DL3643 M636

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Mauch Chunk Switchback RR

Nicholson Viaduct

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The Switchback Inclined Plane RR was used for elevating the unladened cars of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company's to the Summit, from which they descend by gravity to the Mines, Length 2,332 feet, Elevation 662 feet. The Mauch Chunk Railway was devised not as a pleasure ride, but as a transportation system for the coal mine industry. The coal mines in the area had a basic problem. 'How to cheaply and effectively transport the coal from the mines on top of the mountain to the port in Mach Chunk on the Lehigh Canal, some 18 miles downhill. To solve this problem, a railway was devised that would run the 18-mile course in such a way that all the workers had to do was load the mine cars, push them off the top of the mountain, and they would follow the 18-mile course purely by gravity. This was possible since 17 of the 18 miles were downhill. Mules were employed to haul the empty cars back to the top.

Shortly thereafter, a car for the mules was built so that they could 'ride' back down with the coal. Although it is not recorded, someone got the bright idea of loading the mine cars with people and pushing them down the hill. The 'ride' became an instant success. The track was used for coal mining during the day, and as a pleasure ride at night. To make life easier, the mules were replaced by a steam engine that would haul the empty cars up a longer but more gradual incline to the top of the mountain. This helped efficiency by having a motorized means to keep empty cars coming up, on a separate track, while coal was being transported down the main track. Soon both tracks became part of the Mauch Chunk Scenic Railway. People paid $1 to ride up on the incline (motorized track), then the engines were removed, and they were sent back down the main track, with just gravity to push them along. In terms of roller coaster stats: Track length: 40 miles Max. Speed: >100MPH

In 1870 the coal miners found a shorter railway, using tunnels and steam engines. This left the Much Chuck Railway to be used exclusively for pleasure rides. A hotel and restaurant were even built on top of the mountain, and people would eat lunch before starting back down. This 'ride' continued to operate until the 1930's.


Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Mt Jefferson Jim Thorpe PA

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Mt Jefferson Jim Thorpe PA

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Mt Jefferson Jim Thorpe PA

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah Plane

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah Plane

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah Plane

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah Plane 1880

Mauch Chunk Switchback
Mt Pisgah Plane

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Station @ Jim Thorpe PA

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, 5-mile Tree

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, 5-mile Tree return

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Jefferson Summit 1900

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah trestle

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Summit Hill Station
Andreas Keller

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Power House

Mauch Chunk Switch Back RR
, Mt Pisgah engine house

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR Station

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Station & Grand View Hotel 1914

Mauch Chunk Switchback Mt Pisgah Station

Mauch Chunk Switchback Mt Pisgah Station

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff 1912

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff Station 1915

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff Pavilion

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff Pavilion

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff Park

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Flagstaff Arcade1915

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, down from Mt Pisgh by Geo. F. Gates

Mauch Chunk Switchback RR
, Mt Pisgah Plane

LV Bear Mtn
, Mauch Chunk PA 1908

Bear Mtn, Mauch Chunk


Bear Mtn, Mauch Chunk 1896


LV Bear Mtn, late 1800's
, across from Mansion House Hotel before one at E Mauch Chunk

Lehigh Canal
, Mauch Chunk Big Flag 4th of July1898

Lehigh Canal
, Mauch Chunk(Jim Thorpe)

Lehigh Canal
, Mauch Chunk 1960
Bob Fischer

Jim Thorpe
, 1984
Paul McGrane

Mauch Chunk(Jim Thorpe)


Flag Staff park
, Mauch Chunk(Jim Thorpe)

LV Mauch Chunk
, blt 1946

LV Mauch Chunk PA
, 1912

LV Mauch Chunk PA


LV Mauch Chunk PA


CNJ & Switchback


Mauch Chunk
,

LV Mauch Chunk PA


LV Ox Bow curve
, Mauch Chunk PA

Narrows
, Mauch Chunk PA
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North East Rails  Clint Chamberlin.
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