The begrimed gray clouds, like emissions from turn-of-the-century beef locomotives, floated over the contrarily rolling, blooming Arctic Pocono Mountains on a contempo Memorial Day weekend. Could they accept been hints of the area’s railroad past?
The weed-sprouting track, acknowledging a agent engine, a stainless animate New York Central, and three maroon, Pennsylvania Railroad coaches next to the Wayne Canton Visitors Center, were assertive for their 13:00, 25-mile run to Hawley and Lackawaxen as the “Lackawaxen Limited,” operated by the Stourbridge Line’s Delaware, Lackawaxen, and Stourbridge Railroad Company. From rail’s past, allegedly grew rail’s present.
Having been operated by the Wayne Canton Chamber of Commerce, and inaugurating day-tripper alternation account as far aback as September of 1979, the Stourbridge Band ran for added than three decades as an beforehand rendition, abeyance operations on December 11, 2011, afore the present Delaware, Lackawaxen, and Stourbridge Railroad Company, run by the Myles Group, re-plied the advance as of May 9, 2015.
A 50-minute drive from Scranton to Honesdale, a analyze of Main Street, a blow in the Wayne Canton Actual Association Museum, and a accumulating of brochures, pamphlets, newsletters, adviser books, and area-related abstract deposited me here, on the lath platform, amidst by an accretion accumulate of the train’s passengers.
The train’s railroad history, although silently subtle, seemed to allege to me. A glance over the coaches appear the town’s Victorian architecture, which, as a preserved pocket, seemed to accept withstood the beat of time, and next to the brick, admission window antic Visitors Center was a track-attached replica of a lath atramentous wagon displayed on an incline. Balustrade acutely affiliated the boondocks with its past.
A applique alfresco of the actual association proclaimed, “Delaware and Hudson Canal. Abuttals of the aqueduct alternation the Hudson and Delaware rivers. Congenital 1825 to 1828. A force railroad agriculturalist accomplished Carbondale. For 70 years the anthracite barter aperture for the region.”
As I heard the “All Aboard” bawl of the conductor-a basic tone- and pitch-perfect acknowledgment of the apprenticeship accustomed by trainmen for about two centuries-and inched against the drillmaster with my adolescent passengers, I accomplished that something about the breadth had fatigued me to its past.
Where, for example, was the Delaware and Hudson Aqueduct and what relation, if any, did it accept to this “Gravity Railroad,” with which Honesdale seemed synonymous?
Settling into my bank in car #1993, “Clinton Leech,” which had already been operated by the New Jersey Central Railroad, I anticipation of the aesthetics aggregate by Sir Arthur Pinero, an English actor, dramatist, and date administrator who had lived amidst 1855 and 1934. “The present is the accomplished again, entered through addition gate,” he had philosophized.
As the alternation would ply the advance to its destination in the present, I would try to trace the area’s history to its past.
A brief, locomotive-tugging jolt, preceded by the binding whistle, added car coupling astriction until the alternation formed by the four coaches crept abroad in avant-garde drive cohesion, arch Avenue 191, breadth automobiles had calm as aggregation of its departure.
A arduous lumber, amidst the agitation shrieks of its wheels, propelled the Lackawaxen Limited into an arboreal adit of green, as it paralleled the about called Lackawaxen River, whose oil-hued surface, like a mirror, reflected the trees, afore binding accomplished drillmaster and berth cradled balustrade track.
Increasing acceleration embodied itself as drillmaster sway, as the crabbed rocking–excuse the rhyme-took the present away, alteration me to the area’s past. Piece it together, I allowable my mind!
Canals and railroads aggregate both a bounded and analytic agent here. In the case of Honesdale, they seemed to be the same.
Located in Wayne County, in northeast Pennsylvania, the boondocks was 35 afar from Scranton (I had apprenticed it myself) and 150 afar from Philadelphia. So far, that was not actual significant.
Established in 1798, the canton itself was called afterwards General Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero who had acquired ballyhoo if he concluded Indian attrition and destroyed the Northwest Indian Confederation in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
Separated from the Canton of Northampton in 1798, Wayne Canton was established, today encompassing 744 aboveboard miles.
Its bank of government assorted over the years-from Wilsonville to Millford, Bethany, and, as of May 4, 1841, the actual Honesdale in which the alternation originated. I admiration breadth its name came from, but, added importantly, what brought bodies to assertive places to activate with? Perhaps a way in and a way out and something to carriage in either or both directions.
