McKeesport Connecting Railroad (1950)


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For most of its existence, McKeesport Connecting Railroad did exactly what its name said—beginning in 1889, it connected the National Tube Works Co., and later U.S. Steel's National Works, to the Pennsylvania, Baltimore & Ohio and Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroads. It also switched freight cars within the plant.

Naturally, for most of its existence, McKeesport Connecting Railroad was wholly owned by U.S. Steel. After the closure of National Plant in 1987, McKeesport Connecting continued to serve Camp-Hill Corp., though in recent years, it had no locomotives of its own—it used equipment from another U.S. Steel-affiliated railroad, the Union Railroad.

With very little fanfare, the McKeesport Connecting's 123 year existence came to an end on Jan. 1, 2013, when it was merged into the Union Railroad. (The Union runs from Plum Borough through the Mon Valley to West Mifflin, with branches to Clairton, Duquesne and Munhall.)

You can still see equipment registered to the McKeesport Connecting—black open-topped pipe-carrying cars with the letters "MKC" stenciled on the side—but those will likely start to disappear, too.

About the last remaining evidence of McKeesport Connecting's independent existence is an abandoned railroad roundhouse in the RIDC Industrial Center of McKeesport.

The brochure reproduced here was apparently distributed in roughly 1950 and marked the McKeesport Connecting Railroad's conversion from steam-powered locomotives to diesel-electrics.

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From the brochure:

The McKeesport Connecting Railroad was incorporated March 20, 1889 under the General Railroad Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, for the purpose of constructing a line of railroad from McKeesport along the south side of Monongahela River to Port Perry, a distance of about four miles.

The railroad consists of 14.83 miles of main tracks, yard tracks, and sidings. It maintains two public team tracks known as Locust Street and Center Street team tracks.

It also has connections for interchange of freight with the Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, and Baltimore & Ohio railroads. Its rolling stock consists of seven 1000 H.P. Diesel-Electric switching locomotives and 100 70-ton all steel gondola cars.



Mr. Smith's railroading experience dates back to the summer of 1913, when he joined the Commercal Freight Department of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company in Pittsburgh as a messenger. For several years he intermingled life insurance, asbestos and steel making with the matter of obtaining a further education. In 1916 he joined the Traffic Department of the Universal Portland Cement Company, holding various positions, until June of 1929, when he left Pittsburgh for New York, to become associated with the General Commerce Counsel of the United States Steel Corporation, where he was engaged in traffic, transportation and commerce work. He was elected President and Director of the McKeesport Connecting on October 1, 1945.


Vice President

Mr. Hastings has been a native of Pittsburgh all his life. He was first employed in the Traffic Department of the National Tube Company from 1918 to 1932. He then became affiliated with the McKeesport Connecting, as Chief Clerk, Mechanical Department, McKeesport. In April, 1936, he was promoted to Chief Clerk to the President, at Pittsburgh. Late in 1936 he was elected Vice President and a Director.



Mr. Sullivan received his first rail- roading experience with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Glenwood as a rodman in the Engineering Department. His first job with the McKeesport Connecting Railroad was that of Yard Clerk. After several years as a clerk in the Accounting Department, interrupted by military service in 1918, he was transferred to the Maintenance of Way Department on April 1, 1920. In systematic order he filled the positions of Gang Foreman, General Foreman and on January 1, 1934, was appointed Supervisor of the Maintenance of Way Department. On March 1, 1944, he was appointed Superintendent.


General yardmaster

Mr. Walsh has been a railroader since 1914, when he started as a clerk for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On November 15, 1918, he came to work for the McKeesport Connecting as a Locomotive Fireman and was promoted to Engineer May 7, 1922. On November 3, 1930, he was appointed Yardmaster, from whence he advanced to Assistant General Yardmaster on March 1, 1944, and to General Yardmaster on April I, 1947.


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This article is from, the Steel Heritage section of Tube City Online, P.O. Box 94, McKeesport, PA 15134.