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Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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   Author  Topic: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920  (Read 6188 times)
Aa3rt
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Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« on: May 4th, 2007, 10:46am »
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Way up in northwest Pennsylvania, in Warren County, there was a short lived line originally named the Youngsville & Sugar Grove Railroad. Organized in 1902, the line connected with the Dunkirk, Allegheny Valley and Pittsburgh (later New York Central) in Youngsville. The line never enjoyed much financial success and was purchased in 1915 and reorganized as the Panama Traction Company, with intentions of electrifying and extending to nearby Panama, New York. (Sugar Grove is about 2 miles south of the New York/Pennsylvania border.)  
 
I grew up in Sugar Grove and while this little line (approximately 11 miles long) had faded into history before I was born, I have been fascinated with stories of "John Day's Dinky", John Day being the Youngsville businessman who originally incorporated the line. The railroad started operation with two ex-NYC elevated locomotives (0-4-4T's) and two coaches. Also on the roster were four flat cars used during construction of the line. In later years, a White Motor Company bus with flanged wheels did much of the duty on the line. There were no turning facilities in Sugar Grove, so every run to Youngsville was an 11 mile backup move.
 
To start things out, here's a train in downtown Sugar Grove, at the northern end of the line. The train is crossing Sugar Grove's Main Street and headed north on Forest Street (also known as the "Big Tree-Sugar Grove Road"). The building on the right still stands and serves as a grocery store. The three story building in the background has been torn down and the land it sat on now serves as a municipal parking lot.  
 
Scanned from a postcard won on Ebay, postmarked Sugar Grove, PA, Aug. 23, 1909


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:01am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #1 on: May 4th, 2007, 11:53am »
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Here are both passenger cars in one train, headed west in "downtown" Youngsville. After crossing the bridge on the left in the photo, the railroad veers to the right and heads north to Sugar Grove.
 
Scanned from a postcard won on Ebay, postmarked Pittsfield, PA, Aug. 8, 1911(?)-date not too clear.


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:03am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #2 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:04pm »
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Here's the Sugar Grove Seminary, built in 1883, torn down in 1963. Note the Y&SG train on the right. The train is about a block and a half from the location shown in the first photo.
 
Personal aside-I attended elementary school (grades 1-4) in this building. The (then) new school was built directly behind where the seminary stood.
 
Scanned from a postcard purchased by my father at an antique shop in Sharon, PA. Unable to makeout date on blurred postmark, card was postmarked in Sugar Grove, correspondence dated May 25, 1911.


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:02am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #3 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:26pm »
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The Y&SG connected with the DAV&P at the DAV&P depot on Oak Street in Youngsville. After leaving the depot, the Y&SG rails ran along Youngsville's Main Street, as we have already seen in the second picture. Here are a couple of postcard views of the street trackage in Youngsville.  
 
Scanned from a postcard won on Ebay, postmarked Youngsville, PA Sep. 13, 1912.
 
Approaching the town:


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:03am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #4 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:30pm »
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Closer to downtown Youngsville, here's another view of the bridge seen in the second picture. When I was young, I always wondered why the walkway on that bridge was so wide. Now I know, I never imagined that it carried the ROW of the Y&SG.
 
Scanned from a postcard won on Ebay, not postally used.


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:04am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #5 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:32pm »
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Looking back east (from where we just came) here's one last view of the street running trackage in Youngsville. In the foreground the tracks will soon start veering left (north) on their way to Sugar Grove.
 
Scanned from a postcard won on Ebay, postmarked "Harrisburg & Erie R.P.O.", dated Oct. 14, 1910.


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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:04am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #6 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:35pm »
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From a photo my father had copied, unknown location. Note how the standard gauge gondola dwarfs the diminutive ex-NYC El loco.

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:05am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #7 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:39pm »
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Back in Sugar Grove-why I don't miss Pennsylvania winters! The locomotive is north of the Seminary (you can discern the belltower roof above the passenger car) and about 1/2 a block south of the location in the first photo.

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:05am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #8 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:44pm »
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Closeup of the Y&SG crew, personnel unknown.

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:06am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #9 on: May 4th, 2007, 12:48pm »
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A good broadside view of the ex-NY Elevated equipment, performing in the rural northwest Pennsylvania countryside, just outside of Youngsville.

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:06am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #10 on: May 4th, 2007, 2:06pm »
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Map of the Y&SG:

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:07am by Aa3rt » Logged
CSXvet

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #11 on: May 7th, 2007, 5:49pm »
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In checking the Manhattan Ry. disposition lists, I can come up with one locomotive and one car:  
 
Ex-NY Elevated (later Manhattan Ry.) #91 0-4-4T Forney, built by NY Locomotive Works, Rome, NY,  June 1886, with 42" drivers and 11x16" cylinders, originally class F, rebuilt 3/03 as F2. Sold to Y&SR 8/28/03.
 
Coach ex-NY Elevated #48, built Gilbert & Bush 9/78,length 45'; sold to Y&SR 10/28/03.
 
Those 1903 sold dates don't quite compute with the 1905 organization date mentioned, but who knows?
 
