WELCOME TO THE SHAWMUT LINE!
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
August 6, 2018
Greetings! Sorry I’ve been a bit lax in updating the site and admittedly don’t have a lot of material for this time. First up, a note to O scale modelers, check out the info about Rail King P&S units below in the Modeler’s Corner section.
We recently heard from Andrew Watson who lives in the Dora area. He sent these recent photos of East Branch Viaduct and Sprankle Viaduct. Quite a few years ago Andrew sent us several photos in the area around Mauk Tunnel and Timblin right after the tracks were torn up.
Further, here is an aerial video clip of East Branch via a drone, quite an awesome look. Thanks Andrew!
Sprankle Viaduct from the air:
Lately I’ve been trying to do updates more often although sometimes not with a lot of material. Just heard from Al Crate of BV yesterday, word is “Brookville” aka Brookville Equipment aka Brookville Locomotive Works is taking over the shops at BV and possibly the yard and track to Falls Creek. Al reported the diesel shop was empty except for a “High Lift.”
Not so long ago something came to mind that I’d not paid all that much attention to, the P&S black and white hexagon logo. Of course, the ones on the SW9s were red such as on the 232.
It’s the white hexigon I’m talking about here on the coal hoppers. The earliest ones were a simple white octagon with “P&S” inside like this model.
The most common one was like this 55 ton 8585 seen here, the arrow is white with the word SHAWMUT in black. However, on some of the 100 ton cars the arrow was black with white SHAWMUT letters!
Here’s an example of a hex logo with black the arrow. Oddly enough, it’s on a Helm Leasing car I took this photo of in the 1990s here in Florida being used in rock car service on CSX. So, there were two hexagon black and white logos!
Now for some photos! Here’s a rare look at the top of the P&S and Chessie interchange point at West Mosgrove from the early 1980s with a three unit KGL1 bringing in coal loads. Note the variety of hoppers as well as the P&S hoppers coupled to the Chessie caboose!
For this next one (below) well move much further up the Shawmut to Markle a bit later in the 1980s as a southbound rolls through.
Also from the earlier 1980s as seen from the Highway 422 bridge on this day the engine yard at Applewold was quite full, perhaps it was a weekend.
Nice look at the two GP7’s at BV together in this shot, these two spent a good bit of time in this position!
Also at BV from the 1990s a short southbounder leaves the yard with three Mountain Laurel units and caboose 195.
July 20, 2018 update – Thanks to Laura Lynn of Big Run for passing along tlink to a WTAE article on the dropping of the “H” from Pittsburg. Although Laura Lynn found some minor errors here, still some interesting reading.
July 12, 2018
Welcome to the summer of 2018, time for another site update and with it will include some awesome photos Sam Kanish sent of more from the William Brown collection, these are black and white shots in the steam era. I am fairly sure they begin where Mahoning Creek empties into the Alegheny at Reesedale then a couple of shots up Mahoning a bit, and finally an awesome shot of the Route 28-66 bridge over the Shawmut and Shawmut trestle over Mahoning. Remember to click on the photos for a larger view then use you back button to return to the site.
While we’re in black and white mode here’s another steam era photo at Timblin where station agent Elmer Shick is hooping up orders to a northbounder.
Here are two more from Sam’s collection of a builder’s card of 4-4-2 204 including the info on the little steamer.
How about “black and white in color?” Some photos from Freddy Shook of one of the NS Shelocta trains back in 2007. NS is running an occasional coal train today on the PSR as well, not sure of the details on that one.
Finally, for this update is caboose 192 at Kittanning/Applewold with the hexagon logo, SHAWMUT LINE lettering, and American Flag. The most previous updates can be seen below, scroll down.
My grandfather, who lived in Timblin, got this unique P&S pocket knife at a Shawmut picnic in 1947, eventually I inherited it. The other side of the blade has his name engraved , Einsel R. Snyder.
From 1992 southbound BVL1 is seen between Ringgold/Dora and Timblin.
Here’s something different, an amazingly colorful “fall” shot at Knoxdale on Ramseytown Rd. which becomes Main St, of the road underpass. Amazing in itself, but below that is a computer painting a friend did of the scene.
In 1998 it was a bit chilly when this short local passed through the McWilliams area.
Here’s a unique power lash-up next to the Allegheny from long ago.
