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FW: FW: (erielack) Erie and Wyoming Valley

Thanks to Bob Mohowski for answering these questions! See his answers below...

	- Paul

- --------------------


Whew, you put me to some work tonight. I'll follow up on some of these 
questions with others who know the valley.

 1.    Near Winton Borough their was two short line railroads Moosic Mountain 
and Carbondale RR and the Grassy Island RR. Where these coal company owned 
lines or what? Also noticed in Olyphant the D&H had a Grassy Flats Spur. I 
have never heard of Grassy Island or Grassy Flats before. Are these part of 
towns or what? 

MM&C was a wholly owned Erie subsidiary dating back to around 1887, projected 
to connect Jeff RR at Carbondale to E&WV near Scranton, 15 miles but only 4.2 
were blt. It served Marshwood Colliery and connected with Jessup branch as 
well. Grassy Island RR. "...as constructed extended form a connection with 
the Winton Br. of the DL&W to the D&H and the Sterrick Creek  Breaker, abt. 
2,209 feet." Originally intended to run from "...Winton Br. of the DL&W near 
the jct. with the NYS&W with said branch, thence in a westerly direction to a 
point near the breaker of The Grassy Island RR Coal Co. in Jessup." The names 
Grassy Island and Grassy Flats I suspect came from locations which dated back 
to the first settlement of the upper valley.

2.    Voipe Coal Mining Company had a wagon loader near Moosic. What is a 
wagon loader?

I don't know what a wagon loader is but I'm checking with Yungkurth and Norm 

3.    The Erie had trackage rights over the D&H to Langcliffe Jct, near the 
Langcliffe Colliery. The D&H went over the top of the Erie and Wyoming Valley 
line near the Lackawanna and Luzerne County line before reaching Langcliffe 
Jct. Was their a connection between the two lines where the Jefferson 
Division trains could operate from Avoca yard and go north on the D&H or did 
the trains have to make a back up move in and out of Avoca Yard via the 
Langcliffe Branch?

Yes, they had to make a reverse move via the Langcliffe connection to get to 
and from the D&H and onto the Jeff. To my knowledge, there was no direct 
connection in this area. My guess is that since this involved coal movements, 
speed wasn't essential. CNJ traffic was priority, however.

5. On the west side of the Lackawanna River in the north end of the field 
is the Winton Branch of the NYS&W. Did the Erie use the NYSW to fiance its 
construction. The Erie has trackage rights on this line and it in no way 
connects to the WB&E. Not even near it.

Long story here. NYS&W branches (Dolph, Murray, Spencer, Winton and others) 
were built to reach coal properties whose tonnage was secured by NYS&W when 
they were to build into the valley in early 1880s. The branches were served 
primarily, if not exclusively by DL&W. The latter and the Susquehanna made an 
agreement that DL&W would haul the coal to Gravel Place and turn it over to 
NYS&W. This worked for about 10 years until const. of WB&E. NYS&W planned to 
connect these branches to the WB&E through the Susq. Conn. RR. While the SC 
did get from Suscon Jct down into the valley, it never turned much to the 
northward to reach the branches all located north of present I-81. They may 
have secured track rights over the D&H near Moosic Jct. at a location known 
as "Blue Goose." When Erie gained control of Susquehanna by lease in 1897 and 
then by stock control in '98, it marked the end of the SC plans to go north. 
Erie's Jessup branch reached the disconnected mine branches or got very close 
and might have used bits of DL&W to get to them. Hillside Jct. was very 
important to the Erie/NYS&W operations in the valley. The SC actually 
connected with LV's Austin Br. and might have connected with the O&W  near 
Sibley and a DL&W branch near these places as well. Track rights and branch 
mileages changed frequently as did which line served which breaker. No two 
reports seem to list the same mileages for these disconnected NYS&W branches. 
Some of these properties lasted until DO ownership of NYS&W.
6.    The end of the Erie's ex WB&E line tied into the Wilkes-Barre 
Connecting RR between the City of Wilkes-Barre and Hudson Yard at a location 
called Hullenbeck Park on the map. What was the purpose of this interchange 

The WB&E sold its extreme west end to the WB Conn. which was owned by 
D&H/PRR. WB&E then terminated at Plains, Pa. There probably was some 
connection with the WB Conn but doubt if the interchange amounted to much. 
Major WB&E/D&H conn. was at Yatesville where WB&E went over. The WB&E track 
is still in west of Suscon Jct although the jct itself is gone. SC is still 
in from Hillside Jct. up the hill almost to Suscon. Water tank base, siding 
and the wye track at Suscon are still visible as of one year ago. Short line, 
Luzerne & Susquehanna (?) operated over some of the remaining SC to reach an 
industrial park almost alongside NE ext. of Pa. Tkp. I doubt very much the  
present bridge used the CP is the original WB&E bridge over the Susquehanna 

7.    The Erie had trackage rights from Plains Jct to Ashley on the CNJ Canal 
Branch. What was the purpose of these trackage rights? Did Erie run trains 
into the CNJ Ashely yard for interchange?  Yes! AY-91 and its opposite side 
ran from Susquehanna, Pa. to Ashley Yard of CNJ. At least one side was a 
night run. 

8.    The Glen Alden Coal Company had several large operations on the CNJ. 
Was Blue Coal also sold on the CNJ lines, and not just the DL&W? 

The Lehigh & Wilkes Barre Coal Co. was the CNJ's anthracite subsidiary but 
they might have worked with other companies as well. Don't know but it should 
not be hard to find out.

9.    The Storrs Branch of the DLW served the Storrs Colliery and the 
Scranton Anthracite Birquette Company. What is a anthracite birquette and 
what was it used for.

Once read that coal, like charcoal, could be made into briquettes and that 
they were used in Europe or the Far East. Just a limited answer, don't know 
more on the subject.

10.  The Erie Scranton Branch connected with the D&H Vine Street Branch. Did 
the Erie run trains via this D&H branch into its yard and shop facilities at 
Dunmore off the Jefferson Division? 

I don't think so as the Erie's line up from their Scranton station to Dunmore 
was quite a grade and the Vine St. seems more a line to serve a local 
customer and looks to have required a switchback move for Erie to use as 
interchange. Whole thing looks too awkward. Erie would have had to pay D&H 
for the movement. The Erie's main connection into Dunmore was via the main 
line of the Scranton branch coming off the Wyo. Div. at East Jct. or from 
Avoca at West Jcts. These two jcts. formed a wye where the Scranton branch 
went down into Dunmore. They are almost right under the present I-81 bridge 
over Roaring Brook. The Pa. Coal Co. office is still there and this housed 
some offices for the Wyoming, WB&E and maybe Jeff Divisions. Pa. Coal. was 
Erie's anthracite operation. Hillside Coal & Iron was another. There also was 
an NYS&W Coal Co. which was folded into the Erie. It bought coal but didn't 
do any actual mining.

HISTORY  by George Minor.       Robert E. Mohowski