Shamokin Valley Railroad
Harvey, The Chief Engineer!
On Sunday, July 27, we rode 50 miles round trip on the Shamokin Valley Railroad from Sunbury through Paxinos and Shamokin to Mt. Carmel Junction and back. The Shamokin Valley Railroad is a short line that operates 27 miles of track in southern Northumberland County. The line runs generally southeast between Sunbury and the unincorporated village of Mount Carmel Junction, just east of the borough of Mount Carmel. There are connections to the Norfolk Southern Railroad and Canadian Pacific Railroad lines at Sunbury. The track follows Shamokin Creek and roughly along the route of Pennsylvania Route 61. This is former Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads trackage and is built with heavy rail weighing in at 155 pounds per foot. This rail was needed to accommodate the heavy coal trains taking anthracite coal from the area. The 2-10-0 Decapods used by the Pennsylvania Railroad here had five of its six axles powered and provided very high tractive effort, a major advantage in this mountainous region.
Line up at Paxinos
We set on at Sunbury and proceeded south and east. We stopped at Paxinos for quick look through the large flea market there and then continued on to Shamokin. We stopped for lunch in downtown Shamokin, where the local media had urged the locals to ‘come out and greet the putt-putts!’ Dozens of children and their parents came out and talked with us, checked out our cars, asked questions and photographed their children sitting in a speeder. What a great idea to promote our hobby!
Lunch stop at Shamokin
After lunch, we continued on to Mount Carmel Junction, turned and came back. Along that portion of the route, the track passes an interesting environmental remediation project aimed at restoring Shamokin Creek. Acid mine runoff from over a century of drift mining in the area has turned the creek into an acidic, dark orange body of water that supports very little life. Larry arranged for a docent from the group, the Shamokin Creek Remediation Alliance, to give us a brief talk about the project, which aims to treat the mine runoff before it reaches Shamokin Creek.
The participants on this excursion had an opportunity not only to enjoy a scenic trip, but also to have some unique experiences and learning that made the trip all the more worthwhile. Our thanks to Larry and Carole for this great trip!
[Dan wrote this article for the Setoff November - December 2008 issue]
Cleaning out flange ways
Shamokin Valley RR System Map