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Kiski Junction Railroad May 21, 2010

by Chris Guenzler

Randy and I woke up at the Caboose Motel in Titusville before we headed to Schenley, PA. We made a stop at Butler and found the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Shops.

Buffalo & Pittsburgh 3111.

Buffalo & Pittsburgh 454 and Kansas City Southern 2402.

Buffalo & Pittsburgh 1510.

Kansas City Southern 401.

Allegheny Railroad 305.

Buffalo & Pittsburgh 3302.

Views of the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Shops. From here we made our way to Schenley where today's rare mileage trip would be taking place.

The Kiski Junction Railroad Trip.

The Kiski Junction engines in front of their engine house.

Kiski Junction S-1 7135.

Kiski Junction GP-9 752.

Kiski Junction S-1 7135.

Kiski Junction Caboose 5.

A PL&E Caboose. I walked down to the shore of the Allegheny River.

The Allegheny River.

The dam on the Allegheny River.

One more of the Allegheny River. I walked back to the station to wait to board the train this morning.

Our Train

Kiski Junction GP-9 752.

The covered open air car I would be riding in on this trip.

Kiski Junction Caboose 200.

Kiski Junction Coach 1154.

Kiski Junction Caboose 4.

The rear view of our train this morning.

A Brief History Schenley to Bagdad

The branch line to Bagdad was originally part of the Pennsylvania Main Canal. In 1826 the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized the first segment of the Western Division Canal from Pittsburgh up the Allegheny River to its confluence with the Kiskiminetas River at Freeport. Coming up the Allegheny River, the canal was run along the north bank to Freeport, across the river from Schenley. The Western Division Canal extension crossed the Allegheny River and went up the Kiskiminetas and Conemaugh Rivers to Blairsville. A separate extension, Kittanning Feeder, ran 14 miles up the Allegheny River from Freeport to Kittanning. The main route was 104 miles and was fully opened in 1834. The canal employed 16 river dams, 68 locks and 16 aqueducts. The first fully loaded freight boat traveled from Johnstown to Pittsburgh in 1831. While the canal was initially successful, railroads soon replaced the canal system and the Western Division was sold to the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1857. The PRR filled the canal and built railroad tracks on the right-of-way. However with the Western Pennsylvania route already on the west bank of the Kiski River, the canal grade south of Schenley remained unused. However the railroad built 2.43 miles of track in 1889 and 2.39 more miles in 1890 to reach several coal mines. In 1952 this line was known as the Schenley Branch of the Connemaugh Division. By the October 31, 1993 in the Conrail Timetable this line was known as the Schenley Industrial Track.

Kiski Junction to Aladdin

In 1852 the Pittsburgh, Kittanning and Warren Railroad begin construction. The railroad name was changed on April 14, 1852 to the Allegheny Valley Railroad. The railroad opened to Rosston on December 11, 1855 and on to Kittannning Station on January 23, 1856. Delayed by the civil war, the railroad didn't reach Oil City until February 2, 1870. In 1900 the Pennsylvania Railroad took over the operations of the Allegheny Valley Railroad under lease changing the name of the railroad to the Buffalo and Allegheny Division extending the tracks all the way to Buffalo New York. On April 7, 1910 the Pennsylvania Railroad acquired the entire line then made improvements to the entire railroad. The West Penn after crossing the Allegheny River at Freeport crossed the former Allegheny Valley at Kiskimentos Junction. Later the name would be changed to Kiski Junction and the West Penn would become the mainline to Connemaugh. By the 1960's the importance of the Allegheny Branch from Pittsburgh to Kiski Junction had diminished. The last scheduled passenger train was part of the Pittsburgh commuter service ended on November 28, 1964. The Allegheny Branch became a secondary track and then an industrial track during the Penn Central and Conrail years. By the 1990's the Allegheny Branch was severed south of Kiski Junction. In 1992 Conrail abandoned most of the line and sold it off as a recreational trail. In 1995 the few miles of remaining track around Schenley was sold to the Kiski Junction Railroad. The Kiski Junction primarily serves the Allegheny Ludlum's Bagdad Works in Gilpin hauling scrap along the former four mile line that lines the Kiski River's Armstrong County shore. The railroad also sometimes hauls bulk chemicals for the Armstrong Terminals in Schenley Industrial Park. The railroad also runs seasonal tourist train especially fall foliage trips.

Our Trip

The train pulled into the Schenley Station and we all boarded.

We left Schenley on schedule down the track that the Kiski Junction Railroad uses for their excursions.

The park in Schenley.

View inside the covered open air car.

We leave our parked cars behind as we enjoyed the pleasures of train travel.

We crossed Schenley Road.

At Junction we turned to the left towards the ATI Allegheny Ludlum Plant.

Two views at Junction.

The view ahead of our train.

The first view of the Kiskiminetas River.

Views ahead of our train.

An old building remains.

View inside the covered open air car.

The forest.

Views as we roll through the forest.

Views of the Kiskiminetas River

The view ahead right before we stopped for a Photo Runby. A few of us went up on the ledge where the Gilpin Mine was once worked.

The views of the Kiskiminetas River from the perch at the Gilpin Mine.

The back up move. Now we would do the Photo Runby at the Gilpin Mine.

The Photo Runby. We all reboarded the train and we continued east.

View of the Kiskiminetas River.

Click here for Part 2 of this story