Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad


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Working on the Montour

Schaeffer Stories

Sposato Stories


Railroading 101




Employees of the Montour

Here is some information of past employees on the Montour Railroad. These are the men and women that made this a great railroad.

Name Date of Hire Last Day on Montour
Jim LaneDecember 28, 1976

The Lane pictures are always nice to see.
Cindy Lane, their granddaughter (my wife) really enjoyed seeing the one of Big Jim on the front of the locomotive. We had followed and photographed Jims last trip with Mary that December as they ran lite to Montour Jct. amid several snow squalls that day.  Seeing Mary’s smile as she passed us at several locations, waving as they went by will not soon be forgotten. The family get together to celebrate his retirement was very enjoyable as I think back on the fun everyone had, the faces that no longer are here, how times change……

Mary was always on hand to wave at the PRR/PC/CR crews as they passed her kitchen. At night she would flash the  porch light as they tooted the tooter in acknowledgement.  I recalled her excitement as she watched our Pittsburg & Ohio Central excursion trains pass in the early 2000’s, now it was my turn to toot for her smile and waves.

Jim and Mary  remain together today, in the Queen of Heaven cemetery, overlooking their home at Hill’s Station and the Montour Railroad, listening to the trains that still operate on the former PRR line that passed through their front yard, something  that was part of their lives for so many years…..something they both loved.

I remember Nick working the track gang on the Pittsburgh’s Port Authority streetcar line at the time I was employed on the MRR, he would show up on occasions at different places including the Yard office at Champion. We spent some times sitting with Jim on his porch, chatting about railroad’s and listening to Jim talk about the MRR and the PRR steam that paraded through the valley at Hills. We appreciate the different views that Nick can provide, hope we can interest him further into our goals of working to preserve the MRR history. - Tim Sposato
Howard Krater
Gene P. Schaeffer - In 1994 I interviewed retired Montour R.R. Lineman Howard Krater who was employed with the Montour R.R. from 1927 through 1970. Howard proudly announched he never missed 1 day's employment  during his spic & span career with the Montour R.R.
Mr. Krater's memory seemed quite sharp as he recalled many details not only related to his work, but many other incidences that occurred along the Montour R.R. while he was there. Mr. Krater mentioned one time a electricial storm passed over Montour Junction one time, and just east of the yard a bolt of lightning struck one of the telegraph poles. The electrical current passed through the wires running into Montour Junction, then blew out all of the train dispatchers equipment in the house over on State Avenue causing a electricial fire inside that house. The inside of the train dispatchers office was damaged and required relocating the train dispatchers to the adjoining house while the train dispatchers office was gutted and remodeled.
Mr. Krater also told me the Montour R.R. telephone operators switchboard was purchased for $500.00 from the Midway Telephone Company through his contact, Joe Matchette (remember Lee supplied us with those fantastic early Montour R.R. photos'). Midway telephone bought the switchboard from a closed Pittsburgh Coal Company office. The switchboard was a 1912 Western Electric "Cord board" that had a magneto (crank) to ring in desired numbers.
Mr. Krater stated his first employment was 7 years with Bell Telephone before coming to the Montour R.R. who needed a lineman. Mr. Krater remembered the Jean Mine which as he states in the interview Jeean Mine was a drift mine, located just west of North Star just as you came into the 1st tangent west of North Star, had a capacity for 4 empties off its small wood tipple.
Mr. Krater remembered the Presidents Office once located in Pittsburgh's Oliver building where Pittsburgh Coal had 2 floors with half of one floor housing the Office of the Montour R.R.  Mr. German had 3 office girls  working for the Montour R.R. This Montour R.R. Office was later closed and moved into the still standing wood station in Coraopolis near the Montour R.R. Yards, but by then Mr. Campbell was President. It appeared Mr. Campbell only had 5 years as President until a heart attack took his life.

He was a Lineman for the Montour R.R.
And hired out on the Montour in 1927.
For the next 43 years, he never missed one days work.
Quite a spotless career.
His responsibilities were many.
Maintaining the pole line and telephones.
Maintaining the train dispatchers & yardmasters telephone before VHF radio.
Maintaining automatic flasher crossing protection which numbered about 11 crossings.
Maintain the switching signals at Montour Jct., Boggs and Mifflin Junction.
Maintain the main track switch signal's inside Kamps cut.
And last, maintain the two Block Signals for westbounds coming into Montour Juction. - Gene P. Schaeffer
Paul Luttenauer
Paul Luttenauer He was one of the 'voices' that was a familiar sound to all  employee's. This gentleman was  a true railroader of many years service that should be recognized, another dedicated MRR veteran.