A chat on the Wayne Canton Actual Society’s plaque, which I had jotted down in my notebook, addled me: “Anthracite.” I do not apperceive if this was a domiciliary chat in Pennsylvania, but it seemed important-important abundant for a dig into my laptop for its meaning. And, abiding enough, “dig” was, unknowingly, a appealing adapted chat with which to accessory it.
Because it was mined from the earth’s oldest geological formations and was accordingly subjected to the greatest bulk of calefaction and pressure, anthracite, a array of coal, was able to aftermath abundant added calefaction activity than its softer, geologically adolescent counterpart, agreement it in cogent appeal in arising America to ammunition its home hearths, branch furnaces, and steam-powered machines and locomotives-not that there were any of these around-at atomic not yet.
Although abundant mining in the accompaniment in the late-1800s to early-1900s depleted a lot of of its supply, except for that still in actual deep, difficult to ability deposits, it ranked as one of the three a lot of important deposit fuels, forth with oil and accustomed gas.
So, for a developing, added industrial-based country, it was agnate to gold. What remained, I suppose, was how to get it from actuality to there.
The answer, again, seemed to be inscribed on the Actual Society’s plaque: “Delaware and Hudson Canal.” It was time for added digging.
William Wurts was an aboriginal charlatan of what was afresh accepted as the anthracite abundance fields, examination this affluent northeast Pennsylvania activity antecedent as a potentially monetarily affluent one. Purchasing ample accoutrements of acreage breadth it was located, forth with brothers Charles and Maurice, in 1812 for little money, he allegedly saw amount few others did.
Coal abstraction was the aboriginal footfall in his plan. Alteration it to market, decidedly to the Philadelphia one, was the second. But that method, via barge-plying canal, had ahead accurate beneath than efficient, aback a lot of of the adored atramentous article was absent enroute. There had to be another-and better-way. He believed there was.
Inspired by the afresh congenital Erie Aqueduct and spurred by the abstraction that a agnate aqueduct could accumulation New York City, he accomplished that he could actualize his own-in this case, the plaque-noted Delaware and Hudson Canal, which became the aboriginal long-distance busline avenue accountant by the states of Pennsylvania and New York in 1823.
Threading its way through a attenuated basin amidst the Shawagunk Ridge and the Catskill Mountains, it followed-or, added accurately, became-a 108-mile aqueduct to the Hudson River abreast Kingston.
Why not appoint the best to complete his plan? That is absolutely what Wurts and brothers did, application Erie Aqueduct architect Benjamin Wright to analysis and plan the artery, whereafter arena was torn in July of 1825. Their $1.6 actor vision, acute three years of architecture and 2,500 laborers to complete, was adapted into water-flowing absoluteness in October of 1828.
Its origin, amidst Kingston and Rosendale, New York, from breadth it affiliated to the New York-bound Hudson River, followed the Rondout Brook to Ellenville, casual through the villages of Sandburg Creek, Homowak Kill, and Basher Kill, through the Neversink River (what a acceptability to maintain!) and on to Port Jervis. Proceeding, in a northwesterly administration on the New York ancillary of the Delaware River, it entered Pennsylvania forth the arctic coffer of the Lackawaxen River (currently affected by my coach’s larboard ancillary window) to Honesdale.
Visions occasionally outdistance technology. That abnormality absolutely played out here. Baptize was buoyant, acknowledging barges, but provided little propulsion for biking from agent to destination, abrogation mules as “motors,” which arena out a 15- to 20-daily mile coverage. Supersonic they were not.
You can advance a horse to water, according to the adage, but not necessarily alongside of it, abrogation bodies as archaic GPS guides of them forth the towpaths.
They aswell periodically pumped ascent baptize from the barges and refueled the four-legged engines, accepted in the 19th-century as “feeding.” The bacon was all of $3.00-per month, not per day.
Necessity, to be sure, bred addition in the project, including such civilian engineering “firsts” as river-spanning aqueducts to abate biking times and the apprehension of adhesive in the Rosendale breadth by John Roebling, who would afterwards use it during architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge.
The aqueduct absolutely facilitated carriage to Kingston and afresh down the Hudson to New York, but how was the atramentous transferred from the mines to the apprehension barges? It was aback to the plaque.
It mentioned a appellation I had never heard, nor decidedly bare to: “Gravity Railroad.” Why accent the airy force which ensured that trains remained on their tracks-or, for that matter, aggregate abroad on the ground? Internet, actuality I come!
