by Frank Kyper
Publisher: The Garbely Publishing Company
Released: June 14, 2017
Format: 11"x8.5" softcover
To the casual observer, a “railroad town” is a community shaped by, and dependent upon, the rail lines within its limits. The south-central Pennsylvania borough of Mount Union certainly met these criteria, as the successes of Mount Union’s bustling industrial concerns were facilitated by a comprehensive web of both standard and narrow gauge rail lines. While the Pennsylvania Railroad’s standard gauge mainline bisected the town, it was truly Mount Union’s four separate narrow gauge operations that turned the small Pennsylvania borough into the narrow gauge capital of the East.
Within the town’s borders, the famous East Broad Top Railroad, a three-foot gauge coal-hauling line, shared a sprawling dual gauge rail yard with the PRR. Additional three-foot gauge equipment was employed to mine and deliver ganister rock to the Harbison-Walker Refractories Company’s twin silica brick plants, and the PRR itself even operated a diminutive two-foot gauge railroad to service the railroad’s crosstie treatment plant. A short 27.5” gauge tramway operated during the 19th century along the east bank of the Juniata River.
Tracks Around Mount Union tells the story of an under-recognized railroad town that was once teeming with the roar of steam locomotives and the pungent aroma of coal smoke. This title is Frank Kyper’s sixth book on railroading in the northeast.