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This is an extremely scarce switch key from the People's Railway of Pottsville, a very small shortline that operated over a distance of about five (5) miles between Pottsville and Minersville in eastern Pennsylvania. The Adams & Westlake oval logo stamping dates it to manufacture in the earliest 1900s: the 1900-1920 time period.
This key is stamped P.R.Y in strong block letters on one side of its bow, and on the other side is stamped A&W CO/CHICAGO , serial number E-935 and the letter S. We can positively identify it as a relic of the People's Railway of Pottsville because the only key cut ordered by the PRY Company is identical to one used by the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. See our last two pictures for a comparison of this uniquely notched bit shape.
CONDITION is extremely nice with strong stamping that displays wonderfully. A prize that may have been polished (VERY CAREFULLY) by a former owner to its gorgeous golden color, it has all-over use, documenting authenticity: the PRY area shows finger wear; the bit and barrel end are worn smooth; there are light surface nicks and dings scattered here and there on the entire key, with the most visible one a very shallow surface depression on the barrel above the bit.
BACKGROUND: The People's Railway Company of Pottsville was chartered in 1865. In the beginning it was a horsecar line, operating between Mount Carbon and Twelfth Streets (where there was a steam railroad connection for passengers to and from Minersville). According to the Annual Report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the year ending June 30, 1897, the People's Railway had established leases: trackage agreements with the Schuylkill Railway Company allowing it to operate over its tracks and giving it authority to entirely rebuild the section between Pottsville and Minersville, equipping that line for electric rail service; and an operating agreement with the Schuylkill & Lehigh Valley Railroad to run freight and passenger trains over People's Railway tracks. Per Wikipedia, the S&LV was a single-track line extending from Lizard Creek Junction to Blackwood, with two short branches, one of which afforded the Lehigh Valley entrance to Pottsville over the leased People's Railway trackage.
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Antique PRY People's Railway of Pottsville Pennsylvania Railroad Brass Switch Key
$199 SALE PENDING
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