Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad


Bridges and Tunnels







Working on the Montour

Schaeffer Stories

Sposato Stories


Railroading 101



History Columns Fromt the Montour Trail Newsletter
Montour tran movements 1st quarter 1973, compiled by Greg Corcoran.
Montour tran movements 2nd quarter 1973, compiled by Greg Corcoran.
Montour tran movements 3rd quarter 1973, compiled by Greg Corcoran
Montour tran movements 4th quarter 1973, compiled by Greg Corcoran
Interesting agreement between the B&LE and Montour, prior to constructing the Mifflin Extension, setting up agreements regarding rates and interchange. Take a look at the 1912, rough estimated routing of the Montour and branch lines on page 1 - certainly turned out a bit different in 1913 when construction began.  Greg Corcoran

Time Tables
4-Aug 1940 23-Feb 1947 27-Oct 1968 1-Apr 1977

Montour Railroad Employee Status Status Determination Letter (End of the Montour)  
1965 Foreman's Daily Time Report

MTR Peters Creek Purchase 19-Dec 1941 Train Wreck
 Clinton Block Spur
 Short History of the Montour - Stan Sattinger
Pittsburgh Coal Co New June 1949

 Here is a posting of Bulletin's governing train movements on the Mighty 'M'.
This one dated for 1975, was the first written sign of the slow demise of the the east end of the RR to Mifflin Jct. The crossing flashers had a failure and no money was to be used on their repair, henceforth the remaining train movements flagged their way across. This was to be the  norm for the last few east bounds until the final run in November 1975. Thankfully, we were on the last movement to Mifflin that cold November evening. Remember that!!
 Note under the black marker stripe it sez  "Penn Central" if you can zoom it in. Another money sucker.
Tim Sposato 

  Here is an ad for Montour Railroad services.
  Here is Train Order #54, dated May 28, 1943 to C&E Engine 24 at Clinton Block Junction... Train crews were regularly tested on train orders then qualified as was the case this day with Jim Lane.
Gene P. Schaeffer

 Being fascinated with the N&W/Montour Interchange in my neighborhood at Salida, I came to know many railroaders here. Some of those guys became close personal friends lasting long after their retirement.

The P&WV McCready Family was one such family of wonderful friends and railroaders.
C.A. McCready was Conductor on N&W's Local out of Rook that went to Mifflin and Clairton daily. At Salida there at Longview, the Local switched the Montour if needed. Either N&W loads/empties to the Montour and or Montour loads/empties to the N&W.

This switch list, dated March 18, 1975 illustrates the N&W local, N&W Engines 2426 - 4126, Conductor C.A. McCready received from the Montour 2 loads and 3 empties, 200 tons at 2:05 AM... The 2 tank cars no doubt came from Muse... The box and flat could of either came from Brookside, Wickes, Easton or again...Muse. The gon might be some creation from B&T ? Gene P. Schaeffer
During the early 1970's, a Maximum Speed Restriction of 15 MPH was placed on the Montour RR.

The first running train order each train crew, each tour of duty received was the addition/inclusion of #1 Order included when the time completed was given by the Train Dispatcher to their running Train Orders. (confused???)

Early on, like everything else, when I started hearing this in the early 1970's...being a youngster as I was, I didn't understand. Conductor Harvey French was always willing to explain to me what the #1 Order meant...simply a maximum speed restriction order.

Conductor French was a kind gentleman who understood my interest and would, by request, save his train orders for me...including several of his #1 attached.

Another bit of trivia in the daily operations of the fascinating life of the Montour Railroad Company.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Attached is a copy indicating the car loadings for Westland for the Month of October 1979...2,128 cars loaded representing 148,960 tons. All handled by a small fleet of EMD SW-9's... Entrusted to Enginemen like our very own R.J. Lane...
(well most of the time)
Gene P. Schaeffer
During one of my trips into Mifflin Junction in the late 1970's, I took note of the Bulletin Orders and General Notices that were hole punched then hung on their respective boards there in the foyer that separated the Montour Scale side of the building and that of the P&WV Agents side of the building.

