Trains.com

Pittsburgh Railways

8196 views
59 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Pittsburgh Railways
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 8:57 AM

Action around 1949 at South Hills Junction.  The car with standee-windows is a 1946 all-electric; the others pre-WWII air-electrics.

 

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 21,156 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 7:03 PM

Lived in the Pittsburgh suburb of Bethel Park from 1953 to 1955 and again for a short period of time in 1967.  The cars with a 'headlight' above the destination sign were considered 'country' cars as opposed to the 'city' cars that did not have the light. 

One house we lived in had the Castle Shannon line running at the back of the property across a small creek from the property line.  From out 2nd house I would have to walk across the Library line at the intersection of South Park Road and Brightwood Road to go to school.  In 1967 our house was on a hill above the Library line. 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 2:58 AM

When the Port Authority took over from Pittsburgh Railways, and bus conversiuons started, the single-enfd, deck-roof, lightwewight Peter Witts were the first cars to be scrapped.  But in 1949 there were many to ride. A downtown viewe:

A view from the Mt. Washington Incline:

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 3:17 AM

Most cars were citiy cars and did not have the upper headlight.

A small group of double-end deck-roof Peter-Witt lightweights did have it and provided all service on the Donorra Shuttle.

A larger group of single-end deck-roof cars provided rush-hour cutd-back service on the interurban lines, including use just as far as Castle-Shannon.

About 25 arch-roof single-end cars were country cars, had very confortable seats, inlcuding a rear-facing "observation-car" seat at the rear, and were the mainstay of the through interurbans before the standee-window post-WWII 1700-series cars arrived, of which about 25 were country cars and then provided base service on the Charleroi-Roscoe and Washington interurban lines, with the arch-roof cars still used during rush hoiurs.  I think only one of the preWWII air-electric cars was made into a country car.

The coontry cars had small pilots, "cow-catchers," instead of the life-savers of the city cars.  Also, I think the coiuntry PCCs had a modified or heavier truck, similar to what what used on the CTA "Spam-can" 6000-series rapid-trransit cars.

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 6:38 AM

Pittsburgh Railways had begun scrapping cars a long time before the 1964 PAT takeover.  The loss of the West End lines in 1959 allowed retirement of many of the earlier PCCs as well.  By the PAT takeover it was rare to find a PCC numbered lower than 1500 in service.

Pittsburg had 666 PCs, all bought new.  Except for one car in the 1600 series which was all-electric, and the postwar 1700 series all-electrics, the PCCs were air-electric.  All cars built by St. Louis Car, about 60/40 Westinghouse/GE, though most later cars had Westinghouse equipment.  Pittsburgh car 100 was the first PCC used in revenue service.

The CTA 6000s, except for 6001-6200, used Clark B2 or B3 trucks depending on whether the trucks came out from under a Pullman- or St. Louis-built streetcar.  6001-6200 had new B3 trucks.  CTA put a number of sets of experimental trucks under high-speed test cars 6127-6130 and 1-4. Car 1 still has its Clark B-20 trucks from those tests.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 2:08 PM

Then, refreshing my memory, some double-end deck-roof Peter-Witts outlasted some of the earlier PCCs!  They were needed for the miniority of lines that lacked loops at both ends.  The last line to use PeterWitts insstead of PCCs that reached downtown was the Evergreen Line, which was the route to downtown used by the Pittsburgh, Butler, and Newcastle interurban, and had a nortthern terminus with a simple crossover between the double tracks that obviously had continiiued further north.  I had forgottejn that the west-end lines were abandoned before the PAT takeover.  The conversion was forced on Pittsburgh Railways by the rebuilding of the Point Bridge with the citiy insisting no streetcar tracks.

One of the West Emd lines, Sewickly, could be considered an interurban, but was operated with city cars.

I recall the Clark trucks under the interutban 1700s as visibly different but don't know the details.

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 3:34 PM

The last of Pittsburgh's shuttle lines requiring double-ended equipment was discontinued in 1953, the 38A Mount Lebanon -Castle Shannon Shuttle.  Most of the shuttle lines were discontinued between 1950 and 1952.

