Kiski Junction Railroad

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Kiski Junction Railroad
Reporting mark KJR
Locale Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh area
Dates of operation 1995–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Schenley, Pennsylvania

The Kiski Junction Railroad (reporting mark KJR) is a short-line railroad that operates in Western Pennsylvania near the city of Pittsburgh. The railroad is based in the small community of Schenley which is situated at the point where the Kiskiminetas River flows into the Allegheny River, the KJR functions as a freight hauler and a tourist railroad.

History[edit]

The name for the railroad is taken from a point on the Pennsylvania Railroad where the PRR's Conemaugh Line (the former Western Pennsylvania Railroad) and Allegheny Branch (former Allegheny Valley Railroad) met. This point was at the south end of the Kiski Junction Railroad's bridge, where the KJR currently interchanges with Norfolk Southern.

The section of the Kiski Junction Railroad's line that runs from the former Kiski Junction, across the bridge over the mouth of the Kiskiminetas River, and along the Allegheny River, was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad's line from Pittsburgh to Oil City, Pennsylvania. Conrail abandoned the line in the late 1980s, and removed the rails in 1992. The line north of Schenley was purchased by the Armstrong Trail Association, and converted into a rail trail.

Extension[edit]

In 2008, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced that the Kiski Junction would be awarded a state grant of $4 million to extend the line 9 miles north of Schenley to the mouth of Crooked Creek, the line was extended to serve the Logansport Mine (operated by Rosebud Mining Co.) in Logansport.[1] Construction commenced in 2010 and ended in 2011. The line ends just 2 miles south of Ford City, the railroad sees potential in Ford City and hopes to one day link up with the borough.[2]

Railroad description[edit]

The KJR runs special passenger excursions in the summer months, as well as fall foliage rides and Christmas runs, their primary customer is the Rosebud Mine in Logansport, several miles north of Schenley. Another customer is the Allegheny Technologies plant in Gilpin Township, Pennsylvania, and a small feed mill in the industrial park at Schenley.

Locomotives[edit]

KJR #7135 is the main locomotive of the railroad. An Alco S-1 type locomotive, 7135 was built for the US Army Reserve, it serviced bases at Fort Dix, and Colts Neck, New Jersey before being turned over to the South Branch Valley Railroad. The KJR purchased the 7135 in 1995.

In 2013 the KJR purchased former Lehigh Valley Railroad #126, an EMD SW900 class locomotive which was being used at Rosebud Mining's Lady Jane Mine near Penfield, PA, after the LV dissolved in 1976 the locomotive served many years as Conrail #8653. When Conrail itself dissolved twenty years later, 8653 found work at the Lady Jane mine where it was repainted but kept its CR number. When the KJR gained ownership of the locomotive, it was given back its original LV number and was repainted back to a "retro style" LV paint scheme while still retaining KJR reporting marks.

The Kiski Junction uses modern Norfolk Southern locomotives to haul coal from the Logansport Mine since the train is later interchanged to NS after returning to Schenley. Plus, the coal train can be anywhere from 100 to 150 carloads which would be too great of power for the much older 7135 and 126.

Image No. Model Builder Built Notes
7135 S-1 American Locomotive Company 1943 Came to KJR in 1995.
126 EMD SW900 Electro-Motive Division Came to KJR in 2013. Painted in Lehigh Valley paint scheme.

Former Locomotives

Image No. Model Builder Built Notes
752 EMD GP7 Electro-Motive Division 1951 Low nose, no dynamic brakes. Purchased by New Castle Industrial Railroad in 2013.

References[edit]

  • Pennsy's Conemaugh Division: Pittsburgh to Johnstown and Oil City by Ken Kobus and Gary Rauch.

External links[edit]