New Castle to Stoneboro

The New Castle Branch

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(Forwarded from the New Castle & Oil City Railroad)

This abandoned line started out as the New Castle and Franklin Railroad, which began construction of the line northward from New Castle in 1873. They built as far north to Mercer Junction that same year, and finished the route north to Stoneboro the following year. The line changed hands several times over the years, until the Pennsylvania Railroad acquired it in 1918. Some of the line was abandoned under PRR's ownership, while the rest of the line was abandoned under Penn Central.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD
Docket Number: 12128 Date: 8/5/1938 Section: 1
App. of Western New York and Pennsylvania Ry Co. Lessee, for abandonment of that portion of the former's New Castle Branch extending from Houston Junction to Stoneboro, a distance of 12.3 miles and a four mile side track known as Jacking Siding, all in Mercer County, PA.
Length: 12.3 miles Citation: 230 ICC 386  

i noticed abandoned bridges on this line.if there is any rail,please let me know.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
5/25/2013

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There are many bridges on this line. The PRR spent a considerable amount of money to upgrade the many bridges after they took control of the line from the WNY&P un 1901. The Pennsy upgraded the physical plant - track, bridges, and signaling. There is no rail left in Mercer county PA. The portion north of Jackson Center, PA to Stoneboro, Pa was abandoned around 1939. The remaining portion serving the coal mines in Jackson Center to almost 1970. There is a piece of captive rail where a mine spur line crossed the US 62 & PA 965 intersection in the parking lot of southeast quadrant. The rail, mines, and industries they supported are all gone; only the memories remain.

Jason Sippola
Sharon , PA
9/15/2014

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thanks for the information jason.as you said,after the mines where you are at shut down we had the same thing happen in the northeast pa. area too.it would be nice to eventually check out these locations if possible.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
9/18/2014

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A very small portion of this railroad remains in service in New Castle. It is owned by the New Castle Industrial Railroad.

Ron Mele
Pinson, AL
11/11/2014

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Just north of New Castle, the rails and ties were still intact until 1980/81. At that point, the rails were pulled up, and the ties left for locals to scavenge. My brother and I pulled several dozen ties and hauled them out on a flatbed bound for Ohio for property improvements and barriers. I lived in NC between 1975 and 1977, during which my school mates and I would frequently walk the tracks along the river, past an abandoned limestone mine and coke ovens.

Mike Sisko
Los Angeles, CA
6/15/2016

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Mike,do you remember where exactly the abandoned limestone mine and coke ovens were?It would be great to check them out if they are still there.

george oakley
reading, PA
6/16/2016

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They're just north of downtown New Castle along the Neshannock Creek. The mine openings were sealed around 1990. Remnants of the coke oven and an old brick factory are nearby as well

Adam Brooks
New Castle, PA
1/13/2017

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Thanks Adam.I do like to explore old places like these for the historical references to the area.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/14/2017

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One of the reasons why I took notice of this stretch of abandoned rail line on this website is I've always been curious about the history of this stretch of abandoned rail. I only knew it in the late 70's as a beautiful hike just north of new Castle, stretching as far as you cared to walk in one day.

Knowing the general region, I knew it ran through land that could change appearance dramatically within a short stretch, crossing the Neshannock Creek several times as it went. The views by train must have been spectacular. But where did it go? What was it's purpose? Why was it abandoned?

I started the search for answers many years ago when satellite imagery became available for viewing on the internet. I was thrilled one day to discover that this stretch of track was still visible from above, or at least the right of way was still visible. Mostly. On some lengthy stretches you had to do some sleuthing to figure out where it ran because the land had been re-purposed for farming or residential housing.

I was able to visibly trace it up to the Stoneboro region where it connected to the rail lines that ran east and west, from Erie and past Oil City. That made sense, to run a line at that point down through New Castle, where it could connect to Pittsburgh or Youngstown, and branch off toward coal fields along the way. As the years went by, changes in regional industry and transport services with cars and trucks on well paved roads challenged this line's purpose. I'm guessing in some stretches it remains a beautiful hike.

Lots of details yet to be discovered! Keep them coming.

Mike Sisko
Los Angeles, CA
2/6/2017

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It would be nice if someone tried to map the Sharpsville RR, I was able to follow it as far as New Salem... where does it go from there?

Jsohua J Long
Spartansburg, PA
6/24/2017

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Check out Wayne A. Cole's books, Ghost Rails. They have detailed maps and descriptions of all the lines that ran through Western PA and Eastern OH.

Adam Brooks
New Castle, PA
6/24/2017

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