The Train Scene

3Q2000                                                                        Volume 1  Number 3


Welcome to the third issue of “The Train Scene” a quarterly e-zine.




1.                  The Ligonier Valley Railroad

2.                  Bellefonte PA and Jim Thorpe PA

3.                  Rails to Roads: The J & L Hot Metal Bridge

4.                  NRHS Bessemer & Lake Erie Museum at Greenville PA


Now sit back and enjoy our third issue.  Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.


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


1. The Ligonier Valley Railroad


The Ligonier Valley Railroad was built by Richard B. Mellon and his brothers to haul coal from the Fort Palmer mine 5 miles north of Ligonier to the Pennsylvania Railroad at Latrobe. It was run by Judge Thomas Mellon (1813-1908) and in 1878 he built a picnic area and campground at Darlington, which he called Idlewild.  A station was built and it became a profit source for the railroads passenger trains. In 1931 Idlewild was expanded to become an amusement park which is still popular today.  The LVRR also was a connecting line for passengers traveling between Somerset and Pittsburgh during the period 1909-1916.  The Pittsburgh, Westmoreland & Somerset connected at Ligonier.  In addition to passenger traffic its main commodity and purpose for existance was the timber from the Laurel Ridge.


The LVRR built a beautiful station at Ligonier which still exist today as the local headquarters of the PA Game Commission.  The right of way followed the Loyalhanna Creek west from Ligonier through the Loyalhanna Gorge.  In 1951 the railroad was abandoned and the right of way through the gorge was made the westbound lanes of US Route 30.


The portion of the LVRR from the Norfolk Southern Pittsburgh Line to just west of Latrobe Steel is operated by NS to service the Latrobe Steel plant.


       Ligonier Station


            Side view showing passenger platform


            Westbound entrance to the Loyalhanna Gorge


            About halfway through the Loyalhanna Gorge


            Eastbound view at Latrobe Steel switch.


            Westbound view at Latrobe Steel.


            Eastbound view at the Latrobe wye.


            Westbound view at the Latrobe wye.


            Norfolk Southern Latrobe Office.


            Junction of  the Ligonier Valley RR and PRR (now NS)


            Latrobe Passenger platform


            Latrobe Station.


On November 5th, 2002 The Ligonier Valley Library had a slide presentation of the LVRR by Bill McCullough and Bob Stutzman of the Penn Ligonier RR Club. In addition there was a handout which included this 1941 schedule.


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2. Bellefonte PA and Jim Thorpe PA


On our recent travels across Pennsylvania we visited Bellefonte and Jim Thorpe and got some pictures.  The weathermen were not co-operating so the lighting is not the best.   There are two pictures added that I took from a ship on the Hudson River in New York City. The Central of New Jersey was affected by the overcast and the reflections but I think it may be of some interest.


Jim Thorpe is on the Lehigh River.  Originaly named Mauch Chunk it was renamed in honor of the Olympic Athelete who attended school in this area.


       An excursion train to the Lehigh Gorge is loading at Jim Thorpe.


            The Central of New Jersey station at Jim Thorpe.


            The trainside view of the CNJ station.


            A string of cabooses at Jim Thorpe PA


           This HO model railroad is a permanent display in Jim Thorpe.


The Lackawana station and ferry terminal at Hoboken NJ


            The Central of New Jersey station and ferry terminal.


            Two Budd RDC’s of the Bellefonte Historical Railroad.


            The Bellefonte PA station.


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3. Rails to Roads: The J & L Hot Metal Bridge


We have all heard of  “Rails to Trails”, but here is a new twist.  The J & L Steel Hot Metal bridge which connected the Southside Pittsburgh Plant with the Hazelwood Plant has been made into a highway bridge.  This bridge was used by their own railroad (I think it was called Monongahela Connecting Railroad) to transport molten steel between the plants.  On the south side of the bridge, the western half exits at a higher level.  I have read that this was the line that had a dangerous curve in it and lead to a higher level in the plant.


            Promotional sign for Mayor Murphy.


            The approach from the Hazelwood side.


            On the bridge!


            Pitt’s Tower of Learning in the background.


            The approach from the South Side.


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4. NRHS Bessemer & Lake Erie Museum at Greenville PA


At Greenville Pa the local National Railway Historical Society has a local chapter that has a museum exhibiting Bessemer & Lake Erie Collection.  They are open from Noon – 5PM on Saturday and Sunday From May through October.  In addition they are open Tues-Friday from the second week in June through Labor Day.


            The Greenville Area Railroad Museum.


            1913 Greenville Empire Car.


            Left side is Duluth Missabe & Iron Range # 604

            Right side is numbered Union RR 304


            Its too complicated for me.  I think my hand is on the brake.


            0-10-4 arrangement is due to URR’s short turntables.


Nine of these mamoth engines were built for the Union Railroad in 1936 by Baldwin in Philadelphia. This is the only one that wasn’t scrapped in 1960.  This engine was Union Railroad # 304, but when replaced by diesels in 1949 became Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad # 604   Both railroads along with the Bessemer and Lake Erie were owned by the U S Steel Corporation.

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