Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

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John Johnstone
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Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by John Johnstone »

Does anyone know the precise route from Pottsville (PRR Station) to Wilkes Barre to include leased right of way railroads and their junctions, particular stops on the locals and the Anthracite Express and how long these trains ran. Thanks

mst145
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by mst145 »

From the 1933 PRR Wilkes-Barre Division Employee Timetable:
Image
Image
Image

From Pottsville, they traveled to Newton where the entered LVRR trackage. From Newton they traveled to Tomhicken, then to Nescopeck, where they re-entered PRR trackage, then north to Wilkes-Barre.

M.T.

westernfalls
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by westernfalls »

mst145 wrote:From Newton they traveled to Tomhicken, then to Nescopeck, where they re-entered PRR trackage...
M.T.
Trackage rights over the LV extended to Tomhicken, thence back onto the PRR.

John Johnstone
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by John Johnstone »

Thanks much for the info - I believe PRR passenger service between Pottsville and Wilkes Barre ceased around 1940

Statkowski
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by Statkowski »

The 1948 movie, "Miracle of the Bells," starring Frank Sinatra and Fred McMurry takes place in Nanticoke, Pa. The opening scene shows a PRR 4-4-0 pulling a combine and coach enroute from "the outside world," transporting a movie star's casket that originated in Southern California. Might have just been a movie train, but it was a PRR consist arriving in Nanticoke.
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Post by 2nd trick op »

The '33 Employees' Timetable carded two daily passenger moves in each direction Wilkes Barre to Philadelphia; one of the two moves was designated the Anthrcite Express Service between Nescopeck and Sunbury was provided by motor cars in some, but not all instances.

Through Wilkes Barre-Philly service ended in 1940 or '41, and the late Clarence Weaver of Sunbury caught a run, reportedly the last, on movie film. Mr. Weaver was far ahead of his time with regard to technology, but his extensive work was not made availabe to the public until after his death.

A review of local topographic maps leads me to believe that the Wilkes Barre-Philadelphia passenger moves backed into the Lehigh Valley's passenger station at Hazleton.

The Sunbury-Wilkes Barre passenger service was operated until the spring of 1953, using a motor car in its last years. A year or two later, Hurricane Hazel flooded Nescopeck Creek, and the Nescopeck Branch was abandoned between Nescopeck and a strip mine at Gowen, about two miles south of Rock Glen. However, the rails didn't come up until the summer of 1961, and the interlocking plant at Nescopeck, though its use dwindled down to an emergency basis after 1958, wasn't taken up until nearly seven years later.

A substantial part of "Miracle of the Bells" was also filmed in Glen Lyon, a "patch town" located in a hollow between Mocanaqua and Nanticoke, and paralell to the Susuqehanna River on the other side of a ridge. Both PRR and CNJ had feeders into this area at one time.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Thu Oct 01, 2009 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)

pumpers
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by pumpers »

Thanks for the timetables.
Funny that the LV section in the timetables ended at Tomhicken (130.8 miles from Philadelphia) and the PRR section started at Gum Run (132.8). On the map they are about 2 miles apart. Did PRR actually start at Tomhicken?

Also, wasn't there a junction at Rock Glen, with a branch running west to Catawissa (Scotch Valley Br?)? I thought that was a PRR branch (could be wrong), surprised the junction wasn't mentioned in the timetable. Is it possible it was gone by the date of the timetable already??
JS

mst145
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by mst145 »

pumpers wrote:Also, wasn't there a junction at Rock Glen, with a branch running west to Catawissa (Scotch Valley Br?)? I thought that was a PRR branch (could be wrong), surprised the junction wasn't mentioned in the timetable. Is it possible it was gone by the date of the timetable already??
JS
That was the Catawissa Branch. It was still around in '33.

Image

From the Special Instructions section:
Image

M.T.
Last edited by mst145 on Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

JimBoylan
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by JimBoylan »

pumpers wrote:wasn't there a junction at Rock Glen, with a branch running west to Catawissa (Scotch Valley Br?)? I thought that was a PRR branch, surprised the junction wasn't mentioned in the timetable.
There is a junction shown 8/10 mile away at Glen Junction. PRR did have a branch to CA Junction, 6/10 mile from Catawissa on the "Main Line" between Willkes-Barre and Sunbury. Was the Scotch Valley branch broken at the Catawissa end before it was entirely abandoned?

pumpers
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by pumpers »

Thanks JimB and Mst. I have been wasting my lunch hour online on the Catawissa Branch :

- Passenger service ended on the Catawissa /Glen Junction portion in 1931 http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR%20PASS%20Jun%2005.pdf

- An 11 mile section from 1 mile from the main line junction in Catawissa towards Rock Glen was abandoned (as JimB suspected) in 1940 . The east end would be in around Beaver, estimated from the mileages in the timetable posted above. http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR1940%20Aug%2004.wd.pdf
It sounds like not much was happening on that section already in 1933 (car storage) as noted in mst's timetable.

