Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway

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Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway
Locale

Western Pennsylvania:

Dates of operation 1908–1931
Successor Pittsburgh, Mars and Butler Railway
Track gauge Pennsylvania Trolley Gauge,
5 ft 2 12 in (1,588 mm)
Length 118 miles (190 km)
(both lines)
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Mars and Butler Railway
New Castle
Cascade Park
W.A.R.R. Depot
E. New Castle
Rozzi
Wilkinson
Gardner
Weir
Shenango
Rose
Energy
Cox
Baldwin
Moravia
Springs
Marquis
Smiley
Wayne
Slippery Rock
Wilson
Hazel Dell
Elwood Junction
Wurtemburg
Knox
Frisco
Hazen
N. Sewickley
Elwood Country Club
Jackson
Rustick Park
Willow Grove
River View
Marion
Eckert
Goemring
Fombell
Spruce Hill
Pine Run
Pflugh
Ben Venue
Valley
Allen
Lockwood
Zelienople
Harmony Jct.
Knights Pythias
Nurseries
Ziegler
Burnstown
Elwood
Church
Park Gate
Hartman
Belton
Toll House
Hoyt Dale
Koppel
Koppel Sub. Sta.
So. Koppel
Homewood
Horne
Grimm
Morado
Beaver Falls
Butler
Pierce
Lyndora
Highfield
Duffey
Eberhart
Woodlawn
Miller
Meridian
Cupps
Reiber
Walker
Graham
Connoquenessing
Forward
Buhl
Ash
Stamm
Dambach
Walden
Bredanville
Kummer
Leibler
Odell
Phillips
McCalmont
Renfrew
Thorne Creek
McBride
Brown
Yingling
Butler C. Club
Nixon
Duffey
Star
Conabee
Adams
Hughes
Lloyd
Hayes
Pershing
Rosebaugh
McCandless
Humes
Hutchman
Cashdollar
Ludwig
Evans City
Mars
May
Irwin
Marburger
Callery
Kaufman
Kiser
Burke
West
Plains Church
Frankilin Rd.
Rowan
Criders
Dutihl
Thornhill
School
Robinson
Fowler
Warrendale
Wheatland
Bradford Woods
Burmar
Brennan
Wexford
Crystal Springs
Richards
Biening
Pine Creek
Ingomar
Glen Manor
Willoughby
Peets
Brants
Highland
Perrymont
Kaylor
Pines
Keown
Mellwood
North Ivory
Heim
Evergreen
McCutcheon
Brookview
Brooks
Myers
Eakin
Belper
Ross
Ivory
Brickworks
Dight
Downieville
Valencia
Arcadia
State Road
Bakerstown
St. Barnabas
McKelvey
Dickey
Gibsonia
Richland Hts.
Gemsys Hts.
Smith
Hardies
Hampton
Poff
Bardona
Wickline
Health Farm
Wildwood
Sample
W. Hoffman
McCune
Furgason
Allison Park
Elfinwild
Mt. Royal
Vilsack
Stock Farm
Glenshaw
Under Cliff
Braun
Broadway
Gibson
Shaler Hts.
Etna
Pittsburgh (Liberty and Market)

The Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway, commonly called the Harmony Line, was a broad gauge[1] interurban streetcar line connecting Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States to Butler and New Castle via Harmony and a split at Evans City. There was also an extension that was later added to the line from Ellwood City to Beaver Falls.

The company had a freight station in downtown Pittsburgh on the north side of Duquesne Way just west of Barbeau Street. This connected to trackage on Duquesne Way.

The railway in Ellwood City in 1908.
By 1920, films were shown for the entertainment of the line's passengers.

History[edit]

Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway[edit]

The railway was developed by business partners Russel H. Boggs and Henry Buhl as an adjunct to their department store in Pittsburgh. Mr. Boggs already had a business relationship with many of the farms between Evans City and Pittsburgh and proposed exchanging the right of way across their land for one dollar, a guaranteed trolley stop and an electricity supply.[2] The first trolley ran to Ellwood City on July 2, 1908. At the southern end of the line Pittsburgh Railways took over the trolley for the run into Pittsburgh, as the final few miles was over their rails. In 1914 an extension along the Beaver Valley was opened. This left Ellwood City heading south west and crossed the Beaver River on Koppel Bridge which was built for the purpose. This bridge also carried vehicle and pedestrian traffic and was subject to a toll.

