Fuhrmans Grove

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Fuhrmans Grove from the fall of 2007. The view is looking south towards Trexler. The platform is on the right. The picnic area is further down the hill toward the stream.

Fuhrmans Grove was a creek-side picnic and fishing area located several hundred yards north of Trexler. Passengers would bring their picnic baskets, coolers and fishing poles and request to detrain at the Grove from any southbound train. Grove goers would hand-operate the platform semaphore to signal another southbound train that they were ready to return to Kempton. The semaphore is an old Reading station stop signal. From my perspective on the train crew, it was always fun to make that extra station stop. But I have no fond memories of the Grove itself. I thought it always seemed dark, humid and buggy.

The hand-operated semaphore came from Bloomsburg, PA and was added in 1982. Before that the grove goers would simply flag down the train. At least by the mid 1980s there was a small shelter on the platform. The shelter was a relocated Reading shanty constructed from salvaged box car or reefer siding (the Reading was known for its frugal reuse of material). And there were up to three picnic tables down in the grove. The shelter deteriorated over time. It was removed sometime around 1990 and fed to the steam locomotives. In later years there was only one picnic table. Fuhrmans Grove was lost to a freak wind storm in 2011.

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A northbound freight pauses at Furhmans Grove during the fall of 2004.

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A southbound private charter train stops at Fuhrmans Grove on April 9, 2011. This is one of the last pictures by the Grove before the wind storm. Photo by Mike Thomas.

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Fuhrmans Grove shelter looking south. This picture and the next two were shot during the December 1990 Santa trains.

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Another shot looking north. Note the garland on the locomotive and the picnic tables stored by the shelter for the winter.

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Looking up toward the shelter from the grove.

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New semaphore from Bloomsburg installed 1982. Note the perpendicular boards by the rails in the distance. That was a long-gone speeder set-off.

As shown above, I have no pre-storm pictures of picnic area itself. If you have some pictures you'd like to share, please drop me a line. I'd also like to see a better picture of the old shelter that sat on the platform.

Furhmans Grove and surrounding areas were hit by a powerful wind storm on Thursday May 26, 2011. Meteorological records indicate this was straight line wind event and probably not a tornado. Nevertheless, most trees in the area were snapped like twigs or entirely uprooted. Fuhrmans Grove and several hundred yards of track were covered in thick layers of trees, many several feet in diameter. WK&S crews spent the better part of three days clearing enough trees to get the railroad back up and running. The Fuhrmans Grove sign, the semaphore and the picnic table were all oddly undamaged. Nevertheless, restoration of Fuhrmans Grove is unlikely. The sight of all those uprooted trees was somehow less dramatic than the expanse of blue sky over what was once a dense tree canopy.

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The day after the storm. The tracks are in the foreground, but completely buried under felled trees.

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Clearing the line.

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This picture was taken a few weeks after the storm. The tracks have been cleared, but the picnic area is impossibly clogged with trees.

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The picnic table has become an isolated artifact.

A 2012 satellite image is shown below (click on image for larger picture). The storm damage is considerably less impressive when viewed from space. But the pinpoint nature of the damage is interesting. The storm hit Furhmans Grove at A, moved north along the tracks to B then turned up over the hill to C.

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Satellite image from 2012.