Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad

Montour Railroad








Working on the Montour

Schaeffer Stories

Sposato Stories


Railroading 101



MP 19.8 North Star Junction

Montour Extra 80 West stopped at the West Wye Switch North Star with burned out Caboose 39, waiting on a meet. The gon was used to pick up 90 pound rail that was replaced with new 115 pound. Caboose 39 was torched by vandals as it sat at Morris Mine one weekend. Once the 39 made it into Montour Junction, it was spotted in the car yard where the X1 picked it up & placed it into a gondola for scrap. Its cupola was then smashed in for clearance issues. Sadly, this was the last trip for the 39... Gene P. Schaeffer
North Star Junction is a wye that was used to turn the locomotives. It is also the site of an old passenger pick up point although there are no remains visible of any passenger structures, if there ever was any.

There is quite a lot of old track work at the junction. We could find no rails but it appears that most of the ties are still in place at least on the east track. The west track is more hidden and we didn't find the same number of ties although the road bed could be easily traced.

We found a very interesting artifact lying near the start of the wye. It is an old locomotive break assembly. It has both brake shoes on it and a long bar connecting the two. It was found buried in the soil just before we reached the wye.

This is the point where we started our adventure. It is the east end of the wye. This is over the small concrete tunnel that passes over the road. The tunnel and wye are located near Santiago PA
N 40 26.441
W 80 15.848
These are the old ties that we found marking the old road bed. The ties existed from the main all the way back to the merge point. This is on the east wye extension. It's been about 25 years since the rails have been removed and the ties are slowly disappearing into the brush. They would be difficult to spot and trace in the summer. This is the merge spot located back in the woods. You can see that the ties are longer here to support both lines of track coming together. There are still track connectors, plates, switch hardware and spikes in this area. We could not locate the switch machine or any of its components.

N 40 26.395
W 80 15.850

Here is some of the hardware we found near the merge point. If you look closely at the picture on the right you can see the spikes still in the ties. This was common to the area indicating that when the rails were removed they were slid out from under the spikes. If you visit the area keep alert as some of the ties were overturned and the pointy ends of the spikes were pointing upward. This is a view of the North Star Junction from the Microsoft Terraserver. The photo was taken in 1993, over ten years prior to our visit. The coordinates for the end or southern most point of the wye are:

N 40 26.345
W 80 15.850

This is at the west end of the wye where the the tracks merge back into the main. You can see that it is well hidden by forest growth. There is a small pile of ties blocking the entrance to the wye at the west junction that can be seen only if you are on the east side of the main.

N 40 26.450
W 80 15.873

Here are the images of the brake assembly we found lying half buried in the soil on the east end of the bridge/tunnel. We of course don't know the story of how this got here but we think it's a great find. On the one end of the assembly we noted a brake shoe in good shape. I'm sure this isn't going anywhere soon.

This is a complete brake beam, the cast iron shoes are still pinned in the brake heads. A reminder from some long ago derailment or lost pin allowing the beam to drag under the car. Tim Sposato
This is an old access road to the the wye. The road originates from from North Star Rd.

Here are some things we found near the bridge. The photo on the left shows some kind of mechanism down under the timbers. Here's a shot I like of the ties. You can see the spikes sticking out of them.