The Train Scene

2Q2000                                                                        Volume 1  Number 2


Welcome to the second issue of “The Train Scene” a quarterly (for now) e-zine.

Click on the thumbprint for a larger image.




1.                  Wheeling and Lake Erie and the Mon Valley Expressway

2.                  1948 Chicago Train Fair

3.                  Norfolk Southern Rochester PA Railfaning





Now sit back and enjoy our second issue. 


Letters to the Editor                    Back to Bill Von Sennet’s Main Page          Back to my train page



1. Wheeling and Lake Erie and the Mon Valley Expressway


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is constructing a new highway from Speers, PA (west of  Charleroi) north to Large, PA (west of Clairton).  It will connect with I-70 and PA RT 51.  Eventually it will extend to I-376 in Pittsburgh PA. South of Speers it is completed to West Brownsville, and a portion south of Uniontown extends to the West Virginia line near Cheat Lake and I-68.  When the link from Brownsville to Uniontown will be constructed is not known.


Between Speers and Large, the highway crosses over the W & LE (ex PWV) line several times.  The most spectacular is at Mingo Creek Park.  Below are pictures of the W  & LE bridge and a artists rendition of the highway bridge crossing over it.  Also a picture of work in progress.


          W & LE Mingo Creek Bridge from the west side.


          The O.R.H.S. Connellsville Flyer on the bridge from the Rt88 side.


          The same view with the highway bridge under construction.

          Artist drawing of the finished structure.


Recently many developments have been under foot regarding the old PWV.  The W & LE wanted to sell the line to the state of Pennsylvania.  How they can do that is unclear as the PWV is owned by the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railroad, and leased to Norfolk Southern who sub-lease it to the W & LE.


PennDot would like to build a transit line or busway from Pittsburgh to Bridgeville, PA  and they would like to widen Route 88 at Castle Shannon, but with the tracks right alongside they don’t have enough room.  Plans call for a highway to use parts of the right of way and for the rest to be turned over to “Rails to Trails”


Greentree Boro had plans to declare Rook Yard a “blighted area” and build office buildings on the property. 


Now W & LE has issued plans to build a road-railer and auto distribution center at Rook!   Back in the 60’s Rook was “the” auto distribution center for all Ford cars brought into Pittsburgh.  They also had a piggy-back ramp there.  So what does the future hold for the old PWV?  I don’t have the answer. 


Below are some shots of the W & LE.  I heard a train at Longview Junction, but it (just light engines I think) was gone before I got in position.  Chasing it to Rook Yard was a loosing proposition, as I never saw the train anywhere.  Here are a few shots of some of the real-estate though.


       Longview Junction, looking west.  The furthest track on the left is the line to Connellsville.



       The entrance to the Greentree Tunnel from Rook Yard.

       Rook Yard from the same location. Taken August 1998.



       A memorial to the employees of the Pittsburgh & West Virginia who died in World War II

       W & LE Rook Yard office.  Somebody must be working on the railroad.


       The O.R.H.S. Pittsburgh Flyer at Rook Yard August 1998


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2.     1948 Chicago Train Fair


I come by my railfan interests naturally.  My father would often take my brother and I train watching while we were in our formative years.  Below are some shots of the 1948 Chicago Train Fair, and I was there!  The quality of the pictures is poor, they were viewed with a film strip projector and then digital pictures were taken of the screen.


            That’s me on the right posing in front of a massive steam loco.


            Here I am again.


            The railroads went all out to display their equipment.  Santa Fe even built an Indian Village.


            This picture was taken from a friends boat on Lake Michigan


The train fair was held on the shores of Lake Michigan south of  downtown Chicago near Soldier’s field.


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3.     Norfolk Southern Rochester PA Railfanning


Recently we took a drive along PA Route 65 from Pittsburgh  past Conway Yard to Rochester, PA.   There is a riverfront park in Rochester that is an excellent spot for watching trains.  Across the Beaver River the CSX line from New Castle crosses a bridge over the Ohio River.  There is a NS span across the Beaver River carrying the secondary  line from East Liverpool OH.  On the same side of the river, but behind the park is the NS main line from Alliance OH.


Conway Yard was full of trains and while we were in the area there were two trains stuck on the main waiting to get in. 


            Here a pusher of a waiting train gets a re-crew at Rochester.


            NS 6756 approaches Rochester on the Fort Wayne line.  Passing beneath PA 65


            NS 8444 Westbound at Conway. Sorry, larger image unavailable


From Westbound PA 65 take the first Rochester exit, then turn left at the light and go across the bridge over the tracks.  This puts you in the area where the re-crew picture was taken and the + mark is on the map above.  Then follow the street west and it goes into the park.  The area of the park at the point where both rivers meet has a stairway up to the NS main line.


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