Working on the
of the Montour
|Here is some
information of past employees on the Montour Railroad. These are the
men and women that made this a great railroad.
||Date of Hire
||Last Day on Montour
|Jim Lane||December 28, 1976|
The Lane pictures are always nice to see.
Lane, their granddaughter (my wife) really enjoyed seeing the one of
Big Jim on the front of the locomotive. We had followed and
photographed Jims last trip with Mary that December as they ran lite to
Montour Jct. amid several snow squalls that day. Seeing Mary’s
smile as she passed us at several locations, waving as they went by
will not soon be forgotten. The family get together to celebrate his
retirement was very enjoyable as I think back on the fun everyone had,
the faces that no longer are here, how times change……
always on hand to wave at the PRR/PC/CR crews as they passed her
kitchen. At night she would flash the porch light as they tooted
the tooter in acknowledgement. I recalled her excitement as she
watched our Pittsburg & Ohio Central excursion trains pass in the
early 2000’s, now it was my turn to toot for her smile and waves.
and Mary remain together today, in the Queen of Heaven cemetery,
overlooking their home at Hill’s Station and the Montour Railroad,
listening to the trains that still operate on the former PRR line that
passed through their front yard, something that was part of their
lives for so many years…..something they both loved.
Nick working the track gang on the Pittsburgh’s Port Authority
streetcar line at the time I was employed on the MRR, he would show up
on occasions at different places including the Yard office at Champion.
We spent some times sitting with Jim on his porch, chatting about
railroad’s and listening to Jim talk about the MRR and the PRR steam
that paraded through the valley at Hills. We appreciate the different
views that Nick can provide, hope we can interest him further into our
goals of working to preserve the MRR history. - Tim Sposato
|Gene P. Schaeffer
- In 1994 I interviewed retired Montour R.R. Lineman Howard Krater
who was employed with the Montour R.R. from 1927 through 1970. Howard
proudly announched he never missed 1 day's employment during his
spic & span career with the Montour R.R.|
memory seemed quite sharp as he recalled many details not only related
to his work, but many other incidences that occurred along the Montour
R.R. while he was there. Mr. Krater mentioned one time a electricial
storm passed over Montour Junction one time, and just east of the yard
a bolt of lightning struck one of the telegraph poles. The electrical
current passed through the wires running into Montour Junction, then
blew out all of the train dispatchers equipment in the house over on
State Avenue causing a electricial fire inside that house. The inside
of the train dispatchers office was damaged and required relocating the
train dispatchers to the adjoining house while the train dispatchers
office was gutted and remodeled.
Mr. Krater also told me
the Montour R.R. telephone operators switchboard was purchased for
$500.00 from the Midway Telephone Company through his contact, Joe
Matchette (remember Lee supplied us with those fantastic early Montour
R.R. photos'). Midway telephone bought the switchboard from a closed
Pittsburgh Coal Company office. The switchboard was a 1912 Western
Electric "Cord board" that had a magneto (crank) to ring in desired
Mr. Krater stated his first employment was 7
years with Bell Telephone before coming to the Montour R.R. who needed
a lineman. Mr. Krater remembered the Jean Mine which as he states in
the interview Jeean Mine was a drift mine, located just west of North
Star just as you came into the 1st tangent west of North Star, had a
capacity for 4 empties off its small wood tipple.
Krater remembered the Presidents Office once located in Pittsburgh's
Oliver building where Pittsburgh Coal had 2 floors with half of one
floor housing the Office of the Montour R.R. Mr. German had 3
office girls working for the Montour R.R. This Montour R.R.
Office was later closed and moved into the still standing wood station
in Coraopolis near the Montour R.R. Yards, but by then Mr. Campbell was
President. It appeared Mr. Campbell only had 5 years as President until
a heart attack took his life.
He was a Lineman for the Montour R.R.
And hired out on the Montour in 1927.
For the next 43 years, he never missed one days work.
Quite a spotless career.
His responsibilities were many.
Maintaining the pole line and telephones.
Maintaining the train dispatchers & yardmasters telephone before VHF radio.
Maintaining automatic flasher crossing protection which numbered about 11 crossings.
