Montour Railroad 

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Gene P. Schaeffer Stories
Rolling Through Snowden

It was the summer of 1977 and the Chessie Steam Special was barnstorming southwestern Pennsylvania local rail lines. On a very rainy Saturday during June, I decied to ride one of the trips from Grant Street Station in downtown Pittsburgh to Benwood, West Virginia. Todays route, via the famous B&O "Pike" would for a brief moment, pass the B&O interchange between the Montour RR and the Baltimore & Ohio at Snowden, which "was" the highlight of the trip.

After stalling in the pouring rain while climbing notorious Streets Run and being helped over the hill by a GP-40... The Chessie Steam Special is now rolling smartly through the legacy of Greenmans country as we slam through switch frogs passing the rusting ghost of the double track Montour RR interchange at Snowden as our leader up ahead begins whistling for the crossing approaching Finleyville, Pennsylvania.

The above photograph, taken while hanging out a open window of a Chessie Steam Special coach, gives us a momentary glimpse of of where Montour's Library Branch meets the Baltimore & Ohio. The heavily rusted Montour rail here at Snowden has not seen interchange traffic in exactly 2 years and will never see interchange traffic again. The upper end of the Library Branch is still in service,but time is not on its side. The interchange track nearest to our passenger coach illustrates where loads off the Montour were delivered to the B&O...seen in the clean coal between rail.

My first visits to Snowden were made perhaps in 1972, riding my English racer bicycle from our Bethel Park residence near Salida. Those frist trips seemed like long distance journeys in our younger years, remembering one trip, another rainy and overcast Saturday, and another long distance bicycle ride from Bethel Park... just to be at Snowden upon hearing the Montour RR train dispatcher mention...for some long forgotten reason, a B&O Crew was coming out of Glenwood to pull the loads off the interchange....and how lucky we were... me, Don K. and George K...being there at Snowden... in all of that miserable three blue B&O GP-40's rolled to a stop there at the crossovers... still guarded by B&O's lovely CPL signals... lining themselves in on the interchange and against those interchanged loads...

Those memories are a bit hazy these days... 30+ years ago was the event... And somewhat fuzzy and underexposed instamatic 126 color print images rekindle the memories from that historic rainy Saturday event... Mom and Dad...hardly had a clue the distance their offspring had traveled to learn more about something called the Montour Railroad Company. As family life at home went on during these early 1970's... a young teenaged boy wanted more and more exposure into the world of the Montour Railroad Company. Unfortunately, Mom and especially "Dad" could not have cared less. If I wanted to persue this fascination with the Montour Railroad Company... It would have to be done on my terms...Gene P. Scaeffer