Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad








Working on the Montour


Railroading 101



Montour # 9

Bob Ciminel's Montour No. 9 Report

Montour No. 9 was located at McAdams, MP 16.77, which had a 38-car siding listed in all the timetables between 1940 and 1977.  The mine was listed as station 93 and the siding was 93A with a derail at the east end. A new station was added in the 1947 timetable, 93B, which was the ramp on the supply track to No. 9 mine.  The timetable also cautioned that an engine would not clear the tipple. In the 1968 timetable, stations 93 and 93B were gone and 93A was listed as Pitt Processing Company.  The siding still held 38 cars. There were no changes in the 1977 timetable. Bob Ciminel

Montour No. 9 mine was opened by the Pittsburgh Coal Company sometime after 1914 and the completion of the Montour Railroad Mifflin Extension.  It was located at McAdams, northwest of McDonald, along PA Route 980.  The main entries passed beneath Route 980 and were oriented to the northeast and southwest, with side entries aligned northwest and southeast. Another set of entries passed beneath the railroad tracks; however, that area was not extensively mined because it abutted the
Shaw Mine north of Midway.

The Pittsburgh seam at Montour No. 9 was 1,100 feet above sea level, rising toward the northwest and dipping toward the southwest.  The surface elevation at the intersection of Route 980 and North Branch Road is 1,104 feet above sea level, which meant that No. 9 entered the seam as soon as it went under Route 980 and drainage from the mine went directly into the tributary of Robinson Run that parallels Route 980.

Montour No. 9 was a large mine, as evidenced by the employment numbers in the table below.  The Keystone coal report says the mine closed in June 1954, but other records indicate that deep mining ended in 1946 and stripping ended in 1947.  I think they may have confused No. 9 with the Shaw Mine on the other side of the hill. During its peak years of 1932 and 1934, the mine loaded about 2,600 tons a day, or approximately 50 cars a day, for the
Montour Railroad to haul back west to Champion for cleaning and sizing.

The coal seam at No. 9 was at 1,100 feet MSL, which was probably why they put the mine entries underneath Route 980.  They could tunnel upward to the seam and use natural drainage and gravity to bring the coal down to the tipple.  The intersection at Route 980 and North Branch Road looks to be around 1,097 feet MSL.

Gene P. Schaeffer - A few footnotes of info regarding McAdams from life after #9 closed. On several occasions, Eastbound coal trains for interchange to the PRR at McDonald had mishaps coming into McAdams west switch in 1975. Not sure the cause of the accidents, but I have seen two significant coal train derailments between the dirt road crossing & the West Main Track Switch where cars turned over spilling coal everywhere.
Coming into McAdams the gradient was just starting to ease coming down from Mile Post 17.  Montour RR Engineer Jack Harvard often schooled me when he allowed me to take the GSCX loaded unit train over to interchange at McDonald ...
"Boy - From #9 cut down to McAdams its fairly steep".
Don't put too much air on em, just enough to get em down to McAdams and if you feel like they're getting away from you, put a little engine brake on em to keep em in check. If that don't work, you'll need more air which is might bring you to a stall east of McAdams as the train is leveling out and you have all that air on back there. Remember you can't release em and put em back on, they'll take off on you and you'll have a real mess.
When your arriving McDonald West Switch, you have to nearly stop for the switch which some crews do. But Jack likes his head man to line you in without stopping. If you keep em moving remember once you start in on the transfer, you have another steep drop down past the crossing.
Jack use to phrase it as..."Float em down that hill"... Not too much air and don't power em too much as your wasting fuel, creating way too much heat on the wheels, and if your pulling em too hard, you might get a knuckle or even pull out a drawbar, which I never did.
McAdams Siding is also known for the beginning point for the run-a-way flat car with the earth moving Euclid pan that heavily damaged Locomotive 76. Coal company workers were trying to use a steel cable to move the flat car for unloading. I guess the cable broke, the derail at the East End of the siding didn't work, the flat car entered the main track and ran from Mile Post 18 to just beyond Mile Post 19 where Jim Lane, Dave Sherwood were coming across McDonald Viaduct on Extra 76 West.
Dan Leaonard and Conductor Mike Desko told me they knew that had a problem after the air went into emergency and when they looked across the train, they saw a gigantic cloud of steam coming from the locomotives. I guess the caboose was out on McDonald Viaduct when they stopped.  And one other instance at McAdams when coal for Champion was set off one winter in 1978(?) as Champion was having mechanical problems and no room at Champion or Boggs...the east car load of coal went over the derail and leaned way over on its side, but surprisingly, didn't turn over completly. I photographed that P&LE hopper leaning way over.
In later years I walked the East end of McAdams a few times. You could distinguish the layout of the loaded yard tracks as the area was all cinders. I also have a 8 mm movie made at McAdams with locomotive 85 I believe. There was a derailment and McAdams siding was being used as the main track, which was denoted in train orders. Gene P. Schaeffer

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