Penn Central Hauls the Coal

Much of the coal from Centre and Clearfield county strip mines was carried by the Penn Central Railroad to Eastern power plants and export piers. This site offers a few scenes that show coal moving over PC rails in those two counties circa 1970, as an adjunct to my Page draglines web site. Like the dragline photos, these railroad images recall the important role that coal played in shaping the heritage of central Pennsylvania.

Clearfield, a former New York Central stronghold, was the home base for most of Penn Central’s motive power, operating crews, dispatching, and maintenance. So important was coal traffic that the PC even stationed an assistant superintendent (of the Allegheny Division) at Clearfield.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad yard at Osceola Mills was closed in favor of Clearfield shortly after the 1968 Penn Central merger.

Above, a hundred or more cars of coal arrive at the east end of Clearfield yard on Easter morning, 1973. The train may have been loaded on the former NYC Beech Creek line or on the ex-PRR in the Moshannon Valley. In the yard, power will be moved to the other end of the train and it will be dispatched eastward over the WBV Branch or River Line (visible behind the 3rd and 4th hoppers) to a connection with the former PRR Buffalo Line at Keating.
Penn Central Clearfield-area map
Then and Later: For some of the Penn Central photos, I've provided a link to a similar picture taken at the same location as it appeared under the operation of PC successors Conrail (1976-1997) and R. J. Corman Pennsylvania Lines (since 1995). Clicking on the PC photo will take you to the more recent view.
Penn Central hauled more than coal for the strip-mine operators. Take a look.
Note: Reproduction of my photographs for commercial purposes without my written permission is prohibited.
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Contact Mike: mxb13@psu.edu

Visit my Bellefonte Central Railroad site to learn about a central Pennsylvania shortline that was a heavy-duty lime and stone hauler and also served Penn State University.