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Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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   Author  Topic: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA  (Read 5301 times)
Beech_Cricker
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #20 on: Nov 2nd, 2008, 2:59pm »
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Mike,
 
Very nice pix--thanks for sharing.  I hope I have weather like you did when I head to those parts soon.
 
Some items:
 
The railroad overpass (ref. the concrete piers) at Gillintown, near the Route 144 overpass, was that of an appendage of the PRR's Snow Shoe Branch, originally the Bellefonte & Snow Shoe RR.
 
Your pic of one of the smaller bridges immediately after your photo of MP 48 is the NYC bridge over the PRR's Sugar Camp Branch, another appendage of that road's Snow Shoe Branch.
 
What is today the large ATV parking lot at Gillintown was last used by R. S. Carlin, Inc. as a coal tipple.
 
This segment through Snow Shoe, Gillintown, Gorton, etc. was built by the Beech Creek, Clearfield & South Western RR in 1883-84.
 
NYC abandoned the line from Snow Shoe (Clarence) to Bald Eagle Jct. (near Mill Hall) in early 1966 and the line was pulled up from shortly thereafter until early 1968.  The segment from near Winburne to the end of track at Snow Shoe was placed out of service in early 1990 and pulled up beginning in late 1993 and, following a break due to the harsh winter that year, finished in 1994.
 
I've heard no talk of daylighting the Peale Tunnel as part of plans to reactivate the line to serve the long from disputed landfill project in Rush Twp.
 
MP 41 is indeed part of the remiling of the line to reflect distance from Clearfield vs. the prior Jersey Shore.  This change was made in early 1985.
 
The original bridge at Viaduct was not made of wood (outide of the ties and walkways).  From what have been able to uncover, the towers you see today go back to the original construction.  In 1903, the iron spans were replaced with steel and the towers appear to have been moved to the "newer" pedestals adjacent to the old ones.
 
The shift of eastbound traffic heading first (west) to Clearfield (and then east via the WBV) had been going on for decades prior to the abandonment of the line east of Snow Shoe.  The latter, in its final years, was used only if necessary, e.g. congestion on the PRR between Keating and McElhattan for which NYC had trackage rights.
 
Jeff Feldmeier


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BEECH CREEK RAILROAD
(New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co., Lessee.)
Shortest and Best Route to and from the Bituminous Coal Regions of Pennsylvania.
mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #21 on: Nov 4th, 2008, 10:07am »
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I didn't want to quote all of that but first THANK YOU! for all that great information!    
 
That was my first trip down to Snow Shoe, it is a 2 1/2 hour drive so Its not easy to get to. I have had a permit for SSRT for two years and finally decided it was time to use it. When I went down there to ride, I knew nothing of the railroad line other then it was a NYC line. Since I went alone, I spent the day photographing and marking anything interesting on my GPS. There were enough riders around that day so if I had a break down I would be OK.  
 
Upon leaving I stopped to photograph the trailhead and there was a sign about the landfill fight. The website they give is incorrect, but I found the correct site which is here.
 
http://stoplandfill.com/
 
Surprisingly on that site, I found a nice section of the History of Peale and about the railroad. That was a jackpot of information and got me even more wanting to find more the next time we get down there.  
 
After downloading the data I collected, then plotting it on Topo, it does show some remains of the other branch lines you mention, such as the abutments next to Route 144. I did come to discover that that smaller bridge was an overpass of another railroad line. The history files on the site gives references to milepoints along the railroad so the next thing I did was to mark the mileposts. I have some marked where they are still in place but many are missing. I drew on my map projected points where the other ones should be (within the SSRT's rail-trail area) Next, looking at the history file, I plotted potential points where remains might be. That can be uploaded to my GPS so we can get within a 100 feet of any possible remains.  
 
Also on the history file are some historical USGS maps which shows some of the smaller branch lines you mentioned.  
 
I read it somewhere that reactivation of the rail line would involve destroying the Peale Tunnel since it was not built high enough for the cars that would need to pass through it. What they do with the viaduct is unknown. The question is is it still sturdy enough to handle trains again or would it be fixed or replaced.  
 
This fight from what I read is going on for a few years now and I can see why its so "heated" at times. Who would want a mega-landfill in their town. It would also cut off most of SSRT's trail system and the trail system brings in money to the town.  
 
We have plans for a trip This weekend to go back. With more information on hand we hopefully will find more artifacts.  
 
Although Snow Shoe is "out of my area" of NEPA railroads. There are similarities that are interesting. My area was big with Antracite coal mining and many of the railroads here are long gone when the coal industry slowed. That area also was big in mining bituminous coal.  
 
What I posted about the bridge is incorrect, the wooden stuff was the walkways on both sides which were removed and one side is now grated to allow hikers and bikers access across the bridge. SSRT is a multi-use trail system and I did see some hikers along the way. The area is so scenic it was well worth the day to go down there.  
 
In my area, development has erased most of the smaller lines and branches that once served the mines. Down there it seems mostly untouched. I am lucky up here to find small sections of railroad beds which I have to piece together to figure out what it was. Some I have yet to figure out.  
 
Mike


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Beech_Cricker
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #22 on: Nov 4th, 2008, 7:40pm »
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Mike,
 
Count yourself fortunate with only being 2 1/2 hours away from this line--I'm about 5 1/2!
 
I'll bet I wrote many of the docs referenced at the PPC site.  If you have any questions about that fire away!
 
