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

Servicing a Freight Road

The Atglen & Susquehanna in Martic Township

 
 
Servicing a Freight Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 30, 2018
1. Servicing a Freight Road Marker
Inscription. Finding a strategic location for servicing the freight route was a challenge for the PRR as the A&S headed west over the deep valley of Pequea Creek (upper left image) toward the Susquehanna River. Facilities were created by carving a wider right-of-way through the fringe of Red Hill. In addition to a switching tower (Smith Tower, image below) this location served as host for a water station, ash dump, employee dwellings, track maintenance storage and the westernmost reservoir of the water distribution system (images on right). A long passing siding and track crossovers made it possible to move an entire train out of dedicated east and westbound traffic. By 1941, the average A&S freight length peaked at 89 cars (3500 to 4000 feet).

In the earlier decades, eastbound steam locomotives rolled along the Susquehanna's edge from Enola Yard on mostly flat ground and needed to “clean their fire” (dump coal ash) and fill their tenders with water before continuing the long gradual ascent to Mars Hill Summit in Bart Township. Smith Tower (originally "SF" for Shenks Ferry) was wedged between the tracks and a rock face, directly below the round valve house and 500,000-gallon reservoir. At peak development, six tracks stretched west of Smith Tower with three of them extending for nearly two miles. The “village” of facilities served the A&S for more than eighty years.

The Martic Forge Bridge (image above and below) soared above Pequea Creek. Its eastern support trestle straddled a trolley line that rambled along the creek,
Marker detail: Pequea Creek & Martic Forge Bridge under construction image. Click for full size.
Kline Negative Collection, Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg, PA
2. Marker detail: Pequea Creek & Martic Forge Bridge under construction
shuttling passengers and packages between Pequea and Millersville. From the hills above the historic valley settlement, one could see the Colemanville Covered Bridge, hung low over the creek, the steadfast valley crossing. Without hesitation, the PRR spanned the sunken switchback boundary between Martic and Conestoga Townships with what must have appeared to be a minimal lattice of steel. Far removed from the horse-drawn pace of the valley floor, locomotives sailed on their own sky road. For the PRR, the A&S was a means to expansion of its system, not a tool for local development. Successful long freight operation promised substantial sustainable revenue. The distance between the intent of the original state-chartered railroad—to serve and benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania—and the unbridled PRR of 1906, could be seen by looking upward at the Martic Forge Bridge.
 
Erected by Amtrak.
 
Location. 39° 54.609′ N, 76° 18.787′ W. Marker is in Pequea, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker is on Marticville Road (Pennsylvania Route 324) north of Red Hill Road (County Route 3019), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located within the trailhead kiosk at the west end of the Martic Township parking lot for access to the Enola Low Grade Trail. Marker is in this post office area: Pequea PA 17565, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Cost of Dynamite (approx. 1.3 miles away);
Marker detail: Martic Forge Bridge Construction image. Click for full size.
Columbia Historic Preservation Society, Columbia, PA]
3. Marker detail: Martic Forge Bridge Construction
Conestoga (approx. 3.4 miles away); Founded 1791 Boehms Chapel (approx. 4.2 miles away); Iron Works (approx. 4.2 miles away); Boehm's Chapel (approx. 4.3 miles away); York Furnace Bridge (approx. 4.4 miles away); Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal (approx. 4.4 miles away); Susquehanna Canal (approx. 4.4 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This is a large, "billboard-style" marker, mounted on the east-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
 
Also see . . .
1. Martic Forge Railroad Bridge. (This link presents photos of the Martic Forge Bridge.) This is an impressive high level bridge. It is built to the "tower and girder" style which features deck plate girder spans supported by steel bents. However, this bridge also includes a larger deck truss span over the creek. The bridge has been abandoned, but was converted into a rail-trail. (Submitted on September 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Deck of pedestrian bridge 'a loss' after fire strikes old railroad trestle. Thursday, April 12, 2018: Flames engulfed the old railroad trestle turned pedestrian bridge on the Enola Low Grade Trail. Emergency crews from around Lancaster County responded, including a fire marshal and the county’s hazmat team. Crews were dispatched to a brush fire near the bridge, Martic Forge Trestle, which runs
Marker detail: Smith Tower image. Click for full size.
Photo by William R. Fry, Jr., Enola, PA
4. Marker detail: Smith Tower
over the Pequea Creek and River Road. The bridge, formerly a railroad trestle, opened as a public walkway in 2015, linking the Conestoga and Martic township sections of the trail. (Submitted on September 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Man-Made FeaturesRailroads & Streetcars
 
Marker detail: Valve House & 500,000 gallon water reservoir image. Click for full size.
Personal Collection of George Melasecca, Kirkwood, PA
5. Marker detail: Valve House & 500,000 gallon water reservoir
Servicing a Freight Road Marker & Kiosk (<i>wide view looking west; Marticville Road behind</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 30, 2018
6. Servicing a Freight Road Marker & Kiosk (wide view looking west; Marticville Road behind)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 30, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 31, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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