Interesting. I am already afresh afraid at how animal adeptness commissioned for abstruse engineering. As the locomotive, admitting of agent power, currently pulled my train, the apple out my window, admitting acumen to the contrary, remained stationary. This Force Railroad active a abstraction that was about inverse, in that the engine remained stationary, but at atomic the cars it pulled moved.
Canals over the Moosic Mountains to Honesdale for altering and alee biking forth the Delaware and Hudson aqueduct were not feasible, abrogation the laying of advance on which coal-laden sleds and wagons could run as the addition for the aboriginal articulation of the New York-bound journey.
But afresh Benjamin Wright, acceptance the auto of his academician to about-face (this is, afterwards all, what fabricated him an engineer), envisioned those for a train, axis on track, and suggesting a railroad based aloft the abstraction embodied in the Delaware and Hudson Force name, that would, at atomic partially, be powered by that natural, earth-supplied force.
What goes up, as is able-bodied known, accept to appear down. But that aboriginal allocation airish a problem, for, while force would do an admirable, never-tiring job on the second, some blazon of engine was bare for the first.
Commencing in the atramentous fields of Carbondale, at a 1,200-foot elevation, a 16-mile clue connected to Honesdale, aboriginal aggressive to 1,907 anxiety at Rux’s Gap by mans of 5 west ancillary absorbed planes, whose cars were angular hauled by stationary, steam-powered engines or winches, and afresh angular catholic beyond them. Three crumbling ones facilitated coast on the east side, down to a 975-foot elevation, although here, causeless to say, force replaced all charge for motive power.
Steam engine-to-car access assorted as the action was improved, alpha with two drums and a chain, avant-garde to hemp cables with 7.5-inch diameters, and catastrophe with animate ones.
The cars themselves were open, but crowned with roofs and internally provisioned with bank seating. In the about-face direction, horses pulled them from Honesdale afore they could be cable-secured to the Moosic Mountain in- and beneath planes.
The 16 afar of contrarily almost collapsed arena airish little engineering obstacle. Or did it? Here, neither the anchored beef engines nor the army of horses were effective, with the closing acute their own affliction and maintenance. What was bare was an apparatus with the engine’s mechanical, wood- or coal-burning power, but that was not belted to its individual location. The acknowledgment to that bind may be simple now (my alternation was getting pulled by one), but not necessarily then. Whatever man takes for accepted was, at one time, an addition of engineering, a new-fangled advance to be proclaimed to the world.
Great Britain, in the event-not the Affiliated States-was the birthplace of railroading. Yet, at the time, it was a aching access down the aqueduct on this ancillary of the Atlantic that spurred the technology that could alleviate it on the added side.
Nevertheless, if anchored beef engines existed, what about the acumen of adorning them so that they could be adapted into affective ones?
Skeptics were rampant. However, it already afresh took an engineer-in this case, Delaware and Hudson Chief Architect John B. Jervis-to about-face the eyes in his apperception into the absoluteness on his track.
Convinced that this abeyant not alone existed, but that it captivated the key to a future, rail-based busline mode, he beatific his adolescent protégé, Horatio Allen, beyond the pond in 1828 to brainstorm, forth with England’s own engineers, a reliable, able beef adaptable that could awning a appropriate ambit in a analogously abbreviate time. He was appropriately tasked with purchasing the all-important band adamant to awning the apparent of the contrarily lath track.
The ambit beyond the ocean did annihilation to skew the accepted acceptance amidst Jervis and George Stephenson and son, Robert, who were advised the ascendant experts in the apprentice railroad industry, that this was the future. They themselves were in the action of designing just such a adaptable for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.
John Urpeth Rastrick, who had taken out a apparent for the beef engine as aboriginal as 1814 and had aback formed his own Foster Rastrick Aggregation in the Boondocks of Stourbridge, was apprenticed to body the Force Railroad’s aboriginal locomotive, the eight-ton, $2,914.90 “Stourbridge Lion,” so appointed because its boiler sported a corrective lion’s head.
Subjected to its own intermodal transport, it was aboriginal alien from Stourbridge afore getting loaded on to a address for the beyond crossing, accession in New York on May 13, 1829, breadth it partook of a changeless affirmation at a foundry.
Placed on its appointed Honesdale clue three months later, on August 5, it was assertive for its countdown run, about which Jervis wrote to Delaware and Hudson admiral Bolton, “We shall put beef on her tomorrow or the next day,” abacus that “anxiety raises as we access the aeon if our accessories accept to appear to their criterion of experiment.”
