Bradford to Mount Jewett

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(Forwarded from the New York, Lake Erie & Western Railroad)

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The deck of the Kinzua Viaduct; this picture shows that it has been gated off and marked "No Tresspassing". Photo by Mike Palmer, October 2008.

This abandoned railway was built by the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad and was completed in 1882. In 1895, the NYLE&W went into bankruptcy and was reorganized into the Erie Railroad, itself merged into the Erie Lackawanna Railroad in 1960, who abandoned the line south of Lewis Run after acquiring trackage rights on the nearby Baltimore and Ohio Railroad mainline. The rest of the line between Lewis Run and Bradford was abandoned under Conrail.

Kinzua Viaduct: When first built in 1882, the Kinzua Viaduct was the tallest bridge in the world. It was built to serve the Pittsburgh and Western Railroad, a 3-foot narrow gauge railroad originally comprised of a number of smaller narrow gauge railroads that served the coal mines in the northern region of Pennsylvana. Built originally of iron, the bridge was rebuilt using steel in 1900.

In 1959, when the railroad line over the Kinzua Viaduct was owned by Baltimore & Ohio, the viaduct itself was closed when it was determined that, with a train on the brige, high winds could cause the bridge to vibrate dangerously. Despite this, the line was reopened in 1970 to serve as the main attraction for the Knox & Kane Railroad's tourist trains -- passenger trains would leave Kane, PA, and travel to and over the viaduct so visitors could view the spectacular vistas afforded by the bridge's height. In 2003, a tornado ripped through the valley, and destroyed half of the bridge. Determining it to be too expensive to repair, the state of Pennsylvania decided to leave the bridge as-is, and will establish a state park at its location, demonstrating to visitors the destruction that can be reaped by nature. Consequently, ridership on the K&K dwindled after its primary attraction was destroyed, and the line was shuttered in 2006.

There is little interest in reviving the line, and if officially abandoned, the right-of-way will most likely be transformed into rail-to-trail access to the Kinzua Viaduct, the very bridge that caused the demise of the Knox and Kane Railroad.

Isn.t Steamtown interested in the rail cars that are left?

john held
scranton, PA
8/20/2009

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The Kinzua bridge was not built by the P&W nor was it ever used by the P&W. The first bridge was built by The Phoenix Bridge Works Company for the The New York, Lake Erie, and Western Railroad and Coal Company on April 10, 1882. Eventually this line was operated by the Erie RR. There was no train traffic on the Kinzua bridge from June 21, 1959 till 1987. The last revenue freight over the bridge was actually a B&O train. However the Erie still owned the bridge. Ref this site for more info: http://www.smethporthistory.org/kinzuaviaduct/

Your map is also incorrect. The Erie had the line to Mt. Jewet. From Mt. Jewet to Kane was own and operated by the B&O as the Kane Branch. I have the actual valuation maps to the bridge.

Jason Sider
Pleasantville, PA
10/9/2009

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I did some research on the Knox and Kane Railroad and I found out that the railroad is no longer in operation. It became a fallen flag in 2008, when someone set the roundhouse where the steam locomotive was kept and it was severely damaged. The freight service also is gone, from the railroad today. Back to the steam locomotive, when the roundhouse was set on fire, the steam locomotive was severly damaged and the collapse of the section of the Kinuza Viaduct caused freight and as you mentioned above excursion service to end.

Kristopher
Chester, PA
2/18/2010

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How could someone try to reopen the line. If someone could tell me I would like to try and how much. The railroads is the United States back bone and we have to many fallen flags railroads.

John Mcgraw
Kittanning, PA
7/25/2010

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i am writing about the railroads . as a kid i watched the trains go by day and night going both north and south . i also used to watch as they would switch cars in a small yard in town . where i was born in bradford pa. i hear many stories about all of the trains in the area . some small and short lines and others long lines from the pennsylvanina , to the b&o and more . there are loots of right aways still in the area . but all of the trains are gone forever lost in history . it makes me a bit sad to think at one times tracks crossed the us. from east to west north to south far and wide . every little town had a stop some even more than one railroad served them . i have rode train and still enjoy the ride . i thank you ( hope some day trains will make a come back )

gordon arnett
bridgeville , pa, PA
7/29/2010

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2 of the passenger cars are on the Astabula,Carson&Jefferson in N.E.Ohio an open air and one other.

Russell Blackburn
Jefferson, OH
12/26/2010

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A few guys and myself was back there on a job trip to PA and on a weekend around 2001. We took the K & K train ride out of Kane, Pa. It was a good three hr. trip with a Eng. change around at the park on the other side of the high bridge. There was a siding just before going on the bridge that a Old Penn caboose was set out there for camping rental and would be picked back up in a few days.

Neat idea that K & K did. Sure was a very scary bridge to cross on a train. To bad it had to end. It was a fun old steam pass ride of the old 1900's.

Noel Wilson
Rio Linda, CA
10/14/2012

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i just looked at this site and read quite a few of the comments.does anybody know what will become of this line in the near future?i am currently in the process of writing up a small business plan which will cover rail removal along with all equipment including bridges and abandoned rail cars.also i will be working with rails to trails to possibly convert these railbeds to trails or back to nature.any information would be greatly appreciated on the current status of this rail line.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
12/2/2012

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