"Owen Plumbly"
Railroad Innovator



Click on stamp to see full block.

The Poca Post is pleased to announce a stamp honoring Mr. Owen Plumbly, railroad innovator.

Mr. Plumbly was a railroad switchyard operator in Scott Depot from 1830 to 1875. In the earliest days of the switchyard there was but one switch. This would direct a train coming from the northwest to one of two tracks. Two lines used the incoming track. The Baltimore & Ohio trains had to be switched to the tracks that veered north. The Chesapeake & Culloden trains had to be switched to the tracks that continued along the river to the southeast. Communications were not reliable in the early days, and it was always uncertain which train would be approaching the tracks. This was further complicated by the fact that the trains coming from the northwest came into view only a few yards from the switch at Scott Landing because of the landscape. These facts caused terrible delays because the trains would have to come to a full stop at Scott Depot in order to be recognized and switched to the proper tracks.

Mr. Owen Plumbly changed all of this in 1832 with a device of his invention and his remarkable memory for sound. The device, worn by Plumbly, would amplify the sound of the approaching trains before they rounded the mountain from the northwest. He was able to discern from the sound of the locomotive which train was approaching, and direct the proper position of the switch. This made it possible for trains to move past the switchyard without stopping, thus hastening the trains through the area.

In due time, the railroads found it necessary to operate on strict schedules, which were published and distributed. This made Mr. Plumbly's device and talent quite unnecessary. Nevertheless, from September of 1832 until May of 1834, Mr. Plumbly and his invention moved trains quickly through Scott Depot.

The stamp has been issued in a pane of 15 stamps in the denomination of 34 pu.

Return to main stamp page: click here
Return to Ben Mahmoud's home page: click here