Western Pennsylvanian Railroads

CSX Transportation

by Carsten S. Lundsten
  Created 2005-05-21

This is an unofficial CSX Transportation railfan page, not affiliated with the CSX Transportation.
The official  CSX Transportation website is here.


For years I've wanted to expand my Western Pennsylvania Railfan's page with the two major railroads, the Norfolk Southern (NS) and the CSX. Rescanning and organizing the photos, while also shooting newer material, has turned out to be a long proces. So for now this page will simply feature my better CSX photos from around Western Pennsylvania, without any particular order of location and/or time. For a current overview of all Pittsburgh's railroads, including the CSX, please see this map .

Around Pittsburgh

This was just around the time of the CSX/NS split of Conrail. After a lot of waiting this eastbound came crossing the Youghiogheny River in McKeesport. The track to the left is the Mon Subdivision to Brownsville PA and the southwestern coalfields on the former Monongahela Railway.
An early weekend morning in the late summer of 1999 I went to see what could be done with the CSX crossing of the Youghiogheny River at Versailles. The water in the river was quite low, allowing this shot of a westbound without getting my feet wet.
A while later an eastbound came across the bridge.
Jumping to the Mon Subdivision, and to the early summer of 2000. We're at Elizabeth, which features a short stretch of street running. The coal train carries loads from the southwestern coalfields, and is headed north towards Pittsburgh.
June 2000 at Laughlin Jct. The train is one of the few daily trains on the P&W Subdivision, entering the west end of Glenwood Yard.

Today Glenwood Yard is leased to the Allegheny Valley Railroad and so is the southern part of the P&W. CSX still operates the few miles of the P&W from Braddock to CP Fields (near Downtown) for interchange with the NS. Amtrak's Capitol Limited also operates over this section of the P&W.
This shot turned out to be special for a different reason than I originally thought. I thought the caboose in C&O colors was a scoop, but 5 years later it's still around! But the photo is from the Heinz plant on River Ave on the North Side. The branch is now abandoned, and from the STB filings is seems this may have been the last cars going into the plant. June 2000.
A little later, near the end of the branch. It's getting dark and it's raining quite heavily. My camera almost gave up, but with a little luck I did manage to suck enough light onto the Kodachrome.
In mid September 2001 I  was on vacation in Pittsburgh. I caught this beat-up old GE leading a westbound across the Monongahela River at the Riverfront Park in Homestead. Interestingly the 2nd unit was still in its Seaboard colors, but it was in much better shape than the leader.
Same bridge, and also a westbound. October 2003.
Same day, a couple of miles away, overlooking Braddock. This westbound is just about to enter the single track towards Homestead and South Side. October 2003.
About a week later I was railfanning with J. Alex Lang. We caught this eastbound entering Riverton interlocking, while a work train waits to follow.
Not long after, McKeesport interlocking was lined for a coal train from the Mon Sub.The coal train works hard, and its lead SD70MAC does its very best to impersonate the GE that is the standard power for these trains... A short mixed freight is stopped on #1 Main to let the coal train cross over at Riverton.

  Sand Patch Grade

Sand Patch Grade is always a great place to visit. Scenic beauty and quite a bit of traffic. This shot is one of my very first slides, from May 1999, and caught an eastbound climbing the grade just below Sand Patch.
This is the Sand Patch Grade at its best, in mid October 1999 when the fall colors were at their peak. This westbound is climbing past Foley.
Almost exactly 4 years later, in mid Octover 2003. After 5 hours of trainless wait (trackwork I'd guess) a fleet of westbounds finally came. Unfortunately the clouds came before the train. The fall colors were noticably less vivid than in 1999.
On the west slope of Sand Patch grade is the town of Meyersdale, and just west of there Salisbury Jct. At Salisbury Jct a little used branch diverges to a neat little coal loadout. Unfortunately it only sees very sporadic service.

For some reason this photo freaks out my scanner. It's a nicely colored and lit afternoon shot, but the scanner goes crazy and this is the best I could twist it. I still thought the location deserved to be included. October 2003.
A good 10 miles west is Rockwood. At Rockwood the S&C Sub branches north to Johnstown (more about that below). Here is the S&C connection that wye's into the main that runs along the depot. A worktrain is getting ready for work. October 2003.
Going east again, Garrett is somewhat in the middle between Rockwood and Meyersdale. After another long break in traffic for trackwork I caught this westbound by the (then) new signals at Garrett. October 2003.
And further east, a mixed freight with lease power is seen climbing the last vertical feet towards Sand Patch Summit.

The coalfields on the former Monongahela Railway

Moving on to the coalfields of southwestern Pennsylvania, well strictly this is just a mile or two into West Virginia. This freshly loaded coal train heads north on the Miracle Run Branch in early October 1999.
A few miles to the north the train is about to enter the wye and head onto the Waynesburg Southern Branch.
A CSX coal train traverses the wye in West Brownsville, just about to enter the street trackage in town. October 2003.
October 13th, 2003, I spent on the former Monongahela Railway. This train of empties enters the Wana Industrial Track to go to Blacksville no. 2 mine for loading.
A few minutes later the train approaches the loadout. The near track is the other end of the balloon track. This 125 car train will need almost the full length.
After a long wait the train starts to load.
The train loads, but apparently there were technical problems and the loading only progressed very slowly.
A closer look at the same scene while the train sat still once again. I decided to leave and then keep an ear on the scanner for the train's return later in the day.
By the end of the day the train was finally heading back towards CSX rails. I caught it in the late afternoon coming out of White Cottage Tunnel

The S&C Subdivision

In October 2003 I attempted to railfan the S&C Sub between Rockwood and Johnstown. The weather was gloomy and though the rain was not heavy it was constant. First shot of the morning was at Somerset, no sight of the train. I had been lazy enough to hope to be able to find the train by checking the rust on the rails, but in this weather that was no help at all...
I had seen the train sit ready at Rockwood the previous day but next morning it was gone. Despite a trip to Johnstown I couldn't find it. It had obviously been in Johnstown but eventually I decided to play it safe and return to Somerset. There I simply sat and waited. And finally the train came - the rain still falling...
The train had some work to do in Somerset.

As much as the rain makes the photographer miserable, it's great for the moody shots...
The train eventually departed from the little yard in Somerset.
Approaching Rockwood
And finally arriving at Rockwood, finishing the day's work.