New book published on the early railroad in Sayre

SAYRE - A new book on the early history of the railroad in Sayre by railroad historian Richard Palmer has been published by the Sayre Historical Society. The new book covers the earliest years of the railroad in Sayre including numerous photographs and illustrations as well as a detailed chronology of events. The 60-page soft-cover book is the third book by Palmer that has been published by the historical society.

CAPTION: The coal pockets of the Pennsylvania & New York Railroad are pictured in a new book on The Coming of the Railroad to Sayre by railroad historian Richard Palmer published by the Sayre Historical Society. The coal trestle was located near exit 61 of Route 86 near the Best Western Grand Victorian Inn in Sayre.

All three books are available in the Burkhart Gift Shop at the museum located in the historic Lehigh Valley Railroad Passenger station in downtown Sayre. Museum hours are Saturdays from 10 to 4 and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.

An addendum to the book includes reminisces of John Fitzgerald of New Albany on his work experiences with the Pennsylvania & New York Railroad in 1867. Excerpts of a diary by railroad supervisor John Rahm in 1869 detail the construction of the P & NY Railroad which was later absorbed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad.

Lists of early locomotives on the P & NY Railroad and Early Lehigh Valley Locomotives Spotted in Sayre - 1869 to 1872 are also included in the fact-filled booklet.

In the book, Palmer documents the early history of railroading in the Penn-York Valley with mention of the Tioga Point Railroad in 1841.

The proposal was to build a 4 mile railroad from Athens, at the head of the contemplated North Branch Canal to Waverly, to connect with the New York & Erie Railroad, Palmer writes. The route was surveyed by Ira Spaulding, a local civil engineer and a charter was granted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was capitalized at $50,000. Its purpose was to connect the Wyoming Coal Valley with the interior of New York State.

Palmer examines the role of the Erie, Lehigh Valley and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western railroads in the Valley. He also covers the North Branch Canal, the Barclay Railroad and the Towanda Coal Company and their influence in the development of the railroad in Sayre.

The Barclay Coal Co. operated its own trains over the completed portion between Towanda and Waverly, being pulled by its locomotives Greenwood, Lamoka and Waverly, according to Palmer. On June 4, 1870, the Waverly drew from the foot of the incline plane at Barclay to Waverly, 100 loaded coal cars, a baggage car and two passenger coaches. This was said to have been the largest train ever drawn by one locomotive over the road.

Palmer is the author of numerous books and magazine article on railroads in Central New York. Palmer's previous books for the Sayre Historical Society include The Handsomest Train in the World: The First Twenty-Five Years of the Lehigh Valley Railroad's Black Diamond Express and A Moment in Time: Theodore Roosevelt's Presidential Special to Chautauqua in 1905.

The Sayre Historical Society is a recipient of funds from the Bradford County United Way and the Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency.

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