Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad









Working on the Montour

Schaeffer Stories

Sposato Stories


Railroading 101



Gene P. Schaeffer Stories
Library Junction and J. Marvin Conley

Its a few days after the Fouth of July 1980. I have spent the better part of the morning photographing Montour Extra 75 East...and Montour Extra 75 West, doing a Brookside Turn. Being employed on the Montour RR, first as a Track Laborer, then taking the promotion to "non-agreement" Yardmaster and Relief Train Dispatcher in 1978, a move that allowed me the opportunity to know when anything extra-ordinary was happening on this fascinating little  railroad.
Working in this "non-agreement" position, I was now working with Montour trainmen on a daily basis. For the most part, working hand in hand with the train crews was a good experience. There were a few that could make the average work day a real pain in the butt, but most often the majority of the trainmen were great guys to be around. Take for instance this July Day in 1980. The weather was perfect. No clouds and blue skies. Most photographers love these conditions. I don't. I'd rather have lightly clouded skies when I'm out with the cameras. Anyhow, todays Brookside crew consisted of Conductor J. Marvin Conley and Engineer R.J. Lane.
Marvin Conley was one of the guys that made work day life so easy. Marvin and his Father both worked most of their lives on the Montour RR. Marvin worked as Train Dispatcher, Yardmaster and Trainman. Marvin was a lean man, impressive in stature, intelligence, witty and quick in making moves. Marvin and I hit it off early in my life along the Montour RR. Marvin was also the Union President for Montours trainmen. And luckily, Marvin took care of me and my inexperience in my early years of employment in this Management Position... In later years as Train Dispatcher, when opportunites were there, and when Marvin needed a quick move to get in for personal business, he never had to ask twice.
So on this July Day back in 1980... Marvin, fascinated by the perserverence of this young Historian of the Montour RR and his efforts to record on film the operations of this old railroad, respectfully rewarded the photographers request, by again...turning "his" train at Library Junction on their Westward move out of Brookside for more photographs.
In this black & white image, Montour Extra 75 West has shoved in through the East Leg of the Wye at Library Junction...and is now cut away from the 4 empty cars unloaded at Brookside Lumber...  Pictured on the ground is J. Marvin Conley, who will reline the inside switch for the West Leg of Library Junction Wye once Engine 75 clears as it heads back out the East Leg of the turn...  Engine 75 will be going back out through the East Leg of Library Junction where it will reverse direction again, heading west down the main track at Library Junction...again stopping at the West Wye Main Track Switch... Then backing in through the West Leg of Library Junction Wye... where the 4 Brookside empties and caboose 35 were cut off... Then again, proceeding West out of the West Leg of Library Junction Wye with the entire 4 car train...just so a photographer can record a train movement using the Wye at Library Junction...
Being there at Library Junction on this summers day... As Extra 75 West and its 4 car train proceeded out the West Wye... The sounds of this movement were of ear piercing squeels of railroad wheel flanges removing a heavy build up of rust off the heavily rusted rail of  that West Leg of Library Junction Wye....  Library Junction hadn't been used in several years since the closing of Montour #10 mine on the Library Branch in 1978...  And Thanks to the kindness of Montour Conductor J. Marvin Conley... One last event was held for the camera.
In 2007 I understand J. Marvin Conley is no longer with us. But way back in 1980, Marv Conley knew the fascination the Montour RR held for one young employee and historian...
Thank You J. Marvin Conley...
Gene P. Scaeffer