After meeting many MRR trainmen in our early days of exploration along the MRR rails, our appetite for more increased by the day. We would look forward to late Friday night,  school was out and the percentage for an eastbound coal drag to Mifflin Jct. was high in those first few years of 1970's.
You see, the eastbound coal movements were on a slow decrease at that time, occasionally one would run on a Tuesday evening, if the tonnage was enough,  sometimes a cut of coal would be moved just to Jewell Siding,  if more coal was to be loaded at Champion to complete the order or to relieve congestion at Champion Yard. This allowed  the Friday night Coal Run  to bring full tonnage up the grade from Hills to Jewell and being that the grade was fairly level from Jewell to Mifflin Jct, the train would then pick up the loads that were set out there Tuesday.  Jewell could hold 21, 70 ton cars, coupler against the bumper at the West end, and just clear of the derail at the East end.
We would monitor Jewell siding on a daily basis, if loads were set off, we could count on a run Friday evening.  But to confirm this we boldly started to call the  MRR dispatcher and say"  if you have a train coming tonight, we'll go check the switches at Jewell & Brookside to be sure their lined for the main"...........also armed with the Radio Shack "Realistic"  scanner, we were sure to make the connection with
the eastbound.
What DS would  fall for that now-a-days from young boys?  I'm sure those dispatchers didn't,  but being the kindly gentlemen of the time, they would play along,  thank me and caution me of the dangers of being around the RR. They recognized the true feelings we had for the MRR. They knew....Trainmen talked, Engineers talked, Trackmen talked, even Superintedant F.C.Rauschart knew,  word was out about us.
In today's world, Homeland Security, business competition's and persons with deviousness on their mind prevent us from discussing trains, consists and schedules. Back then, no such concerns.
We spoke to all the DS's, but Paul Luttenauer was our best info provider. Paul held the daylight Chief Dispatcher position. We dropped quite a few coins at the high school pay phone just to talk to him.  I really got to know Paul well, I was able to spend  many times with him, while he  dispatched, when I was in my early years of  high school,  Mom would drive me there, Thanks Mom.

When of age, I drove myself. Paul would be very descriptive in what the eastbound had to do before arriving, what the consist was, who's on the crew, and the estimated time of arrival.
The picture shows him in his element, the wooden desk with train order book, consist books, train sheet, turn over notes. The  rotary phone, radio wires hanging to the floor and to the footbar pedal to operate the radio transmission's.  The steps in the rear leading to the DS privy, with a nice view to the east of the P&LE main line and  the  MRR leg of the wye  to Groveton. Paul looks the part of the traditional dispatcher, clean dressed, greying  hair, horn rimmed bifocles,  the MRR standard blue (we also used red)  'Lindy Auditor's"  fine point pen in hand.
I can still hear that wooden floor creak around this office or when someone would walk  up the steps from the trainmens room below, the smell of old wood mixed with diesel fumes from the engines idling outside the windows. The slight hum the radio would emit as it awaited to transmit the next train order or the sudden burst of the voice of the Yardmaster on the radio's intercom......Paul unique voice as he sounded out the train orders or information..... Sounds that cannot be a part of this picture, just memory sounds to those that heard them........
This is a wonderful scene never to be duplicated, as Gene can recall, this office was that MRR  uniqueness that we have a hard time describing to those that never had the opportunity to enjoy, an office that showed so few changes over the years.
Thanks Paul for your patience to this along with Jim Lane, Jack Harvard, Mike Desko & Charlie Jones  who went to bat for me in F.C. Rauschart's office in making his decision to hire me, March  of 1975. I would hear of this meeting many years later, after the MRR had ceased operations. Thanks to these gentleman that started me down the rails of my life's enjoyment on that spring day. - Tim Sposato

Gene P. Schaeffer:

