WELCOME TO THE PITTSBURG & SHAWMUT RAILROAD!

SITE UPDATED: 1/31/2017 

 

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Mosgrove, when the PSR Kittanning local was working the coal loader in push-pull fashion in the days when you could still see some SHAWMUT LINE hoppers, now long gone.

 

SCROLL DOWN TO THE DECEMBER UPDATE TO CONTINUE


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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


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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DECEMBER 2016 UPDATE

Another year is winding down fast, hope it has been a good one for you!

As usual I have plenty of goodies to include with this update and we’ll kick things off with this link to the Lake Shore Railway Historical Society’s site, included in it is a nicely fixed up P&S caboose 164, you’ll need to scroll down a good ways, but enjoy all the other nice equipment on display.  Be sure to use your BACK button to return to this site.

Rolling Stock of LSRHS

 

Here is a great video at Mosgrove, I’m going ot assume this is on the interchange track from the PSR up to the BPRR with plenty of hard working EMDs pulling and pushing coal loads upgrade.

Here’s a good one, back in October some of the area Fire Departments held a benefit run where firefighters in full bunker gear entered.   Here’s Evan Kenner of Dayton FD at Widnoon, thought you all would enjoy this.  It has been a very long, long time since there was a Shawmut train at Widnoon!
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Here are some photos from 2015 in the area from Mack Tunnel to the 2nd Mahoning Bridge.  Be sure to use your back button to return this site.

Here is a very nice shot of BPRR 2004 in the Kittanning area along Tarr Town Rd.

Going back to 2013 for this photo of Lycoming Valley 239, ex P&S 239 in the shop.  Of course the 239 became the Betsy Ross #1775 in the mid 1970s until the end of the Shawmut in 1996.

Not specifically railroad related, but here is a 15 minute video about the 75 year history of Mahoning Dam where some of
the local fire departments such as Ringgold and Dayton recently were given a tour of the new power generating facility that just went online a few years ago.
The rest of the December update continues below in the Featured Photos and Modeler’s Corner sections.

In case you haven’t heard,  Brad Esposito and Kurt Reisweber’s book “Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color” from Morning Sun Publishing is now available at:   http://www.morningsunbooks.com    This book is a must have for Shawmut enthusiasts and consists of 128 pages with several color photographs on each page as well as a nice amount of history of the P&S.

 

BRIEF OVERVIEW and HISTORY of the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railorad (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.

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.


 

FEATURED PHOTOS:

REMEMBER:  CLICK ON PHOTOS FOR LARGER VIEWS THEN USE YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO THE SITE.  (Some photos will not be much larger.)

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Back in 2012 Chestnut Ridge #11 (ex Shawmut GP7 #11) was seen in the yard.


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In January 1993 on a cold, snowy, miserable day Jeff Van Cleve visited the coal loader at Dora while this train with Mountain Laurel 15 and others were loading.


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North portal of the Mauk Tunnel with a northbound emerging from the tunnel in the days of red and yellow switchers.


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The previous photo at Mauk Tunnel goes well with this one from Kurt Reisweber of another northbounder taking coal loads towards Brookville.


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In March of 1992 David Baer chased a Mountain Laurel train and caught this one at Summerville with MNL 13,  MNL 12, P&S 1776, and P&S 1949.  This is a rather interesting consist with a cut of gondolas.


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Here’s another of David’s photos in the Summerville area on another day.


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Sam Kanish caught these PSR/G&W era maintenance of way units which interestingly sport the G&W era P&S logos which only end up on a few such pieces.  Oh how we would have loved to have seen one or more ex P&S SW9 in G&W Orange, black, and Yellow with these logos or for that matter any locomotive.


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Getting up close and personal with P&S 237 at Kittanning around 1971 still in the original factory paint.


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Fall photos are always nice and colorful as 1851, 11, and 1775 emerge from the steep incline of the P&S/PRR/CR/MNL interchange tracks at Brookville.


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A Kittanning local at Mohican in 1970 pulls a cut of mixed cars including some Linde boxcars.  It wasn’t so long ago I learned those Linde cars actually were tanks with the boxcar outside protecting the tank and contents.  See Modeler’s corner below for some more on this.


 

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Speaking of Kittaning locals, this would be KGL1 at Kittanning switching cars around with the 1851 (235) and 1949 (237) in later years.

This concludes the December 2016 update, but wait, there’s a bit more in the Modelers Corner below!


MODELER’s CORNER


Above, in the photo at Mohican the Kittanning local had some Linde Air Products cars which earlier were boxcar red, and in later years green and white with several variations.  Awhile back I learned those green and white boxcars actually held tanks.  While I’ve never seen the inside of a real Linde car, here is an example of an O Scale model with a tank inside.

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Since I’ve always had a Linde plant on my HO layout, more than anything for some variety, a few weeks ago I decided to add tanks to my eight cars.  I’ve completed six so far, awaiting more tanks.  Here are a couple of views of the cars on the layout.

 

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While a nice looking model scene, this Lifelike P&S hopper 9232 always puzzled me why it is brown.  I figure someone saw a Shawmut train with 55 ton hoppers that were badly rusted and looked more brown than black.


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A southbound crosses the Brookvilla viaduct with the 1891 and 1851 on Al Crate’s fine HO layout.


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My friend Bill from NJ is building a P&S layout based on my HO layout in Trainz, since there are no exact models of Shawmut equipment he’s having to experiment and G7P7 #10 looks pretty good!


VIDEOS

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.

A short recent clip of my layout, KGL 1 and BVL1 meet although miles apart.
Note that some links will not show up as clickable links, you’ll have to copy and paste into your browser.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AUM8PQYnKU

Above, P&W 1201 (P&S 1855/232) and a short freight in October 2014.

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

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLA34mpm98g

The Shawmut steam era, what a treasure!

http://youtu.be/-7SNmRVYTcs

A short clip from Railway Video Quarterly video magazine around Brookville circa 1992 with a run to the Conifer Branch and East Branch.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbiaP8w_FKA

Hop aboard KGL1 from Applewold to Freeport in the late 1980s, a Rick Tonet (Leechburg) video.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvi3ZGBaq-A

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==================

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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!