Author Topic: Trunkeyville, the module  (Read 4985 times)

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randgust

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Trunkeyville, the module
« on: March 09, 2018, 05:22:24 PM »
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Most of you have seen my 'West Hickory' and 'Hickory Bridge' T-track modules over the last couple years.

One of the enduring problems with the West Hickory module is that it has three tracks at one end that 'should have been' the PRR interchange track and siding, and there just wasn't space to fit in the T-trak envelope.   I figured I'd fix that someday with another add-on module.

A standard T-trak double module would give me enough space to close that passing siding and actually use it as an interchange.  OK, well, sorta, just rather boring though.   Back burner idea, to be kind.

Just up the river from West Hickory, on the PRR Oil City to Olean line, was a wide spot in the (rail)road called Trunkeyville.   My father had told me tales about greasing the rails there when he was a kid so that  he could watch the big Decapod helpers spin, and have the firemen throw coal at them.  So I knew it was the water stop just north of West Hickory, and the track charts showed it was the end of a passing siding and a block station as late as 1953.   But no idea of what the place ever looked like.

Then I found this.   OMG.   It actually had a station.  Not just any station, but the smallest, cutest, little PRR flagstop station I've ever seen.   I kinda fell in love.   Take a look:

http://www.west2k.com/papix/trunkeyville.jpg

For something the size of a garden shed, it has siding, shingles, architectural detail, a double-hipped roof, and obviously was just big enough to have an operator in there - as you have a "Western Union" sign visible, and this was one of the very few passing sidings in unsignalled territory.   PRR timetables show it as a flagstop only.  But it's one of the most ornate, and sure doesn't look like normal PRR, yet it does.  In some ways it reminds me of those caricature stations Malcom Furlow used to do, too little and cute to be true.

OK, I'm sold.   The first shot 'may be' a valuation record shot, not sure, but it's dated 1920.   The second shot shows the backside after what appears to be a severe washout right beside it, with track hanging and the station almost washed out as well.   Huh, well, that's interesting but possibly irrelevant.

Now remember, this line was effectively shut down after the Kinzua Reservoir was built in 1965, and track came out in 1978.   I actually ran a GP38 down this line as a teenager in 1975 and would have passed this exact spot on that trip but don't remember it.   So, if I'm going to do another T-trak module of PRR in the 20's, well, this little station seals it.   The place name exists, although I'd never actually seen it - it's rather remote and inaccessible today.

So I'll start this construction thread with what started me.... all I wanted to do was close a passing siding with a little add-on T-trak module, and have a legitimate place to display a scratchbuilt model of that sweet little flagstop station....simple enough, right?   And like all my projects, it will likely go completely astray before we ever get done.   Here we go again.

 

« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 05:27:35 PM by randgust »

randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 06:23:41 PM »
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If you're doing historic modeling, a resource you don't see mentioned much is railroad track charts.   In this case, I had a set of the line - dated 1950.  I'd used them a bit on the West Hickory module (which proved that PRR kept the tannery track open long after the HV was gone) but also showed our topic here.   When the railroad is gone and you know next to nothing, what can you learn?



OK, so what does this tell us from 1950?

It was still a live passing siding (74 cars) and a block station (TRUNK) with phone booths at either end.

And at the north end of that siding... a bridge.  30.16.   So what you're seeing in the photo is that the depot was all the way to the north, right by that little bridge.  And that's what is in the lower washout, the creek blew it out from the BACK, not the front.   So, that tells me exactly, almost to the inch, where the depot was.    Huh.   That also tells me that in that depot photo, the passing siding was closer and the main was nearer the little depot, and it had to be right at the turnout.  Well, that makes sense in timetable and train order days, the operator could run the switch, too.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 06:25:38 PM by randgust »

randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 06:42:10 PM »
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A google earth search confirmed what should be there.... "trunkeyville, PA" does actually exist.   It's now nothing more than some seasonal homes and fishing cabins, and a dead-end road down into the place.   The railroad grade north of there is now a trail, track long gone.   But, if you look close, yup, there's a stream.  And a road to what looks like a little parking lot.   Right where the depot would have been.... huh.



