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June 2008 - Page 32

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J im Botsco has recreated the Southwest Branch of the Monongahela Division of The Pennsylvania Railroad in 0 scale on his 23 x 47-foot layout. There's an index of all previous prototype-based layout tours on our website at

The roundhouse at Youngwood Yard. The J1 2-10-4 on the right has just arrived off an eastbound train.

h e Monongahela D ivision of the Pennsylvan i a Rail road was a huge traffic gen erator for the system. It has been stated that more ton nage came out of the Monongahela Val ley during World War II than was produced by all the Axis Powers combined. In the 50s, the Monongahela D ivision became the Monongahela Branch. As a model i ng prototype, I stumbled onto the Mon when look i ng for a way to use the Pennsy models that I seemed to be acqui r i ng in 0 scale. I was learn i ng that Pennsy Steam locos tended to be smaller in a lot of cases than many other roads' steam engines. H ence they are ideal to model, especi a l ly


i n 0 s cale. However, most people t hillk of the 4-Track " B roadway L i mited" when thinking of the Pennsy. I had no desi re to model the 4-track "Broadway" route. As I did more research on the Monongahela route, I learned that parts of i t were s i ngle track, yet very busy. Another pri nciple reason for selecting that area was because my fam i l y originally settled there. A l l these ideas l e d t o the current model based loosel y on the Monongahela Di v i s ion, Southwest branch of the PRR. The Southwest branch was a s i ngle-track l i ne that came off the Pittsburgh D i v i sion main l i ne and ran south through a major yard at Youngwood, Pennsylvania and on

to Scottdale, Conne llsvi l le, and Union tow n . At Redstone Junction, there was a l i ne cutting off to the west that ran to West B rownsv i l l e and connected back to the Monongahela D i v is ion mainl ine. The l i ne was original l y b u i l t as the Southwest Pennsylvania Rail road and was later pur chased by the Pennsylvani a R a i l road. I n the early days o f the steel i ndustry, coke was often made at the m i nes and trans ported to steel plants. Thi s rai l road was b u i l t to hau l coke from the Connel ls v i l l e area to Pittsburgh. Conne l l s v i l l e coke was considered very good steel-mak i ng coke at the t i me. In its heyday, the Southwest branch had many connecti n g branches and generated a lot of coke and coal traffic . In

32 RAllMODEl JOURNAl J UN[ 2008

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