Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad
Historical Society

Dedicated to the preservation of materials regarding the
Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad,
its predecessors, subsidiaries and affiliates.


Last Updated
July 24, 2013

About Us

PLERRHS Goals and Objectives
Board Of Directors, Officers and Officials
Standing Committees

PLERRHS News-Notes Archive
December 25, 2004 News-Notes #2
October 25, 2004 News-Notes #1

Events Archive
November 27, 2012 Update
July 26, 2012 Update
November 27, 2011 Update
July 28, 2011 Update
March 22, 2011 Update
July 7, 2010 Update
April 3, 2009 Update
December 23, 2008 Update
March 8, 2008 Update
June 30, 2007 Update
June 19, 2007 Update
September 29, 2006 Update
March 20, 2006 Update
December 24, 2005 Update
August 26, 2005 Update
February 5, 2005 Update
January 10, 2005 Update
December 23, 2004 Update
December 13, 2004 Update
December 5, 2004 Update

Goals and Objectives
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Our Goals
The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society (PLERRHS) has two goals.  The first is the preservation of materials concerning the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE), its predecessors, subsidiaries, and affiliated railroads.  The second is to provide accessibility of those materials to anyone interested in learning more about the "The Little Giant".

The Reason
Until now there has been no official organization dedicated to the objectives presented above. Currently there are some loosely organized employee organizations, and a few forums on the web.  We are the first group dedicated to preserving the history of the P&LE.

The Present
The PLERRHS is a non-profit corporation within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The PLERRHS currently has 501-C-3 status pending from the Internal Revenue Service.

Immediate Objectives
The PLERRHS has three immediate objectives.  The first is a membership drive to provide a strong base from which we can begin programs to preserve and protect the history of the P&LE.  The second is to provide the membership with a quarterly newsletter focusing on the P&LE's history and modeling potential, and to keep the membership informed of the PLERRHS preservation efforts.  The last is to continue to expand this website, so that we may provide anyone interested in the P&LE with a source of modeling and historical information, and promote the PLERRHS by attracting potential members.

Future Objectives
Develop the PLERRHS to be an asset to historians, former employees and their families, modelers interested in the P&LE, and other institutions that are repositories for the history of railroads and the industries that they served.



Board of Directors, Officers and Officials
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Board of Directors
3 Year Term
~Vacant~
Joe Sparico
Ken Izzo
2 Year Term
Frank Stingone
Larry Kline
Matt Adams
1 Year Term
Steve Rague
Paul Damon
~Vacant~
Officers and Officials
Officers
Frank Stingone - President
Larry Kline- Vice President
Derrick Brashear - Secretary
Frank Stingone - Treasurer

Dave Aitken - At Large
John Carnprobst - At Large
Dominique Gallou - At Large
Steve Raque - At Large
Joe Sparico - At Large
Officials
Ken Izzo - Webmaster
Paul Damon - TLG Editor
Frank Stingone - Company Store
Larry Kline - Historical Interviewer
Committee Chairs
Historical - Paul Damon
Modeling - Steve Raque
Communications - ~Vacant~
Magazine - ~Vacant~
Events - ~Vacant~
Company Store - Frank Stingone


Standing Committees
Top One of the goals of the PLERRHS is to provide information about the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie RR, and it's subsidiary lines.  We have formed several committees to gather information and organize it to provide the historian and the modeler with accurate data about all aspects of the railroads.

Historical Committee
This committee will document all aspects of the P&LE, including, but not limited to, locomotives, rolling stock, structures, train operations, train consists, schedules, and personnel.  If you would like to serve on this committee, or you have any historic and/or unique documents or photographs that you would like to share, or would like to participate in our Living History program, please contact us here: PLERRHS Historical Committee

Modeling Committee
This committee will review existing models for accuracy and develop articles dealing with the faithful recreation of the P&LE in miniature.  If you would like to serve on this committee, have a review of an available product you would like to submit, would like to share techniques for modeling structures and rolling stock, or share details of your home layout, please contact us here: PLERRHS Modeling Committee

Communications Committee
This committee will develop the website and act as the public relations department of the PLERRHS.  If you would like to help serve on this committee, donate digital images such as photos, scans of timetables and other related documents, or have suggestions for the website, please contact us here:PLERRHS Communications Committee

Magazine Committee
This committee will produce the quarterly Magazine, "The Little Giant".  If you would like to serve on this committee, please contact us here: PLERRHS Magazine Committee

Events Committee
This committee will organize special events for the PLERRHS and schedule our participation in other events that are railroad or model related.   If you would like to serve on this committee, or would like to inform this committee of an upcoming event, please contact us here: PLERRHS Events Committee

Company Store Committee
This committee will acquire products to be sold in our online store.  If you would like to serve on this committee, or have a product that you would like to be considered for our store, please contact us here: PLERRHS Online Store Committee


PLERRHS News-Notes Archive
  The PLERRHS News-Notes is an electronic newsletter sent to the society membership on a monthly basis. All we require is that any member give us a valid email address. This page will serve as an archive of past News-Notes.
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December 25, 2004 PLERRHS News-Notes #2

