• PRR Low Grade East Brady-Lawsonham & mixed freight custo

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by thebishop
Question going back several decades to the PRR era: Being that the primary traffic off the Low Grade was coal from Sligo and points east moving east to Driftwood, can anyone discuss what traffic if any ran between East Brady and Lawsonham in later PRR years? Did any coal move south down the Allegheny? I'm also wondering where PRR based a local to serve what mixed freight customers there were on the line.

Thanks for any information,

The Bishop
  by 2nd trick op
From the formation of the Northern Region (Harrisburg to Buffalo and all ancillary lines) in 1956 through the creation of Penn-Cental in 1968, the Pennsy carded a six-days-a-week Revovo-(East)Brady train in each direction, usually symbolled as R-63 and R-64. I can't advise much on what went on at the west end of the line, the "Arranged Freight" schedules show no time for any point beyond Brady, but all PRR freights actually operated as extras.

Employee Timetables from that time also show an East Brady Banch from Brady to East Brady via Philipston, a "Sligo Secodary Track" from AW Block-Limit Station at Lawsonham to Sligo, and a "No 401 Secondary Track" involving a yard at Philipston. A portion of PRR trackage was rerouted by tunnel construction in this area, so it's possible that one of these represent the truncated portion of former lines. The Junction between the Low Grade Secondary and Allegheny Branch at Brady was not interlocked in 1957, but this might have changed after PRR installed CTC on the Allegheny and Chautauqua Branches c. 1960.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, who maintain our inland waterway system, used to list East Brady as the head of navigation on the Allegheny, so it's possible that a rail-to-barge transfer station existed at or near East Brady, Philipston or Sligo.

Traffic control on the Low Grade consisted of interlocking plants at Driftwood and the crossing of the B&O (BR&P) at Falls Creek, plus small Block Stations at Summerville(SU) and Reynoldsville(GH). All of them controlled at least one of the Block-Limit or Unattended Block Stations which Pennsy used on lightly-trafficked lines in a manner siimilar to today's DTC. At one of the two Block Stations, the Low Grade connected with an NYC line west to Stoneboro, Ohio, near Youngstown.

And a final memory:

In my pre-teen years in the late 1950's, my family made annual trips to Cameron County from our home in Berwick to visit relaties near Driftwood/Sinemahoning. On one of those trips the crew of the eastbound Brady Local was running out of time, so spotted the train on the siding at Keating (CT) and ran light into Renovo on the engine, whch was still steam-powered. This was one of the last times I saw steam in revenue service during my childhood.
  by railfandan
The East Brady Branch came off the Allegheny Valley at the Brady Tunnel. The first mile or so of the track is the Phillipston Yard. The remaining 3.4 miles of track shown on the 1962 track chart goes to a point about 3/4 of a mile past the bridge. There is a 1 1/4 mile double track yard through E. Brady, ending at a Frame Passenger Station, where the store now is, just north of the bridge. Several small turnouts are shown, one toward the river.

The station and track was still there when I was a kid, although I don't rememeber it being used.

There wasn't any barge cross traffic here. There was a barge loading facility across the way on the Armstrong County side of the River. I don't remember it being used much either.

The only reason to cross load here would be for freight that can't go up the river further on a barge. The AVRR stole all of that traffic in 1868/9 when the completed the line from Kittanning to Oil City. Locks weren't in then, so going up river was very seasonal until the railroad was finished. I believe that the locks went in in the 1920's or 1930's.