West Penn Railways

 

People have sent me emails asking if I was going to ignore West Penn Railways. In short, the answer is no...I had to really check into them to see if they were in fact a real part of PITTSBURGH transit history. I feel that they are. If you feel otherwise, I apologize. West Penn Railways consisted of 339 miles (546 km) of railway at its peak. Some of its predecessor companies had operated as early as 1889 in the Greensburg area and 1863 in the Wheeling area. West Penn Railways Company, as a distinct corporate entity, was chartered on February 18, 1904. It operated until August 9, 1952, when its last car ran from Uniontown to Greensburg. Because much of its business was to take residents of outlying areas into the nearby towns for shopping and entertainment, its business declined with the construction of better roads and increased car ownership and use.In the country there were passing sidings at various points and a crude but effective block signal system. West Penn had some very substantial bridges crossing ravines and valleys. Also, as was typical for interurbans, stops were more frequent than for a conventional railroad, curves were tighter, and gradients (slopes) were steeper. Like most interurbans, West Penn's traction equipment was powered by overhead electric lines, and the vehicles resembled trolleys. They were larger and heavier than the typical city street car and were painted bright orange. West Penn's broad gauge single track was laid in streets in towns, but in countryside the track often ran on a right-of-way separate from roads. At some points, the West Penn's single track would reenter a road in order to use a road bridge and run not in the center but on one side.

As you can see by the map, They did in fact run around the Pittsburgh area.

 

 

Lets look at some of the Interurbans!

 

293 sitting at the Connellsville Shops.

Car 418 preparing to cross this big trestle.

710 at Whitney Siding, Latrobe.

711 between Manor and Jeanette.

Car 711 rolling through Gross Siding, on the Greeensburg - Irwin Line.

711 sits at the end of the line in downtown Irwin.

712 on bridge heading to Latrobe.

720 on Footedale trestle. West Penn was known for trestles...

720 rolling along the Uniontown/Martin Line.

724 at Dickerson Run.

728 on the Uniontown Fairchance Line.

Here's 721 at the Greensburg Terminal.

720 scooting on the trestle near Brownsville Junction.

720 on the Cob Run trestle.

711 and 712 meet at Hecla Junction.

Must be a view and a half as 730 crosses this bridge!

 

More to Come!