South Mountain Railroad (Cumberland)

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South Mountain Railroad
railway line
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
Region Cumberland County
June 2, 1874
·•depot[1]:4 @ CVRR junction
Highest point terminus (Pine Grove Iron Works)
Length 17.78 mi (29 km)
"main line … Carlisle to Pine Grove"[6]
Chartered 1865 (SM Iron Co)
 - Constructed 1869-70 [7]
 - Acquired 1877 (SM Railway & Mining Co.)[8]
 - Merged 1891 (Gett. & Harr. Railway)

The South Mountain Railroad was a southcentral Pennsylvania railway line for "connecting the Pine Grove works to the Cumberland Valley R. R."[9] and which provided mining and passenger services via a southwest section from Hunter's Run, Pennsylvania, and a northern section from Hunter's Run to the CVRR junction northeast of Carlisle. The northern section merged with the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railroad line south from Hunter's Run to the Gettysburg Battlefield in 1891 to create the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railway line, while the branch southwest from Hunter's Run became the Hunter's Run and Slate Belt Railroad line.[10]

Modernized sections of the South Mountain Railroad remain north of Hunter's Run; while parts of the railbed are available for hiking and biking such as near Carlisle (Letort Spring Run Nature Trail)[11] and the Pine Grove Furnace State Park (Cumberland County Biker/Hiker Trail with section of the Appalachian Trail.)

1885 map with SMRR (top) depicts the Hunter's Run junction with the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad, the Gettysburg Junction with the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and the "H. & P. Juntn." with the Harrisburg and Philadelphia Railroad.
Not shown: east-west Hanover Junction, Hanover and Gettysburg Railroad through Gettysburg
1872 (top)[4] & 1889 maps[12]:16a of the terminus at the Pine Grove Iron Works.


The South Mountain Railroad was authorized by the South Mountain Iron Company legislation in 1864/1865,[8] and company bonds were issued in 1869.[13] The junction with the Cumberland Valley Railroad was laid east of Carlisle near Ashland Cemetery, Carlisle Barracks, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.[1]:2 By June 2, 1874, the railroad had 8 scheduled stops between the terminus and South Mountain Junction;[5] and in December 1875, the railway had sidings of 2.26 mi (3.64 km); 9 passenger, 6 freight, & 3 wood/water stations; and 2 engine houses.[6]

The South Mountain Railway and Mining Company acquired the line in 1877,[8] considered extending the railway line west of Pine Grove in 1880,[14] and "commenced a preliminary survey" in 1881 for a branch southward to Gettysburg.[15] Instead on August 20, 1883; the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad (with the same president, Colonel Jackson C. Fuller) commenced a junction at Hunter's Run for a line to the battlefield.[15] As a result, the South Mountain Railroad's connection near Carlisle at the CVRR's "South Mountain Junction" (named "Carlisle Junction" in the South Mountain RR schedule)[5] was subsequently renamed "Gettysburg Junction".[16] The tracks to Pine Grove Park were used by the first G&H excursion train from Gettysburg on May 28, 1884;[16] and the stop at Laurel Forge was added to the G & H's July 3, 1884, schedule.[17]

By May 1891, the competing Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburg Railroad extended to Harrisburg from the crossing with the South Mountain RR "about six miles south of Carlisle" north of Mount Holly Springs[10] (named "Carlisle Junction" on both lines' 1904 schedules).[18] The South Mountain Railway and Mining Company's northern section and the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad southward line merged on July 20, 1891, to become the railway line of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railway,[8] and the southwest South Mountain RR section from Hunter's Run was leased by the Hunter's Run and Slate Belt Railroad.[19] The lease was terminated on November 11, 1910 and the Reading Company took up operation of the line from Hunters Run to Pine Grove Furnace.[20]

The tracks between Mount Holly Springs toward Carlisle were removed c. 1955,[21] and the tracks near Carlisle branching southward from Gettysburg Junction were abandoned c. 1972.[1]:4 The line's depot and freight station at Gettysburg Junction were subsequently used by the Estep Electric Services Co.[1]:4 The remaining tracks from Hunter's Run to the Mount Holly Springs area are part of the Gettysburg & Northern Railroad.[22]

External images
1968 map depicting 1870 "SO MTN" RR[23]
1872 Carlisle-Bonny Brook map (4 spurs, 1 siding)
1907 Henry Clay Station map (p. 26)
1872 Laurel Forge map (depot & 2 spurs)


