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The Rail Archived
Treasures Along The Rail Archived Issues
Fall & Winter 1997
Fall and Winter 1997

Mt. Pleasant Depot
By: Jill Cook - Mt. Pleasant Historical Society

The Railroads

With the building of the railroads, stagecoaching to the East, and wagoning on the Pikes were eventually abandoned. The first challenge the great turnpikes over the mountains was the Baltimore and Ohio line in 1828.

Fierce competition developed between the B&O RR and the Pennsylvania Railroad. By 1897, both lines succeeded in providing continuous rail transportation in western PA causing many of our highways to become unused and neglected.

But Mt. Pleasant was not to be stranded. In 1852, the Pennsylvania Rail Road completed a line from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh with numerous branches to nearby points. The Southwest branch began at Greensburg, into Youngwood, Scottdale, Mt. Pleasant, and went south.

Standard Mines and the huge H.C. Frick Coke Bank Complex in Mt. Pleasant led to the development of a small bridge line, the Mt. Pleasant and Broadford Railroad in 1871, allowing interchange with the Pittsburgh and Connellsville RR, who had leased it. The B&O RR who had been kept from the lucrative Pittsburgh steel markets by the Pennsylvania Railroad, secretly bought the Pittsburgh and Connellsville, giving them access into Mt. Pleasant (and later Pittsburgh).

Mt. Pleasant found itself near the center of the largest Coal and Coke operations in the world. As these expanded so did the population and rail traffic. Even local passenger service was available during this time, later stopping after World War II.

(Ed. Note: In the last magazine, Joan Kriek's Connellsville article explained the heavy tax burden created by the city's building of their RR. The B&O purchase solved this. Many don't realize the total dominance of the Railroad as a mode of travel before the mid-20's and Henry Ford's massed produced Model-T. Children from Ohiopyle traveled by train to Connellsville for public education. Teachers complained about the soot in their hair to the school board in 1921! Even the great National Road (Rt. 40) was almost abandoned.)

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