The end of an era for me. Kiski Junction Railroad
Many of you know I ran a little short line railroad before I retired on 1/1/2010. It was more or less a one employee operation with my wife serving as my brakeman/conductor and a number of excellent volunteers. I remain friends to this day with the ones that are still living.  I met many knowledgeable railroaders in the 14 years I worked there, and they were kind enough to pass along stories and advice that I shall never forget. 
     I also met Dr Wayne, Sgt Carl, and CN Nutbar from this forum. Some of my volunteers are also active here, Railcop and CSI guy are 2 of them.     (CSI guy is on the left, railcop to the right) 

We ran a little tourist operation in addition to switching scrap from Allegheny Ludlum Bagdad plant.  The railroad was bought by Cliff Forest, owner of Rosebud mining in 2005. Just after I retired he finally got all his ducks in a row and built 9 miles of track north along the  Allegheny River to service a coal mine he had opened in 1998. They called me in October 2011 because they were having a party to celebrate the opening of the line and they wanted me to have the honor of running the first "passenger" train over the track.     I was really touched but not surprised because Cliff Forest is the best person I ever worked for, and I did have some fabulous bosses over my lifetime. 

       About 4 years ago the war on coal finally took the need for the mine so it was mothballed after only 130 trains. Natural gas played a big role because the power plants are being converted to natural gas.  Shortly after that the mill closed and ATI would not or could not find a buyer so all that was left was 3 car loads a month of cattle feed which would hardly pay the bills. Car storage was a big help but then the last straw was the bridge was taken out of service due to needing extensive repairs.  I was always hoping it would survive, but it never came about and the end is now publicized. 

Kiski Junction Railroad closes
Corridor explored for recreational trail
While the owner of the Kiski Junction Railroad is finalizing its closure, a Gilpin supervisor is proposing converting the railroad corridor into a recreational trail.
Rosebud Mining, which owns the 165-year-old short line, is closing the railroad for good, according to the company’s president, Jim Barker. The railroad has been a popular tourist attraction for years in the fall with its antique locomotive and cherry red riding cars. But its main business — hauling freight — was spotty in recent years.
The short line transported material from the now-shuttered Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s Bagdad plant in Gilpin and coal from Rosebud’s Logansport mine in Bethel Township.
“It’s sad,” Barker said. “We appreciate all of the volunteers and the people who enjoyed riding it.”
In 2018, Rosebud waited to abandon the short line, holding out hope that some business would emerge at ATI’s Bagdad plant in Gilpin.
Then, the company decided to close the railroad because it didn’t need it for hauling coal anymore, Barker said.
The company is reclaiming the mine in Logansport and Kelly Station in Bethel and is in the process of filling it in. Additionally, the railroad bridge that spans the Kiski River from Schenley to Allegheny Township can no longer bear the weight of modern-day trains hauling coal, Barker said.
Some of the rail equipment was sold to the Everett Railroad Co. in Blair County, Barker said.
“If people have interest, I suggest that they look up the Everett Railroad and go for a ride there and help keep them in business,” he said.
The rail line has a history of change from a segment of the Pennsylvania Main Line Canal to a rail line for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Maybe the short line’s next stop will be a recreational trail.
In addition to the estimated 4 miles of track from Schenley to Bagdad, Rosebud extended the line with a 9-mile spur connecting the railroad’s base in Schenley to the mine in Bethel.
Gilpin Supervisors Chairman Charlie Stull, who said he is sad to see the train go, said the rail line corridor could connect to the Armstrong Trail in Manor.
“The railroad has been a huge staple in the township for many years,” Stull said. “I hope we can find another use for it.”
Stull is exploring bringing in a rails-to-trail from Schenley to Manor and possibly re-purposing the railroad bridge over the Kiski to hook up to the Tredway Trail in Allegheny Township. Also, the Gilpin section of the trail could serve as a vital link for the Erie to Pittsburgh trail, he said.
Stull said he is in “very preliminary” discussions with Armstrong Trails on the idea.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

So there you have it.  The end of an era for me, but the fond memories and the friendships will last my lifetime.  We had a good run, we did it right, and I learned a lot about the workings of a railroad as well as the politics involved.

Sad to see this.

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
It's a pity that this has to happen, but no one can take those memories away from you. Lots of folks would give anything to have done what you were doing.
Don (ezdays) Day
Board administrator and
        Great memories of the Kiski Junction RR---especially the friendships that were created.Thanks to Doctor Wayne some memories have been preserved on the Leetown Division.
It saddens me to hear this Charlie Icon_cry . 

Looking on the bright side, you have done what so many of us always wanted to, but couldn't do, thats really got to mean a lot to you Charlie. You have done and accomplished a lot with that RR, for that, I am so happy for you, nobody can ever take the experiences/memories you made away Worship Applause Icon_e_smile
[Image: sig2.jpg]-Deano
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