Very Nice Tim...My First night train dispatching solo...I was doing the 4-12 shift and Paul was the daylight man...
Paul's parting words as his relief arrived...You have a crew going to Brookside...The mine crews and their locations......And putting out the call for your next crews just as soon as you see fit...And for God sakes Son...No head ons or Lap Backs...
Paul loved me for his relief...On time each day - I was there by 3:30 PM...A early quit as they say...His regular would NOT releive him till 3:55 PM...In the morning when Paul did my relief. A few quick questions. And he'd place his hand on the back of the high back chair. A give it a little nudge. Rich K. gave me that heads up if you want relief after a long night. As soon as he nudged the chair. You were relieved...
I didn't know till later on.What 11:25 meant scratched on the Train Sheets.11:25...or there abouts was etched there nearly every day. It was Paul L's. handwritting but what did it mean? Jane G. answered the question one day, and I'd never guessed what it meant.
And as the end neared Jane, Donna and whoever else was around the Offices with hardly anything out there running the rail how poor ol'e Paul was fit to be tied. Nothing to do but pace those creaky floors and inside his pocket was a couple of quarters. Day in and day out, he drove those poor office girls nuts. Jingling those quarters around and around...
Tim, your photo must be nearing the end, Only 3 or 4 train crews OS. The walls are painted blue. But I can still hear Paul's distinct mannerisms when answering the telephone. Hell-O  Montour...
Very nice Tim...
Very NICE.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Roy E. Parkinson 23-Jun-1959 (Brakeman Seniority) 1-Nov-1982
Roy Parkinson's Brakemen Seniority was 23-Jun-1959 and his Conductor Seniority is 16-Jan-1967. He was furloughed from the Montour officially on 1-Nov-1982 along with many other Montour Employees. Gene Schaeffer recorded an interview with Mr. Parkinson. You can listen to the interview hear.
R.J. Lane 1960 1982
The Lanes922007.JPG (70754 bytes) R.J. Lane and his fantastic wife, Alma.clip_image002.jpg (23414 bytes) RJ's Montour Motor Car

As many have read on this Group, there were four Lanes employed on the Montour RR. Most often talked about was Jim Lane, father to D.J. Lane. Then we had R.D. Lane father to R.J. Lane. R.J. Lane started out on the Montour RR in 1960 and spent 23 years employed on the Montour Railroad Company. When the Montour shut down, R.J. went to the Allegheny Railroad for a period then off to the DM&E, before retiring.

R.J. and wife Alma came to Pittsburgh to ride the rails of the former P&WV. R.J. and wife Alma own and operate a Fairmont Motorcar which is neatly lettered Montour RR and carries number 27400. The number 27400 is actually R.J.'s payroll number. 

It was wonderful seeing both R.J and wife Alma. Funny, working with R.J. for many years, his demeanor hasn't changed one bit and yesterdays time together, it was clear although nearly 25 years
have passed, our time talking Sunday seemed like 1980 all over again. The voice...the personality...the Man is the same. R.J....Alma, GREAT seeing you yesterday.
Thank You for sharing time with me.
Gene P. Schaeffer

Four Lane's had worked on the Montour. Here are some comments from RJ about them:

DJ and myself started as a brakeman, flagman, then promoted to conductor. Then they got short of engineers and started an engineers training program. After that we had to top and bottom our seniority roster with the P&LE RR [bad word] I think there were 3 of us. 1 gave it up, he had a bad instructor. When the program was over we took our engineer exam and passed it and got our wings. 

JF was on a pool crew all the time.

RD was on a pool crew and 3rd Champion all the time.RD LaneSteam.jpg (40723 bytes)RD Lane on the engine

DJ was on the 3rd Champion and pool crew.

RJ was on a pool crew and 3rd Champion.

The engineers always protected the hostler jobs when they needed someone extra. JF, RD, DJ & RJ worked a fireman’s job or engineer job. We all also worked the extra board when we had to.

RJ what does it mean to top & bottom the seniority roster?

What I meant was the Montour got to the point where they were in need of engineers and they started a program like the big roads have now, taking conductors and certifying them to be engineers. They did this. Then they got the idea to top and bottom our seniority roster. The unions ok’ed it and we did it, which meant our oldest engineer went under the P&LE youngest engineer, and their oldest engineer went under our youngest engineer.

It was also done with the trainman’s seniority roster. When this happened, that meant that there would be no more [Montour RR] engineers, brakemen or conductors. The P&LE RR was a blood sucking railroad. When our railroad needed something, the Montour paid for it. When the P&LE RR needed something, they took it.