Maintain the switching signals at Montour Jct., Boggs and Mifflin Junction.
Maintain the main track switch signal's inside Kamps cut.
And last, maintain the two Block Signals for westbounds coming into Montour Juction. - Gene P. Schaeffer
was one of the 'voices' that was a familiar sound to all
employee's. This gentleman was a true railroader of many
service that should be recognized, another dedicated MRR veteran.
meeting many MRR trainmen in our early days of exploration along the
MRR rails, our appetite for more increased by the day. We would look
forward to late Friday night, school was out and the
for an eastbound coal drag to Mifflin Jct. was high in those first few
years of 1970's.
You see, the eastbound coal movements
were on a slow decrease at that time, occasionally one would run on a
Tuesday evening, if the tonnage was enough, sometimes a cut
coal would be moved just to Jewell Siding, if more coal was
loaded at Champion to complete the order or to relieve
at Champion Yard. This allowed the Friday night Coal
bring full tonnage up the grade from Hills to Jewell and being that the
grade was fairly level from Jewell to Mifflin Jct, the train would then
pick up the loads that were set out there Tuesday. Jewell
hold 21, 70 ton cars, coupler against the bumper at the West end, and
just clear of the derail at the East end.
We would monitor
Jewell siding on a daily basis, if loads were set off, we could count
on a run Friday evening. But to confirm this we boldly
call the MRR dispatcher and say" if you have a
tonight, we'll go check the switches at Jewell & Brookside to
sure their lined for the main"...........also armed with the Radio
Shack "Realistic" scanner, we were sure to make the
What DS would fall for that
now-a-days from young boys? I'm sure those dispatchers
didn't, but being the kindly gentlemen of the time, they
play along, thank me and caution me of the dangers of being
around the RR. They recognized the true feelings we had for the MRR.
They knew....Trainmen talked, Engineers talked, Trackmen talked, even
Superintedant F.C.Rauschart knew, word was out about us.
today's world, Homeland Security, business competition's and persons
with deviousness on their mind prevent us from discussing trains,
consists and schedules. Back then, no such concerns.
spoke to all the DS's, but Paul Luttenauer was our best info
provider. Paul held the daylight Chief Dispatcher position. We
dropped quite a few coins at the high school pay phone just to talk to
him. I really got to know Paul well, I was able to
many times with him, while he dispatched, when I was in my
years of high school, Mom would drive me
When of age, I drove myself. Paul would be very descriptive
in what the eastbound had to do before arriving, what the consist was,
who's on the crew, and the estimated time of arrival.
picture shows him in his element, the wooden desk with train order
book, consist books, train sheet, turn over notes. The rotary
phone, radio wires hanging to the floor and to the footbar pedal to
operate the radio transmission's. The steps in the rear
to the DS privy, with a nice view to the east of the P&LE main
and the MRR leg of the wye to
looks the part of the traditional dispatcher, clean dressed,
greying hair, horn rimmed bifocles, the MRR
(we also used red) 'Lindy Auditor's" fine point pen
can still hear that wooden floor creak around this office or when
someone would walk up the steps from the trainmens room
the smell of old wood mixed with diesel fumes from the engines idling
outside the windows. The slight hum the radio would emit as it
awaited to transmit the next train order or the sudden burst of the
voice of the Yardmaster on the radio's intercom......Paul
voice as he sounded out the train orders or information..... Sounds
that cannot be a part of this picture, just memory sounds to those that
This is a wonderful scene never to be
duplicated, as Gene can recall, this office was that
uniqueness that we have a hard time describing to those that never had
the opportunity to enjoy, an office that showed so few changes over the
Thanks Paul for your patience to this
youngster.......you along with Jim Lane, Jack Harvard, Mike Desko
Charlie Jones who went to bat for me in F.C. Rauschart's
in making his decision to hire me, March of 1975. I
hear of this meeting many years later, after the MRR had ceased
operations. Thanks to these gentleman that started me down the
rails of my life's enjoyment on that spring day. - Tim Sposato
Gene P. Schaeffer:
Very Nice Tim...My First night train dispatching solo...I was doing the
4-12 shift and Paul was the daylight man...
parting words as his relief arrived...You have a crew going to
Brookside...The mine crews and their locations......And putting out the
call for your next crews just as soon as you see fit...And for God
sakes Son...No head ons or Lap Backs...
