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The Rail Archived
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Fall & Winter 1997
Fall and Winter 1997

Scottdale - Returning to the Turn of a Century

LHRR's Roots
"The Little Engine That Could"

The engine which pulls "The Highlander" is a Porter Tank 0-4-0 switcher, which was built in the 1920's and operated until the 1950's at the West Penn power plant coal yard in Connellsville. At that time it was purchased by the Connellsville Historical Society and given to the city which placed it on the lawn of City Hall. It was then moved to the city's west side, not far from the Yough Trail and River Park of today. The city was later offered a sum of money by a farmer from the state of Indiana and sold the engine to him, despite a substantial amount of public protest.

Hal Harkness from West Virginia purchased the engine from the farmer and spent ten years of hard work restoring the boiler and running gear. The tank was removed and a tender added. The wheel configuration was changed (2-4-0) to resemble an early turn of the century engine. Hal then ran it along with three heavyweight cars as a tourism train in Ohio.

In a remarkable turn of events, two local counties purchased former CSX (Chessie, B&O) and Conrail (Pennsylvania Railroad) trackage for the purpose of running short-line freight operations in the area. They hoped to halt the deepening recession due to its loss of the coal and coke industry. This created an opprotunity to return the engine to its original home territory.

In The Spirit of H.C. Frick?
Signs of the times!?

A New Old Train Station Is Coming!

Appropriately, one month before the Borough's Coal and Coke Festival, the Scottdale Train Station Project announced by the town's Train Committee, and the Scottdale Community Civic and Industrial Association. This organization, a 501c3 non-profit corporation, has agreed to accept the responsibility for and ultimate ownership of the land and the station, which is planned through a fund-raising campaign.

The station design will be based on the former Pennsylvania Railroad Scottdale Station and will be built very close to the former site. It will provide a home for the Laurel Highlands Railroad as well as opprotunities for enhanced downtown business growth. Initial 5,000 dollar contributions were announced by Marilyn "Tottie" Kiefer, Chairman of the Scottdale Bank and Trust, and LouAnn Hout, Manager of the Standard Bank of Scottdale. (Ed. note: The location is immediately across the street from the former Headquarters of Henry Clay Frick which served his coal and coke empire).

Building a Steam Train Passenger Station, at this time in the US, is a unique opprotunity for Treasure readers to truly Return to the Turn of the Century! Folks interested in helping should call the SCCIA at 724-887-9310, or send donations to the RR Station Building Fund - SCCIA, Box 533, Scottdale, PA 15683.

Help us bring about this exciting rebirth of a rich bygone era of our heritage.

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