Montour Railroad 

Montour Railroad








Working on the Montour

Sposato Stories


Railroading 101



National No. 2

Read Bob Ciminel's report on the National No. 2 Mine.

Unfortunately, there is very little information available on National No. 2.  It is not listed as a station in the 1940 timetable, nor any of the other timetables I have. The 1917 Pennsylvania Bureau of Mines report states that a new shaft was put down at National No. 2 on the Montour Railroad, and the 1925 list of passenger stations shows National station at Milepost 27.21, although no passenger trains operated that far east in 1925.

National No. 2 Mine was operating as early as 1905, probably accessed via the National No. 1 entries.  After the Mifflin Extension was completed in 1914 they probably built the new tipple and began shipping via the Montour.  Clearly another case of the Montour stealing business from the PRR.  Coal depth at No. 2 was around 800 feet MSL, and the ground surface was around 1,120, so it was a fairly deep mine when compare with the surrounding mines. - Bob Ciminel

Click on the image for higher resolution

I stopped by National #2 this afternoon & took a look at the concrete bases. 3 bolts in each one - about 1 inch thick bolts. I am doubting a water tower - no sign of a base for center column to get water into a tower. Plus it is too far off the Montour main line - at least 50 feet - to service engines there. With the concrete wall at the SW side which was where the tracks went to the #2 tipple - I am guessing it was something to do with the mine. 

On the photo above from 1939 - there is nothing that stands out in that area. At the top center of the picture is Tar Heights Road - National Crossing. Bottom Right is Papp Road bridge. Center of picture are a couple of buildings with light roofs & a road going into the bigger one. Perhaps the main mine building? Between them is a darker structure - the shadow suggests it could be the head of a hoist house which could be where the shaft was located. 

Further down & to the right is where these piers are located. Directly across from the right-hand house. 
I think the shadow line of trees along the right edge of the lighter patch of ground could be the concrete wall. Looks like there might have been 4 tracks going through this light patch.  This is a couple of hundred feet from the shaft hoist (if that is what that is) - so doesn't sound like the tipple going over the mine tracks - but maybe????? Below the right-hand house is another bigger building which might be the one still on the hill - a garage or warehouse of some type. We saw this building last fall.

There is also something at the Papp road bridge that might suggest a second span going over the road?? It lines up pretty well with where the tracks went into the mine yard. I didn't stop there to take a better look at that bridge abutment. The east switch could have been just east of Papp Road. Looking on a bigger picture - the west switch could have been anywhere along the curve after the main crosses Tar Heights Road and bends left toward National Tunnel.

So - the question still remains unanswered - what were the concrete piers supporting?? But my bet is something for the mine. Perhaps another exploration is warranted?? 

Bryan Seip

Playing with it in Photoshop, there is some interesting pixelation at the site of this find and also there appears to be a shadow extending west north west from the same area. I also can find the remains that are located behind the picnic shelter as well. This picture shows the mine yard quite well and yes there was a spur track running off the main at Papp Road which continued through the mine yard and came back to the main beyond Tarr Heights Road where National Curve straightens out on its approach to the tunnel. You can also the remains of the pond that was located between the main and the road. The remains of the dam are still in place. Could the shadowy object between the buildings be the gantry structure for the mine elevator??
Dennis Sims

Map provided by Dennis Sims



by Dennis Simms

After a walk on the Montour Mainline between National and the National Tunnel, I decided to do a little "Mon-Touring" around some of the remains of #2. The remains are relatively easy to get to, as the roadway than connected them to Papp Road is still an easy walk. Once there, I found the remains of three structures. A brick building with structural steel, a concrete foundation and a building built out of terra-cotta tile block. Its easy to get to the remains, but getting up close and personal is a chore as they are now heavily guarded by blackberry and multi-flora rose. Wearing fleece sweat pants was not a good choice for this Mon-tour.

The walls of the large brick building were still intact a few years ago, but a logging operation took place to harvest numerous wild cherry trees that risen from the mine site, apparently knocked those walls down. The pictures are not great, as I only had my cell phone camera, but I am heading back soon with a better camera and better wearing apparel. The remains of this building are visible from the Trail by the bulletin board at the Kurnick (National) Access Area.
mine 1

A concrete foundation, that could have been the shaft, now filled with household junk. The whole area appears to be a local junk yard with household appliances strewn about.


The terra cotta tile block building with some of the junk.

Proceeded back down the hill and walked around the yard area and found this sticking out of the ground. In fact, there were two of them. I wonder if  these could have been bumper stops for the end of the siding?? The base for a tipple?

This was only a scouting trip. Will head back on a day without snow cover, a better camera, and better clothing before things start leafing out in a few weeks.

Second Trip

Plunging into the woods behind the unsheltered picnic table, I quickly located the two bumpers. I had found on the previous visit. There is a light coating of snow on the ground which increased the contrast making it easy to find them.

Turned left found the concrete wall at the top of hill,

continued my counterclockwise turn and lo and behold, there is the remains of the tipple.

No more than 10 feet behind the tree line along the trail. I have been by there for 15 years and either there was too much foliage to see the concrete footers or I thought it was snow on fallen trees.  These concrete structures line up with the concrete wall on the hill and behind that concrete wall is what I think is the shaft for the mine, now filled with household junk.

So I walk up the hill to get a better view. In the background you can see the Trail garage and the port-a-john in the parking area for reference. Behind me is the concrete wall which is pictured below.

Behind this concrete wall is I believe the shaft filled with tires, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.

Cut across the top of the hill to the old mine roadway, now an ATV path and visited the remains of one of the mine buildings. Anybody remember when marvel ice cream was last sold around here or delivered by truck?

After returning to the parking area, I plunged back into the woods, now knowing where my find was and took a couple of close ups of the more intriguing concrete structures. The sidings would be to the right.




Thanks for the photos Dennis, not much left anymore. There was one building left in the mid 70's, rather large shop type structure. Wood and tin construction, definitely a mine building.

It sat on the left as you cross the MRR at the crossing. Someone had been using a portion of it as a makeshift stable in the previous years, no sign of recent activity in the 70's. There were dried up harness's and bridles hanging on some wooden beams. My first thought it may have been from the mining days. No way to prove or deny this thought, other remains did have the look of a mine operation ie: wood kegs, steel cans and buckets, all empty . There was also a pile of mine roof bolts in one corner. Remains of the electrical system was evident in the form of old porcelain insulators and wires hang around too. Some other older heads of the MRR said it remains of the operation

Who knows...

Tim Sposato

This morning three explorers battled multiflora rose thorns and checked out the ruins of Montour #2, which is located off of Cecil-Henderson Road, directly behind the trail garage . . . this old building was still standing (unlike Grampaw Carter).
We found the old tipple and what we think were the loading yards plus lots of old garbage, a nice three story house that still has a few chimneys standing and some other interesting pieces of concrete and debris from the past, including a "Marvel" electric sign. - Troy Bogdan