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A Short History of the TCIR

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The History (real and fictional) of the TCIR
The free-lance info is in italics.

The railroad’s history began with the discovery of natural gas in the area of Murrysville, Pennsylvania in 1876.

George Westinghouse Jr. chartered a railroad from the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1886 to transport supplies and equipment to the gas fields. The line was called the Turtle Creek Valley Railroad, but was also known as Westinghouse Road. Service to Murrysville began in 1891 and was extended to the town of Export in 1892. The Pennsylvania Railroad operated the line from 1891 and later purchased the railroad in 1903.

Bituminous coal became the primary freight and was mined throughout the area. Coal from the Export mine was shipped to Europe, giving the town its unique name. The first passenger train began service on the line in 1894. Five passenger trains per day made stops in Trafford (Stewart’s Station), North Trafford, Blackburn, Saunders, Murrysville, Newlingsburg and Export. The trains would also stop along the line for anyone who waved a handkerchief at the engineer. On Saturdays the railroad ran a train from Export to downtown Pittsburgh. This trip became so popular that an average of 1000 tickets sold each weekend. Passenger service eventually declined and was discontinued in 1936. Freight service continued.

During WWII the NYC acquired trackage rights to gain access to the coal facilities at Duquesne Coal Wharf on the TCIR. It continues hauling freight destined for the Great Lakes.

In 1934 B&O arranged for trackage rights on the P&LE’s water level route between McKeesport and New Castle Pennsylvania, by-passing the curves and grades of its own route ( which remained in service for local businesses). B&O’s through passenger trains moved to P&LE’s Pittsburg station across the Monongahela River from the B&O station.

Sometime in mid-1950’s a Mr. Dewey Cheetum Esq. arranged to have the PRR re-instate daily commuter trains from Altoona to Pittsburg. It seems that Mr. Cheetum Esq. was principal owner of a new sports stadium in Pittsburg and had convinced the PRR that sports fans would generate enough traffic to make the venture profitable. Also, the PRR didn’t take too kindly of the B&O horning in on its Western Division.

Today the Turtle Creek Industrial Railroad, a division of Dura-Bond Industries, Inc., transports steel beams and pipe to Dura-Bond’s Murrysville, Pennsylvania coating and fabricating plant. The TCIR also serves the Duquesne Brewery in Murrysville and the Weyerhaeuser plant and Pierce Bros. Furniture in Turtle Creek. The Duquesne Coal Wharf is still fully functional and supports daily coal trains of the PRR and the NYC/P&LE.

The TCIR has interchanges at Enola, Pitcairn and the car float at the Riverside yard.
Motive power for the TCIR is a GE 44 ton switcher, a GE 70 ton switcher and an Alco RS-2 switcher. The road does not currently own any rolling stock.

The TCIR handles four local freights – 1 East bound and 1 West bound AM and 1 East bound and 1 West bound PM. It has 2 through freights – one each East bound and West bound. There is an AM and PM commuter train to/from Pittsburg/Harrisburg. There are 3 coal trains – 2 PRR, and one NYC/P&LE.

Attached is a sequential schedule for operations:
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