-THE SHAWMUT LINE – Home Page

WELCOME TO THE PITTSBURG & SHAWMUT RAILROAD! 

What we’re about!   This is a place remembering the Pittsburg & Shawmut, Red Bank, and Mountain Laurel railroads of western Pennsylvania.  This is a personal site not connected to the former Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Company,  or Genesee & Wyoming company; present owner and operator.   The Genessee & Wyoming corporate site is at:  www.gwrr.com 

The site began in May 1996 to share history, memories, photos, and other information about these colorful railroads.  Email about the site may be sent to me, Dennis Snyder at:  dlswpfl@aol.com

SITE UPDATED: 02/01/23

SPECIAL NOTICE!   If you are on Facebook and not on the Facebook group: 

Railroad Photos and memories , Western NY and PA

Be sure to join!   Not only are there many photos of the entire area, but earlier today Brad put up 63 awesome photos of the P&S construction in the Eddyville area!

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Since we mentioned Brad’s Facebook post above, here’s a shot from Kurt in the area at Pine Run Viaduct (formerly Nitro) and leading is that black EX P&LE/BAR switcher.  (Whoops!  When mentioning a photo it would be nice if I actually posted it, ha, here is is.) 

Below we’re going way back for a couple of shots from the steam era. Going to let the Ed Horm Kiski photos here also from David here. 

Don’t forget to check out the new section on Shawmut Logos at the top of site.  

 

This has got to be one of the most classic photos at Brookville!  A PRR train on the Low Grade while two P&S big steamers on the rear on the Brookville Viaduct on top, WOW! 

Now, much futher railroad south on the other end of the line is this northbound coming off the Allegheny at Reesedale, another wow!  Check out the Steam Era section on the link at the top of the page.   

 

On the Kiski Junction (KJRR) was this Conrail train with CR 7776 leading while crossing the Kiski River bridge across the Allegheny from the Shawmut, the train was sporting two cabooses. 

 

Here we have black CR 7775 this time on the Conrail line just coming off the Allegheny River Bridge, look close in the distant right, a cut of  Shawmut hoppers near the P&S-CR interchange!  

 

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The P&S was a child of the PS&N (Pittsburg, Shawmut, & Northern) so for much deeper Shawmut history check out the PS&N Historical Society web site at:

http://www.psnrrhs.org  

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Some things you’ll find here:

Brief P&S History, Detailed P&S History, Photos, Milepost info, Locomotive information, Photos, Timeline of Events, Photos, Logo History, Operational Info, Model P&S trains, Photos, P&S videos, links to various items of interest, even more photos, as well as many other things! 

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BRIEF P&S R.R. HISTORY

The P&S was a child of the Pittsburg, Shawmut, and Northern which began in the late 1800’s as a consolidation of several small railroads in western NY and PA.  In the early 1900’s they began building a new section to the south from Brockway towards Freeport to gain access to the Pittsburgh area naming it the Brookville & Mahoning.  The P.S.&N. and P&S both used the older spelling of Pittsburgh without the h.

In 1910 the Brookville & Mahoning’s name was changed to the Pittsburg & Shawmut.  Around the sametime the P&S broke away from the P.S.&N and became a separate company.  The 88 mile P&S from Brockway to Freeport was completed in 1917.  The P.S.&N. was a financial disaster from the beginning and was finally abandoned in 1947, but the P&S continued to 1996.  More early history is in the detailed history section in the link at the top of the site.   Especially during the last half of the 1970’s through the last half of the 1980’s the P&S prospered consideralbly.  The large flood loading operation at Dora-Ringgold resulted in long 100 ton unit coal trains being moved for use at power plants elsewhere. 

However, in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the P&S expanded by adding the Red Bank & Mountain Laurel Railroads due to business falling off.  Trying to survive they they purchased the former PRR “Low Grade” line running from Lawsonham to Driftwood from Conrail. The ten mile line from Lawsonham to Sligo was named Red Bank, the line from Lawsonham to Driftwood was named Mountain Laurel.  The Red Bank had no equipment lettered for it.

After a few years and further loss of business all three railroads were sold to Genessee & Wyoming as the PSR in April 1996 which also owned Buffalo & Pittsburgh, the former B&O in the area.   A few years later what was left of the P&S was absorbed into the B&P.  A more detailed look at the long history of the P&S, etc.  is in it’s own section at the menu bar at the top of this site.   

In the 2020’s the only remaining P&S/PSR track is on the north end is from Brockway yard to just south of the connection track to the B&P.  From Brookville south along Five Mile Run Rd to south of Rayard to Slimak Rd.  On the south end track remains from Freeport north to north of  Reesedale.  A sad situation.  

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PHOTOS! 

In our photo section we rotate through many photos collected of which most were sent by fellow Shawmut fans and employees for which we thank!  

 

In February of 1982 GP 7 10 was running long hood forward as it usually did along with two of the switchers going through McWilliams in this Dave Hamley photo from David Baer’s collection.

