Western Pennsylvania Railroads

Kiski Junction Railroad

by  Carsten S. Lundsten

Updated 2005-02-15

This is an unofficial Kiski Junction Railroad railfan page, created with love to the great people running it.
Official Kiski Junction Railroad website
Email KJR directly

The KJR runs excursion trains again, check out their website


The KJR is

 A shortline RailRoad
in Schenley PA
 It is run by the Bowyers
living in their caboose
and it's running
Freight Trains
and used to run
 Excursion Trains.
and still runs
Work Trains

Since last time I was there the KJR has repainted the 7135 into a colorful red/gold/black paint scheme. Here the paint job was almost done:

A Shortline RailRoad in Schenley PA

The Kiski Junction Railroad (KJR) is a shortline located a good 45 minutes drive northeast of Pittsburgh, PA. The line is a former Pennsylvania RailRoad and later Conrail line, running about 4 miles along the Kiski River. For driving directions it's best to check the KJR's official web-site.

The KJR "lives" in Schenley PA, a small town some 5 miles from Leechburg. The KJR freight operations pull cars of scrap metal from the Allegheny Ludlum plant in Bagdad (just outside Leechburg) to a connection with Norfolk Southern railroad at Kiski Junction, just across the Kiski River from Schenley. The KJR excursion trains originate at Schenley station and runs to Bagdad and back, finishing off with the view from the bridge over Kiski River. The excursion trip takes about an hour. For excursion schedule please check KJR's official web-site.

The KJR was formed in July 1995, and took over the very run-down Conrail branch to Bagdad. Derailments were frequent due to the bad shape of the track. Today the line has spotless class 1 track as is required for running commercial passenger trains. The KJR trains are hauled by the railroad's Alco S1, number 7135. KJR is owned by Dale K. Berkley Sr.

Other railroads in the area are Pittsburgh & Shawmut (P&S) railroad and of course Norfolk Southern (NS). The P&S runs very little traffic on this part of the line. The NS has occasionally run trains on the P&S to bypass some of their own congestion. First time this meant that the NS train sat on P&S tracks outside Freeport for a whole week, waiting to get on it's home rails!

It is run by the Bowyers...

So what is so special about the KJR, and who are the Bowyers? Well, the special thing about the KJR is the Bowyers. Mary and Charlie that is. Two great people! The Bowyers live in a nicely restored caboose sitting on the KJR tracks in Schenley. Pictures below!

I first met the Bowyers some day in the summer. I had seen the KJR on the Web and wanted to find out when they were running freight. So I stopped by around noon on my way to somewhere - just to ask. And left at 9PM after shooting pictures of the excursion trains and switching and a lot of talking... And I've stopped by quite a few times since then!

The Bowyer Caboose

The Bowyer caboose was sitting next to the locomotive shed when I first came there. It has later been moved to behind the shed so that...
Mary could do her own back yard!

Freight Trains

I just happened to be around when the KJR was picking up some empties on the track beyond the Schenley yard.  And 7135 lookes great in the afternoon sun. 
4 empties are to be picked up and moved down to the station.They are to be brought to the Bagdad Plant the next day.
Rolling through the little yard in Schenley, on our way back to the Station.
And doing a little swtiching across the Schenley road crossing.
Another day, picking up loads at the Allegheny Ludlum Bagdad Plant. 
Working our way back to Schenley. Brent is the engineer today, with a train of 4 loads and a caboose.
Somewhere along the Kiski River.
The 7135 gets a good workout pulling the train up the short grade to Schenley, finishing off our day at the KJR.
And finally the loaded gons are coupled to two others, already waiting on the bridge track to be picked up by Norfolk Southern.
Have you ever had problems getting some some of your home-made model cars straight? Don't worry - the prototype seems to have even more problems!

Excursion Trains

The excursion train leaves Schenley. Note the "Schenley" sign, reporting a population of 84+2, the 2 are the Bowyers in their caboose.
Almost at the Bagdad plant, the excursion train rolls through the beautiful scenery along the Kiski River.
The excursion trip finishes off with a great view fom 40ft above the Kiski River, from KJR's 750ft long bridge.

Work Trains

Well - train or train - maybe a little exaggerated for a "speeder"... Anyways, I found Charlie working on the junction switch.
Ever wondered how a speeder is turned around? I had, but, of course, I'm from waaaay out of town... By the way, this is the end of the line, a few hundred yards beyond the Bagdad Plant.
A speeder is really a great way to inspect the track. One feels kinda close to it.... A lot of fun to ride...!
Mary and Brent adjusting ties.