  1. ^ a b c d e Cathell, David (March 2002). "Cumberland Valley Railroad". Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  2. ^ a b c Rothwell, Richard P., ed. (1902). "The Mineral Industry … to the end of 1898" (Google Books). VII. The Engineering and Mining Journal Co. (Inc.). Retrieved 2011-05-17. At Henry Clay Station, on the Hunter's Run & Slate Belt Railway, … The slate is brought to the works by railway from the slate quarry, about 3 miles southwest of the works; the soapstone is hauled by wagon from the quarry, a quarter of a mile from the works, and the clay is brought by rail from Laurel Station, 3 miles away. … about 3 miles below Laurel … At Crane's Siding, on the same railway, one mile above Hunter's Run Station, is a clay refining plant which has been in operation three years … The clay is obtained at the long-since abandoned Crane iron ore mine … obtained its clay from Upper Mill Station, on the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railway  (similarly-worded Franklin Institute journal of 1899)
  3. ^ Annual report of the Pennsylvania State College … (Google Books) (Report). 1899. Retrieved 2011-05-17. At the Henry Clay iron mine two miles above Hunter [sic] Run Station, there is a large deposit of beautiful white clay that is now (1899) being mined and shipped to the clay works at Mt. Holly, where it is mixed with that from the Upper Mill. … The clay is hauled by wagon to Mr. Allen's clay refining plant at Henry Clay Station where it is washed and prepared for market. … Laurel ore pit in 1900 was 120x300 ft … Fuller Brick and Slate Company in operation since 1892 
  4. ^ a b "Pine Grove, Penn Township" (Map). Atlas of Cumberland County. Beers, F. W. 1972. Retrieved 2011-05-16. 
  5. ^ a b c Travelers' Official Railway Guide… (Google Books). September 1874. Retrieved 2011-05-17. 
  6. ^ a b "South Mountain Iron Company's" (officer's report Google Books). Annual report of the Auditor General of the State of Pennsylvania. 1876. pp. 524–529. Retrieved 2011-05-17. South Mountain Iron Company's railroad 
  7. ^ Beers, Warner (2009) [1886]. "South Middleton Township and Borough of Mount Holly Springs". History of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. USGenWeb Archives. Retrieved 2011-05-17.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  8. ^ a b c d Philadelphia and Reading Railway (lineage table),, retrieved 2011-05-17 
  9. ^ Keefer, Horace Andrew (October 1934) [written after January 29, 1927]. Recollections, Historical and Otherwise, Relating To Old Pine Grove Furnace (Report). Potomac Appalachian Trail Club Bulletin. Retrieved 2011-05-14.  (Keefer also authored Early Iron Industries of Dauphin County)
  10. ^ a b Cumberland V. R. R. v. R. R. Companies, (volume 177) Kress, William C (Pennsylvania Supreme Court 1896). "The line … between Shippensburg and Harrisburg, which is that of the Philadelphia, Harrisburg & Pittsburg Railroad Company, … crosses the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railway at Carlisle Junction about six miles south of Carlisle … opened May 1891"
  11. ^
  12. ^ Way, John H (1986). Your Guide to the Geology of the Kings Gap Area … (PDF) (Report). Pennsylvania Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-05-18.  (Way includes the 1889 Lehman map)
  13. ^ Seven Per Cent Coupon Bond ($1000 certificate), South Mountain Iron Company, 1869, retrieved 2011-05-18  (image from 2011 sales listing)
  14. ^ "News of Neighboring Counties" (Google News Archives). Gettysburg Compiler. December 2, 1880. Retrieved 2011-05-18. It is reported that President Fuller, of the South Mountain Railroad, contemplates extending the road to the new ore banks about two miles west of Pine Grove Furnace in the near future. The new banks are very productive, the ore is of an excellent quality, and should the road be extended, they will be operated extensively..  (from Echo newspaper)
  15. ^ a b Gitt, Joseph S (February 9, 1884). "Baltimore and Harrisburg Railroad" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler; Adams County Railroads: Concluded (published February 19, 1884). Retrieved 2013-11-07. in December, 1881, the South Mountain Railroad commenced a preliminary survey for the extension of their road from Hunter's Run to Gettysburg, with a view to approximating the cost of the undertaking. 
  16. ^ a b "First Gettysburg Excursion to Pine Grove Park" (Google News Archives). Gettysburg Compiler. May 13, 1884. Retrieved 2011-05-16. “South Mountain Junction” at Carlisle will hereafter be known as “Gettysburg Junction.” 
  17. ^ Gettysburg & Harrisburg R. R.; schedules  May 26th & July 3d, 1884
  18. ^ The Official Railway Guide: North American Freight Service Edition (Google Books). 1904. Retrieved 2011-05-19. 
  19. ^ Cumberland V. R. R. v. R. R. Companies, 177 Kress, William C (Pennsylvania Supreme Court 1896). "on July 13, 1891, the Hunter's Run & Slate Belt Railroad Company … entered into a lease and traffic contract [with the] South Mountain Railway & Mining Companyp. 528eight miles of leased road.p. 546
  20. ^ Taber, Thomas T., III (1987). Railroads of Pennsylvania Encyclopedia and Atlas. Thomas T. Taber III. p. 105. ISBN 0-9603398-5-X. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ … The Cumberland Valley Railroad 1867-1884 (Map). Westhaeffer, Paul J. 1968. Retrieved 2011-05-17.    FROM: Westhaeffer, Paul J (1979). History of the Cumberland Valley Railroad 1835-1919 ( listing). National Railway Historical Society: Washington, D.C. chapter. Retrieved 2011-05-18.