-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

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UPDATED: 02/16/24

Hope 2024 is moving along well for all of you!   Naturally, there isn’t any Shawmut news, sad as it is since the P&S has been basically railroad history for 28 years.   

Last update I did the bit further down about the unusual hexagon P&S logo on the 200 series hoppers.  I’ve since found some N scale hoppers with that logo and number series and added a few to the fleet.  So, above is number 251 which is peeking at us on the far right side of Kurt & Brad’s book on page 123, center photo. 

Not sure how well you can make it out, but here is car 251 on a little creekside siding scene.   This prompted me to pick up a few other cars to add more of a variety to the fleet.   

 

Here’s the Real McCoy 251 again although I can’t really tell the location.  For comparision, here’s the more common hexagon logo for you to compare with the odd one a bit further down. 

One thing for certain, there were plenty of P&S hoppers all over the northeast and sometimes beyond such as this scene over around Rimersburg in PSR days with a former LEF&C car as well. 

Quite often while looking for something in the site’s offline library I’ll find things of interest to mention, such as this same view of two southbounders at Mahoning Viaduct from two different seasons and two different locomotive consists, both from David Baer.   

Here’s another same spot, different seasons, and in this case different RR’s from David Baer taken at East Sutton.  

 

We can’t thank David enough for the awesome variety of scenes and super high quality photography, here’s another this time at Summerville with LEF&C meeting Conrail.

PREVIOUS UPDATE from January:  I always loved Rod Stewart’s “Every Picture Tells A Story song as it is so true!   In looking at Kurt and Brad’s “Book” countless times along with tons of emails, videos, photos, models, and other information sometimes something catches your eye that wasn’t really the main subject. 

This little rascal caught my eye and  as far as I know it only was used on the 200 series 100 ton hoppers.  Look close, it’s backwards!  In this one the double pointed arrow is black with white Shawmut letters!   I can’t help wonder if it was a mistake, don’t recall ever hearing or seeing any mention of it. 

P&S hopper 251 above is a perfect example of this and at a glance it’s the same hexagon logo, just backwards!  Compare it to this example of the more typical black and white logo.   

Of all things I even caught one of the black arrow logos here in Winter Park Florida years back under Helm leasing on a rock train.  There was also a red and white bar-diamond logo car hauling rocks down here.  

There’s another logo item that I’m fuzzy about, I think when the P&S, RBKR, and MNL were all operating there was a red and white bar-diamond logo that read “SHAWMUT LINES,” note the “LINES” being plural, but don’t think it was used on much.  Can anyone confirm this?   

Climb aboard and have a look at the engineer’s control center of an EMD SW9, this one sent by Sam Kanish.   

Sam also sent this view of the engineer’s seat while making a reverse move. 

 

 

In May 1995 my long time fellow railfan Mike Woodruff paid a visit to Brookville, Shawmut’s GP7 10 and 11 sure weren’t looking their bext, for that matter by 1995 the P&S itself was pretty well worn and in 1996 that would be it.  Hard to believe it has been 28 years!  

 

At the top of he page are the two most common P&S logos.  As far as I know when the Red Bank and Mountain Laurel came to be, neither had their own logo.  Anyone know any different?  So, just for fun I whipped up this one for the Mountain Laurel.  

 

Keeping the Shawmut’s tracks and equipment in tip top shape was always a high priority on the P&S, here’s an example of how those maintenance folks got to where work was needed done.

Here we have a station wagon “hi-rail” vehicle, as you can see the photo was taken in 1960. 

 

Here a trackwork gang is out on the high iron.  

When I lived in Dayton, PA (we moved away in 1962 when I was only 12), while I loved the Shawmut with its bright red and orange switchers, I had no idea the history of the line before then and in the decades to follow.     With my grandparents in Timblin walks up and down the tracks in the area were common.   Here a northbound local is coming through Mauk Tunnel.   

Once we walked all the way to Mauk Tunnel and back.  This is one of very few P&S photos I had the opportunity to take, circa 1972 also the north portal of Mauk Tunnel.  

