Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bessemer - Port Perry Branch - Westinghouse Bridge

This Google Earth image shows Bessemer, PA at milepost 342.1 (40.396144N79.848997). Below the place name of Bessemer is the Edgar Thomson steel mill. The Port Perry Branch is identified at the bottom of the image. Note the dark blue color in the lower left corner. That is the Monongahela River.
The Port Perry Branch, in orange, connects with the Monongahela Branch on the south side of the Monongahela River. The Monongahela Branch in turn rejoins the mainline west of the Pittsburgh Amtrak station at NS milepost PC 3.2 (40.465589N80.0344W) using a bridge that crosses the Ohio River and Brunot Island in the center of the river. This is on the Northside of Pittsburgh in the vicinity of the California Avenue southbound ramp onto the Ohio River Boulevard, Route 65. The significance of the Port Perry Branch is that it is the freight route used to go around the Pittsburgh Station. The Port Perry Branch / Monongahela Branch clearances  enable the operation of double stack container freight cars that cannot operate through the Pittsburgh Station, etc. Both  the mainline, in blue,  and the Port Perry Branch pass beneath the George Westinghouse Bridge. The Port Perry Branch is parallel to the mainline in the vicinity of milepost 340.6 (40.396728N79.832458W). The Port Perry Branch converges with the mainline at milepost 339.7 (40.398356N79.816311W) out of view in this image. The manufacturing complex in the upper right corner of the image is the former Westinghouse Electric Company manufacturing complex at Wilmerding. PA.

The Port Perry / Monongahela Branch route, according to the 2005 Woodside Consulting Group Study needs to have a second track built in order to accomodate additional passenger trains. Otherwise, additional passenger trains will interfere with freight operations.

At milepost 342 the NS freight speed is 35 mph. Passenger speed is 35 mph at 341.9. At milepost 341 the freight speed  remains 35 mph. The passenger speed increases to 45 mph at 340. The PRR allowed 40 mph for passenger trains through these curves.

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