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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Panhandle Railroad

Three Rivers Heritage Trail

 
 
Panhandle Railroad Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 30, 2021
1. Panhandle Railroad Marker
Inscription.  Packhorses, rivers and the Pennsylvania Canal were Pittsburgh's transportation system until the years before the Civil War. Railroads offered inexpensive routes and year-round service to compete with the ice jams, floods, and costly repairs that closed the canal for weeks at a time. The Panhandle Railroad, named for the West Virginia Panhandle through which it passed, was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system.

In 1864, while the Civil War raged in the South, the Panhandle Railroad blasted a "Great Tunnel" under Pittsburgh near the Old Pennsylvania Canal tunnel. Trains traveled beneath the Courthouse through this tunnel to Union Station on Liberty Avenue.

The Panhandle Railroad extended more than a thousand miles into the American mid-west to Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis. In the 1920s, 50 freight trains passed daily through Pittsburgh on this line. To carry larger and heavier locomotives, the railroad regularly upgraded bridges and abutments. In 1903, the original bridge over the Monongahela River was replaced to meet these new load requirements.

Increasing railroad traffic across downtown streets caused many fatal accidents.

Three Rivers Heritage Trail image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 30, 2021
2. Three Rivers Heritage Trail
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These railroad crossings became so dangerous that the railroads had to eliminate them, and in 1911, the level of the Panhandle Bridge was raised to span above First and Second Avenues.

Still a key entrance into the city, the Panhandle Bridge today carries the Port Authority's light-rail transit system from the South Hills.

(captions)
Fares and destinations from Pittsburgh in 1835
Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive
The Panhandle Railroad crossed the river and then plunged through a tunnel under Grant Street. Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania

 
Erected by Friends of the Riverfront, DCNR, Steel Industry Heritage Corporation, City of Pittsburgh, PHMC.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 40° 25.902′ N, 79° 59.291′ W. Marker is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in Allegheny County. Marker is on Three Rivers Heritage Trail 0.4 miles east of South 4th Street, on the left when traveling east. Not accessible by motorized vehicle. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsburgh PA 15203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pittsburgh Glass (here, next to this marker); Pennsylvania Canal in Pittsburgh (here, next to this marker); Oliver Iron and Steel (approx. 0.2 miles

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away); Ormsby River Farms (approx. ¼ mile away); Black Diamonds (approx. ¼ mile away); Coal Transportation (approx. ¼ mile away); St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); Immigrant Steel Workers (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsburgh.
 
Also see . . .  Friends of the Riverfront. (Submitted on June 1, 2021.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 1, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 1, 2021, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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Jun. 12, 2021