Above were the two fall color photos at Knoxdale, how about we move the clock back to the red and yellow days for this awesome shot!
Here is one of my favorites, it’s from Mike Hartman of a P&S-CR meet at the lower end of the interchange tracks at Brookville in 1987.
May of 1996, marked the beginning of this site, thought it would be fun to reflect back on those days. It was a sad time, I started the site just a couple of weeks after the P&S R.R. was taken over by Genessee & Wyoming (GWI or G&W). At the time I was dating a girl from the Tampa, FL area who worked for a small news paper. I had no clue how to put together a web site, but somehow it happened. Marjorie scanned a handful of Shawmut photos I had on hand and as they say, the rest is history! Here’s Marjorie, we have since long been out of touch.
And here is photo of me from just a few days ago.
A big help to the site was when Mike Zollitsch was good enough to include the URL in his Railpace magazine article on G&W of the area. Since then so many have contacted me via the site and shared so many photos and information, it has amazed me from the beginning and still does today. Today there are about 2000 visits to the site per month!
How about some of the original photos? You may click on them for larger views, but don’t expect much as you’ll read further down.
This last photo is an amazing comparison between much earlier days at Brookville and more recent ones. Alas, many of these photos I’ve long forgotten just who sent them and their quality well, you know! These original scanned photos were too large for the “dial up” internet days so they were reduced a lot in size to facilitate faster loading. Somewhere around here I still have all or most of the photos that were sent as prints, those sent via internet I’ve lost the original larger file size ones, oops! As I said above, didn’t have a clue what I was doing at the time, think I’ve gotten a bit better, ha! A side note, I have on hand over 3,000 photos that rotate through the site!
Here are a few notes from around that era: July 1989, P&S begins operating the new Red Bank RR, December 31, 1991 P&S company purchases the “Low Grade” from Conrail which beings the Mountain Laurel. 1992, GP10 & 11 leased to LEF&C during the final operations of their line. 1993, Timetable 1 adopted for the P&S, Red Bank, and Mountain Laurel, would be the last timetable. December 1995, Conrail began Shectola coal trains with trackage rights over the P&S. April 29, 1996, Shawmut, Red Bank, and Mountain Laurel fall under G&W Inc. Last Mountain Laurel train was April 26th, 1996, final P&S train was Monday, April 29th 1996, a run from Brookville to Reesedale and back. June 1999, last coal train loaded at Dora and Conifer began being removed. January 20, 2000 final PSR train ran from Brookville to Freeport with miscellaneous cars with two GP40s as power. January 2004, PSR absorbed into B&P operations. June 2004, last Low Grade coal train.
Hope you enjoyed this little FLASHBACK to the earlier days of the site, the Shawmut, and it’s amazing history! Below are the more recent updates.
I recently received this nice photo from John Martino of Brockway of a BPRR train working the glass plant at Brockway, thanks John! (Click the photo for a larger view, use your BACK button to return to the site)
Now here’s a model that is amazing, it’s from Bill Bullers of the Ringgold Supply Company store in Dora. As Shawmut fans now, the tiny town of Dora around milepost 42 was home to the huge Dora coal loading operation, but the spot nearby on the P&S R.R. was also known as Ringgold, why? Well, in the last 20 or so years the sorting sidings at Dora were known as Ringgold while the loader itself was known as Dora. Some speculation is years ago when there were different coal loading facilities as well as mines like Sunnyside Mine, etc. that the mines reached all the way from Dora up to Ringgold.
Speaking of Ringgold, in the era when GP7 357 was active and some of the SW9s hadn’t been repainted, here’s a train at Ringgold.
And here is a Mountain Laurel era train at the Dora loader on at cold, wintery day.
One thing this site is lacking is much from the steam era of the Shawmut, both in information and photos. Randy Kiser recently sent shots of P&S steam locomotives 213 and 573. A few months ago I had the pleasure of having lunch with Randy and giving him a tour of my HO P&S layout. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge then use your back button to return to the P&S site.
Above, first is 213 at Kittanning/Applewold, then at Brookville, and finally the 573 at Brookville.
The other day while looking for something in the huge P&S photos files I ran across this shot of former P&S GP7 #11 on the Chestnut Ridge.
From the February update, we were pleased when Sam Kanish sent more photos by Richard Cook courtesy of the W. Brown family, here they are.