- Apparently the remainder to Glen Junction (6 miles ?) was left to service a coal mine at Scotch Valley -
http://www.webcircle.com/users/cobrandt/9807.txt (scroll/search down a little over 1/2 way to the message from "Richard F. Makse") I guess this is where the reservoir/lake seen on aerial photos is today just north of Mountain Grove. (this site says the line may have been broken in the 30's, but it sounds like 1940 based on the PRR Chronology site given above.

- The remaining 1 mile stub in Catawissa was abandoned in 1943: http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR1943%20Aug%2004.wd.pdf

Maybe the Glen Junction to Scotch Valley Colliery section of the Catawissa Br. lasted to the end (1953)...

JS

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Light Traffic and Heavy Protection

Post by 2nd trick op »

Pumpers wrote:
The remaining 1 mile stub in Catawissa was abandoned in 1943: http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR1943%20Aug%2004.wd.pdf
There may be a bit more to the story than that. Wilkes-Barre Division ETT's from the late 1940's still showed a short segment of the Catawissa Branch, (now downgraded to a Secondary Track, but still described in full, that is, with stations, sidings, etc.) running from CA Junction to an interlocked crossing with the Reading at REDPEN. According to a former "op" with whom I was acquainted, this tower survived until around 1950, but was in service only when opened by General or Train Order, the justification being a once-a-week interchange move. Those same ETT''s also make reference to a "Scotch Valley Industrial Track", without further details.

In the years following the Civil war, The F. W. Beers company produced very detailed atlases, on a county-by-county basis, for many parts of the Northeast. The 1873 Luzerne County Atlas shows a "Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Danville" railroad following the grade of the Catawissa Branch as far as Hazleton. The same atlas shows no rails on the east side of the North Branch of the Susquehanna south of Nanticoke, save for some local trackage serving a DuPont powder mill at Wapwallopen.

Around 1880, the PRR decided to invade the anthracite fields, and chartered both a "North and West Branch" and a "Nescopec" (sic) Railroad, one to build north along the east side of the North Branch, the other to follow Nescopeck and Black Creeks from Nescopeck to what became Glen Junction on the Catawissa. And for some time, the Pennsy entertained ideas of routing overhead traffic from the Wilkes-Barre gateway to the west via Selinsgrove and Lewistown, rather than the heavier Bald Eagle Branch via Lock Haven and Tyrone. This would account for the inclusion of the Selinsgrove Branch in the former Wilkes-Barre Division at one time.

http://www.scripophily.net/norandwesbra.html#

The seventh volume of the Barnard, Roberts Triumph series contains a photo of REDPEN. My personal guess is that another industry some distance to the north lasted until 1943, and the line was cut further back to REDPEN at that time. Also take note that while both the RDG crossing at REDPEN and that with the LV at GUM RUN were interlocked and (presumably) manned, the two ends of the branch at CA Junction and Glen Junction were not, nor were the PRR/LV junctions at Tomhicken and New Boston, presumably because the agreements between roads crossing at grade mandated more positive protection.

Links to a 1947 ETT for the LV are posted below:

http://www.lvrr.com/index.php?album=%2F ... e05-06.jpg

http://www.lvrr.com/index.php?album=%2F ... e07-08.jpg
What a revoltin' development this is! (William Bendix)

John Johnstone
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by John Johnstone »

Does anyone have a timetable whcih includes passenger stops between Pottsville and Wilkes Barre (other than just Hazelton, which is included on my 1935 Pensy/Reading combined timetable) and when that passenger service ended. I know they stopped passenger service on the Pennsy, beyond Reading in 1948. Thanks

westernfalls
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Re: Pottsville to Wilkes Barre

Post by westernfalls »

John Johnstone wrote:Does anyone have a timetable whcih includes passenger stops between Pottsville and Wilkes Barre...
and when that passenger service ended.
The PRR's Official Guide listing in 1930 shows two round trips on the route, calling at:
Pottsville, St. Clair, Morea, New Boston, New Boston Jct., McAdoo, Audenried, Hazleton, Tomhicken,
Fern Glen, Rock Glen, Tank, Zenith, Nescopeck, Wapwallopen, Mocanaqua, Retreat, Nanticoke, and Wilkes Barre.

