Friends of D&H Caboose 35964
A support group within the Organization has been created, for the purpose of ensuring a good future for Caboose 35964.
A list of the Friends of the Caboose is given below. Unless otherwise indicated, these persons reside in Carbondale.
- Richard T. Buberniak
- S. Robert Powell
- Mary R. Monahan
- Jack & Connie Buberniak
- Mr. and Mrs. John A. Brennan, In Memory of John A. Loftus #1
- L. Fred Thomas (New York)
- Martin L. Langan (Greenfield Township)
- Jermyn Historical Society (Jermyn)
- Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Di Marino (New York), In Memory of Angelo Pinzone
- Toulla & Joseph Vitale
- Linda Starzer, in memory of Edward "Sam" Coxe
- Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Cassaro, in memory of Patrick A. Cassaro III
- Thomas and Ellen Farrell
- Joseph E. Kuna, Philadelphia, PA, in memory of Mary Faith McDonough
- Kimberly L. McCarthy, Frazer, PA, in memory of Luther S. Belles
- Marion B. Richards, in memory of Luther S. Belles
- Paul I. Jacks, San Diego, CA, in memory of Evelyn Jacks Cardonick
- Dr. Rodney D. Brown,Waymart, PA
- John A. Gummo, Beech Creek, PA
- John V. Buberniak, Fresno, CA
- Genevieve G. Burke and Rose Marie Coleman, in memory of Thomas L. Burke
- Ron Gilroy
- Mary T. Pollitts
- Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Postlethwaite
- Jane M. Varcoe
- Milana J. Williams
- Thomas J. Connor, in memory of Gerard W. Connor
- Robert W. Avery, (Rochester, NY), in memory of Raymond Avery
- Elizabeth M. Dowd
- Mary Shaw
- Jack Race
- Mike and Gwen Delfino
- The Dougher, Spellman, and Davies familes
- Neil M. Davis, D.O., in memory of Thomas Davis
- Charles Carroll, (Endwell, NY), in memory of Gerard B. Carroll and Harry Nelson
- Julianne M. Pazin
- The Carbondale Business Association
- Robert H. Berry, (Brockport, NY), in memory of Raymond and Elinor Berry, (Jerymn PA)
- Leo B. Burke, (Vestal, NY)
- The Price Insurance Agency
- Tony Mikloiche
- Michael J. Yavorosky, (Hop Bottom, PA)
- Tom Horlacher, (Scranton, PA)
- Joan O. Peters, (Kingsley, PA), in memory of Frank Edwin Peters
- Frances Grecco, in memory of Joseph Grecco
- Mary Louise Dougher, (Greenlawn, NY), in memory of Genevieve Burke
- Michael and Debrah Dougher, (Chattanooga, TN), in memory of Genevieve Burke
- The family of Margaret A. and Joseph L. Moran, in memory of Dorothy Moran
- Mary E. Conomos
- Rose Marie Coleman, in memory of Genevieve Burke
- Colleen Baltrusaitis, (Throop, PA), in memory of Genevieve Burke
- Charles and Ann Marie Carroll, in memory of Genevieve Burke
- The Free family, in memory of Genevieve Burke
- Anthony Di Marino (Massapequ Park, NY), in memory of Angelina Pinzone
- Jerry and Sophia Fives (Dunkin' Donuts)
- Dunmore Historical Society (Dunmore)
- Nicholas J. Bomba
- Nancy Bomba Angeloni
- Nancy and John Hollenback, in memory of Raymond Bryce Hollenback
- The Moran Children, in memory of Margaret A. and Joseph L. Moran
- Robert Schroeder (Vienna, VA)
- Mr. and Mrs. Charles Grimm (Waymart), in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- Ruth Edwards (Waymart), in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- Small Town Red Hatters, in memory of Mrs. Genevieve Burke
- Mr. and Mrs. Edward Jankauskas, in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- Eddie Jankauskas, Jr., in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- Chris Jankauskas, in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- Jeff and Judy Belch, Clarks Summit, in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
- David W. Owens, Clarks Summit, in memory of Ellsworth H. Rose
To date (August 11, 2011), sixty-nine individuals or families have become a “Friend” of Caboose 35964; total amount in donations received so far: $5,615.00.
