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Remembering Erie RR engineer Arthur O'Hara
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Remembering Erie RR engineer Arthur O'Hara
« on: Mar 29th, 2017, 8:34pm »
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the following parpagraphs are excepts from the following article in The News Eagle yesterday:  
HAWLEY - Arthur Joseph O'Hara was an Erie Railroad engineer who lived in Hawley, Pennsylvania, much of his career, and later in Port Jervis, NY. Like others in his field, he knew well the dangers of the profession with multiple, massive steam locomotives pulling long trains back and forth. He also knew the pleasures and rewards of manning the throttle of these engines, shuttling passengers and transporting coal and other cargo, when railroading was still king.
Born August 7, 1847 in Waymart, he attended school there until his family relocated to Scranton. His father was a contractor on the Delaware & Hudson Gravity Railroad between Scranton and Archibald, and when Mr. O'Hara was 12 years of age he went to work with his father, driving a team on the construction work. He then did the same work on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, before going back to finish his schooling in Scranton.
In 1862, at the age of 15, he obtained a job as a brakeman on the D. L. & W., and then the Philadelphia & Reading. In 1866 he came to Port Jervis and found employment with the Erie as a fireman; in 1870 he was promoted to engineer.
As engineer, he began hauling with extra freight, but in a year was given a regular coal train between Port Jervis and Hawley, with layover at Hawley.
He moved about in his career; he accepted a position with the Greenwood Lake railroad, but in 1880 came back to the Erie.
In 1885 he was assigned as an engineer and conductor of the construction train on the Erie & Wyoming Valley railroad, being laid out between Hawley and Scranton. The Erie & Wyoming steam railroad replaced the Pa. Coal Company gravity railroad which had brought coal to Hawley 35 years, to be transferred to canal boats, and later Erie steam trains.
Lauded as an engineer
In June, 1886, he returned to the Delaware Division of the Erie and ran extra passenger for the rest of that summer, then taking the Port Jervis-Hawley coal run and continuing with it until 1890, when he and his family moved to Port Jervis. They settled in a brick house at 16 Seward Avenue. Their home in Hawley was damaged in a fire in October 1898, although it is not known if that was a factor in their decision to move.
He was credited in February 1899 with the invention of a railroad car brake that utilized brake shoes, operated by a series of levers.
O'Hara was the engineer of a special excursion in about 1890 to experiment with burning hard coal on a soft coal engine. Hailed as a success, the Erie conducted the excursion on the Honesdale Branch. The train carried Honesdale and Hawley excursionists top Shohola Glen, where there was an amusement park.
He was lauded in the local press for his abilities as engineer. A news item in the Port Jervis paper, Tri-States Union in December 1986 noted that O'Hara has "well won the reputation of being one of the foremost knights of the 'right side' on the Delaware Division. Within a few days he had made several remarkably fast runs."
In August 1897 he completed a trip of 104 miles from Port Jervis to Susquehanna in two hours, 37 minutes, including 16 full stops. Running a new compound locomotive, No. 357, O'Hara made a record for this new class of engine. "It will be a long time before any other compound or any locomotive of any other class beats this remarkably good run," The Evening Gazette of Port Jervis stated.
Later, he made a remarkable run between Port Jervis and Susquehanna in only three hours, 25 minutes.
Died after a train wreck
He was 56 when he died suddenly on May 9, 1904, while in Middletown, NY. Arthur J. O'Hara's death was attributed to complications developed from injuries received in an Erie train collision, on December 19, 1903.
At that time, O'Hara was an extra passenger engineer aboard train 115. The train was slowing for a stop at Rowlands when it was struck by a fast-moving coal train. Seeing that a collision could not be avoided, O'Hara leaped from the cab and landed on the hard road bed. Other than a sprained ankle, he thought he had escaped injury. Not long after, there were indications of spinal injuries and other internal complications.
Following a Mass at Port Jervis, his remains were taken on Erie train no. 115 (the same train on which he was injured in the crash months before) to Hawley for internment. He was laid to rest in the Catholic cemetery.
O'Hara was remembered as a well-liked, very competent and industrious engineer, as well as a good citizen, loving husband and father.
He was very active in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and other organizations. He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic church in Port Jervis. O'Hara also wrote several articles for the Engineers' Journal and Sinclair's Journal.

For the rest of the article, please visit: http://www.neagle.com/news/20170327/recalling-erie-engineer-arthur-ohara


Best wishes to all,
Matthew L

moderator- D&H, Erie Lackawanna/Erie and LA&L/B&H/WNYP

P.S. All aboard for the last train to Hammondsport!
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Re: Remembering Erie RR engineer Arthur O'Hara
« Reply #1 on: Apr 1st, 2017, 3:10pm »
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Interesting reading - thanks for posting.

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