• Sligo coal trains under Conrail

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by Roscoe P. Coaltrain
How did the coal trains to and from the mine at Sligo operate in the Conrail era?

I recall seeing some XSL empty hopper trains heading south on the Buffalo Line out of Olean. These trains would have operated via Driftwood and Low Grade Secondary, which would have required a runaround move at Driftwood. Once the train traversed the Low Grade and got to Lawsonham, where the 10 mile Sligo Branch came off the low grade, how did the trains operate over those final miles. There was a 4000 ft-ish siding along the low grade at Lawsonham with a hand throw crossover near the middle, near the point where the Sligo branch diverged via a trailing point switch. Did they cut the trains and take them up the branch in two sections? Push or pull? Or did they run past Lawsonham for 4 or 5 miles beyond to Red Bank near East Brady, where a longer siding capable of running around the whole train existed, and then backtrack to Lawsonham and then drive straight ahead to diverge up the Sligo Running Track?

Most XSLs I saw had a mixture of big and little units, usually 3 or 4, so did they split the power at Driftwood, operate from the rear end down the low grade, and then once stopped at Lawsonham, crew moving back to the other end (the original front) and then drive up the Sligo Running Track?

Or did the XSL's terminate at Brookville/Rose and they worked to Sligo in half-train turn jobs? The easiest way out for the loads would be back to Brookville and then west over the ex-NYC via Stoneboro to the Youngstown line and then to Ashtabula, That was the routing of most of the coal off the LEF&C, too, loads via Stoneboro and Ashtabula.

Who were the major customers of the coal that was still loading at Sligo?