In-Depth : Sullivan Trail Breaker


The Sullivan Trail Colliery is one of my all time favorite fallen breakers.
I used to work at Keystone Automotive Warehouse in Exeter and would pass
it twice a day. Sometimes on lunch I would walk over to the Blue Ribbon
Dairy to get an ice cream. The dairy was directly across from the breaker

It was a very interesting old structure. Probably more interesting was the
mining equipment in front of it. There used to be several large buckets
used for draglines along the road. All sorts of pickup trucks, vans, dump
trucks, bull dozers, backhoes and cars, some very old, were parked there.
There was a lot of scrap metal and weird looking objects also.

There was also an ex-Pennsy diesel locomotive there. It's picture and a
write up can be found in the May/June 1973 issue of Extra 2200 South.
According to the write up, the unit is ex Pennsy DR44-1500B #948B. (Human
Translation - Shark or early streamlined B unit) The unit sits on highway
vehicle axles. The coal company tried to use it a mobile power unit for
electric shovel. The article says the company could not get it to work as

When I saw and photographed the unit it was badly weathered, a rusty
gray-black. A faded yellow stripe was the only visible marking on it. You
could barely make out "Pennsylvania" on the side. The unit was missing
several doors and roof panels. The last time I passed the area I did not
see the unit. The area was cleaned up a lot after the demolition of the
breaker last year. I shot about six rolls of film of it when I heard it
was scheduled to be demolished.

The colliery was served by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western
(Erie-Lackawanna in later years). I noticed about three tracks under the
tipple and the property looked like it had more tracks on it in years past.

The Lehigh Valley ran about four blocks away from the breaker. The former
PNER headquarters is located on this section of LV track. This trackage
used to cross Rt 92 there. The bridge was removed in the late 80's. This
area is known as Forest Castle Junction. The rails cross the Susquehanna and
connect to Coxton Yard. The bridge still stands, but is not structurally
sound and is out if service. The last train ran over it in the early

This Lehigh Valley branch serviced the Stevens Colliery in Exeter, and the
Maltby Colliery in Swoyersville.

Further up Rt 92 in Harding, PA there supposedly was a coal-fired power
plant. My next door neighbor told me that it ceased operations in the end
of the 1940's or the beginning of the 1950's. The only evidence of the
plant is two large water intakes along the river. We saw them when we went
fishing there one day. They are also big enough to be visible from the
other side of the river. A large substation is near the site. I was told
that the power plant was on the other side of the road from the river, but I
can not verify this. Almost nothing remains and it is a heavily wooded

I used to park near the Pittston Junction and look at the breaker in the
distance, backlit by the sun. The glass would appear to be lit up.

In the summer of 1992 I was still working for Keystone Automotive Warehouse.
I was a computer programmer and worked the 12:30 to 9:00 second shift. On
a hot summer night we smelt smoke and though it was a brush fire. As we
left work we noticed several fire engines. The breaker was lit up with an
evil flickering red-orange light. The breaker was on fire. At the time,
the building was used for storage. The fire was contained to the breaker.
Perhaps this fire sealed the buildings fate. It might have been seen as a
problem by the owners, Pagnotti enterprises. It might have been worth more
as scrap metal, rather than an empty hulk. Or perhaps the community
objected to the potential fire hazard. What ever the reason, it was
imploded last summer.

As of 2006, the site has been replaced by a development of new homes and some swanky town homes along the main drag. Almost no traces of the breaker remain.



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