Photographs & History

Photographs and History

McKeesport Connecting Railroad

Interior view, heavy repair and machine shop of the former McKeesport Connecting Railroad.

Interior view, heavy repair and machine shop of the former McKeesport Connecting Railroad.

MCKCon_RR

Not far off the beaten path of the PRR, in the steel producing areas around Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River Valley, was a small industrial railroad that was incorporated in 1889 to build and  service the McKeesport - Port Perry line that was held under capitol stock by the National Tube Works of New Jersey. The railroad was a terminal company who's primary role was to support operations of its owner's mill and make outside connections to the B&O, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie, Union Railroad, Bessemer and Lake Erie and PRR. Transferred to US steel in 1942 and later, outside contractor Transtar Inc, the company became part of the larger Union Railroad conglomerate that still serves predecessor Camp Hill Corporation making pipe with materials supplied from the US Steel Irvin and Gary works for both the water and gas industry. In addition the Union Railroad still serves the region's remaining coke production facilities in Clairton, the sprawling Edgar Thompson Works in Braddock, and finishing mills in Irvin with interchange to all major class one railroads in the region.While the Union Railroad has consolidated maintenance facilities to the Monroeville area shop complex, the original 1906 McKeesport Connecting RR shop and roundhouse still stand in the company's namesake town, open to the elements and quietly rusting away, another relic of steam era architecture that could be lost in time.

Detail of equipment bins in the former roundhouse area which appears to last be used for car repair, tool, and parts storage.

Detail of equipment bins in the former roundhouse area which appears to last be used for car repair, tool, and parts storage.

Wills Creek on the Baltimore and Ohio

Former Baltimore and Ohio Mainline crossing of Wills Creek, Fairhope Pennsylvania, 2007  .

Former Baltimore and Ohio Mainline crossing of Wills Creek, Fairhope Pennsylvania, 2007.

It's a new year and we are on the beautiful property of Earl and Shirley Cummings of the "Second Best Place" a beautiful A frame cabin in Central Southern Pennsylvania along the former B&O mainline from Cumberland to Pittsburgh. Although its not nearly as busy as the former PRR route to the North, the scenery is breathtaking, rugged, and virtually unspoiled. This is no doubt one of the best places to watch trains, reconnect with nature, hike, fish, or simply unplug from the wired world. My family tries to visit once a year for a long weekend of kids playing in the open field and running to the tracks when the next train approaches.