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 Post subject: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2024 10:19 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2024 9:28 am
Posts: 2
I am a new member and model railroader. I am researching the PRR in the early 1900's when it served coalmines in Westmoreland County. Could anyone help with information?

Slickway


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2024 11:55 am 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 1613
Location: Byers, Colorado
I know almost nothing about the PRR, but I'd like to welcome you to RyPN and this forum.

You may know this already, but the state of Pennsylvania has a gnarly museum in Strasburg that coves mostly PRR, The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. They have a fantastic PRR HO layout which might not be exactly what you're looking to build, but it's damn sure worth a good long look, and their collection of full size mostly PRR equipment likewise. It's a good place to start digging.

I haven't been there yet, but The Railroader's Museum in Altoona looks like it might be most helpful to you as well. If you don't live near these places, try riding the Google Express, and best of luck to you.

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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2024 2:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11603
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
In all probability, your best bet is to attempt to round up a copy of PRR Triumph VIII: Pittsburgh - Eye of Two Storms, 1749-2006 by the late Charles S. Roberts. Many PRR fanatics view the entire PRR Triumph series with some disdain for Roberts being a B&O guy writing about the "opposition," but this is likely to be your best bet for more exhaustive detail on the line. I'd go find a copy on Inter-Library Loan or at a rail museum library before shelling out the typical "street/online price" of $150 or so for it, if only to ascertain that it covers the line you are interested in. (For all the attempts at covering everything the series attempted, several noteworthy PRR lines in areas between the major focuses of the individual volumes did fall through the cracks.)

Availability of a library copy probably depends on your location. WorldCat only shows 13 copies in WorldCat libraries and only three in public libraries (Pittsburgh, Lancaster, and Akron), though I know of copies in non-WorldCat museum archives such as in Baltimore and Bowie, Md.

There also exists a PRR groups on groups.io, the online successor to YahooGroups.

https://prr.groups.io/g/PRR


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 9:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:37 pm
Posts: 284
I would start with the PRR "specialists": The PRRT&HS Archives in Lewistown, Pa. Peruse back issues of their journal The Keystone. Find out if any of their members specialize in this pike and pick their brains (and personal collections). Then branch out to other publicly-accessible PRR archival collections: the bulk of the largest assemblage of Pennsylvania RR records are under my care at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, in a new, state-of-the-art $75M facility opened last December. Also, Hagley Museum and Library in Greenville, Del., has the other cache of PRR records as well as Penn State University (PRR Chief Engineers files). NJ State Archives has selected Camden & Amboy materials and other PRR "Lines East" miscellany. The National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, MD., has the ICC Valuation Records and Maps (circa 1916-1920) which are invaluable to modelers and researchers alike. RR Museum of PA Archives and Library is more of a "special collections" hodgepodge organized by railroad name, and thereunder by subject, mostly comprising of subject files, ephemera, and very good photograph and negative holdings. They also have a useful 3,000-volume research library replete with complete runs of the major enthusiast and professional railroad periodicals, past and present. Books and magazines are generally useful as a starting point but often are prone to error--you'll want primary source records to do your subject justice. Happy researching!

K.R. Bell
Railroad Collections Archivist
Pennsylvania State Archives (PHMC)


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 10:53 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 10:18 pm
Posts: 133
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Attached PDF is a 1939 list of all bituminous coal mines by geographic location on the Pennsylvania System as well as a map showing mine locations on the Turtle Creek Branch from it's mainline connection at SZ Trafford to Saltsburg.

EBL


Attachments:
Turtle Creek Map.pdf [301.35 KiB]
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Bituminous Mines Low Res.pdf [683.63 KiB]
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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 11:38 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2024 9:28 am
Posts: 2
Good stuff. I will use it.

Slickway


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 4:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:55 pm
Posts: 1006
Location: Warren, PA
If your early 1900's period includes 1917-1920 and it was PRR and the branch was built then the railroad was included in the ICC railroad valuation project.

When you talk about 'val maps' that's the effort that was done to compensate the railroads for government seizure during WWI, that included inventorying and mapping everything that was out there, calculating it, and compensating the railroad companies for it.

It was such an incredible detailed project that it's never been equaled, and the quality of the big maps were so good they are still the 'master property maps' of any operating railroad today.

Those records produced two sets of maps and documents; one went to the railroad, the other ended up in the National Archives in College Park MD.

https://www.archives.gov/research/trans ... -valuation

There were also photos taken of every railroad-owned building, floor plans sketched, bridges documented and sketched, etc. Not everything got covered, but most did. If you're looking to do a 'museum quality' model effort, there's the ultimate source of information on the era.

I've seen one N modeler actually get valuation map copies, get them to size, put them on his benchwork, and build his model station scene on one (Harrisburg, PA). That includes the outline of every building that was railroad owned. In some maps, adjacent industrial buildings, sidings, etc. are all drawn on. It can get down to the outhouse and fencepost level on some maps.

There is a service that if you can identify the railroad (name at the time), valuation section, and milepost, you can have a certified researcher dig this stuff up for you and get copies. If you need further information, PM me.

The other 'oddball' source that has emerged are the town/county/railroad/you name it picture books from Arcadia Publishing that nearly every locality seems to have now, those are fairly inexpensive, bereft of text, and loaded with old photos, and sometimes criminally inaccurate on railroad information. The local historical societies know about those.

EDIT: Found an index, good hunting: https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/search?dFR[catalogAttributes.State.name][0]=Pennsylvania

EDIT: The guy I'm referencing that did that....somewhat of a legend, here's your valuation map samples on the branch. More evidence that everything is on the Internet:
https://jbritton.pennsyrr.com/index.php ... rafford-pa


Last edited by Randy Gustafson on Fri Jun 14, 2024 4:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 4:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11603
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Now that I'm back at my main computer:

I'll save you at least two dead ends:

I just checked the indexes of both the first 50 years of The Keystone (up to 2017) and the first 75 issues of their modeling newsletter/magazine The Keystone Modeler, and "Turtle Creek" is absent in both. I'm sure that they'd love to have an article on the line out of you for the former.........

Another source for preliminary corporate history on the line is The Centennial History of the Pennsylvania Railroad by Burgess and Kennedy, published in 1949 and drawing heavily from a previous 1924 compendium by H.W. Schotter and another compendium by S.H. Church on "Lines West of Pittsburgh" from 1898.

You'll find both of these available online for free reading:

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 8944&seq=9 for Schotter;

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id= ... 944&seq=21 for Burgess & Kennedy 1949.

Both of them have several "hits" on full-text searches for "Turtle Creek," although at least one in each case is the index.


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 4:39 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 11603
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Just as a note, some of the PRR Triumph series did use plenty of the ICC Valuation photos, so perusing Triumph VIII might be a first step........


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 Post subject: Re: PRR Turtle Creek Branch
PostPosted: Fri Jun 14, 2024 9:41 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:54 am
Posts: 1816
Location: New Franklin, OH
https://traffordhistory.org/lookingback/index.php/19-town-history/trafford-pa/50-featuredstory

http://coalandcoke.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-final-look-at-turtle-creek-branch-of.html

http://coalandcoke.blogspot.com/2013/07/turtle-creek-branch-of-pennsylvania.html

Searching for "PRR Turtle Creek Branch" will turn up a few images, also.

Check out old topographic maps via the USGS website for the lay of the land. They show rail lines but didn't update those as often.

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