Huh, there is stream...and what looks like a culvert under the railroad ROW.   That lines up with the washout shot.

Checking my history books, wow, I'm still amazed by what was going on in the peak years - two through passenger trains a day, with Pittsburgh-Olean-Buffalo Pullman service.   Just like my Dad told me about.  And yup, there's little Trunkeyville on the schedule.   There must have been SOMETHING there, there sure isn't now!    At this point, I'm baffled why it even existed, let alone why it's virtually gone.





randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2018, 07:02:41 PM »
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So up to this point, it's interesting, but it's not going anywhere.

Then I charged ahead with the Hickory Bridge module - which has it's own construction thread https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=41271.0

From the start of that I decided to make it T-trak compatible although its ONE TRACK STUPID so it won't work.   So I deliberately made it narrower so that it could be 'split' and put the second track to the back of the bridge module.   How to do that?  Well, if I made a couple double module adapters to swing the inner track behind.... yeah, that could work.    So it was a mad scramble to build TWO double modules by the Altoona show last year so that I could get the Hickory Bridge in the T-trak layout.    In about two weeks, two modules - "Trunkeyville" and "Jamison" were born, more or less thrown together, and put into service.   I figured I knew enough already that I could guess the scenery close enough.   You'll see later I completely blew it, but this thread is also about forehead slaps and redoing finished work.

Jamison shows how it works on this video at 2:40 - one track to the back of the bridge module.   Trunkeyville is a mirror image on the other end.   I cut a creek through the end and put a culvert opening under the end switch, but other than that.... pretty much bookends.   Good enough to meet my deadline.

/>


pdx1955

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 07:16:02 PM »
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At this point, I'm baffled why it even existed, let alone why it's virtually gone.

The reason...its oil...

A quick Google search turned up a bunch of old Harper's Weeklys among other publications. From what I gather, Trunkeyville as at a junction of a couple pipelines and a 15K barrel tank was erected there in 1870. In 1893 some it burned down (mentioned that no businesses were there then) . Clearly since, it was just a village "bedroom community" that had a flagstop so folks could reach more prosperous areas...
Peter

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C855B

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 07:20:44 PM »
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I keep reading it as "Turnkeyville", so it must be an RTR layout, I guess. :facepalm:
...mike

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Chris333

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 07:35:47 PM »
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Wasn't the oil industry invented in that area? Or at least the first tank cars.

pdx1955

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 07:50:04 PM »
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Wasn't the oil industry invented in that area? Or at least the first tank cars.

Yes - this whole area is ground zero for that ..Oil City, etc. My guess is that this village was a loading spot since it appeared to be the terminus of at least a couple pipelines, then eventually faded into obscurity.
Peter

"No one ever died because of a bad question, but bad assumptions can kill"

randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 09:09:02 PM »
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Yeah, you're gettin' a little ahead.... but one of the world's first oil pipelines was built between Fagundus and Trunkeyville - 4 miles downhill - to reach the railhead by the river.  My search of Google Books disclosed that bit about the 15,000 BARREL (that's 63,000 gallons) oil storage tank was at the terminal.... when you figure that a Densmore wood tank car (like the Bachmann old time tank) of the era could probably only do 90 barrels (3780 gal) thats'....hmmm 17 tank cars.   And for the time that's a huge wooden tank, figure in todays terms that would be about 21 feet high and 61 feet in diameter.  Before the pipelines got built, it was a real battle between the oil refineries, producers, and the railroads as to traffic and rates.

I've found lots of stuff and more to come, but I had never heard of a fire in Trunkeyville, got a link to that Harpers Weekly mention?  There was a full oil boomtown here at one time.  What's amazing is almost a complete lack of photo documentation.

I've found two old 1800's stereoscopes of the oil derricks right along the tracks, and some big railside wood buildings.   The first major oil boom was fading out by 1880, but there are still wells running in the area today.

