SITE UPDATED: 7/12/17
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: email@example.com
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 consists of 128 pages with several color photographs on each page as well as a nice amount of history of the P&S.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK – 7/12/17:
Helm leasing units at Brookville! This one is from Andy Hepp, not one, but two matched HLCX units were at BV in 2002, now that would have been an oddity to see out on the Shawmut! Unclear what these units were here for, repairs, or perhaps they became a G&W line’s units?
JUNE 18, 2017 UPDATE – ODDITIES!
Well, the G&W era P&S-Pittsburg & Shawmut logo certainly is an oddity! Unfortunately, it only appeared on some maintenance of way equipment such as the photo below.
Here is a fine example of a PSR era P&S logo from Sam Kanish.
Here’s another photo from Sam, but an odd looking MOW unit with a faded out hexagon era logo!
In 2007 Andy Hepp visited the Brookville area and as usual stopped by the former P&S yard to find this neat looking sign still referring to Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad Company, cool!
Heading southbound on the P&S we’re at the Conifer Branch switch, mainline to the left, branch to the right, complete with one of the old concrete telephone booths, the photo was from 1998 long after radios replaced the phone system and unfortunately not long before the Conifer Branch was torn up.
From long, long ago here’s Cadogan when lots and lots of coal was loaded!
Although the Shawmut’s backbone of the diesel roster were only nine SW9s, over the years every possible configuration could be seen from time to time. In this Kurt Reisweber photo at Markel two of the switchers were pointing the same way instead of back to back.
Here’s another of Kurt’s shots now with two units and the cab end running forward. Note the variety of Shawmut hoppers in just seven cars visible in this shot!
The two photos above require a big SIGH as it was the last Red Bank-Mountain Laurel train at Lawsonham in November 2007 from Channing, certainly the end of an era! The top photo is at “Diamond” and the bottom the junction of RBK and MNL at Lawsonham.
How is this for an “action shot?” Robert Shook (known better as Freddy) caught PSR era car 2101 being loaded at Bridgeburg near West Mostrove circa 2004.
MOW car M24 at Brookville, a recent photo here from September 1954!
P&S 1891 “John Browning” at the south end of Timblin siding and if you look really close you can tell the 1775 is to the left and one of the red and yellow switchers to the right. In this photo the 1891 was equipped with spark arresters.
Here’s the 1891 again, not looking quite as good as the photo at Timblin, this time she is at the M A Patout sugar mill in Lousiana having been renumbered as their 1825. Doesn’t look so good, does it? But, wait!
Another look at 1891 at Patout. They say when an American Flag is in disrepair it should be properly disposed of, I’d say in this case this one needed a new paint job immediately. Don’t know if it has since been touched up, hope so!
Mid 1970s at Dora-Ringgold Stephanie Kolata caught this unique and colorful lashup working with not only the 357, but one of the still red and yellow switchers as well.
P&S 233/1774 went to the Portland & Western and became their 1202 “St Helens” and was the first Shawmut switcher to get G&W orange, yellow, and black paint. Obviously, she has a major malfunction here!
Okay, in conclusion of this update, in all honesty the 1891 as MA Patout 1825 looked a lot better here not so long after arriving on property.
Serious students of the Pittsburg & Shawmut would no doubt have noticed this unusual 55 ton hopper with the ampersand uncentered. Oddly enough, this goof has even been applied to models!
Hope you enjoyed this June 2017 update of ODDITIES! (A few more photos in Modeler’s Corner further down)
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.
A visitor to the site recently 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 Indians 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 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.
In its early days the P&S operated with a fleet of steamw 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.
In keeping somewhat with the ODDITIES theme, here is the unique retaining wall out of old P&S hoppers on Al Crate’s fine layout at Tait siding.
Mountain Laurel GP10s 15 and 16 aparently have been upgraded to GP35s here! But hey, they are z scale and I did these just for the fun of it.
From Knoxdale tunnel to East Branch Viaduct is four miles, but for us modelers we have to compromise as seen here on Al Crate’s layout with GP7 357, a switcher, three totally different style hoppers, and a caboose emerging from Knoxdale tunnel and out on to East Branch. All calls it “modeler’s license,” true, that!
Here is the other end of Al’s Each Branch under construction with a much more substantial northbound!
Here’s a Bob Netzlof photo of BV yard on Al’s layout with a variety of power and the low grade on the bottom
Whoops! A bad day model railroading is still better than a good day at work! A derailment on the earliest version of my P&S layout gave me an idea for a photo opportunity so emergency vehicles from miles around came out to assist! Actually, the overturned locomotive was right up against a fire station!
Sam’s N scale layout features a nice variety of P&S cars and engines, he even has the 357 although not seen here.
One time years ago I thought it would be fun to run a Tropicana Orange Juice train on the Shawmut, some contorted reroute or some such. Ha! The fun of model railroading, “it’s my railroad and I can do anything I want on it.” 🙂
In the late 1980s Rick Tonet of Leechburg was lucky enough to ride on 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.
=============More Detailed Information About The Pittsburgh & Shawmut Railroad==================
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 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.
P&S MILEPOSTS and STATIONS with STATION CALLSIGNS
7.2 Sugar Hill – SH
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
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!