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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Tylerdale Connecting Railroad


Date: 10/07/08 19:47
Tylerdale Connecting Railroad
Author: rchgck

Aerial view of the Tylerdale Connecting Railroad from Tylerdale Junction on the B&O's W&P Sub to the connection with the PRR Chartiers Branch.









Date: 10/07/08 19:53
Tylerdale Connecting Railroad II
Author: rchgck

The last of the aerial photos and a newspaper indication that the line would be built from the 1890's

Also a aerial newspaper photo of Tylerdale Junction in 1960.

Railroads have always been full of marginal characters who walked the ROW's, hopped trains and played a cat and mouse game with the Railroad Bulls. When out exploring this line from the Chartiers end of the connection I ran into some interesting characters. The line is now abandoned and no rail exists. The entire corridor of what was once the Chartiers Branch into Washington parallels Catfish Creek. The creek got it's name from an Indian named Catfish who had a camp on intersecting Indian Paths in the mid 1700's. Men traveling the frontier would stay at the camp and trade. It seems that not much has changed in terms of camping on Catfish Creek. The attached article explains how there are still people on the frontier living in Catfish Camp and probably waiting to hop freights that will never arrive.

http://www.post-gazette.com/neigh_washington/20000528wacover2.asp

Looking for additional info on either the B&O's Wheeling Pittsburgh Subdivision or the PRR's Chartiers Branch.









Date: 10/08/08 05:09
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad II
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for sharing this info.

It was fascinating to look at the industrial pictures and imagine the thousands of jobs in those facilities. And, they've disappeared. Most of them.



Date: 10/08/08 05:57
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad II
Author: jrevans

Thanks for the posting. The TCR is quite interesting to me, since most of my family and relatives worked somewhere along the line, be it Findlay Refractory, Jessop Steel or Tygart Valley/Brockway Glass.

I got my first cab ride on this line back in 1985, by a friendly CSX crew using what I seem to recall to be five units (a mix of GP-38s and GP-40s).

It's sad to see the loss of industrial capacity in our country, and especially in the area where I grew up.



Date: 10/08/08 09:09
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad II
Author: rchgck

Same here.

Had a lot of family work, live and raise families in the community which is now in ruins.

It's interesting to think that when I was a kid I thought it was still a busy and vibrant place and yet things were already in steep decline by then. The shutdowns and layoffs started and by the 80's there was nothing left.

The Chartiers Branch was one industry after another all the way up to South Main Street from Richman Bros, Crescent Brewing, Duncan Miller, Star Brewing, a bunch of refineries, Forgie Lumber, the Foundry and Machine shops of Penn Mould, etc.

The Gordon Farm was sold in the late 1800's when oil was found on farmer Gordon's land. The Gordon Farm was basically the West End down to Wylie Ave with Catfish creek as the eastern border. A big well was discovered on this land right were the Brockway #7 sits. Prior to that a well had been discovered at the Gantz Farm near where the PRR Chestnut Street station sits. The depth and sand that was drilled to in order to reach the oil was named Gantz Sand and Gordon Sand respectively and these names are still used to this day. You can read all about here down around page 14.

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/pageolmag/pdfs/v33n3.pdf

To get a good idea of what the oil industry was like at this time rent the movie "There Will Be Blood" with Daniel Day Lewis, about an oil speculator in the late 1800's. There must have been a great deal of oil shipped out of Washington on the railroads.

It makes you wonder how much natural gas and oil are still in Washington County.

According to this recent article in the Washington Post, quite a bit.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR2008081403321.html?referrer=emailarticle

I think there were something like 7 glass plants operating at one time, and oil and gas boom in the late 1890's which attracted the Tyler Tube Mill, started it all.

There were also a few tin mills around the turn of the century and some annealing companies, the Tri-State, etc.

The whole corridor was booming, which brought, jobs, houses, families, a healthy tax base, decent schools and people who cared about their community. I guess you could say the railroads themselves were reflective of the prosperity and the lack of activity reflective of the lack or prosperity.

It seems that the cheap natural resources and the great pool of immigrant labor were the mix that brought it all together. What is the formula now?

Remember Viehman's? Torn down in 94 and replaced with a McDonalds.

Tylerdale used to be a community in and of itself and now all you can see are the golden arches and a billboard perched high over US 70 advertising an adult store in WV. Nice.

This small community is just a microcosm, a symptom of a larger problem that has been evolving for the last 40 years and everybody including our leaders are still trying to figure out what happened and what is happening.

Everyone talks of jobs but how many Malls, Walmart's, Tartet's and Friday's does a community need and how can a town sustain itself when nobody can make a decent living. I guess this is why many people live and consume on credit. Everything is consumed but nothing is produced as evidenced by what is going on in the economy right now.

I can only hope that in solving the energy problem, it can create a new kind of industrial revolution geared toward creating innovation, production and infrastructure from the inside of our country out instead of the outside in.

Sorry for the pontification. I guess it's been building up.

Reflecting on history, what I remember as a kid and what things are like now leaves me scratching my head.

All I know is, I miss the trains and what they represented.



