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.