Opening the throttle, Horatio Allen induced the new-fangled engine to breath and choke on the three afar of lath track, faced with wrought adamant straps, which laid on a 30-foot-high, Lackawaxen River arch trestle, in the action inaugurating beef adaptable account in the Affiliated States.
“America’s aboriginal beef locomotive, the ‘Stourbridge Lion,’ beatific Honesdale and all of Wayne Canton into the history books when, on August 8, 1829, the amazing ‘iron horse,’ with its grasshopper legs and a lion’s face corrective on its boiler head, chugged up the clue in this actual town,” acclaimed the “Wayne Canton Actual Society’s Newsletter” (Volume 32, amount 1, January-March 2017).
Because the engine’s automated was too alpine to bright an aerial bridge, ti could alone biking as far as Seelyville afore it had to return, now backwards oriented. Nevertheless, history had been accounting on the balustrade that day. America had entered the railroading era.
“I started with ample velocity, anesthetized the ambit over the brook safely, and was anon out of audition of the acclaim of the ample aggregation present,” Allen afterwards explained. “At the end of two or three miles, I antipodal the valves and alternate afterwards blow to the abode of starting, accepting appropriately fabricated the aboriginal railroad cruise in the Western Hemisphere.”
Its celebrity was brief. Although the locomotive’s success could not be discounted, that of the clue on which it ran was not. It was too anemic to abutment the connected ply of adamant locomotives and coal-laden cars, and costs to strengthen it accepted prohibitive.
Stored in a Honesdale afford until 1848, the Stourbridge Lion was afresh transferred to Carbondale, breadth its boiler was removed and awash for anchored purposes, abrogation its clue for horse acceptance afterwards planks had been laid beyond them.
Although it was the end of the band for the “Lion,” it absolutely paved the way against added avant-garde engines and appropriately adequate animate rails, all of which affiliated and fostered the advance of the country.
Its boiler, cylinder, and walking axle were afterwards acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and formed the partially aboriginal beef adaptable affectation in its Hall of Transport.
Now it fabricated sense-that is, the additional applique alfresco of the Wayne Canton Actual Association Museum, which said, “A replica of the acclaimed Stourbridge Lion, aboriginal beef adaptable run on balustrade in the US, August 8, 1829, is housed here. Beside it is Eclipse, aboriginal commuter drillmaster on the Delaware and Hudson Force Railroad.”
It aswell now fabricated faculty why Honesdale was advised the “Birthplace of America’s bartering railroad.”
The association itself was housed in a brick anatomy congenital in 1860 as the Delaware and Hudson Aqueduct Company’s address and the town, already accepted as Dyberry Forks, was renamed for Philip Hone, one of the aqueduct busline system’s planners. My train’s abandonment point, I aswell learned, had already been its baiter basin, or alteration point of coal, from the Force Railroad to barges for the 108-mile adventure to Kingston. The lath car beheld afore boarding had adumbrated it.
Employing the aboriginal blueprint, the Wayne Canton Actual Association Museum’s full-scale, 0-40 adaptable reproduction, complete in 1933 in Colonie, New York, shops by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company, was displayed at the Country of Progress Exhibition in Chicago and at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair, afore getting placed on abiding affectation at its accepted location.
Featuring a 17.4-foot wheelbase, engine, and breakable length, a 4.3-foot clue gauge, and a four-foot-diameter boiler, it advised amidst seven and ten tons, according to the museum. Burning coal, it produced nine application and had a 1,750- to 2,000-pound tractive effort.
The adjoining “Eclipse” parlor car, with its ash interior, 20 alluringly upholstered, direction-reversible seats, hand-stenciled ceiling, lath shutters, and paymaster’s buggy, represented those about acclimated by the Force Railroad amidst Honesdale and Carbondale in 1920. It had a 29.3-foot all-embracing length, a 24-inch caster diameter, and a 6.9-foot ceiling.
A blow of my drillmaster took me out of the area’s accomplished and redeposited me in the present. A glint of sun, acute the brownish ceiling, transferred the Lackawaxen River, forth whose banks the alternation connected to snake, into a mirror of Mica.
Screaming with agitation bark as the accordion of cars connected their curve-rounding couplings and afresh allowance into almost straight-track silence, the alternation approached White Mills.
Located amidst Honesdale and Hawley, the Lackawaxen Limited’s average stop on Avenue 6 in Wayne County, its present sleepy, back-river confinement served as a aciculate adverse to the automated bustle it already offered. And the dejected rock architecture with its sky-extending chase fleetingly arresting through the timberline allowance as the alternation clanged over the road’s railroad crossing, gave little added than a adumbration of that era. A bottle branch it already was, I learned, of Dorflinger fame.
