Old Forge to Hillside Junction

The Susquehanna Connecting Railroad

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The Susquehanna Connecting Railroad was a 13.3 mile shortline, with standard gauge track, that ran from Old Forge to the Suscon Junction of the Central New Jersey Railroad (CNJ). It was primarily built to transport coal from the Old Forge and Greenwood (Moosic) collieries to be transferred to the CNJ at Suscon Junction. It also served the local industries and lumber yards along the right-of-way.

The line was incorporated on December 18, 1896, and completed in 1897. It was controlled by the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad, which owned all outstanding stock. It was leased to the Wilkes-Barre & Eastern (Erie Railroad) from Suscon to Minooka, Pa, 7.71 miles.

In July 1938, the Interstate Commerce Commission authorized the Erie Railroad to operate over the line of the Susquehanna Connecting Railroad, extending from Suscon, PA, to Old Forge, PA, 6 miles, together with the Florence Breaker branch, 2 miles, over the Jermyn #2 Breaker branch of the NYS&W, extending with a connection with the SCRR, at Old Forge, 1.5 miles, and over part of the W-B&E, extending from Plains, PA, 8 miles, together with the Westminster branch, .05 miles for a total of 18.5 miles.

The segment between Suscon (Hillside Junction) and Old Forge was abandoned after the ICC approved in July 1941. The main source of traffic for the remainder of the line, the Jermyn Mine, closed in May 1938, and traffic was left to a local feed and hardware store.

The bridge that crossed over the Lackawanna River was known as "Three Barrels Bridge" by the locals, so named because it had 3 water barrels on its narrow, single-track surface. If a pedestrian was unlucky enough to meet a coal train coming down grade out of Old Forge, they had to run and jump into the nearest barrel until the train passed.

The stone abutments, and uprights footers on the Moosic side of the Lackawanna River bridge are still visible, as are the large stone block abutment on the Old Forge side. As for the crossing over Interstate 81, one large stone block abutment can still be seen to the south of I-81 on the west side of PA Route 502. The other end is buried under exit 180 (old exit 50, "Moosic North") of I-81. The longest section of ROW remaining is from Moosic Road to the river.

The map for the abandoned portion of this line was drawn from a 1937 surveyor's map.

Thanks to Carl Orechovsky for contributing information about this route.

Some corrections. The Sibley loop was Lehigh Valley Railroad, not Scranton Connecting. The SCRR interchanged with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western at Taylor Junction just north of Taylor. SUSCON was the connection between the Wilkes-Barre and Eastern and the SCRR, not the Central Railroad of New Jersey. The WB&E interchanged with the CNJ at Westminster Junction. Hillside yard was the interchange between the SCRR and the Erie Railroad.

Russell
Drums, PA
1/1/2012

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Interesting about the locals' name for the bridge. I've not found that anywhere.

The SCRR ran a short distance north of Moosic Junction (just east of Lackawanna Viaduct) up to Minooka. In addition to the breaker, they junctioned with D&H to reach the Scranton-area coal branches: Winton Branch, Murray & Spencer Branches, and the Dolph/Sunnyside Branches. These branches were all NYS&W, not SCRR or WB&E.

You may be interested to check out the Google Maps file (ScrantonWilkes-Barre Railroads.kmz, IIRC) someone made that has just about all of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area anthracite railroads. I've been referencing it for a couple of years now as I built the combined NYS&W-WB&E-SCRR system in Trainz Railroad Simulator.

Adam
Lexington, KY
11/6/2012

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Is there a mine in half of old forge and avoca

Patrick
Old forge, PA
4/28/2013

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The Wilkes-Barre and Eastern was a subsidiary of the NYS&W not the Erie. The NYS&W was controlled by the Erie for many years.

Drew
Phila., PA, PA
1/2/2014

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