One of the financial objectives of the Friends group is to raise enough money to construct an appropriate train shed/pavilion in which to display (and protect from the weather and possible vandalism) the caboose. So, we have a long way to go as far as funding goes, but the journey has begun.
As we move forward in this process, you, as a member of the Friends of D&H Caboose 35964, will be invited to participate in all discussions that impact the future of the caboose. Our first objective: to create a permanent home/display structure for the caboose.
Become a friend today.
Coverage from WBRE of Caboose's return
Coverage of the Caboose's return from WBRE has been uploaded to youtube.
"Friends" Certificates produced
Shown above is an example of the anticipated certificates, which are to be given to official Friends of D&H Caboose 35964. This particular example is addressed to the first donor, one Richard T. Buberniak of Carbondale. Mister Buberniak is the father of Society man Matthew Buberniak, one of two current interns.
Feedback (and forth)
Thank you very much for sending the articles about the arrival of
your caboose. The picture with John's arm over your shoulder was a story
in itself as it made it obvious that this meant more than just the
arrival of an old train car. We wish the very best for you and the
Historical Society as you prepare her for public display.
I have attached a few pictures of our Village of White River
Junction's "Old 494" display at our Amtrak station and visitors center.
Thought you might enjoy seeing how we display our rail road memorabilia.
We can't claim to be the birthplace of a railroad but White River
Junction was a bustling railroad town in its heyday.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2011.
More publicity for Caboose 35964
Not only was the arrival of Caboose 35964 given coverage by the local media (WNEP 16, WBRE 28, The Carbondale News, The Times-Tribune, and on . . . ), the story of the caboose arrival was also picked up by the Fox news network in Chicago, Seattle, and Cleveland. In addition, the story was featured in the prodigious, nation-wide publication Trains.
D&H caboose: living history returns to Carbondale
A view during the shipment preparation.
The Historical Society, along with the City of Carbondale, has made arrangements for the purchase of one Delaware and Hudson caboose. The current owner is the Valley Land Corporation in White River Junction, Vermont. The object in question is shown above.
Built in 1912, it is one of 207 built. Weighing at 50,000 pounds and at 32 feet 11 inches, it is now the largest piece in our collection.
The caboose arrived in Carbondale 1100 on 3 December, 2010.
A more revealing view.
The interior, which is in superb condition for an object of antiquity.
Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Conference
First Iron Horse to Carbondale
“Distinguished Visitor. / New Era.
Yes, reader! An Iron Horse has actually run into our City,
puffing and snorting, and stopped at about the same spot where the
first settlers stopped, near the site of the old Log Tavern.
An inkling was had that it would come on Monday last, but our people
supposing it would bring the noon passenger train, missed the sight, and
consequently failed to give the stranger a public reception.
As it was however, a crowd of about a thousand, lined the track from the
lookout to the depot, and made all ring again with their cheers.
It was an experimental trip and entirely successful under the
careful management of Engineer Cool. We noticed C. P. Wurts, esq. the
master machinist, and other employees on the Valley Line, on the Engine,
showing the traveling community thereby, that no passengers should be
sent over the road, until it had been tested properly and they have a
confidence in the strength of the various pieces for tessel [of tressle
?] work on the line.” (Carbondale Advance, December 14, 1861, p. 2)
Account Arrival & Departure of Boats 1832
In June 2010, a box of "junk," so called,
was given to the Carbondale Historical Society and the Carbondale
Delaware and Hudson Transportation Museum. Over
the years, we have learned to examine carefully the contents of all
such boxes, wherein, in many instances, remarkable treasures are
Deep in this box of "junk" was an astonishing document: Account of Arrival & Departure of Boats 1832.
This is a complete account (166 pages) of all the boats that passed
through the Delaware and Hudson Canal, from Honesdale, PA to Rondout,
NY, in 1832!
this remarkable account book is studied in detail, our knowledge of the
early history of the Delaware and Hudson Canal will surely be enriched.
