Montour Railroad

Montour Railroad
Montour Railroad
Reporting mark MTR
Locale Coraopolis, Pennsylvania to Imperial, Pennsylvania and West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Dates of operation 1877–1984
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Montour Railroad (reporting mark MTR) is a former short line railroad company operating passenger and freight service on standard gauge track in southwestern Pennsylvania. At its height in the 1930s, the railroad served 27 mines transporting nearly seven million tons of coal annually in Allegheny and Washington Counties.

The Montour Railroad Company was chartered in 1877 as a wholly owed subsidiary of the Imperial Coal Company. The first segment constructed extended from the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad line at Montour Junction, near Coraopolis, Pennsylvania to the Imperial Coal Company mines at Imperial, Pennsylvania. In 1901, the Pittsburgh Coal Company assumed control of the railroad. A major expansion was undertaken in 1912 to reach new coal mines and factories. By 1917, the town of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania on the Monongahela River was reached. The Montour Railroad became an important feeder line and eventually all five major truck carriers in the southwestern Pennsylvania market were linked to the Montour Railroad. In 1946 the Pittsburgh Coal Company sold the Montour Railroad to the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad (a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad), who operated it jointly. The P&LE acquired sole control of the Montour Railroad in 1975.

The railroad's engine houses and shops were located at Montour Junction, near the Ohio River at Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The Montour Railroad had passenger service in its early years from 15 stations along its route, but passenger service was abandoned by the mid 1920s. By the 1950s, most of the coal mines the Montour serviced had been worked out and the Montour began a slow decline. The Montour Railroad was down to just 23 miles of track between Montour Junction and Gilmore Junction when operations ceased in 1984 with the closing of the Westland Coal mine, the Montour’s last remaining major customer. In the 1990s large portions of the rights of way were acquired by the Montour Trail Council in a "rails to trails" program.

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