Work crew forming concrete for the West Portal.
The Vandling Haulage Slope was an underground tunnel directly under Oak Street in Vandling PA used to move mine cars underground, from one side of town to the other. The Gray Slope mine, located on the eastside of the Lackawanna River was owned by the Hillside Coal & Iron co. an Erie RR company. The closest colliery for processing coal was the Forest City Colliery. Nearby was the Clinton Colliery in Vandling, but it was owned and operated by a competitor the D&H. Even though the Erie and the D&H used the same railroad for transportation of coal and other materials, they were competitors when it came to coal land property and mining. Thus, an Erie Company had to avoid its competitors land and had to transport its coal underground in Vandling in order to reach Forest City. Coal was hauled from the Gray Slope mine by a small steam locomotive, or Lokie across the Lackawanna River and Railroad tracks. These bridge abutments can still be seen about one mile south from the Forest City Trailhead. The Tracks headed towards Vandling in a Northwest direction. Near Oak and Clinton Streets the cars were disconnected from the lokie and connected to a wire rope attached to a steam powered hoist located outside the western portal of the tunnel. The tunnel was driven on a slope such that the western portal was 50 feet higher than the eastern portal. The tunnel itself averaged 8 feet high 14 feet wide and about 600 feet long. It was completely concrete lined reinforced with rebar. Once emerging from the tunnel mine cars were disconnected from the the hoist and hooked up to another Lokie and hauled to or from the No.2 shaft west of Vandling and the Forest City Colliery. Today, all that can be noticed as remains from this tunnel system, is the mine road grade leading to the eastern portal and the concrete foundation to the hoist house near the entrance to the Vandling baseball field. The western portal was covered over during construction of the baseball field and the tunnel filled in during 1991 using a new method of pneumatic backfilling technology. See attached report from the Bureau Of Mines below.
Our photos showing the portals and hoist house foundation remains.
Bureau Of Mines, Report of Investigation 9550
Rail-Trail News Oct 2019. Volume 27 Number 3