Best wishes to those who undertake that journey of discovery.
"D&H" Shirts for sale: Celebrate Carbondale's rich history by wearing a piece of it
To purchase, pick up one in person for $10,
call 570-282-0385, or
Items may be shipped throughout the country; don't be hesitant to call if you're not near our fair City.
Article on Gravity Railroad 180th Commemorative
Ceremony Picked Up by United Transportation Union
The opening of the D&H Gravity Railroad on October 9, 1829 is an event of national importance.
We are pleased to learn that the article by Cecilia Baress on the
Gravity Railroad commemorative ceremony in Carbondale on October 9, 2009
that was published in the Scranton Times-Tribune of October 9,
2009 was picked up by the United Transportation Union (125,000 members)
and that it had appeared on the UTU website.
The article has since been taken down, for currently unknown reasons.
The yellow and black
D&H disc/trail marker shown above was created by the Delaware and
Hudson Transportation Heritage Council
to identify and visibly link all of the D&H Gravity Railroad and
Canal properties and the communities and administrative/political
entities through which that transportation system passed between the
Lackawanna Valley in Pennsylvania and the Hudson River at Kingston,
D&H trail markers
When you see this yellow disc/trail marker, you can be sure that
you are not far from an individual and/or organization that is strongly committed to recording, preserving, and making accessible for future
generations the astonishing legacy of the D&H.
Opening of D&H Gravity Railroad Listed in The Timetables of History
A copy of the 1991 edition of The Timetables of History
(The New Third Revised Edition) by Bernard Grun recently appeared on
our desk. Such timetables take you through the last six or seven
thousand years and chronicle what took place in a given year in seven
different areas: history, literature, science, daily life, etc.
immediately found our way to 1829 to learn what else was going on in
1829, the year in which the D&H Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to
Honesdale was opened. We learned, among other things, that in that same
year, among many other things,
- Andrew Jackson was inaugurated as the seventh President of the United States
- Balzac's Les Chouans was published
- Bach's Saint Matthew Passion was rediscovered and revived by Felix Mendelssohn in Berlin
- the first U. S. patent on a typewriter was granted to William B. Burt of Detroit
- L. J. M. Daguerre formed a partnership with J. N. Niepce for the development of their photographic inventions
our great surprise and pleasure, in Category F (science, technology,
growth), the fourth item in a list of sixteen items, is the following:
The Delaware and Hudson's gravity railroad opens (constructed with locomotive operation in view)
but surely, the world out there is learning just how important in the
grand scheme of things is the D&H Gravity Railroad!
The D. & H. Gravity Railroad began operations on October 9, 1829. To
commemorate the 180th anniversary of that important event in local,
regional, commonwealth, and American history, the Carbondale D&H
Transportation Museum and the Carbondale Historical Society hosted a
commemorative ceremony on October 9, 2009.
The ceremony began at noon, as those in attendance assembled in the
dining room of the Ben-Mar restaurant in Carbondale. (Part of the
ceremony was originally scheduled to take place outside, in the middle
of what was formerly Plane No. 1 on the Gravity Railroad, at the rear of
the Ben-Mar Restaurant on North Main Street in Carbondale, but due to
inclement weather the entire ceremony was conducted inside the
Following an introductory ten-minute program and a Champagne
salute/toast to the D&H Canal Company, lucheon was served, during
which remarks were offered by several guests at the luncheon. Dr. S.
Robert Powell served as the Master of Ceremonies.
A detailed report on the ceremony/luncheon is given hereafter.
180th Anniversary Commemoration
ceremony to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the opening of the
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to
Honesdale on October 9, 1829 took place in Carbondale on Friday, October
14 guests who attended this ceremony, hosted by the Carbondale
Historical Society and the Carbondale D&H Transportation Museum were
(listed in no particular order): Mr. Joseph Vitale, Mr. Joseph Pascoe,
the Honorable Justin M. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Salvatore Mecca, Ms. Jane
Varcoe, Mr. John J. Gigliotti, Ms. Mary T. Connolly, Mr. Robert Mendola,
Mrs. Mary Ann Savakinus, Mr. Martin Langan, Mrs. Lorraine Parise, Ms.
