SITE UPDATED: 4/10/2017
SCROLL DOWN TO THE APRIL UPDATE TO CONTINUE
This is a place honoring the Pittsburg & Shawmut, Mountain Laurel, and Red Bank railroads of western Pennsylvania. It is a personal web site not connected to the former Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Company or Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., present owner and operator. The Genessee & Wyoming corporate site is at: www.gwrr.com The site was first created in May 1996 to share history, memories, photos, and information about these colorful railroads. Email about the site may be sent to Dennis Snyder at: email@example.com
REMEMBER The Pittsburg, Shawmut, and Northern Railroad? That is their green and yellow logo below, it was the parent of the Pittsburg & Shawmut. The PS&N historical society web site is at:
In October 1967 P&S 239 was tied up at the Brookville engine shop. The original factory paint was getting worn, but still in fairly decent shape here! Of course the 239 would go on to become “Betsy Ross” number 1776 several years later.
APRIL 10, 2017 UPDATE
Wow, April already, where does the time go? Over the past months since the last site update I’ve gathered some things to add and some VERY interesting items have been sent as well. One item added is the engine name and number cross reference, it’s in the BRIEF OVERVIEW section just below. A station milepost and abbreviation listing has been added further down the site in the more details section.
One thing I want to mention is having recently purchased a P&S clock for my train room. I had intended to list the web site link here, but the same clocks no longer seem to be available at that site. However, a Google search will turn up some Shawmut clocks (both P&S and PS&N) at a reasonable cost of around $25. Not the best photo, but here is the one in my room. These can also be found on Ebay from time to time. Do try this link though in case they carry the railroad clocks again, there are plenty of interesting items on this site! http://www.farmtoyhsandmore.com
Photos, we have photos! Here is a link to some photos from Jim Robichaux that include former Mountain Laurel units. Don’t forget to use your BACK button to return this site.
Here is a great shot of two SW9s and a GP7 on the Sprankle Viaduct in the snow by Doug Lilly.
BRIEF OVERVIEW and HISTORY of the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railorad (More detailed history further down)
The Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad was originally called the Brookville & Mahoning which began in the early 1900s allowing parent railroad Pittsburg, Shawmut, & Northern access to Pittsburg, PA. The first section between Brookville and Brockway was completed in 1907. In 1910 the line was renamed Pittsburg & Shawmut. When completed in 1917 the P&S covered 88.1 miles from Brockway, PA to Freeport, PA. Coal was always the main business of the P&S although it also ran passenger service until the 1930s, and other types of freight traveled over the line.
In its early days the P&S operated with a fleet of steam locomotives some former PS&N and some former Monon 2-8-2s. Starting in October 1953 the P&S began what many other railroads did, switching to diesel power by purchasing nine EMD model SW9 1200 HP switchers outfitted for multiple unit operation. The bright red and yellow SW9s operated in teams of 2-5 units. In the mid 1970s the SW9s were repainted red, white, and blue in celebration of the nation’s Bicentennial. From the mid 1970s through the early 1980s three used GP7 diesels were added. The Shawmut continued to use cabooses into the late 1980s or early 1990s.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s the P&S began expanding with the purchase of the Conrail (former PRR) low grade secondary line from Lawsonham, Pa to Driftwood, PA. The ten mile line from Lansonham to Sligo was first and was named the Red Bank Railroad. They had no locomotives or rolling stock, all P&S equipment was used. Shortly after, the rest of the Low Grade was purchased from Conrail and became the Mountain Laurel Railroad. The Mountain Laurel had six GP10 locomotives, but no other rolling stock. The P&S and MNL locomotives were used on all three railroads and P&S as well as other hoppers were also used system wide. In April 1996 all three lines were purchased by Genesee & Wyoming. A few years later all operations were asorbed into the Buffalo & Pittsburgh. More details about these railroads will appear further down the page.
P&S Engine Number Cross Reference including names.
REMEMBER: CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR LARGER VIEWS THEN USE YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO THE SITE. (Some photos will not be much larger.)
Sam Kanish recently was loaned a scrapbook from a friend and sent along several very interesting photos from the William Brown estate.
These first “oh wow” photos Sam sent are at the Linde Air Products plant in Kittanning. First is what appears to be an early model trackmobile. Next is an Alco plant switcher, note the Linde boxcar with a bit of the tank visible! . Finally is P&S steam engine 217 at the plant.
Another amazing shot from Sam (William Brown estate) is P&S engine 574 northbound passing the Snyder’s Mills building at Timblin with a coal train, wow!
Again at Timblin is the station, Snyder’s Mills building and the two hirail inspection vehicles!
The next three photos (below) also sent by Sam from the William Brown estate are from the Steam Excursions of the early1970s.
Special thanks to Sam and the William Brown estate for these awesome photos!
