Eastern Regional Railroads - 1930's - 1940's
Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern Railroad
Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad


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The Pittsburg, Shawmut and Northern Railroad (PS&N) and the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad (P&S) were actually two different railroads that bore many things in common, so we show them together. They used a similar logo, both terminated in Brockway and Erie Jct. Pennsylvania, had similar names, were both nicknamed "The Shawmut Line", and they were for a short period from 1906 to 1916 linked together by a lease. They actually formed a continuous line that ran from Freeport Jct., through Kittanning, Mahoning, Brockway and Erie Jct.(P&S- 88 miles), and then from Brockway and Erie Jct. Pennsylvania through to Olean, Hornell and Wayland, New York (PS&N- 152 miles). Olean and Hornell were reached by short spur lines,(rp)
The PS&N was a Class I railroad company operating passenger and freight service on standard gauge track in central Pennsylvania and western New York. The purpose of the PS&N was to haul coal from the coal mines of Pennsylvania to the Buffalo Rochester and New York City area.(hs) The line was financially troubled for its entire life span and declared bankruptcy after just six years of operation. It would spend the remaining 42 year of its existence in receivership, one of the longest bankruptcy proceedings in American railroading history.
Coal was the principle commodity for the line during its entire existence though passenger trains and, after the late 1920's, self-propelled gas-powered passenger cars (known as "Doodlebugs") also ran on the route until they were discontinued in 1935. The line was abandoned in 1948.
The Pittsburg and Shawmut Railroad (P&S) was a spinoff from the PS&N in 1916. The separation of the two railroads was caused by the fact that the P&S southern end was making money and the PS&N northern end, the PS&N, was not. The P&S ran passenger and freight service west and south from the PS&N, along the Mahoning Creek, and west bank of the Allegheny River. The P&S and PS&N were completely separate companies after their 1916 split. The company struggled until corporate fortunes improved with the war mobilization of the 1940s. Coal was the principle commodity for the line for its entire existence. However, the P&S was a much more lucrative operation than the PS&N. The P&S handled much more coal than the PS&N since much of it originated on the P&S and was primarily handed off to the Erie at Erie Jct. The P&S also operated doodlebugs and passenger trains on the route in the early years but they had all been eliminated by 1939. Portions of the P&S remain and are part of the Buffalo and Pittsburgh, a Genesee and Wyoming company.
Both the PS&N and the P&S used the name "Pittsburg" without the "h", since that was the spelling used by Pittsburgh when both lines were organized. Subsequently, Pittsburgh returned to its old original spelling which included the h.

PS&N31
Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern - Sept. 1931
P&S31
Pittsburg & Shawmut - September 1931

Short history of the Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern Railroad and the Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad

Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern Railroad
1899 - The PS&N began life on August 2, as the merger of five small railroads in New York and Pennsylvania. 60 miles of what ultimately became the PS&N were originally 36-inch narrow gauge lines, though by the time of the PS&N's incorporation only 18 miles remained as narrow gauge. At the time of its incorporation the PS&N operated four physically disconnected divisions.
1899 - The Clarion River Railroad operated from Croyland to Halton, Pennsylvania and was leased by the PS&N on August 2, with plans to connect to the PS&N.
1905 - The expense of connecting the divisions and upgrading the physical plant to handle through coal trains coupled with the failure of the PS&N's principal bond underwriter forced the company to declare bankruptcy in 1905. The company would continue to operate in receivership until 1947.
1906 - PS&N leases P&S.
1916 - P&S lease expires and two become separate entities.
post 1916 - Only about 15% of coal originating on P&S is handled by the PS&N, the balance going via the Erie from Erie Jct.
1926 - Clarion River Railroad was sold and PS&N lease terminated.
late 20's - Gasoline powered Cars used in passenger service.
1931 - Single motor car services between; - Brockway and S. Maries, 31 miles, with connecting service to Shawmut; - St. Maries and Olean, 57 miles; - Olean and Wayland, 77 miles, with connecting cars to Hornell.
1935 - Passenger service discontinued.
1947 - PS&N emerges from receivership.
1948 - PS&N abandoned.

Pittsburh & Shawmut Railroad.
1903 - Brookville & Mahoning Railroad construction begins on line from Brockway to Freeport.
c 1903 - Name changed to Pittsburg & Shawmut Railroad to eliminate confusion with the Boston and Maine.
1906 - P&S leased by PS&N.
1906-16 - Larger "200 class" 2-8-2s of the P&S operated over the combined systems.
1916 - Lease to PS&N is terminated and the two companies become separate companies.
post 1916 - 85% of P&S oal shipments go via Erie.
1931 - P&S runs a passenger train on short stretches of it's line between; Brockway and Timblin- 46 miles, including spur to Colon; Timblin through Kittanning to Glen Irwin 37 miles and a second train between Kittanning and Glen Irwin.
late 1930's - Passenger service discontinued by 1939.
1970's - P&S began using the red Shawmut Line logo. It was identical to the old PS&N RR logo in everything but color.
1989 - The P&S acquired a ten mile section of Conrail track (Former Pennsy) running from Sligo to Lawsonham and reorganized it as the Red Bank Railroad.
1991 - On December 31, the P&S purchased about 110 miles of "low grade secondary" track from Lawsonham to Driftwood, Pennsylvania from Conrail and organized it as the Mountain Laurel Railroad.
1996 - P&S acquired by Genesee and Wyoming, but P&S name remained.
pre 2004 - Several portions of main line abandoned.
2004 - P&S absorbed into the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad, another G&W company.
post 2004 - Some other portions abandoned.
PS&Nmap
September 1931
>P&Smap
Pittsburg & Shawmut
September 1931
The P&S line is on lower left from near Freeport to Brockway and Erie Jct. The line going northward from Brockway and Erie Jct. is the PS&N.


Both the roads used the same logo, except for color differences

PS&N logo

P&S logo

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guides- 1943 & 1950
PS&N Historical Society(hs)
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 30, 2009, revised Oct 2, 2011