Smith's Ferry, PA to Negley, OH

The Smith's Ferry Branch

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Photo by Dave Kibler, July 2008.

This branch line was operated by the Youngstown & Southern Railway (a joint venture between Pennsylvania RR and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie (itself a part of the New York Central)). Its purpose was to move bituminous coal brought in from ferries on the Ohio River at Smith's Ferry and transport it inland to coal processing plants. The line connected with another Y&S line at Negley.

The branch served a coal washing facility just south of Negley that was operated by the Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Company. After being washed, practically all of the coal would move further along the Y&S to Republic Steel Corporation at Youngstown, Ohio.

The right-of-way included a tunnel in the mountains near Little Beaver River; the track was removed in 1995.

Grew up in this area of Beaver Creek, Smith's Ferry and Midland PA. Have you ever seen photos of the old wooden trestle on this line? It was torn down but my relatives have a few photos of it beforehand.

Paul Gallagher
Pittsburgh, PA
2/9/2010

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I hiked a good portion of this old rail line to photograph Grimms Tunnel. Unfortunately, I went the wrong way down the line but, I came upon the old abutment and piers for the wooden trestle you mentioned, Paul. Would it be possible to post the photos your family has? Or perheps you could send them to me via email @ rharr73@gmail.com

Bob Harris
Warren, OH
12/1/2012

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I have several pictures of the now removed bridge that spanned Bieler Run just south of Fredericktown. It was 1500ft long and 100ft high. Made of steel it had a wooden deck. I walked across it many times in my youth.

I also remember an old wooden caboose, possibly an N6B, sitting about 1/4 mile north of the tunnel. Sadly it was torched by kids...

Robert Barr
New Brighton, PA
12/4/2012

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Thanks for this information about the Smith's Ferry Branch. In the 1970s, specifically 1975-1976 I turned 16 and got my drivers license and made several trips to Fredericktown, Ohio between 1975 to 1977. We used to swim on the North Fork of Little Beaver Creek just northnof Fredericktown at a place called "The Tubbs", you can see it on satellite view today. Then we would hikenthe abandoned rail line, hopping on just near the plate-girder bridge you have pictured. The hike was just over a mile on this line which had been abandoned for years and there were several rock slides and huge boulders on the rails along the way. I remember the rails were embossed with the name of Carnegie Steel who produced them. The hike was fascinating and then all of the sudden out of the blue came the prize...the beautiful trestle and breath taking view. I could sit for hours right in the middle of the thing and just take it all in. Sadly, I was not aware that they tore it all down. I had been trying to locate it on the maps on satellite, but of course it's not there. Even though I have a tear in my eye, I am so very grateful for this site and the posts. I know those who's posts I have read here have felt the same and share the special memories that I have of this place. Thanks again for sharing.

Peter Gross Jr
Youngstown, OH
4/7/2014

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