Home > The Last Steam Train

The Last Steam Train

s1 - The Last Steam Train

An easily distinguishable landmark in the town is the Bradford and Foster Brook Monorail. Laid down in 1880, it belongs among the very first monorails in America. It was based off an idea that inspired Col. Roy Stone when he saw a working model during the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876.

The monorail was perfect for an oil town on the rise such as Bradford. There was thousand-dollar worth machinery that had to be brought into the town; aside from that, the oil produced by the town’s rich oil fields had to be transported. Its construction coincided with the founding of the Railway Corporation which was on Halloween of 1877.

A number of engines were made for use on the railway. One of these was a steam engine which sat low on the rail—a cause for its quick deterioration. It was replaced by a heavier, single-boiler engine, which destroyed the track on its fourth run along. While no one was injured heavily during the crash, the loss to the ego of some of the men necessitated changes. The second steam engine train had to be replaced again.

The third—and final—steam locomotive to arrive featured twin boilers again, although, this time, the boilers were of refurbished quality. The consequences proved to be deadly; during a trial run, a boiler dried up rather quickly. An inexperienced fireman and a refurbished, quickly-drying boiler proved to be a deadly mix as it exploded with excess steam from too much water, killing 6 people and any chance that the railroad was of significant use.