Historical Markers
Gravity Railroad Historical Marker
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Gravity Railroad

Poconos / Endless Mountains


Marker Location:
Road 6, Carbondale entrance to road to Gravity Park

Dedication Date:
January 3, 1999

Behind the Marker

The Delaware & Hudson Gravity Railroad.
The Delaware & Hudson Gravity Railroad
Arguably the two most powerful private enterprises in Pennsylvania anthracite country were the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co. (LC&N) and the markerDelaware and Hudson Canal Co (D&H). Both companies were integrated vertically, meaning that they controlled, or attempted to control, all aspects of the commercial process, from mining to markets. The companies owned the coal lands, the railroads and the canals, even the rights to improve the local rivers and streams. They even sold their own coal to both consumers and factories.

A fierce rivalry developed. Once the LC&N built a markerswitchback or gravity rail line from its mines at Summit Hill to Mauch Chunk, the executives at D&H vowed to construct one of their own. The D&H's gravity railroad from Archbald, near Carbondale, in Lackawanna County, to Honesdale in Wayne County, was the result. It ran for sixteen miles.

Hauling coal over Moosic Mountain, the highest elevation covered by the gravity railroad was about 2,000 feet by means of five planes. This and other gravity rail lines used wood tracks and cables to keep the large cars on course. The cars themselves were filled with coal on the way down – relying mainly on the force of gravity for their descent on the east side of the mountain to Honesdale. Mules, and then later steam engines, propelled them back to the various summits, which intersected with feeder lines directly to the mines.
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