So also to get ahead, I'm trying to figure out how to model something of the period early oil industry on my little 24" module, as this was literally ground zero of raw oil transport by rail, before it all went to pipeline.  Ruins?   Remnants?  A working jerker line well?   Still undecided.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 09:14:48 PM by randgust »

pdx1955

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 11:54:46 PM »
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Here's the link ...its to a snippet from "the Derrick's Handbook of Petroluem" .. see item #9 - looks like what was left of the village burned then. Also there is a number of interesting snippets  on this page...

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/45599014950082989/
Peter

"No one ever died because of a bad question, but bad assumptions can kill"

strummer

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2018, 12:46:15 AM »
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Just one of the (many) great things about this hobby: researching a specific location...love it!

Mark in Oregon

DKS

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2018, 06:18:23 AM »
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I keep reading it as "Turnkeyville", so it must be an RTR layout, I guess. :facepalm:

Whew! I'm glad I wasn't the only one doing that...

randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2018, 10:32:30 AM »
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I have yet to find anybody named "Trunkey" associated with the history, still watching for that.

What's worth mentioning here is that in the scramble to get ready for Altoona, it's important that model construction got way, way ahead of historic research.  All I'd really seen is the photos you've seen here.   Historic and some aerial.

So about two weeks before Altoona, I had the chance to get down there and actually go to Trunkeyville, down a steep, winding, one-lane (now paved) road that dead-ends in what appears to be the original station parking lot, private dirt road drives radiate from there.

Rule #1 - do your research after you build, just for laughs
Rule #2 - Deny any facts you unearth that conflict with what you've already built
Rule #3 - Determine it's impossible to make changes to what you've already done...

Or...

Set it aside for six months and decide that you probably need to rethink this thing, and keep digging, as it's an interesting story and place.

It was easier than I thought to reconcile what's there with the older shots, it just didn't agree with what I'd done.

First was the culvert I did.  I spent a lot of time fitting in a beautiful plaster cut stone culvert and wing walls based on what I'd seen from the aerial and it seemed era-appropriate for PRR.  So imagine my surprise when the very first thing I see is.....



Huh.  That's not a stone culvert, is it?   

And that creek, yeah, I'm standing more or less the same place as that washout shot, station would have been in the upper right.
Ah, that's right.  The entire line got upgraded in the 1920's when Bethlehem Steel started the Lackawanna plant, and coal came up from Pittsburgh this way.  So probably every little bridge on the line was this poured-concrete ballasted deck design, and they are still there today.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 10:38:11 AM by randgust »

randgust

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2018, 11:38:03 AM »
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About the same time, I stumble on this one, first on Ebay, and then in the NY Public Library collection.   These are Woodward Steroscopes, and it's a fantastic collection.   I'd found "Hill at Trunkeyville" on an auction, and if you look, the little depot is on the right.   But dig the oil derricks, the big buildings, and all the houses on the hill behind it.   Yeah, this was a real town.   This appears to be shot from a barge or raft out in the river looking at the town.   Railroad is at the top of the bank.  The Woodward one was spelled right on their steroscope, but really blurry scan.   The NYPL one, however....dead sharp.

https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-57b8-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Wow, oil wells within feet of the track.  Huh.  Wonder where that big tank was? 

But look at the TITLE.   David, this one is for you.  Man, I'm laughing hard.  No wonder I couldn't find it until I search "petroleum history" and recognized the shot.   The other scan was so blurry you couldn't pick out the depot, this is completely clear.

After the line was abandoned above Tidioute, the only real shipper was my father's sawmill at West Hickory.   I followed one of the 'Sunday only' moves down from his mill in 1975.   If you look right behind the caboose, you'll see the same design concrete-deck bridge as at Trunkeyville.   I remember the story behind this one, it was supposedly too weak to support a 100-ton lumber car, leading to an embargo, which my father contested for lack of fact.  As you can see, Dad won.



That concrete bridge is also still there, but than embankment was bulldozed off level.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 12:59:33 PM by randgust »

Point353

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Re: Trunkeyville, the module
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2018, 01:55:12 PM »
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I have yet to find anybody named "Trunkey" associated with the history, still watching for that.
A google search suggests that the town was named after a Judge John Trunkey, who was a PA state supreme court justice.