The steam locomotive,
which provided motive power for many years to the railroads, was
indeed a powerful monster. These engines exhibited many characteristics
similar to real people. They seemed to be breathing as the air pumps
operated, needed much attention, and had great appetites.
In order to
satisfy their tremendous appetites, facilities were required at
numerous sites along the iron trails to supply them with coal, water,
and sand. These facilities also had to accept the ashes shaken from
the hearth of the fire box of the locomotive. One such facility
on the Pennsylvania Railroad (Northern Central) was located just
0.7 mile south of the Hanover Junction station ("U" block
|The Coal Yard at Hanover Junction,
1917 (from collection of R.L. Williams)
Picking a year
out of history, 1922 would be representative of an era when this
coal yard was a very busy installation. Many of the local people
often referred to it as the "Coal Chute," which was of
course a descriptive name for the operation, but its railroad name
was the Coal Yard. The nearest points to this coal yard that could
also supply coal and water were located at York (to the north),
and at Parkton (to the south).
flow of material for coal was to have a locomotive shove loaded
hopper cars up on to the high trestle track. The local freight,
B 90, was usually assigned this duty. The coal was then dropped
into bins located directly below the tracks. From these storage
bins, the coal was chuted into small hand-pushed larry cars which
ran on a narrow gage track. These loaded cars were then pushed on
to a turntable, turned 90 degrees, then manually pushed out over
the bridge which crossed the main tracks. The car's contents were
dropped into the tender of a locomotive waiting directly below.
small building to the east of the main bridge housed a pump
which was used for pumping water from the nearby Codorus Creek.
The water was forced into a reservoir located to the west, near
the public road, at an elevation well above the main tracks.
The capacity of the reservoir was 537,000 gallons of water.
The water flowed by gravity to the water plugs for transfer
to the locomotive's water tank, to satisfy a thirsty piece of
motive power. It was the duty of the fireman to attend to operation
of the water plug for taking on water, and an operation which
was reason for many a fireman to experience an unexpected shower.
And too, it certainly must have been an icy job during the frigid
|Model of Pump House built by
|Model of Reservoir built by Roger
can recall tales told of a certain engineer who became quite
amused when a fireman met with an accidental splash. It was
the responsibility of the day trick track walker to attend to
the water pump, to insure an adequate water supply in the reservoir.
For many years,
"Jim" Newcomer was the day trick track walker, after serving
on the track maintenance crew. He lived very near to the village
of Hanover Junction. "Jimmie" McCollough was the night
trick track walker. He lived in Seitzland, and would arrive at Hanover
Junction on train No. 995 at 8:07P.M. to begin his tour of duty.
He returned home on train No. 8020, leaving Hanover Junction at
Track walkers carried
a wrench to tighten any loosened nuts of the splice bars which held
the rails together. They also carried a hammer to depress any spikes
which may have risen from their position holding the rails to the
ties. The night trick walker carried a lantern in addition to the
tools. Track walkers were required to punch a time clock located
at several locations in their territory to ensure that they were
on their required tours of duty.
It would have been quite
impractical for the engine crew to drop hot cinders along the right
of way because wood ties could certainly not resist this hot material
and they would be consumed. The track repair gang would then have
to be assigned the job of replacing the burned out ties. In order
to minimize this problem, the coal yard provided pits where the
crew could drop the contents of the ash pans, and not drop them
along the tracks. After the ashes were cooled, they were shoveled
out of the pit into a wheelbarrow and transferred to a waiting hopper
car on the depressed level ash track, as it was called.
In order to
assure traction for the driver wheels of the locomotive on the rail,
under certain adverse conditions it was often necessary to use sand
to assist the locomotive in getting the train rolling again. Therefore,
sand was another of the materials dispensed at the coal yard. Sand
was stored in "domes" located on top of the locomotive
boiler, allowing gravity to provide the means by which the sand
was delivered to the tracks through a pipe that extended to just
above the rail surface.
|Model of Coal Yard built by Roger Shaffer