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New Castle Junction Rail Yard - Taylor Twnp (New Castle) PA

By the late 1870’s various railroads, including the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) and the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad (P&LE), had operations running up through Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The P&LE and B&O and various smaller railroads set up a major rail center just south of New Castle in Taylor Township that became known as New Castle Junction. Other railroads – most of which were absorbed by the major rail companies – such as the Pittsburgh & Western Railway (P&W), Erie Railroad (ERIE), Cleveland, Terminal, & Valley Railroad (CT&V), and the Cleveland, Lorian, & Wheeling Railroad (CL&W), also set up shop in some form here in the coming years. It was at this location that the P&LE and B&O local branches broke off and ran northeast up to the Union Station passenger terminal near downtown New Castle.

At New Castle Junction several turnstiles and roundhouses, various shops and repair facilities, and a host of passenger and freight stations were established. The B&O also operated a restaurant and there were numerous bunk houses as well. It was a bustling center of activity over the years and a major terminal on the B&O’s popular mainline route to distant Chicago, Illinois. As many as 500 men were employed here at one time. It was a switching spot for the various regional train crews, who resided in the local area in such places as Mahoningtown, New Castle, and West Pittsburg. The Universal Sanitary Manufacturing Company, later known as Universal Rundle Corporation, even built a large plant here in 1901 to take advantage of the close proximity of the rail lines. Just to the west the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) also operated a major yard facility at Lawrence Junction just below Mahoningtown.

Activity here steadily slowed beginning in the 1920’s and especially with the sharp decline of the railroad industry beginning in the 1950’s. In the early 1970’s the B&O began phasing out its yard operations at New Castle Junction and moving them to Youngstown. The Chessie System, which came to own the B&O, kept freight operations alive here into the 1980’s, when it was absorbed into the CSX Transportation system in 1987. CSX still maintains a small yard facility at the site, where a few CSX and Buffalo & Pittsburgh (BPRR) trains exchange cars here on a daily basis.


To read more about the P&LE expanding operations at New Castle Junction in 1892 click on: NEW STATION ARTICLE. To learn more about the P&W moving into shops to New Castle Junction in 1892 click on: P&W SHOPS ARTICLE. To read about the 1893 death of a well-known dog that hung around New Castle Junction click on: DICK’S SAD FATE ARTICLE. The numerous tracks and trains running through the area made New Castle Junction a very dangerous place to work and visit. To read three short articles (and another about a hunting accident that killed a B&O engineer) from 1898 to 1911 that detail that danger click on: DANGER ARTICLES. To read about some of the companies operating at the site in 1901 click on: VARIETY OF ENGINES ARTICLE. To read about the P&W relocating its major facilities from nearby DeForest, Ohio, to New Castle Junction in 1901 click on: P&W ARTICLE. To read about the P&LE making major upgrades to its facilities in 1902 click on: WILL SPEND $200,000 ARTICLE. Hobos and tramps frequented the location and were a constant source of irritation for the railroads. To learn about hobos accidently setting fire to two cars in 1905 click on: BUMS SET FIRE ARTICLE. To read about the P&LE setting up a new passenger station at New Castle Junction in 1906 click on: NEW STATION WILL BE BUILT ARTICLE. To read about the abundance of work at the site in 1907 click on: NOT RETRENCHING ARTICLE. To learn more about the B&O moving its regional headquarters to New Castle Junction in 1911 click on: B&O TO MOVE OFFICES ARTICLE. The fortunes of New Castle Junction rose and fall over the years. To read an article talking about potential downturns in 1912 and 1914 click on: LOSES ITS POPULARITY ARTICLE and BUSINESS SLOWING UP ARTICLE.


New Castle Junction, just north of what later became West Pittsburg, was established as a railway center in the late 1870’s. It became a bustling center of activity as trains of the P&W, B&O, P&LE, and other smaller outfits passed through on a constant basis. (c1920) Full Size


I believe the building at left is the P&LE yard office at New Castle Junction. The large rail yard here, located between West Pittsburg and Mahoningtown, was very active in its heyday. (c1925) Full Size


B&O locomotive #4045, built at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1911, at New Castle Junction. (Jun 1938) Full Size


An old B&O locomotive, this one built in 1905 at the ALCO works in Schenectady NY, at “the Junction.” I believe this locomotive was scrapped in 1948. (Jun 1946) Full Size


The old B&O roundhouse at New Castle Junction, where the massive locomotives were repaired indoors. (c1930) Full Size


A view of the B&O roundhouse at New Castle Junction. Locomotives would be driven onto on the giant turnstile, which would then turn so the locomotive could be put into one of the bays for repair work. (c1960) Full Size


A locomotive sits on the turntable in preparation of being directed into the B&O roundhouse. (c1940) (Photo courtesy of Bill Lewis) Full Size


A map showing the location of several landmarks in the central part of the New Castle Junction yards. (c1939) Full Size


This B&O steam locomotive sits idle next to the large turnstile used to place locomotives in the roundhouse. The handwritten caption on the back of this photo reads, “T-4 class 754 is among the second newest steam power that the B&O owns. It seems incredible that this locomotive is lying idle, undoubtedly to be scrapped, and nearby a 1918 0-8-0 still works.” (Aug 1957) Full Size