The West End lines lasted until 1960, when the Point bridge was closed.

Pittsburgh "interurban" PCCs 1700-1724 had St. Louis B3 trucks, the balance of Pittsburgh's fleet had Clark B-2 trucks.

Contrary to my earlier 60/40 division between Westinghouse and GE electrical equipment each series from 1000s to 1400s had 75 westinghouse and 25 GE. 1500s had 50 WH and 15 GE, 1600 and 1700 series went back to 75/25.  100 had WH.  In each series lower numbered cars had WH gear.

Pttsburgh 1600 was the prototype all-electric car.

100 was later redesignated M-11 and used mainly as an instruction car.  The 1500 series (1500-1564) was the "short" series, all other groups having 100 cars each.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 8, 2021 9:02 AM

I now remember the 1600s.  They were a rare type, all-electrics without standee windows.  Kansas City also had all-electrics without standee-windows, and I think the ten double-end Illinois Terminal cars may also have been all-electrics.

Thanks for the truck information.  I had thought the B-3 was also a Clark product.

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Thursday, July 8, 2021 9:53 AM

daveklepper

I now remember the 1600s.  They were a rare type, all-electrics without standee windows.  Kansas City also had all-electrics without standee-windows, and I think the ten double-end Illinois Terminal cars may also have been all-electrics.

Thanks for the truck information.  I had thought the B-3 was also a Clark product.

 

Pittsburgh 1601-1654 were air-electric and looked like prewar cars.  1600 had standee windows and looked like one of the 1700s.

PCC#1600, Rt. 76 Hamilton | Digital Pitt

The B-3 was definitely a Clark design.  I think St. Louis built them under license.  

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 8, 2021 10:44 PM

Thanks for the correction and information, and it is great to have that terrific photograph.

But all the 1600s did arrive after WWII?

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 8, 2021 10:50 PM

Also, the Mt. Lebanon - Castle Shannon Shuttle was not abaondoned, but incorporated into one of the rwo major through routes still operating, I believe now double-track.  I do remember it as a single-track shuttle, but with loops at both ends, and at the end operated with a PCC car.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 9, 2021 2:41 AM

Bob Dietrich supplies the information that the three towers in earlier postings are the ventilation towers for the "Liberty Tunnels." the twin double-llane highway tinnels constructed after WWII under Mount Washington.

He has a website with lots of information about Pittsburgh Railways, South Hills Junction in particular, an all-time car roster, and many beautiful photographs of a great model railroad, mostly streetcars and inteurbans, but also with 2-ft-gauge steam with Maine prototypes, modified for coal hauling.  Recall that there was a steam coal-hauling narrow-gauge railroad at South Hills Junction, and that the via Overbrook (not the via Mt. Lebanon) route waa originlaly that steam railroad, and for many yeats was dual-gauge.

RC may wish to add and/or correct.

Some more pictures, for which RC msy wish to comment:

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 9, 2021 4:09 AM

Enjoy!

Bob dietrich's website:


http://www.dietrichsfam.com/shj/
.

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Friday, July 9, 2021 6:24 AM

The former Castle Shannon shuttle was incorporated into a rush hour extension of the 38 Mt Lebanon line.  Not long after the outer end of 38 was combined with 42 Dormont into the 42/38 so PRy did not have to do a track renewal on the inner part of 38.  This is more or less the configuration the lines were in when PAT started the light rail conversion to route 42, today's Red Line.

One of the "features" of the loops at Castle Shannon was the "mud switch", one of the reasons the 38A usually got double-ended cars.

The local service in Washington PA was operated by low-floor cars until it was discontinued, also in 1953.  Those were single-enders, since the local line had a loop at one end and a wye at the other, also used by Washington interurbans from Pittsburgh.

All of the 1600 series were delivered in 1944, including 1600.  It predated other all-electrics by a year or more.  Some of the 1600s acquired by PAT were rebuilt to all-electric and given vacant 1700 series numbers. 1600 itself was destroyed in the Homewood Barn fire in 1955.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 9, 2021 9:24 AM

You remember only the last local Washington, PA line.  There were two others in

1949, which needed double-end cars.  At one time double-enders were used n all t

hree, including the one with loops.

