What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

Railroads of Historical Brookville
By Ethan Evans

Brookville was a lumbering town and with lumber came railroads. Not much of the original sawmills and railroads are left although, the Shawmut Railroad still runs through Brookville. And if you listen carefully, you can hear the whistle blowing as the train rumbles through the town.

A low grade division of the Allegheny Valley Railroad was opened eastward from Redbank to New Bethlehem, a distance of 21 miles, on the 6th of May, 1873. On the 23rd of June, trains commenced running regularly to Brookville, a distance of 40 miles from Redbank, and on November 5 a further section of 16 miles was opened, to Reynoldsville. The principle stations located in Jefferson County are Summerville, Brookville, and Reynoldsville.

Here are a couple more facts about the Brookville railroad which I got from A History of Brookville, written by Robert S. Craig.

"In 1901 the Pittsburgh, Shawmut and Northern surveyed a route from Brockwayville to Freeport on the Allegheny River, about 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. This railroad was called the Brookville and Mahoning. The initials B& M were being confused with the Boston & Main, so the railroad was renamed the Pittsburgh and Shawmut Railroad Company. The P.S. & N. (Pittsburgh, Shawmut and Northern leased the P. & S. (Pittsurgh and Shawmut) and both roads operated as a unit until 1916 when the Pittsburgh & Shawmut broke away and operated as an independent railroad. It is still in operation to this day."

"The Pittsburgh & Shawmut was built through Brookville in 1906-07. It came from the north along the Mill Creek Valley and followed Five Mile Run south of town. Fred W. Edmondson, one of the contractors for the railroad through Brookville, married Miss Nell Henderson, daughter of S.S. Henderson and made his home in Brookville for some years.

The Shawmut provided passenger service. For many years of this service a gasoline coach, called the Hootelbug was used instead of a steam train. Passenger service was discontinued in teh late 1940's.

The Good Old Days When Railroads Were A Part of Life

The railroading industry in Brookville has declined over the past years so that there are not as many trains and the business is not booming like it used to. The many old steam trains have been replaced by new and faster diesel trains. The Shawmut line does not transport as much coal as it used to, but it is still a working railroad. Most of the needs of trains have been replaced by trucks. There is also a small factory in the center of Brookville that builds small, mining diesel locomotives which are eventually shipped to China.

I think that Brookville is a railroading town even though it doesn't seem like it with trains not being as necessary anymore.

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