• Indiana County Street Railways - Josephine

  • General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.
General discussion about fallen trolley and interurban lines in North America, past and present.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by Nicolai3985
 
The Indiana County Street Railways Company operated in its namesake county in western Pennsylvania from 1907 to 1933. The three legs of the system linked Ernest, Clymer and Blairsville with Indiana. There were various starter companies with grand ambitions that led to the formation of this company and its 26-year history, but a drop in ridership due to the downsizing of the areas coal mines and the effects of the Great Depression led to its demise. Trolleys From The Mines by Richard C. Albert gives a very good description of its history, as well as those of systems in several nearby counties.

While time has erased many traces of this trolley line, several buildings and portions of right-of-way give evidence of its existence. The following picture shows a present day (March 2009) look at the piers for the structure over Black Lick Creek, just south of Josephine.
ICSRyJos.jpg
The bridge, built by the American Bridge Company, was opened for service on December 31, 1909, and represented the last segment in the line from Indiana to Blairsville. The north abutment was perched on a bluff above the creek and a branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, while the southern end of the bridge was placed upon wooden trestle pieces. The trestle portions and the abutment do not survive today, and if the steel work of the bridge lasted through the scrapping of the system it did not make it through the scrap drives of the Second World War. The piers, however, have survived the ravages of time and the polluted waters of Black Lick Creek. Albert's book provides a picture of the bridge in service, which has been the only other photograph I've been able to locate.

Today, the former Pennsylvania Railroad branch is part of the Ghost Town Trail, and these piers are easily viewed along with the other relics of Josephine's industrial past.
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  by JimBoylan
 
In Llanarch, Pa. car barn, I found a bill of lading for shipping Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Co. open car 101 to the Indiana County Street Railway in Indiana, Pa.
  by Nicolai3985
 
Jim, according to Albert's book, there were two cars that came from the Philadelphia & West Chester Traction Co: ICSRy Nos. 6 and 7, which were formerly 11 and 12 on the P&WC. The cars were 29'-6" long, closed, built in 1898 by J&S and acquired by the ICSRy in 1907. There was also a car 101 on the ICSRy: a 44'-4" closed car built by Cincinnati in 1914 and originally used on the Westmoreland County Railway. The book's roster doesn't directly give sources for the data, nor does the text say very much about the equipment and its origins, so it's possible that the car you mentioned didn't make it into the book. Does your bill of lading provide any more information, such as a shipping date or a builder of the car?

Continuing with the photo tour of the remains of this line...

When contractor P.J. McGovern was constructing the line north out of Blairsville starting in January 1909, right-of-way and profile grade constraints forced the streetcar line to be built between the Pennsylvania Railroad Indiana Branch and a small bluff just northeast of Blairsville.
ICSRyBvl.jpg
The view is looking northeast and is roughly between the bend in Indiana Avenue and the Dlubak factory in Blairsville. The former PRR branch (still active under NS) is over the mound to the left and perhaps 5 feet below the streetcar grade. Indiana Avenue is on top of the hill at right. This clear section is probably 100 feet long, and the grade is thickly vegetated on either side. None of the debris shown appears to be related to the streetcar line.
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