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. A Message from the President
2. Lead Articles in Vol. 1 No. 4 of THE LITTLE GIANT
3. Help in Locating an Ex-Employee
4. Post Gazette Article
5. The NEW Society Website
6. Articles for THE LITTLE GIANT
__________________________________________________
1. A Message from the President
Having been on the Board of Directors since the beginning, I have seen and learned some amazing things about the P&LE. This is especially true considering my only purpose for signing on to start the society in the first place was to create a place for the preservation of MY favorite road, a subsidiary of the P&LE/PRR, the PC&Y. Over the last year or so, I grew to love exploring the complex tapestry that was the P&LE, and ALL of its subs, and its essential contribution to the building of the industrial giant that is Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, with all the joy, also comes frustration. One of the biggest being that there is so much material & information out there that I and the rest of the Board will never live long enough to process it all, and still feed our families. So much has been lost already. We are losing more everyday. In order to just keep up, THE SOCIETY NEEDS YOUR HELP. There is so much that needs done! Locations need to be documented, buildings need to be photographed, oral histories need to be recorded, records need to be transcribed, documents need to be preserved, & numbers need to be crunched.

There are many ways you can help preserve the heritage of the P&LE. If you are near an ex- system station or depot or mine tipple or piece of equipment or whatever, photograph it in detail - NOW! If you are a veteran of the P&LE, write down what you remember. If you know an ex- railroader, talk to him and write down or record what he says (but before you do, be sure to let us know so that we can supply you with the necessary release forms). If you have maps or plans of anything along the system, we can get them copied at little or no cost to you. How about having your photos scanned or scanning them yourself? Please let us know beforehand, though, so that we can inform you of the proper size and format for best results. Copy old employee newsletters, timetables or any other interesting documents and send them along. How about writing an article about your favorite facet of the P&LE or maybe prodding someone else who you believe should write an article about it. Even if its about one engine, a freight car, a building, a signal bridge or a particularly good model of one. Every little bit helps.

In addition, thanks to the excellent responses to our member survey a few month ago, we have identified several P&LE veterans who would consent to be interviewed and many other members who either have resources to share or are willing to write articles for the magazine. We don't, however, have the manpower to follow up with them all. The Society can use the help of some motivated individuals who have the time and inclination to contact these people and expedite their contributions to our pool of knowledge. If this sounds like something that you might be interested in doing, please contact me at president@plerrhs.org. In any event, let the society know what's going on and we will try our best to help and get that information out. After all, its YOUR society. It lives or dies by your contribution, whether it be information, time, effort or money.
Frank Stingone
President - P&LE Railroad Historical Society
__________________________________________________
2. Lead Articles in Vol. 1 No. 4 of THE LITTLE GIANT

This issue of the TLG is being printed as this News-Notes is being issued, and should be ready for mailing by about January 1st. The following are abstracts of the 3 lead articles.

Connellsville's P. McK.&Y. Stations - by: Paul Damon

With passenger Rail service at Connellsville, PA in an almost constant state of growth during the late 1800's and early 1900's, the Pittsburgh, McKeesport & Youghiogheny Railroad and later the P&LE, responded with no less than three stations to serve the public's needs. Author and historian, Paul Damon, looks at each of these stations in detail, examining their construction, location and use during this height of the rail-passenger travel era.

UP's ex-P&LE MP15DCs - by: Joe Sparico
By the mid-1980's, motive power requirements for the P&LE had changed considerably. This was due primarily to the collapse of the steel industry and the opening of new on-line coal fields. To compensate for this change, the P&LE entered into a three-way agreement with the Union Pacific and Conrail. Part of that deal was to provide the Union Pacific with excess P&LE MP15DCs. Joe Sparico provides us with a look at those units at home, on their trip west and working for their new owner. See them various paint schemes and get a complete renumbering roster of those units which the Union Pacific acquired.

Kit-bashing an H9 Mikado (Part 1) - by: Dave Wilson
In this first of a two-part series, Dave Wilson shows us how he has transformed an HO-scale Mantua brass model into a classy P&LE Class H9 Mikado. The highly detail descriptions of his techniques, coupled with his drawings of custom made parts make his project's article a must-read for any avid modeler. Several action shots of H9s in their hey-day are also included. Dave's second installment in the next issue of TLG will conclude with scratch-building the tender and painting the entire engine. It will also include a complete parts list used in both issues and extra added bonus images and drawings.
_________________________________________________

3. Help in Locating an Ex-Employee

Does anyone know a Warren Mayfield, who I believe lives somewhere in Elizabeth Township in southern Allegheny County, PA.. I would like to contact him. He is reportedly a railroad modeler and enthusiast, and possibly also an ex-P&LE employee. If you know how to contact him, please let me know. Paul Damon at paulsr@paul-n-paul.com.
__________________________________________________

4. Post Gazette Article

On 7/21/2003 Pittsburgh Post Gazette had an article on the Yough River Trail, formerly the P&LE Railroad line between McKeesport and Connellsville. Discusses their issues in obtaining funding for maintaining the Trail. It can be viewed at
http://www.post-gazette.com/localnews/20030721trailreg2p2.asp
___________________________________________________

5. The NEW Society Website

Our Society website at www.plerrhs.org has been completely overhauled. Please visit. This is still an on-going project according to our Webmaster, with more changes and additions coming in the next several months.
____________________________________________________

6. Articles for THE LITTLE GIANT

The Little Giant, our Society magazine, could use a few good men and women. What do you remember about the P&LE, or any of its parts? What interests you the most in thinking back to the good old days? Did you live next to the tracks, or go through the stations to ride the trains, or view the engines snaking their way down the tracks? I remember my father entering the Smithfield Street station every several weeks to take the overnight sleeper to Washington DC. We would drive him there, and later pick him up. Why not contact our editor, Vince Skibo, and let him know. Why not write something for Vince about your interests, or your memories. Not a good writer??? "Never fear, Vince is near". He can help you. Contact Vince through our website at www.plerrhs.org and let him know.



