PRESIDENT AND MANAGERS
THE BEAVER MEADOW RAIL ROAD
PHILADELPHIA, JANUARY 8, 1838.
PRINTED BY JOHN C. CLARK,
No. 60 Dock Street.
THE last Annual Report brought the operations of this Company to the Completion of the Rail Road, with one track from the mines to the Parryville landing (26) miles, and the commencement of transportation to that place. In the effort to attain this object before the close of the navigation in 1836, all the appendages not indispensable to the running of the engines and cars were postponed; these have, as far as practicable, been supplied, viz. engine houses, turnouts, pivot tables, water stations, chute screens, crane, &c. A stationary engine has also been erected at the mines, eighty-six new coal and lumber cars built, and forty new mine cars, exclusive of repairs, which have been much increased by the burning of the engine house, at Parryville, and the injury done to two locomotives in May last. The two bridges across the Lehigh, and that over the Mahony creek, have been substantially enclosed and covered in, and for security against fire, sealed inside and whitewashed. Four commodious tenements have been erected at Beaver Meadow, for superintendents, mechanics and other workmen; a like number at Parryville, with various additions to the workshops and implements at the mines and the meadows, including a foundry. There are now four locomotives in use, viz. Ingham. Ely, Quakake, and Beaver. It was soon discovered that the two engines first put on the road had not sufficient power for transportation, on such a road, with the best economy; a third engine of the same description was, however, for want of any other at the time, procured, but the fourth, of larger dimensions and power, was immediately ordered, and got on the road in July last; this performs all that was expected of it, being capable of double the effect produced by the smaller engines at a trifling additional expense of fuel only. The Beaver is constructed for exerting its power at a slower speed than usual, which gives it a decided advantage upon the heavy grades of rail road, without any inconvenient diminution of its capacity for speed on the lighter grades. There will be no difficulty in making two trips a day, with each engine, from the planes to Parryville (20 miles), between the 1st of April and 1st of November, and one and one-half trip during the remainder of the year. Two such engines as the Beaver, making full trips, with full loads, during eleven months, would transport from the planes to Parryville 100,000 tons of coal a year. But this cannot be done, interruptions for repairs, &c. are unavoidable, and the transportation of lumber and back freights, which are daily increasing and must necessarily be provided for, will materially lessen their effective power for the coal business. This can only be supplied by providing an extra engine to take the place of the regular engines while under repair, and at other times transport lumber, back freights, and assist in making full loads and regular time, when required by the state of the weather or any other cause tending to derange the train. It is believed that an engine with four connected wheels will be found better adapted to the work above the planes than those we have. One such, properly constructed, would be capable of one hundred and fifty tons a day, with the occasional aid of animal power to supply deficiencies. There would be no danger of running a four wheel engine on the straight road above the planes, and with a suitable vibration in the wheels, it is quite probable that the same could be used on the road below; if so, the most economical arrangement for locomotive power would be, two eight wheel engines to be regularly employed below the planes, and one four wheel engine above, with an extra four wheel engine to supply their deficiency whenever required. This suggestion is made with reference to a considerable increase of business. The means of transportation now at command, with such additions to rail road and mine cars as can be made at the Company's shops, will ensure the delivery of fifty to sixty‑ thousand tons of coal, at Parryville, within the present year.
Of the mines, it may be observed, that all the coal taken out within the last year, has been from plane No. 1. This having furnished as much as could be transported, the work at plane No. 2 was suspended, and no further progress made in opening the Levis vein; the two latter will, however, be put in operation; the first immediately, and the last for spring business; these, and plane No. 1, will, with an inconsiderable expense for preparation, supply the above mentioned quantity of coal.