Pittsburgh, Mars and Butler Railway[edit]

In 1917 the railway amalgamated with the Pittsburgh and Butler Street Railway, who operated the Butler Short Line between Pittsburgh and Butler, the new company being named the Pittsburgh, Mars and Butler Railway.[3] The new combined system had a length of 118 miles (190 km).[4] In 1922 the railway formed the Harmony Short Line Motor Transportation Company to carry freight between Bakerstown, and Butler. Bus services were introduced in 1923 alongside the Beaver Falls line, with Ellwood City and New Castle being added in 1924 and Butler to New Castle in 1925. Over the next 5 years further services were added, supplementing and paralleling trolley lines.[5]

In April 1931 the company went into receivership. The Butler Short Line was closed on April 22, 1931[6] as it was in poor condition, services being absorbed into the existing PA 8 bus service. Beaver Falls – Ellwood City – New Castle services were replaced by buses on June 15, 1931.[5] The remaining lines were replaced by buses on the same day, with the final trolley running on August 15, 1931.[2] The stub of the Butler Short Line continued to be used by Pittsburgh Railways as the 2 Etna service until closure in 1952.[7]

Routes in 1915[edit]

Evans City

All stops to Evans City departing Liberty and Market at 6:15 and every hour until 23:15. Change at Evans City for Butler or New Castle.[8]

Butler Harmony route

Limited stop direct to Butler departing Liberty and Market at 7:45 and every hour until 19:45 with a late car at 23:50.[8]

New Castle, Harmony route

Limited stop direct to New Castle departing Liberty and Market at 7:45 and every hour until 19:45 with a late car at 23:50.[8]

Incidents[edit]

A passenger car on the Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler and New Castle Railway hit an open switch and crashed into a freight car on May 30, 1912. It was traveling at 35 miles per hour (56 km/h) near Harmony and 38 were injured in the impact.[9]

Preservation[edit]

Car 115 avoided being burnt when the line closed as it had mechanical problems and had been abandoned where it failed. It became a roadside diner, The Dew Drop Inn, a role it maintained until being extracted from what was now a large restaurant and recovered to the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum where it awaits restoration.[10] In this way it avoided being burnt twice, as the inn was destroyed by fire in 1995.[11] In addition to this car the museum also has the original Harmony dispatch board and a shelter from both the Harmony and Butler lines.[4]

The station building in Ellwood City was retained as commercial premises. In 2007 it reopened as a donut shop and was renamed Ellwood Station as a reference to its origin. Rails remain in situ under part of the building.[12]

Koppel Bridge, which was built for the Beaver Valley extension in 1915 still exists and carries PA 351 over the Beaver River between Ellwood City and Koppel.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ William D. Middleton (1961). The Interurban Era. Kalmbach Publishing. p. 113. 
  2. ^ a b "The Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler, and New Castle Railway". February 24, 2009. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Rachel Carson Trails – Harmony Trail". February 3, 2007. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b Joseph F. Stierheim (October 3, 2004). "Harmony Line system ahead of its time". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "The Antique Motor Coach Association of Pennsylvania – Harmony Short Line". 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Zelienople Historical Society – The Harmony Line – The End of an Era". 2004. Retrieved October 4, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Pittsburghtransit.com – The Routes – PCC Operation". August 28, 2005. Archived from the original on August 28, 2005. Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Lewis' Pittsburgh Street & Trolly(sic) Guide. Pittsburgh: Lewis Publishing Company. 1915. pp. 185–200. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  9. ^ "38 HURT IN TROLLEY CRASH.; Pittsburgh Suburban Coach Runs Into an Open Switch" (PDF). New York Times. May 31, 1912. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Pennsylvania Trolley Museum – Pittsburgh, Harmony, Butler & New Castle Railway Car No. 115". October 17, 2005. Retrieved September 17, 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ Steve Mellon (August 25, 2005). "Spring avenue donut shop brought back to life". Pittsburg Post Gazette. Retrieved October 31, 2009. 
  12. ^ Eric Pool (July 14, 2007). "Spring avenue donut shop brought back to life". Ellwood City Ledger. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Historic bridges of the United States – Koppel Bridge". 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 

External links[edit]