An abandoned bridge that once carried a Pennsylvania Railroad branch line in New Brighton, Pa.
Last Saturday was a cold but bright day; it was perfect for photography. A trip down the Ohio and Mon river valleys was in order.
My first stop was the Youngstown & Southeastern, but it being a weekend nothing was moving. The next stop was New Brighton, Pa., to find the remains of the original Pennsy mainline and a branch that served a steel mill in Rochester, Pa.
We did find remains of the original Pennsylvania railroad mainline but the branch to Rochester was more difficult to spot.
If you are familiar with the topography of Rochester, the town sits high above the Beaver and Ohio rivers.
The former PRR mainline follows these waterways for a relatively grade-free route. The Valley Steel Company is located well above the mainline tracks and was served by a switchback branch line.
We found the mill is now just served by trucks. The right of way of the branch is still visible, but we were unable to follow the branch due to poor access.
This is one of the advantages of rail lines; they have the ability to go where roads cannot. We then drove past the massive Conway yard to Leetsdale.
Leetsdale has a very large industrial park that is served by Norfolk Southern and the Mol-Dok industrial.
The Mol-Dok rosters an SW900, formerly of Conrail and Reading ancestry. Several of the industries have trackmobiles to move freight cars around. Again, being the weekend there was nothing moving here.
We then proceeded to Neville Island, which lies within the Ohio River. It is heavily industrialized and served by CSX and the Pittsburgh & Ohio Central railroads.
We found locomotives but nothing was moving. Moving south we followed the Scully Branch out of McKees Rocks to the Wheeling & Lake Erie Rook Yard and finally the NS Mon Line.
The Clairton Coke works of U.S. Steel made for some compelling photos with the afternoon sun.
Our last stop was West Brownsville where an empty coal train was waiting for a trip to the mines. By now the light had faded and we started our return trip home.
Even though we didn’t catch very many moving trains, it was still an enjoyable day of railfan photography.
Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon
On top of the abandoned bridge that once carried a PRR branch line.
The switch engine in the Leetsdale, Pa., industrial park.
CSX locomotives idle between assignments on Neville Island.
NS coke hoppers at the Clairton Works.
The Pennsylvania Railroad built this bridge over the Monongahela River in West Brownsville, Pa.