Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Railroad Sniffing - Day 86

  We walked like maniacs today to get in the miles we wanted to do. The most fun thing about the day for me was "railroad sniffing." It's like a game where you try to discern where a former rail line would have gone, and see what is still there and what is not. You saw the nice bridge yesterday, but that's not the first sighting of this railroad line.

Yesterday, just outside of the small village of Warner, I spotted these abutments and perked right up. "Railroad," I said. However, I have to confess that we did pick it up earlier, but I didn't spot it. It ran beside the creek near that ford we could not cross. I was too focused on high water to see the rail grade. railroad abutments

We saw bits of the berm, and then that nice bridge on the farm lane. That is a 7-panel Pratt thru-truss bridge, and the railroad did cross Duck Creek there. We were told that the farm bought the bridge for $1 when the railroad was abandoned. The creek makes a long, long oxbow and so does the road we were walking, while the railroad is now on the far side of Duck Creek, so I lost the rail berm for a while. Pratt thru-truss bridge

Found it again just south of Whipple. It crossed this culvert that carries Whipple Run, and the road climbed and is now laid over the location of the tracks.

I did find out that this was a Pennsylvania RR line, which merged with the New York Central to become Penn Central, which was acquired by Conrail sometime between 1976 and 1999. Since Conrail is the last name on the maps, this line must have been abandoned before 1999 when Conrail was split between CSX and Norfolk Southern. This is way too much info, and it's highly simplified at that. "Modern" rail history is a flaming mess. It might have been something more interesting before the PRR bought it, but alas, my historic railroad atlas is home, and I only have so much research time in the evening. Whipple Run railroad culvert

This farm lane is a clear rail berm. And it matches the map. rail berm

Crossing Sugar Run, this Fleming thru girder bridge is pretty much lost in the weeds and shrubs. Fleming thru girder bridge

The rail berm holds tight to the side of a hill, just below the road grade. Cars would have been just above the tops of the rail cars if they passed each other. Now, probably very few people know the old rail grade is just below them. rail berm The road veered away from the creek, and I thought the berm probably stayed near the creek (the topography was often less undulating, making it easier to build the rail berm near a waterway). Aha! Got a glimpse of it. It's that flat line between the hills. rail berm

I saw the berm head toward the road one more time, and then the road was clearly ovelaid on the old rail bed because there was no where else for the rail line to go. The map confirms this.

And then my last glimpse was of this former rail bridge, now the road bridge over Killwell Run. Killwell Run rail bridge

After that, the railroad swung south following Duck Creek toward Marietta, while we went east, up a hill of course.

Miles today: 17.4. Total miles so far: 1106. Over 1100!

Tomorrow we are moving again. There is going to be heavy rain overnight (it's started already), and we are going to give the creeks a day to settle down. I was hoping for some rest, but the check engine light in my car came on, so I guess I'll be dealing with that instead.

See Almost Uneventful


The Furry Gnome said...

It's fun sorting out old railroads. I've done a bit of that here in Ontario.

Sharkbytes said...

Stew- I just love it!

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "I wonder if the ghost train goes through on those old rail beds every now and then ..."