For the next three we’ll return to today on the PSR for three photos from Brad around Brookville.
First up (above) is this look through the BV car shops at B&P 2003 in the distance with a dusting of snow about.
Here’s a nice shot of Mountain Laurel 13 and 12 just after arriving at Brookville at the engine shops from my collection.
Another from my collection is a westbound Mountain Laurel train on the Low Grade at BV.
As the Shawmut SW9s were undergoing rebuilding and repainting into the Bicentennial paint scheme, some of the units remained in red and yellow for awhile with the simplified blocked in red nose panel and in the case of #237 seen here at Brookville, just lettered PITTSBURG AND SHAWMUT with the “and” spelled out.
Scenic photos and especially of locomotives are always a favorite, but sometimes we forget the backbone of the Shawmut and any railroad is the rolling stock. Here is an example of a 100 ton hopper from Jeff Van Cleve.
Jeff also caught GP7s 10 and 11 not looking their best. These two units reportedly weren’t well liked by the Shawmut crews, but were put back in service as needed particualry during the late 80s and early 90s when the Red Bank and Mountain Laurel lines became part of the Shawmut.
The two photos above are especially cool from David Baer on the Pine Branch first of a Conrail train then later under the Shawmut’s ownership with three P&S SW9s at the exact same spot, not only is the difference in railroads interesting, so is the two different seasons!
The Red Bank and Mountain Laurel era of the Shawmut from 1989 to 1996 initially was a very exciting time, the little 88 mile P&S had more than doubled in size almost overnight, alas this expansion also came about trying to survive. Little was it know what the next few years would bring and after a few years it was not a happy time. After G&W (GWI) acquired the three lines all of the motive power took off in all directions. Mountain Laurel GP10 #17 ended up under Rail Link out in Montana as seen here, note the RLIX reporting marks.
We’ll close out this site update with four more of Jeff Van Cleve’s photos, all cabooses.
The Pittsburg & Shawmut continued to use cabooses for quite sometime after most other railroads had given them up. Number 195 and 197 (along with 191) were used mostly during the last years out of Brookville and the 196 (the Bicentennial caboose) ran mostly on the Kittanning locals. All four of the above had various lettering and logos over the years, some included American Flags.
Imagine if one day you were at Brookville and suddenly a Pennsylvania RR GG! shows up! That was recently the case at Al Crate’s layout when Howdy Veihdeffer shows up and got to run this as seen on Al’s Brookville viaduct.
Around 2003 on a previous version of my layout GP7 357 and a SW9 along with Bicentennial caboose 196 were tied up at the Kittanning station.
From that same 2003 era layout on this day I was operating with G&W era units and looking down the long hood of BPRR 7822.
Mike Thompson has an impressive collection of P&S models in O scale some of which can be seen on the O Gauge Railroading web site.
I guess this is what you call a “nice try” and “what if” the Shawmut had a CF7!
Recently, this cool model of caboose 168 was for sale on Ebay.
In the late 1980s Rick Tonet of Leechburg was lucky enough to ride on the Shawmut trains several times, here is a 10 minute clip from Brookville to Brockway and part of the return trip.
Here’s a short clip of Al Crate’s P&S HO Layout, we have featured many photos of his great layout here over the years.
Above, P&W 1201 (P&S 1855/232) and a short freight in October 2014.
Some present day clips around Punxsutawney, Kittanning. Freeport, Butler, Sabula, and Brockway from Mark.
It was 1989 when KGL1 with two switchers and caboose 196 took this southbound through the McWilliams area with coal loads for Reesedale and other freight.
The Shawmut steam era, what a treasure!
A short clip from Railway Video Quarterly video magazine around Brookville circa 1992 with a run to the Conifer Branch and East Branch.
Hop aboard KGL1 from Applewold to Freeport in the late 1980s, a Rick Tonet (Leechburg) video.
Some P&S clips from Tom Crawford who did the Vol 1 and Vol 2 Shawmut Line Videos in the early 1990s.
=============More Detailed Information About The Pittsburgh & Shawmut Railroad==================
EARLY P&S RR HISTORY
The Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad was being planned in 1903 and was constructed over the next several years. Originally named the Brookville and Mahoning Railroad, it was renamed Pittsburg & Shawmut in 1910 due to conflicts with the Boston & Maine having the same reporting marks. There was also speculation the name change may have been to make it appear to be the PS&N. The 88 mile long line ran southwest from Brockway, PA to Freeport, PA to connect with the Pittsburgh, PA area as an extension of its parent railroad The Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern. Note that in the late 1800s Pittsburgh was spelled without the “h” and both railroads used that older spelling.
In 1916 the P&S broke away from the PS&N and became a separate railroad. The PS&N had financial problems through its entire history and the tracks were removed in 1948. Meanwhile, the P&S was completed from Brockway to Freeport in 1917 and continued to operate for nearly 100 years and although it also struggled at first, did very well for the most.