Margaret Bisignani-Moyle, and Dr. S. Robert Powell.
ceremony, which was originally planned to begin with a 10-minute
program to take place in the middle of what was formerly Plane No. 1 on
the Gravity Railroad, to be followed by a luncheon in the dining room of
the Ben-Mar restaurant on North Main Street, took place, because of
inclement weather, entirely in the dining room of the Ben Mar
master of ceremonies for the event was Dr. S. Robert Powell, who began
the commemorative ceremony by asking all present to stand and salute the
flag. Dr. Powell then welcomed the group and offered the following
hundred and eighty years ago today, on this very site where we are now
met, in the middle of Plane No. 1 on the D&H Gravity Railroad,
courageous, intelligent, self-reliant, and intrepid entrepreneurs and
individuals made it possible for the first cut of Delaware and Hudson
Canal Company Gravity Railroad cars, filled with anthracite coal from
Carbondale, to travel up this hill out of Carbondale and through 16
miles of railroad tracks, made up of inclined planes, powered by
stationary steam engines, and levels to Honesdale, where the coal was
transferred into the D&H's 108-mile long canal from Honesdale to the
Hudson River, and thence to market, not only in the New York
metropolitan market but also throughout the Northeast and, via the Erie
Canal, into the Midwest. On that day, October 9, 1829, right here, in
downtown Carbondale, 180 years ago today, the industrial revolution in
success of the mining, manufacturing, and transportation system that
became operational here on October 9, 1829, quickly made the Delaware
and Hudson Canal Company the first million dollar enterprise in American
quiet village of Carbondale, where the first commercially successful
railroad system in America was brought into existence and became
operational on October 9, 1829, was, therefore, the first, the pioneer,
the original Steamtown USA.
on that day, the rhythm of life in America, based thereafter on an
industrial and not an agricultural economy, would be changed forever.
on that day, the Lackawanna Valley, north of Providence, a valley
composed of a multitude of villages and towns, would become, before the
Civil War, an enormous company town, where a multitude of individual
entrepreneurs would come forward to create the American free enterprise
system as we know it today.
on that day, the concept of mass production, as we understand that term
today, would be applied to industry in America.
on that day, the village of Carbondale became a cash center, a center
of commerce, the marketing hub for virtually all of northeastern
Pennsylvania and southeastern New York.
on that day, millions of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere came to
America, many thousands of them into the Lackawanna Valley, to work for
the company (lower case 'c') and to start life over again. Coming here,
for them, for us, their descendants, was tantamount to being re-born.
The facts supporting all of those assertions are there. They can not be denied.
commemorate the important events that took place on this very site, 180
years ago today, not only in local, regional, and commonwealth history,
but also in the history of America, we are met here today.
that end, it is my privilege and pleasure to propose now a toast to the
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and to the courageous, intelligent,
self-reliant, and intrepid entrepreneurs and individuals who made
possible the momentous events that took place in Carbondale on October
glass of champagne or ginger ale was then served to each guest,
following which Dr. Powell asked all present to rise as he proposed a
salute/toast "To the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company." Following the
salute/toast, the luncheon guests offered a round of applause. Luncheon
was then served.
the luncheon guests dined, having made before the luncheon an
individual menu selection from the wide-range of lunch specials offered
by the Ben Mar restaurant, Dr. Powell presented to the group the
credentials and accomplishments of each of the representatives of the
various civic, community, and historical groups represented at the
Mayor, the Honorable Justin M. Taylor, addressed the group and outlined
the wide range of municipal, development, and infrastructure projects
now underway (or to begin soon) in Carbondale. He also noted that
Carbondale's rich history is an important base upon which to construct a
future for the City of Carbondale.
