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

BR&P
Posts: 4177
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:12 pm

I was just looking at Google Maps aerial pics of Burnside - quite interesting how the track loops around and crosses 219 twice within the space of a quarter mile or so. https://www.google.com/maps/place/Burns ... 78.7855858


And it appears there was at one time a junction farther north, right near the words "Cush Creek". I recall seeing an abandoned grade (ex PRR?) right by the junction of 219 and 286 - the aerial photo almost suggests there was a connection from THAT line going down toward Burnside. That looks like it came off the PRR (?) opposite "Urey Road", and swung down passing toward the bottom of the page.

Statkowski
Posts: 589
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:06 pm

For a better view of how it used to be, go to the Historic USGS map site (https://livingatlas.arcgis.com/topoexplorer/index.html), enter "Burnside, PA" and click on the 1939 Punxsutawney quad map, or even better click on the 1906 map.

The original (New York Central) Pittsburg & Eastern came down from Mahaffey to Dowler Junction, then continued westward along the south side of Cush Creek to get to the Arcadia coal fields. The Cherry Tree Branch was subsequently added so as to get to the Indiana County coal fields via the joint NYC/PRR Cherry Tree & Dixonville.

The original (Pennsylvania) Cambria & Clearfield came down from Mahaffey to Cush Creek Junction, then continued westward along the north side of Cush Creek to get to the Glen Campbell coal fields. A branch from Cush Creek Junction (hence its name) crossed the P&E line at Dowler Junction to get to a mine just northwest of Burnside Borough, running parallel to the Cherry Tree Branch tracks (no interlocking or signals protecting the crossing).

Driving along U.S. Route 219 between the Route 286 junction north of Burnside to almost all the way to McGee's Mills, you can follow the former PRR right of way right alongside Route 219.

If you really want to see a trackage mess, go further northward to Curwensville to view the "spaghetti bowl" (a term coined by the late Jeff Feldmeier). There you had PRR, NYC and B&O tracks all running hither and yon, crossing over one another at various points. The older maps really show how it used to be.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4177
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:53 pm

Statkowski wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:06 pm
A branch from Cush Creek Junction (hence its name) crossed the P&E line at Dowler Junction to get to a mine just northwest of Burnside Borough, running parallel to the Cherry Tree Branch tracks (no interlocking or signals protecting the crossing).
YES! the 1906 map shows that PRR branch from Cush Creek Jct, and that IS what the aerial photo shows, faintly. I suspect that whole hill and area where the mine was in 1906 has been strip-mined in the years since because everything looks too "cleaned up". But it's certainly plain what it used to be. Cool!

Statkowski
Posts: 589
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:04 pm

BR&P wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 7:53 pm
I suspect that whole hill and area where the mine was in 1906 has been strip-mined in the years since because everything looks too "cleaned up".
Actually, many of the bituminous mine sites in Western Pennsylvania have been cleaned up as part of the state's mine reclamation effort, boney piles (culm banks, slag heaps, etc.) removed, grass and trees planted, etc. Every mine operator today has to put money into a fund for reclamation, which has to be used for reclamation, and they can't get any of the money back until everything is cleaned up and reclaimed.

So, you can generally figure out where the mine and tipple once were, but finding actual traces of the mine or tipple are well nigh impossible.

And now that you know about the Historic USGS site, you can trace the entire Beech Creek District.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

BR&P
Posts: 4177
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by BR&P » Wed Dec 11, 2019 8:24 am

Statkowski wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 9:04 pm

And now that you know about the Historic USGS site, you can trace the entire Beech Creek District.
Thanks a bunch, as if I didn't have enough to do already! It's a good thing they don't have historical aerial photos from "back then", I would not even tear myself away to eat! :wink:

How are we coming along on that time machine? :-D

Statkowski
Posts: 589
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 7:44 am
Location: Cherry Tree, Pa.

Re: NYC Coal operations in Pennsylvania

Post by Statkowski » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:29 am

Aerial photos? Hell, any photos would be nice. But, this wasn't the Main Line with passenger trains galore and Super Hudsons blasting along at high speed, so this place didn't exist as far as the photographers were concerned. Glamorous is area wasn't, just working coal trains slogging along day in and day out, just doing their job.
Ex-NYNH&H SS Opr

Return to “New York Central”