Tuscarora Valley Railroad
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Tuscarora Valley Railroad

Port Royal Times
Wednesday, June 27, 1973

The Tuscarora Valley Railroad

One of the contributing factors in the growth and development of the Tuscarora Valley was the narrow gauge railroad known as the T. V. or Tuscarora Valley. Many of our older residents tell of the thrill they received when they returned home "from wandering on a foreign strand," and heard a conductor on a Pennsylvania Railroad train call out, "Port Royal! Change for all points on the Tuscarora Valley."

This railroad was built by a group of men from Milton, Pa. A company was formed and directors were elected February 21, 1891, Mr. T. S. Moorhead of Milton, Pa., who later moved to Juniata County and directed the affairs of the railroad, was elected its first president. The capital stock consisted of 6,000 shares at fifty dollars a share. Local men who were first to invest in stock were: J. L. Barton, J. M. B. Blair, W. A. Milliken, E. M. Drolsbaugh, J. J. McMullen, W. C. Pomeroy, and J. Howard Neely.

The eastern terminus of the new railroad was at Port Royal where it connected with the P. R. R. And it extended for approximately thirty miles through the valley to Blairs Mills, with repair shops at Ross Farm in Lack Township.

The train, made up of one passenger coach and from two to six freight cars, left Blairs Mills at 7 a.m. each morning and arrived at Port Royal between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. it left Port Royal at 10:30 a.m. arriving at Blairs Mills at noon. Another trip was made in the afternoon. The train carried mail for the entire valley as well as passengers and freight. The passenger coach was divided into two parts, one of which was the "smoker" and in which no lady ever sat. It was heated by a coal stove in one corner, which belched smoke and gas as well as heat and was lighted by kerosene lamps which swung from the ceiling and at times went out as the train swung rapidly (?) around a curve.

Old T V

As an example of the nostalgia felt by the older folks of the Tuscarora Valley for the Old T V, the words of a former resident, Miss Mary Graham are hereby quoted:

"We surely miss the T. V. In the community. It seems to have come puffing and tooting up and down the valley all of my younger life.

The event of the year was the trip on the long train to Leonard's Grove picnic. There were picnic cars that appeared only on a special day like this. First came the coaches, then the red picnic cars and finally the open flat cars, all well laden with humanity. Why some people chose to ride in those stuffy coaches up front, I couldn't imagine!

It was necessary for the train to make an extra trip down the valley very early on picnic morning, as Blairs Mills was its terminus each evening. In other words, it had to come DOWN to go UP.

Perhaps the people in the upper end of the Valley enjoyed the excursion trip to Fair, which was also an important occasion.

When Mr. Cohill was T. V. Conductor, the train used to stop almost any place to take on or put off passengers. West of Spruce Hill, the daily paper was tossed off for one family and their handsome collie dog got the paper for his mistress.

When I rode horse a great deal, we used to race with the train. Passengers and trainmen cheered us on, but try as we would, the train always won.

When I went to Port Royal High School, we'd hear the train whistle as it came down the valley. Bill (my brother) would get our two horses and we'd ride wildly down to Esh's Crossing (Mary's Station, John Neill, the conductor, called it) where we always made the train.

A lot of us went to High School by train. At one time there were 19 in the gang. We learned to feel at home. Perhaps that is why we "raised Cain" sometimes Pity the bride and groom we spotted. We'd get rice at Port Royal and give the newlyweds a warm welcome. If they weren't discovered before we left town, we'd get off at Spruce Hill and buy the rice at Conn's Store while the conductor held the train for us.

One time we stopped near Freedom School House. The trainmen saw a ground hog and caught it.

When we couldn't get up the grade west of Port Royal, we'd back to the bridge across the Tuscarora Creek. Then we'd wait until the engine took part of the load to town. While it did this, we got out and clung to the train while we made our way off the bridge. If the engine had returned before we reached solid ground, we might have been killed. John Neill scolded us for this and for riding on the platform and flat cars."

Port Royal Fair Excursion

The Tuscarora Valley Railroad Company will sell excursion tickets to Port Royal and return at the rate of one fare for round trip No half fares where the amount would be less than 25 cents; as follows:

Blairs Mills 25 cents.
Perulack 70 cents.
East Waterford 60 cents.
Warble 35 cents.
Pleasant View 30 cents.
Spruce Hill 25 cents.
Intermediate points in proportion.

Tuscarora Valley Railroad Train Schedule 1894
Leave E. Waterford
7:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Arrive Port Royal
8:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
Leave Port Royal
10:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.
Arrive E. Waterford
11:46 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

This railroad served the Valley for approximately four decades until 1934 when it slipped quietly out of existence due to competition from trucks and automobiles.

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