Related: I and three others are coauthoring a book on Centre County's RR history, a project sponsored by the Centre County Historical Society.  This book should be published in 2009 or 2010.  The Beech Creek line, as well as the PRR's branch to Snow Shoe, will certainly be included.
 
I would be surprised if the clearance of the Peale Tunnel would not accomodate the rail cars they have in mind.  PC and CR put 100 ton coal hoppers through there with ease.
 
I believe an informal inspection was conducted on the Viaduct bridge and no major issues were found.
 
Jeff Feldmeier


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BEECH CREEK RAILROAD
(New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co., Lessee.)
Shortest and Best Route to and from the Bituminous Coal Regions of Pennsylvania.
mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #23 on: Nov 5th, 2008, 7:53pm »
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The articles reference to the Peale Tunnel is that if the reactivation goes through, the tunnel would be lost. That could only mean they plan to blow it open into a rock cut. I wish I could find the exact data that says that.  
 
I probably will have more questions and hopefully this Saturdays weather will be ok to return there. That also means more pictures!  
 
The article I found on the stoplandfill site about Peale History was indeed written by you!
 
Mike


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #24 on: Nov 21st, 2008, 9:38am »
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Our trip was canceled due to weather. We are going to try again next weekend. The foliage will be down so any artifacts should be seen better.  
Just another shot from my first trip is the remains of a line side pole. They must have cut all of them down after abandonment since I never saw any.  
 
Mike


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Beech_Cricker
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #25 on: Nov 24th, 2008, 6:32pm »
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Mike,
 
Actually the lineside poles were sawed/removed well before abandonment of the track.  They came down during the early Penn Central years.
 


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BEECH CREEK RAILROAD
(New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Co., Lessee.)
Shortest and Best Route to and from the Bituminous Coal Regions of Pennsylvania.
mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #26 on: Nov 25th, 2008, 9:10am »
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on Nov 24th, 2008, 6:32pm, Beech_Cricker wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Mike,
 
Actually the lineside poles were sawed/removed well before abandonment of the track.  They came down during the early Penn Central years.
 

 
With another trip planned, we hope to find more interesting relics. I recently tried a new software program for the GPS that allows overlaying scanned images (such as the historical USGS maps) onto it and by anchoring it with known points, the map is placed accurately. That should be a tremendous help in locating artifacts.  
 
Mike


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #27 on: May 23rd, 2009, 5:46am »
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We are going to Snow Shoe today to do some riding and exploring. I spotted some relics when we were there in April but I was riding with the club and could not stop for photos. Although this isn't the best time to do it. The GPS data looks good as I was looking at my GPS while we were riding and we should be able to zero in on some goodies. Pictures will be posted!
 
Mike


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darktown2
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
 
« Reply #28 on: May 23rd, 2009, 9:10am »
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We are looking forward to the photos!! Thanks Mike     Keith

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #29 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:44am »
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We had a good ride yesterday, it was not the best time to explore because of the growth but I did manage to find a few things.  
 
In Clarence, after we turn off the railbed (where SSRT ends) we spotted these abutments. I am not sure if they are railroad related


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #30 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:48am »
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From Clarence, the railroad bed was not open for ATV's and I think this is where the 1966 abandonment started. Anyway, there are roads open to ATV's and we ran them.  What is shown on my map as "Kato" that connects Panther rd and Oviston Rd is this one lane metal grate bridge. The railroad bed crosses next to it at a right angle (also not open to ATV)

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #31 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:50am »
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Next to this bridge, and next to the railbed are these foundation remains. I spotted this back in April but I was riding with the club and could not stop for better pictures. I marked this and plan to photograph it better.

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #32 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:51am »
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Parking the ATV and walking in the railbed, a short distance (about 200 feet) is this platform. Across the railbed I saw rubble of a building remains.

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #33 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:52am »
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Working with some dirt roads, we came across a section of the railbed used as a dirt road. This was a critical find this mile post (#34) as it will allow me to project where more could be back to Clarance.

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #34 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:53am »
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This is the Hogback Tunnel. From this angle you could mistake it for the Peale Tunnel.

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #35 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:54am »
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This interior shot shows this tunnel has a curve in it. Neat!
 


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #36 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:55am »
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Going back to the Viaduct side. Down by the creek these abutments of a former pipeline. Notice how the water has eaten away the base! Kinda cool looking but spells its fate.


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #37 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:57am »
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On the "wye" area of the Viaduct, this could possibly be the remains of the building that stood in the crotch of the wye area. One track was the Grassflats Branchline, the other continued to Winburne. (and beyond)


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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #38 on: May 24th, 2009, 10:58am »
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This is as we passed through Gorton. My topo maps shows this was a small rail yard or staging area. The photo is a bit blurry as I was riding while taking this shot. I picked up a broken down ATV at the Peale tunnel and was towing him back to the Gillentown Trailhead so I could not stop.

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mike_nepa
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Re: Beech Creek Branch, Snow Shoe PA
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« Reply #39 on: May 24th, 2009, 11:07am »
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I do have a few pictures from April. Just beyond the Black Bear trailhead near either Winburne or Hukenberry.  Moshannon Creek does a a total 180 degree and inside the almsot "island" we spotted these ties that show a spur line came off and headed to what is listed as "Kilns" This is just before the railbed crosses over the creek over a smaller bridge.

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