Bird's eye view of Rockville Bridge near Harrisburg Pa....

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:49 AM
....Russ from what you have shown in the Somerset area I can see you really have spent some time digging around to what's available there...Yes, I'm aware of the grade coming around from it's big sweeping crurve as it had exited from where it crossed Rt. 281 near Geiger. Then crosses the "new" 219 Rt....and then heads for the area you speak of...{The Wal-Mart location}. Then crosses {old 219}, believe you mentioned it's now tagged 601 and heads {in a cut}, towards Edi {small village}, and then heads to tackle the grade towards Laurel Hill.

Russ...I realize you are recording only the one railroad {SP}, but there are other interesting features of another in that very area....Just about 5 miles or less north and maybe a bit east of the Wal-Mart location we can find a location of abandoned rail route from the Boswell Branch of the former B&O. The B&O {Somerset & Cambria} branch.
Coincidentally...right below your entry over on the web site {Railwaystation.com} and your entry of "Ft. Littletown, Pa"....I have an entry...Look for Friedens, Pa....and it relates of an aerial view of such branch just northwest of Friedens as viewed from TerraServer.

That branch, at that location has connected....end to end practically....4 horseshoe curves as it makes it's way from Friedens to Ralphton...a former small coal mining town.....Of course that route continues to swing around the area and makes it's way through several mining towns and eventually back to Somerset and enters right along side the Turnpike...and connects to the S&C right before it passes under the Turnpike and of course past the feed mill you mentioned in an earlier post. Those 4 horseshoe curves are really easy to see and rather easy to get to on the ground. The Friedens part of that branch that locates the 4 horseshoe curves, was abandoned roughly 60 years ago.

Quentin

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Posted by blhanel on Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:03 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

Dave....I too am thinking maybe we should not be posting so much on a RR project that's different from your original subject....Say the word and I'll back away....I must confess the SP RR is a fascinating subject to me.

Bear in mind too,that there are a fair amount of people reading this thread who know nothing of the area, yet find the topic interesting nonetheless.[:D]

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:48 AM
....And thanks Brian {IA}

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:41 PM
Thanks Brian

I'm glad people are appreciating the research I have done. Its been buried for 120 years and now I hope to get it all out to the interested. At least here people are open to it.

I have a great shot of the turnpike and the abandoned South Penn merging at milepost 108.0 . Look at the truck compared to the grade just in the foreground across the center of the photo. This is on a curve on the northside or west bound side of the pike just west of Somerset.This is also where the PW&S breaks off the acquired South Penn Railroad's Somerset bypss alignment.

Notice the embedded date



http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d64/spennrr18811885/PollitNewPicGrade.jpg

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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, April 27, 2006 7:56 PM
...Looks like you're still in my old stompin' grounds Russ.....Everything goes as planned, we'll be there one month from today.
I wonder if the PW&S RR used the brick passenger depot...{not sure when it was built}, that used to serve the S&C branch there in Somerset....? It was located roughly 3/4 mile beyond {south}, the mill we've been mentioning here...Too bad I wasn't up on these subjects back as a child as my mother rode on the PW&S from Somerset to Ligonier and return more than once.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:08 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

...Looks like you're still in my old stompin' grounds Russ.....Everything goes as planned, we'll be there one month from today.
I wonder if the PW&S RR used the brick passenger depot...{not sure when it was built}, that used to serve the S&C branch there in Somerset....? It was located roughly 3/4 mile beyond {south}, the mill we've been mentioning here...Too bad I wasn't up on these subjects back as a child as my mother rode on the PW&S from Somerset to Ligonier and return more than once.


I have heard of some families mentioning the stories. Its to bad we could not live in both time periods. But I always come back to the fact that if I had no computer it would be to expensive to log all the material I have amassed. Here's another South Penn abandoned grade on Red Goose Road. A little to the west of the sharp railroad built highway curve. You were aware the railroad built that S curve wern't you?



http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d64/spennrr18811885/RedGooseRoadGade.jpg

Look just inside the tree line.This is just east of the B&O Boswell Branch

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Thursday, April 27, 2006 8:24 PM


http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d64/spennrr18811885/ReamsSawMillGradeA.jpg

At exactly the 105.5 mile post is this South Penn / PW&S Grade (NO NOT THE TURNPIKE, look into the field above the pike at the 3:00 position to center of picture) breaking away from the turnpike once more and beginning its climb up the east slope of the Laurel Hill Mountain. By the time the turnpike gets back to and alongside the railroad grade again the grade is found inside the woods at exactly the 103.0 mile post west of this site and about 50 feet higher then the turnpike road surface. The building in the distance is the Reams Lumber mill and that property is still in the Reams family which owned the property at least since the survey of the 1881-1885 South Penn railroad era.