Paul Damon, Vice President
P&LE Railroad Historical Society

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October 25, 2004 PLERRHS News-Notes #1

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Status of the Society and the Publications
2. Society Website www.plerrhs.org
3. Society Board of Directors
4. Request for Archival Resource Information

____________________________________________________
1. Status of the Society and the Publications

The P&LE Railroad Historical Society is alive and kicking, if not a fair-piece behind in their publications. This current News-Notes is the first issue of what will hopefully be an informative news-in-brief about the Society. We will be issuing a wide variety of information about the Society and its miriad of activities in the coming weeks and months.

About our publication, THE LITTLE GIANT. As all of you who may be members of the Society are aware, we are significantly behind in the publishing schedule. Our best estimate is near the end of the year for the next issue. Be assured that all of you who joined over a year ago are still full members, and will be until the fourth issue is published. At this point, we will be asking for membership renewals. Those of you who joined during the past year and a half, your membership will not expire until you have received 4 full issues.

The difficulty with the publication is one of time. Many of you may know that our editor, who has devoted countless hours to publishing the first 3 issues, is a railroad engineer, traveling between New Castle and points west. For the past 6 months or so, he has had a killer schedule that has cut significantly into his personal time, and the time that can be devoted to the publication. Several other members are actively trying to help with the preliminary work, but the "buck" stops with him. Unless we could find someone else with a broad knowledge of the computer programs he utilizes and an intimate knowledge in printing and layout technology, it is not possible to aid his efforts in the final layout, which is what takes so much time. His efforts result in a quality publication printed at a cost lower than to be expected considering the quality.

We prefer not to compromise quality at the expense of schedule. Any group can issue an informal mimeographed and stapled set of sheets. We are proud of the other direction we have taken, but are suffering the delays as a result. We have a top-notch magazine publication to present to the membership.

To those of you who are not members, have you seen one of our issues?
_____________________________________________
2. Society Website

Have you visited our Website recently? www.plerrhs.org We are scrapping the format of the entire site, and starting afresh with a much simpler means of navigating through the site. You will shortly be seeing these changes, as Ken, our webmaster, completes his efforts.

_____________________________________________
3. Society Board of Directors

The first elected Society Board consists of the following persons

Frank Stingone - President, Membership Chair, and Society Store
Paul Damon - Vice President and Historical Committee Chair
Steve Raque - Secretary
Joe Sparico - Treasurer and Asst. to other Committees
Vinson F. Skibo - Editor
Ken Izzo - Webmaster
Larry Kline - Historical Interviewer
Matt Adams - Member-at-Large

_______________________________________________
4. Request for Archival Resource Information

Larry Kline is trying to gather information as to "Who Has What". That is, where are the historical resources for the P&LE Railroad. Not only documents, but photographs, etc. Obviously, the University of Pittsburgh has the major collection, but many resources are likely available in individual collections. If you would be willing to share the knowledge that could result from what you have in your collections, please make him aware of it. You can contact him through the website. Another of Larry's objectives being actively pursued is interviewing ex-employees of the railroad. Many of their stories will be printed in future issues of The Little Giant

________________________________________________
Prepared by Paul Damon, Vice-President, PLERRHS



Events Archive
Top The Events Archive contains information that was previously on the site Home Page.
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November 28, 2012
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a 48 page double issue and is available now.

Leading off this issue of The Little Giant is a history of the Allegheny and South Side Railway by Derrick Brashear. The A&SS was a Pittsburgh switching line that served the industries on the south side of the Monongahela River, between 3rd Street and 21st Street. Photos from the University of Pittsburgh Archives Service Center illustrate most of the A&SS locomotive roster and the industries that the railway served. Also included are 1917 and 1948 maps of the railway.

Dan Piesik tells the tale of Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad boxcar 36271. The boxcar was acquired by the railroad in September, 1929 and carried freight until it was written out in April 1964. The boxcar was sold to Perryopolis Feed and Supply and used for many years for storage. In June 2010 the boxcar was restored and moved to the Boston Trail head on the Youghiogheny River Trail by the Mon Yough Trail Council.

Every Fall in Western Pennsylvania football becomes the focus of nearly every Pittsburgh resident. Kevin Tomasic provides an interesting photo essay that follows a waybill handoff between P&LE and Conrail conductors that honors the best football traditions.

We hope you enjoy this issue of The Little Giant.

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July 26, 2012
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a 48 page double issue and is available now.

