According to the Pottstown (Pennsylvania) Mercury, “D. J. Shirey was an active train enthusiast and collector and was killed in 1993 at the age of 26 when a crane overturned on him as he was trying to right a derailed train in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.” The Geigertown Central Railroad Museum Inc. is a nonprofit corporation which the Shirey family has set up in D.J.’s memory. Essentially, they keep his collection in place.
Shirley was a member of a family who owned (and still owns) a trucking company (Shireys Trucking) in Geigertown, PA (about ten miles south of Reading). The “memorial” sprawls over acres of farmland along the side of 1403 Geigertown Road, directly across from the trucking operation.
|Inside a caboose|
“With the help of his grandfather, Dave “Bob” Shirey, D.J. amassed quite a collection of rail cars, old trains, and rusting engines. Meanwhile, D.J. learned everything he could about railroading. For two years he drove the diesel engine in Pottstown that pushed the old Ironstone Ramble steam train. He was chief operating engineer for the Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad, where he had done “almost every job,” including driving and inspecting diesel and steam engines and shoveling coal into the locomotive’s fire box. Just a few months before his death, he became a locomotive steam boiler inspector.”
|Steam locomotives alongside Geigertown Road, Geigertown, Pennsylvania|
If you donate some money, the family may let you roam about the property to view the cars up close, and even go inside them. (Photo at left shows inside of one train car looking out its door at the caboose.) The donation is for the upkeep of the collection, which it appears, probably amounts to cutting the grass in summer. When I was there this past winter exploring and making photographs with a friend who lives in the area, he nonchalantly suggested we come back again in the fall. I asked, why wait until fall? He said, “You wouldn’t want to be in these weeds when the rattlesnakes are around.” I figured I’d defer to his good judgement and not return until next fall.
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