Mendola showed the group a very detailed and large map, on linen and in
color, of the coal fields from Vandling to Pittston. The
representatives of the various historical societies present (Carbondale,
Waymart Area, Lackawanna County, and Dunmore) and others said that they
would, as a group, contribute funding to have electronically scanned
the rare map shown by Mr. Mendola.
introducing Mr. John J. Gigliotti to the group, Dr. Powell noted that
Mr. Gigliotti, a member at present of Carbondale City Council, has made a
strong commitment to the preservation and promotion of the rich history
of Carbondale and to the use of that history not only to promote
heritage tourism to Carbondale but also to construct the future of the
City of Carbondale.
Mr. Gigliotti then addressed the group as follows:
afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this wonderful ceremony
celebrating a monumental moment in our local, regional and national
would like, first of all, to take this opportunity to thank a man who I
have developed a strong and passionate working relationship with over
the past couple of years; a man who has worked diligently over the many
years to enhance, promote and protect the historical integrity of our
great city, Dr. S. Robert Powell." [Dr. Powell was then warmly applauded
by the group. Mr. Gigliotti then continued his remarks, as follows:]
and William Wurts, the founding fathers of this City and region were
born in the late 1780s and early 90s, respectively and were young adults
during the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809. Keep this time
frame in perspective.
the British boycotted shipments of bituminous coal to the U.S.,
anthracite coal operations were sporadic and not taken too seriously as
an alternate energy source. Well, that changed when the Wurts brothers
demonstrated to a group of investors on Wall Street that coal collected
from the fields of Carbondale was an excellent commodity to use as
domestic fuel. In turn, January 1825 stocks opened for the Delaware
& Hudson Canal Company and quickly they were over subscribed, thus
forming the FIRST MILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION IN THESE UNITED STATES.
put in perspective the magnitude of this endeavor, let’s review some of
the key individuals that the Wurts brothers engaged and aligned
themselves with in developing this mighty D&H railroad and canal
- Benjamin Wright, Chief Engineer, The Erie Canal:
Reviewed the lands from the Hudson back to Carbondale and stated in his
report that he recommended a canal system from Honesdale to the Hudson,
but proposed a railroad line as the means of transporting the coal from
the valley floor of Carbondale, up and over the steep and high ascent
of the Moosic mountain, some 1,000 feet higher than the valley floor at
Carbondale. Thus, the purpose of establishing the first railroad system
in the United States was truly to overcome the steep terrain associated
with the Moosic mountain. It was the only solution to resolve this
- New York Governor, Dewitt Clinton; Wrote numerous letters of support on behalf of the Wurts brothers and their endeavor.
- John B. Jervis (Port Jervis, NY):
Succeeded Benjamin Wright as chief engineer and actually surveyed the
property that would link the Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to
- James Archbald:
Started working for the D&H, Carbondale, in the 1820s. He was Chief
Engineer of the railroad and mines. From, 1842-1850, he surveyed and
purchased additional coal lands and helped to extend the railroad about 7
miles farther south down the valley. Thus, his legacy starting as a
pioneer from Carbondale extended to a new legacy in the ultimate
establishment of the Borough of Archbald.
- Philip Hone (Honesdale): One of the original thirteen best and brightest, mainly from New York
City, who was appointed to the Board of the D&H as its first
President. Another pioneer, that Honesdale is named after.
- George Talbot Olyphant:
Elected to be president of the D&H in 1858 and succeeded John
Wurts. He was instrumental in extending the railroad again farther
south, between 1856 and 1858, to obtain additional coal which was
especially beneficial in supporting the nation during the Civil War. His
legacy: the Borough of Olyphant is named after him.
could go on further. However, as you can quickly realize in this
historical overview, highly significant political, entrepreneurial and
engineering resources of this nation were focused on Carbondale and the
establishment of comprehensive mining and logistical operations. The
main objective was to transport vast quantities of energy resources to
New York City and eventually New England. As Dr. Powell so eloquently
articulated to me at one point: "What the Wurts brothers and the D&H
Canal Company accomplished at that time was like, in our time, landing
on the moon.”
was truly the epicenter, the birthplace and the focus in launching the
first railroad system in these United States. Carbondale was the
location and the spark that brought to Carbondale some of the greatest
minds this country had to offer. Those individuals and the D&H
helped to transform the United States from an agricultural to an
industrial economy. Historically speaking, Carbondale is truly sacred
the leadership in Carbondale is focused very clearly on the
revitalization and enhancement of our infrastructure. Let it be further
emphasized to everyone that, at the same time and with equal emphasis,
we are focused very clearly and strongly on revitalizing,
re-establishing and reclaiming our great and monumental historical past.
