Working on the Montour
McDonald Viaduct and Transfer
|The McDonald Viaduct is a 960 foot span that
crosses over the old Panhandle line. The Montour had an interchange track
with the Pennsylvania Railroad here. Construction was started in 1913 and
completed in 1914. During World War II the viaduct was under constant
protection, which included flood lights, to prevent sabotage. The coal
shipped over the viaduct was vital to the war effort.
at McDonald is the Viaduct in late fall foliage.
A whopping 960 feet long.
According to the Montour RR Bridge Diagram book.
Excavation began on September 2, 1913.
Masonry work started on September 8, 1913.
Masonry work finished on December 2, 1913.
Steel erected August 1, 1914.
As for steel work, Girder spans and braces 973,932 pounds.
Towers 340,525 pounds.
175 foot through truss. 575,918 pounds.
A total of 1,890,375 pounds of steel. Gene P. Schaeffer
Here Montour engines 79, 76, 78 and 83 cross the viaduct, 80, 77 and
74 are below on the McDonald Transfer tracks. Photo courtesy R.J. Lane.
was taken on a 1976 Saturday, spring afternoon. We had been called out for
a gapped switch at East end of Peacock. Seems the Coal Run into Westland
earlier that morning had made a setout there of a bad order and noticed
the switch defect.
The Section #1 foreman was not found and Section #2 got the call.
Foreman Schmidt and myself were the only ones available, so out we came.
After setting the Hi-rail truck (RH-2) on at Gilmore Jct.
crossing we ran up to Peacock. We repaired the switch in time for the
Westbound train to pass while we watched the movement. The foreman decided
since we were out why don't we continue west by rail and check up on a
track repair we had done at McAdams siding earlier in the week.
Well there was no argument from me, being that I was driving the truck,
this was another chance to ride the rails. Besides the railroad was going
to be paying me to enjoy the trip, any other time I would have done it for
We caught up to the westbound at the Viaduct, once again I got the
trusty 110 camera from my lunch bucket and shot this picture, you can see
the caboose at the far end of the bridge. Notice also, my work gloves on
the dashboard to the right and the on the left, the back of a speaker we
used with the am/fm battery powered radio. Not exactly company issue, but
it passed the time away when needed. At this point the foreman said to
back off a little and allow the train to get away for fear of being
questioned on the "carpet" of proper company time usage. I was
only starting my second year of employment and still listened to what I'm
told. Fortunately I had other opportunities to hi-rail close to moving
trains like this, even got a few more pictures at a closer range. I will
try to share those sometime.
Here we see Caboose 33, on a hot July Day in 1975, Westbound with
Champion coal easing off the lengthy McDonald Viaduct. Up ahead,
Montour 81-84-75. - Gene P. Schaeffer