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Posted by cr6479 on Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:45 PM
It look's like former conrail line i think it is? In the background the tracks spite to the left and right. If you go left will the track go into Washington DC?
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Posted by Modelcar on Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:01 PM
Good shots Russ....and just today...! I recognize the position of the 2nd pic but not sure about the 1st one....I may have been there in years past....Not sure. Have not lived in the area for 44 years. Memory fades a bit....
Wondering about the PW&S grade near the toll both....and as you noted it crosses over in an easternly direction, down behind McDonalds...etc....Years ago {when the Turnpike was first opened}, there was tourist cabins in that area and eventually they were connected together and then later yet, a 2nd story added and it become a large 2 story motel...Believe it was called Zimmermans...ROW must have been located behind {north west}, of it.....That was way before any entry or exit was available on that Turnpike ramp beyond the toll boths.....
Wi***hat Boswell Branch could have survived and become a tourist run say over to Boswell and return....Some very different and rare type location to that route. Over beyond Friedens by roughly 2 miles north the track crossed the county road and wound out in a large field and circled back 180 degrees and crossed the same road just a couple hundred feet beyond first crossing to gain maybe....20 ft. in ele. or so....That can be seen as I mentioned re: the 4 horseshoe curves...in previous post and as viewed from TerraServer.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 4:29 AM
When I had my PC up and runing I had bookmarked that web page on which you posted that Horse Shoe Curve B&O grade. I myself had supplied a shot from Microsoft terraserver showing some seen SouthPenn grade at the Fort Littleton area.

That first shot is on Red Goose Road between Husband and Walmart which is highway 601/219. This view is looking west towards Husband. Somerset railroad bypass.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 5:45 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by cr6479

It look's like former conrail line i think it is? In the background the tracks spite to the left and right. If you go left will the track go into Washington DC?


If your looking at the above photo, It is an inactive line now but the history of this line was it was begun by Vanderbilt in 1881-1885 and half completed then abandoned. A few years later it was reactivated by a former logging railroad and used for ten years (abandoned 1916) only to be once more abandoned until 1938 when the Pennsylvania Turnpike bought it. Only they never used most of what they purchased. That is what this section is showing how the turnpike broke away from it.

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:24 AM
....And broke away from it most likely to reduce some of the curvature in the Turnpike design....They were provided this ability perhaps by the design max. gradient of 3% where the original RR surveyors were designing to a max of 2% grade.
Russ....I may never have been back on that very Legislative Rt. in your above 1st pic....I have been back on the county Rd. that comes across in the Edi area and where the 90 plus ft. deep cut of the former Boswell Branch cut through...Used to be a one lane bridge across it....I stopped there years ago and walked back to the bridge and took pic's down into that massive cut....Even the rails were still there yet. Oh, what rail history we have in that general area. If I only would have started to explore more at a younger age.....And as you may know, that cut has been filled in now and the bridge removed....Stopped a few years ago and looked at it again....

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Posted by cr6479 on Friday, April 28, 2006 5:27 PM
The tracks going to the left does that go to the former conrail yard
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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 5:47 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by cr6479

The tracks going to the left does that go to the former conrail yard


Negative. That grade went to Ligionier and was only operating between 1906-1916. This is the well known abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 6:21 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

....And broke away from it most likely to reduce some of the curvature in the Turnpike design....They were provided this ability perhaps by the design max. gradient of 3% where the original RR surveyors were designing to a max of 2% grade.
Russ....I may never have been back on that very Legislative Rt. in your above 1st pic....I have been back on the county Rd. that comes across in the Edi area and where the 90 plus ft. deep cut of the former Boswell Branch cut through...Used to be a one lane bridge across it....I stopped there years ago and walked back to the bridge and took pic's down into that massive cut....Even the rails were still there yet. Oh, what rail history we have in that general area. If I only would have started to explore more at a younger age.....And as you may know, that cut has been filled in now and the bridge removed....Stopped a few years ago and looked at it again....






