Welcome To The Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad

SITE UPDATED: 8/24/2015 

 

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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: dlswpfl@aol.com

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LATEST NEWS!

Finally, here we area again late as usual.  Of course, news about the Shawmut has been very slow for a very long time so not much to talk about.  Plus, that previous update with all the unit locations, etc. was a major job and I wanted to let it up a bit longer.

Happily, I have a few video links to include this time. Some of these for reasons unknown won’t show up as clickable links so you’ll have to copy and paste.   I think this first had been taken down was aparently put back up, it’s a P&S train at Falls Creek with SW9s, a GP10, and a GP7.

Here are some clips of present day “PSR” trains of course run by Buffalo & Pittsburgh.

PSDB at Weedville with some stone cars.

A Penfield Coal Train

PSR at Crenshaw heading to Brockway Glass:
PSR working at Driftwood:
Finally, for the modelers out there, here is a clip of Al Crate’s layout, Al is from Brookville and gives a short tour of his great layout.
Here’s a short recent clip from my HO layout of a KGL1 and BVL1 passing by although in reality they would be miles apart, but hey, it’s models! :-)
That’s it for the videos this time, scroll down for the featured photos section.
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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:

http://www.psnrrhs.org

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BRIEF OVERVIEW and HISTORY of the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railorad

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 d
etails about these railroads will appear further down the page.

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FEATURED PHOTOS:

REMEMBER TO CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR LARGER VIEWS, USE YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO THE SITE

Unless someone has recently sent along some photos this is always the fun section, after all these years of folks sending photos and several computer changes as well as all the site changes, it gets to be a bit of a scavenger hunt to find photos for the updates so let me see what I can whip up.

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To start things off, here’s a nice roster shot of the 233 at Brookville when it was in pretty nice shape in pretty much the original paint job, date and photographer unknown.

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This one goes back to at least 2002 for the 879 with fresh paint chilling at the Brookville shops.  Funny, look at the 233 above and the 879 and lots of similar colors sans the red.

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A couple of years later it was a bit warmer, not terribly so, when the 3011 was nice and shiny.

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Back in 2011 Burt was by Mauk Tunnel, a sad site quite grown over as much of the old Shawmut.

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P&S 1775 “Independence” in bright, new paint at Brookville, unknown photographer.

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Down in Palm Beach, Fl this switcher operates seen here in the rain, not Shawmut, not even, but thought it would be fun to include.csxkgras0910

Here’s an oddity, remember back in September 2010 when this CSX geep paid a visit to the PSR?  This is one from Freddy Shook.

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An awesome mix of power at Dora featuring the 357.

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Lookng right at home, B&P 1506 is tied up at Kittanning in this January 2010 shot from Sam.

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Later that same year Sam Kanish caught another switcher on the Shawmut at Kittanning along with Allegheny 302 and a caboose as well as another G&W “geep.”

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What a scene!  A look at the P&S Allegheny River bridge at Reesedale from far above, note the former West Penn Power stack in this great view from Tim.

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And another chilling look at the bridge from a totally different perspective!

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Fnally, PS&N Caboose186 is on display at the Bucksgahuda & Western in St Marys, PA, hopefully forever!

 

============================MODELER’S CORNER======================================

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Here’s quite an impressive collection of O Scale “Shawmut” models from Mike Thompson’s train room!

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Here’s another look at Al’s layout at the “Old Scale” siding just south of Brookville Viaduct with GP7 357 leading. Be sure to see his layout video clip below.

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Two red and yellow N Scale switchers pop out of a tunnel in this micro sized 12 inch diameter layout, one of my several micro layouts that are lots of fun to watch.

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A nicely done N scale Gp7 #357 is trailing this train with a long string of 100 ton Shawmut hoppers in tow from Sam’s N scale layout.

 

 

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It was quite a challenge to do some P&S in Z scale, here are cabooses 195, 196, and 197 in “Z”.

 

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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.

A short recent clip of my layout, KGL 1 and BVL1 meet although miles apart.
Note that some links will not show up as clickable links, you’ll have to copy and paste into your browser.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AUM8PQYnKU

Above, P&W 1201 (P&S 1855/232) and a short freight in October 2014.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKfry–B_Yc

Some present day clips around  Punxsutawney, Kittanning. Freeport, Butler, Sabula, and Brockway from Mark.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL3X8PzVFWM

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.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLA34mpm98g

The Shawmut steam era, what a treasure!

http://youtu.be/-7SNmRVYTcs

A short clip from Railway Video Quarterly video magazine around Brookville circa 1992 with a run to the Conifer Branch and East Branch.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbiaP8w_FKA

Hop aboard KGL1 from Applewold to Freeport in the late 1980s, a Rick Tonet (Leechburg) video.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvi3ZGBaq-A

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==================

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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 

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.

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.

www.redbankvalleytrails.org

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.

shawmut-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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.

BPRR-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

 

=====================================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!