 

Shawmut Line fans of the later years will remember when the P&S from Freeport to Mosgrove got Norfolk Southern coal trains.  Here’s one going up the steep climb from the P&S mainline to the interchange on the west side of the Allegheny River.  This one’s from Robert “Freddy” Shook.

Above are three from our long time contributor David Baer’s fine collection of Bob Schroyer photos.  First up is the one  at Brookville, a new one to me. The P&S purchased Amtrak E8 #341 to use the two prime movers seen here in January 1977, they got “two for one.” 

Next are close up shots  of SW9 235 at the Kittanning engine house then the 357 in fresh paint also at Kittanning right below the 422 bridge over the Shawmut.

 

From Bill Bueller’s photo collection is this one at Markle a bit railroad south of Timblin around milepost 46.  Gosh, that’s three years before I was born, by the time I was a few years old this area looked a lot different!    

An interesting “engine light shot” obviously in the later days.  No info on this one, may be on the Piney branch.  

 

This photo is from Bill Bueller’s collection at the Ringgold loader and coal plant in 1938, actually at Dora, but the mines stretched back close to Ringgold.  In later years the Dora coal prep plant was further north and to the south was Ringgold siding.  

 

Kurt Reisweber  was at Freeport with a somewhat unusual move, engine 231 and a sister switcher along with a bay window caboose switching cars. 

Here’s an interesting and different look of red and yellow 237 from Kurt R. at Brookville.    

 

A blooper?   Was a mouse pad showing a P&S R.R. caboose and hoppers yet the green logos suggest P.S.&N. by their color, yet the logo is wrong for both RR’s! 🙂 

Fun looking way back in the oldest photos and this one at the Silgo tipple in 2002 from Gale Simpson asks  “whose railroad is this?”  Of course in 2002 it was PSR former Red Bank, former Conrail, etc.!

 

Here we’re looking  northbound at Brookville in the steam era when the later days MOW building was an engine house.

 

 

 

A southbound leaves Brookville on the viaduct over the Low Grade and it’s own Mountain Laurel RR, and Red Bank Creek.  Of course the Low Grade is former PRR then CR track.  An interesting note here is the short train is led by three Mountain Laurel GP10’s and sports a caboose on the end.    

 

This update’s feature photo (top of the page) shows three Mountain Laurel units leading a southbound across Brookville Viaduct.  Here is a real oddity alas on a sad note, four Santa Fe units lead three Mountain Laurel units on their way to their new home on the Lousiana & Delta after the G&W acquired the Shawmut, Red Bank, and Mountain Laurel.  

Small world!  Randy Kiser actually lives here in my area in Florida and we’ve met a couple of times.   Randy has shared a few of his P&S photos such as the 235 & 237 in the Kittanning area. 

He also caught the 1775 (Independence) and 1949 (Bill Ruger) in the area north of Kittanning at Old Town Rd.   

 

In 1992 Olev Taremae was out on the Low Grade and caught this mix of three Shawmut and two Mountain Laurel units at Caledonia tunnel, this is up on the northeast end of the Mountain Laurel, photo from David Baer’s collection.

Back in March 2001 David Baer visited Brookville and shot this couple of B&P geeps. 

 

No details on this interesting look at 1866 & 1774 at Mahoning Yard in 1976.  Obviously some sort of special run with passenger cars.  Mahoning Yard (MX for short) had no public access, you either had to get there by train or a long hike!   

 

Another with no info, but a nice shot of 1949 at Kittanning.  Both this and the photo above it were when the switchers were still in fresh Bicentennial paint and when they had the names.  Some names were famous historic names (like Betsy Ross) while most had to with the gun industry, i.e. Dan Wesson and his 357. 

 

This was always one of my favorite photos for more than one reason, this one is from David Baer.  It’s a favorite because it’s at Timblin which is dead center of the P&S plus it’s where I was most familiar with the Shawmut.  I also like the slightly different power lash up, and that it is hauling the fuel tanker to Kittanning to fill the engines there.

P&S tank car S89 seen here at Brookville was used for a period to fuel the locomotives at Kittanning and shuttled back and forth to Brookville for filling, Hazardous Materials Plackard 1993 is Diesel Fuel.   

The Shawmut shops at “BV” not only served the P&S, over the years many other railroads send locomotives there to have work done, same here with the switcher that was used at the Lady Jane coal loading facility.  Close inspection near the cab window reveals this unit was set up for remote operation. 

 

No secret coal is what the P&S was known best for, but also interesting were some of the other products the line hauled.  Included in that was the large Linde Air Products at Kittanning. Here’s two examples of their cars which appear to be boxcars, but actually contained tanks inside them!  

 

The Red Bank Mountain Laurel RR’s were both short lived lines, sadly the Red Bank had no locomotives or equipment painted or lettered for that 10 mile line.  The Mountain Laurel was another matter, six GP10’s (upgraded GP9’s) were built up in this handsome red, silver, and black paint scheme.  Since P&S had GP7 numbers 10 and 11, these units were numbered 12 thru 17.  Here’s the 12 and 13 on its delivery trip sitting at Freeport awaiting pickup.  