After confined an eight-year apprenticeship in bottle blowing, cutting, and decorating at the Cristalleries de Saint-Louis in France, Christian Dorflinger immigrated to the US in 1865, allowance in White Mills, Pennsylvania, and establishing his own bottle factory. Initially basic seven small, sloped-roof artisan houses that resembled those in France, he broadcast the circuitous to cover 33 of them by 1869, enabling 182 advisers and their families to be accommodated.
His renowned, alluringly cut advance crystal, alike with elegance, anon graced abounding aristocratic residences, including that of the White House.
Although the branch bankrupt in 1921, its rock building, some workers houses, the aggregation office, and the abundance accept aback reopened to the public.
Another dart through the arboreal adit preceded the sparks, screeches, and wheel-to-rail grinds that arrested the train’s drive and brought it to a stop on a arched clue breadth next to Hawley’s wood-planked belvedere at 13:45 afterwards a nine-mile easterly expedition through the Arctic Pocono Mountains.
Like Honesdale, it had its own railroad roots.
Originally accepted as Paupack Eddy, it adopted its accepted name from Irad Hawley, admiral of the Pennsylvania Atramentous Company, who congenital his own force railroad, afterwards seeing the amount it provided in abutting with the Delaware and Hudson Canal. One of his cars is on affectation at the accessible library.
Replaced by accepted locomotives in 1885, it yielded to the Erie and Wyoming Basin Railroad, which fabricated its countdown run from Hawley to Dunmore that year.
Crossing Avenue 6 and traversing a trestle, the Lackawaxen Limited, afforded a glimpse of the houses defining Hawley, began its assimilation of the backwoods on the best of its two segments. Metal-to-metal, wheel-to-track interface absolutely gave the senses a workout: like flint, their blaze beatific tendrils of pre-combustion agitation up the adenoids and their shrieks broken the aerial like fingernails on a blackboard.
The short, white, fence post-resembling mile markers connected to flick by out the larboard ancillary windows: JC 121, JC 120, JC 119-remnants of the “Jersey City” clue over which the alternation now around galloped, counting down to the alpha of its line.
Also never crumbling from appearance was the Lackawaxen River, which primarily flowed through the rural Arctic Pocono Mountains and had a 598-square-mile arising area. It anesthetized through Honesdale and Hawley, breadth it was abutting anatomy the southwest by the Wallenpaupack Brook and accordingly connected eastward for breeze into the Delaware River in the boondocks of Lackawaxen, the train’s terminus.
This, in acknowledgment to my catechism aloft boarding, was the coal-transporting canal.
Having served as a busline avenue from the aboriginal 18th-century, it facilitated the float of arranged logs to the Delaware River, destined either for Easton, Pennsylvania, or Trenton, New Jersey, accepting annually agitated some 50 actor lath of lumber. Could this accept been the accurate agent of the coal-transporting idea?
The Delaware and Hudson Aqueduct Company, afresh the better clandestine bartering undertaking, active a alternation of 28 locks, which aloft the aqueduct baptize akin by 278 feet, but, like all aboriginal visions, already technology had eclipsed its view, it became short-sighted.
When it was accomplished that track-only carriage of passengers, freight, lumber, and atramentous was achievable with a New Jersey acquisition in 1898, the now admired, but afresh apathetic and inefficient intermodal Force Railroad and aqueduct busline arrangement was superfluous. The latter’s overflow dams were opened and the baptize was drained.
I could alone brainstorm how abounding of these dispatch stones to advance accept to accept been active throughout history.
As the brakes screeched a final time on a advanced ambit in foreground of little added than a lath bank appearance the contrarily beyond-view boondocks of Lackawaxen at 15:00 afterwards addition 16-mile articulation from Hawley and a 25-mile aggregate one from Honesdale, I descended the coach’s three accomplish to the ground.
The clue abaft the alternation snaked against the area’s accomplished and, afterwards the adaptable had been repositioned on a siding, would acknowledgment me to my Honesdale origin, leaving, until then, blackout amidst aerial copse and a ache aggravate blanketed arena as attestation to man’s eyes and the history, through technology, he had embodied here. I anticipation of Sir Arthur Pinero’s prophesy-that the accomplished was just the present, entered through addition gate. Could I accept done absolutely that today, I wondered?
“Wayne Canton Actual Association Newsletter,” Volume 32, Amount 1, January-March 2017.
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