Gigliotti was warmly applauded by the group for his stirring and
empassioned remarks on behalf of the City of Carbondale—past, present,
luncheon completed, Dr. Powell then thanked the guests for having been
present to commemorate the 180th anniversary of the opening of the
D&H Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to Honesdale, and said, in
closing, that a commemorative ceremony would be held annually, hereafter
and here in the City of Carbondale, to commemorate this important event
not only in local, regional, and Commonwealth history, but also in the
history of America.
(In an abridged form, the article given
above was also published in the Carbondale News of October 21, 2009, p.
6, a copy of which is given hereafter.)
Delaware & Hudson Fast Freight with 1500 class 4-6-6-4, at speed,
near Nineveh, NY, in 1948.
Photo by Edward Baumgardner, Oneonta, NY.
original print of this Baumgardner photograph is among many that were
recently donated to the Carbondale D&H Transportation Museum.
Through its educational programs, lecture series, publications, railroad
symposiums, and exhibitions, the Carbondale D&H Transportation
Museum, in partnership with area and regional historical societies and
museums, plays a multifaceted role in preserving the history of the
D&H. The Carbondale D&H Transportation Museum is now the primary
research facility on the history of the Delaware and Hudson Canal
Company's rail lines in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Ropes for Chains
Historical Society was recently given a very nice collection of D&H
materials and publications by Alan G. Dustin, a former officer of the
D&H. Among those materials are many issues of The Delaware and Hudson Company Bulletin.
As I was cataloging those issues, yesterday, I put aside five issues
from the 1930s, to be read as part of my daily four or five hours of
D&H research for the book on the D&H that I am now writing. In
reading those issues last night, I came across one of those
never-in-a-million-years discoveries that sometimes take place in the
course of historical research.
well known that ropes were substituted for chains on all ascending
Gravity Railroad planes in 1830. But I don't think that I have ever seen
in print the exact date on which those substitutions took place. In the
March 1, 1930 issue, on page 74, in an article titled "One Hundred
Years Ago," there it is: February 6, 1830.
there are very few of us around these days who deem it important to
know such facts. But for the dyed-in-the-wool historians among us,
knowing such specific facts—in addition to understanding the larger and
much more important contextual picture of which such facts are a very
small component—is important.
S. Robert Powell
June 7, 2009
Wreck South of Starrucca in 1911
"One of the most
disastrous wrecks which ever occurred on the Pennsylvania Division, yet
one of the most fortunate in that the locomotive was not derailed,
happened to a freight train on the hill north of Ararat, in 1911,
according to George Tonkin, retired Wrecker. Born in Devonshire,
England, in 1863, the son of a farmer, he came to America in 1871 on the
steamer City of New York; began working for the D&H as a
slate picker in No. 3 Breaker on the Gravity Railroad in 1875] Upon
reaching the top of the grade at Ararat, the pusher cut off, dropped
back while the train gained headway, then sped up again to make the
flying switch. The pin was pulled between the caboose and the
pusher, the switch was thrown to run the engine in on the 'Y', and the
caboose rolled down the main to overtake the last car of the train. For
some reason or other, it did not run as fast that day as usual with the
result that it stopped short of the train. The locomotive and 48 cars
therefore started the long descent of the mountain toward Lanesboro
Perhaps it was just as well for them that the train crew remained at the
top of the hill in the caboose, for the train had hardly started down
the incline when the engineman realized that he had 'lost his air'.
Anyone familiar with the Jefferson Division knows what that means. For
mile after mile the track winds down the mountainside at a grade of 1.34
or a drop of 16 inches in every 100 feet. . . Throughout the seventeen
miles of track there is one curve after another. . .
