LATROBE PA RAILFAN

RAILFAN GUIDE

 

As you may be aware, The Latrobe PA Railfan has relocated to Greensburg, PA. As a result I have become interested in the activities of Conrail to the west of Latrobe and am expanding my horizons. As a farewell tribute to Conrail we present the following guide covering points from New Florence, PA to East Pittsburgh, PA. It is our hope that it will help you get out there and get some shots before Big Blue becomes just a memory.

 

Jeanette, PA

From the Pennsylvania Turnpike take U.S. 30 east to the 4th red light, turn left on Lowry Ave. (EatnPark on the corner). As you come into town you will make a curve to the left then turn right onto 4th St. 4th St goes under the Conrail tracks. Then make a left to the red light at the top of the hill and turn left. Turn left again before crossing a bridge over the tracks and you can get a nice shot of westbounds from the alley. (Afternoon sun is the best) The picture below is an example of the view from this spot. (Unfortunatly we caught the red light and missed the headend.)

 

A fine place to eat is Persichetti's on the south side of the tracks at 3rd st. They have a table in the non-smoking section with a view of the tracks. Route 30 west of the Turnpike has several independent motels and a wide variety of chain restaurants.

 

To follow the tracks west use the local roads on the south side of the tracks through Penn and Manor to Irwin. From Irwin follow PA RT 993 to Trafford then take PA 130 west through Pitcairn. You will find several photo opportunity's along the way. After passing Pitcairn turn left on a bridge just before route 130 becomes a divided highway. This bridge affords excellent views of the Conrail Pittsburgh Intermodal Terminal as seen below. There is a sidewalk and a concrete guide rail that you may sit on. An excellent spot!

 

While I was in the area I discovered a railfan's paradise. A spot where you can see double stacks leaving the mainline and heading toward the Port Perry bridge, also see the mainline action curving under the Union Railroad at Bessemer Jct. From the Wall bridge turn right and head into Wilmerding. Go straight through Wilmerding and up the hill. At the end of the road, turn right onto Greensburg Pike. Head on down the hill, but turn left before crossing the bridge over the tracks. Follow that street out to its end at East Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd. Turn right then make the next right. Just before the street you are on passes beneath E.Pgh-Mckeesport Blvd. Stop and look to the right beneath the George Westinghouse bridge!

Be advised that the neighbors will be as interested in you (visitors are rare) as you are in Conrail. We were approached by a youngster on his bike who inquired "what ya doin here?" When we told him we were waiting for a train to take a picture he said "It will be here in a minute" and left us. Sure enough the mixed freight below led by Conrail 6089 showed up in about a minute.

 

Just to the east of Jeannette is CP-RAD where the South Western Pennsylvania R.R. interchanges with Conrail. The easiest access is from Route 30. Westbound from Greensburg turn right at the first redlight after the Rt 30 bypass.

Eastbound after crossing over Toll Road PA66 (Hutchison bypass) it is the 4th or 5th light. (Past Denny's on the right) Turn left onto S. Greengate Rd immediately after crossing the bridge over the S.W.P.

Going down S.Greengate Rd the S.W.P. track is on your left. After you go under the Conrail tracks make the first left and you will find some opportunity's here. The picture below of Conrail / NS 8309 with an eastbound was taken as it passed under the PA 66 tollroad. (If you continue straight ahead to Grapeville you can make a jog to the left, then after crossing a siding make a left up the hill and you will have found the back way into Jeanette.) Be careful the streets are narrow.

 

There are very few railfan spots in Greensburg, other than at the station. The station is about 2 blocks west of the County Courthouse which is on Main St just north of Otterman St.

East of town turn off of Rt 30 at the red light in front of Westmoreland Mall then bear right at the second opportunity on Donohue Rd. Go about a mile (through one traffic signal) to a stop sign and turn left on Luxur Road. Just a short way down the road you will cross over the Conrail Line.

These pushers were westbound heading into a bright sun. The only train we saw after an hours wait, we settled for them and headed home.

 

 

Turn around and return to the stop sign and turn left on Donahue Road.

When you see a sign for Twin Lakes park on your left the Conrail Line is visible (depending on the density of the foilage) on the left until you cross the tracks. After crossing the tracks make the next right on Buffenmyer Rd then right again to cross the tracks on a small bridge. From here to Latrobe this road follows the right of way fairly close. It goes under the tracks a short distance later then coming into Latrobe it crosses under the tracks again. Keep your eye out for a place where a road intersects to the right and goes under the tracks. This is the location of an old station "Beatty" I think it was a point farmers brought their goods to be shipped. Mr Adams the agent of this little way point became a philanthropist in his later years and bequeathed a substantial sum to start the Latrobe Library.

When you get to the red light in Latrobe turn left. An excellent vantage point is on the bridge over the Loyalhanna Creek. Also the station is a popular spot. It is located on Depot Street between Alexandria and Ligoneer Sts. Between Alexandria and Grant Street there is an alley that runs right alongside the tracks.

A fine dining establishment is DiSalvo's Station located in the restored Latrobe PA PRR Station. You can hear the trains pass above you while you eat.

 

From Latrobe go north on PA 981 to the first redlight outside of town. When PA 981 turns left, go straight ahead until you come to a stop sign at a "T". Turn left on PA 217 and head into Derry. There is trackside access in the area underneath the bridge. Derry was a major yard and center of operations for the PRR. Conrail 6573 pictured below was waiting for Amtrak to clear the Latrobe Station.

From Derry proceed north on PA217 (the tracks are on your right) to Hillside. Then follow local roads across the tracks and on the right side of the tracks to Gray Station. From Gray Station cross the tracks and take the local road out to PA 217. Go north on 217 to the Torrance Hospital sign. (not far...about the second right) Turn right at go into Torrance PA. Also known as CP-PAK This is the spot where many pushers from Pittsburgh cut off and head back light. I thought I had a beautiful shot of NS 9163 passing milepost 300 at Torrance, but when I checked my camera after getting the second shot below, I found I had missed the "perfect picture" Below NS 9163 leads a mixed freight west as it prepares to pass under the Torrance Rd bridge. Just around the curve is CP-PAK.

It is somewhat of a letdown that the last picture of a goodbye to Conrail page should feature black and white NS locomotives.  Goodbye "Big Blue", thanks for the memories.

 

Bolivar Pa is the next point. It is just west of CP-CONPITT where the Conemaugh Division splits to head into Pittsburgh via Saltsburg and Tarentum.

To get to Bolivar return to PA 217 and turn north into Blairsville. Go east on US 22 to PA 259. Go south on 259 into Bolivar. After crossing under the tracks turn left to get trackside.

 

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