[AS ALWAYS, CLICK ON THE PHOTO FOR A LARGER VIEW THEN USE YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN HERE]
First is a look of P&S 233 when it was brand new.
Now, take a look at the control stand of one of the SW9s.
Engineer Sam Shilling looks out the rear while switching.
Engineer Charley Johnson (left) and Conductor Henry Grinnell (right) check over their train orders.
Next we’ll take a rare look at the Linde Air plant where first SW9 231 is switching out the plant.
How about this view inside the plant where you can see several of the Linde boxcar-tank cars with the door open showing the tanks.
Here’s a distant view of the plant from across the Allegheny River.
Finally, another look at SW9 231 while working Linde Air Products.
THANKS TO THE BROWN FAMILY FOR SHARING THESE AMAZING RICHARD COOK PHOTOS WITH SAM AND FOR SAM SENDING THEM ALONG! WOW!
Next, from my collection (photographer unknown) freshly painted Mountain Laurel GP10 #12 and #13 are at Freeport on their first run to the newly formed Mountain Laurel Railroad with empty hoppers returning from Conrail.
Meanwhile, over on the Red Bank at Huey Gale Simpson sent along this shot of two G&W era units working on the Red Bank.
Speaking of the Red Bank/Mountain Laurel era, Ron Mele caught this quintet of SW9s switching out one of the few non-coal businesses along the Red Bank with a single boxcar.
Here, around 1974 a Brookville local was southbound out of Dora between Dora, Ringgold, and Timblin featuring one of the two bay window cabooses that were bigger than the switchers!
That’s about it for this update except for some model photos further down. We close out this one with this shot of caboose 196 on KGL1 from Randy Kiser, check out the teddy bear on the ladder!
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.
O scale modelers please note that MTH (Rail King) has a rather nice line of Shawmut locomotives, cars, and cabooses. Included is Bicentennial caboose 196 as well as red and yellow SW9s. Overall their units are nice, however there are some discrepancies that the more serious modelers should be aware of. They now have GP7 #11 available, but it is a standard GP7 with dynamic brakes. They also have SW9 1775, Betsy Ross, however the lettering isn’t centered correctly. I have the red and yellow SW9 #239 which I’ve had a few years and enjoy it. You can check them out here:
Anything can happen on a model railroad, including a passenger special with a Santa Fe warbonnet leading, ha!
Here’s a shot from a previous version of my HO layout around 2000, a lot has changed since then!
The detail of Al Crate’s HO layout is breathtaking, a fine example is this shot at Tait siding with the old coal hoppers used as a retaining wall.
Not exactly models, but this is the side of my refrigerator with a bunch of cool magnets by Andy Fletcher of http://www.customtrains.org/ Note, recently I tried to find the Shawmut magnets above a few years and weren’t able to find them on the site. You might contact Andy and ask. He is also on Facebook.
Speaking of models, I recently learned tha MtTH “Mikes Train House” (also known as Railking) is coming out with Shawmut SW9 1776 as well as a GP7 in O scale this spring. The SW9 looks great, the GP7 has dymamic brakes which we all know isn’t correct, but it still looks good.
Over the past year I’ve made many improvements to my 4 x 8 foot HO layout, two of them were adding a little scrap yard in the Kittanning area, I guess Adelsons seen here with a gondola being loaded. Also added were the three Linde stacks seen above the scrap yard.
Another change is the hopper fleet, over the past few months all coal hoppers are now SHAWMUT LINE 100 ton cars. Have also recently done some light weathering which makes a big difference in realism. The LEFC car is now in reserve and is one of two or three in my fleet.
When it comes to hoppers, here’s a variety from Al Crate’s HO layout at BV overlooking the turntable, great scene!
And some morehoppers at the scale house south of Brookville, both the above photos are from Bob Netzlof. Here is an interesting 55 ton hopper with the early, simpler hexagon logo. These are often avilable on Ebay, kind of pricy and since I don’t currently run 55 ton cars, haven’t acquired one, yet.
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
MILE STATION – CALL SIGN
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
Limestone – LI – (Entry Point)
GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN – The Pittsburg & Shawmut maine 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 were also removed. Some of the earlier branches had been removed long ago. These lines are officially “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 for 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 Jointed Rail 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 webcams, check out Mike’s site at: www.jointedrail.com or www.virtualrailfan.com
Many thanks to all of you who have sent in info, photos, or just to say hi over the years!