Paul loved me for
his relief...On time each day - I was there by 3:30 PM...A early quit
as they say...His regular would NOT releive him till 3:55 PM...In the
morning when Paul did my relief. A few quick questions. And he'd place
his hand on the back of the high back chair. A give it a little nudge.
Rich K. gave me that heads up if you want relief after a long night. As
soon as he nudged the chair. You were relieved...
know till later on.What 11:25 meant scratched on the Train
Sheets.11:25...or there abouts was etched there nearly every day. It
was Paul L's. handwritting but what did it mean? Jane G. answered the
question one day, and I'd never guessed what it meant.
as the end neared Jane, Donna and whoever else was around the
Offices with hardly anything out there running the rail how poor ol'e
Paul was fit to be tied. Nothing to do but pace those creaky floors and
inside his pocket was a couple of quarters. Day in and day out, he
drove those poor office girls nuts. Jingling those quarters around and
Tim, your photo must be nearing the end, Only 3
or 4 train crews OS. The walls are painted blue. But I can still hear
Paul's distinct mannerisms when answering the telephone.
Very nice Tim...
Brakemen Seniority was 23-Jun-1959 and his Conductor Seniority is
16-Jan-1967. He was furloughed from the Montour officially on
1-Nov-1982 along with many other Montour Employees. Gene Schaeffer
recorded an interview with Mr. Parkinson. You can listen to the
| R.J. Lane and his
fantastic wife, Alma. RJ's Montour Motor
many have read on this Group, there were four Lanes employed on the
Montour RR. Most often talked about was Jim Lane, father to D.J. Lane.
Then we had R.D. Lane father to R.J. Lane. R.J. Lane started out on the
Montour RR in 1960 and spent 23 years employed on the Montour Railroad
Company. When the Montour shut down, R.J. went to the Allegheny
Railroad for a period then off to the DM&E, before retiring.
R.J. and wife Alma came to Pittsburgh to ride the rails of the former
P&WV. R.J. and wife Alma own and operate a Fairmont Motorcar
is neatly lettered Montour RR and carries number 27400. The number
27400 is actually R.J.'s payroll number.
It was wonderful seeing both R.J and wife Alma. Funny, working with
R.J. for many years, his demeanor hasn't changed one bit and yesterdays
time together, it was clear although nearly 25 years
have passed, our time talking Sunday seemed like 1980 all over again.
The voice...the personality...the Man is the same. R.J....Alma, GREAT
seeing you yesterday.
Thank You for sharing time with me.
Gene P. Schaeffer
Four Lane's had worked on the Montour. Here are
some comments from RJ about them:
DJ and myself started as a brakeman, flagman, then promoted to
conductor. Then they got short of engineers and started an engineers
training program. After that we had to top and bottom our seniority
roster with the P&LE RR [bad word] I think there were 3 of us.
1 gave it up, he had a bad instructor. When the program was over we
took our engineer exam and passed it and got our wings.
JF was on a pool crew all the time.
RD was on a pool crew and 3rd Champion all the time.RD Lane on the
DJ was on the 3rd Champion and pool crew.
RJ was on a pool crew and 3rd Champion.
The engineers always protected the hostler jobs when they needed
someone extra. JF, RD, DJ & RJ worked a fireman’s job or
engineer job. We all also worked the extra board when we had to.
RJ what does it mean to top & bottom the
What I meant was the Montour got to the point where they were in need
of engineers and they started a program like the big roads have now,
taking conductors and certifying them to be engineers. They did this.
Then they got the idea to top and bottom our seniority roster. The
unions ok’ed it and we did it, which meant our oldest engineer went
under the P&LE youngest engineer, and their oldest engineer
under our youngest engineer.
It was also done with the trainman’s seniority roster. When this
happened, that meant that there would be no more [Montour RR]
engineers, brakemen or conductors. The P&LE RR was a blood
railroad. When our railroad needed something, the Montour paid for it.
When the P&LE RR needed something, they took it.
