Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Bart Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A Stream for Steam

The Atglen & Susquehanna in Bart Township

 
 
A Stream for Steam Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 30, 2018
1. A Stream for Steam Marker
Inscription.  Of all the resources required for operation of the A&S, none was more deceptively vital than water. From its inception under steam locomotion, the A&S was quietly sustained by the vast water resources it continually crossed. Previous droughts and rapidly expanding service throughout Pennsylvania led the PRR to outfit the A&S with a reliable and thoroughly modern water system. When the Octoraro Water Company was formed in 1903 by merger of seven smaller water companies along the A&S route, the PRR was its sole customer. The water within the entire Octoraro Creek watershed (approximately 208 square miles) was at its disposal. Access to this water secured a highly desirable water supply for both the A&S and the PPR’s main line. In the steam era, the estimated average daily consumption from this water system exceeded 2 million gallons per day.

As with many other water systems originally built for the PRR, the infrastructure of the Octoraro Water Company eventually came to serve the residential consumers of its neighboring communities. Though steam locomotives were replaced by electric ones, water continued to power the A&S via hydroelectric
Marker detail: Parkesburg Gate House image. Click for full size.
By Personal collection of George Melasecca, Kirkwood, PA
2. Marker detail: Parkesburg Gate House
energy from Safe Harbor. Idyllic Octoraro Creek, slow and meandering in contrast to the mighty Susquehanna River, helped power one of the nation's busiest freight roads in the first half of the twentieth century.

Water pumped from two intakes (McCrea and Pine Grove) on the Octoraro charged a distribution system, complete with reservoirs and gate houses, which extended from Thorndale (east of Parkesburg) to as far west as Smith Tower in Martic Township. The largest (10 million gallons) and highest-in-elevation reservoir was located on Mars Hill (Bart Township). From here, piped water flowed by gravity to smaller reservoirs located near watering stations along the A&S, where the tenders of thirsty locomotives were efficiently filled from water columns. The largest volume demand for water was at the track pans (west of Atglen) where locomotives scooped up water without stopping. With minimal mechanical assistance, the A&S had ample water on demand.
 
Erected by Amtrak.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 39° 55.291′ N, 76° 3.918′ W. Marker is in Bart Township, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on Georgetown Road (Pennsylvania Route 896) north
Marker detail: PRR Quarryville reservoir, construction image. Click for full size.
By Personal collection of George Melasecca, Kirkwood, PA
3. Marker detail: PRR Quarryville reservoir, construction
of Heyberger Road, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located within the trailhead kiosk at the parking lot for access to the Enola Low Grade Trail, on the west side of Georgetown Road. The trailhead parking lot is on the south side of a large hardware store complex. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1342 Georgetown Road, Quarryville PA 17566, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Bartshire (approx. 0.9 miles away); A Job on the A & S (approx. 2˝ miles away); The Christiana Riot (approx. 3 miles away); Christiana Riot Monument (approx. 4.4 miles away); William C. Sproul (approx. 4.8 miles away); The Gap Clock Tower (approx. 5.1 miles away); Atglen Borough Hall (approx. 5.2 miles away); Atglen (approx. 5.2 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This is a large, "billboard-style" marker, mounted on the south-facing side of the trailhead kiosk for the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. The Atglen & Susquehanna Low Grade
 
Additional comments.
1.
In photos 5 and 6, a copy of "The Atglen & Susquehanna Low Grade / The Pennsylvania Railroad's Dedicated Freight Road", already existing as a separate entry here on hmdb.org at a different location, is on the other side of subject plaque.

Route 896 is off camera to right. The trail, which goes under route 896, is behind tbe camera, and further behind is Heyberger Road.
Marker detail: PRR Quarryville reservoir image. Click for full size.
By Personal collection of George Melasecca, Kirkwood, PA
4. Marker detail: PRR Quarryville reservoir
    — Submitted October 26, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland.
 
A Stream for Steam Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 30, 2018
5. A Stream for Steam Marker (wide view)
A Stream for Steam Marker (<i>wide view of kiosk, looking north; hardware store in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 30, 2018
6. A Stream for Steam Marker (wide view of kiosk, looking north; hardware store in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 30, 2018. This page has been viewed 161 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on October 22, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement
Mar. 2, 2021