As freight cars became not only longer but also taller, railroads sought ways to allow it's rear end crews better ways to monitor their train and to provide them with a safer, more comfortable environment to work in. In 1950, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroad began a program to replace it's traditional cupola cabooses with bay window cabooses. This issue covers both series of bay window cabooses acquired by the P&LE. The first series, numbers 500 through 509, were built by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad at the McKees Rocks shops between October 1950 and January 1951. The second series, numbers 510 through 519, were built by the International Car Company for the P&LE.

There are as-built photos of the exterior and interior of both car series, and numerous color photos that show the variety of paint schemes applied to the cabooses during their service with the railroad. There is also a "day in the life" series of interior photos showing the clothes, papers and equipment of caboose 511 while it was in service. Many upgrades were made to both series of cabooses prior to an abbreviated 1978 rebuilding program, and these are documented on the car cards and photographically.

Drawings for both series of cars are included in this issue. Frank Stingone has prepared drawings for the 500-509 series of cars, and reproductions of The International Car Company drawings for the 510-519 series are also included. Both sets contain interior and exterior views of the cars.

In 1978 cars 500-509 and 512 were selected to be part of a rebuilding program that lasted until 1982.

After the railroad ceased operations, many of both series of cabooses were preserved. The issue includes a table detailing the disposition of cars that were saved, including two that are currently in tourist train service.

Finally, there are only two prototypically accurate models of P&LE bay window cabooses, the HO and O Scale models of the 510-519 series cars that were imported by Alco Models. A number of N, HO and O scale caboose models that can be used as "stand ins" are described, along with several approaches to kitbashing them into more accurate models.

We hope you enjoy this in depth look at the one of the most identifiable cars of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad.

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November 27, 2011
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a 48 page double issue and is available now.

In this issue Jack Yarbrough gives us an in depth look at the history of Gateway yard and the iconic building of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad - the Hump Crest Tower. Jack also provides a description of how he modeled the Hump Crest area, including the tower, in HO Scale.

The issue begins with a brief discussion of the modernization of the New York Central System during the regime of Al Perlman. Perlman felt that the “road to the future” would need striking changes in thinking and the use of innovative technology. The following strategies were key to his strategic vision:

  • Implementation of Centralized Traffic Control while simultaneously reducing the famed four-track mainlines between New York and Chicago to three or two tracks.
  • Development of the Flexi-Van and Flexi-Flo systems for attracting new revenue streams.
  • Hiring the best and brightest to develop a marketing team that would use new analytical tools to understand what markets could be cultivated or advanced.
  • Speeding up the classification of freight through key rail centers in the New York Central territories.

These concepts would drive the massive investment that resulted in construction of Gateway Yard in Youngstown, Ohio.

Gateway Yard was in fact a combination of the twelve small yards. There were three main yards: The Receiving Yard, The Hump Classification Yard and the Departure Yard. Arranged in essentially a straight line, these three yards were the heart of Gateway's operation, with the remaining nine yards performing specific tasks. The article includes a track chart that shows all twelve yards and a description of their functions, along with a brief description of how the hump yard was operated.

The building that controlled all operations at Gateway Yard was the Hump Crest Tower. It was one of the most photographed buildings of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, not only because of it's location at the top of the hump crest, but also because the hump crest contained a "fly over" above the Lake Erie & Eastern's connection to Gateway Yard. There are photos that show the construction of the prototype Hump Crest Tower and the hump itself as well as color photos of operations at the yard.

Jack concluded that the Hump Crest Tower was the defining structure of the railroad and a “must have” if he wanted to build an accurate portrayal of Youngstown, Ohio. Jack goes on to describe the construction of the diorama and the Hump Crest Tower model. Scale drawings of the tower are included along with photos that illustrate the construction of the diorama and the tower model. Six color photos of the finished diorama with equipment from several eras are the final part of the article.

In addition to this fantastic issue, the P&LERRHS is also making available an abridged set of construction drawings for the Gateway Yard buildings. These drawings are part of the Brent Lewis Collection. The drawings maybe found here: Gateway Yard Blueprints..

We hope you enjoy this fascinating look at the history of Gateway Yard and the superb modeling of Jack Yarbrough.

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July 28, 2011
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a 48 page double issue and is available now.

This issue is devoted to the chronicling the Mon Division's Passenger Stations in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Paul Damon presents the history of the stations starting at Reynoldton/Belle Vernon Junction and continuing south to the division's end point at Brownsville. The comprehensive journey is devoted to the passenger facilities only - details of freight stations along the line are included only if they were part of a passenger facility. The stations are organized in this issue in their order along the division.

When talking about any railroad which follows a river, directions can change quickly. The Monongahela River's headwaters are in West Virginia and the river flows north to Pittsburgh where it joins the Allegheny River at the Golden Triangle to form the Ohio River. Therefore, in descriptive words, south means heading upstream along the Monongahela River, regardless of whether there is a curve in the tracks. East indicates the side of the tracks generally toward the Atlantic Ocean, and West indicates the side generally toward the Pacific Ocean.

