Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the Montour Railroad in 1975

September 29, 1975 near Cecil Twp, PA

In May of 1975 I was still a grad student in Carnegie Mellon University's computer science department when I had a chance to ride the last passenger train over the Western Maryland from Connellsville, PA to near Hancock, MD. More about that later, but one of the great things about that trip is that I first met two people who were to become good friends as a result of it. Bill Metzger ("Map of the Month" in Trains Magazine) and Ivan Abrams had been chasing the train all day and we met when it stopped at Ohiopyle for a photo opportunity.

I spent much of my next year in Pittsburgh (when I wasn't working on my Ph.D. thesis) with these guys taking pictures of trains all over the area. The above shot is one of my favorites taken near McDonald trestle. Much of the Montour is now a rail trail, and in fact this line became part of one, but a section of the it has been restored (alas without the tree) as the Westland Branch to serve a Marcellus Shale-based chemical plant.

The Montour Trail Council owns the ROW outright and got a new parallel trail out of it plus a very nice annual endowment.  The WLE operates the line now.

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