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(erielack) Towers & watertowers

Seeing all the msgs about the water tower on the cutoff brought to mind a 
structure on the cutoff from Scranton to Binghamton......specifically, the 
Factoryville tower which is just South of the Nicholson tunnel (or 
Factoryville tunnel as some of us knew it). 
     One of the Jersey guys mentiioned that there appeared to be a siding 
near the water tower. There probably was. Unless the railroad had a gravity 
feed from a lake that was higher than the RR, they sometimes had a steampump 
to draw the water high enough to fill the tank. This was drawn from an 
underground source or in some cases, the Company would dam a brook & create a 
pond to use as a source of water for the locomotives. This still left the 
problem of getting it from the pond or whatever to the tank & this was before 
the days of automated pumps that replenished a tank whenever the level 
dropped below 5 feet or so (a 2100 or 1600 class took lots of H2O)
      The automation of the early 1900s/late 1800s was provided by a low-paid 
laborer who tended the small steampump that pumped water into the tank. 
Referred to as 'pumpers', one of the old-head engineers enlightened me about 
this when we were dragging by Factoryville tower Northbound. "See that 
siding, kid??" as he pointed to a barely visible embankment leaving the 
maintrack on the East side. The  'siding weaved off on a curve into the brush 
and as the F-3s ground by, I thought I could see a small brick building (the 
pumphouse) among the saplings. There was a small pond on the South side of 
the embankment which I presume supplied the water to slake the thirst of the 
many 2-8-2s & 4-8-2s that were turned at Factoryville tower. (there was a wye 
on the West side of the mainline.) I reflected on what a godforsaken job that 
must have been in the early days of the cutoff. I forgot to mention the 
reason for the siding near the pumphouse......that was where the DL&W would 
set out a car of coal for the laborer to shovel into the boiler that ran the 
pump. Probably a gon, & the laborer would shovel the coal from the gon into a 
stockpile & then into the boiler. Labor was cheap then. I guess he could walk 
across the track (carefully ) & converse with the operator in the tower for 
human company, but it must have been a lonely job otherwise. 
      I went to Factoryville tower in 1999 or 98 & the roof was still in good 
shape. Windows were broken, but otherwise not bad.
Walt Smith