SITE UPDATED: 4/27/2015
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: email@example.com
It’s April 27, 2015 and what an update we have this time! Two days from now ,19 years ago, the last original P&S train ran as on April 29th, 1996 all the papers had been signed and the Shawmut, Mountain Laurel, and Red Bank were all now under Genessee & Wyoming.
A big part of this update is well, an update on the present status of the P&S and MNL locomotives although in some cases not much info or conflicting info is available. I’m still checking on some things.
To kick things off, earlier today there was a video some of you probably saw of cars from an intermodal train being blown off the Huey P Long bridge. After G&W took over, here we have three Mountain Laurel GP10s on a Santa Fe train on their way to the Lousiana & Delta. Sorry, but I forgot who sent this photo from so long ago.
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:
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.
REMEMBER TO CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR LARGER VIEWS, USE YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO THE SITE
Dennis Morgan recently sent these two photos of the Climax tunnel being restored, this is phase one of a four phase process, the photos are from February 2015.
Dennis also sent along this Central California Traction unit, photo from his friend Galon Tonell at Dubois, the unit was built by “Brookville,” the photo is from early April 2015.
Here are three more photos from the former “West Penn Power Plant” at Reesedale from Bill Buellers.
This one, also from Bill really hits home. This is the old Drummond’s Garage building in Timblin. I drank many bottles of pop there. The view is almost from my grandparent’s front porch, maybe a couple hundred feet back. As you can tell from the underepass, the P&S ran right through the middle of town which was right in the middle of the Shawmut at milepost 44.
Here’s what a train looked like on the underpass, this is a screen shot from Tom Crawford’s “Shawmut Line Volume 1.”
And another screen shot of the underpass from the tracks taken from the caboose.
While we’re at Timblin, in 1949 Elmer Shick was hooping up orders to a northbound at the Timblin station in this shot from the P&S RR historical societys past web site.
A more common site along the P&S at Timblin would have been this nearing the south end of town where the old coal loader used to be in this view from David Baer of a southbound BLV1 heading towards Reesedale with coal for the power plant and the fuel tanker going to the Applewold engine terminal.
Let’s go back to 1954 for this look at wooden caboose 163 on the caboose track at Brookville as we wrap up this update.
In this Bob Netzlof photo two SW9s and GP7 #11 were rounding the bend on Al Crate’s layout during a recent model train meet at his great layout.
A number of years ago Atlas came out with a couple of Shawmut switchers in O scale, pretty nice!
Just this past week I painted up this z scale caboose 196 seen here with GP7 357 – the stars and lettering on the caboose are the actual stars from a photo of the prototype.
I recently got this “SHAWMUT” HO hopper via Ebay, it’s a nice car, but not like the 400 series the P&S used, this one is a five bay model, it’s huge as can be seen with caboose 196 and the B&O covered hopper on the next track over. The HO 196 also just got touched up with the original 196 stars.
Note that some links will not show up as clickable links, you’ll have to copy and paste into your browser.
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.
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!