The scale at Mifflin had one front door. As soon as you stepped inside, you either went left to the Montour scale or right to the P&WV.

Right there in that small space were the notices and bulletins. So one evening, fearing someone else might walk off with them, with my trusty preservation removal tool...the screwdriver, I removed both boards full of notices and bulletins and brought them home.

Some 30 years later, its most enjoyable being able to thumb through them remembering back to the time when this railroad was full of life and charm. The attached Bulletin #5 - 70 dated August 7, 1970 illustrates the operation over Hills Transfer there at Montour 4.

I had many opportunities to ride out on Boyce as Montour crews went after empty hoppers that kept Montour 4 and Montour 10 supplied.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Bulletin Order #9 Dated May 2, 1979 indicating the main track is out of service from Coverdale to Salida.

The beginning of the end.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Memo from 1914 announcing the Montour Extension from North Star to Salida will be ready for business on or about September 1, 1914.
As some of you know, about 1991 I had the good fortune to be offered the opportunity to again preserve a vast basement full of records for the Pittsburgh & West Virginia. Actually, a friend was contacted by the newly organized W&LE as they were wanting to lease out the office building at Rook, and the basement was file cabinet after file cabinet of records for the P&WV, WSB and WPT Railroads, dating back to their beginnings of time.

I was asked by the friend if I wanted to help him in removing the records as he didn't have space or the time to do this. The W&LE placed a time constraint on removing the records. Their real estate person was only at Rook on certain days at certain times when we could do this...and the basement needed cleaned out in a certain frame...and the best part of it all was the fact W&LE Management at that time, recognized the historic value of the records thus did NOT want them destroyed.

In that basement, packed with all of those records, there was material relating to the Montour RR. From N&W Train Sheets containing the details of detours and subsequent N&W billing for services for the detours, to early memos about interchange as the attached indicates. Lease agreements and contracts. You name it, it was there...a bit dusty with time.
Gene P. Schaeffer

In 1985, with Superintendent RJC's permission, I had the ok to preserve alot of remaining records from the vault at Montour Junction. My specific request was to obtain some train sheets that had my signature, but RJC went one step further and gave me the ok to take anything else of interest.

The attached memo illustrates early operations history of the Montour RR. This Pittsburgh Coal memo is actually green in color as are the others I have. If the memo was 2 or more pages, the additional pages were on white unlettered stationary.

This memo is of particular interest as it illustrates some history about operation over P&WV's Mifflin Branch which was just up the street from where I grew up.
Gene P. Schaeffer
JW Wirth Engineer
Cover letter, stapled to the several page investigation of the collision of Montour 33 and 34 at Salida...
A memo regarding the construction of the Muse Branch...
Company report from 1974 on the performance of the SW-9's.
A memo from Montour Lodge 378... RJ's Dad, RD is having his time slip rebutted by
the Company...
A page from the personal file of Montour Locomotive Fireman Bortle from 1951. Both Trainmen and Engineman/Fireman time slipped the company every time they felt a infraction in union agreements occurred. I saw this frequently during my short career on the Montour. Often I had to account for any that was during my watch. Our very own RJ was good at timeslipping<G>.
This memo was one of many pages in Bortles file. - Gene P. Schaeffer
Still pristine after 30+ years of preservation, Montour RR Train Order #12, addressed to C&E Engine 78 at Hills.

It was a slow day on the Montour this April 28th, only 12 train orders for the day at this late hour of 8:45 PM...with only 3 hours remaining before the numbering of train orders starts over... Anyhow, the Montour Train Crew this day, scribbled on the back of the train order, Conductor Desko, Trainmen Leonard and Sherwood, P&LE Engineman Kirkpatrick...

"Un-Officially" stapled to the train order, a small piece of a Montour empty car waybill, in Desko's handwriting, as he would usually do while his crew worked Montour #4 loaded yard, after obtaining his green bills for his westward train from the shipper, while his crew was at lunch and he was done walking the loads in #4's loaded yard, he would jot down the last car numbers of the last car on each track for his trainmen to use for the make up of their train.

