Crimora Branch (was Amercian Manganese Company at Crimora)
NW Mailing List
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Wed Oct 23 08:30:29 EDT 2013
The branch, according to the Station and Siding lists, is 2.38 miles long, and was still in place according to the list No. 50, May 1, 1923, but is gone by list No. 52, May 1, 1925. Annual reports state the branch is 2.54 long, and was still in place as of December 31, 1923, but was retired during the year 1924 as it is missing from that Annual Report.
On Oct 23, 2013, at 8:15 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Thanks to the inspirations of Dr. Frank Scheer's question about the American Managnese Co. on the Crimora Branch, and the follow up by "Bruce in Blacksburg," I have checked out the satellite imagery for evidence of the old Crimora Branch alignment... something I've wondered about for years.
> The 1892 US Geological Survey Topographical Map, Harrisonburg Va Quadrangle, based on the 1886-1887 survey, gives a good general view of the Crimora Branch. Although we moderns, armed with our good satellite imagery and GPS tools, tend to look askance upon the lack of details in the early Topos, the old cartographers generally did get things right, including where railroads crossed small streams. I have attached a greatly magnified image of the Crimora Branch lifted from the 1892 Topo.
> Working with the 1892 Topo drawing, I used Bing Maps (which has the best imagery available to civilians) and GoogleEarth (which has excellent tools for GPS coordinates, elevations and measurements,) and found about 80% of the right-of-way of the old Crimora Branch. The west one-third of the branch (diverging from the main line at Crimora Station,) seems to have been obliterated by construction and no trace of it is discernible in the satellite imagery. The eastern two-thirds, however, is visible... if you look at the right imagery.
> From these investigations, it appears that the Crimora Branch was a tad short of 2 miles in length, and ran East Southeastwardly at a compass heading of about 111 degrees, following a stream which appears to have no name, and terminating at the western foot of Turk Gap on Turk Mountain, about 160 feet northwest of a building identified as "Crimora Mine" on the 1892 Topo. From studying the imagery, I believe this building was located about 0.4 miles northeast of the main area of mining activity.
> Taking the elevation of Crimora Station (west end of the branch) as about 1367 feet, and the elevation at the far (east) end of the branch as about 1475 feet, the approximate average grade of the railroad would have been about 54 feet per mile, or about 1%.
> The ends of the old alignment which are discernible in the Bing Map imagery are as follows (but you will need GoogleEarth to get the coordinates, as Bing does not give coordinates.)
> WEST END:
> Lat 38.14852
> Long -78.8311, elevation 1367 ft
> EAST END:
> Lat 38.14340
> Long -78.8165, elevation 1475 ft
> The location of the Crimora Mine building, basing my guess on the location shown on the 1892 Topo with relation to the streams, was approximately:
> Lat 38.1430
> Long -78.8162, elevation 1482 ft
> Expressed with respect to modern names, the mine building would have been about 370 feet southwest of the present center-of-intersection of Rt. 612 (Crimora Mine Rd) and Black Bear Lane, on a compass heading of 232 degrees therefrom.
> The branch's right-of-way is generally discernible for about a mile and a half on the Bing satellite imagery, from 39.14742, -78.82822 on the west end, to 38-15575, -78.82383 on the east end. HOWEVER, if you attempt to see the old alignment on the Bing imagery, DO NOT use the currently hosted imagery (images dated 10-4-2012,) as these images show heavy foliage on the trees and the old alignment is indiscernible. You MUST use the time slider at upper left corner of the Bing screen to scale backward to the images dated 4-30-2011, which show the territory without foliage. This is imperative, or you will NOT be able to see the old alignment.
> The 1892 Topo cartographers even recorded accurately the branch's two crossings of the (unnamed) creek, at 38.14742, -78.82822 and at 38.14575, -78.82383.
> ADVERTISEMENT: If you do not yet use the GoogleEarth program, get busy! It's Google's greatest freeware gift to mankind.
> Okay, I've done my work in locating the old Crimora Branch alignment. It falls to someone else to dig out the history of the Branch, and its abandonment dates... and maybe even find some old photos.
> -- abram burnett
> retired turnip farmer in pennsylvania
> Sent to you from my Telegraph Key...
> <Crimora Station USGS 1892 TOPO.JPG>________________________________________
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