Frank's Photography Site
L&WV Remnant Photographs - Avoca Viaduct [Pennsylvania]
February 26, 2012
The Avoca Viaduct (or Heidelberg Viaduct [named after the former adjacent Heidelberg Colliery No. 1])
took the "Laurel Line" (Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley) interurban over Mill Creek Valley just south of Avoca, PA.
I had heard they were going to remove the remaining abutments, so I decided to make a photo tour of the area.
The stone block abutment bordering the east side of U.S. 11 was still standing as of February, 2012,
but trees have been cleared from the area above it, and some heavy equipment is in place.
According to a source, Dupont took one the blocks from the wall for a local artist to paint a picture
of the Laurel Line on it. It will be displayed at the municipal building.
The abutment was soon removed (after this date) to widen the road and put up traffic lights.
The west abutment (across the valley) was also still there (Feb., 2012), but according to the same source,
after some mineral reclamation (removing coal hills) this will eventually be removed as well.
This link to Dave's Electric Railroads shows a view of the viaduct in its heyday. Passenger service ended on 12/31/52,
but the line was used for freight service for some time after that.
Viaduct in operation [newdavesrailpix.com]
This link from the gingerb.com website also shows a northward view, taken in January 1968 by A. W. Kovacs.
By this time it appears that the northeast part of the structure was already dismantled.
Viaduct remnants [gingerb.com] - Site currently gone :(
The line was opened, for the most part, in 1903 as a high-speed interurban between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, about 19 miles.
It was powered by 650 volt third rail, except for some branch line trackage and in the city of Wilkes-Barre,
where it switched to overhead trolley wire. Its construction received significant financial support from Westinghouse.
Here's a link to a photo of a car under overhead wire
at the Wilkes-Barre terminal (October 1950) from the railpictures.net site:
Wilkes-Barre Terminal [railpictures.net]
Here are two maps of the Avoca Viaduct area from Google, a road map and an aerial map.
On the first map, the red X shows the approximate location of the east abutment.
This aerial map is zoomed in quite a bit more, and the same spot is about where the map says "Rygiel's Pub",
although the pub itself is actually about 1/2 mile south of there.
The "green bridge" crosses the creek where you see the words "Pittston Ave" in the lower center.
The "green bridge" for Route 11 was built later, but also at this location along Mill Creek
is the point where the ex-D&H (Delaware & Hudson) line heading to Scranton crosses over the ex-LV line
heading towards Duryea and Coxton Yard. The LV here looks like is was always single track.
This wasn't the line coming north out of Wilkes-Barre, but the "mountain bypass" line that passed through Laurel Run.
According to the gingerb website, the originally double-tracked D&H was cut back to single track by 1965.
The CNJ had trackage rights over this line north to Minooka Junction, and it is currently operated by the Canadian Pacific.
Here we see the D&H bridge (under the green vehicular bridge) cross over the LV line (left = south).
Looking south, you can see where the D&H was once double-tracked over the bridge (LV line to the left).
From the north side of the bridge, you can see the west abutment of the Laurel Line's Avoca Viaduct,
where the "mineral reclamation" is in progress. This abutment may be gone soon, too.
From the north side of the "green bridge", you can see the D&H passing over the LV line and veering to the right.
A longer-distance view from the same spot, LV line at the left.
An old telegraph pole and control box.
Another view of the west abutment of the Laurel Line viaduct.
Along U.S. 11 just south of the east abutment, a few road signs, and the grading work in progress.
Looking north towards the abutment on the east side of Route 11.
Route 11 as it curves around the abutment towards the south end of Avoca.
From the top, you can barely make out the other abutment on the west side of the valley,
and the "green bridge" is to the left.
Things are not looking good for this landmark.
Looking down at a few homes and businesses just north of the fill.
Turning around near the edge of the abutment, we can follow the Laurel Line ROW northeast into the woods.
There are plenty of rotted ties still in place for the northbound (right side) track,
though I didn't see any traces of the second track, except as evidenced by the width of the right-of-way.
There were a couple of short poles remaining along the ROW,
one still had a metal clamp around the bottom.
Moss on the ties, someone "extended" their driveway here
by encroaching on the ROW and creating a narrow spot.
A bit further to the north/east, the ROW is back to full width again...
...and one last shot (back at the abutment) before leaving.
I got lucky and found these little treasures before heading back.
Each piece is part of a separate insulator, the larger two are third rail supports.
The one at the rear left is black, and the other is brown and seems newer.
This last photo is of the same four pieces turned over to their undersides.
The brown piece is marked "US PAT 1090234" (top right of photo).
Here's the drawing I was able to retrieve from the U.S. patent site,
the patent was dated March 17, 1914.
Thanks for taking the time to check this out!
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