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CSXT Keystone & Pittsburgh Subdivisions

Keystone Subdivision

Hyndman Tower locates at Hyndman, PA (just north of the Maryland border) on CSXT's busy Keystone Subdivision. The Keystone Sub runs from Cumberland, MD to near McKeesport, PA. This line is noted for extensive helper operations on both sides of the summit at Sand Patch. Hyndman Tower is the base of helper operations on the east slope of the Sand Patch Grade. Hyndman Tower was slated to be closed in the early part of 1997, but was saved (temporarily) by the impending CSX/NS & CR massacre. Eastbound autorack R376-25 passes by Q Tower on October 25, 1991.

 

A bonus find on the morning of October 26, 1991: One half of CSX's business train fleet behind westbound R377-26 at Hyndman. Pete McGilligan and I chased this train from Magnolia Bridge through Cumberland to Hyndman... CSX 116 (F7A) and CSX 119 (FP7B) are ex-Clinchfield units, serving on Clinchfield, Seaboard System, and CSXT business trains.

 

This is the best way to view the Sand Patch grade - from the cab of Sand Patch helpers! We pushed R135 up the hill from Hyndman to Sand Patch, with three SD60's as pushers. We ran down the hill light back to Hyndman, passing many trains and sights on the way. This was by far the best day I have ever had railfanning!

 

The last day of our trip in the fall of 1991 wasn't the best: Train R356-26 derailed at Falls Cut Tunnel in the morning of October 27, 1991. The train is shown at Fairhope, stopped and awaiting the wreck train. Falls Cut Tunnel is about 30-50 cars behind the power. Several TTX flatcars jacknifed, blocking both tracks for most of the day; prompting us to go home.

 

At the summit of the Alleghenies, R397-25 heads west past SA Tower at Sand Patch, PA. This train was powered by a pair of now-common GE C40-8W's on October 25, 1991.

 

Taken from the Western Maryland's Salisbury Viaduct, R396-24 heads eastbound with its auto parts train towards the summit at Sand Patch. Most of the once-parallel WM main was abandoned once Chessie merged with the WM in the mid-1970's.

 

On a beautiful October morning, a CSXT work crew heads out onto the main at Garrett, Pennsylvania on the ex-Baltimore and Ohio Sand Patch grade. Although M of W crews are generally a bad sign, we had a productive day on Sand Patch this day. The branch line from which the M of W crews departed is the now-abandoned Berlin Subdivision.

 

A little later, we caught eastbound R356-24 passing under a street overpass at Garrett. Although most power has been repainted into the CSX "Bright Future" livery, colorful consists like this are not hard to find on CSX now with leased units from Helm, GATX, and others roaming the system.

 

Telegraph pole insulators on a frosty fall morning... taken from the WM overpass at Rockwood, PA.

 

On May 13, 1998 Q136-12 passed the "Approach" boards at Shaner, PA on the Keystone Sub. Shaner is on the north end of the Youghiogheny River, several miles from McKeesport. From McKeesport north, this line is considered the Pittsburgh Subdivision. CSXT 5897, a B36-7, let another B36-7 and an SD50 eastward on it's journey to Philadelphia.

 

Pittsburgh Subdivision

US Steel's Edgar Thomson Works, in Braddock PA is one of the largest rail customers in the Monongahela Valley. Located along CSXT's Pittsburgh Sub, a lot of steel-related activity can be observed from the Army Corps of Engineers dam behind the ET Works. Here, USX ET-2, former P&LE SW1500 1564, shoves a few bottle cars up to the blast furnace on January 20, 2002.

 

The Pittsburgh Sub runs from Sinns, near McKeesport, to New Castle, PA on former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie trackage. CSX purchased the P&LE in the early 1990's to bypass the hilly and more difficult P&W Sub (from Glenwood to New Castle via Eidenau). CSX Q137-11 is about to pass the former P&LE Pittsburgh Station at 16:21 on October 11, 1997 behind 8553, 8578, and 8218 (2 SD50's, SD40-2). CSX also owns former P&LE trackage running from McKeesport south along the Mon Valley to access numerous coal mines in the area.

 

A CSXT local heads west along the Monongahela River on the former Pittsburgh and Lake Erie mainline. This photo was taken from the Duquesne Incline on Mount Washington, overlooking Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This page was created and maintained by J. Alex Lang, 1998.
Last updated July 7, 1998


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