 

Meanwhile, quite sadly, Mark Leppert was at Brookville in 1996, the Mountain Laurel units were still around, but it was a whole new era for the proud little P&S, G&W units were already here.  If you look close, GP7 10 & 11 are off to the far right, but I think by this time the SW9’s were all gone.  Photo from David Baer’s collection. 

 

The Red Bank Railroad (RBKR) was only ten miles long from Lawsonham to Sligo as part of the acquisition of the low grade by the Shawmut in 1990.  Gale Simpson was on hand to catch this one in “PSR” days in the Rimersburg area. 

 

Bill Bueller recently posted this Walter Schopp from October 1973 on Facebook of two P&S switchers pulling the steam excursion train through Brookville returning from Brockway, what a shot!  

P&S engine 239 is on the south side of the Brookville engine shop, the paint worn from years of use.  Years later, the 239 would become more-less their flagship unit when it was repainted into the Bicentennial theme, named Betsy Ross, and numbered 1776.

 

Here’s two awesome catches at Freeport from John Hartman of a southbound P&S train on Conrail’s tracks.   This is a busy spot, Conrail’s bridge crossed the Allegheny is in the upper left.  This is also where the Kiski River dumps into the Allegheny and also the interchange point of the Kiski and Conrail, Kiski’s line crosses the Kiski river just beyond Conrail’s bridge.  If you look real close, you can see their bridge to the upper left of Conrails.  

During the later years the P&S sometimes interchanged with CR at one of their sidings south of  the end of the P&S.  In the top photo they are just off P&S tracks.  The bottom photo is a little further south on Conrail.  

At Summerville where the LEF&C and Conrail interchanged on the Low Grade Eric Johnson took this shot when both lines had a train at the same time!    Photo from David Baer’s collection. 

Great photo at Dora during the early days when P&S SW9’s were transitioning from red and yellow to Bicentennial colors!  

In this photo GP7 357 and SW9 1866 are working in Brookville Yard with the old turntable in the foreground. 

 

 

P&S 231 was in fairly new condition when this photo was taken.

Be sure to check out the  photos in the separate pages section on the top menu line!

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P&S GOODIES!

Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color – Book!

In 2015 Kurt Reisweber and Brad Esposito published a 128 page book on the P&S.  The book contains a good bit of history of the Shawmut and many awesome color photographs from the 1950s on.  The book is available from Morning Sun Books.  Here’s the main Morning Sun web address.

SPECIAL NOTE – I verified that the book is still available at the web site below on 10/07/20.

http://www.morningsunbooks.com

Here is a direct link to the Shawmut book.

https://morningsunbooks.com/products/pittsburg-shawmut-in-color

P&S ART

Kevin Yackmack recently announced he is selling some of his railroad art work and here it is!   Here’s a northbound P&S local approaching Timblin. Prints are $60 each, postage included.  Contact Kevin at: kevin.yackmack@yahoo.com or on Facebook at KEVINSRRART.  (Click on the photo for larger view, use your back button to return to the site)

SHAWMUT GROUPS

Welcome to those who have joined the new Shawmutline group on Groups.io.  The P&S Yahoo group of over 100 members is gone now as Yahoo pulled the plug on their long-time groups service on 12/15.  While it had seen little activity a new P&S group has been started at a new group service called groups.io.  Those of you who have used Yahoo’s groups will be pleased to know groups.io is easier to navigate.

If you’re interested in joining the new Shawmut group, simply go to:  https://groups.io/ or www.groups.io and click on “Sign Up” in the upper right. Your email address will be your log in name, create a password, then do a search for “Shawmutline” – name of the new group.   Here’s hotlinks to the new group service, which is FREE!

https://groups.io

or

http://www.groups.io

FACEBOOK!   

There is also a P&S Facebook group you can join, just do a search for Pittsburg & Shawmut or Shawmut Line there.

Another Facebook group of great interest is – Railroad Photos and Memories, Western NY and PA – there are an amazing amount of railroad photos from all eras and many of the contributors to this web site are members there, check it out!

=============HISTORY OF THE WEB SITE==============

The original version of this P&S site started May 16, 1996 on America On Line (AOL) with two megabytes of storage using an AST PC with a 500 mb drive and 4800 bps dial up internet connection.  Software changes at AOL froze the site for a long time then the site was reorganized, but alas it all ended October 31, 2008 when AOL discontinued all web sites.

A special thanks to Mike Cyr of Jointed Rail and Virtual Railfan for stepping in to host this site for us Shawmut fans.  If you’re a fan of  train simulators, etc. and/or like to watch a lot of trains on live webcams, check out Mike’s sites at: www.jointedrail.com or www.virtualrailfan.com

As for me, I lived in Dayton, PA until 1962 when our family moved to Orlando, FL.  My grandparents lived in Timblin only about 100 yards from the P&S tracks and grandpa worked on the Shawmut track maintenance crew in the area.  My father also worked on the P&S for a short time.

In closing I can’t thank all of you enough who have sent in info, photos, or just to say hi over the years!  THAT is why this site exists today, because of you!

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