The Mon Division was originally built by the McKeesport & Belle Vernon Railroad in 1890 and extended as far south as Belle Vernon. Later that year, the McK&BV was purchased by the Pittsburgh, McKeesport and Youghiogheny Railroad. The PMcK&Y had been under the control of the P&LE since 1884. In 1895 the division was extended to Fayette City. The final extension of the division opened in 1903 with track laid to Brownsville, PA

The Mon Division started at a pier on the south side of the Youghiogheny River just outside of McKeesport, and this point was Mile Post 0 for the division. Mile posts indicate the number of track miles south along the main line. Distances along the main line were also determined by a series of Survey Points, which indicate the number of feet of main track heading south from Mile Post 0. Each Survey Point is 100 feet, hence Survey Point 2035 means 203,500 feet south of the Mile Post 0. A bit of calculation can turn Survey Points into Mile Posts - Survey Point 2035 is equivalent to a Mile Post of 38.5.

Paul has researched 41 stations for this issue. 33 stations are listed for the original portion purchased from the McK&BV, with 27 of them listed on an 1890 timetable. The other 6 of these original Mon Division stations likely started operation in the shortly after the 1890 purchase. After the 1895 extension to Fayette City three more stations were added. The final extension to Brownsville brought 5 more stations to the division. Over the next 20 years, 6 stations were renamed, although the station at Wylie, PA replaced the station at Van Kirk and thus was not a simple renaming.

We hope you enjoy this fascinating look at the history of Mon Division's Passenger stations.

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March 22, 2011
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a 48 page double issue and is available now.

Jack Yarbrough leads off this issue with the first in a series of articles on modeling significant Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad buildings in Youngstown, Ohio.  In this installment Jack details how he constructed an HO scale model of the Youngstown P&LE passenger station.  This almost forgotten structure was an integral part of the railroads passenger service into the mid 1960's.  Jack provides a comprehensive history of the station, his research regarding the station, and how he went about developing plans to construct his model.  Included with the article are exterior photos of the actual station, photos Jack took to illustrate his construction methods and shots of the finished model.  Also included are scale plans of the station, drawn by Frank Stingone.


This issue also includes remembrances of three Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad employees who passed away in 2010:
Warren Mayfield by Larry Kline. Warren Mayfield was hired by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad in 1972, working as a laborer, foreman and finally as track supervisor.  Warren continued to work for CSX after that railroad took over the P&LE.  An interview with Warren was published in "The Little Giant" Vol. 3, No. 1.
Everett "Mac" McGinnis by Jack Polaritz and Richard Leasure. Mac McGinnis was hired by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad in 1948 as a tower operator.  By 1969 he had risen to become the railroad's chief dispatcher.  Mac was one of the original founders of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, holding Membership No. 1.  An interview with Mac was published in "The Little Giant" Vol. 1, No. 1.
Bill Gordon by Larry Kline. Bill Gordon not only served as a fireman and engineer on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, he was also a decorated US Army World War II veteran.  Bill joined the P&LE in 1951, working as a fireman on the last steam engines that the railroad operated at Newell, PA.  He became an engineer in the 1970's and worked both the Mon and Yough Divisions until his retirement in 1988.

David Wilson next describes the history of Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad locomotive 8061, a class U-3-l 0-8-0 switch engine.  Purchased by the railroad in 1944 from Alco, she spent the first part of her career working in yard and transfer duty.  When the steam operations came to an end in 1953, it seemed that the fire in 8061 had gone out, but she was saved from the scrapers in 1956 when she was sold to the Georgia Car and Locomotive Company.  Dave recounts how the 8061 lived on after her P&LE days, and how a piece of her finally came home to Pittsburgh in 2009. 

The last issue of "The Little Giant" contained a comprehensive look at the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad's boxcar fleet.  This month Larry Kline makes a few corrections and adds information that was overlooked last time.

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July 7, 2010
The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a special triple issue focusing on the boxcars of the P&LE.

The 76 page triple issue covers 17 classes of P&LE boxcars from 1910 to 1975. With 84 photos (26 of which are color), Larry Kline has compiled a fantastic reference tool for modelers and railroad historians alike!

Take a look at what's covered in this Special Issue of "The Little Giant":

  • Double sheathed, steel underframe boxcars built in 1910-11
  • Double sheathed, steel underframe Automobile cars built in 1917
  • USRA single sheathed boxcars built in 1919
  • Double sheathed, steel underframe boxcars rebuilt from coke cars in 1923
  • NYC/USRA design steel boxcars built in 1929
  • Steel boxcars rebuilt from USRA single sheathed boxcars in 1934-37
  • Steel Automobile cars rebuilt from wood Automobile cars in 1936
  • ARR pre-war design steel boxcars built in 1940-41
  • Steel 50' boxcars built in 1941
  • ARR post-war design steel boxcars built in 1949-52
  • Despatch Shops inside post XL and RBL boxcars built in 1961-64
  • Despatch Shops outside post XL and RBL boxcars built in 1964-1966
  • 50' boxcars stretched from 40' boxcars in 1965-71
  • Stretched and rehabilitated boxcars from 1970-71
  • SEICO outside post boxcars built in 1975
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April 3, 2009

The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, is a special double issue focusing on the passenger service of the P&LE.