By the way, I still have 5 Montour RR paychecks that I got and never
cashed. The reason for not cashing them is that if you add them all up
they total $0.78. They date back to 1981, 82 and 83. The reason for
that little bit of money is, if you worked one day a pay period, they
take out taxes, pension, union dues and what ever else. You cleared
nothing. I kept them to screw up their books for 45 or 120 days. In the
state of Pa., the railroad has to give you a pay check. One of our
conductors got one with all 0000000000. Then it was stamped void.
|I was a
short timer on the big M as I thought it was going to fold in
the 50's. I got started in 1957 when a friend of mine name of
Shutika knew I was looking for work. He had moved up
to sand house man and the job of messenger boy was open so I took it.
The job consisted of going to all the RR HQ in Pittsburgh with the
mail. I walked all over town with a mail bag that looked like I was
pony express without a pony. Places I went were P&LE,
Walbash, B&O, Pennsy. maybe some I forgot. I did get to know a
lot of people on the Montour this way and it was fun. Later
there was an opening in the shops for a warehouse man so I took it. My
job was to supply material for the operation of all
operations in the yard. People I worked with were Bill Dugan warehouse
clerk, Clarence Thompson , my boss, Charles Langan, and John Chopp
co-workers. As time went by John was laid off, Charles went back to
messenger boy and I was off and on with Clarence only full time
left. Bill Dugan made sure I worked enough to pay my bills.
As much as I enjoyed the railroad I felt it was time to move on. As
footnotes, My grandfather John [Jack] Roth worked there till
his death in 1945. My Uncle was Yardmaster till his [early]
death in 1959 for the PC&Y. While at the Montour I
knew the following. Jane Guzik [clerk], Charles Eggbeer,
[Bill Biglers grandfather] , Mr. Schertzinger [paymaster] ,
signed both my paychecks as well as my grandfathers. Also friends with
Tim Bountan crane operator and steam hammer expert. and to
round out the list Mr. Rumbaugh weightmaster. Mr Rumbaugh was about to
retire and I could have taken his place as weighmaster, however the
thought of looking at coal cars all night did not
sound like much fun. I left the Montour in late 1959 and still miss
it. Last thought, one other person I knew was Dennis
Lockerbie who worked in the shops. NOT a person worth
knowing. My Montour story. Carter E. Roth
|J. R. Harvard - Montour Engineman|
1981 is written on the back of this yellowing photograph. This
Montour R.R. Engineman - Jack R. Harvard. The photograph taken inside a
P&LE SW-1500 by Nick Jarina. Jacks hands...and eyes tell me he
might be shoving coal to the "Old or New" tracks at Champion. One
hand on the automatic brake valve. The other on the throttle. His
eyes...focused on the ground watching his speed. The purpose this
date. Nick bringing Jim Lane to Champion for a visit.|
Nice shot - Nick Jarina. - Gene P. Schaeffer
Rauschart - Montour RR Track Gang
I left the
Montour in 1977 and went to the P&LE RR where I was a Hostler
Gang-leader and Fireman. I am currently a Sergeant with the
Pittsburgh Police Department. I bike the Montour trail
regularly for exercise
Gene P. Schaeffer, Carter Roth and RJ Lane in 2008
|Back in 1901, the railroad managers
in the Pittsburgh area formed a club called the Railroad Club of
Pittsburgh. I found meeting minutes for the club spanning the
years between 1901 and about 1937. Needless to say, Montour
employees - VPs, Superindents, Foremen and other - were
members of the club for many years. I was able to go through
the meeting minutes and search for the word "Montour" and came up with
a lot of names. I've attached a PDF file with the
information. Where names are duplicated, I re-listed an
employee if he was promoted or demoted. The blank rows mean
no one joined that year.
Enjoy Bob Ciminel
D. Coleman, Blacksmith Foreman -
Beaver Falls PA
M. Hopkins, Boiler Shop Foreman
L. Moreland, Machine Shop Foreman - Coroaopolis PA
P. Porter, Air Brake Department Foreman - Bellevue, PA
J. Callahan, Engine House Foreman - West
Park, McKees Rocks, PA
Miller, General Car Foreman - Hazlewood, PA
H. Myers, Chief Clerk to Mechanical Superintendent (E. A. Rauschart) - North