A Stream for Steam

A Stream for Steam (HM2B4X)

Location: Quarryville, PA 17566 Lancaster County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.291', W 76° 3.918'

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The Atglen & Susquehanna in Bart Township

Of all the resources required for operation of the A&S, none was more deceptively vital than water. From its inception under steam locomotion, the A&S was quietly sustained by the vast water resources it continually crossed. Previous droughts and rapidly expanding service throughout Pennsylvania led the PRR to outfit the A&S with a reliable and thoroughly modern water system. When the Octoraro Water Company was formed in 1903 by merger of seven smaller water companies along the A&S route, the PRR was its sole customer. The water within the entire Octoraro Creek watershed (approximately 208 square miles) was at its disposal. Access to this water secured a highly desirable water supply for both the A&S and the PPR's main line. In the steam era, the estimated average daily consumption from this water system exceeded 2 million gallons per day.
As with many other water systems originally built for the PRR, the infrastructure of the Octoraro Water Company eventually came to serve the residential consumers of its neighboring communities. Though steam locomotives were replaced by electric ones, water continued to power the A&S via hydroelectric energy from Safe Harbor. Idyllic Octoraro Creek, slow and meandering in contrast to the mighty Susquehanna River, helped power one of the nation's busiest freight roads in the first half of the

twentieth century.
Water pumped from two intakes (McCrea and Pine Grove) on the Octoraro charged a distribution system, complete with reservoirs and gate houses, which extended from Thorndale (cast of Parkesburg) to as far west as Smith Tower in Martic Township. The largest (10 million gallons) and highest-in-elevation reservoir was located on Mars Hill (Bart Township). From here, piped water flowed by gravity to smaller reservoirs located near watering stations along the A&S, where the tenders of thirsty locomotives were efficiently filled from water columns. The largest volume demand for water was at the track pans (west of Atglen) where locomotives scooped up water without stopping. With minimal mechanical assistance, the A&S had ample water on demand.
HM NumberHM2B4X
Placed ByAmtrak
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 at 11:04am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 408961 N 4419589
Decimal Degrees39.92151667, -76.06530000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.291', W 76° 3.918'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 17.46" N, 76° 3' 55.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1342 Georgetown Rd, Quarryville PA 17566, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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