View single post by Herb Kephart
 Posted: Sun Jan 19th, 2014 02:58 am
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Herb Kephart

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location: Glen Mills, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 6003
Although we have absolutely no control over when or where the satellites take their pictures, and most will have neither the equipment or the opportunity to do this, let me relate a story about tracking old roadbeds.

The East Broad Top RR's Shade Gap branch had another branch running off it, going south, about a quarter mile from the shop/station complex, which left the branch somewhere in the first valley meadow East of Orbisonia. Reyney and Kyper's book said that it followed the ridge East of the meadow, and eventually ending up nearly in Burnt Cabins. This was built by the McElvey Brothers lumber co, which, as I recall had at least one Shay, but used EBT flats to bring the logs out of the woods. It was pretty obvious to me (but for not for some strange reason to the older locals who were sill living in the town at the time, and might have seen it as kids) that some sort of a switchback was needed to get to the ridge from the meadow--but all I got when questioning about the discrepancy in height was usually a shrug.

A friend and I used to go up to the RR on infrequent weekends to do  volunteer work at the trolley group stationed there--that incidentally run down the old Shade Gap right of way to Rt 522. If the weather looked suitable, we would fly up in his Cessna, landing at a half shut down "airport" North of town.

Several times I flew south, looking to see if I could see any sign of the old ROW, particularly in the winter--it would have been completely hopeless with leaves on the trees--with no luck at all. This was in the late '60's, and if I recall the McElveys quit in '22 so a lot less time had elapsed than what the above thread is involved with. I figured that the track, and what little grading that was done was so light, being that it was only to last till the timber in the ridge was all cut (5 years?) that all signs if any, had been removed in the return to nature.

One night when were going to leave, we found the whole plane cover by a heavy coat of frost, so it was wait and see if the sun the following day would take care of the frost removal. Daylight came, the frost evaporated and we set off. As I recall, we were carrying some heavy pieces back home to work on--we were probably 200# over max gross with half tanks of fuel (and would have to get more fuel on the way home) so the plane was slow to gain altitude, so we flew down the valley, on the West side of the ridge, which was still shaded from the early morning sun-- and there, on the side of the ridge was a white mark where every tie had been. An overnight snow shower had blown snow into every depression left by a tie, and the rest of the ground was 90% clear. Couldn't see anything in the meadow, evidently plowing had long since done it's thing there, but the track bed on the side of the ridge was as plain as a white zipper on a brown coat. Someone had built a house atop the location of the upper switch, but the lower ones location and the track in between was there--and of course it was one of the times I left the camera home.


Fix it again, Mr Gates--it still works!"
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