• appalacha coal mine

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Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by rrfan2004
Hi. Been a long time since I posted... I have a question that I hope can be answered, and hopefully it will stimulate some discussion. This concerns the appalacha coal mine and the yellow creek branch of the prr that served it. Recently some new information has turned up on this now abandoned mining town 5 miles south of Indiana Pa. My question concerning it, and the rail line to it, is this... I recall the rail line crossing route 954 and running along the south side of Yellow Creek... a dirt road also ran between yellow creek and the rails... but I have also heard that the little mining community existed on the NORTH side of yellow creek... and so... where exactly was this place, and, if it was in fact on the north side of the creek, did the railroad then cross Yellow Creek to access it? It's been a long time since I've been there; the mine closed in 1967... any insight into this? I was actually on the road on the south side in 1966, and didn't notice any houses: evidently there were 33 houses back there at one time... or..... was I on the wrong road??? It's really tough to find anything out about this little known place. Thank you. Ken
  by Nicolai3985
I'm not sure if the article reprinted on the Old Miner Website explicitly states it, but the Appalacha Mine's coal was carried over Yellow Creek by a tramway structure to a tipple on the south bank. This was located at or near where the Tipple is noted on the Acme Map linked to by CarterB and can be clearly seen in the 1939 aerial photograph from PennPilot. The location and orientation of the town on the north bank can also be seen in the 1939 photo.
  by rrfan2004
Thanks for the helpful replies. It was confusing, with the tipple being on the south bank, and the mine, and the town itself, being on the north bank. What really caught my attention was becoming aware that a town existed at all, particularly since it was still there in my lifetime! Apparently not much was left of it by the 1960's, if anything; yet the fact that a town of 33 houses existed without my knowledge is baffling. I remember my dad always referring to that area as Appalachia, but I always thought it was just an "area".. anyway, I do remember seeing a coal train passing through homer city, heading toward the mine in about 1965, and I was on the road on the south bank in 1966... in fact got stuck in the mud back there, and I remember seeing a little miner's shack, about the size of a phone booth, along that road... had we travelled a bit farther, I know now we would have come to the tipple... oh, well, another mystery solved... thank you. Ken
  by CarterB
Were the row of houses on both sides of a small road (Tide Drive) in Tide also a patch mining town? If so, what mine/s were there? 1941 county map shows a small spur off the Yellow Creek branch that went south and crossed Tide Rd on a trestle?
ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BP ... a_1941.pdf

Also upstream a bit from Appalacha, the rail line seemed to go to other mine/s? (at about N 40.58316 W 79.09706 and N 40.57369 W 79.10306??)
  by rrfan2004
Some good questions. Here's what I know, or think I know.... there was considerable discussion about the mines in this area on prior posts from several years ago, including waterman, coy, luciusboro, and lucernemines and some great research by some of the forum members, with accurate maps. I guess the town of tide, or tidedale , as it was once known, existed to house miners at these various sites... really not sure.. as far as that trestle over tide road is concerned, I remember it... it still existed in the 1960's, maybe even into the 70's. I don't know where it went... and, till I saw this map, I was never sure if it was off the yellow creek branch, or,. if it somehow was an extension of the network of spurs that were in lucernemines... and that connected with the yellow creek branch over a bridge, evidently... crossing yellow creek. I think the town of appalacha was about very similar in size to tide... as far as that branch going a bit beyond the tipple and up the creek, this is a mystery to me as well... I do know that, at one time, there was a proposed homer, cherry tree and susquehanna railroad planned that would have run along this grade and hooked up with the former cherry tree and dixonville railroad, i think around heilwood (?) and then hooked up with the clearfield cluster... this line was never completed... but may have been started from the homer city end. Hope this helps somewhat. Ken
  by rrfan2004
On second thought, I think those discussions occurred on the BR and P Yahoo groups site. Ken
  by Nicolai3985
If we're thinking of the same past discussions, I was a part of them and they mostly took place on the BR&PRy Yahoo! Group. There were similar discussions on one of the old iterations of the Railroad.net Forums as well. The result of all of our discussions and research was to layout the complex trackage between Lucerne and Luciusboro.

Tide was indeed a patch town. MIning started around 1913 and lasted to the 40's or 50's. The trestle over the road at Tide likely wasn't a railroad structure, but rather for a mine tramway connecting one of the Tide mines with the tipple along the creek. This tipple initially served by the BR&P. By the 1950s, the mining at Tide was completed and a coal cleaning facility was in place, served by both the PRR and B&O. The mines were initially known as the Tide Mines (Nos. 1, 2 & 3), but at some point a connection was made with the mines around Waterman and this naming used.