Date: 10/08/08 10:55
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad II
Author: Lackawanna484

rchgck Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> (snip)
>
> The Gordon Farm was sold in the late 1800's when
> oil was found on farmer Gordon's land. The Gordon
> Farm was basically the West End down to Wylie Ave
> with Catfish creek as the eastern border. A big
> well was discovered on this land right were the
> Brockway #7 sits. Prior to that a well had been
> discovered at the Gantz Farm near where the PRR
> Chestnut Street station sits. The depth and sand
> that was drilled to in order to reach the oil was
> named Gantz Sand and Gordon Sand respectively and
> these names are still used to this day. You can
> read all about here down around page 14.
>
> http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/topogeo/pub/pageolmag/
> pdfs/v33n3.pdf
>
> To get a good idea of what the oil industry was
> like at this time rent the movie "There Will Be
> Blood" with Daniel Day Lewis, about an oil
> speculator in the late 1800's. There must have
> been a great deal of oil shipped out of Washington
> on the railroads.
>
> It makes you wonder how much natural gas and oil
> are still in Washington County.
>
> According to this recent article in the Washington
> Post, quite a bit.
>
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
> le/2008/08/14/AR2008081403321.html?referrer=emaila
> rticle

(snip)
>
> All I know is, I miss the trains and what they
> represented.


Same here.

There's still a decent amount of oil and natural gas under northwestern PA, eastern Ohio, etc. A drive through Oil City, Titusville, etc will reveal a number of small rigs and gas gathering stations on the farms. The revenues are a decent part of income in many places.



Date: 10/08/08 15:56
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad
Author: retnkxe9

rchgck,
Wow! Thank you SO much for posting all this. I've lived in San Diego for 44 yrs now, but I grew up in Washington, lived there from 1946 to 1961. Don't know how old you are, but of course I remember the trains. Lived on Rural Avenue, off of E. Maiden St. Was still mostly steam when I was little, could see them our the back window of our house. Our next door neighbor was an old retired B&O station agent, name of Austin Alabama Armstrong (but he was known as "Army Armstrong"). I have nothing but wonderful memories of growing up there. But, as you've mentioned, it's all gone now.
Again, thank you so very much,

John T.



Date: 10/09/08 16:16
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad
Author: splicer

As of '89

Paul






Date: 10/10/08 07:24
Re: Tylerdale Connecting Railroad
Author: rchgck

Farmers' market on track to finding a new home?
By Michael Bradwell

Business editor

mbradwell@observer-reporter.com

The state Commonwealth Financing Authority has approved a $43,000 grant for a feasibility study to determine if the Main Street Farmers' Market could be relocated from a downtown parking lot to a permanent location at the 101-year-old Washington Main Street Railroad Station on South Main Street.

According to a news release from state Sen. J. Barry Stout, D-Bentleyville, and state Rep. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, the study will be commissioned by Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation.

"Moving the farmers' market would allow business to expand and potentially lend a hand in redefining and revitalizing Washington," Stout said Wednesday.

"Establishing a farmers' market in an historic old railroad station would not only bring new life where now there is little activity," Solobay said, "but would allow the farmers' market to expand and extend its hours into the colder winter months."

Those familiar with the project said Thursday numerous issues must be resolved, including financing for a restoration of the building as well as accommodating the business operations of Judson Wiley & Sons, which owns the station and uses it for storage.

The 5-year-old Main Street Farmers' Market is a nonprofit run by volunteers and is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays from May to the end of October.

In an interview with the Observer-Reporter in August, founding members said the market makes money for its participating farmers and has reached its capacity for vendor space at the municipal parking lot at 139 S. Main St.

The group said it wants to put down permanent roots somewhere in the city where it would have cover and access to utilities.

Eugene Matta, project manager with PHLF, said Thursday the foundation already does a number of projects with Washington & Jefferson College and works on a number of historical projects within a 250-mile radius of Pittsburgh. Matta said he first noticed the train station some time ago while touring W&J's Cameron Stadium, which is just across the street.

Last year, Matta said, PHLF completed a study of more than 1,000 family farms in Washington and Greene counties as it looked for ways to help area farm families keep their land financially sustainable.

In the meantime, Matta said, he had discussions about the market with Suzanne Ewing, one of the market's founding members, as well as with Washington County Redevelopment Authority.

All of those conversations and observations prompted him to contact the state Department of Community and Economic Development, Matta said, about applying for a grant to study the feasibility of converting the train station for the farmers' market.

Ewing said Thursday that news of the grant is the first official step toward something those involved with the market have been thinking about for the past couple of years.

"I think (the move) would be a very positive thing for the market and for downtown Washington, but getting there is going to be a long process," Ewing said.

Matta said "the study will cover a number of issues, particularly the issue of financing, especially in the current economic environment."

Bill McGowen, executive director of the redevelopment authority, said Thursday his group has met with Tom Wylie, owner of Judson Wiley & Sons, about the idea of restoring the station.

Completed in 1907, the station was built of brick and granite with a slate roof topped by 12 dormers. The exterior was further adorned by a glass canopy and a large clock. The station served passengers headed to Waynesburg on the 28-mile, narrow-gauge Waynesburg and Washington Railroad and also served the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad's standard-gauge line offering its customers transportation to Canonsburg, Pittsburgh and beyond.

The station, which became vacant after PCC&St.L passenger service ended in 1952, suffered a fire in the 1960s that consumed the roof and dormers. Judson Wiley & Sons purchased the building from the railroad, rebuilt the roof and began using the station for storage.

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.



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