Tim Sposato Stories
Libaray Junction Overhead Bridge
This overhead bridge was located just around the curve, east of Library Jct. I first discovered this aging structure when I was in 7th grade, making the trek on foot from Jewell to Library Jct with a classmate, John Young. Several personal stories come to mind I'd like to share.
This bridge used to have a bull rope tied under it where the young and daring could swing from side to side, clearing the rails by about 5 feet. It was scary. The roadbed under the bridge was constantly littered with, you name it, washing machines, chairs, a couch, shattered TV's, broken beer and wine bottles, tin cans, rugs, old toys.....shall I continue?
As you enter the cut for the bridge, westbound, the left side had some rock outcroppings. We were hi-railing west with RH-2 one hot summer day and stopped briefly due to a Mother Nature call for a few of us. I crossed around the back of the truck and spotted a rather large black snake coiled on the rocks. With a quick grap I caught him and circled back around the truck. Foreman Schmidt grinned broadly as I motioned that I would scare Bob Beck and Mark Broskey still seated in the rear seat. As I opened the door, snake first, Mark screamed and frantically climbed over Bob's lap and fell head first out the truck window. Bob couldn't open the door account of Marks body passing by so he threw his hands up in fear and hollared very loudly. I got worried after Mark dissappeared and retreated with the snake. Those two guys were extremely sore with me, as Pete Williams and John roared with laughter.
The first curve east of the bridge had a few homes next to the tracks. An elderly lady would occasionally appear on daylight runs with a homemade pie in her hands to hand up to the crew in the caboose as it rattled past. Crews would watch for her, the engine crew might call back to rear if they saw her coming. I rode a few trips when this occurred, apple or cherry pies I recall. The cherry was the best.
The Monastery was located above the bridge on Rocky Ridge, this was a great source of curiosity for us youngsters as we would sneak around the place looking for the Holy Ghost Fathers. Once we got caught and the kindly Father took us in for a visit and cold lemonade.
I was lucky to view many trains pass under this bridge, east and west bounds to & from Mifflin, not to mention all those Library trains with empties and loads running by and back in at Library Jct. The trains were generally long enough to reach the bridge and slightly beyond.
As mentioned the bridge was rickety, the boards always loose. Bicycles would bounce wildly across them, the structure shivered as cars or trucked crossed. Lotsa rust, little paint left as she weathered out those last twenty years of her life. This structure was identical to the bridge just west of Brookside next to Irishtown road. I remember seeing the Irishtown bridge in a condemned state in the 60's. The road planking boards were missing or curled upward behind the end barricades. The bridge at Alleco was of the same construction as is the bridge still existing on the Westland Branch.
My first visit to the bridge with classmate Young was on a Saturday morning. We were just starting to walk east to Jewell when a westbound rounded the curve at the 'pie lady's' house. It had 4 units, a passle of B&LE hoppers and sandwiched between the hoppers and caboose was the X-1 crane and X-3 idler. What a sight! The caboose rear door was open and a crewman sitting on the bunk, just inside, cryed out a greeting. Wonderful...just wonderful.....
Finally the attached image was the last time a weed sprayer killed vegetation between Library Jct and Coverdale. I worked as the pilot on the truck as I had done a few times before. We stopped at the bridge to dispose (burn) the chemical bags and felt it was the time to memorialize the scene. I managed to get the operator to spray a little heavier at a slower speed to be sure the kill would take good effect between this point and Coverdale. We got off the rail at South Park Road crossing and headed for Montour Jct.