The other Forney (as in the photo with crew at Seminary) doesn't look like an El engine, at least not from New York.  Seems more like a typical industrial or logging loco.


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Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
 
« Reply #12 on: May 7th, 2007, 6:57pm »
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CSXvet-Thanks for your inputs!   As I have not lived in Sugar Grove for almost 30 years now, and considering the fact that the railroad has been defunct for at least 87 years, it's difficult, if not downright impossible, to research this topic from afar.  
 
I do infrequently correspond with a gentleman in Warren, PA (the county seat) who researched this line and had ideas of writing a booklet about the Y&SG. However, some of the locals who were still alive (and had seen the line first hand) when he did his research (about 20-25 years ago) were less than cooperative.  
 
I'll pass this information on to him and see if he has any turned up any other information in his research. The line was chartered in 1902 (?)* and even the end date of service is in question. (As you might suspect, some of this has been handed down like folklore, and where facts don't always fit, best guesses are sometimes substituted.)
 
When I was growing up in the town (late 1950's/1960s) the broadside photo hung in the local post office which was then located in the ground floor of the three story building shown in the first photo. Whatever happened to those photos when the post office relocated is anyone's guess.  
 
Again, thanks for the input. History on this line is somewhat elusive and I appreciate any "tidbits" that I can get.
 
                                                           Kindest Regards,
                                                           Art (Aa3rt) Audley
                                                           La Plata, MD originally Sugar Grove, PA
 
*In looking over some long filed paperwork after reading your post, I found another date of 1902 as the charter date. The only published reference on this line that I'm aware of are a few brief pages in "Warren County Trolleys" by Benson W. Rhorbeck.


« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:08am by Aa3rt » Logged
CSXvet

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #13 on: May 8th, 2007, 5:09pm »
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Here's a slight bit more, courtesy of Tom Taber III's "Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia & Atlas":
 
Incorporated 4/14/02, operations began October or November 1903. Originally intended as an interurban electric line and, in fact, its official name was the Youngsville & Sugar Grove Street Ry. Reorganized in 1909 as the Warren County Traction Co.
 
The second Forney was ex-Manhattan Ry. #101, built by Baldwin 1879, c.n. 4544. It shows up on the Manhattan Ry. disposition list as sold to C. N. Payne, Oil City, PA 4/03, which is why I didn't spot it earlier. Maybe Payne was a dealer, or one of the line's promoters??
 
Probably your infrequent friend already has all this info, since it seems to be pretty much all that's out there.


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Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
 
« Reply #14 on: May 9th, 2007, 8:23am »
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on May 8th, 2007, 5:09pm, CSXvet wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Here's a slight bit more, courtesy of Tom Taber III's "Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia & Atlas":
 
Incorporated 4/14/02, operations began October or November 1903. Originally intended as an interurban electric line and, in fact, its official name was the Youngsville & Sugar Grove Street Ry. Reorganized in 1909 as the Warren County Traction Co.

 
CSXvet-Thanks once again, your input is most appreciated!!!  
 
Is Taber's "Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia and Atlas" still available? I'd love to obtain a copy.


« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:09am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 18th, 2007, 5:55pm »
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To add to this topic, here's a ticket from the third and final incarnation of this railroad:

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:10am by Aa3rt » Logged
Aa3rt
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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 18th, 2007, 6:01pm »
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Last, but not least, a stock coupon issued on July 1, 1918. Conicidentally, 35 years to the day prior to my birth.
 
I believe I've got the corporate history down now. Originally organized at the "Youngsville & Sugar Grove Street Railway" the railroad was reorganized as part of the "Warren County Traction Company" and finally operated as the "Panama Traction Company" before going to a sheriff's sale in the spring of 1920.


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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1902-1920
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 19th, 2007, 5:46pm »
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Finally, a scan of a photocopy from the Jamestown (NY) Post-Journal of one of the railbuses that served the line in its final years. Since my initial posts, I've learned that there was a wye in Sugar Grove, installed south of the Seminary (in picture #3) in 1916. Initially the buses were backed up on the 12 mile line from Sugar Grove to Youngsville. However, the buses didn't have enough power in reverse gear to tackle some of the hills so the wye was installed at a late date to allow for turning of the buses for their return trip to Youngsville.

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« Last Edit: Oct 4th, 2009, 12:11am by Aa3rt » Logged
Mr. Starr

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #18 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 3:51pm »
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I understand that it the locomotive shown is an EX Elevated railway, my question is this was the loc built by Forney ?


« Last Edit: Jul 26th, 2007, 3:53pm by Mr. Starr » Logged
CSXvet

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Re: Youngsville & Sugar Grove (PA) Railroad 1905-1920
 
« Reply #19 on: Jul 28th, 2007, 8:11am »
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I think the data back in this thread shows the name of the builders of the two Forneys known to have gone to the Y&SG -- NY Loco Works (Rome) and Baldwin. "Forney" refers to Matthias Forney, who held the patents for this particular type of design.  But Forney basically was a technical journalist and publisher,not a locomotive builder.  Several commercial builders built Forney-design engines for NY and Chicago elevated systems, industrial uses, and the like.

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