The BR&P branch terminated around the Tide tipple, but the PRR Yellow Creek Branch continued up the valley to serve various mines. I know the names of a few of these mines (Appalacha, Ferrier Run, Meco), but not nearly all of them as shown on that map. There were several times where a railroad was planned through the Yellow Creek or Two Lick valleys to connect the two clusters of lines at either end; the HCT&S is one of the more well-known. None of the construction in either area, though, amounted to much more than branches to serve the mines.

I will see if I can dig up the map we put together for our "presentation" to the members of the BR&PRy Yahoo Group. If that fails, I have most of the area laid out in Google Earth, so I could extract and post a .kml file.

  by CarterB
If I understand correctly, both the BR&P and the PRR went up Yellow Creek to mines? Or just the PRR up Yellow Creek and the BP&R Lucerne branch to the Waterman mines a bit further south?
There seems to be a town called Tide off Yellow Creek and also one called Tidedale at Waterman? From the IUP map collection, anyone know which map #s cover the Homer City/Yellow Creek area/s?
  by Nicolai3985
A spur from the BR&P trackage serving the Lucerne complex crossed Yellow Creek and paralleled the PRR branch to the mines at Tide. The two lines were adjacent to each other and had an interchange connection (at least in later years). The BR&P line stopped at Tide; the PRR line continued up the valley.

"Tide" was initially known as "Tidedale" until the name was shortened (not sure of the time frame). The confusion of the locations of Tide and Waterman is likely due to the mines of each town being interconnected under the ridge that separates them. I have a document from the B&O detailing its operations at the area's mines which states that the cleaning plant at Tide was known as Waterman #2.
  by rrfan2004
Another sidelight about Tide. There were coke ovens there and they lasted into the 1960's. Ken
  by Statkowski
Ken wrote:
I do know that, at one time, there was a proposed homer, cherry tree and susquehanna railroad planned that would have run along this grade and hooked up with the former cherry tree and dixonville railroad, i think around heilwood (?) and then hooked up with the clearfield cluster... this line was never completed... but may have been started from the homer city end.
The proposed rail line would have been part of the New York Central Railroad's "back door" route into Pittsburgh in order to be more competitive with the rival Pennsylvania Railroad. From Homer City it would have continued down towards Blairsville, running through Greensburg, and entering Pittsburgh via McKeesport or something like that. The overall war plan was scuttled when the New Haven's J.P. Morgan got the Central and Pennsy to have a sit-down chit-chat aboard his yacht, the Corsair. The Corsair Agreements, totally illegal today, basically established territories and prohibited encroachment into another carrier's domain. Existing lines stayed the way they were, but planned and uncompleted extensions (the South Penn Railroad, now part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike) were abandoned.

The line in question would have connected with the Cherry Tree & Dixonville at Sample Run Junction, just west of Western Junction in Clymer. What remained, once the Corsair Agreements were signed off on, was the single-track line sans any junction from Clymer to the Sample Run Mine. This is why the junction in Clymer going to the Sample Run Mine is called Western Junction, since it was here that the Western Branch veered off from the main line. Further down where Pa. Route 286 curves right (heading westward), Sample Run Junction was where the Sample Run Branch connected with the Western Branch (and continued to be identified as such in official railroad documents). Clymer's passenger station was located on the Western Branch.

Was the line "started" in Homer City, or was it "started" on the eastern end? For that question to be answered, we need to know who started construction on the Yellow Creek Branch and when. What is known is that the line was surveyed, and part of the Western Branch was built, although the Western Branch construction may have been part of the original CT&D agreement. Both Western and Sample Run branches were opened for operation in October 1906. The original CT&D line, from Cherry Tree to Wandin, was opened in December 1904, with the line from Wandin to Idamar in December 1906. Since the Western Branch opened in October of that year, we know that the tracks got as far as Clymer by then, too. Beyond took just a little bit longer.

Oh, in addition to the Western Branch continuing down Yellow Creek Valley, there also existed a planned Penn Run Branch off of it, also never built.
  by crownhill1915
I am a 'new' arrival to Railroad.Net and I am hoping to get some further discussion on an 'old topic'-Appalacha and Meco-two small coal mining communities along route 954 outside of Indiana, Pennsylvania. I have done some extensive research and have visited the two communities recently taking pictures of notable foundations. To further my research, I am hoping to get additional input / discussion from other members and possibly a track layout of the line that was extended to these mines by the PRR in April, 1915. Hoping to hear from other members. Thanks. Ron
  by Nicolai3985
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?