On this day, the last car on #1 loaded track for his train was PC 482337...the last car for his train on #2 loaded track was B&LE 64198...and the last car for his train on #4 loaded track was again another hopper, B&LE 84188. I often walked with Deskos crew while working Montour #4. And it became practice for Desko to make for me one of the attached last car cut number notes so I could preserve the practice of one Montour Railroad Train Crew while working Montour #4.

In reading the attached note stapled to the train order, you can see where #1 loaded track would have 17 with 17, meaning there were 17 loads with all big cars, that meant there were no 50 ton hoppers in that track. Leaving Montour #4 late this April 28th, 1975, Desko had 44 loads for Champion, all 70 or 100 ton hoppers.
Gene P. Schaeffer

A little darker green than usual, this Montour Railroad Form 448 50-M 3-71 green bill was used between the coal company and the Montour RR for the movement of stop off coal at Champion.

These green bills, were two sided. The side we are looking at will stay as permanent record for the railroad. The detached right side of the bill, goes to the Coal Company Office at Champion with the billing paperwork after the car is dumped at Champion. The Montour RR supplied these double sided green bills to each mine. The Conductor brought both sides of the bills to Champion. The Yardmaster kept the left side and the Champion Agent was given the right side.

This bill for M 8145 was loaded at Westland on March 26, 1973. M 8145 was the 1,076 car laded for the month. M 8145 is a SHUTTLE car as indicated by the lone S in the top margin. M 8145 was moved in Train 78 on March 26, 1973 to Champion. Conductor W. Ceyrolles. Extra 78 West arrived Champion at 6:00 PM.
Gene P. Schaeffer

Preserved green bill for PRR 225563, loaded with MET coal at Montour #4. This PRR car is the 872 and car loaded at #4 for the Month of March 1973. 

I preserved both MET and STEAM stampers, removed from the shippers office at #4 tipple in September 1980 as the last crew removed the last 7 loads of coal and 52 empty hoppers.

Gene P. Schaeffer

Green bill from Montour #10.
Authority for Expenditures. These contain in-depth history about the operations of the company. Just by reading these AFE's alone, you can see and understand how the company tried to maintain and better the physical property.
There are also Authority for Retirements.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Memo preserved from Rook when the newly organized W&LE wanted to lease out office building, seeing the basement was packed with company records of the  WPT, WSB and P&WV, the W&LE recognized the importance of the records and found WNP who contacted me for assistance.
Of course, records pertaining to the Montour RR caught eye and were of significant importance. I have several thick P&WV files on the lease agreement between the Montour (Pittsburgh Coal) and the P&WV/WSB. The WSB...West Side Belt is predecessor to the P&WV.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Two layoff notices from the P&LE courtesy Ross Johnson
1915 Injury Memo from Montour Shops. Courtesy Gene P. Schaeffer
October 31, 1975.
The Train Dispatcher on the night trick had numerous forms that needed filled out including this one showing the car loadings of the mines as well as Champion Preparation Plant. Courtesy Gene P. Schaeffer
Lewis Run Railway.

The little known pike that quietly disappeared. Not so quiet in its beginning as seen in this letter dated September 7, 1916. Other notes of interest, starting at the top of the letter,

* Pittsburgh Coal Company heading crossed out, Montour RR Co, penciled in.
* "Of Pennsyvania", expertly lined out in ink
* 9-18-16 note penciled in; Porter "Dictate letter to Nicholas Green tenant warning him against further interference" This note appears to be checked off in pencil, as if completed.
* Nice ink signature of Mr. E.J. Taylor, Chief Engineer. Seems Mr. Green was threatening RR surveyors that were finding the RoW across the Neiss farm that he was renting.

Other correspondence I have shows that this issue was resolved in 1917. I can only imagine the challenges from other land owners that the legal department had to deal with during the construction of both North Star & Mifflin and Lewis Run Rwy.
Collection of Tim Sposato