Working on the
|Milepost 39 Coverdale - Irishtown Road
thumbing through a pile of old coal mining photographs. Tipples...coal
miners...company towns. They all are neat in their own right. But one
photo in the bunch. Stands out capturing your attention. 3 tracks of
empty coal hoppers. A railroad side track parallels the hoppers.
Telegraph poles. A crossover in the empty yard. A automobile is parked
in a driveway. In the lower corner some type of railroad sign. A bit
further down, a pole of some nature stands alone. You study this photo
for eternity... Like a clap of thunder. Your instincts focus on a
distant roadway. Your focus intensifies. You've been here before.
You've been here many times. But the photo somewhat older. And now you
sit back and grin. And you study the detail. The landmarks are old and
out of focus.
Just 3 tracks of old railroad coal hopper cars. But its a image worth
millions. Intently...you study the empty yard trackage. Those damn
crossovers. You have a photo of em from 1975. Cut off from the world.
But still in existence. There use to be a caboose back here.
Stored...forgotten...but time has changed the scene. Buildings have
been built. Your instincts...where would you be without em. You feel
the muscles relax. It was a tense few minutes. But you recognized the
location. Yes... Looking East. The Montour Railroad...
Coverdale Mine empty yard. Coverdale was a Terminal mine. Serviced by
the P&WV. Using Montour RR trackage rights... Mile Post 40. The
eastbound "SIGNAL" for South Park Road. Where you have photographed
Montour Railroad train crews. Their SW-9's sitting right at the same
"SIGNAL" sign. Yes, the AFE that outlines the track changes. Long after
Coverdale mine closed. The spur leading into Coverdale shortened. The
main track switch relocated "west" of South Park Road. A 71 year old
portrait. I'm overwhelmed with emotion. Looking East along the Montour
Railroad. At Coverdale... In 1943. Gene P. Schaeffer.
79-77 with a boxcar and caboose entering the long curve at Coverdale,
Eastbound for Brightwood with 1 load for Slaters. The gigantic
power line should be familiar to many. The train is going away from the
photographer. The box car is loaded, the date was December 1977. |
coal miners were on strike and the Montour was running just 1 train
crew per day. A great majority of Montour employees were on furlough,
including me. The interesting fact about this photo... I also was out
photographing this crew at this same location. I should of met up with
the crew around Montour #4, however I only met up with the crew at this
If the photographer would of made another photo
from this very location, with the engines a bit further away from his
camera, a second photo would of revealed a silver Ford Elite to the
right of this scene. Standing next to the Ford Elite yours truly would
of been standing there camera in hand recording the crew shoving East...
followed this crew to its turning point where the box car was spotted,
making several wonderful images along the way. - Gene P. Schaeffer
piece of history returns to the Montour Trail as a replica of the
original Montour Railroad Milepost 39 was installed by the Montour
Railroad Historical Society on Saturday 11/17. MRHS member Tim Sposato
provided the replacement post. Tim Sposato, Bryan Seip and Pat Flood
install the new MP39. Milepost 39 is located near the east end of the
Irishtown Road parking area on the Bethel Branch of the Montour Trail. The location was determined by comparing old photographs and by
using measurements from existing Montour Railroad mileposts. The
original MP39 stands during removal of rails through Bethel Park in
The original MP39 stands during removal of rails through Bethel Park in 1981.