When the engineman saw that he could not hope to control locomotive 1017
and the 48 cars behind, he ordered the fireman to jump, following him
out of the gangway. Faster and faster the runaway reeled down the right
of way. At last the rails could hold it no longer and the train jumped
the track just south of Starrucca station, piling up in a mass of broken
and twisted debris at the foot of the mountain, many feet below.
By some strange miracle the locomotive held to the rails, continuing
down the hill. With the faint hope that it might stay on the track until
it reached the foot of the mountain, the telegrapher at Jefferson
Junction was told to throw the switch to let it up the Erie track, which
rises at a sharp grade at that point. Hardly had he set the switches
when the engine fairly flew around the curve north of the tower,
speeding toward the crossover at a mile-a-minute clip. It was scarcely
short of miraculous that it took the switches without derailing and
tearing up the entire interlocking plant, and continued up the Erie main
until it came to a stop.
This was but one of the many wrecks which Mr. Tonkin helped to clear up
in his 27 years a member of the Carbondale wrecking crew, under
wreckmaster, Bernard F. Brennan, popularly known on the Pennsylvania
Division today as 'Barney' Brennan." ("Call Out The Wreckers," pp.
291-292, 295, in the October 1, 1930 issue of The Delaware and Hudson Railroad Bulletin) Mr.
Tonkin was the father of eight children, five boys and three girls. His
son Frank was a machinist in the Coalbrook Breaker, Carbondale; his son
Ralph was employed in the D&H Accounting Department office at
"The Fastest Local Train in the United States"
D&H No. 502; photo from the collection of John V. Buberniak.
What Railway Age
called "the fastest local train in the United States" was the Delaware
and Hudson's No. 502, which left Carbondale for Scranton at 5:30 A. M.
and made the seventeen-mile run in 35 minutes, with eight stops to
discharge and receive passengers. The conductor on this run was David B.
Robbins who, with his wife, lived at 56 South Church Street in
Mr. Robbins, a biographical portrait of whom was published in the October 1, 1931 issue of The Delaware and Hudson Railroad Bulletin,
daily wore a carnation or a rose as a boutonniere in his coat lapel
when he reported to work. Mr. Robbins also had the distinction of
working for the D. & H. longer than any other employee—over 66 years.
began his D. & H. work as a switchtender—train dispatcher he called
himself—by switching loaded coal cars from the Racket Brook Breaker
onto the main line of the Gravity Railroad, en route to Honesdale, on
March 14, 1865. He retired on January 27, 1931 as the conductor on "the
fastest local train in the United States."
marble obelisk, in Carbondale's Maplewood Cemetery, marks the grave of
James Dickson, the second master mechanic for the D. & H. Canal
Company, and many other members of the Dickson family. James' son,
Thomas, whose earthly remains are interred in the Dunmore Cemetery,
served as president of the D. & H. C. Co. from 1869 to 1884. Thomas
Dickson was one of the most important figures in the history of
the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and in the history of anthracite
mining in the Lackawanna Valley in northeastern Pennsyvania.
Here is a photograph, taken
on October 11, 2009 by S. R. Powell, of the Dickson mausoleum, in which
the earthly remains of Thomas Dickson are interred, in the Dunmore
S. Robert Powell and John V. Buberniak
Photograph by John Gummo
Dr. Powell and Mr. Buberniak were
instrumental in the creation and establishment of the Carbondale D.
& H. Transportation Museum, which is housed, with the Historical
Society, on the third floor of Carbondale City Hall. Messrs. Powell
and Buberniak are both currently in the process of writing books on the
Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's Gravity Railroad from Carbondale to
The focus of
Dr. Powell's book is the technological and sociologial history of the
company, with an emphasis on the people who made the system work on a
The focus of Mr. Buberniak's book is the managerial and corporate level of the company.
Together, these two books will constitute a comprehensive portrait of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company.
D. & H. Gravity Railroad Gallery
Gravity Railroad Exhibition
Anthracite Mining Gallery