The Winfield Railroad
|William SPEAR established Winfield
Furnace in 1847 near the mouth of Rough Run, to develop the rich ore deposits of
that section. In 1856 this industry passed into the hands of the Winfield Coal and Iron
Company, from whom it was purchased by William STEWART, of Hickory Furnace fame, under
whom it ceased work in 1864. The stone stack, part of which is still standing,
thirty-three feet in height, rested on a base twenty feet square. Charcoal was used as
fuel, the blast being at first driven by waterpower, but later by steam. Its capacity was
about forty tons of pig iron per day, the transportation of which to Pittsburg cost about
$4.10 a ton. It was hauled by train to Freeport, and thence shipped to Pittsburgh.
Winfield Railroad was a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn-Dixie Cement Corporation.
The principal commodity was raw materials for cement making (I recall gypsum rock
from (Cheboygan?) Michigan routed Detroit & Mackinac (sic) - PC - Winfield
Jct. - Winfield RR). The intention was to also handle bulk cement in covered
hoppers, however, by the time I worked for Penn-Dixie at their HQ in Nazareth in eastern
PA, 1970-76, I think most cement moved by truck. I don't remember if our West
Winfield Mill had a pack house for bagged cement.
least most of the manure came from Lexington, KY area and the high-class horse farms
there. Apparently PA horses didn't 'put out' enough! The 'back half' of our
limestone quarry at West Winfield held the Butler County Mushroom Farms, destination for
the 'fertilizer'. If memory serves it was originated on the Southern Railway. but
could have been L&N. I'm told those gondolas smelled to high heaven on a
summer's day! I used to check the rates on the manure for our billing - my
then-boss, R. A. (Dick) Carr, was listed as 'Traffic Manger' for the Winfield, and all
rail matters were handled at Nazareth.
- I once
saw Winfield files contained a request from a fan for a "Winfield Railroad Switch
key" - undoubtedly they just used PRR keys if any at all! As I recall the pike
was subject to periodic flooding and the track was just barely passable. I
understand they had a small 44 ton loco numbered 5 and also think I once saw a photo
of an ex-PRR standard steel caboose.
shut down the cement division in 1976 and closed or sold all our 7 mills - Howes
Cave, NY (D&H), Nazareth, PA (E-L and LNE), Kingsport, TN (Clinchfield), Richard City,
TN (L&N/Dixie Line), Petoskey ("Lamson") Michigan, (C&O/PMD), West
Winfield, and West Des Moines, IA (CNW/RI).
handled traffic matters - rates, tracing/expediting, freight bill auditing, and
supervision of our 19 short ACF Center-Flo and 10 old ex-PRR covered hopper fleet.
The ACF's were assigned to Howe's Cave, but I think we did use a few of the old PRR
types at West Winfield. There were 20 ACF's but Penn Central dumped one over a fill -
loaded of course - near Westfield, Mass., in the mid-70s.)
John Thompson was Mill Manager at West Winfield and thus also superintendent of the
Winfield Railroad. RIP!