Now I said these were considered holy grails because even though the A&S was abandoned in the 1980's and only continued to serve as a 25Hz power RoW for Amtrak, the locations are completely inaccessible due to local topology. To visit all three of the Shoo Flies would require a 7 mile round trip hike from the Safe Harbor Dam to the south or a 9 mile hike in from Blue Rock from the north. In 2007 I used a rather daring shortcut across an active landfill to visit the Mann's Run Shoo Fly, but it was a rather high risk enterprise just to see a bit of historical engineering.
Well fast forward some years and it appears that the State of Pennsylvania has completely robbed the railfan community of one of its more cathartic experiences (as well as destroying a vital rail corridor) by turning the former A&S into the Enola Low Grade Trail. It now takes a sum total of 20 minutes to reach all three Shoo Flies via a bicycle on the immaculately manicured roadbed. Of course that was lost in the journey was partly made up by increased access to a large number of PRR era railroad appliances that were just left in place by Conrail when they ripped up the track.
In today's segment I will explore each of the Shoo Flies and then double back to show off some of the other historic elements featured along the trail. You can find the full set of photos here.
We begin with something completely different. Here is East Penn railway GP9 #1701 sitting near York, PA near US 30.
Heading to the rail trail parking lot we pass through Comulbia, PA with the 1930's vintage COLA tower, which still held the local relay interlocking logic until just a few years ago.
The whole area from Holtwood to Shocks was resignaled by NS to get rid of the Rule 251 operation and US&S 504 code line. Fortunately the catenary structure in this area ws saved from scrapping because it is still used to carry a 25Hz 138Kv power circuit from Safe Harbor to Royalton.
First up is the Mann's Run Shoo Fly. This is the largest of the three streams with a wide trough and high walls.
This one also has the best waterfall effect.
If photos aren't enough here is a video tour of the Mann's Run Shoo Fly.
Fisherman's Run is the smallest Shoo Fly with a very narrow trough. It is also having problems with exposed rebar.