B&O locomotive #7610 sits at rest at New Castle Junction. (Feb 1957) Full Size


B&O steam locomotive #6208 gets ready to pull out from New Castle Junction. (Apr 1956) Full Size


B&O steam locomotive #5648 passes through the yards. The locomotive was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in 1937 for the Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M) and transferred to the B&O in 1947. (Aug 1956) Full Size


B&O steam locomotive #6222 sits in the yards. (Jun 1956)


The former B&O Yard Office at New Castle Junction. Beginning in 1970 most of the railway functions performed at New Castle Junction were phased out and moved elsewhere. (c1988)


Two passenger tickets for the B&O Railroad. (c1950)


A view of the yards at New Castle Junction. B&O locomotive #4496, a 1922 product of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, is shown here. (May 1956) Full Size


Passenger service was provided at New Castle Junction for many years. B&O locomotive #6197, built at the Lima Locomotive Works in 1926, is depicted here. (May 1956)


An ALCO FA-1 diesel locomotive of the B&O, built at Schenectady, New York, sits at rest at New Castle Junction. (Mar 1961) Full Size


Locomotive #4144 of the Chessie System, formerly of the B&O, passes a switching tower in the yards. (Mar 1981) Full Size


Locomotive #5632 of the Chessie System, formerly of the Western Maryland Railway (WM), at New Castle Junction. (c1982) Full Size


Cars of the B&P sit on the tracks at New Castle Junction. (Apr 1989)


A photo of CSX locomotive #6577, prominently marked with the former B&O logos, passes through the CSX yards at New Castle Junction. (May 1989)


The former P&LE Yard Office at New Castle Junction, built between the mainlines of the P&LE and B&O. This building was demolished in 1998. (1988) Full Size


The B&O’s “UN” Tower (shown above) was used to control traffic in and out of the eastern yards at New Castle Junction. The tower, named “UN” for nearby Union Valley, was built it the 1890’s and manned 24 hours a day. It was in active use for about 100 years until it was finally shutdown in 1995. It was saved by a preservation group and relocated to Mahoningtown in 1998. (c1985) Full Size


This aerial map reveals the location of the three roundhouses in the vicinity of Mahoningtown. (1967) Full Size

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Comment

  1. Thank you for posting the Roundhouse picture.I have been looking for quite sometime for a photo of it. I would say this painting shows the west side of the roundhouse looking to the east.

    Robert Cody · 12/19/2012 08:12 AM · #

  2. (EDITOR’S NOTE) That is correct. The photo is of the west side of the semi-circular roundhouse. The other side was the open end and where a large turntable would route the locomotives into the various repair bays. If you look on a modern aerial map of the area north of West Pittsburg you can see exactly where it sat. If you find where Route 168 starts to curve away to the northeast (near Cherry Street) you will see a parking lot just to the southwest in the yards. Part of that parking lot has a semi-circular pattern showing where the roundhouse was situated. Jeff

    Jeff Bales Jr. · 12/22/2012 04:31 PM · #

  3. The Roundhouse was struck by lightning in March of 1976 (I believe).Strong spring storms caused the fire which destroyed the bldg.

    Bill Cwynar · 05/28/2013 08:20 AM · #

  4. I worked at the Roundhouse in my early years as engine house clerk. My brother Jim worked as a hostler there and would run the engine on the turntable and connect it to the outbound trains. It was a very busy place. Harry Banks

    Harry Banks · 02/09/2014 02:44 PM · #

  5. I’m looking to find where I can find an engine ne number My dad Clifford Patton worked for B&O before 1948 as a firemen and a steamer and the engineer was Rossie ?. He worked the Pittsburgh Lackawanna run mostly. I have a picture in the Pittsburgh/ homestead yard next to engine 2750 but he always said that was not his engine in the photo

    Harry Patton · 10/27/2014 11:48 AM · #

  6. I witnessed the Fire that evening from the top of the Power Plant in West Pittsburgh. It was the most spectacular fire I ever saw. I have forgotten the date but 1976 sounds about right. Next visit to N.C. Library I will check it out.

    Richard J. Harvey · 01/18/2016 03:27 PM · #

  7. I love these pictures. Every picture of these locomotives make me think, one of them could have my Dad onboard. He and his brother, Sam, hired out on the day after Pearl Harbor – followed not much longer by a third brother, Albert. I have a photo of me, as a toddler, looking out of the Fireman’s window of 754 (above) wearing Dad’s choo-choo hat. – Dad took me there because he wanted me to experience what it was like on a steam engine before they all went away – yes – it was headed for the scrappers.<sigh> He and his brothers spent 40 years railroading.

    Dennis Fry · 03/04/2016 03:31 PM · #

  8. We lived on the Wampum Rd with the B&O and P&LE tracks just across the road and seeing steam engines was an everyday occurrence. When we’d go to New Castle I would be fascinated with how many cars would be parked along the side of 168 by the round house waiting for it to turn and drive the engines in or out of the round house. Later I learned that it was a bigger deal than I ever imagined at that young age.

    Chet Blake Jr · 01/08/2017 01:47 AM · #