THE SHAWMUT LINE

SITE UPDATED: 1/7/2015

 

THE PITTSBURG AND SHAWMUT BOOK IS HERE!   (Details below.)  

 

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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

Here we are again with another (very late, sorry) site update which comes this time with some great news!   They went and done it!   Brad Esposito and Kurt Reisweber have completed their book “Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color” and it is is available now at Morning Sun Books  at www.morningsunbooks.com – Any Shawmut fan will want to have their own copy of this exciting photo and history book about the P&S.  It’s 128 pages of color photos along with some history of the Shawmut.  You’ll see lots of exciting photos including some seen right here on the Shawmut web site!   Congratulations Brad and Kurt, great job!

The past few months have been very busy here, had some health issues (fine now) and plenty of other things going on along with of course the holidays.  Hope everyone had a great holiday season and Happy New Year!  I even had to tear down my P&S HO Layout last April, but started rebuilding in mid December and it is better than ever.

Check out the featured photos section below!

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 details 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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Our first photo for this update is an “oldie, but goodie” from Vern.  This is from when ex Mountain Laurel 15 went to work for the Finger Lakes and became their 1801, but still in MNL colors.  The unit left the Finger Lakes in late 2006 and went to the Seaview in RI and became their 1855 looking grand in this photo from Railpictures.net – remember to use your BACK button to return to this site.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=500380

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Speaking of the Mountain Laurel, this Ron Mele photo of a westbound MLX crossing Red Bank Creek in July 1994 has always been a puzzle to me, it is very hard to tell, but I think this is a six unit lashup of Shawmut SW9s and one of the GP7s.  If Ron is out there, maybe he can shed some light on this one.

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Here’s one that goes way back to the steam era sent to us by Greg Carberry, undated and I can’t make out the location, but appears to be two of the steamers powering this one, awesome!

mhpscrbvI sometimes think to myself what is my single most favorite Shawmut photo, honestly I just can’t decide, but this one from Mike Hartman is sure high on the list.  At Brookville, this is the P&S-Conrail interechange track on the low grade where a P&S and CR train are, well, interchanging back in the 1990s.

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This one is in THE BOOK, it’s a Kurt Reisweber photo from March 1972 at Mahoning Yard, one of those spots on the P&S that isn’t particularly easy to get to!

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On the “Red Bank” Gale Simpson was present the day four SW9s and a GP10 was passing through Rimbersburg, this was pre 1996.

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In April 2008 Andy Hepp visited Brookville and the rail yard, BMEX 127 was fresh out of the paint shop and will being worked on at the Brookville Equipment facility.

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Meanwhile, at the adjacent Buffalo & Pittsburg yard, plenty of power was on hand being worked on when the sign still showed it as Pittsburg & Shawmut, a quite nice sign, too.

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It was nighttime at Kittanning/Applewold when Randy Kiser visited the spot in November 1979 as Caboose 192, GP7 357, and some “pups” were basking in the moonlight.

THE PREVIOUS FEATURE PHOTOS HAVE INCLUDED SOME PHOTOS AROUND SHAWMUT TERRITORY FROM BILL BUELLER ON A VISIT TO THE AREA THIS PAST SUMMER.  HERE ARE SOME FROM THE REESEDALE AREA!

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Penn Mag is one of the businesses served by the “PSR” or B&P, above are two photos of the facility from Bill.

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If we back up to October of 1987, David Baer caught KGL1 working the facility before it was PENN MAG.

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Glacial Sand & Gravel Co is another of the present day sites Bill visited and took these photos of.    Next time around we’ll feature some photos Bill took of the power plant at Reesedale.

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Finally for this update, Caboose 195 at Kittanning/Applewold looked like this before being lettered SHAWMUT LINE

 

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ALCBV2Mike Hartman’s photo of the CR-PS interchange tracks at BV was featured earlier,  here’s the same spot on Al Crate’s layout in this Bob Netzlof photo taken at a recent event where model railroaders visited several layouts.

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Here is another look of the Brookville yard from Al’s layout with an assortment of power.

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For Christmas this year I put a small oval of Lionel track around an end table which had the small Christmas tree on top, here P&S 1775 was making the rounds with a couple of 55 ton P&S hoppers and caboose.

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P&S 2-8-2 #577 is pushing hard on the rear of this northbound coal train heading to Brookville.  The scene is part of my Z scale winter layout, 12 inches in diameter.

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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 186 took this southbound through the McWilliams area with coal loads for Reesedale and other freight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLA34mpm98g

The Shawmut steam era!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhT520dIQRo

A short clip of my HO P&S layout.

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