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.