The during the late 1970s and first half of the 1980s business was booming on the Shawmut. In the mid 1970s the red and yellow Shawmut switchers were repainted red, white, and blue for the nation’s Bicentennial and over the next few years additional GP7 power was added. During this time coal was being loaded at places like Dora, Colwell, Reddco, Brockway, and other loaders and found its way to power plants in the northeast as well as the power plant at Reesedale. In the earlier years there were many other coal loaders and businesses that received rail service along the P&S.
MORE RECENT HISTORY
Business began dropping off in the late 1980s. Trying to survive, the company expanded by purchasing the former Pennsylvania RR Low Grade line from Conrail running from Lawsonham to Sligo and Lawsonham to Driftwood including the 25 mile former New York Central line from Rose to near Clarion known as the Piney Branch. The lines were operated as the Red Bank Railroad from Lawsonham to Sligo and the Mountain Laurel Railroad from Lawsonham to Driftwood. Six additonal red, black, and silver GP10 locomotives were received for this new operation. However, business continued to decline on all these lines over the next few years and it was finally decided to sell all the lines in the mid 1990s.
In April 1996 the Pittsburg & Shawmut, Red Bank, and Mountain Laurel Railroads were purchased by Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. (GWI or G&W) and received the reporting marks PSR. The Genessee & Wyoming company has purchased many small railroads around the US and other countries and has become a large company. Although the Shawmut name would continue under G&W ownership, all PSR operations were absorbed into the Buffalo & Pittsburgh (BPRR or B&P) in 2004 effectively eliminating the proud little Pittsburg & Shawmut name from railroading.
Today the former P&S mainline from Freeport to Colwell remains in operation by the BPRR as does the tracks from Dellwood to the glass plant at Crenshaw including Brockway yard. The locomotive and car repair shops at Brookville remain in operation. The former Mountain Laurel section of the low grade east of Brookville is being operated by BPRR as well. Much of the tracks from Reesedale to Colwell are being used for car storage as is some of the area around Brookville and to the south near Rayard. Several years ago the Brookville Locomotive Company built a new facility next to the BPRR (former P&S) Brookville yard and shops. Over the years Brookville has been expanding from mining type locomotives to full sized locomotives and this allows them rail access. During 2013 and 2014 several Tri-Rail BL36 commuter locomotives have been produced for the Miami, FL area and have been seen making their trips to Florida.
Coal was always the Shawmut’s main business and is presently being loaded at Rose Bud Mining operation at Penefield on the former Mountain Laurel as well as a Rose Bud loader at Clinton on the former Shawmut. Coal and other commodities are sometimes loaded at Brockway Yard and coal is also loaded at Bridgeburg. The power plant at Reesedale had recieved coal by the railroad until it was announced in January 2012 that the plant will be closing by September 2012, it is believed the last coal train to the plant ran in February 2012. Several other businesses are served by the railroad today as well.
P&S MILEPOSTS and STATIONS with STATION CALLSIGNS
7.2 Sugar Hill – SH
20.9 Brookville – BV
22.8 Rayard – RD
38.2 Sprankle Mills – SN
56.0 Reddco – RC
60.4 Mahoning – MX
60.4 Carpentertown – CC
69.8 Limestone – LI
73.8 Kittanning – KG
74.1 Linde – LE
85.2 Walker – WK
88.0 Freeport – FP
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – The Pittsburg & Shawmut mainline from Brockway to Brookville, from south of Rayard to Colwell, the Red Bank from Lawsonham to Sligo, and the Mountain Laurel from Lawsonham to Brookville (including the Piney Branch) have all been removed. The Widnoon and Conifer branches off the original P&S mainline wre also removed. Some of the earlier branches had been removed long ago. These lines are oifficially “railbanked” and can be put back in operation by the railroad in the future if needed and some of them have been converted to hiking trails. Be sure to check out the link below forr some great information and photos of the development of the trails in the Red Bank Valley area.
MORE PHOTOS AND INFORMATION – Additional photos and info are available on the Shawmut Yahoogroup. You can join this group by creating a free Yahoo account, then by sending an email to the address below.
Another Yahoogroup for the Buffalo and Pittsburgh (BPRR) covers present day operations of the former P&S and MNL as well as the BPRR and can be joined by sending an email to the address below.
=====================================ABOUT THE WEB SITE================================
The original P&S site started May 16, 1996 and ended October 31, 2008 when AOL discontinued all web sites. All the information and photos have been saved. Special thanks to Mike Cyr of Tampa, FL for hosting this site for us Shawmut fans. If you’re a fan of train simulators, etc. or would like to watch alot of trains on the live Folkston, GA webcam, check out Mike’s site at: www.jointedrail.com
Many thanks to all of you who have sent in info, photos, or just to say hi over the years!