• "Pittsburgh, Binghamton & Eastern RR"?

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

Moderator: bwparker1

  by salminkarkku
I've just come across a reference to this failed short line at Monroeton, which went bust in 1910 and was allegedly bought by the "Pittsburgh & Eastern". But Monroeton is a long way from the P&E I know about, which terminated at Arcadia near Cherry Tree.

Digging a bit more, I found it bought rolling stock in the latter 1900's, and allegedly briefly opened or tried to open from Troy on the NYC to Monroeton, which seems a pointless route. The ICC never had it listed as a common carrier.

Does anybody know what this company was intending to do, and what it actually did?

  by henry6
PB&E was a plan to run from Ptsbrg to Bing to somewhere along the Mohawk (possible hooking up with the D&H at Bing.). It purchased property and in some places, like from Troy to Monroeton, prepared a roadbed (connecting the PRR and LV). Track was laid near Troy and one engine purchased and put on display. Then the dream died in place. Check the Pennsylvania Lumber Railroad series books, history of the Susquehanna and NY, and other area railroad books, for maps and more information. I, in fact, have a friend whose deed in Endicott, NY reflects an easement for the PB&E on parcel parts of his properties.

  by Aa3rt
salminkarkku-As Henry6 alluded to, the history of the Pittsburg, Binghampton & Eastern can be found on pages 45-52 in the book "Story of the Susquehanna & New York" by the late Edward L. Kaseman, third edition, originally printed in 1979.

I'll try to give a brief synopsis here-the entire story of "paper railroads" and the grandiose plans of many would-be railroad builders in this area is rather complex.

Basically, the PB&E was a line that was proposed to run between Williamsport, PA and Binghamton, NY to tap the coal veins in the Loyalsock Valley that ran through Sullivan and Lycoming counties in Pennsylvania. Originally incorporated as the "Binghamton and Southern" on Feb. 21, 1903, the line was to run 20 miles south from Binghamton to the Pennsylvania/New York border and then extend another 100 miles (approximately) to Williamsport, PA, passing through Susquehanna, Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming counties in Pennsylvania.

However, the the backers hit a legal snag only a week later when they learned that a rival group had proposed a similar line, also using the same "Binghamton and Southern " name.

The group who incorporated on the 2/21/03 date thought that they could simply change the name of the railroad that would run in New York State by changing the name on the charter and filing the necessary paperwork in Albany (New York state capital).

This led to rounds of hearings, postponments and legal wrangling in early 1904, with rumors circulating that the original franchise would be purchased by either the Delaware and Hudson or the Wabash Railroad.

In early March 1904 the charter was granted in New York State to construct a line from Binghamton to Ansonia (in Tioga County, PA) by way of Towanda and Canton. (There were also coal mines in Ansonia.)

Eventually the two lines were consolidated in the spring of 1904. Some construction work was done between Canton and Powell, PA. Kaseman's book quotes a newspaper article from the Williamsport Gazette & Bulletin of September 15, 1906 stating that 1000 men were doing cutting, grading and bridge building with two bridges crossing the Schrader and Towanda creeks. (Kaseman's book also includes two photos of a narrow gauge construction locomotive pulling four-wheeled dump cars with one photo showing a steam shovel loading the aforementioned dump cars.)

At the end of February 1907, an article from the Sullivan Review states that two locomotives lettered "Pittsburg, Binghamton and Eastern" that had been sitting in Towanda were shipped off to the state of Maine when the railroad promoters could no longer pay the rent on them. However, at the same time, ties and rails were being unloaded near Canton and the railroad received its first piece of passenger rolling stock.

Later in 1907, the PB&E received six new locomotives, all from Rhode Island (Alco) Locomotive Works, three 4-6-0s (numbered 20-22) and three 2-8-0s (numbered 50-52). Seven miles of track had been laid near Canton and more near Powell.

In 1907, the United States entered a business depression and in September 1908 the PB&E was declared bankrupt. The locomotives were sold to the Bangor & Aroostook, 20-22 were renumbered 140-142 and 50-52 were renumbered 170-172. The text also states that the line had by then 30 flat cars, two cabooses, 6 box cars, two coaches and one combine. Disposition of the rolling stock was unknown.

Some dreams never die and even after the loss of the locomotives and rolling stock , the directors of the road were still insisting that it would be built! What remained of the road was sold in Towanda in December of 1910. One seven mile portion was sold to the Beech Creek Extension Railroad (the road was to also extend to the Clearfield coal region where it was to connect with the Buffalo & Susquehanna) while the portions around Canton and Powell were used for highways, saving the Pennsylvania Department Of Highways considerable money by utilizing the already existing cuts and fills.

As late as August of 1912, one of the principals involved in the PB&E organized a railroad named the "Pennsylvania and Southern" to run from Towanda to the Oregon Hill (northwest of Williamsport) coal fields. Like the PB&E, this line was never built.

  by henry6
Thanks, Art. I remember all the books, and know they are in my library at home. You got the facts out.
  by Nicolai3985
Mark Metz, one of the primary drivers behind the recent series of gatherings about the Buffalo & Susquehanna, had been doing some digging into the PB&E as well. I don't have his emails in front of me, but from our discussions and note-compiling, there seem to have been two iterations of the PB&E's plan to reach Pittsburgh. The first involved connecting with the B&S at Ansonia. On the far end of the B&S, there was talk of extending to South Bend, PA (in Armstrong County) where a large yard complex would be built to interchange with the planned Pittsburg & Northeastern. The P&N would then get traffic into the city. One could write a book - or at least a lengthy article - about this grand plan and how the B&S figured into it.

The second iteration of the PB&E's plans involved getting to Clearfield and ostensibly a BR&P connection. Mark indicated that the PB&E went as far as buying some property around Renovo (if not other places as well) and actually did some grading to the west of that place. That grading survives today on private property. I believe he also said there was a plan that showed a PB&E Renovo station that would have been built along Pennsylvania Avenue.
  by Statkowski
Between the loss of the RMS Titanic and J.P. Morgan's Corsair agreements, many grandiose railroad plans went belly up. The original PRR.NYC Cherry Tree & Dixonville RR plans were for it to continue westward from Clymer to Homer City, Pa. Its Western Branch never got beyond Sample Run Jct. a mile west of Clymer. Woulda-coulda-shooda, it's all what-if history now. Lines surveyed and staked, then nothing.
  by RussNelson
Nicolai3985 wrote: Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:22 pm Mark indicated that the PB&E went as far as buying some property around Renovo (if not other places as well) and actually did some grading to the west of that place. That grading survives today on private property.
Do you know where that grading is? I can't see it on the LIDAR.
  by Nicolai3985
Russ - I'll have to go back through my notes or even give Mark a call. I remember him describing the area, which he may have even visited on foot. It'd be just west of Renovo along the river. There wasn't much grading and I do not recall it being very extensive. But I think it was visible on the lidar...