According to Christopher Baer's research available at:
http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR%20PASS%20Jun%2005.pdf
this service is thought to have been discontinued 8/21/1941, however it was not show in the 6/1941 Official Guide.

Hope this helps.

PRSL2005
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Re: Light Traffic and Heavy Protection

Post by PRSL2005 »

2nd trick op wrote:Pumpers wrote:
The remaining 1 mile stub in Catawissa was abandoned in 1943: http://www.prrths.com/Hagley/PRR1943%20Aug%2004.wd.pdf
There may be a bit more to the story than that. Wilkes-Barre Division ETT's from the late 1940's still showed a short segment of the Catawissa Branch, (now downgraded to a Secondary Track, but still described in full, that is, with stations, sidings, etc.) running from CA Junction to an interlocked crossing with the Reading at REDPEN. According to a former "op" with whom I was acquainted, this tower survived until around 1950, but was in service only when opened by General or Train Order, the justification being a once-a-week interchange move. Those same ETT''s also make reference to a "Scotch Valley Industrial Track", without further details.

In the years following the Civil war, The F. W. Beers company produced very detailed atlases, on a county-by-county basis, for many parts of the Northeast. The 1873 Luzerne County Atlas shows a "Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Danville" railroad following the grade of the Catawissa Branch as far as Hazleton. The same atlas shows no rails on the east side of the North Branch of the Susquehanna south of Nanticoke, save for some local trackage serving a DuPont powder mill at Wapwallopen.

Around 1880, the PRR decided to invade the anthracite fields, and chartered both a "North and West Branch" and a "Nescopec" (sic) Railroad, one to build north along the east side of the North Branch, the other to follow Nescopeck and Black Creeks from Nescopeck to what became Glen Junction on the Catawissa. And for some time, the Pennsy entertained ideas of routing overhead traffic from the Wilkes-Barre gateway to the west via Selinsgrove and Lewistown, rather than the heavier Bald Eagle Branch via Lock Haven and Tyrone. This would account for the inclusion of the Selinsgrove Branch in the former Wilkes-Barre Division at one time.

http://www.scripophily.net/norandwesbra.html#

The seventh volume of the Barnard, Roberts Triumph series contains a photo of REDPEN. My personal guess is that another industry some distance to the north lasted until 1943, and the line was cut further back to REDPEN at that time. Also take note that while both the RDG crossing at REDPEN and that with the LV at GUM RUN were interlocked and (presumably) manned, the two ends of the branch at CA Junction and Glen Junction were not, nor were the PRR/LV junctions at Tomhicken and New Boston, presumably because the agreements between roads crossing at grade mandated more positive protection.

Links to a 1947 ETT for the LV are posted below:

http://www.lvrr.com/index.php?album=%2F ... e05-06.jpg

http://www.lvrr.com/index.php?album=%2F ... e07-08.jpg
It had to be REDPEN, PENRED was on the P.R.S.L..
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pinnedoak
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Re: Almost Forgotten

Post by pinnedoak »

2nd trick op wrote:The '33 Employees' Timetable carded two daily passenger moves in each direction Wilkes Barre to Philadelphia; one of the two moves was designated the Anthrcite Express Service between Nescopeck and Sunbury was provided by motor cars in some, but not all instances.

Through Wilkes Barre-Philly service ended in 1940 or '41, and the late Clarence Weaver of Sunbury caught a run, reportedly the last, on movie film. Mr. Weaver was far ahead of his time with regard to technology, but his extensive work was not made availabe to the public until after his death.

A review of local topographic maps leads me to believe that the Wilkes Barre-Philadelphia passenger moves backed into the Lehigh Valley's passenger station at Hazleton.

The Sunbury-Wilkes Barre passenger service was operated until the spring of 1953, using a motor car in its last years. A year or two later, Hurricane Hazel flooded Nescopeck Creek, and the Nescopeck Branch was abandoned between Nescopeck and a strip mine at Gowen, about two miles south of Rock Glen. However, the rails didn't come up until the summer of 1961, and the interlocking plant at Nescopeck, though its use dwindled down to an emergency basis after 1958, wasn't taken up until nearly seven years later.

A substantial part of "Miracle of the Bells" was also filmed in Glen Lyon, a "patch town" located in a hollow between Mocanaqua and Nanticoke, and paralell to the Susuqehanna River on the other side of a ridge. Both PRR and CNJ had feeders into this area at one time.
Where did you find that the rails were pulled in 1961? This has been a very interesting thread for what little is documented for this short segment of line.

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