The coal basin entered by plane No. 1, is now ascertained to dip westwardly under the north branch of Beaver Creek, at a much deeper level than the bottom of the present water lodge, which, when it is worked, will require some alteration in the plan of that plane. Plane No. 2 is under the slate which forms the bottom of plane No. 1. The coal extends north-east, and presents a vein of great thickness, over the crop of which a small run passes: it may, when worked, require some protection from this water by planking a short distance. The Levis vein is twenty feet thick, and has been traced to the limit of the Company's land, east and west. Another vein of excellent coal seven and a half feet thick, has been opened about one hundred yards south of the Levis vein. This can he worked for some time above water, and promises a large supply below that line. It runs south of north line of Patty Keen, and has the whole range of the Company's land for its location, more than two miles in extent. Other veins have been found in the west end of the Beaver Pond survey: but their connection with the principal coal measures is not yet sufficiently developed to he fully understood. The latter part of the last autumn has been occupied in a diligent and fortunate exploration of the Piatt tract. An opening on the south side of Pismire Hill, near its base, has disclosed a vein of coal thirteen feet thick, in a position well suited for furnishing an immense supply of coal and economical work. The length of the Piatt tract in the direction of this coal vein is twenty-two hundred yards, and the distance from the crop to the south line of the Company's land, towards which it dips, is eight hundred yards, thus yielding, if the coal he continuous through the basin, more than seven millions of yards from this vein alone: another vein of about the same thickness has been discovered overlaying the last mentioned, which has the same range in the Company's land east and west, with about six hundred yards north and south. These may be opened for future extensions of business, but before any other expense can he prudently incurred, their position and direction must be perfectly known, in order that the opening may he made in the right place, viz. where the most coal can be got at, at the least expense; such searches are sometimes unavoidably tedious. The works proposed as above, exclusive of the coal veins in the Piatt land, will afford an increasing supply, sufficient to keep pace with the Company's other means, and the improvements in economy, which are indispensable to such undertakings.
Of the Rail Road, it may he remarked, that the anticipations in former reports have been fully realised. It is highly gratifying to find it so little displaced either by lateral action, or settling. The material throughout is of the very best quality for solidity, and although forty thousand tons have passed over its whole length, no accident has as yet occurred by reason of any defect in it. The expense of repair has been inconsiderable; a few hands constantly employed are sufficient to keep it in the best order. It is time, however, to consider of some important addition to it. The opening of the second coal field has progressed more rapidly than was anticipated. The Hazle Creek valley is now connected throughout with the Beaver Meadow road, below the plains, by a substantial rail road of ten miles in length, which preparations are being made by the Hazleton and Laurel Hill Coal Companies for a considerable business early iii the next spring. The Summit Coal Company, whose Rail Road is located on the north branch of Beaver Creek, and extending only one and a half miles from the Beaver Meadow mines, is all preparing actively for business, and will probably be in operation in July or August next. A branch of the Little Schuylkill and Catawissa Rail Road is also being constructed through the Quakake valley, and will be ready for laying down the superstructure, early in the next spring. This road intersects the Beaver Meadow road, one mile below the planes, and promises a very extensive business. It will not be possible to accommodate all the business thus crowding upon the Beaver Meadow road, without a double track from the planes to the mouth of Quakake, (five miles,) and several turnouts between that place and Parryville.
The total expenditure of the Company from the commencement of its operations to the end of the past year, has been for permanent objects, including the work‑shops, foundry, and fifty‑four dwelling‑houses, $588,949.14. For current business, $115,680.12. The amount of income and stock on hand is 168,964 10 cents, leaving for profit, $52,283.98.
The sales of coal have been ready in a glutted market, which is attributable to the excellent quality of the Beaver Meadow coal, and the care with which it has been selected at the mines.
It was hoped that the act of the Legislature of the last session, fixing the tolls on coal on the Lehigh Canal, would have put an end for ever to all further controversy with the Lehigh Company on that subject. The Legislature granted to that Company new and important powers and immunities, in consideration of which they required their tolls on coal and lumber to he reduced to one cent and a quarter per ton, of 2240 lbs. per mile, or 1000 feet of lumber. This act was formally accepted by the Lehigh Company, but the tolls are still levied, in utter disregard of its provision, nominally on coal at one cent and a quarter per ton per mile, but a new toll is imposed on the boat which brings them to the same amount as when the law was passed. There is no law authorizing any charge of toll on a boat, and it would be strange indeed, if a specific stipulation thus made by the legislative authority of the Commonwealth, could be thus rendered nugatory by the contrivance of a quibble which has not the shade of a foundation to sustain it. We have only to add that if the Lehigh Company can lawfully impose eleven cents a ton on the boats, they can as lawfully impose any other sum they please. This is a subject of serious importance, as well in its amount as on account of the principle asserted. The tolls thus unlawfully paid during the past year, amount to more than $1600.