Welcome To The Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad

SITE UPDATED: 5/09/2016 

 

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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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Welcome to our 20th anniversary update!  Wow, twenty years!  What an honor and pleasure it has been bringing you news, photos, and information about the P&S all these years.  Mostly, it has been great hearing from so many of the past and present employees, railfans, and family members and their willingness to share photos and information.

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Before continuing with the update, here’s a reminder of Brad and Kurts book “Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color from Morning Sun Publishing.    http://www.morningsunbooks.com  This book is a must have for Shawmut enthusiasts.
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Along with this update comes some sad news of the passing of Diesel Mechanic Don “Hud” Gillung on April 24th 2016. Shortly after starting the site Don emailed me and occasionally sent along photos to use here.  In his honor here are some of those photos.
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Back in the original P&S days here’s Don and some of the Brookville guys taking a moment to pose in front of SHAWMUT LINE 1851 for a photo.  That’s Don in the middle with the blue hat.
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shopcrw Here is the original and zoom-in of the gang in May 1998 during the Genessee & Wyoming era, Don is on the far right.
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 Don also did a little engineering and took this photo from the “right hand seat” approaching the old tower at Falls Creek.
 Rest in peace Don.
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In our last update we included a short clip of a “horn blowing’ of ex P&S 238, here’s an interesting link of more on the 238’s horn from Eric Miller.  Remember to use your BACK button to return to the P&S site.
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Also in the January update we were covering some of the Shawmut GP7s, here is an interesting link to information about “Dan Wesson” P&S 357.
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From an edition of “Shawmut Lines” the P&S RR Historical Society’s newsletter from several years ago here is a list of the various station and siding abbreviations along the line.

Mile Station or Siding – Call Sign/Abbreviation.

00 Brockway Glass – BG

01 Doan Dock – DN
02 P&S Dock – PN
0.0 Brockway – RY
1.0 Dellwood – DW
4.4 Smith Summit – SS
5.6 Beechton – BN
7.2 Sugar Hill – SH
8.5 Reitz Rd Crossing – RE
10.1 Allen Mills – NA
15.0 Sulger – SG
20.9 Brookville – BV
21.1 Old Scale – OS
22.8 Rayard – RD
24.3 Conifer Branch – RA (Norman)
27.2 Tait – A
29.2 Knoxdale – KO
33.9 East Branch – EB
36.3 Coulter – CT
38.2 Sprankle Mills – SN
40.2 Mauk – MA
42.3 Dora – DA
42.6 Ringgold – RG
44.6 Timblin – MI
46.0 Markle New – MK
46.0 Markle Old – MO
46.5 Harman – HA
47.6 McWilliams – MC
48.3 Volomite – VO
49.7 Eddyville – EV
51.5 Pine Run – PR
52.8 Putneyville – VS
54.1 Oakland – OD
55.8 Colwell – CL
55.9 Reid Mine – RL
56.0 Reddco – RC
60.4 Mahoning – MX
60.4 Carpentertown – CC
62.9 Henley – HN
63.4 F&E Tipple – FE
63.5 Reesedale – RS
63.7 Kittanning Brick – KB
63.9 Morrison – MN
66.1 Dickey – DY
68.5 Limestone Siding – LS
68.6 Bridgeburg – G
69.8 Limestone – LI
70.7 Surrey – SR
70.8 Frampton – FR
71.2 Mohican – F
71.7 Strong – ST
73.8 Kittanning – KG
74.1 Linde – LE
74.5 Swallow – SW
77.6 West Ford CIty – FC
79.6 Cadogan – CG
83.1 Clinton – CN
85.2 Walker – WK
88.0 Freeport – FP

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Branches

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Conifer

Norman – RA – entry point
Cherokee – CH 2.7 from RA
Goshen – GN 3.2 from RA

Mosgrove

Limestone – LI – entry point
West Mosgrove – WM – 1.4 mile from LI

From the above list at “DW” here’s a video of a Buffalo & Pittsburgh train passing under the Lanes Mills viaduct at Brockway.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlC9LGNMnDM  (remember, back button to return here)
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While we’re on a roll for lists, here is a number and name cross reference for the Shawmut SW9s.
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1953—-1770s
231—–1775—Independence
232—–1866—Oliver Winchester
233—–1774—Ben Franklin
234—–1891—John Browning
235—–1851—Sam Colt
236—–1865—B Tyler Henry
237—–1949—Bill Ruger
238—–1816—Ephalet Remington
239—–1776—Betsy Ross
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The rest of the update will be in the photos sections below.
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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

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Last time we were covering the P&S and MNL geeps, here is what would become MNL 17, Illinois Central Gulf’s 8444 in this Mike Clasing photo from 1986.

 

 

 

 

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And here is MNL 17, ummm, …IN UTAH after it’s tour of duty on the Mountain Laurel had ended.

 

 

 

 

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Here’s a goodie, Mahoning Dam under construction!  This dam was a big shot in the arm to the P&S in the mid 1930s and a branch was built from the mainline to haul materials for the construction.

 

 

 

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Here’s a look at the Timblin station at milepost 44.

 

 

 

 

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In December 1994 Gale Simpson caught this mix of Mountain Laurel and Shawmut power near Heeton Lumber on the Red Bank Railroad.

 

 

 

 

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Here’s another from Gale, this time July of 1994 and another mix of power on the Red Bank.

 

 

 

 

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A rare peek at milepost 88 at Freeport of a northbound PSFR1, photographer unknown, Dennis Morgan?

 

 

 

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Same place, another decade, early 1970s in this shot of the 231 and 237 at Freeport from Kurt Reisweber, this one also sporting one of the two bay window cabooses.

 

 

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During the heyday of the Shawmut when 70 or more 100 ton hoppers were common five unit lashups were seen quite often as Ron Mele caught this solid SW9 set on the Red Bank in 1994.

 

 

 

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Here’s what P&S 232 looked like in brand new paint after just a short time on the Shawmut.

 

 

 

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Here’s more fresh paint, even more so when the 1775 rolled out of the shops at Brookville in 1975 in the then new Bicentennial Red, White, and Blue scheme as the “Independence.”

 

 

 

 

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Finally for feature photos on this update, Gale Simpson was by Brookville once upon a time and found five of the red Shawmut cabooses all lined up in a row.  Please check out the model photos below as well.

 

 

 

=================================MODELER’s CORNER=============================

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Photos from Al Crate’s layout are always a crowd pleaser and Al has just recently been doing a lot of work on the Brookville viaduct as we see here BVL leaving the yard while a Conrail eastbound passes under on the “low grade.”   WOW!

 

 

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Meanwhile, in another era on Al’s layout and a little further south along the P&S, a quartet of Mike Rabbit’s red and yellow SW9s done by Dave Findley are seen passing an abandoned coal loader and a string of empties.

 

 

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Gosh how time flies!  It was over 16 years ago when this KGL1 was passing the Kittanning station on a previous layout of mine. Was just coming along nicely when I had to tear it all down for a move, ugh!

 

 

 

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And in an even earlier edition of my layout was this scene with Gp7 10 and 11 along with a SW9 on the upper level and KGL1 with two SW9s on the lower level.

 

 

 

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Mike Thompson’s O Scale layout sure is a nice one as we look at two SW9s in Bicentennial paint.

 

 

 

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And here is an interesting view from Mikes layout of the red and yellow switchers on a trestle.

 

 

 

 

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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!