top of page
  • Writer's pictureJohn Woodman

Shade Gap

What could be better than having a combined steam railway and electric tramway of the heritage sort - comingling services in a rural setting well away from tourist trails ? In the middle of Pennsylvania this idyll exists at Orbisonia where a former narrow gauge steam railroad suvived long enough to be taken over lock stock and turntable roundhouse in the 1960s. Electric trolley enthusiasts combined forces with the dedicated steam train group to produce a wonderful mix of authentic heritage rail operations. I had the good fortune of visiting this out of the way operation several times during my years working in New York.

Pennsylvania is blessed (if that is the right term) with several heritage train and trolley operations -, rightly so given its provenance as the source of steam locomotives and streetcars for US systems (and beyond). Think Brill with its main plant outside Philadelphia competing with the St Louis Car Company in the midwest in later years. A later museum operation also with steam locomotives and electric trolleys opened in Scranton joining the Arden Museum as it was first known near to Pittsburgh. Philadelphia area enthusiasts had several operations to choose from including the still operating light rail system in that city with its two surviving suburban lines to Media and Sharon Hill.

On Easter Monday a trip back in time though to Orbisonia and the Shade Gap operation :

First for the steam loco fans :

Original to the lumber hauling line a venerable loco approaches the turntable in front of the original roundhouse full of classic veterans. All the railroad infrastructure is original - quite a rarity for a museum line. Images : John Woodman

Featured Posts
bottom of page