"Sand Patch: Part 3 - West Keystone " is our 8th video following the Old B&O Railroad and it surveys another historic riverside track by following first the Youghiogheny River then the Monongahela River to Pitteburgh, Pennsylvania. Here's a area without too much coverage over the years as the Pittsburgh and Connellsville, then the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie then the Baltimore & Ohio toiled in obscurity carying freight, coke and steel.
This video takes you through the rest of the Keystone Subdivision, then continues into the Pittsburgh Subdivision. From Connellsville, we follow a fairly level river route through towns and communities very much in transition from the very heavy mining and industrialized region of days gone by. There are plenty of artifacts of that rich industrial heritage as well as evidence of the huge struggle for the area to reinvent itself. We visit the sites of one of the early Southwestern Pennsylvania bourbon distilleries in Broad Ford, then the home of the early coke industry near Dawson. We pass near old deep coal and strip mines sites as well. We reach the end of the Keystone Subdivision just after crossing the Youghiogheny River for the first time in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
At "Sinns Interlocking" and the old Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Signals we enter the Pittsburgh Subdivision. After crossing the "Yough" again, near its mouth at the Monongahela River, we reach the heavily populated area South of Pittsburgh. Here we continue our travel through the remnants of the huge American steel industry along the banks of the "Monon." Travel slows a bit and becomes more congested as the old railroad joins a couple of additional old railroads. The Baltimore and Ohio bought all the assets of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie in 1991 and 1992, and moved to those tracks to escape the congestion and street crossings in McKeesport, Braddock, Glenwood and Pittsburgh. Now passing through remnants of huge switching yards, we come to the last blast furnace in the Pittsburgh area at The Edgar Thompson Plant of U S Steel in Braddock, PA. After leaving Demmlar Signals, we snake through what's left of Braddock and settle at Braddock Signal where the Pittsburgh and Western Subdivision joins the P&LE or Pittsburgh Subdivison under the Rankin Bridge. The railroad runs as a single track from here to pass through the Jones & Laughlin Tunnel in South Pittsburgh. At the West end of the tunnel it splits back into double track.
We end this video at the CSX Pittsburgh Signal across from Point State Park at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers. The area was once laced with tracks of numerous parallel railroads. At Port Perry, near the eastern edge of Braddock, tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio, Union Railroad (U S Steel) and Pennsylvania & Lake Erie all came through. The PRR became Conrail, now Norfolk & Southern. The B&O and P&LE are now the CSX Railroad. Some of those railroad beds are now turning into biking and jogging paths, while the survivors consolidate along historic rail corridors that carried the raw materials and products for a once huge steel industry. Remnants of that industry can be seen in this video. You will also see lots of unusual power lash-ups as well as Amtrak's Capitol Limited.
As always, we use U.S. Geological Survey Maps to help you understand where the tracks run. We continue our work to bring you the mighty rumble and awesome sounds of mountain railroading. Trains this time tilt towards auto racks and intermodels, but you'll also get nice doses of Amtrak's Capitol Limited. Mixed freights, coal drags and special trains also appear. We also managed to bring you trains in all four seasons of the year, with some very nice winter scenes.
There's even a short DVD bonus featuring The Duquesne Inclined Plane Railroad still carrying passengers up and down the North Face of Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh. The incline is a wonderful old 130 plus people mover that looks pretty much as it has for all of it's years of service. The Incline is also a wonderful story of survival against the ravages of modernization as it went bankrupt in 1962 and had to be saved by the folks up on the hill who used it daily for commuting into Pittsburgh.
By now, we hope you've come to understand that we at Blue Ridge Productions spend whatever time and effort necessary to bring you the very best in railfan videos. We keep making trips until we can comfortably present you with a stunning mix of trains, weather and scenery. We also tried to find you artifacts of the old Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad to help tell the story of the B&O and later CSX through this stunning mountain scenery.