Sunnyhill, Maraca and Rider Mines
Bob Ciminel's report on the Sunnyhill, Maraca and Rider Mines.The Sunnyhill, Maraca and Rider were strip mines that operated under different names and owners from about 1941 to 1968 and beyond. The Montour timetables helped somewhat, but as with most railroads the station names usually remain the same no matter who owns the business.
Timetable No. 40 (1940) does not list any of the above mines, but they show up in Timetable 41 (1947). Rule 104 describes how the switches into the Sunnyhill tipple were to be aligned. The lower switch was lined for the runaround track and the upper switch was lined to the tipple. The problem is: where in the heck was the tipple?
In the station listing, Sunnyhill is No. 79 and had a derail on the lead 75 feet east of the center of the highway grade crossing. But which grade crossing? That could put the Sunnyhill tipple either on the other side of Boggs Road or Potato Garden Run Road. I had a 50-50 chance and picked the location as west of Potato Garden Run near the original Champion waste dump north of Solar Mine. I won't be the least bit upset if someone comes up with a better idea.
Maraca Mine was Station No. 83, which I assume means it was railroad east of Sunnyhill. It was serviced off of Boggs Siding (Boggs was owned by Aloe Coal at this time) and the switch to Maraca had to lined for movement from the Aloe tipple.
By 1968, neither Sunnyhill nor Maraca were listed in the timetable and the station list was: No. 77 Russell No. 2, No. 80 Solar, No. 82 Boggs.
Note that the Rider Mine is never mentioned in the timetables, but I included it because it abutted Solar and Boggs.
However, just so we can keep everyone confused, I have a map showing a tipple labled "Rider Mine" located south of Valleyview Road off of Route 980. That would have been a truck mine, but the Keystone Coal book says the Rider Mine shipped by rail via the MTR from Boggs Station. Another Montour mystery to solve.
The Sunnyhill, Maraca and Rider mines were strip mines located between North Star and Champion, the majority of the strip mines in this area shipped by truck; however, there is a possibility that some may have used the cleaning plant at the Solar Mine to process their coal and ship via the Montour. The cleaning plant at Solar had a Rheolaveur washing plant, dustless shaker screens, magnets for removing tramp metal, picking tables and loading booms.
Sunnyhill was owned by the Sunnyhill Coal Company, an affiliate of the Sunnyhill Mining Company of West Virginia. Sunnyhill went by various names during it lifetime, including Sunnyhill No. 3 Strip and Sunnyhill No. 5. The Sunnyhill Mine had 42 employees in 1943. The mine produced 15,996 tons of coal in 1943, 661,000 tons in 1944 and 638,000 tons in 1945. The tipple had a coal crusher, shaker screens, a picking table and loading booms. In 1947 the mine used two stripping shovels, two loading shovels, three draglines, two bulldozers, four coal drills and 20 coal trucks to bring coal to the tipple.
In 1944, the Maraca Mine produced 48,246 tons of coal that was all shipped by rail. Maraca was owned by the Mayer Coal Company that year, operated for 290 days and had 9 employees. (This could indicate that the company used a lot of contractors.) A 1943 newspaper article referred to the Maraca Mine as the “Marasco Mine” and said it was “across the road” (Potato Garden Run Road?) from the Sunnyhill Mine. There are no records of a Maraca Mine, which may indicate that the mine operated under different names and owners throughout its lifetime.
The Rider No. 4 Mine operated in 1953 and produced 146,000 tons of coal. It had a coal crusher, shakers, a picking table and heavy media washer. Equipment included four shovels, one dragline and three bulldozers. In 1947, the Rider Mine was owned by the William Aloe Coal Company. Production was 380,000 tons in 1945 and 391,000 tons in 1946.
Given the tremendous amount of strip mining that occurred in the area west of Imperial and north of Champion from the late 1930s into the early 1960s it is more than likely that the same mines operated under different ownership and names over the period. In all likelihood, the Rider Mine used the old Boggs Mine tipple to process its coal.
Sunnyhill, Maraca and Rider are included in these series of articles because they were listed on the Montour Railroad timetables between 1947 and 1968 and some shipped coal on the Montour.