should point out, NYC dispatchers handled both the CT&D and all the NYC trackage from Cherry Tree northward.

PRR did the dispatching for NYC operations on PRR tracks (of course), and also handled the NYC's Cambria County Line (Spangler to Carrolltown).
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4155
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Mon Nov 25, 2019 12:47 pm

Well I have not found those slides, and somehow have misplaced that 1947 Keystone Coal Buyers manual. But I DID find a 1964 NYC Employees Timetable #14, effective October 27, 1963. I have scanned 3 pages here, and will add more later. It obviously was a fascinating and busy area at one time.
img110.jpg
img111.jpg
img112.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
charlie6017
Posts: 3133
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:42 pm
Location: Rochester, New York

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by charlie6017 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:33 pm

Great stuff! Upon looking at the map in the first page, it gave me the impression that a southbound movement at Jersey Shore
had to run around it's train to head west back to the coal fields. But I looked at the overhead view on Google maps and I can see
what used to be a connecting track. Of course this particular area is trails now except the still in place ex-PRR.

I can only imagine how busy this area was at one time.

Charlie
~Charlie Ricker

Return to “New York Central”