So the Red Line Light Rail incorporates the entire Dormont Line from P&LE Stationn on, the former Liberty Line from the Dormont Line terminal to Mt. Lebanon. and the Mt. Lebanon - Castle Shannon Shuttle with former interurban tracks from there, where the via-Overbroook line is joined.  It's all double track now, I beleive.

Two more photos:

l

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Friday, July 9, 2021 10:25 AM

daveklepper
So the Red Line Light Rail incorporates the entire Dormont Line from P&LE Stationn on, the former Liberty Line from the Dormont Li ne terminal to Mt. Lebanon. and the Mt. Lebanon - Castle Shannon Shuttle with former interurban tracks from there, where the via Overbroook line is joined.  It's all double track now, I beleive.

The Red Line now goes under Dormont in a tunnel instead of running in the street.  The Beechview segment is still street running.

The Overbrook line was built for coal by the Pittsburg Coal Co. and converted by Pittsburgh Railways to Penn gauge (though dual gauge track remained until 1916) and electrified for interurban operation in 1905.  Conversion to the Blue Line (after a long period of operation as route 47) was completed in 2002.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 11, 2021 4:44 AM

Two more, on the Charleroi ibterurbanm possibly inCharleroi itself.

The actual southern terminous was in Rosce, about six miles further south.

One  passing siding on the mostly-single-track line had the northbounf cars going through the Xharleroi Carhouse.

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, July 11, 2021 10:06 AM

Another Charleroi interurban picture:

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 12, 2021 7:24 AM

Three more:

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 12, 2021 9:20 AM

Previous posting:  1st probably in Charleroi, 2nd 3800 interurban car turning into Liberty fom Grant, downtown Pittsburgh (in front of the PRR Station), 3rd, back at South Hills Junction.

  • Member since
    December 2001
  • 854 posts
Posted by mvlandsw on Monday, July 12, 2021 3:13 PM

daveklepper

Previous posting:  1st probably in Charleroi, 2nd 3800 interurban car turning from Liberty into Grant, downtown Pittsburgh (in front of the PRR Station), 3rd, back at South Hills Junction.

 

I believe the second picture was taken from Grant looking toward Liberty. The present day Federal Building location is just off the left side of the picture. The Greyhound bus station occupied that lot until a new bus station was built next to the PRR tracks to the right of the picture.

Mark Vinski

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 2:13 AM

Thanks.  Crrected.  And two more at South Hills Junction:

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 3:34 AM

One more at South Hills Junction, for a full view of the station building:

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:23 AM

More in front of the PRR station and (I think) the north end of the Mt. Washington Tunnel at the P&LE (used by the B&O) Station.

 

 

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • 4,509 posts
Posted by rcdrye on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 5:51 PM

The north end of the Mount Washington Tunnel ducks under the PRR's Panhandle (now NS).  There was a PRR suburban station at Smithfield St.  Trolley crossed above the P&LE on Smithfield St.

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 3:25 AM

 

Right.  The P&LE station was behind me when I took the photograph.  

I did not mean to imply that the railriad bridge in the photo was P&LE.  I used the P&LE station folr B&O trains on several occasions.

The track arrabngement is quit diufferent now, since lifgt rail no loger goes over the Smithgfield Street Bridgem but uses the PRR bridge, swith thne PRR Vandalia line abandoned in this area.

More:

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 15, 2021 7:16 AM

Replacement, Mt. Washington Line photo.  Compare?

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 23, 2021 1:56 AM

From Roscoe, end of the Charleroi interurban line, toward Pittsburgh, and then the Donorra shuttle car at Denorra:

 

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 30, 2021 5:09 AM

One end of the East - West local streetcar line, Washington, PA, reached by a PCC Pittsburgh inyrturban:

  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 18,051 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Friday, July 30, 2021 8:12 AM

A small correction to an earlier posting, restoring the "40" route number to the "Mt. Washington" destination sign:

  

SUBSCRIBER & MEMBER LOGIN

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

FREE NEWSLETTER SIGNUP

Get the Classic Trains twice-monthly newsletter