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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Brad Esposito and Kurt Reisweber’s book “Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color” from Morning Sun is now available at: http://www.morningsunbooks.com This book is a must have for Shawmut enthusiasts and consists of 128 pages with several color photographs on each page as well as plenty of history about the P&S including the Red Bank and Mountain Laurel.
October 20, 2017 UPDATE!!
Here we are again, finally! As usual just don’t know where the time goes, I do an update (which takes several hours) and next thing I know it’s months later! Of course in September almost the entire state of Florida experienced Hurricane Irma, it was not fun! Imagine a 400 mile wide wall of rain pushed by 75 mph and higher winds!
Here in the Orlando area as far as railroads we have CFRC which is the SunRail commuter line which is also used by CSX, Amtrak, and shortline Florida Central. Weekdays there are over 40 trains, much less on weekends. Rail operations began shutting down on September 7th and only very limited CSX and Amtrak operations finally started back up Friday the 15th. It’s a spooky feeling to drive around the area and see crossing gates removed or small ones duck taped into place. Anyhow, enough of that, back to THE SHAWMUT!
Back around mid July word was received that the Brookville rail car shops are no longer, that operation has been taken over by a new facility in Riker Yard, Punxsutawney, and the tracks were being pulled up, including the house track. About all that is left at “BV” is the enginehouse and Brookville Equipment.
More sad news, back around April 2017 Sam Kanish notified us the old P&S overpass at Putneyville was being removed, here’s a look at it before. Remember, if you click on a photo it gets bigger, but be sure to use your BACK button to return here.
And Sam also sent in this “after” photo, thanks Sam!
Going back quite a few years now, here is a video of the last Low Grade train, the rail train picking up the tracks of the former Mountain Laurel, so sad!
Enough bad news! Here’s a neat video of one of the PS&N Historical Society’s events!
A few days ago Sam found these track maintenance units tied up north of Bridgeburg on the PSR mainline.
He returned to the area a few days later and they were gone, here’s a couple more photos from him.
More photos below, just don’t forget if you click on one for the larger view, use your back button to return to the site.
Above is a look at P&S 231 when brand new!
Blast from the past! Quite a few years ago I was contacted by Bill Snyder who informed me he had found a P&S knife that belonged to my grandfather and sent it to me, what a find! Bill’s family lived right next to the tracks in Timblin. The other side of the knife has my grandfather’s name engraved, Einsel R. Snyder, he worked on the track gang out of Timblin and retired from the railroad in the 1950s.
Speaking of Bill Snyder, this was their house in Timblin, the one above the nose of the lead locomotive, the David Baer photo is from the 1990s, the house and the Shawmut are of course, gone now.
Speaking of David Baer photos, how about this one of the LEFC and Conrail at Summerville!
Kurt Reisweber caught freshly touched up 237 at Markle crossing over either Nye Branch or Pine Run, can’t tell which.
The transition from red and yellow to Bicentennial colors didn’t happen overnight. The 239 and 231 were first, but some of the units still had decent red and yellow paint for some time. In 1975 the 234 had also been touched up and seen here teamed up with #232 at Applewold/Kittanning. (Check out the Atlas O scale model of the 234 in the model section below.)
In 1978 Oliver Winchester, the 1866, was seen here at “BV” with the 237 still in red and yellow.
Betsy Ross was 1776, former 239 and first to get the red, white, and blue paint seen here when still fairly fresh from the paint shop. The two units behind her would get their turn in the paint shop in due time.
Now is this a red caboose or what? P&S 193 had obviously just been given a fresh paint job here in this Stephanie Kolatta photo.
Finally, here is sister cab 194 at Brookville in 1984. For you modelers, don’t forget to scroll down a bit more for some model photos.
BRIEF OVERVIEW and HISTORY of the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad (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.
A visitor to the site recently asked what Shawmut meant. The word Shawmut originates from the Boston, Maine area where this not only a hill/mountain with the name, but a bank as well which had some financial history with the P&S. Shawmut is also related to the Algonquian Indians word Mashaumowuk which as above refers to the Boston area. There is also a Shawmut Dam on the Kennebec River. There is also A large Electrical Manufacturing company named Shawmut. Other railroad related subjects include Shawmut, Montana on the Union Pacific and the tiny town of Shawmut near Brockway, PA.
In its early days the P&S operated with a fleet of steamw 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.
Dave does fabulous modelwork and is where I acquired my #10 and 11 from seen here prior to 2000 on a former HO Layout.
Before we know it Christmas will be here, so for this year’s big modeling effort I did this Lionel GP7 as P&S 357. Note the Z scale 357 on the roof! For this years decorations this and #1775 will be running on the floor around the coffee table with tree and other trains on top of the table.
The Lionel 357 started out as Rio Grande 8455 which I’m told was not the proper number series for their GP7s. As received the unit was without dynamic brakes which I added.
Atlas put out a nice O scale model of the 234 seen here, but of course the roof was black when the SW9s were delivered as was the twin stacks.
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!