RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to
NEW CASTLE PA
 

In General
Getting Here
Map
Sights
Signals
Floobydust
USGS Map
 


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In General

Nestled in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania is this cool little town of New Castle.

Back in 2004, I had the opportunity to visit New Castle for a week because of business.  The company I work for had a field service engineer living here, and he serviced stuff in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Youngstown.  The trip here also very nicely coincided with the Railfest in Altoona on the weekend before the visit, and the EBT Fall Spectacular on the other side of the trip... and no, I did not pick the week :-)  I was lucky to be able to spend the day on Friday chasing trains instead of doing the boring work thing, and was able to go for a cab ride to boot!

New Castle is a busy little spot in NW PA, and has a bunch of stuff for the well-rounded and ambitious railfan to take in, including a CSX yard, through freights on the Norfolk Southern a hair to the west, Kasgro - a supplier of large load freight cars, and a number of depots.

Most of the Maps are from Google Maps.  Aerial shots were taken from www.bing.com/maps if noted.
The snap-shots from Bing are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 
 
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! Contact info is here

Getting Here

New Castle is roughly 45 miles NW of Pittsburgh via I-376, 15 miles east of Youngstown, and about 95 miles east of Cleveland via I-76 and I-80.

The center of town is GPS: 40.999853,-80.347309

From Pittsburgh northside, take I-79 north to exit 99, US 422 (New Castle Rd), and head west for about 12 miles to downtown.
Otherwise, I would shoot up I-376, which brings you almost to downtown New Castle.

From the Cleveland area, its I-80 east to exit 1, I-376, and head south.  Remember, heading east on I-80, we've just entered Pennsylvania!

From the Buffalo/Batavia area, take I-90 west to exit 22, I-79, at Erie, and head south on I-79 to exit 99, US 422.

From Binghamton or Scranton, take I-81 south till you hit I-80 (exit 151 at Hazelton), and head west on I-80 till you reach I-376 as above.

From Harrisburg and west via the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you can get off at either I-376 (prefered) or I-79, and go north on both.
You could also go there via US 322, up to I-80 thru the State College area, but I don't know if it is a viable alternative unless you know someone there or want to get pictures around that area.

From Baltimore and DC, it's I-70 (and I-270 if coming out of DC) to the PA Turnpike at Breezewood, and head west to I-376.


Map


Sights


    1      Depot #1 - East Pittsburg P&LE Station

Shame on me, I didn't write down the specifics of these depots, as I had a guide show me all of them and told me "stuff" about them.... this one I believe might have been for either the B&O or the P&LE, as the CSX (ex B&O) tracks run along and above the depot on a fill.

This depot is a current restoration project of the Beaver Valley NRHS.  More info here: here and here

         


    2      Depot 2

     


    3      Depot 3

     

 


    4      The New Castle Railroad

A shortline railroad serving the industries of New Castle, the railroad was formed in 1991. 

Photos not taken by me, as well as the screenshot above, come from http://hawkinsrails.net/shortlines/ncir/ncir.htm

Current Engines

According to RWH, again, from the above web page, they have three engines.  Looks like they got rid of, maybe, GE #4094.

 
#77 is an EMD GP-9, built in 1954.  It was built for the Bangor & Aroostook as #77 before the NCRR acquired it.

 
#4032 is an EMD GP-9RM, built in 1956.  It was built for the Canadian National as #4517, and was also Ohio Central #4032 before coming to the NCRR.

 
#41 is an EMD SW-1500 built in 1968.  It was originally Frisco #327, then BN #32, then BNSF #3412 before coming to the NCRR.

Back in 2004

       

               

       

  Picture of Alco RS-11 #605 - a former Wilmington & Western unit, from June 24th in Mahoningtown, 1998 by Steve Raith

Cab Ride

The folks at the New Castle RR are pretty darn railfan friendly, as can be witnessed from the fan trips they run, pictures of one can be found on the link above on Hawkins Rails.  I was lucky enough to be able to come back at their invite for one on Friday before heading back home, via Orbisonia and the EBT Fall Spectacular!

         

         

           


The above comes from: http://www.nscorp.com/nscportal/nscorp/Customers/Shortline/shortline-directory.html?showshortlinedetail=true&road=NCIR&state=PA


    5      Kasgro

 

Kasgro has one business - to move large things by rail.  They have almost every conceivable "flat-car" and more for moving those large loads.  Fortunately for them, there is a lot of spare trackage to be had in New Castle, for you will find their stuff stored all over the place.

             

   

       

         

             
The cars above are a special breed of cars known as Schnabel Cars.  You can find models of these in HO, and (not so accurate renditions cause they would be frickin huge) O scale.

More info on oversize railroad freight cars can be found here.  The Snags below come from that page.


    6      UN Tower

UN Tower used to be in West Pittsburgh near Union Valley Road, and was moved here in 1998 (according to the sign).  Restoration of the towwer was completed in 2005, a year after I was there.

I'm guessing the local chapter of the NRHS, the Beaver Valley Junction Chapter, #176,  is also saving all of the other engines and rolling stock I saw while running around town?

Their website is here

           

           

             

       


    7      CSX New Castle Yard Tower

Most of it is a former B&O RR yard, and it may also include trackage from the P&LE yard that paralleled it, don't know for sure tho.  The GPS coordinates are for the center of the yard, the south end coordinates are below with the signals.


Signals


    1      Tilting Target

Getting in here to get pictures was no easy task, but I had a local railfan as a guide.  Access (the yellow arrow below) was down a slope (Gardner Ave) that was formerly used by the streetcar system.

               

The green arrow below is actually pointing towards the position the picture on the left (above) was taken from.


    2      CSX New Castle Yard

These signals were seen from the southern end of the yard, I think.... Judging from the tower (yellow arrow) in the background.

               

     


    3      Industrial Grade Grade Crossing Signal

At a crossing on one of the many private grade crossings we passed......


    4      Pedestrian Crossing Gates

Dunno where I came across them, dunno if they're still around!

 


Floobydust


I didn't have that much time to hang around and wait for pictures, this is really all I got, especially considering my digital camera, back in 2004, was about as simple and cheap as they came.

  A SB CSX freight, south of the yard.

  A NB NS freight.


Hobby Shop - The Underground Railroad

1906 Wilmington Rd, New Castle PA 16105 
724-652-4912
http://www.undergroundrrshop.com/

  


  Local bus - out of service

  Even in 2004, these were rare!

  The look of this house "peaked" my interest :-)

  Again, even in 2004, not many of these left around either after the merger - Pacific Intermountain Express

  Billboard seen around town, only one I ever saw for this "cause"

 


USGS Map






Disclaimers: Every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!   Beware: ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.

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NEW 11/16/2013
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