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Spring 1997
Spring 1997

Depot at Youngwood
by Al Hopfer (President, Youngwood Historical and RR Museum)

Relic of Railroading Days

Youngwood's "old PRRR" station was closed June 9th, 1982, severing the final tie with an affluent past when our community had a reputation as the busiest railroad town along the Southwest branch. A group of Railfans rose up to convince Conrail not to tear down the Depot, the boro council joined and worked out a deal for everyone.

In 1870's, shiny steel rails were laid extending from the mainline at Greensburg all the way to the Rainey yards at Uniontown. The Bituminious filed was being developed, creating demands for transportation facilities from the coal and coke from the mine sidings to the Pittsburgh steel mills and eastern ports.

By 1902, the brick station coded YU had been constructed to give recognition to a town being born. It had the usual interior of a station, however, its importance lay at the front, facing the tracks.

Nothing moved in any direction without the signals controlled by the telegraphers in the station. They could pinpoint all moving equipment through the telegraph contacts with their counterparts in the SW Tower at Greensburg, HN in Hunker, TR at Tars, all the way to the VA Tower in Uniontown. It was a little station but it swung a lot of weight in those days. It's hard to believe but way back then we had one passenger train after the other running weekdays between Uniontown and Pittsburgh. It got so that no one paid any mind to the whistles, unless you were a visitor, and then it got annoying. But for Youngwoodians, it meant brand on the table, money for the rent and mortage.

That little station was important to every man who railroaded out of Youngwood... numbering more than 1000. Gradually disappearing from the scene were the Yardmaster's Building, the Freight Office, Machine Shops, the Roundhouse, and Coal Wharf.

A younger generation doesn't know they existed, only the Depot remains a familiar sight. As the "Highlander" steams around the bend into Youngwood, that old Depot still symbolizes a railroading era that gave birth to the town of Youngwood. The Depot is now a Railroad Museum, with artifacts, pictures and documents of over 125 years of activities on the Southwest Branch.

Added since a Hobby Supply Shop, an HO Guage Train Layout, and Conrail Park. A 1997 innovation will be the "Mother's Day Treat" running on Friday, May 9th, 5:30 P.M. leaving Youngwood for a 26 mile round trip to Scottdale, returning at 8:30 PM.

A dinner of BBQ Chicken or Ribs is available with the ticket. A similar tour with music and entertainment is planned each month through the season. Call 724-925-7355 for details.

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