Although the P&S itself has been gone 28 years now, it has been a great honor and pleasure to help keep memories of the P&S alive here.  Thanks to books, photos, videos, etc. it will never be forgotten. 

Some of us keep it alive in miniature thanks to the model railroad hobby.   Al Crate of “BV” has a beautiful Shawmut layout in his basement.  Above, six four axle EMD’s rumble over the “Low Grade” passing under Brookville viaduct and exiting “Brook” tunnel.   

The photo below is of a northbound on the Mudlick Viaduct at Pine Run, it’s such a beautiful, scenic spot I thought it would make fun spot to model on this 16 inch N scale layout I just made several improvements to as above!   

https://youtu.be/oo3073itU3o?si=_X_tRExFOEw0xJFA

Here’s a short video of it.

One of the most scenic and interesting spots on the P&S has always been the “twin trestles” at Pine Run, milepost 55 where Lower Mudlick and Sugar Camp creeks dump into Mahoning Creek and the Shawmut crosses the two little creeks on trestles high above Mahoning, here’s Mudlick from my collection.   

Here’s a totally unique photo at Mudlick Viaduct from Kurt, first the viaduct was being repainted thus the orange primer, but this northbound featured featured an ex P&LE switcher the BAR had bought and sent to Brookville to have some work done to.  Such a rare photo at a rare photo spot, of course this one is included in Kurt and Brad’s P&S book and is when the SW9’s were still in red and orange!  

Here at Ringgold was such an awesome mix of power when the new era of Bicentennial paint was coming, the red and yellow was still around and the first new power on the Shawmut since the SW9’s arrived in the 1050’s!

So, am doing this update in December, suppose this is a somewhat appropriate time to show the P&S Allegheny River Bridge at Reesedale, cool photo, pun intended!  

Here’s the same spot as the previous photo except different time of year and completely different era of the Shawmut R.R.!

P&S TUNNELS

Although only 88 miles long, the Pittsburg & Shawmut included many interesting details including several tunnels and trestles. There were five tunnels on the P&S, from north to south:

Knoxdale MP 28 – 812 feet – David Baer was trackside when this southbound BVL1 was exiting Knoxdale with two GP7’s and one SW9.  The train was also carrying the P&S diesel fuel tanker heading to Kittanning which was used to fuel the locomotives.

Coulter MP 36 – 2025 feet

 

Mauk MP 39 – 1980 feet – This northbound is exiting Mauk tunnel

Mack MP 57 – 858 feet

Mahoning MP 61 – 1014 feet 

I had hoped to include more tunnel photos, but unfortunately wasn’t able to find any others in my collection.  However, there are a couple of similar items of interest.   

At Kittanning is this one where the P&S passes under Pine Hill Rd. and Route 422 Business in this view from Barry Householder.

Near Knoxdale this local road passed under the P&S in this beautiful fall colors scene. 

 

Since the NS train (further down) was the first to travel down the former P&S tracks from Mosgrove to Freeport in quite awhile, here’s an up close and personal view of P&S 357 in quite fresh paint, at Kittanning in June 1977 and is a Bob Schroyer photo.

Now we head to Brookville for a look at the former Brookville station in 1999, but not on the Shawmut, this the PRR’s Low Grade. The building still stands today, but there is now an addition to the right side of this photo.  Sadly the tracks are no longer. 

In March 1992 at Rayard (just south of BV), Mark Wurst caught this nice lashup of Mountain Laurel GP10’s. 

This R.J. Cook photo of the Timblin station long ago was originally black and white, was able to colorize it some. 

 

Back in July 1994 Ron Mele took this photo of a heavy duty power lashup on the Low Grade heading west towards New Bethlehem, etc. on the Mountain Laurel.   The rear of the consist is still coming out of Brook tunnel over Rt. 36 in Brookville.

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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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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

www.customtrains.org 

If you aren’t aware Andy Fletcher’s custom trains include railroad refrigerator magnets and other goodies can be found at the web site above, be sure to check it out!  His P&S magnets have been at home on my refrigerator for years! 

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 some contributors to this web site are members there, check it out!

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