Welcome To The Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad

SITE UPDATED: 1/06/2016 





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


APRIL 27, 2016 – Hi everyone, wow, 2016 is flying by fast!   I know it’s been awhile since the last site update, but I’ve been working on one for a long time, it’s coming soon.  Amazing, almost 10000 hits since the last update!

Happy New Year!  So, it’s a new year and time for a (long overdue) site update.  Hard to believe it has been a year since the Morning Sun book Pittsburg & Shawmut In Color came out.  Can’t tell you now many times I’ve sat down and gone through it or looked up information in it!  Should you just now becoming aware of the book it can be ordered at the
Morning Sun web site:  http://www.morningsunbooks.com
There really isn’t any news to report this time so let’s get right to the goodies!
Above is a link to some photos from Jim Robichaux along the Louisiana & Delta featuring Mountain Laurel 14.
Here’s an oddity, the You Tube link above will take you to a horn blowing of ex P&S 238!
And now we’ll skip down to the FEATURED PHOTOS section!

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 d
etails about these railroads will appear further down the page.




Certainly the Pittsburg & Shawmut will always be best known for those nine little EMD SW9s that operated from 1953 until the end in 1996, but for something a bit different this time we’ll focus on the P&S geeps!  This idea came about recently while sifting through some of the SHAWMUT LINES historical society newsletters from the past.  (Unfortunately, the P&S historical society has been inactive and on hold for sometime now.)


The first Shawmut “geep” was ex Reading 608, a GP7 which became P&S 357 the “Dan Wesson” and here it is in this unique night shot from Randy Kiser at Kittanning.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

One of my favorite GP7 shots is this from Stephanie of the 357 working with three SW9s at Brookville. The 357 only had MU cables on the short hood end so it either had to lead a train or be the last unit in a lashup.


In January 1977 the 357 was caught chilling out at Brookville!







And here is the 357 at Brookville before it got the red, white, and blue paint!


Of course, there was some kinship between the P&S and BAR, check out this photo of BAR 1776, looks quite familiar, doesn’t it?  (be sure to click your BACK button to return to this site)


ps102 ps101 http://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/2/7/6/8276.1386091728.jpg

And then along came  the 10 and 11, also GP7s which had their short hood noses chopped at Brookville.  Above are both of the ex Conrail units at Conway awaiting delivery to the P&S. These two GP7s were still red, white, and blue of sorts, but quite different.  And speaking of that “different” perhaps the two BAR geeps at the link above had something to do with the paint scheme for the 10 and 11?  (again, hit your back button to return to the P&S site)


David Baer caught the @10 at Brookville on a nice day in nice bright light in April 1988.  Word has it the #10 had a smaller fuel tank which sort of limited it’s time out on the mainline.


In June of 1991 David took this great shot of both gp7s sandwiched between three SW9s as the train glides over the Sprankle Viaduct.


LONG HOOD FORWARD was the general rule for P&S #10 because of the control stand as seen here cruising through Timblin in March 1991 accompanied by #10 and SW9 1866 also from David Baer.  This train was sporting the fuel tanker on the say to the engine facility at Kittanning.


Here’s another look at the previous train crossing the Mahoning viaduct at Colwell from David Baer.


During pure P&S days it wasn’t unusual for the Shawmut locomotive shop to work on other railroad’s units, this certainly continued after the G&W bought the line and back in 2002 Andy Hepp visted Brookville and found these two Helm geeps in the yard.

Perhaps next time we’ll cover the Mountain Laurel geeps, thanks for stopping by!


=================================MODELER’s CORNER=============================









A quartet of Mike Rabbit’s yellow switchers by David Findley cross East Branch viaduct while visiting Al Crate’s layout in Brookville a few months ago.


Dave also built these two GP7’s #10 and 11 for Mike seen after exiting Knoxdale tunnel and rumbling across East Branch in this super telescopic view also on Al’s layout.









Al, having recently retired (congratulations!) and having more time on his hands has added caboose 196 in this fancy bicentennial paint scheme to his model roster.


On my HO layout is this ex New Haven caboose, P&S 194.



A new edition to my N scale collection is caboose 193 in the older Pittsburg & Shawmut lettering.








A few months ago I accomplished something I never thought possible, four z scale 100 ton hoppers, these were really tough!  Above is a photo and a video link of them running on a 12 inch diameter layout!

================================VIDEO SECTION==================================

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.


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



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.


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!