By the way, I still have 5 Montour RR paychecks that I got and never cashed. The reason for not cashing them is that if you add them all up they total $0.78. They date back to 1981, 82 and 83. The reason for that little bit of money is, if you worked one day a pay period, they take out taxes, pension, union dues and what ever else. You cleared nothing. I kept them to screw up their books for 45 or 120 days. In the state of Pa., the railroad has to give you a pay check. One of our conductors got one with all 0000000000. Then it was stamped void.


Carter Roth 1957 1959
I was a short timer on the big M  as I thought it was going to fold in the 50's.  I got started in 1957 when a friend of mine name of Shutika knew I was looking for work.  He had moved up to sand house man and the job of messenger boy was open so I took it. The job consisted of going to all the RR HQ in Pittsburgh with the mail. I walked all over town with a mail bag that looked like I was pony express without a pony.  Places I went were P&LE, Walbash, B&O, Pennsy. maybe some I forgot. I did get to know a lot of people on the Montour this way and it was fun.  Later there was an opening in the shops for a warehouse man so I took it. My job was to supply material for the operation of  all  operations in the yard. People I worked with were Bill Dugan warehouse clerk, Clarence Thompson , my boss, Charles Langan, and John Chopp co-workers. As time went by John was laid off, Charles went back to messenger boy and I was off and on with Clarence only full time left.  Bill Dugan made sure I worked enough to pay my bills. As much as I enjoyed the railroad I felt it was time to move on. As footnotes,  My grandfather John [Jack] Roth worked there till his death in 1945.  My Uncle was Yardmaster till his [early] death in 1959 for the PC&Y.  While at the Montour I knew the following.  Jane Guzik [clerk], Charles Eggbeer, [Bill Biglers grandfather] , Mr. Schertzinger [paymaster] , signed both my paychecks as well as my grandfathers. Also friends with Tim Bountan crane operator and steam hammer expert.  and to round out the list Mr. Rumbaugh weightmaster. Mr Rumbaugh was about to retire and I could have taken his place as weighmaster, however the thought of  looking at coal cars all night did not sound like much fun. I left the Montour in late 1959 and still miss it.  Last thought, one other person I knew was Dennis Lockerbie who worked in the shops. NOT a person worth knowing.  My Montour story.  Carter E. Roth

J. R. Harvard - Montour Engineman
August 1981 is written on the back of this yellowing photograph. This  Montour R.R. Engineman - Jack R. Harvard. The photograph taken inside a P&LE SW-1500 by Nick Jarina. Jacks hands...and eyes tell me he might be shoving coal to the  "Old or New" tracks at Champion. One hand on the automatic brake valve. The other on the throttle. His eyes...focused on the ground watching his speed. The purpose this date. Nick bringing Jim Lane to Champion for a visit.
Nice shot - Nick Jarina. - Gene P. Schaeffer

Ron Rauschart - Montour RR Track Gang 



George DeVault  1974 1977

I left the Montour in 1977 and went to the P&LE RR where I was a Hostler Gang-leader and Fireman. I am currently a Sergeant with the Pittsburgh  Police Department. I bike the Montour trail regularly for exercise


Gene P. Schaeffer, Carter Roth and RJ Lane in 2008 at Greers

Back in 1901, the railroad managers in the Pittsburgh area formed a club called the Railroad Club of Pittsburgh.  I found meeting minutes for the club spanning the years between 1901 and about 1937.  Needless to say, Montour employees - VPs, Superindents, Foremen and other - were members of the club for many years.  I was able to go through the meeting minutes and search for the word "Montour" and came up with a lot of names.  I've attached a PDF file with the information.  Where names are duplicated, I re-listed an employee if he was promoted or demoted.  The blank rows mean no one joined that year.
Enjoy Bob Ciminel

Employees 1901-1937

J. D. Coleman, Blacksmith Foreman - Beaver Falls PA  1928
G. M. Hopkins, Boiler Shop Foreman 1928

Evan L. Moreland, Machine Shop Foreman - Coroaopolis PA

P. P. Porter, Air Brake Department Foreman - Bellevue, PA

F. J. Callahan, Engine House Foreman - West Park, McKees Rocks, PA 1928

John Miller, General Car Foreman - Hazlewood, PA 1928

Walter H. Myers, Chief Clerk to Mechanical Superintendent (E. A. Rauschart) - North Bridgewater, PA 1928