If you have an interest in the passenger car fleet of the P&LE and PMcK&Y Railroads, then the first article of this issue is a must have!  Authors Larry Kline and John Carnprobst provide a detailed look at the heavyweight passenger car fleet from the early 20th century until the 1970s when the last of these cars were replaced by light coaches.  This article is chocked full of great information, including interior and exterior photos of the passenger cars, passenger car rosters, NYC diagram book pages, and descriptions of the ultimate fate of many of the car series. 

The P&LE's I-100A class of Atlantic steam locomotivess spent their service lives pulling the heavyweight passenger car fleet.  While the few in number, they were the primary passenger service locomotives for the first 14 years of their careers.  David C. Wilson has brought this workhorse of a by-gone era to life in HO scale.  Completely scratch built from the frame up, David provides an excellent guide to planning, building, detailing and finishing a modeling steam locomotive.

Rounding out this special passenger issue is a reproduction of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Passenger Service Timetable effective September, 1942.  With passenger train travel approaching it's zenith due to war time demands placed on the railroads, the travelers on the P&LE had an amazing selection of trains to choose from.  Destinations included all of the major US cities along the Great Lakes, the New England states and points in Canada!  The heart of the P&LE passenger service was the daily commuter trains between Pittsburgh and Youngstown which offered as many as 13 daily trains between the two steel manufacturing centers.

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December 23, 2008

The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, brings articles that look at covering some interesting aspects of the P&LE.

The first article is the conclusion of "The Demise of the Little Giant". In the second installment, author Jack Polaritz explains how the shrinking steel industry coupled with the changing face of rail transportation forced the P&LE, once the most profitable railroad per mile in the nation, to sell it's assests off piecemeal until the shell of the former Little Giant was purchased by the CSX in 1992.

Dan Cupper's research has uncovered articles originally published in the Connellsville, Pennsylvania Keystone Courier between 1879 and 1883. These articles were published during the railroads planning and construction on the Youghiogheny Division and provide a fascinating glimpse of how important the railroad was to the coal and coke industries in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Few people realize that the University of Pittsurgh holds an extensive collection of P&LE materials in their Archives of Industrial Society. The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Photographic collection was donated to the archive by the railroad in 1982 and has images from 1903 to 1972. The collection consists of glass plate, cellulose-nitrate and conventional negatives, prints and 16mm movies. Derrick Brashear provides an explanation of the materials that are available and a guide to help railroad researches locate materials that are of interest to them. The University of Pittsburgh's Archive Service Center staff have compiled an index of archive and it is available for download in PDF form at http://ple.dementia.org/research/research.html.

Finally, Larry Kline and Frank Stingone retell the history of an interesting series of tank cars that were built for Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation by Standard Tank Car Company in 1926. These cars were used to transport coal tar between the J&L plants in Aliquippa and Pittsburgh, both of which were served by the P&LE. Larry and Frank also describe a derailment of one of these cars at Montour Junction, PA in 1

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March 8, 2008

The latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society, brings articles that look at covering some interesting aspects of the P&LE.

The first article is an in-depth discussion of "The Demise of the Little Giant". In the first installment of a two part article, author Jack Polaritz begins with the early history of the P&LE, discussing how it's strategic location in the heart of the steel capital of the world was responsible for both it's rise to the most profitable railroad in the country and it's ultimate downfall when the steel industry in the United States collapsed. Railfans and historians alike will find this article enlightening as Jack outlines the business decisions and missed opportunities that brought about the ruin of the P&LE. This article covers the years of the P&LE's control by the New York Central Railroad and it's dire treatment at the hands of both the Penn Central and Conrail until it became an independant railroad in the 1980s.

Larry Kline continues to examine the P&LE's freight car fleet in this issue, but with an unusual twist. This article discusses the failure of a USRA design gondola, one of over 3500 owned by P&LE and a common design used by railroads across the country. Gondola No. 47908 was loaded with machinery and being moved by the Pennsyvania Railroad in 1949 when it suffered a structural failure. Larry discusses the manner in which the car was loaded, the AAR rules that guided it's loading and the correspondence between the PRR and the P&LE.

Larry also has a follow up to regarding the U-3-L 0-8-0 locomotives that was published in the last issue of The Little Giant. Larry has uncovered the Alco builders photos which show the engine in great detail.

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June 30, 2007

Every one knows that railroads use signals to control traffic, but just how well do you know the rules that govern the use of those signals? This web site update has an in depth look at the Color Light Signal System on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad and the Operating Rules that control their use. The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society gratefully thanks Joseph Cappitte for providing the materials that these pages are base on.

Operating Rules 275 thru 297-Rules Governing Fixed Signals-July 1, 1976
Color Light Signals-Learning the Names of the Signal Indications-July 1, 1979

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June 19, 2007

This is the first part of a three part web site update that coincides with the release of the latest issue of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society.

Kicking off this issue is a look at a steam era P&LE switcher, the USRA 0-8-0 "Bulldog." The P&LE owned 100 of these engines, built in three groups by Lima in 1929 and 1937 and Alco Schenectady in 1944. These locomotives toiled day in and day out every where on the railroad until they were replaced by diesels in the early 1950's. Author David Wilson also provides details on converting a readily available HO scale model into a late steam era version of this work horse locomotive.