Photo top is the same area at Red Goose Road facing north away from Somerset towards the B&O Horse Shoe Curve, Secod photo is looking south and the South Penn would be crossing just in front of you. This railroad you see here at the bottom of this ravine didn't exist during the South Penn era. This dirt was dug out by the B&O and the South Penn would be at my level going from east left to west right in the second photo. This means had the South Penn existed and the B&O decided to build this visible line, the B&O would have needed to pay for the tressle to let the South Penn continue to operate above its line. In the Bedford Narrows, the same would have been for the South Penn and the Bridgeport and Bedford of the Pennsy line. The South Penn was to pass beneath the B&B line just as it crossed the Juniata River east of Bedford and slightly west of Everett.



Take this as a early railroad fix before you get here next month

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 6:55 PM


The Pittsburhg Westmoreland & Somerset Railroad came out of the Forbes State Forest from the town of Ligionier. They merged onto this section of Vanderbilt's abandoned/idle/incompleted South Pennsylvania Railroad, to continue their line runing to Somerset and some of the sections seen in the previous photos.

The road I am standing on was part of the PW&S as it is curving east (left) preparing to merge onto the South Penn abandoned grade seen at the lower level left from where I am shooting to. Not seen in this shot , to the right is the Gastiger cut. A very deep unfinished cut work site that is about three stories high with some very rough cliff sides.

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 7:28 PM
....Well Russ, you've been there and just today...! Yes, that's the Edi area I mentioned in above post. I wonder where in the world they found all the dirt to fill in that gap. That is a deep cut....and a long one too. It was a bit eerie driving over that old iron through truss bridge that was there before it was filled in. I do have two pic's just like yours above here but still with the rails in place...Not sure when I did that...maybe 25 or more years ago....What a shame a hard to come by route such as this rail route had to be destroyed....Hundreds of thousands of tons of coal came through that cut.
Russ, I must have seen the SP back in there and just don't recall right now because I knew it came through there after crossing the "old" Rt. 219 a bit farther north and the Wal-Mart area....Interesting stuff. I hope there are some other folks on here that can picture in their mind just where some of this stuff is we're talking about. For the regonal rail fan it should be really great. I know I sure was always fascinated by it all...And then when the Turnpike came along and stirred it all up brought it to life again....
I'm wondering just where your home base is Russ....after looking at your current pic's you've been posting...

That's an interesting location of transition there of the PW&S former route, etc....
Do you have any data as I mentioned before that shows the PW&S did use the Somerset depot of the B&O...? Have never read of a PW&S building in Somerset.
I think I mentioned on here before in another discussion the Boswell Branch {in your photos}, had some passenger trains on it and some went all the way to Friedens...There it is a mystery to me.....Did any simply go to Somerset on the S&C from there or was the train turned and headed back the Boswell direction, etc....There was a "Y" there right behind the IXL Creamery in Friedens and just a couple hundred ft. south of the Friedens depot and they had the track facilities to reverse the train.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 7:41 PM
I have to admit that I know almost nothing about the B&O branches. I focus on the South Penn only and only mention slightly the crossings of any the South Penn meets. Such as the Geiger site and this area. Wait a miniute. I do recall Kenny Sheffeld telling me that at the shrp curve was a fill just to the east of this B&O branch. That dirt is gone and he said it was used in this fill that use to be an iron bridge. I also recall that tracks were still on top the B&O grade just to the north of this site and was at the time I was just getting into the discovery of the South Penn that the tracks were being removed. That took place in 1996 as that is when I started out on this monster discovery.

I know of a good map that shows these branches are found on this server. I know the answer will be found here foryou to view. Enjoy All the tools needed to explore are on here.

http://historical.maptech.com/

I live in Plum Boro just a very short piece north of the Pittsburhg Turnpike interchange (Exit 57) and less then 14 miles from the South Pennsylvania Railroad right of way as it was to pass through Allegheny County. Also 35 minutes from any actual South Penn work mainly at Donegal (exit 91)

Have you ever seen any of the railroad grade in the area just east of Donegal to the Laurel Hill Mountain on the west slope of the Laurel Hill Mountain?

