Ashley Planes
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The History of the Ashley Planes

1843 – 1948

By Annie Bohlin

A rather lengthy article written and researched by Annie Bohlin. We have separated it into five separate 'Word' documents to make the download easier. Just click on each installment.

The History Of The Ashley Planes page 1 thru 13.pdf
The History Of The Ashley Planes page 14 thru 27.pdf
The History Of The Ashley Planes page 27 thru 39.pdf
The History Of The Ashley Planes page 40 thru 44.pdf
The History Of The Ashley Planes page 45 thru 48.pdf

Some pictures of the Ashley Planes


The Ashley Planes

The Ashley Planes was the first rail operated transportation service to reside in the Mountain Top area. The primary reason for its construction was to haul freight, primarly coal, out of the Wyoming Valley to the top of the Pennobscot mountain by way of a rail and cable system. The incline was steep, about 10 percent, and beyond the ability of a standard railroad locomotive. It was established in 1843 and remained in service until 1948. The operation was composed of three inclined planes, each about a mile in length. They ran south from Ashley, Pa, up through a mountain cut to the summit of Solomon Cut located in Mountain Top. Here the cars were gathered in a local fright yard and sent to White Haven and points south.

Please click on the small pictures below to see a larger more viewable picture.


In this top of Plane #1 a south view, the cable can be followed to the engine house. Note the structural steel, that carry the steam piping to and from the Boiler buildi ng to the enigine house
A view of plane 3 from the bottom looking up toward Mountain Top.
In this view at Plane #3, on the right track, the  barney is out of the truck pit. Note the coal bank on the left, replaced the tipple.  
This adjustable “Gauge Car” was used to check the gauge between the track. A spit of paint would squirt out of the pressurized container onto the rails when the car ran over a out-of-gauge section track.
Junction point at Solomon Gap. Track to left comes from the Planes #1 while the track straight ahead is the L&S ( later CNJ ) back track. Note the cut of cars just coming around the hill at left. ( photo is taken from the Mary St bridge )
The yard and roundhouse at the top of Penobscot mountain. A early 1900’s  Postcard view of the Penobscot Yard Round House, looking north from the Graedale crossing, the Penobscot Station is out of view  to the right.
In this early south view at Plane #3, a trip is being hoisted on the left track, and on the right track, a trip of loaded cars awaits hoisting, the far left track, a string of loaded cars are coming around a curve from the tipple.
This north view of Planes #2, with the boiler house on the right and the engine house with water tank on the left. Note the level track in foreground which  leads to bottom of plane #1
Power Plant for Planes #1 with a hopper car of coal spotted for consumption by the boilers for the stationary engine. In this view, looking south, is the top of Plane #1. Notice Route 309 which is just two lanes at this time.
Bottom of Plane #1 looking up toward Mountain Top.
Inside the engine house.
A typical barney car used to push the rail cars to the top of the mountain.
Mike Zelinka at the top of plane 1.
Three coal cars going up plane 1.