The Great Depression is often perceived as a time of stagnation, but not so on the P&LE. The railroad continued to grow, guided by it's Board of Directors and the Board's Executive Committee. New engines and freight cars were just a few of the things on the agenda when the governing body of the railroad met. Paul Damon gives us a look at how the P&LE expanded despite the country's economic woes.

Next on deck is an interview of Warren Mayfield, our P&LE Feature Employee. After joining the railroad in 1972, Warren worked for both the P&LE, and it's successor CSX, until his retirement in 1999. Mr. Mayfield recounts his early days on the track gang and how these maintenance crews handled their daily tasks in the late 70's. Hard work and know how led to Warren becoming Track Supervisor of the East End, the position he held un till the P&LE ceased operations in 1992.

Robert Brendell continues our history of the Beaver & Ellwood Railroad with a detailed explanation of the B&E's small locomotive roster.

Bringing up the rear of this issue is a great story of a young rail fan involving John W. Barriger III and Business Car 99. Mr Barriger enjoyed providing a personal touch when it came to rail fans. Stephen Timko relates a day spent in the company of the P&LE's president that finished with a memorable ride from Pittsburgh to Stephen's home of Warren, Ohio.

The second and third parts of the web site update will be online shortly. Be sure to visit again soon for more P&LE photos, drawings and materials.

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September 29, 2006

This update coincides with the release of a special DOUBLE ISSUE of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society. An in depth look at the P&LE's Steam Era Structures and Facilities is featured, with many photos and drawings of the often overlooked structures that were a vital part of the day to day operation of the railroad.

This issue of The Little Giant also has a How To article that details modeling a first generation P&LE diesel. This issue also continues to examine the P&LE and PMcK&Y car rebuilding programs - this time the focus is on USRA Boxcars.

Before the advent of mass media communications, newspapers were the only source of what was happening the local area. The Little Giant provides an opportunity to step back in time and read P&LE related newspaper articles from the Golden Age of Railroading.

The final story of this issue of The Little Giant is a history of the Beaver & Ellwood Railroad. This fascinating short line, which began operating in 1890, was built to provide rail service from the P&LE to Ellwood City, PA, a distance of about 4 miles. Begun as a separate railroad, it was first leased, then eventually absorbed by the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad.

The Historical Society members will notice that there is an election ballot included with their issue of The Little Giant. The candidates statements can be found here. Please take a moment to fill out the election ballot and return it to the Historical Society.

This update to the web site continues to expand The Gateway Project. The final three building blueprints have been added, consisting of the Locomotive Service Building, the Car Inspection Buildings, and the most recognized building of Gateway Yard - the Hump Crest Building. There is also some new images in the Employees Gallery.

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March 20, 2006

This update coincides with the long awaited release of The Little Giant, the magazine of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society. The main focus of The Little Giant is the West Pittsburg, Pennsylvania area. Featured is the West Pittsburg Passenger Station, built in 1907 to serve the small community south (railroad east) of New Castle, Pennsylvania. The station is currently being restored by the Beaver Valley Junction Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society.

The Little Giant also examines the architecture of a variety of structures dating from the early 1900's, including the magnificant railroad bridge that the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad used to cross the Ohio River between Monaca and Beaver, Pennsylvania. The history of a large class of P&LE and PMcK&Y USRA Triple Hoppers is also examined. Finally, there is a track chart of Aliquippa Yard in 1940, and a fold out chart of the area at West Pittsburg.

This update to the website continues to expand The Gateway Project. Three more building blueprints have been added, consisting of the large Car Repair Shed, the Hump Retarder Tower, and the Scale House and Track Scale. We have also added 10 years of ORER's, spanning the 1960's and 1970's. We will continue to expand both of these areas in future updates. There is also some new images in the Employees Gallery, and a new Model Gallery.

We also regret to announce the resignation of Vinson Skibo from the Board of Directors and as the editor of The Little Giant magazine. Vince provided the solid base upon which The Little Giant was built, and his insights and expertise will truly be missed.

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December 24, 2005

With this update, the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society is pleased to unveil the Gateway Yard Project. Beginning this month, and culminating in 2007, we are going to embark on an in-depth look at one of the last major expansions of the P&LE enjoyed before the collapse of the steel industry, the mainstay of the P&LE's business.

October 2007 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of Gateway Yard, which was the western terminus of the P&LE. This modern facility included a car repair shop, engine facilities, and a compact hump yard in addition to the traditional flat yard that lay beside the Campbell and Struthers Works of the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Steel Mill.

LOOKING FOR A MEETING PLACE
The PLERRHS is searching for a place to hold regular member meetings in the area near Pittsburgh. We are also considering locations outside of Pittsburgh near the areas the P&LE served. Prospective sites should be able to accommodate approximately 40 to 50 people, and also have provisions for hosting slide shows, guest speakers, etc. If you have any suggestions, please contact us here.

HELP WANTED
The Historical Society is in need of a volunteer to help out with the website. If you are interested in contributing some of your time to the PLERRHS, and live in the Western Pennsylvania area, please contact the Society here.