You must check this out

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage.cfm?fname=smrs15nw.jpg&state=PA

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage.cfm?fname=smrs15ne.jpg&state=PA

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage.cfm?fname=smrs15sw.jpg&state=PA

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage.cfm?fname=smrs15se.jpg&state=PA

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:10 PM
That Boswell Branch really did some winding around to get from Somerset to Harrison, Acosta, Jenners I and II, Ferrelltown, Boswell, Ralphtown and then on to Friedens...it made a complete loop if one simply came back to Somerset from Friedens on the S&C....{B&O}.

I remember you said earlier you simply dealt with the South Penn....and that is a tough job in itself, for sure.

But as you said, the three were tied together there in the broad Somerset area....meaning the PW&S, South Penn and of course the B&O branches....

If you are in the area one month from now...I'll be roaming around in a white ES300 Lexus...Who knows the paths might cross.

I must check out the Shanksville Branch off the S&C over at Coleman....Located a bit south of Friedens. it takes off the S&C there and runs about 5 or 7 miles to Shanksville. It's being reactivated to haul coal out of that area again. Hasn't been active in years and needed refurbished to make it useable again.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:17 PM
Check the up date in te previous post. They are the four maps that make up the 1915 quad of the Ligionier to Somerset PW&S grade through Linn Runn State Park to Somerset. Also your intrest B&O. I recommend down loading these and getting them made into 11x17andtaping them togeter. I haveonly a very min. diffrence. Worth the work.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:33 PM
I added this one map as it it the continueation map oftheColeman branch. Also the map holds the FLIGHT 93 crash site as well. My phone number is listed on my web page if you care to get in touch with me. I would like very much to meet with you.

http://historical.maptech.com/getImage.cfm?fname=smrs15se.jpg&state=PA

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:38 PM
Russ....So much to check out...More later. You have sent a bundle. Thanks for 10-20.

Quentin

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 8:52 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

Russ....So much to check out...More later. You have sent a bundle. Thanks for 10-20.


Thats what I mean. There is so much in aids to locate and discover what it all means. Maps, aerial photos, photographs actual South Penn survey maps work sites just so much. I can't wonder off the South Penn, It might never get done but it is a great time discovering everything about it. Remember I have 3,700 documents psted on the CD's. And these are only choice items I chose to put on the Cd. Imgine what I do have not put on there. have a whole kitchen cabenet full of 1.4 floppys filled with photos. Quarries, cuts, fills, houses, creek turns, barns, letters, drawings culverts, stone work still laying in the woods. All showing what I have discovered. Sort of like discovering the tombs of the egyptians kings. All in my own back yard. Less then an hour from my home.

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:15 PM
Forge on....it will be a wonderful record....!

Quentin

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:19 PM
This photo looks innocent enough right? Well you might want to think twice about that view your looking at right now. Can you see the South Penn grade in this picture?

This site is located exactly at mile post 98.5 This is on the west side of the Laurel Hill Mountain and would have been a 2% grade as stated by the 1884 railroad report found on my web page at http://www.southpennrailroad.com click on the 1884 report button. Beneath this grade is a stone culvert passing beneath this grade that looks like a shelf to hold back rolling debris. Its not. The hillside to the right would produce nothing that could harm the highway. This is the South Penn grade I am on looking west towards Donegal.



Imagine the turnpike and the railroad operating together here. All the cameras being set off as the cars go by. By the way I am taking this from my 60 MPH moving S-10 pick up.



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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:26 PM
....Russ....Maptech.com....Awesome....Have it secured.

Quentin

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:31 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Modelcar

....Russ....Maptech.com....Awesome....Have it secured.


The posted links I have on a previous post is and will take you directy to the Somerst maps. That large Pa map might get you lost.

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Posted by Modelcar on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:33 PM
Thanks for all the last post's data Russ.....I will dig into them. And the bonus of Coleman branch...Have been to Flt. 93 sight....Know fellows that were some of the first responders from Stoystown Fire Dept....By the way, that's my home town. Just 450 pop. I'll check all the data you note...Thanks. Numbers too.

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The Earliest?
Posted by eastside on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:53 PM
I'm astonished as to how much has been contributed regarding the Rockville Bridge.


The earliest? Here's a nineteenth century view of the PRR's Pennsylvania Limited coming off the Rockville Bridge. As the PRR's premier train, it was their first to have all vestibule Pullman cars.

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Posted by southpennrailroad on Friday, April 28, 2006 9:56 PM
Thats a great old photo. I want to explore more of that site when I go down in June. I really want the one inthe beginning of this forum. I just want to know how to get to the top of that mountain overlook.

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