WELCOME TO THE SHAWMUT LINE!
This is a place remembering the Pittsburg & Shawmut, Mountain Laurel, and Red Bank railroads of Pennsylvania, a personal site not connected to the former Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Company or Genesee & Wyoming, present owner and operator. The Genessee & Wyoming corporate site is at: www.gwrr.com The site was 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
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
Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color Book!
Back 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 a lot of color photographs from the 1950s on. The book is available from Morning Sun Books. Here’s the main Morning Sun web address.
Here is a direct link to the Shawmut book.
April 23, 2019
We’re back! After far too long between updates here we are again, sorry about the delay, but you know how time flies! Don’t have any recent news about our old friend the P&S RR, but no shortage of photos to post here so let’s get right to it! Don’t forget, click on a photo for a large view then click your browser’s back button to return to the site.
First up this time is this nice shot of two SW9s and one GP10 on the viaduct at Reidsburgh, it’s a Tim Leininger photo taken in June 1992 from Sam Kanish’s collection.
What’s so cool about Tim’s previous photo is this one by David Baer from the Conrail era!
Speaking of David Bear photos, how about this one of the old Alco at the Rimersburg coal loader?
Here’s an interesting shot Sam sent, a going away shot with quite a mix of GP7s, GP10s, and switchers!
Here’s one you might call the “changing of the guard” era at Brookville from Mike Zollitsch.
Speaking of Brookville Yard, the sign says Pittsburg & Shawmut, but the power sure points to Conrail!
Once again at “BV” this time with GP7 357 and three of the SW9s!
You know, when I do these site updates it’s like being a “kid in a candy store” since I have over 3000 photos to rotate through. Almost forgot this gem from Jack, previously he shared a short clip of KGL1 southbound at McWilliams, it’s in this one, but here’s the album version you might say, great look at Timblin and Brookville as well! (click the link above)
Speaking of links, a few days after Christmas 2018 a fellow radio broadcast and train buff friend, Dave Edwards, came by for a look at my model trains. We spent a good bit of time in the “train room” with him shooting video of my P&S HO layout, a few weeks later he sent along a DVD with this, enjoy! You’ll also want to check out Dave’s other excellent train videos including a trip on Amtrak’s Auto Train!
Bob Chesarek of Butler found a box of slides while doing some cleaning which included some nice roster shots at Brookville. As with all photos here, click the photo for a larger version then be sure to use your browser’s back button to return to the site.
Here’s a side view of GP7 #11 on the north side of the Brookville engine shop.
Here’s sister GP7 #10 on the other side of the shop teamed up with 1851.
The Jordan spreader was always an interesting piece of equipment. Caboose 191 was used regularly on the Shawmut by the Brookville locals in the later years, it was also the only caboose sporting the “Shawmut Line” logo.
Speaking of the Jordan spreader, here it is in action in this R. Maxwell photo from March 1995 at Sabula on the Mountain Laurel.
Speaking of snow scenes, which might be a sore subject about now! Here’s one from Gale Simpson at Sligo on the Red Bank RR in the early G&W days.
Okay, one more snow shot from Kurt Reisweber at Knoxdale in the early 70s with a foursome of SW9s.
We included Bob’s look at P&S 11 at the beginning of this update, after G&W took over the Shawmut GP7 #11 went to the Chestnut Ridge as seen here.
Sam Kanish recently sent along this photo from February 1990 taken by Doug Trenn on the B&LE in Caonneaut, OH with some Shawmut Line hoppers in the consist, a once common sight in the northeast, sadly no more.
Now we’re going back to 2010 for this one from Dennis Morgan of a brace of BPRR power tied up at the Kittanning station under stunning fall colors.
Andrew Watson sent along these photos of East Branch and Sprankle Viaducts.
Further, here is an aerial video clip of East Branch via a drone, quite an awesome look. Thanks Andrew!
Sam Kanish sent us more black and white photos in the steam era from the William Brown collection of Richard Cook photos from where Mahoning Creek empties into the Alegheny at Reesedale and on up Mahoning a bit, and finally an awesome shot of the Route 28-66 bridge over the Shawmut and Shawmut trestle over Mahoning Creek.
Below is 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.
Below are more vintage photos by Richard Cook courtesy of the W. Brown family sent by Sam Kanish.
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 THE ABOVE, AMAZING RICHARD COOK PHOTOS WITH SAM, AND FOR SAM SENDING THEM ALONG FOR US TO ENJOY!
Mike Thompson sure has a nice collection of Shawmut O scale trains!
Two of Al Crate’s excellently detailed SW9s are passing the north end Tait siding a few miles south of Brookville.
Here’s a recent video of my HO layout taken by Dave Edwards.
In the late 1980s Rick Tonet of Leechburg was lucky enough to ride o 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.
HISTORY of the Pittsburg & Shawmut
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 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 Indian’s 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 (unrelated) 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 on the original P.S.&.N.
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.
P&S Engine Number Cross Reference including names.
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 Eliphalet Remington
239 – 1776 Betsy Ross
357 – GP7 Dan Wesson
1774 – 233
1775 – 231
1776 – 239
1816 – 238
1851 – 235
1865 – 236
1866 – 232
1891 – 234
1949 – 237
357 – GP7
Note: Gp7 10 and 11 and all the Mountain Laurel GP10s did not have names.
More P&S Early 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.
1980s and beyond
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.
The former P&S mainline from Freeport to Mosgrove 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 are being phased out. 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. 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 the B&P yard 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, it is believed the last coal train to the plant ran in February 2012.
P&S MILEPOSTS and STATIONS with STATION CALLSIGNS
MILE – STATION – ABBREVIATION
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 were 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
Also, I can’t thank to 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!