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August 26, 2005


Thanks for visting our site! It's been quite some time since the last update, and this update is going to be modest just to get things going again. The future of the website is bright - we have some exciting projects planned for the next few months. We will continue to expand the ORER listings and add photos to the Equipment, Employee and Model galleries.

We have posted some bonus material for the last issue of The Little Giant which due to an oversite on my part was not released with the magazine. We have also added some images to the Equipment 4 gallery and the Employees 2 gallery. The Company Store Bookshelf has been revised with the addtion of some interesting new books - browse the updated catalog.

2005 Historical Society Picnic, Saturday Oct 8th - more information here
We have been given the opportunity to use the former P&LE West Pittsburg station and grounds as the venue for our 2nd Annual Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society meeting. The historic station is situated next to the CSX mainline and is currently being restored by the Beaver Valley Junction Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society. Join us for an afternoon of food, fun and railfanning!

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February 5, 2005


On behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to thank all of the Charter Members of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society. These individuals lent us their support to help get the Historical Society off the ground. Without their trust in us, we would not have been able to succeed in getting the PLERRHS going. We owe a great debt to you and hope that we will continue to have your support in the future.

We are opening two new gallery sections this week. Both are photos taken during our 1st General Meeting held last year. We also have posted some bonus material for the latest issue of The Little Giant. And we are pleased to announce that we have added February, 1971 to our online listing of Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Official Railway Equipment Registers.

Membership Renewals
A reminder to all Charter Members:
Renewal notices were included with your last issue of the "The Little Giant". If you have taken the opportunity to return it to us, we thank you again!! If you have not already renewed your membership to the PLERRHS, now is the time. Be sure not to miss a single issue of "The Little Giant" and renew your membership today!

Remember to fill out your renewal form and
return it with a check or money order for $25.00 to:
P&LERRHS
PO Box 15512
Pittsburgh, PA 15244

Lost your renewal form? Use the Membership Form and mark on it "Renewal". Also include your PLERRHS Member Number.

Currently the next issue of TLG is on schedule for an April first shipment.
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January 10, 2005


We are pleased to annouce that the 4th issue of The Little Giant is on it's way to the members of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Historical Society. Inside you will find articles detailing the history of the Pittsburgh, McKeesport & Youghiogheny Railroad (and successor P&LE) stations at Connellsville, Pennsylvania. Moving forward in time, you will be able see how a three way power swap sent P&LE diesels west to find a new home on the Union Pacific. And finally, the first installment of a two part article that describes kitbashing an H9 Mikado steam engine in HO scale.

For nearly 120 years the Official Railway Equipment Register has been the bible that freight shippers live by. This week, we are opening up a unique feature of our website which will provide an abbreviated ORER listing for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad for selected years.

Demand for the 2nd issue of The Little Giant was so great, we felt that we had no choice but to have a second run printed. Back issues are available through the PLERRHS Company Store. Quantities are limited, order yours today - don't miss out on what has become the Historical Society's most popular issue to date!

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December 23, 2004


Another short update this week. The major news this week is that the PLERRHS is now offering "The P&LE in Color", Volumes I and II by Rich Borkowski. These books are in addition to the "P&LE's Berkshires", Jack Polaritz's second book covering modern steam power. For more information, visit the PLERRHS's Company Store, and take a look on the Book Shelf.

The first of in a series of special features is opening this week. Using the P&LE Passenger Schedule (effective February 3, 1957), we have created a graphic depiction of passenger traffic across the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad at a time when traveling by train was becoming a thing of the past.

Vinson F. Skibo, Editor of The Little Giant, is happy to annouce that Volume 1, Issue 4 of the magazine has been sent to the printer. Stay tuned for progress announcements . . .

This will be the last update in 2004. The next update will be the 2nd weekend in January, 2005.

The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad Historical Society would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!! We extend our greatful thanks to everyone who has helped us during the past year.

Ken Izzo - Webmaster, PLERRHS
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December 13, 2004

Short update this week. Restored more of the previous Equipment Galleries. Also opened new History of the P&LE page and revised About Us page. Will have another update next weekend.
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December 5, 2004

Why the new site?
If you have been here before, you are probably asking yourself "Why change the web site?" Well the old site was very nice looking - it was done by a professional web designer who was gracious enough to donate her time and talents when we really needed them. Unfortunately, the people who were left to maintain the site are definitely NOT professionals. We hate to see the old site go but we felt that we needed to simplify the site in order to make it easier to maintain.

"The Little Giant" Magazine
We regret that 4th issue of The Little Giant has been delayed. Due to some unforeseen scheduling problems, Vinson F. Skibo (editor of TLG), has had a difficult time finalizing the issue. We are very happy to say that as of this moment, the final editing of the magazine is being finished. We will keep our membership posted through the web site and also through our new PLERRHS News-Notes electronic newsletter.

What happened to the Members Only pages?
This was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions we had to make regarding the new site. Maintaining the Members Only pages was equivalent to maintaining a second website. Given the small amount of manpower that we have available for the site, it was an luxury that we just could not afford. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be moving all of the materials that were in the Members Only pages to the new site for every one to enjoy. We also have some "Bonus Material" pages for selected "The Little Giant" articles that will be moved in the near future as well.